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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
knots in the laces?

noWizardme
Grey Havens


Apr 14 2014, 9:44am


Views: 175
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knots in the laces? [In reply to] Can't Post


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Do you see any flaws with the interlacing?


I think it's a bit creaky that Gandalf doesn't tell Theoden et al. that they are 'going to a parley' at the ruins of Isengard, and that they have won not just a battle but a campaign, because unknown to them Saruman's power has been broken by the Ents. I'm not sure why he wouldn't want to tell them that (but Tolkien, of course really doesn't want Gandalf to spoil a surprise). As I mention in the essay, it just about works, because of what we've established about Gandalf's character.

Looking at the wider structure, I've sometimes found too much contrast between the fast-flowing events of the War of the Ring on the one hand, and the slow creeping of two and a half hobbits to Mordor on the other. But I'm not sure whether more cutting back-and-forth would work any better. And the creeping -so frustrating to a speed reader and plot-gobbler like me on his initial reads- is a deliberate and necessary effect (just as it is when the Black Riders pursue the wounded Frodo towards the Ford, or when the Fellowship exhaust all options but the route through Moria).

I think that's a general risk with this as a story-telling device. There's a bit of a jolt for me as a reader when the story drops one set of characters and picks up another. Maybe I want to know more about the old set, and grumble about being forced to read about he new set - until I get engrossed in their part of the tale. It's a problem I've had with Games of Thrones (a.k.a Songs of Ice and Fire) - George RR Martin's epic - which also switches between different, geographically separated characters. Reading that, I'd have a brief sulk about now being asked to read about, say, Daenerys, because I don't want to stop reading about Bran (or vica versa, or any other combination of Martin's characters).

Martin, you might say, has taken the interlace structure further than Tolkien, at least in complexity - his epic has from the start two 'laces' (Daenerrys, and the Stark clan) and then rapidly splits into many more as the Starks separate. Martin also has the controversial habit of killing off some of his protagonists, and then introducing another point-of-view character. Sometimes this new character is one we have already 'seen' though other protagonists' eyes, and sometimes (the most difficult transition for the reader) a new 'lace' of the story suddenly starts up again elsewhere with a new point-of-view character. This isn't, of course the place for a detailed analysis, even if I could do it (which I almost certainly couldn't). But you asked for suggestions of other fantasy stories using a similar device...

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"nowimë 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!"

Subject User Time
TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM Day One - "Interlacing the War of the Ring" by noWizardMe TORn Amateur Symposium Send a private message to TORn Amateur Symposium Apr 13 2014, 8:37am
    A good analysis NoWiz elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Apr 13 2014, 8:07pm
        My thoughts exactly! BlackFox Send a private message to BlackFox Apr 13 2014, 8:29pm
            The films have a Different interlace, and wisely so noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 13 2014, 9:42pm
                Inspired writing, NoWiz! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Apr 14 2014, 12:39am
                    Gandalf's return CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Apr 14 2014, 1:11am
                    But who does up the laces? Philosophical and Theological concerns noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 14 2014, 8:39am
    Fantastic stuff, noWizardMe! demnation Send a private message to demnation Apr 13 2014, 9:39pm
    Great essay, Wiz! CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Apr 14 2014, 1:02am
        Yes, this is what I was thinking as well. DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Apr 14 2014, 6:55am
        One could have fun 'doing a Mondrian' noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 14 2014, 8:59am
        knots in the laces? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 14 2014, 9:44am
            The appearance of sophistication CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Apr 14 2014, 11:56am
                Tolkien, like Mondrian, is much harder to do than it looks :) // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 14 2014, 12:45pm
                Book 4 before Book 3? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 14 2014, 1:25pm
                    History of Middle-earth Khim Send a private message to Khim Apr 14 2014, 9:50pm
    Seriously well done! Mikah Send a private message to Mikah Apr 14 2014, 3:54am
    A nice bell-shaped curve ... DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Apr 14 2014, 7:42am
        Phwoar,nice curves :0 noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 14 2014, 9:08am
        Hey, great idea! Ethel Duath Send a private message to Ethel Duath Apr 23 2014, 4:16am
    Tighter Laces Khim Send a private message to Khim Apr 14 2014, 12:42pm
        Welcome to the Reading Room Khim! noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 14 2014, 1:03pm
            We will have the pleasure of reading Khim's TAS piece on the 21st Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Apr 15 2014, 3:49pm
                Does Mim become Khim because of getting a new SIM? // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 15 2014, 4:49pm
                    No... The way I heard it, Mim became Khim.....on a WHIM!!! Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Apr 15 2014, 5:18pm
                        But wait: was the whim that made Mim begin agin as Khim a whim of Mim, or a whim of Khim? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 15 2014, 9:03pm
                            No- just take it on the chin!// elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Apr 15 2014, 9:10pm
                            Whether Khim is now Mim, or Mim now Khim,(and that by whim of either Khim or Mim), is one question that must be asked of him! Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Apr 15 2014, 9:10pm
                                I think it's just a flagrant attempt to get another kilt! // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 15 2014, 9:14pm
                            Simsaladim bamba saladu saladim Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Apr 15 2014, 9:14pm
                        Well, I've long suspected that Brethil is just the short form of Rembrethil.// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Apr 16 2014, 12:46am
                            Well, I cannot comment on the stature of our well-beloved, yet Subversive Minx... Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Apr 16 2014, 2:13am
                                Yes Rem, I'm the Dwarf version of our -brethil family Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Apr 16 2014, 4:40am
                            RR nicks in poetry Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Apr 16 2014, 4:38am
    Interesting Essay ajgetway Send a private message to ajgetway Apr 21 2014, 3:55pm
        Thanks- glad you liked it. // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 21 2014, 3:57pm
    Eeek!! cats16 Send a private message to cats16 Apr 22 2014, 7:52pm
    Ok! cats16 Send a private message to cats16 Apr 23 2014, 2:53am
    Apologia pro Liber IIII squire Send a private message to squire Apr 23 2014, 3:32am
        One does not simply 'plod into Mordor!' :) noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 23 2014, 9:09am

 
 
 

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