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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
LOTR Unofficial Read Through - The Two Towers
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Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 20 2017, 9:36pm

Post #301 of 323 (3224 views)
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You got it! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking i was being entirely too abstruse today!

Nice to know I was merely being esoteric!

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

"You have my sword."

"And my bow."

"And my axe."

"And my giant flying eagles."


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 12:08pm

Post #302 of 323 (3202 views)
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Underpants- collecting gnomes! [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe Sauron is pulling the old'underpants-collecting gnomes' trick.
[The underpants-collecting gnomes, a bizarre sub-plot in an episode of the cartoon South Parks, stole people's underpants in accordance with the following buisness plan:
1. Collect underpants
2. ?
3. Profit]

At various times (e.g. working during the 'dot com' boom, or in the politics of 2016) I've noticed how reasonable many people seem to find this kind of plan. If (3) sounds great - even if it's as nebulous as it is numinous- and (1) looks like fun, you can get people going. By the time they figure out what (2) involves (or realise that their leaders don't know either) it's too late. I expect Sauron was going to do fine- his followers maybe not so much...

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 2:25pm

Post #303 of 323 (3193 views)
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This chapter - Shelob's Lair - has a large section of [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien writing as the narrarator - some history of Shelob, what Gollum was thinking and had experienced with her, Sauron's use for her etc.

Ungoliant then Shelob - mysterious origins. I can only conclude Ungoliant was a spirit who, like Melkor, rebelled. But her origins are vague, rather like Tom Bombabil. She was able to resist Melkor and even defeat him. What Ungoliant "bred with" is unclear. What her offspring, including Shelob bred with is inclear...."bastards of miserable mates" ?? Shelob's brood infested Mirkwood.

Maybe because Gollum was so scrawny, Shelob did not immediately kill him, and his pledges of service swayed her.

She was not a spider per se but "an evil thing in spider form" with "great horns", a "short stalk like neck" "huge swollen body - blotched, "legs with hair like spines and a claw" plus a foul odor.

It raises the question why a spirit would reside in such a form (Ungoliant) and whether Shelob herself was a minor spirit by birth (?) - she certainly lived for ages and ages.

Sauron was content to let her be - an unofficial gaurd to his realm.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 3:46pm

Post #304 of 323 (3188 views)
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Sauron isn't human [In reply to] Can't Post

He doesn't need to have human psychology or goals. He's just Evil personified (or actually, not even personified!). So just as the Elves represent our "higher natures" and the orcs our "base instincts", Sauron himself is the symbol of our most vicious and hateful impulses. Like the devil, he can disguise himself as something desirable and lovable (as his great Ring does), but he only does it to ensnare and enslave. He's just a negative - the opposite of hope, and love, and happiness, and all the human virtues. I don't think he has an endgame, except to make everything as hopeless and despairing as himself.

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



FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 3:52pm

Post #305 of 323 (3192 views)
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I stopped being amazed a long time ago... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've seen this happen many times. Something you've read in Tolkien just seems simple and obvious, until you mention it here, and then it turns out that everyone has some other "simple and obvious" way of seeing it. I think it's something to do with the way Tolkien gives you just enough information to trigger your own imagination, at which point everyone's imagination takes them in whatever direction seems "simple and obvious" to them. You don't even realize he's done it until you compare notes with other people and find out how many different ways there are to see the story.

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



Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 4:04pm

Post #306 of 323 (3188 views)
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I think that is too simplistic a characterization [In reply to] Can't Post

Melkor and Sauron have always exhibited very human tendencies - they are not just evil personified. They were not always evil but did end up in rebellion.

"The first and most powerful of the Ainur that Ilúvatar created was a spirit known as Melkor. Because he wandered through the Void in an attempt to find and use the Flame Imperishable, the source of Ilúvatar's creative activity, Melkor developed ideas unlike those of the other Ainur. His feelings grew rebellious against his creator, for he wished to create sentient beings to inhabit the Void and was dissatisfied by the fact that Ilúvatar had not done so. However, Melkor could not find the Flame, for it was not in the Void, but with Ilúvatar."

"Sauron (Quenya, pronounced [ˈsaʊron]) was the greatest and most trusted servant of Morgoth before and during the First Age. Originally a Maia of Aulë named "Mairon", he was ensnared by Melkor and as "Gorthaur" he became Morgoth's lieutenant in his Wars of Beleriand. From his base of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, Sauron was directly responsible for the death of Barahir and later the Noldorin king Finrod during the Quest for the Silmaril. He demonstrated the ability to take the form of a wolf, a serpent, and a vampire."

This goes back to Eru - the source of "good and evil" - free will etc.
Both have an arc that leads from good to rebellion to evil. Creatures like Ungoliant and Shelob fit the "pure evil" role much better as that is all they ever were.

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Sauron

Since neither Melkor or Sauron can create new - one goal is to conquer and then twist life into shapes they can claim as original - orcs, trolls, etc.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jul 21 2017, 4:08pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 4:14pm

Post #307 of 323 (3184 views)
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Some images found that illustrate good/evil balance and how [In reply to] Can't Post

Melkor and his minions are out of balance -

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/...b195af4a848fab88.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/...d-yang-ying-yang.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObzX-dNKPMI


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 6:34pm

Post #308 of 323 (3166 views)
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I think we spotted Melkor in his outer darkness [In reply to] Can't Post

http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/...ry/Nebula-683828.jpg


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 21 2017, 6:54pm

Post #309 of 323 (3164 views)
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The Choices of Master Samwise [In reply to] Can't Post

Sam "shows his quality" in both his confrontation with Gollum and the terrifying Shelob.

We see the long range affect of crying out "Galadriel" and the
almost trance like state that brings forth utterances of Elvish when in need. The Phial comes to brilliant life and it rays drive Shelob back into her hole. "No such terror out of heaven had ever burned in Shelob's face before.......the beams caused great pain and set her mind ablaze.


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 22 2017, 2:22pm

Post #310 of 323 (3135 views)
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These choices [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the way that Sam seems to get these choices completely wrong, but actually hits on (arguably) the only course of action that can lead to success.

Sam considers just staying with Frodo's 'dead body' - had he done so, he and Frodo and the Ring would have been captured by the orcs. Instead, Sam reasons logically that he is supposed to take the Ring and go on.
...But he can't make himself do it, and returns in time to discover that Frodo is alive, but captured. But, because he has returned wearing the Ring, he is not captured, and can understand the orc speech.
If Sam operated entirely by logical reasoning here, perhaps he would decide that his duty to the Quest outweighs his duties to Frodo, and that his best plan is to push on to Mount Doom as swiftly as possible, hoping he can get there before Frodo is tortured into confessing everything and an unavoidable drag net comes after Sam. Anyway, that plan requires Sam to get past the Tower of Cirith Ungol, with the garrison still on the watch, rather than distracted by the mutiny that Frodo's loot is about to cause.
Sam, of course, does not operate solely by logical reasoning, and instead is compelled to try a plan that seems utterly stupid - risk the immediate capture of the Ring try to rescue Frodo.

I think it can be argued(when we come to Book VI) that Frodo's capture by Shelob and then the orcs is the only way to get into Mordor without enough being detected about the mission to make it easy to counter.. But if that is 'meant' to happen, it entirely depends upon Sam making his apparently deeply stupid or insane choices.

He's not called 'Samwise' (means half-wise) for nothing....

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 22 2017, 3:13pm

Post #311 of 323 (3127 views)
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I wonder if Sam's inner debate over what to do was possibly influenced [In reply to] Can't Post

very subtly by Galadriel or even Elrond (though Sam does not hear their voice per se). When he ponders the question of taking the ring - the answer came at once "And the Council game him companions, so the errand would not fail. And you are the last of all the Company. The errand must not fail." This sounds exactly like something Galadriel or Elrond would say / message to Sam. He did possess the phial at that time, which may allow the connection. (an "iPhial" part of the eww.goldenwoodtelepathy.com).

Sam's loyalty and love for his is master is his primary virtue - in some respects, if he cannot rescue Frodo then whether he fails or not is almost of secondary importance. He would find it hard to live with himself regardless of the outcome. "I can't help it. My place is by Mr. Frodo....." This trumps all...it is a heroic virtue, even if logically foolish.

The orcs have discovered, at great peril, the ins and outs of Shelob's lair and have a side passage directly to the Tower. I am sure many an orc became food for Shelob. They see the evidence of her injury - the spilled venom and fluids.

The orc conversations are very interesting. There is certainly a cunning intelligence displayed. Also, a constant wariness toward each other - eyes and ears spies for Nazgul - and for The Top leadership. Shagrat and Gorbag express a desire to talk amongst themselves away from the rest of the rabble. Funny how they say "He likes'em, they're his favorites nowadays....." They sound just like dispirited foot soldiers in every army. Rumor always plays a big role in a clamped down society. They even dream of a life after the war, their own little gang of thieves so to speak without Bosses. The orcs are definitely ruled by fear - no loyalty or love toward Sauron.


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 22 2017, 5:12pm

Post #312 of 323 (3112 views)
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"The answer came at once" - but from whom? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
When he ponders the question of taking the ring - the answer came at once "And the Council game him companions, so the errand would not fail. And you are the last of all the Company. The errand must not fail." This sounds exactly like something Galadriel or Elrond would say / message to Sam. He did possess the phial at that time, which may allow the connection. (an "iPhial" part of the eww.goldenwoodtelepathy.com).


At other times, Sam does seem to think Galadriel is helping him out. I'm not sure whether that's what is actually happening (on this ccasion or otherwise), or whether it's Sam being a bit rustic (e.g. The Lady Galadriel, who Sam has met and admired, standing in, in Sam's mind for The Lady Elbereth). As Sam and Frodo progress through Mordor, we get a few occasions when someone seems to be nudging the table, so to speak: the Valar or even the big E Himself can't be ruled out.

Or of course Sam could just be having an internal debate with no outside interference. As usual, Tolkien is careful to leave that option open.

It's not the only occurrence: At other times, Frodo remembers his Bag End conversation with Gandalf at the very timely moment when he is deciding to Tame Smeagol (and Frodo speaks back as if in reply to Gandalf, to Sam's confusion). I think it's pretty easy to infer who helps Frodo out on Amon Hen ("Then as a flash from some other point of power there came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring! The two powers strove in him....") Sounds like Gandalf, doesn't it? And someone or something might suggest to Pippin the idea of leaving his broach and some tracks as a message to anyone following the Uruks and their captives.

Tolkien, I think, has no intention of telling us how this all works mechanistically.

If I recall, the movie (yes, the movie again!) had Sam see a vision of Galadriel. I'm guessing that seemed better than having Sam soliliquise, or give him that now-cheesy-seeming echoey voice effect movies used to do to indicate someone thinking. And the Valar and Eru do't appear in the movie. So having the Galadriel vision solves a movie problem, but does mean the movie plumps for a very explicit solution to something the book leaves vague.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 22 2017, 6:17pm

Post #313 of 323 (3110 views)
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No vision for Sam in the movie [In reply to] Can't Post

The movie gives a vision of Galadriel to Frodo. Sam's "choices" in the movie are linked to the infamous "Go home" scene. He sets off back down the Stairs of Cirith Ungol as Frodo has told him to do, before realising that Frodo's order came from Ring-induced paranoia, and that his correct choice is to get back to Frodo asap. As Sam says in the book, “Never leave your master, never, never: that was my right rule. And I knew it in my heart.”

Sam always makes mistakes when he tries to figure things out, but things come right when he listens to his heart. As you say, the extent to which Higher Powers are involved is never going to be spelled out. But in Cirith Ungol Sam does sing a hymn to Elbereth, in Elvish, that he's only heard once, long before in Rivendell. So some kind of Elf-magic at least seems to be in play!

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



noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 22 2017, 6:47pm

Post #314 of 323 (3113 views)
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Thanks for that! [In reply to] Can't Post

To add to the misremembering theme....

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 22 2017, 7:32pm

Post #315 of 323 (3102 views)
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Silent Watcher alarm system [In reply to] Can't Post

Gorbag talks about how they were uneasy more than two days ago - but The Eye was busy elsewhere to pay attention however patrols were eventually sent out.

Shelob's "sneak"...thin black fellow, like a spider...or perhaps more like a starved frog."
Shelob having no allegiance to Sauron - "she wouldn't worry about words from High Up."

The orcs are a bit worried about whatever could have come through the tunnel and injured Shelob....."some one loose hereabouts as is more dangerous than any other damned rebel....."!
They think a large Elf warrior is to blame.

Sam's shock at hearing Frodo is not dead - "don't trust your head....never leave your master....knew it in my heart...."
So, despite the Ring errand, this takes over as his personal quest.


Eruonen
Valinor


Jul 22 2017, 7:35pm

Post #316 of 323 (3101 views)
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Frodo is taken and so ends The Second Part of The Lord of The Rings [In reply to] Can't Post

I will start a new, and final thread for ROTK soon.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 22 2017, 10:20pm

Post #317 of 323 (3085 views)
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It's okay. Nelson Mandela is alive & well in Barad-dur and about to be released. Your memory ain't all wrong. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 23 2017, 1:25am

Post #318 of 323 (3076 views)
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Epic thread here. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 



sador
Half-elven


Jul 23 2017, 1:46pm

Post #319 of 323 (3011 views)
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But you actually misremembered the film by following the book! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think squire would approve of that. Smile


squire
Half-elven


Jul 23 2017, 2:04pm

Post #320 of 323 (3012 views)
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No, it's all bad. [In reply to] Can't Post

As you say, NoWiz was doing the right thing ("Must ... resist ... memory of images ... from film!") but the film's visual power overcame even the strongest book-reader's mind and spirit.

The best part of his comment was, if I may say, the usual one: that the film's need to present in visual and easy-to-understand terms an action or internal conflict from the book radically simplified and altered one of Tolkien's typically complex and indefinite scenes.



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'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jul 23 2017, 11:13pm

Post #321 of 323 (2996 views)
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That was a mighty long thread! [In reply to] Can't Post

Still not sure if that is good or bad, however. On the plus side it uses up less bandwidth, but on the minus I don't know about anyone else, but I did find it a struggle to keep up with some of the finer points of some of the sub-threads.
Anyway, I don't know if anyone has noticed, but some themes seem to run in both books of the erm book. At the start and the end for example, both sets of Hobbits are harrased by two seperate groups of Orcs. Both of whom find reasons to quarrel with each other. We have two characters who seem to have flashes of good in them but are both eventually given in to temptation and become wretched individuals, Grima Wormtongue and Gollum, but curiously both are very important to the tale.
And of course we have the two towers themselves. Which has always been a strange and typical Tolkien vague title. I don't think it has ever been said to which two towers the title does refer. As there are around five towers in the tale! My thoughts are that the two are Isengard and Minas Morgul as those are the two where the action takes place around.


sador
Half-elven


Jul 24 2017, 6:34am

Post #322 of 323 (2988 views)
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True. [In reply to] Can't Post

I would personally recommend splitting the RotK thread in two - Book V and Book VI. That should strike a reasonable balance.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 24 2017, 8:17pm

Post #323 of 323 (2941 views)
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Discussion of Shelob in 'Shadow of War' video game [In reply to] Can't Post

Poster AshNazg wishes for a discussion in the Gaming and Collecting forum of the inclusion of a novel interpretation of Shelob in the upcoming video game Middle-earth: Shadow of War (sequel to Shadow of Mordor). In the game, Shelob can assume an alternate form so as to interact effectively with the main characters. The thread is here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...;;page=unread#unread.

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall.” -- The Doctor

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