Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Durin's Day Question

vexx801
Rivendell


Jan 17 2014, 7:45pm

Post #1 of 16 (639 views)
Shortcut
Durin's Day Question Can't Post

Question for everyone. There is, of course, a major emphasis on finding and opening the secret door on Durin's Day. I am well aware of the map, as well as the runes, the prophecy and timing of it all.

However, one thing (in the films) that has gotten me to scratch my head is - even if they didn't make it by Durin's Day of that year, would it have mattered? Even though it would have been tedious, if they missed the day couldn't they have come again the following year? Or is Durin's Day only on certain years? That's my main question.

I realize (film-wise) that Sauron was preparing to use Smaug and stuff was about to get real, but just in general if they couldn't have made it that year, could they not have waited until the following year? This is more of a book-related question, but I thought I would ask.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 17 2014, 8:04pm

Post #2 of 16 (411 views)
Shortcut
Durin's Day is a bit enigmatic [In reply to] Can't Post

It refers not to a calendar 'date' but a cosmological time when the Sun and Moon are in the sky together. Thorin states that they have lost the ability to predict which years will include a Durin's day:
“The first day of the dwarves’ New Year is, as all should know, the first day of the last moon of Autumn on the threshold of Winter. We still call it Durin’s Day when the last moon of Autumn and the sun are in the sky together. But this will not help us much, I fear, for it passes our skill in these days to guess when such a time will come again.” – Thorin Oakenshield (The Hobbit)
In a very IMHO way, the inability to guess at the occurrence of such a date I think could work taking in to account an unpredictable and less common occurrence: visible moonrise, which requires specific climate conditions. Of course, complicating things *more* in the works are the fact that in Tolkien's world the Sun and Moon are living beings, and the Moon behaves erratically at times and desires to be closer to his beloved Sun. So this offers a literary 'out' in its way for the unpredictability of Durin's Day...yet that is a retrofitted idea, as The Hobbit was added into the existing world near its completion.
So to your OP question Vexx, if they miss this year - if it does in fact turn out to be a Durin's Day - the next day and its occurrence in the future is unknown.

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in April, 2014. We hope to see you there!





(This post was edited by Brethil on Jan 17 2014, 8:04pm)


Avandel
Valinor

Jan 17 2014, 9:29pm

Post #3 of 16 (295 views)
Shortcut
thank you for posting [In reply to] Can't Post

because I thought the same thing, re "it's our one chance" - why can't you just wait until the next year? A lot of times I would ask why doesn't a film make a point like that more clear, but considering the complexities I can't even imagine a scene trying to explain everything. Maybe a special EE segment?


Bombadil
Half-elven


Jan 17 2014, 9:34pm

Post #4 of 16 (307 views)
Shortcut
Maybe Durin's Day is 24 Hours? [In reply to] Can't Post

So they still have the Light of Day
Only it was
Sunlight reflected by the
Moon until
Midnight?

The Thrush seemed to
know more about it?

Maybe the Thrush knew
Snails only come out after
Sunset?

Weirder things
Matter in
Middle-Earth
all the time.

Bomby's Guess?


(This post was edited by Bombadil on Jan 17 2014, 9:36pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 17 2014, 11:26pm

Post #5 of 16 (257 views)
Shortcut
Most welcome Avandel - though its all very IMHO [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
because I thought the same thing, re "it's our one chance" - why can't you just wait until the next year? A lot of times I would ask why doesn't a film make a point like that more clear, but considering the complexities I can't even imagine a scene trying to explain everything. Maybe a special EE segment?

Its so complex JRRT couldn't fully explain it in the final analysis. So that's why I formulated this idea, just because it sits better inside my own head and *does* sort of morph Real World with Arda. So its fannish, but it works for me - but in truth, when I looked up visible moonrise it is quite a complicated thing!


Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in April, 2014. We hope to see you there!





burgahobbit
Rohan


Jan 17 2014, 11:36pm

Post #6 of 16 (255 views)
Shortcut
Good post [In reply to] Can't Post

But film-verse wise I don't think it is so hard for them to predict it. "Durin's Day falls the morn after next" and so on. Do you think PJ and crew decided to make Durin's Day annual?

"I've found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I’m afraid, and he gives me courage.” - Gandalf the Grey.

"Do not be afraid Mithrandir, if ever you should need my help, I will come." - Lady Galadriel.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 18 2014, 12:45am

Post #7 of 16 (232 views)
Shortcut
Yes, they left the uncertainty part out and made it simpler [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But film-verse wise I don't think it is so hard for them to predict it. "Durin's Day falls the morn after next" and so on. Do you think PJ and crew decided to make Durin's Day annual?
I think too confusing! Its hard to invest in the Door Opening when you don't even know if the day shall fall or not.



Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in April, 2014. We hope to see you there!





Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 18 2014, 12:54am

Post #8 of 16 (229 views)
Shortcut
All guesses are valid Bomby... [In reply to] Can't Post

...when the answer is unknown!
True about the birds. The thrushes seem to be the holders of the knowledge - maybe they remember when the Moon and Sun shine together, it is something special?

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in April, 2014. We hope to see you there!





Kim
Valinor


Jan 18 2014, 1:34am

Post #9 of 16 (224 views)
Shortcut
There's also the portents [In reply to] Can't Post

"Oin has read the portents, and the portents say, it is time!"
"If we have read these signs, do you not think others will have read them too?"


Purely in the movie-verse, I think of it as they're following the portents and need to get there before anyone else. Therefore, they can't wait another year.


Yngwulff
Gondor


Jan 18 2014, 3:18am

Post #10 of 16 (205 views)
Shortcut
Honestly [In reply to] Can't Post

I never put 2+2 together that it was moonlight not sunlight shining on the door

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”



arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jan 18 2014, 5:13am

Post #11 of 16 (191 views)
Shortcut
That... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and getting chased by Azog's Orcs for another full year would get old...Wink



FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 18 2014, 12:51pm

Post #12 of 16 (163 views)
Shortcut
But is it moonrise, or moonset? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...when I looked up visible moonrise it is quite a complicated thing!

I think the whole sun/moon thing is pretty complicated, but one important point is that for a new moon (i.e. a waxing crescent moon) to be in the sky at the same time as the sun, it has to be setting, not rising, at sunset. That's because for the moon to be mostly in shadow as seen from the earth, the sun has to be behind it and therefore in the same part of the sky from our perspective.

That seems to fit with the description in The Hobbit: "The sun sank lower and lower.... It sank into a belt of reddened cloud and disappeared... The little moon was dipping to the horizon." (On The Doorstep)

I think the main problem is that the light of the sun makes the slim crescent moon invisible for most of its time in the sky (since it's in the sky at the same time as the sun, i.e. the daytime). It's only as the "little moon" is about to set that the sun also starts to set and the sky becomes dark enough for the moon to shine out before it too sets. That's the moment that the Dwarves needed to find - both sun and moon setting almost simultaneously, close together in the sky.

I found this explanation, with some helpful diagrams of the sun, moon and earth that helped me to visualise what's going on. I used to think it was about moonrise too - I once saw an unforgettable moonrise in Switzerland, with the full moon rising above red snowy peaks that were reflecting the sunset opposite, so I kind of imagined that for Durin's Day. But that can only work with a full moon, rising in the east as the sun sets in the west. Durin's Day is about the new moon, so it's a different kettle of fish entirely!


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Jan 18 2014, 12:52pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 18 2014, 4:56pm

Post #13 of 16 (121 views)
Shortcut
All great and accurate points FFH! [In reply to] Can't Post

I have read Iduna's piece before. So well thought out! I see what you mean by the new moon - the crescent - being the cycle in which the 'in the sky together' would work. That does seem to fit the written description, and if the map was inscribed with that correlating moon phase perhaps that is a link as well?
Part of the difficulty is that legendarium cosmology versus real world cosmology, I think. So here is the rub: do we analyze it based on real world cycles? Or do incorporate the idea of the planets having both independent light and free will to alter the cycles? Enigma!
That day you write about in Switzerland sound breathtaking with a full moon! I love the idea of you thinking, 'Durin's Day!' Smile

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in April, 2014. We hope to see you there!





FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 18 2014, 5:33pm

Post #14 of 16 (119 views)
Shortcut
Legendarium vs. real world [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Part of the difficulty is that legendarium cosmology versus real world cosmology, I think. So here is the rub: do we analyze it based on real world cycles? Or do incorporate the idea of the planets having both independent light and free will to alter the cycles?

It's certainly a confusing factor, and maybe not much to do with the Movie board, I suppose...

But I think that the legendarium is the 'real world', just seen from a different point of view, "a different stage of imagination", as Tolkien once put it in an interview. That is, the free will that the inhabitants of Middle-earth see in the strangely irregular dance of the sun and moon is in fact the same dance that we now recognise as being "just" planetary motion. It's not that the sun and moon are different in Middle-earth, it's just that the people who live in that "stage of imagination" see them differently. That's how I think of it anyway. Whichever way you imagine the sun and moon to be behaving (following either mathematical rules or their own free will), the actual behaviour would be the same.

Tolkien would probably say that we've lost a lot by only being able to see things one way (the scientific, mathematical way), while earlier people could see the dual nature of things - the imaginative and the literal - without feeling the need to split them up or choose between them. It seems that at some earlier time, the Dwarves did know how to calculate Durin's Day, although they've forgotten the secret since. We've "rediscovered" the secret, I guess, but in the meantime we've lost the ability to imagine the sun and moon as the embodiment of mythical beings. Tolkien paints a world where you can have both. (It's true that the very early creation myths of Middle-earth don't fit with modern astronomy, but then neither do our own 'real world' creation myths. I believe Tolkien later regretted even this departure from real-world astronomy and would have liked to redo it if he had had the chance.)


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 18 2014, 5:48pm

Post #15 of 16 (115 views)
Shortcut
Great post FFH! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Part of the difficulty is that legendarium cosmology versus real world cosmology, I think. So here is the rub: do we analyze it based on real world cycles? Or do incorporate the idea of the planets having both independent light and free will to alter the cycles?

It's certainly a confusing factor, and maybe not much to do with the Movie board, I suppose...

But I think that the legendarium is the 'real world', just seen from a different point of view, "a different stage of imagination", as Tolkien once put it in an
interview. That is, the free will that the inhabitants of Middle-earth see in the strangely irregular dance of the sun and moon is in fact the same dance that we now recognise as being "just" planetary motion. It's not that the sun and moon are different in Middle-earth, it's just that the people who live in that "stage of imagination" see them differently. That's how I think of it anyway. Whichever way you imagine the sun and moon to be behaving (following either mathematical rules or their own free will), the actual behaviour would be the same.

Tolkien would probably say that we've lost a lot by only being able to see things one way (the scientific, mathematical way), while earlier people could see the dual nature of things - the imaginative and the literal - without feeling the need to split them up or choose between them. It seems that at some earlier time, the Dwarves did know how to calculate Durin's Day, although they've forgotten the secret since. We've "rediscovered" the secret, I guess, but in the meantime we've lost the ability to imagine the sun and moon as the embodiment of mythical beings. Tolkien paints a world where you can have both. (It's true that the very early creation myths of Middle-earth don't fit with modern astronomy, but then neither do our own 'real world' creation myths. I believe Tolkien later regretted even this departure from real-world astronomy and would have liked to redo it if he had had the chance.)

Yes I do think he would have wanted to make the whole moon-phase issue more clear, and follow more observed patterns. I think I recall reading (maybe in HoTH? someplace..?) that he created that phrase for the moon phasing and Durin's Day in a purely literary and acoustic way and then regretted it! I really like the way you put this FFH - as a culture advances, like Heisenberg, one can know the facts or the myth but not both simultaneously. You summed that up in a similar way to metaphorical ideas that came up in DanielLB's Symposium piece on Deforestation - climate conditions that existed as the Flat World, maintained by the Valar, became 'real' and self-sustaining as the world became round (in short, very much like our own knowledge journey of the real world, even paralleled by some cardinal similarities in the creation legends).
I believe that is what later inspired him to take so much trouble over moon phases on LOTR? He wrote that as he reviewed drafts the moon was pell-mell all over the place, with scenes written for visual and symbolic/literary value that had to be reworked to fit the phasing. Devil in the details.




Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room in April, 2014. We hope to see you there!





Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Jan 18 2014, 11:32pm

Post #16 of 16 (91 views)
Shortcut
They would have had to have hung around the Desolation of Smaug for around a year! [In reply to] Can't Post

 

 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.