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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A question from "A Knife In The Dark", FOTR

Nuradar
Rohan


Sep 17 2013, 11:43am

Post #1 of 8 (332 views)
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A question from "A Knife In The Dark", FOTR Can't Post

Hi guys, hope you're all doing well. I started reading LOTR again for (embarrassingly) the 2nd time only. The first time was when I was in university about 15 years ago. Life with 3 kids can slow one down a bit.

My first discovery is just how much of the text was actually taken from the book and put into the movies. I know, it's often placed in a different part of the story, and sometimes the dialogue is given to another character in the book, but it's been nice to see that it's used. That's been a very pleasant surprise. I have a new level of respect for PJ, Fran, and Phillipa.

My first question as I take this quest....

In the chapter, "A Knife In The Dark", the Black Riders (3 of them) are described as going to Crickhollow in search of the hobbits and the ring. But back in Bree, the hobbits go to their rooms at the Prancing Pony the following morning to discover that their beds have been slashed and the room has been overturned. From the movies, I know this was also done by the Wraiths, but it's not as explicit in the book.

I just want to make sure that the mischief at the Prancing Pony was, indeed, done by the Black Riders. Is that correct?

Sincerely,

Nuradar


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Sep 17 2013, 12:08pm

Post #2 of 8 (179 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

Remember that events seem to happen more quickly in the film(s) than in the book. Also, Frodo's move to Crickhollow doesn't happen in AUJ; he leaves the Shire directly from Bag End. It took the Hobbits two days just to reach Crickhollow, and another four days to get to Bree (with two days spent at Bombadil's house in the Old Forest). The Black Riders had plenty of time to catch up with the party at Bree.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Nuradar
Rohan


Sep 17 2013, 12:45pm

Post #3 of 8 (155 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Great, thanks for clarifying that for me Otaku-sempai. I'm do realize the movie is much more condensed. The book just didn't mention Black Riders when describing the scene at the Prancing Pony, so we're left to assume it, I guess.

Thanks again!

Nuradar


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 17 2013, 12:57pm

Post #4 of 8 (175 views)
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Not necessarily... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think there is anything other than implication that it was the Nazgul that attacked the Prancing Pony. I've found that notion rather hard to swallow in fact - since we're told that the wraiths inspire terror, why does everyone sleep soundly instead of fleeing the building in terror? Why stop at ransacking one room? Or, if they are willing to do something so brazen, why not immediately attack again? Moreover, the Nazgul are drawn to the Ring - so odd they get the wrong room number. Frodo is sensitive to the Nazgul and tends to feel a temptation to put on the Ring when they are near. But no such thing is reported (Frodo does wake with a start, but is reassured by seeing Aragorn - his dreams, hooves and a horn blowing could refer back to the events in Crickhollow: they don't seem to be about what is going on in the Pony. Several difficulties.

A theory I liked (but I can no longer find the web page on which I originally saw it) is that the Prancing Pony attack is more of a freelance effort - perhaps Bll Ferny. It seems feasible that a number of agents, both of Sauron and of Saruman know that Frodo is carrying something very valuable, but they might not know what it is, or have any special abilities to help them find it. A bit of burglary (with optional attempted murder or kidnapping) by villainous mortals seems a more likely explanation of why the attackers were foiled by the room switch, & then contented themselves with trashing the place. Also, consider what happened to the horses in the Prancing Pony's stables that night :

Quote
It turned out later that only one horse had been actually stolen. The others had been driven off, or had bolted in terror...

The Nazgul might certainly terrify the horses, but I can't imagine them stealing one.

I can understand the film needing this attack to be the Black Riders - we already know who they are and that they are after the Ring; any other solution woudl require introducing new characters and explaining something about who they were in league with. Film has no time for that sort of thing, a book does (and is also often better able to keep up ambiguity).

BTW - an earlier LOTR read-through has an excellent discussion about this chapter, if you want to look it up!
In a later discussion, we wondered whether the Black Riders got more powerful as the book proceeded, with some continuity problems resulting

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Sep 17 2013, 12:59pm)


squire
Valinor


Sep 17 2013, 6:52pm

Post #5 of 8 (153 views)
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Tolkien wrote both answers (Men, Riders) at two different times. [In reply to] Can't Post

In one of our previous discussions, N. E. Brigand made an educated guess that during the writing of the book, Tolkien imagined Men attacking the bedroom in Bree, but later misremembered his own intentions in writing "The Hunt for the Ring" (which appears in Unfinished Tales) some years after LotR was published.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 17 2013, 9:03pm

Post #6 of 8 (143 views)
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But, which version is " cannon"? :) [In reply to] Can't Post

(I only ask this to tease: an interesting discussion re the problems of canon in Tolkien is going on over here :http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=643095#643095 and Squire & I have both been taking part. )

In fact, if NE Brigand's theory is right, this question is an excellent example of the problems one faces if one worries about trying to establish a cannon. Evil

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Sep 17 2013, 9:04pm)


Nuradar
Rohan


Sep 18 2013, 5:07pm

Post #7 of 8 (107 views)
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thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your excellent responses, guys. I really appreciate it. I like the idea of Bill Ferny going in and wreaking havoc. It also makes sense, as noWizardme said, to portray the burglars as the Black Riders in the film because of obvious plot issues. Thanks again!

Nuradar


(This post was edited by Nuradar on Sep 18 2013, 5:07pm)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 19 2013, 4:26pm

Post #8 of 8 (121 views)
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The galloping hooves of Frodos dream [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd always assumed they linked to the Black Riders galloping away from their unsuccessful attack on Crickhollow. (Frodos dreams several times seem to reflect events elsewhere, as when he dreams of Gandalf captive in Orthanc). It hadn't occurred to me , until I read the links Squire posted, that it could link to the Bree ponies being driven off: Frodo might really have heard that, or his dreams are a bit magical.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

 
 

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