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Did Tolkien write about the science of Middle-earth?
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elf_wannabee
Lorien

Oct 3 2014, 6:35pm

Post #1 of 38 (1069 views)
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Did Tolkien write about the science of Middle-earth? Can't Post

By science, I mean the biology, meteorology, geology, etc.that are justifications for Agra's existence other than what is covered in the Silmarillion. Or are we to accept the fantastic creation story at face value? Middle-earth feels like our own world--cold in the north, warm in the south, plant and animal procreate like our earth (so evolutionary processes are evident), and it has an active geology (the drowning of Numenor and Orodruin's vulcanism). I've read some articles on possible tectonics of Middle-earth but love to read more about the science of Middle-earth. Any suggestions?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 3 2014, 7:22pm

Post #2 of 38 (755 views)
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Only a little [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien, in his published letters did touch on the biology of the Children of Iluvatar. He noted that because Elves and Men can produce children together they must be closely enough related by genetics to be considered the same species or at least closely related sub-species. I would guess that either Tolkien was not an adherent to Evolution or that he was unsure how to reconcile the Theory of Evolution with his religious beliefs. In either case, Evolution does not seem to fit readily into the cosmology of Middle-earth. However, neither does astronomy, so perhaps we should not read too much into that. Tolkien does in LotR bring up the idea that the flying fell beasts of the Nazgul might have been bred from some prehistoric living fossil.

Tolkien was not a geologist and the geography of Middle-earth bears little resemblance to the modern world. Even so, we can see from HOME Vol. IV, The Shaping of Middle-earth that the relationship between Harad and the northern lands does resemble the relationship between Africa, Europe and Asia.

Alfred Wegener's theory of Continental Drift dates to 1912, but it was controversial and fell out of favor until much later in the Twentieth Century when plate tectonics were better understood. Professor Tolkien was probably not very familiar with the Theory of Continental Drift or else he might have made the distant Dark Lands more like the other modern continents.

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


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 3 2014, 8:33pm

Post #3 of 38 (709 views)
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there's this book - [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Science-Middle-Earth-Henry-Gee/dp/0285637231/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412368336&sr=1-1&keywords=the+science+of+middle+earth

.


squire
Half-elven


Oct 4 2014, 1:32am

Post #4 of 38 (690 views)
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Not as such, but he was extremely conscious of the questions involved. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien was a scientist himself, in the field of philology or the scientific study of language formation and evolution as it was then understood. His interest in and sympathy for science is clear in his letters and in the subtext of many of his fictional works. That said, he was also fascinated by and attracted to pre-scientific mythologies and the generally non-scientific fields of study that we might sum up as 'art'.

As far as I can tell, when his artistic creations ran afoul of conventional scientific understanding, he ignored the conflict and continued to write what he wanted to read. As he put it in one letter, about the impossible biology of the immortal Elves: "I do not care."

On the other hand, as we now know from his son's edited commentaries on a lot of unpublished work, Tolkien literally rewrote his entire mythology's Creation Myth in the 1950s, to make it more consonant with the real-world cosmology (round earth, sun and moon as heavenly bodies, etc.). The result is uninspiring, as he no doubt realized. In the published Silmarillion, his son chose to omit all of it, sticking with the nonsensical but highly poetic pastiche of European-style origin myths that Tolkien originally composed for his world in the 1910s.

Quite a number of modern day commentators have tried to systematize Middle-earth using contemporary scientific theories; some other respondents here may give you links to the books. As long as those authors, and their readers, understand that they are playing on the enemy's territory under foreign rules, the results can be fun and interesting precisely because Tolkien himself was an intelligent and fastidious artist who worked to make his world at least superficially plausible in scientific terms.



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Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Oct 4 2014, 2:59am

Post #5 of 38 (684 views)
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I've always thought [In reply to] Can't Post

that the creation story was the mythology that the characters of the third age believe, but is not actual history.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



squire
Half-elven


Oct 4 2014, 3:14am

Post #6 of 38 (685 views)
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It's hard to tell [In reply to] Can't Post

I know what you mean about "that's what the characters believe, but it's not what actually happened." I think that's a natural reaction to loving Middle-earth, but not loving the unscientific nature of its underlying myths. But what I find fun about Tolkien's twist on earthly mythologies is that, in Middle-earth in Frodo's and Aragorn's time, there are immortal Elves who have met and talked with the Valar. They were there. The Silmarillion reports what they themselves witnessed, or heard about first-hand.

I suppose our attitude towards the Book of Genesis would be different if there was a neighboring country inhabited by friendly aliens who clearly and undeniably had been present at the Creation, and who could assure us that it happened just as the Book said it did.



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Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Oct 4 2014, 3:29am

Post #7 of 38 (670 views)
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Good point :-D [In reply to] Can't Post

Unless maybe those Elves are making up stories for some unknown purpose of their own.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 4 2014, 3:34am

Post #8 of 38 (682 views)
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the problem with that is then the ancestory of significant third age characters [In reply to] Can't Post

such as galadriel, elrond, arwen and aragorn is all a lie, as is the destination for sailing west at the stories conclusion and the nature of the istari, sauron and the balrog. there is enough backround writing to believe it is meant to be factual within the mythology.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Oct 4 2014, 3:42am

Post #9 of 38 (668 views)
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Well, I have a family tree [In reply to] Can't Post

in which one branch is traced back to Adam. We think it's accurate to about 500 years ago...

But yeah, I threw out my comment without thinking too deeply. Maybe the third age stories are mythological too.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Elizabeth
Half-elven


Oct 4 2014, 4:23am

Post #10 of 38 (721 views)
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It wasn't just biological evolution that he rejected... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it was economics, social evolution, technological evolution, etc. Except for the Elves' "non-magic" and the entertaining anachronisms such as the freight train and alarm clock, most aspects of Middle Earth didn't change noticeably over thousands of years. There were migrations of people, but no other changes at all.








Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 4 2014, 12:23pm

Post #11 of 38 (699 views)
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To be fair... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...it was economics, social evolution, technological evolution, etc. Except for the Elves' "non-magic" and the entertaining anachronisms such as the freight train and alarm clock, most aspects of Middle Earth didn't change noticeably over thousands of years. There were migrations of people, but no other changes at all.



There is no textual evidence that Bilbo's mantle clock had an alarm function. Also, the train reference can be dismissed as a narrative intrusion and not something from Bilbo nor Frodo.

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


squire
Half-elven


Oct 5 2014, 2:28am

Post #12 of 38 (677 views)
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Chug-chug-chug vs. whwhWHOOOOMPFooooossssshshsh... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think there are repeated suggestions in the Silmarillion that both the Elves and the Men of the West had to learn or be taught various arts and sciences that allowed them to achieve 'civilization'. There are also overtones of a parallel decline in the tales of the Third Age, reflecting the loss of Numenor and fading of the Elves, although the latter changes by no means take the West all the way back to the Stone Age origins of the Childrens' first awakenings. That the changes aren't ever specified, only referred to, keeps them from being particularly noticeable, as you put it. But they are there.

That said, the entire range of development for the races of the Free Peoples remains pre-scientific and pre-industrial, matching at their peaks the achievements of the greatest of the ancient and medieval civilizations of our real Earth. There is never a scientific revolution; in fact, there is never really any kind of revolution at all, as befits the work of an intensely morally conservative author.

And... that was an express train, not a freight train, if you take my meaning sir. (It was commonly noted in the Great War that a volley of artillery shells passing overhead made a sound eerily like that heard, or more properly felt, when standing on a station platform as an express passenger train sped through at 60 miles an hour. That would be, also, what Gandalf's 'Smaug' firework flying over the Party Tree felt like to the hobbits, or rather to the imaginations of the author's 1930s-era readers.)



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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 5 2014, 4:41am

Post #13 of 38 (646 views)
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The 'freight train' allusion was made by Elizabeth. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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


squire
Half-elven


Oct 6 2014, 12:09am

Post #14 of 38 (631 views)
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Sorry for the confusion [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I mixed up my answer to you regarding scientific/cultural progress and my answer to Elizabeth regarding that peculiar train!



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Elizabeth
Half-elven


Oct 6 2014, 12:29am

Post #15 of 38 (634 views)
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All the difference in the world... [In reply to] Can't Post

...between express trains and freight trains. My bad. Blush








Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 6 2014, 12:58pm

Post #16 of 38 (611 views)
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Peaks of civilization in Middle-earth [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yes, I mixed up my answer to you regarding scientific/cultural progress and my answer to Elizabeth regarding that peculiar train!



You do, however, make some interesting points (even if your response should have been to Elizabeth). All of the major civilizations of Middle-earth had already peaked before the Third Age and were in decline by the end of that era. The greatest accomplishments of the High Elves were made in the First Age. The Dwarves never surpassed the construction of Khazad-dum and the works that they created there. The Edain reached the heights of their knowledge and technology with Numenor; much of that knowledge was lost when the island sank. In fact, only Sauron and Saruman managed to surpass what was done prior to the Third Age by improving upon the Orcs and Trolls of Morgoth and inventing new machines of war. Two possible exception might be the toy markets of Dale and Bilbo's mantle clock (which I still suspect might have been an artifact from Erebor of old or made by the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains).

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


squire
Half-elven


Oct 6 2014, 6:25pm

Post #17 of 38 (613 views)
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There is no explanation for that clock that makes sense [In reply to] Can't Post

One makes a clock because one needs a clock. Whoever made Bilbo's came from a world where either religious or industrial demands upon time-knowledge were far more extreme than we see or read of anywhere or anywhen else in the annals of Middle-earth.

We joke about how the Shire was dropped into Middle-earth from a far more contemporary setting relative to our real world - usually said to be late 19th century and evocative of the time of Tolkien's own childhood - but the author generally shades his jokes more subtly than this glaringly precise time-keeping device suggests. The Hobbit, of course, gets a lot of slack here, as its place in Middle-earth is quite shaky. Tolkien almost succeeds in removing the clock, and all consequent references to exact time of day, from The Lord of the Rings.

[Having just checked for the first time, I was disappointed to see that Rateliff in The History of The Hobbit does not inform us whether Tolkien eliminated the phrases "11 a.m. sharp", "just ten minutes", and "10.45 to be precise" from his famous more-like-LotR 1960 revision of The Hobbit!]



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Darkstone
Immortal


Oct 6 2014, 7:09pm

Post #18 of 38 (624 views)
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Seems to be more clocks in LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

'No, don't give the ring to me,' said Gandalf. 'Put it on the mantelpiece. It will be safe enough there, till Frodo comes. I shall wait for him.'
Bilbo took out the envelope, but just as he was about to set it by the clock, his hand jerked back, and the packet fell on the floor.
-A Long Expected Party

When their breakfast was over, and their packs all trussed up again, it was after ten o'clock, and the day was beginning to turn fine and hot.
-Three Is Company

'What is it!' cried Merry. 'It is time to get up. It is half past four and very foggy.'
-The Old Forest

Soon after six o'clock the five hobbits were ready to start.
-ibid

The sun on the hill-lop was now getting hot. It must have been about eleven o'clock; but the autumn haze still prevented them from seeing much in other directions.
-ibid

'I shan't be doing anything of the sort again, Mr. Butterbur, I promise you. And now I think I'll be getting to bed. We shall be making an early start. Will you see that our ponies are ready by eight o'clock?'
-At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

After their breakfast the hobbits had to re-pack, and get together further supplies for the longer journey they were now expecting. It was close on ten o'clock before they at last got off.
-A Knife in the Dark

`Where am I, and what is the time?' he said aloud to the ceiling. 'In the House of Elrond, and it is ten o'clock in the morning.' said a voice. `It is the morning of October the twenty-fourth, if you want to know.'
-Many Meetings

"Hullo, Sam! ' he said. "Not resting? Is anything wrong? What is the time? '
"About a couple of hours after daybreak," said Sam, "and nigh on half past eight by Shire clocks, maybe.
-Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

When the hour was over and Denethor again rang the gong, Pippin felt worn out. 'It cannot be more than nine o'clock,' he thought. 'I could now eat three breakfasts on end.'
-Minas Tirith

The travellers were glad to leave the place. It was about eighteen miles to Bywater, and they set off at ten o'clock in the morning.
-The Scouring of the Shire

At the Three-Farthing Stone they gave it up. They had done nearly fourteen miles with only one rest at noon. It was now three o'clock.
-ibid

'Why not now?' said Sam. 'It's not much more than six o'clock. And I want to see my gaffer. D'you know what's come of him, Mr. Cotton?'
-ibid

The next news was less good. Merry, who had been out all night, came riding in about ten o'clock.
-ibid

******************************************
"My friend,” said Gandalf, “you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.
“Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Théoden's ears? ‘Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among their dogs?’ Have you not heard those words before? Saruman spoke them, the teacher of Wormtongue. Though I do not doubt that Wormtongue at home wrapped their meaning in terms more cunning. My lord, if your sister's love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips; you might have heard even such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?”

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!

“If a land don't understand you,
No matter how many regimes,
Saddle up, do not wait,
Don’t waste time at the weapontake.
Muster out of that roll call.
Ride Windfola out to your dreams!

“If the house of Eorl is nothing more,
Than a barn where brigands drink,
Their brats and dogs roll on the floor,
Then you know what the door is for,
Muster out of that roll call,
Wash Rohan into the sink!

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!"

-Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Lord of the Rings


Darkstone
Immortal


Oct 6 2014, 8:21pm

Post #19 of 38 (582 views)
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Textual clues to Bilbo's clock [In reply to] Can't Post

Pippin was bruised and torn, his aching head was grated by the filthy jowl and hairy ear of the Orc that held him. Immediately in front were bowed backs, and tough thick legs going up and down, up and down, unresting, as if they were made of wire and horn, beating out the nightmare seconds of an endless time.
-The Uruk-Hai

"Beating out the nightmare seconds". Like a clock?

The "wire" might refer to part of the pendulum assembly powering a clock, and the "horn" is a feature of the escapement (the part that goes "tick-tock") which allows a pendulum clock to be smaller so as to fit on, say, a mantle.

Should be pretty easy to give such a clock an alarm function, maybe even chimes on the hour, half-past, and quarter-past.

(Anyway, supposedly the alarm clock was invented by Plato in 4th century BC. For his lazy students.)

******************************************
"My friend,” said Gandalf, “you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.
“Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Théoden's ears? ‘Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among their dogs?’ Have you not heard those words before? Saruman spoke them, the teacher of Wormtongue. Though I do not doubt that Wormtongue at home wrapped their meaning in terms more cunning. My lord, if your sister's love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips; you might have heard even such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?”

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!

“If a land don't understand you,
No matter how many regimes,
Saddle up, do not wait,
Don’t waste time at the weapontake.
Muster out of that roll call.
Ride Windfola out to your dreams!

“If the house of Eorl is nothing more,
Than a barn where brigands drink,
Their brats and dogs roll on the floor,
Then you know what the door is for,
Muster out of that roll call,
Wash Rohan into the sink!

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!"

-Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Lord of the Rings


(This post was edited by Darkstone on Oct 6 2014, 8:30pm)


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Oct 6 2014, 9:00pm

Post #20 of 38 (600 views)
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Not only clocks, but also pocket watches? [In reply to] Can't Post

Great work, Darkstone. Now we have to ponder how the Hobbits kept the time while on their camping trip.








squire
Half-elven


Oct 7 2014, 12:02am

Post #21 of 38 (584 views)
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Yes, and they are all hobbit clocks [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice compendium of clock references in the LotR story. Thanks for helping explore this question, too, as I remembered a few of these but had not remembered just how many there were.

But, in the context of my first thoughts above, I noticed the quotes are never in reference to an actual clock, but to time kept in their heads. Likewise, all focus on the hour, as if the clocks in question only have hour-hands - as premodern clocks did, but which Bilbo's evidently doesn't in the opening of The Hobbit. Tolkien has backed off from the '10.45' kind of precision we saw in the earlier book.

I also noticed the references are exclusive to the hobbits' point of view (including Gandalf, a kind of honorary hobbit), which is consistent with many other instances where the hobbits carry their peculiarly modern outlook into the greater Faerie they pass through on their adventure. And most of the references, of course, are from the first book (almost exclusively hobbity) or the Scouring chapter at the end (not just hobbity, but deliberately so in contrast with the epic of the previous four and a half books).

All that said - you're absolutely right, and I hadn't noticed that Tolkien uses modern time-keeping as a marker of hobbits' anachronistic culture far more aggressively in the second book than he did in the first, where the entire gag is a bit of a throwaway. Thanks again!



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Cirashala
Valinor


Oct 7 2014, 3:23am

Post #22 of 38 (570 views)
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but what about sundials? [In reply to] Can't Post

They could well have been called clocks by the hobbits, and did keep time, and are very ancient devices even within our own world that existed LONG before modern clocks did.

If Bilbo's mantlepiece got full sun during the day, a sundial sort of clock could still conceivably work if the sun shined in the window for the entire day.

Can't really account for the time use on the road though...usually that's calculated by just looking at the position of the sun, so perhaps the hobbits had learned that as well back in the Shire.

Don't really have an explanation for pocket watches, though Crazy



Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 7 2014, 11:25am

Post #23 of 38 (571 views)
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Not all Hobbit clocks! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I also noticed the references are exclusive to the hobbits' point of view (including Gandalf, a kind of honorary hobbit), which is consistent with many other instances where the hobbits carry their peculiarly modern outlook into the greater Faerie they pass through on their adventure. And most of the references, of course, are from the first book (almost exclusively hobbity) or the Scouring chapter at the end (not just hobbity, but deliberately so in contrast with the epic of the previous four and a half books).



No, not all of the time references are from the hobbits' point-of-view. Here is one from the dwarves:


Quote

"Thinking it unnecessary to disturb your esteemed repose, we have proceeded in advance to make requisite preparations, and shall await your respected person at the Green Dragon Inn, Bywater, at 11 a.m. sharp."



This reinforces my belief that mechanical clocks in Middle-earth were likely invented by the dwarves and Bilbo's mantle clock might have been a gift from Bungo Baggins to his bride Belladonna.

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


Darkstone
Immortal


Oct 7 2014, 4:00pm

Post #24 of 38 (544 views)
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Maybe, maybe not. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
No, not all of the time references are from the hobbits' point-of-view. Here is one from the dwarves:


Quote

"Thinking it unnecessary to disturb your esteemed repose, we have proceeded in advance to make requisite preparations, and shall await your respected person at the Green Dragon Inn, Bywater, at 11 a.m. sharp."



This reinforces my belief that mechanical clocks in Middle-earth were likely invented by the dwarves and Bilbo's mantle clock might have been a gift from Bungo Baggins to his bride Belladonna.


While at one time the Hobbits had extensive contact with the Dwarves:

The Harfoots had much to do with Dwarves in ancient times, and long lived in the foothills of the mountains.
-Prologue

They seem to have learned their "crafts" from Men and/or Elves:

It is probable that the craft of building, as many other crafts beside, was derived from the Dúnedain. But the Hobbits may have learned it direct from the Elves, the teachers of Men in their youth.
-ibid

And Sam's reference to "Shire clocks" in the plural indicates Bilbo's mantle clock was by no means unique.

"About a couple of hours after daybreak," said Sam, "and nigh on half past eight by Shire clocks, maybe."
-Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

******************************************
"My friend,” said Gandalf, “you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.
“Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Théoden's ears? ‘Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among their dogs?’ Have you not heard those words before? Saruman spoke them, the teacher of Wormtongue. Though I do not doubt that Wormtongue at home wrapped their meaning in terms more cunning. My lord, if your sister's love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips; you might have heard even such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?”

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!

“If a land don't understand you,
No matter how many regimes,
Saddle up, do not wait,
Don’t waste time at the weapontake.
Muster out of that roll call.
Ride Windfola out to your dreams!

“If the house of Eorl is nothing more,
Than a barn where brigands drink,
Their brats and dogs roll on the floor,
Then you know what the door is for,
Muster out of that roll call,
Wash Rohan into the sink!

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!"

-Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Lord of the Rings


Darkstone
Immortal


Oct 7 2014, 4:58pm

Post #25 of 38 (543 views)
Shortcut
Indeed, the Hobbits *are* the alarm clocks. [In reply to] Can't Post

The rest of peoples of Middle-earth are in decline. The Numenoreans no longer fly in the skies firing flame and bolts of thunder, Elves no longer make silmarils, Noldorin lamps, or palantirs, the Dwaves, once master smiths, no longer mine and craft mithril.

On the other hand, Hobbits have progressed from their “Wandering Days”. They “learned their letters and began to write”, they learned “the craft of building as many other crafts besides”.

Thus it is the actions of the Hobbits that re-awaken the peoples of Middle-earth from their timeless stupors. The Elves found a new colony of gardens in Ithilien, the Dwarves found a new colony in Aglarond, and Men found the Reunited Kingdom.

The Hobbits bring time once again to Middle-eath.


BTW, there are references to Hobbit time with the Ents as well:

"They pushed, pulled, tore, shook, and hammered; and clang-bang, crash-crack, in five minutes they had these huge gates just lying in ruin; and some were already beginning to eat into the walls, like rabbits in a sand-pit."
-Flotsam and Jetsam

"Then those two went off and had a council together in some corner. It must have seemed very hasty to Treebeard, for Gandalf was in a tremendous hurry, and was already talking at a great pace, before they passed out of hearing. They were only away a matter of minutes, perhaps a quarter of an hour.”
-ibid

The Hobbits woke *everybody* up!

Nice use of leitmotif by Tolkien!!

******************************************
"My friend,” said Gandalf, “you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.
“Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Théoden's ears? ‘Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among their dogs?’ Have you not heard those words before? Saruman spoke them, the teacher of Wormtongue. Though I do not doubt that Wormtongue at home wrapped their meaning in terms more cunning. My lord, if your sister's love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips; you might have heard even such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?”

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!

“If a land don't understand you,
No matter how many regimes,
Saddle up, do not wait,
Don’t waste time at the weapontake.
Muster out of that roll call.
Ride Windfola out to your dreams!

“If the house of Eorl is nothing more,
Than a barn where brigands drink,
Their brats and dogs roll on the floor,
Then you know what the door is for,
Muster out of that roll call,
Wash Rohan into the sink!

“I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
I'm gonna wash Rohan right outa my hair,
And I’ll be on my way!"

-Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Lord of the Rings

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