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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Two Towers Read Through Chapter 4 Part 2

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jan 29 2016, 12:16am

Post #1 of 20 (1349 views)
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The Two Towers Read Through Chapter 4 Part 2 Can't Post

Now then, for the proper cooking part. Herbs and stewed Rabbits or coneys! Sam cooks these in a pan with hot water and salt. Now I wonder if this is the proper way to do it. Salt is all very well, but isn't some sort of fat necessary, vegetable oil or the like? He has salt but I would have thought some type of pepper would be nice as well. Or maybe whatever herbs Gollum has collected which is never specified, does the trick. Is this a good way of doing, or perhaps it is the case of if you are hungry enough in the wild it is good enough. Or perhaps one could eat it rare like Gollum. You get a bit of flavour that way, I suppose!

Now then, we also here have the case of Sam going bad. Possibly. Or at the least I have seen this suggested in certain quarters that he is not very nice to poor little Smeagol! Now, I respectfully disagree. I don't think he is nasty at all. He is a bit rough, but that is just Sam's way of talking with his equals. And with someone of whom both Smeagol and Gollum are lucky that their respective throats are not both cut, so they have no grounds for complaint!

Finally, after a bit of banter between Sam and Gollum, the food is eaten. However, the smoke does show. And by a tremendous stroke of fortune not by Orcs or obvious servants of the enemy. At least, it does not appear so. Enter Captain Faramir!


(This post was edited by Hamfast Gamgee on Jan 29 2016, 12:20am)


squire
Half-elven


Jan 29 2016, 2:36am

Post #2 of 20 (1315 views)
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Cooking is Culture [In reply to] Can't Post

This was a recipe for Rabbit Stew that I found a long time ago for a similar discussion. What I notice is that, except for extra ingredients that Sam admits he doesn't have (like taters, or in this recipe, taters, parsnips, turnips, carrots, onions, red wine, etc.) it's basically make everything hot and then simmer it in water for a while. No need for oil or fat, or pepper. The herbs are specified; in the book Sam gets them, not Gollum:
‘A few bay-leaves, some thyme and sage, will do - before the water boils,’' said Sam. ... In the end he had to find what he wanted for himself.
The salt is important, but as you say, if you are hungry enough in the wild this stew is practically heaven compared to the delectable but monotonous lembas.

You joked that, since Sam's cooking is kind of primitive, "...perhaps one could eat it rare like Gollum. You get a bit of flavour that way, I suppose!" Well, as I see it the whole point of the passage is that hobbits aren't Gollum. Cooked food, even in scant circumstances like Sam's here in Ithilien, is superior to raw, not just in flavor, but in a moral sense. Cuisine is shorthand for civlization. It's not a coincidence that the cooking episode leads directly to Frodo and Sam's being recovered by civilization, i.e. captured by the rangers of Gondor, after their weeks in the wild and in the orbit of uncivilized Mordor.



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 & 4th TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion and NOW the 1st BotR Discussion too! and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Bracegirdle
Valinor


Jan 29 2016, 4:01am

Post #3 of 20 (1305 views)
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Hmmm [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember eating rabbit in the ‘40s & 50’s. Not often but not rarely either (pun not intended). It seems it was cheaper than chicken or any other meat I think. (Probably a good reason for this!) Wink

I don’t recall how my mother would prepare it; different ways I suppose.

I wonder how many eat rabbit nowadays? Personally I haven’t had ate good coney in over 60 years.
Tongue Tongue

A proton accelerated to 99.99% of the speed of light
gains 470 times its original mass.




noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 29 2016, 10:22am

Post #4 of 20 (1286 views)
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An also, cooking is culturally devisive [In reply to] Can't Post

 Food is something of a cultural divider. Some English people get upset that in parts of the world you can find horse or dog on the menu: others look at the English as uncivilised or odd for eating cow (or, worse still, Stilton Cheese!!).

Gollum's rejection of the idea of cooking the rabbits is part comical and part intended to make him seem alien, I think.

At risk of being a spoilsport, how reasonable is it that Gollum seems to have no memory of the idea of cooking food? It may be some centuries since he last ate anything cooked, but can he really have forgotten the whole idea?

~~~~~~
The Reading Room read-through of The Two Towers Book IV has started! All Book IV chapters now taken, but volunteers are needed for ROTK http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=893293#893293

Book IV schedule and links:
week starts # Chapter # Chapter name # leader # URL of thread (shown as a shortened Google URL shortener for display reasons)
03-Jan-16 # I # The Taming of Smeagol # noWizardme Part 1: http://goo.gl/wvyAOx 2: http://goo.gl/6ks0JV 3: http://goo.gl/l0iuEz 4: http://goo.gl/7ket5o
10-Jan-16 # II # The Passage of the Marshes # Oliphaunt Part 1: http://goo.gl/eUEV4u, 2:http://goo.gl/5osCOm 3: http://goo.gl/F9p2Pe
17-Jan-16 # III # The Black Gate Is Closed # Al Carondas http://goo.gl/FXwf5j
24-Jan-16 # IV # Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit # Hamfast Gamgee http://goo.gl/QIEN7C

31-Jan-16 # V # The Window on the West # MirielCelebel
07-Feb-16 # VI # The Forbidden Pool # Hamfast Gamgee
14-Feb-16 # VII # Journey to the Cross-roads # Mironiel
21-Feb-16 # VIII # The Stairs of Cirith Ungol # squire
28-Feb-16 # IX # Shelob's Lair # enanito
06-Mar-16 # X # The Choices of Master Samwise # Surprise Chapter Leader "End G.I. Bran"
(Easter 2016 is March 27)

A set of links to our Book III discussions can be found here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=886383#886383

A wonderful list of links to previous read-throughs is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 29 2016, 10:30am

Post #5 of 20 (1287 views)
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First catch your rabbits... [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder how Gollum does that? Rabbits are wary and move fast - it wouldn't be easy to catch wild ones with your bare hands, I'd have thought. I'm going to guess that the best method would be to sneak up on them and try and bring some down by throwing stones.

As to the smoke, I think it's a nice touch that the fire only becomes smoky by accident. All was well (probably) until Sam left it to go wash up after his successful meal and it ignited some of the greenery around. Maybe Sam was a bit too pleased about the success of his meal & off his guard?

~~~~~~
The Reading Room read-through of The Two Towers Book IV has started! All Book IV chapters now taken, but volunteers are needed for ROTK http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=893293#893293

Book IV schedule and links:
week starts # Chapter # Chapter name # leader # URL of thread (shown as a shortened Google URL shortener for display reasons)
03-Jan-16 # I # The Taming of Smeagol # noWizardme Part 1: http://goo.gl/wvyAOx 2: http://goo.gl/6ks0JV 3: http://goo.gl/l0iuEz 4: http://goo.gl/7ket5o
10-Jan-16 # II # The Passage of the Marshes # Oliphaunt Part 1: http://goo.gl/eUEV4u, 2:http://goo.gl/5osCOm 3: http://goo.gl/F9p2Pe
17-Jan-16 # III # The Black Gate Is Closed # Al Carondas http://goo.gl/FXwf5j
24-Jan-16 # IV # Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit # Hamfast Gamgee http://goo.gl/QIEN7C

31-Jan-16 # V # The Window on the West # MirielCelebel
07-Feb-16 # VI # The Forbidden Pool # Hamfast Gamgee
14-Feb-16 # VII # Journey to the Cross-roads # Mironiel
21-Feb-16 # VIII # The Stairs of Cirith Ungol # squire
28-Feb-16 # IX # Shelob's Lair # enanito
06-Mar-16 # X # The Choices of Master Samwise # Surprise Chapter Leader "End G.I. Bran"
(Easter 2016 is March 27)

A set of links to our Book III discussions can be found here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=886383#886383

A wonderful list of links to previous read-throughs is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 29 2016, 10:38am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 29 2016, 10:48am

Post #6 of 20 (1284 views)
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Rabbits might have been a topical reference for Tolkien's first readers [In reply to] Can't Post

Myxamatosis (a highly infectious disease of rabbits) was deliberately introduced to the UK as a pest control measure, the first cases being note in 1953. Two Towers published in 1954. By 1955, about 95% of the UK rabbit population was dead of the disease and sick, dying or dead rabbits were a common sight (e.g. on road verges).

So while I don't suppose Tolkien intended this effect, perhaps healthy rabbits available for hunting like the old days added to the idyllic feel of Ithilien?

The population has rebounded now. My local butcher can provide them, so we've eaten it sometimes. But when my daughter took to keeping pet rabbits she announced that she didn't want to eat rabbit any more.

~~~~~~
The Reading Room read-through of The Two Towers Book IV has started! All Book IV chapters now taken, but volunteers are needed for ROTK http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=893293#893293

Book IV schedule and links:
week starts # Chapter # Chapter name # leader # URL of thread (shown as a shortened Google URL shortener for display reasons)
03-Jan-16 # I # The Taming of Smeagol # noWizardme Part 1: http://goo.gl/wvyAOx 2: http://goo.gl/6ks0JV 3: http://goo.gl/l0iuEz 4: http://goo.gl/7ket5o
10-Jan-16 # II # The Passage of the Marshes # Oliphaunt Part 1: http://goo.gl/eUEV4u, 2:http://goo.gl/5osCOm 3: http://goo.gl/F9p2Pe
17-Jan-16 # III # The Black Gate Is Closed # Al Carondas http://goo.gl/FXwf5j
24-Jan-16 # IV # Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit # Hamfast Gamgee http://goo.gl/QIEN7C

31-Jan-16 # V # The Window on the West # MirielCelebel
07-Feb-16 # VI # The Forbidden Pool # Hamfast Gamgee
14-Feb-16 # VII # Journey to the Cross-roads # Mironiel
21-Feb-16 # VIII # The Stairs of Cirith Ungol # squire
28-Feb-16 # IX # Shelob's Lair # enanito
06-Mar-16 # X # The Choices of Master Samwise # Surprise Chapter Leader "End G.I. Bran"
(Easter 2016 is March 27)

A set of links to our Book III discussions can be found here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=886383#886383

A wonderful list of links to previous read-throughs is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 29 2016, 12:03pm

Post #7 of 20 (1284 views)
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Oh look! It's a Green Man! Thoughts about Faramir's costume [In reply to] Can't Post

I like Faramir's entrance as 'a green man'.
Not, I suppose a 'Green man as in the mythological figure (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Man ).
Probably not as a Green Knight figure (like the one from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which Tolkien had translated earlier)

There's perhaps something Robin Hoodish about his costume? And also maybe an element of this...



[caption: World War I British Sniper's uniform, called a 'Ghillie Suit'. It is a camouflage suit including a hood, and there would originally have been matching gloves too, though those are not shown in the costume. Original image and interesting commentary here: http://www.strikehold.net/...multicam-circa-1916/.]

~~~~~~
The Reading Room read-through of The Two Towers Book IV has started! All Book IV chapters now taken, but volunteers are needed for ROTK http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=893293#893293

Book IV schedule and links:
week starts # Chapter # Chapter name # leader # URL of thread (shown as a shortened Google URL shortener for display reasons)
03-Jan-16 # I # The Taming of Smeagol # noWizardme Part 1: http://goo.gl/wvyAOx 2: http://goo.gl/6ks0JV 3: http://goo.gl/l0iuEz 4: http://goo.gl/7ket5o
10-Jan-16 # II # The Passage of the Marshes # Oliphaunt Part 1: http://goo.gl/eUEV4u, 2:http://goo.gl/5osCOm 3: http://goo.gl/F9p2Pe
17-Jan-16 # III # The Black Gate Is Closed # Al Carondas http://goo.gl/FXwf5j
24-Jan-16 # IV # Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit # Hamfast Gamgee http://goo.gl/QIEN7C

31-Jan-16 # V # The Window on the West # MirielCelebel
07-Feb-16 # VI # The Forbidden Pool # Hamfast Gamgee
14-Feb-16 # VII # Journey to the Cross-roads # Mironiel
21-Feb-16 # VIII # The Stairs of Cirith Ungol # squire
28-Feb-16 # IX # Shelob's Lair # enanito
06-Mar-16 # X # The Choices of Master Samwise # Surprise Chapter Leader "End G.I. Bran"
(Easter 2016 is March 27)

A set of links to our Book III discussions can be found here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=886383#886383

A wonderful list of links to previous read-throughs is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


enanito
Lorien

Jan 29 2016, 3:32pm

Post #8 of 20 (1259 views)
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Fire is dangerous, it burns, it kills [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the parallels drawn between the fire of Mount Doom, the fire of the Sun, and the fire that Sam makes.

Prior to his ever-so-bright idea of cooking the coneys, Sam remarks that "if we reach the Fire in that time, we'll be lucky at this rate". The Fire of Mount Doom is their hope, but trying to actually get there represents the greatest danger imaginable.

Gollum is shown cowering from approaching light and heat of the rising Sun. The fire of the Sun gives warmth and cooks food, yet presents danger that Gollum instinctively recoils from, but naive Sam and Frodo think is harmless.

And of course the fire Sam makes, which while making the coneys nice and tasty, of course leads directly to their capture by some green-dressed, masked men.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 29 2016, 7:54pm

Post #9 of 20 (1249 views)
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Lapin a la Samwise [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a gift, it comes with a price
Who is the lamb and who is the knife?
Midas is king and he holds me so tight
And turns me to gold in the sunlight.

-Rabbit Heart, by Florence + the Machine


Now then, for the proper cooking part.

As squire says, cooking is culture. A bit of ‘ome, if you will.


Herbs and stewed Rabbits or coneys! Sam cooks these in a pan with hot water and salt. Now I wonder if this is the proper way to do it. Salt is all very well, but isn't some sort of fat necessary, vegetable oil or the like?

Mom would brown the rabbit meat in a pan with lard before putting it in the stew. You don't have to do that with possum or raccoon as they have a lot of fat already so you just pop them in a pot but rabbits are pretty lean.


He has salt…

Wild rabbits tend to have a higher urea content in the blood so their meat has a bitter undertaste. Salt suppresses bitter flavors.


…but I would have thought some type of pepper would be nice as well.

Yes, pepper encourages the formation of additional stomach acid, aiding digestion and helping prevent heartburn, indigestion, and bowel problems which our little travelling hobbits definitely do not need.


Or maybe whatever herbs Gollum has collected which is never specified, does the trick.

Sam is looking for “a few bay-leaves, some thyme and sage”. Bay leaves, thyme, and sage are pretty basic ingredients in a “bouquet garni”, a bundle of herbs tossed into a stew to add flavor, then removed before consumption. A bouquet garni is often used in cooking the popular French lapin a la chasseur (hunter’s rabbit), a dish that features mushroom and tomatoes.


Is this a good way of doing, or perhaps it is the case of if you are hungry enough in the wild it is good enough.

Hunger adds relish. Some of the best meals I’ve ever had was when I was really, really, really hungry.


Or perhaps one could eat it rare like Gollum. You get a bit of flavour that way, I suppose!

Just the opposite. Adding salt to cooking allows aromatic organics to volatize more easily, thus increasing aroma, and the more aroma, the more flavor.


Now then, we also here have the case of Sam going bad. Possibly. Or at the least I have seen this suggested in certain quarters that he is not very nice to poor little Smeagol! Now, I respectfully disagree. I don't think he is nasty at all. He is a bit rough, but that is just Sam's way of talking with his equals.

It does seem reminiscent of the saucy give and take between hobbit friends, like the first night and morning after Frodo, Sam, and Pippin left Bag End, or when Frodo found out about the Conspiracy, or other occasions of hobbitty banter.


And with someone of whom both Smeagol and Gollum are lucky that their respective throats are not both cut, so they have no grounds for complaint!

One does get the impression Gollum is like a lot of literal-minded people on the net who are quick to take offense to a jocular comment. Though I’d love to read a Gollum-Smeagol blog!


Finally, after a bit of banter between Sam and Gollum, the food is eaten. However, the smoke does show. And by a tremendous stroke of fortune not by Orcs or obvious servants of the enemy. At least, it does not appear so. Enter Captain Faramir!

Hmmmm. Gollum gives meat to Sam, which surely he knows Sam will cook over a fire, whose smoke probably will attract anyone in the area, and the skulking Gollum surely has noticed the skulking rangers skulking around skulking.

Coincidence? I think not!

******************************************

Fimbrethil, Warrior Entwife



Sez: "Why don't we terraform Earth? It's closer."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 30 2016, 1:14am

Post #10 of 20 (1227 views)
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Gollum as cordon bleu chef [In reply to] Can't Post

Good question, Wiz, and I think we're back to the 2 Gollums: the one that lives *very* in the present and thinks of only himself, mostly talking to himself, and the other one who watches Cable News and is up on current geopolitics (and probably even the Kardashians).

I would think that after centuries of eating raw food, he wouldn't forget that others cook it, and I would guess the Elves of Mirkwood cooked for him, and Aragorn too while he was his captor. And while living on the outskirts of Orc society under the Misty Mtns, didn't the Orcs cook food? Or were they just burning captives alive for fun, which might have the same result, but begins with a different intent.

But you made me think of a bigger question: why does he consider Frodo and Sam a practically alien race and not the one that he's from? One could say he feels so alienated after all those centuries, but still, let's say you take a criminal and leave him alone on a desert island for a few centuries and he doesn't die, then a ship of humans discovers him, wouldn't he recognize them as fellow humans, even if he felt horribly alienated from them and hated them? Except for that one brief moment (coming up!) when he looks like an old, tired hobbit again, he doesn't seem to feel any racial kinship at all with hobbitses. Isn't that peculiar?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 30 2016, 1:16am

Post #11 of 20 (1228 views)
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My father used to hunt rabbits in Colorado, the western US [In reply to] Can't Post

and yes, they tasted like chicken, and not particularly good chicken. I liked it better when he brought home a deer.

PS. Thanks for the note on Myxamatosis, which was rather prominent in Watership Down as a peril, though I had no idea it was deliberately introduced.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Jan 30 2016, 1:17am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 30 2016, 1:24am

Post #12 of 20 (1222 views)
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Sam and Gollum [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Sam's treatment of Gollum is rather bossy and ungrateful in this chapter, though Sam is not at his worst. I suppose it was Tolkien deliberately contrasting Frodo's mysterious kindness with Sam's suspicion; if they all had group hugs at sunrise and sunset, we wouldn't believe it. Sam reminds me of some of the servants on Downton Abbey (like Carson, the butler) who can be very deferential to their "betters" while bullying their "lessers," and not feeling any compunction about it. Indeed, seeming to enjoy it.

Not that it's any different from the corporate world where middle managers suck up to the execs and bully the people lower than them on the org chart. Just human/hobbit nature. But it says a lot that Sam's treatment of Gollum takes its toll and can't be considered harmless. If he'd been on better hobbit manners, Gollum might have had much more trouble betraying them later, instead of taking glee in the thought of revenge over Sam.

And as leader, I don't think Frodo gets off the hook either. He can't mind control Sam and micromanage everything he does or says, but he puts little effort into reining him in.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 30 2016, 1:29am

Post #13 of 20 (1220 views)
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Fire, light, neuroses, and fate [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice comparisons! Gollum is positively neurotic about light and heat. I mean, really, what's going to happen to him in the sunlight that he's so afraid of? He's just plain nuts in that regard.

Sam's out of control fire was a neat bit of fate in connecting the hobbits with Faramir's group of soldiers. Being stealthy creatures, what if they hobbits had avoided all contact with the Gondorian men? I certainly think they were *meant* to run into each other for a variety of reasons. Yet the fire could have just as easily betrayed their presence to Orcs, Southrons, or Nazgul on flight patrol. (Now why do the Nazgul patrol the Dead Marshes--empty of enemies--and not Ithilien, which is crawling with them? Just another tactical boo-boo, I guess.)


oliphaunt
Rivendell


Jan 30 2016, 12:05pm

Post #14 of 20 (1195 views)
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Works of darkness [In reply to] Can't Post

Gollum is positively neurotic about light and heat. I mean, really, what's going to happen to him in the sunlight that he's so afraid of? He's just plain nuts in that regard.

I think Sméagol withdrew from light when he had got the Ring. It's easier to sneak around in the dark.

What about the Christian symbolism of light being of God? Lot's of Biblical references to 'unfruitful works of darkness' (bad) and 'that which is light' (good). Same goes in the Silmarillion, where the Valar created the Two Trees (good) and Morgoth recruited Ungoliant to destroy them (bad).

Remember back in The Hobbit that Bilbo's magic ring didn't hide his shadow? That was why the Misty Mountains goblins spotted him at the Back Door and he lost his buttons. The magic ring was Gollum's too, presumably he preferred sneaking around where there was not enough light to cast a shadow. Now this feature vanished (if you will) when the magic ring became the One Ring, but Gollum was already entrenched in darkness.





squire
Half-elven


Jan 30 2016, 1:10pm

Post #15 of 20 (1195 views)
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The shadow of a Ring-bearer is only faintly visible in a bright high Noon. [In reply to] Can't Post

Which seems to indicate that only the brightest light in nature can begin to overcome the spell.

In The Lord of the Rings, as far as I can remember, no one wears the ring in bright mid-day sunlight, so we don't know if that feature from The Hobbit was still 'in effect'.

It is interesting to read the part of this chapter in which the hobbits and the Rangers are hiding through the hot, bright morning of the day in Ithilien. The text has repeated references to the sun, the heat and the shortening shadows. The Rangers then attack the enemy at high noon, emerging from the shadows themselves into open battle - as if that was the time when the Shadow can do the least to protect itself.



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 & 4th TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion and NOW the 1st BotR Discussion too! and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Al Carondas
Lorien

Jan 30 2016, 2:29pm

Post #16 of 20 (1187 views)
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The dual nature of nature [In reply to] Can't Post

I am reminded of Gandalf's showdown with the Balrog on the bridge at Khazad-dum.


Quote
'You cannot pass,' he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. 'I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back into the Shadow. You cannot pass.'
The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: bent like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.
From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.
Glamdring glittered white in answer.
There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back, and its sword flew up in molten fragments.


I love the way that Tolkien uses Fire here as a symbol of Gandalf's good power (white fire) and yet also as a symbol of the Balrog's evil power (red fire). Fire has a great duality to it. It is a symbol of Hope, and a symbol of Fear. It is associated with both comfort and safety and yet also with danger and destruction. Thus Sam's and Gollum's different attitudes towards fire reflect the fundamental difference in the present state of their souls - or at least their worldviews. On one hand we see the civilized, hopeful, good-willed hobbit Sam, and on the other we see the wild, fearful, evil-marred Creature that Gollum has become.

"Good Morning!"


Al Carondas
Lorien

Jan 30 2016, 2:49pm

Post #17 of 20 (1185 views)
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Must be the Ring's the thing, I thingk [In reply to] Can't Post

In Tolkien's world, of course, the light of the Sun is a gift from the Valar. It is derived from the light of the Two Trees and set in the sky as a defense against Morgoth and his evil creatures in Middle-earth. It seems to be physically harmful to Orcs, for example. I think that Gollum's sensitivity to light is indicative of Morgoth's influence on Gollum. That is: Morgoth's influence on Sauron and then through Sauron's Ring on Gollum. I think Tolkien means to show us that Gollum has been significantly changed by Sauron's far greater power. The Ring was not a trinket that any unsuspecting Hobbit had any business meddling with. Smeagol has been forced to pay a terrible price for his mischief.

I also think that this is why Gollum is presented as being such an alien creature to the hobbits. Not only in terms of his aversion to cooked food, but also in terms of his physical mutation. Perhaps Tolkien is demonstrating through this the greatness of the power that these simple lesser creatures are up against in handling the Ring.

"Good Morning!"


Al Carondas
Lorien

Jan 30 2016, 4:45pm

Post #18 of 20 (1178 views)
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A breath of fresh air [In reply to] Can't Post

I definitely felt something a little Robin Hood-ish about the way that Faramir and his men are dressed. I wonder if Tolkien did. Now I wonder if he thought of the Ghillies. Thanks for the link! Very cool read and fits so perfectly with the chapter.

This chapter is such a welcome change from the mirk and desolation of the previous three. Perhaps Tolkien felt it necessary for all three of these travel-weary companions. Or perhaps he felt it necessary for his readers, or even for himself. What do you think? I really do feel refreshed and invigorated by this unexpected turn in the story. And I'm always grateful to arrive at Ithilien every time I retake this journey. It is a fair gleam of hope through the dark clouds that are gathering over the story. And, no doubt, this chapter gives a revealing glimpse to readers of Tolkien himself and his great love for growing things. The lengthy and detailed description of the forest really amazed me and opened my eyes, so to speak. It seems like Tolkien is getting sidetracked from the story as he envisions "the garden of Gondor". But of course, his love of and respect for nature is always an essential part of his tale.

"Good Morning!"


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 30 2016, 5:05pm

Post #19 of 20 (1179 views)
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Arrested by Faramir versus arrested by Eomer [In reply to] Can't Post

Something to discuss this week and next, probably.

Several commentators (e.g. Prof Tom Shippey) have pointed out parallels between Aragorn & Co being apprehended by Eomer on the one hand, and Frodo & Co being apprehended by Faramir on the other.

Similarities:
Both are captured by forces that have standing orders to capture or kill all strangers
Both have to plead/negotiate not to be taken off to HQ or killed, but both want to do so without mentioning the Ring.
In each case, Boromir's prophetic riddle comes up, leading to a discussion of Aragorn and his link to Gondor.

Aragorn quickly converts Eomer to an ally; Faramir is taking his time to consider as this chapter ends....

~~~~~~
The Reading Room read-through of The Two Towers Book IV has started! All Book IV chapters now taken, but volunteers are needed for ROTK http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=893293#893293

Book IV schedule and links:
week starts # Chapter # Chapter name # leader # URL of thread Notes erminder
03-Jan-16 # I # The Taming of Smeagol # noWizardme Part 1: http://goo.gl/wvyAOx 2: http://goo.gl/6ks0JV 3: http://goo.gl/l0iuEz 4: http://goo.gl/7ket5o y
10-Jan-16 # II # The Passage of the Marshes # Oliphaunt Part 1: http://goo.gl/eUEV4u, 2:http://goo.gl/5osCOm 3: http://goo.gl/F9p2Pe y
17-Jan-16 # III # The Black Gate Is Closed # Al Carondas http://goo.gl/FXwf5j y
24-Jan-16 # IV # Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit # Hamfast Gamgee http://goo.gl/QIEN7C 2; http://goo.gl/FwZoyQ Y

31-Jan-16 # V # The Window on the West # MirielCelebel
07-Feb-16 # VI # The Forbidden Pool # Hamfast Gamgee
14-Feb-16 # VII # Journey to the Cross-roads # Mironiel
21-Feb-16 # VIII # The Stairs of Cirith Ungol # squire
28-Feb-16 # IX # Shelob's Lair # enanito
06-Mar-16 # X # The Choices of Master Samwise # Surprise Chapter Leader "End G.I. Bran"
(Easter 2016 is March 27)

A set of links to our Book III discussions can be found here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=886383#886383

A wonderful list of links to previous read-throughs is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Feb 2 2016, 8:56am

Post #20 of 20 (1101 views)
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Though Faramur does not take as much time to make up his mind as he does in the movie! [In reply to] Can't Post

But you are right about then parallels, I was going to bring that point up myself. In fact, The Two Towers is full of parcels, but that could perhaps be a point for another time! One more is that both Eomer and Faramir are upset by the news of Boromir's death.

 
 

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