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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Return of the King Part II - the unofficial read through - Book VI onward
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squire
Half-elven


Aug 23 2017, 10:05pm

Post #51 of 174 (2203 views)
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I have always seen Frodo "in white" as a clear reference... [In reply to] Can't Post

...to his essential purity and elevation in all ways except his enslavement to the Ring. The contradiction is intended: how can I say he is pure and elevated, when he is being controlled by the Ring? I think the point is that, unlike all the other Ringbearers, he is being overcome by the sheer power of the Ring, rather than by his own lust for power that the Ring amplifies. The others who feel its attraction, resistant or not, are different from Frodo. Isildur, Smeagol, Galadriel, Gandalf, Boromir, Denethor, Saruman all recognize the Ring's power to enhance their own power over others. Wrongly, of course: in fact, taking the Ring enslaves them (or would enslave them) rather than enhances them.

But Frodo is being overcome, not seduced. As he tries to resist, his hobbit-nature is elevated and purified, and he approaches a kind of sainthood - the sainthood we associate with martyrdom - by his long, slow, and ultimately hopeless resistance. Thus the white robe (in Sam's vision), and the wheel of fire at the breast: in every way except the only one that counts, Frodo has proven more able to resist the Ring than any other being in Middle-earth.



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


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Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 23 2017, 10:08pm

Post #52 of 174 (2195 views)
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Split-personality? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm thinking that the Ring prior to its donning on Mt. Doom was an independent agent in whatever capacity it held. Yes, a part of Sauron, but a semi-autonomous part. I think Frodo's challenge supplies the final direct link to Sauron.

Sing a song of long lament.
The days be past, the years are spent.
The flames of fire, on funeral pyre
The warrior's soul it's wing'd way hath sent.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 23 2017, 10:23pm

Post #53 of 174 (2200 views)
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Saint Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

I find this idea very compelling. However, do you mean to insist that Frodo had absolutely no desire for the Ring? Do you also mean to say that the Ring has enough innate power to overcome a bearer (Well, at least Frodo..)?

Continuing with the metaphor of sainthood, it seems to me that saints are made when they overcome some vice or test--such as 'saintly' patience, forgiveness, etc... If so, by my understanding of your words, Frodo had no inner vice and no longing for the Ring to overcome. From whence then does his saintly status come? What was he resisting? I had always thought the Ring worked on Frodo's small desire and eroded his resolved over time. I was under the impression that the Ring needed something to work with, else it would be creating the temptation in its bearer's mind. Hardly seems fair if the Ring can make you want it, even when you don't...

Sing a song of long lament.
The days be past, the years are spent.
The flames of fire, on funeral pyre
The warrior's soul it's wing'd way hath sent.


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 23 2017, 10:41pm

Post #54 of 174 (2192 views)
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That is an interesting conception. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


squire
Half-elven


Aug 23 2017, 10:57pm

Post #55 of 174 (2196 views)
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It is a little bit of a stretch, I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

But I am trying to work within what I understand as Tolkien's conception of the Ring - which is, after all, not a real object but a metaphoric symbol.

I guess I'd say that even a hobbit (the "best hobbit in the Shire" being Frodo) can be corrupted by a force as great as the evil of Sauron. I am thinking of Galadriel's comment to Frodo:
'Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others.' - LotR II.8
She is pointing out to a curious Frodo that he is not (yet, if ever) among the class of those who Sauron was attempting to ensnare and dominate with his Master Ring. She does, however, suggest that he could, with practice and determination, alter his essential hobbity nature and become great enough to claim and wield the One. I take that to mean that, by the time Frodo reaches the outskirts of Mordor, he has begun to think and feel in a way that allows the Ring to reach him - but because of the Ring's own influence. Even a hobbit can be corrupted, in other words, but such corruption is utterly alien to their nature and takes both time and immense force from the outside (such as proximity to Sauron/Mordor; and association with Smeagol over time).

Frodo falls, of course. It would go against the entire story for him not to. But he holds out, fighting it, all the way to the mountain, before he finally gives in, which gives fate, aka Gollum, a chance to intervene and succeed in destroying the Ring. Frodo's greatness was that his resistance for so long, against so great a challenge to his native virtue, enhanced his good qualities as much as it created a space for the corruption of the Ring. Saruman gives us this perception at the end:
Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. ‘You have grown, Halfling,’ he said. ‘Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! - LotR VI.8
Cruel? Think about it.



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.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 23 2017, 11:33pm

Post #56 of 174 (2187 views)
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The loss of Eden and Fall from Grace [In reply to] Can't Post

The idea of 'cruelty' to me, seems to have some connexion with the 'wisdom' and 'growth' noted earlier. I interpret it to be indicative of a lost innocence and Hobbity naiveté on Frodo's part.

In a way, I think that The Shire is a sort of paradisaical Eden within the context of Middle-Earth. Hobbits are untouched by the Wide World around them, living in a wholesome ignorance. Indeed, many in M-E praise the down-to-earth virtues of the Hobbits. To further the metaphor, the Ring finds its way inside of The Shire and like Eden's serpent, opens the Hobbits' minds to a broader perspective, and in a way, the four Halflings find themselves expelled from the Garden.

All four of the Hobbits experience the world and a larger perspective--a sort of Fall from the primitive Grace they had before--, but none more than Frodo. He has indeed grown out of the simple wisdom that allowed him to enjoy the Shire and his vast worldly experience has spoilt his enjoyment of the simple life he once had. The others have not had such profound experiences, and they are still able to find a place within The Shire.

Returning home to the Scouring, they have come to a literal Paradise Lost, and Frodo uses his wisdom and experience to reshape Eden, but is unable to recapture it for himself. He is not the simple Hobbit he once was, and now he is only suited as a guardian, not a resident. The Shire was saved, but not for him.

The 'cruel' aspect to his wisdom and experience is what excludes him from the Shire. It is a by-product of the attainment of that wisdom. As we grow, we lost things like child-like wonder as we gain others such as critical thought. Not a bad thing, but a developing mental tool set. Alongside this mental growth we also gain the capacity for cunning and strategy. I believe it is this greater capacity for ulterior motives in actions that Saruman calls 'cruelty'. Frodo does know that the worst thing for Saruman is living in disgrace, and with that knowledge, how can he be sure that his prima facia kind act is really motivated by pure intention, without an undercurrent of ill-intent? This is what disqualifies Frodo from living in the Shire. He possesses the knowledge of the Serpent and fears passing on the forbidden fruit.

Sing a song of long lament.
The days be past, the years are spent.
The flames of fire, on funeral pyre
The warrior's soul it's wing'd way hath sent.


Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 23 2017, 11:51pm

Post #57 of 174 (2182 views)
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More like martyr Frodo. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

******************************************
Queen Beruthiel, Queen Beruthiel, there's no one like Queen Beruthiel,
She's broken every Gondor law, she breaks the law of Earendil.
Her powers of feline-ation would make Aiwendil stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Queen Beruthiel's not there!
You may seek her in the Hallows, you may search throughout the square –
But I tell you once and once again, Queen Beruthiel's not there!

- Old Tollers' Book of Fat Cats on the Mat



No One in Particular
Rivendell


Aug 24 2017, 2:04am

Post #58 of 174 (2169 views)
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Sensing the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

We have no concrete knowledge of whether or not Sauron can sense the Ring. (I have always assumed he could, honestly.) But Sauron is distracted; the War is not going well-his initial gambit has failed, Gondor still stands, and the Lord of the Nazgűl has perished most unexpectedly. Additionally, the upstart Ranger (and possible new Ring lord???) is now marching up the road to his front gate.

Which was, of course, exactly Aragorn's intention. Smile All of which is to say, Sauron's mind was focused everywhere except Gorgoroth and the road to Orodruin.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 24 2017, 2:39pm

Post #59 of 174 (2130 views)
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The End of All Things [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo makes his way inside Mt. Doom to the Cracks of Doom - but the Ring finally takes hold within the heart of Sauron's realm. Gollom, ever sly and driven by his Ring addiction, manages to find Frodo and the struggle begins.

Poor Sam, knocked down, is just a witness to the events. The Phial fails in this location. What would Sam have done with Frodo....would he have failed to stop him like Elrond with Isildur? Would Sam have wrestled with Frodo if he could locate him? Or would he lie weeping as Frodo walked by? Nobody knows of course, but I like to think that Sam, have such strong inner courage, would have confronted Frodo, with tears and all even if both were to go over the edge.

Gollum, focused entirely on the ring makes his fortunate step on the edge and loses his balance. No command from the Ring etc. just "luck" once again that nudges the outcome to its desired ending.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Aug 24 2017, 2:41pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 24 2017, 4:35pm

Post #60 of 174 (2120 views)
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I assume that with the Shadow of Sauron dissipating so too did the Nazgul [In reply to] Can't Post

who were tied to him. As they were flying to Mount Doom I suspect they "vanished" and the Fell Beasts, now without control or purpose, flew into oblivion or to some far corner of the world. I don't know that they can survive on their own.

With so many orcs running into the Wild, it seems the lands would not be safe for a long while as they had the capacity to organize into tribes.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Aug 24 2017, 4:37pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 24 2017, 7:14pm

Post #61 of 174 (2115 views)
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The Field of Cormallen [In reply to] Can't Post

In a way, the destruction of the Ring happens too fast. We get to the point and then.....it is over. I suppose that is how it has to be....not much else to say after that.

Now, our attention turns to the post-Downfall of Sauron world.


https://outofthisworldx.files.wordpress.com/...n-e1437847864637.jpg


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Aug 24 2017, 7:16pm)


No One in Particular
Rivendell


Aug 25 2017, 1:38am

Post #62 of 174 (2073 views)
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Nazgűl [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
who were tied to him. As they were flying to Mount Doom I suspect they "vanished" and the Fell Beasts, now without control or purpose, flew into oblivion or to some far corner of the world. I don't know that they can survive on their own.

With so many orcs running into the Wild, it seems the lands would not be safe for a long while as they had the capacity to organize into tribes.


"as caught in the fiery ruin of hill and sky, and crackled, withered, and went out."

So yep, they pretty much vanished in a puff of...something or other. Smile

I would also agree that the lands were probably dangerous for some time after; even in the appendices it mentions somewhere that the armies of Gondor and Rohan fought on many fields valiantly together. One resumes that at least some of those battles would be with bands of Orcs or evil Men who escaped the ruin of Mordor.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 25 2017, 4:08pm

Post #63 of 174 (2044 views)
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This is a slim chapter but a few interesting observations [In reply to] Can't Post

The most difficult fighting appears to have been with the men of the East and Southrons. The orcs and trolls fled with their master destroyed. Men, still were in opposition until "subdued". I suppose this means they either eventually retreated away or surrendered with likely pledges of no further hostile actions etc. But...we know there were further campaigns in later years against those peoples.

Another tidbit....the Host of the West also destroyed fortresses in the North of Mordor....I don't see them identified on the map.


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 25 2017, 6:46pm

Post #64 of 174 (2029 views)
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Also, we have another instance of the Standing Silence when the [In reply to] Can't Post

host gathers for their meal. I have noticed a lot more of these little
details over this entire read through, very satisfying.


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 25 2017, 9:19pm

Post #65 of 174 (2021 views)
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The Steward and the King [In reply to] Can't Post

How Faramir fell in love with Eowyn.....


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2017, 11:27am

Post #66 of 174 (1979 views)
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An A+++ for your response [In reply to] Can't Post

That is a tremendously insightful way to frame it, Rem (as always). I think most readers feel like they've been abandoned at this point and only remembered begrudgingly and at the last minute. Yours is a much more compassionate way of looking at it.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2017, 11:38am

Post #67 of 174 (1968 views)
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The neat things about those details like the Standing Silence [In reply to] Can't Post

Is that he includes them at all. I can easily see an exasperated editor saying, "This fairy tale of yours has grown from one book into three. We must cut out these extraneous details. Who cares if they stand and semi-pray before meals, for example? What's that got to do with the quest and/or hobbits. Cut, cut, cut!"'

But those details are what immerse us in the world, so we're lucky they're there.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2017, 11:44am

Post #68 of 174 (1966 views)
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Oh, love, right [In reply to] Can't Post

On first read, I couldn't figure out where the Faramir/Eowyn romance chapter was going, or why it was even there. By this time we have traversed a whole lot of Middle-earth, and no one's fallen in love or even had a temporary dalliance, nor even expressed the desire for one. Just little hints about love from afar (Aragorn on Cerin Amroth) or twisted love (Wormtongue's lust for Eowyn) or foolishly unrequited love (Eowyn for Aragorn).

But this time, by golly, there will be flirting, and awkward advances, and hormones, and kissing, and even a plighting of troth.

I suppose Tolkien framed the romance, as usual, as part of the larger story, specifically that they both needed to heal from the Black Breath, especially Eowyn, and what they could give each other surpassed even Aragorn's cool healing powers. But it remains a chapter unlike any other.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2017, 11:49am

Post #69 of 174 (1968 views)
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Not only was the destruction of the Ring too fast, so was the rescue [In reply to] Can't Post

as the hobbits conveniently go comatose for a few weeks, and the narrator lays down his pen.Even the movie showed the Ring dissolving slowly on the lava, so tough that it didn't give in right away.

I think there's something about audiences that we want the story's climax drawn out more: an evil space station should have sequential explosions, a final sword battle should not be over with a single thrust and death, etc. It's a gut-level thing. I'm not sure that drawing out the climax is always a good thing, and it can certainly be prolonged to the point of silliness. But we've gone so far with Frodo & Sam, and invested so much in their travails, it seems we deserve a bit more payoff for our attachment.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 28 2017, 11:56am

Post #70 of 174 (1964 views)
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White robes--not only the Barrow, but the Nazgul [In reply to] Can't Post

ok, they were gray:

"Immediately, though everything else remained as before, dim and dark, the shapes became terribly clear. He was able to see beneath their black wrappings. There were five tall figures: two standing on the lip of the dell, three advancing. In their white faces burned keen and merciless eyes; under their mantles were long grey robes; upon their grey hairs..."

But my point is that they were these black guys on black horses, and they undoubtedly had black sox, black underwear, and solid black business cards--everything was black. But underneath, they weren't. So, even they had some color variation.

Still, it is jarring to have a book on good and evil where Frodo is good but appears in evil form as a white being. I think maybe the symbolism of him appearing in black might have been less plausible, because we couldn't really believe (nor Sam) that he's become a Nazgul.


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 28 2017, 3:40pm

Post #71 of 174 (1940 views)
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Faramir zeroed in on Eowyn and persistently wooed her. Finally, her [In reply to] Can't Post

infatuation with Aragorn breaks and the icy warrior code melts. Healing is now her passion and she sees Faramir anew. It is a short and sweet courtship and serves to wrap up some character loose ends.


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 28 2017, 8:47pm

Post #72 of 174 (1918 views)
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Ioreth is amusing..... [In reply to] Can't Post

JRRT has her speaking to her kinswoman like the neighborhood gossip.


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 28 2017, 9:39pm

Post #73 of 174 (1915 views)
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Ioreth...for some reason I think of Aunt Bee (Andy Griffith Show) [In reply to] Can't Post

https://upload.wikimedia.org/...and_Aunt_Bee_101.JPG

Here she is talking to Clara ( like the "kinswoman" )


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Aug 28 2017, 9:43pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 29 2017, 4:51am

Post #74 of 174 (1891 views)
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The acceptance and crowning of King Elessar takes place on the Pelennor [In reply to] Can't Post

vs the highest level in the film. It was key to show in the book that Aragorn first presented himself to the population and asked for their acceptance of his lordship - after the appropriate demonstrations and official recognitions by Faramir, the Prince of Dol Amroth and the forces he led. The film had to condense the scene of crowning and marriage. By choosing the highest level it served both purposes with a great location for the audience to take in the grandeur.

At first, when I read that a "casket" was brought out and the crown removed I had the image of a disinterred King being hauled out and the casket opened to remove his crown. Then, I realized that it had to be a large box with the crown in it.

A rather scary looking Aragorn....serious, aged, grim...in fact, pissed off.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/...iaEvvZDNlam2e2mMBZlQ

A more weathered Aragorn
http://tolkiengateway.net/...n_Howe_-_Elessar.jpg


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Aug 29 2017, 4:59am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 29 2017, 6:53pm

Post #75 of 174 (1842 views)
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I think of Ioreth as counterpart to Butterbur: folksy, chatty, humorous, commoners. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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