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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
LOTR unoffcial read through Appendices
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Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 11 2017, 2:29pm

Post #26 of 87 (2711 views)
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Did Sauron practice biological warfare? [In reply to] Can't Post

The Great Plagues that ravaged both Gondor and it enemies could either have natural origins or could be some result of Sauron. The cost to Gondor was of far more benefit since his losses could be more easily replaced.

An arguement against the idea is that the plagues were not regular occurrences. This suggests episodic natural events.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 11 2017, 2:30pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 11 2017, 2:52pm

Post #27 of 87 (2708 views)
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The Great Plague [In reply to] Can't Post

Honestly? I have always assumed that Sauron had a hand in the Great Plague of 1636-37 (Third Age). The Plague did hit Harad (and possibly parts of Rhûn) very hard, and that might argue against his involvement--especially since Umbar was not under Gondor's control at that time. It might very well have been a natural event. On the other hand, the effects of the Plague on the South and East might have been the result of unintended consequences.

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

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sep 11 2017, 2:52pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 11 2017, 2:54pm

Post #28 of 87 (2697 views)
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Another way to look at it is a remnant evil of the original marring by Morgoth [In reply to] Can't Post

than entered into nature and turns up periodically. Orcs may not have been affected at all.

But, maybe Sauron had a hand - it is not answered directly but hinted at: "...Sauron could wait, and it may well be that the opening of Mordor was what he chiefly desired."

But, why not use them more often?

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Great_Plague


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 11 2017, 3:00pm)


enanito
Lorien

Sep 11 2017, 5:59pm

Post #29 of 87 (2679 views)
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Wow, that worked awesome... but I don't think I'll try it again [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
But, why not use them more often?

That is the same thought I've had with these plagues - if they were of evil origin, why in the world wouldn't they be used time after time after time, until either fully eradicating them or at least more fully decimating them?

This isn't unique, it seems a fairly common literary occurrence where the Evil Guy does something once that works out well for him, but then for mysterious (or unexplained, or poorly justified) reasons somehow determines that he won't try that same tack again. If I'm the bad dude, I definitely kick people when they're down, and shoot them a couple of extra times to make sure they're really dead.

So perhaps it's best for Tolkien to leave it a bit vague as to what exactly is the cause of these plagues.


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 11 2017, 6:07pm

Post #30 of 87 (2676 views)
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Real world example [In reply to] Can't Post

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/.../8/9/01-0536_article

Biological Warfare at the 1346 Siege of Caffa
On This Page

Origin of the 14th-Century Pandemic Historical Background to the Siege of Caffa Gabriele de’ Mussi The Narrative of Gabriele De’ Mussi

Mark Wheelis
Author affiliation: *University of California, Davis, California USA

"Known 14th-century sources are of little help; they refer repeatedly to an eastern origin..."

Sauron did not want everyone dead, he desired adoring slaves and tribute.

We know rats existed - Scouring of the Shire - "Then you'll learn a thing or two, you little rat-folk."


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 11 2017, 6:15pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 11 2017, 9:11pm

Post #31 of 87 (2649 views)
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Why not use that tactic more often? [In reply to] Can't Post

That made me think of the First Age, and the Battle of Sudden Flame, when Morgoth released fire onto the northern plains that only the mountains could withstand. However, he never used that tactic again, including in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, when Fingon's and Maedhros's forces were lured back onto those same plains.

To me it seems an author's decision that a tactic can have shock value once, but if repeated too often, it becomes a yawner. Pretty much like orc-attacks. Yes, they're awful, but also predictable, and in that sense, not upseting like a plague or burst of fire.

Plague appears to have been used before as a weapon: Hurin's daughter Lalaith is killed by a pestilence from Angband, but again, that only seems to happen once.

Individual dragons invading cities? Only twice: Nargothrond and Erebor.

Airborne assault by a fleet of dragons? Only once, in Morgoth's last stand, somehow beaten down by Earendil.

We could probably come up with more examples. Tolkien might have gotten tired of his Southrons and Easterlings attacking Gondor, so he came up with the Wainriders as a semi-new menace. They attacked only once, just as there was only one Kin-Strife. He seems to think there's dramatic impact in the "only once" effect vs. the "and then for the 42nd time, the Orcs attacked Gondor." I think that gives Gondor's decline a more linear feel as well as a more inexorable one, as one unique calamity after another beats the kingdom down.


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 12 2017, 9:17am

Post #32 of 87 (2605 views)
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It probably makes no military sense [In reply to] Can't Post

When I think of real-life terror weapons that have been used seldom, the reasons are that they didn't work very well, or caused problems for the user as well as the enemy, or were deemed too risky (because they would invite retaliation). It's not clear to me which of those factors apply to Sauron (or Morgoth).

Tolkien offers a very 'zoomed-out' account of history here, and maybe it seems appropriate that war would progress technologically (though a lot of other aspects of life don't, or indeed go into decline). And of course - as already said - there's the story value of some new dastardly plan each time.

~~~~~~
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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 12 2017, 1:12pm

Post #33 of 87 (2589 views)
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Compications [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
When I think of real-life terror weapons that have been used seldom, the reasons are that they didn't work very well, or caused problems for the user as well as the enemy, or were deemed too risky (because they would invite retaliation). It's not clear to me which of those factors apply to Sauron (or Morgoth).


In the case of the Great Plague of TA 1636-37, it created problems for Sauron as well as his enemies by seriously affecting his own allies in Harad (and possibly the Easterlings as well).

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


squire
Half-elven


Sep 12 2017, 1:27pm

Post #34 of 87 (2595 views)
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zoomed-out history, and the value of story [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Tolkien's method here is to be deliberately evocative of Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', with its vast sweep of moral decadence in the metropolis and barbarians constantly rattling at the gates, over a thousand year period. Incidents recur in Gibbon, as he was reporting the facts as he found them (dressed up to make a great story, to be sure); if a wave of horsemen appeared at the edge of empire more than once, then let us hear the tale again. Tolkien, of course, is not bound by inconvenient facts and can trim wherever needed in the interest of economy or invention.

Plagues play a role in Gibbon's story, I believe - or if they don't, we nevertheless cannot ignore the role the Black Death played in later medieval history. But plagues, as we and Tolkien agree, tend to devastate indiscriminately. In real life, therefore, they are hard to pin on the agency of some fiendish Eastern potentate intent on crippling Christendom. In Tolkien's story, of course, it's the nature of Fate to be manipulable by the Powers. And Sauron - well, as the phrase goes, who knows what he can do?

So every aspect of Gondor's decline, it is hinted in a more-than-Gibbonian way, is in fact part of a master plan or at least driven by a hostile master will.

In the end, this is Story in historical clothing, not History in Gibbon's classically-inspired narrative clothing.



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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Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 12 2017, 2:55pm

Post #35 of 87 (2589 views)
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By the time period of the LOTRs Gondor was basically on its knees [In reply to] Can't Post

and very reminiscent of Constantinople under seige. Slowly, the area under its control shrank and it was ready to fall with one great siege. Fortunately, Gondor still had friends to help turn the tide whereas Byzantium was more cut off and attempts to turn back the Turks were defeated and or too late.

https://www.quora.com/...-less-important-city

The Gates of Vienna may be more similar to Minas Tirith in that the Habsburg Dynasty still had enough strength and allies to turn the tide.

Appendix A really shows how far the mighty had fallen. To think that Sauron was actually captured and made a prisoner! How did that happen? I think it was possibly intentional...rot from inside....which is exactly what he accomplished....at the cost of his fair outer body.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 12 2017, 3:06pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 13 2017, 8:37pm

Post #36 of 87 (2553 views)
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Thorongil, Thorongil, where art though Thorongil? [In reply to] Can't Post

The appendix really explains the antipathy of Denethor toward this mystery man who showed up, gained favor and then disappeared.

He was seen as a tool of Gandalf even then to usurp his place.

Denethor never got on with Gandalf - I assume he was under more sway from Saruman.

Sindarin - Eagle of the Star
http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Thorongil

Thorondor, Eagle Lord...the Lord of the Eagles.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 13 2017, 8:45pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 13 2017, 8:56pm

Post #37 of 87 (2544 views)
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Thor - thunder [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Thor

In Native American mythology the great Thunderbird combines the two aspects.


enanito
Lorien

Sep 14 2017, 8:12pm

Post #38 of 87 (2495 views)
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Denethor the White [In reply to] Can't Post

OK, a bit of a play on words, with Saruman previously the White, Gandalf becoming the White, and "White" signifying pure intentions.

Being a long-time "Team Gandalf" member, by the time I bothered reading the Appendices I had already decided Denethor was a too-proud man given to evil tendencies. Not saying it was necessarily supported in-text, but those were my thoughts.

But I believe the Appendices actually show Denethor in a better light than I had cast him. The descriptions of him are quite favorable, akin to Thorongil in every way except a distrust of Gandalf. And that, although my earlier self would disagree, isn't necessarily a sin! Just because Denethor didn't get along with Mithrandir, doesn't mean he then must have gotten along with Saruman, or unknowingly been under his sway.

I think Denethor was just a proud Gondorean who wanted to chart his own course for the future of his own people, and didn't exactly want any outside influences. Of course a subtle person like Saruman could try and take advantage of that, but I don't read any evidence of success until after Denethor's wife had died and the Steward went down a road he had previously avoided.


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 14 2017, 8:17pm

Post #39 of 87 (2492 views)
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Jealousy was a also a part of his make up. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 15 2017, 3:08am

Post #40 of 87 (2465 views)
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The story of Aragorn and Arwen [In reply to] Can't Post

Love at first sight.....

It does make you wonder why Arwen, after 2,700 years had not met a nice Elf lord. It seems elven romance temperature is set at -20 degrees. She must have been sought after by many a potential mate. Poor Elrond, his wife left- but time is soooo different for them.

Try to imagine having been alive the last 3000 years.....you would have witnessed the Pyramids being built, the Greek city states, the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire....the "Dark" Ages, the Renaissance etc etc.

Elrond, of course will lose his daughter for untold number years until the world is ended and then maybe some hope for reunion but that is not a given.

After a brief time with Aragorn, at least it feels that way for Arwen, he has the option of dying by his choice - which he does before he gets too old and feeble. She does the same thing, but chooses to die out in the open and away from Aragorn. They both choose places dear to them....but still odd they are not together. The thought of her mortal body lying open in the silent woods of Lorien is a bit disturbing.


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 15 2017, 9:41am

Post #41 of 87 (2443 views)
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Denethor and Saruman do make quite a pair [In reply to] Can't Post

Both of them are very able people - and very aware of it. They lack the humility that Gandalf or Aragorn (or, especially Sam or Frodo) are able to muster.

In different ways, they are both done down by Pride - the inability to see that the future is 'meant' to include them surrendering their authority.

I think they are both very interesting characters - there's an element of tragedy in them both; being driven to destruction by a character flaw, rather than just being bad, end of story.

At an earlier time, some of us discussed a further pairing - that each of these characters has a counterpart. Gandalf is the obvious counterpart to Saruman. Theoden - who rises above personal tragedy instead of sinking into despair, and who does his duty rather than rejecting it - is Denethor's

~~~~~~
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

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Sep 15 2017, 9:43am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 15 2017, 11:12am

Post #42 of 87 (2443 views)
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a bit disturbing [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
After a brief time with Aragorn, at least it feels that way for Arwen, he has the option of dying by his choice - which he does before he gets too old and feeble. She does the same thing, but chooses to die out in the open and away from Aragorn. They both choose places dear to them....but still odd they are not together. The thought of her mortal body lying open in the silent woods of Lorien is a bit disturbing.


I think the whole Tale is a bit disturbing - but mostly because of the shift in style. We're used to reading about Aragorn in the style of the LOTR text - detailed, and like a modern romance or novel with all that consideration of character and personality. Now we're presented with Aragorn and Arwen in a style more like the Silmarillion - they're a King and Queen from long ago. If this tale were fan fiction, I can imagine people complaining that the author had got Aragorn all wrong: he's stern and remote and uncaring, where's the compassion that we see in the LOTR main text character?

The reason (I think) is that, in keeping with it now being a history or traditional tale, the story is told true to emotion and a moral point, at the expense of rendering character or factual detail. The 'point' of it is that Arwen does in the end have to pay a price that is hard to bear - and no easier for knowing all along that love would one day need to confront necessity. The ending is deliberately bleak for that reason, I think; it doesn't have to be 'historically' likely that a much loved medieval queen-mother would be really allowed to wander off on her own, die in an unnaturally quiet wood, and be left to rot.

~~~~~~
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


squire
Half-elven


Sep 15 2017, 12:08pm

Post #43 of 87 (2444 views)
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Queer and disturbing! [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that the image is distasteful on a gut level, but as NoWiz has already noted, it seems to be about symbolism, not necessarily a documented reality.

On the other hand, I've noted before that this particular symbolism was, evidently, very very important to Tolkien for some reason.



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.


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 15 2017, 1:48pm

Post #44 of 87 (2423 views)
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I imagine more like a "Snow White" scene....she lies upon a fragrant [In reply to] Can't Post

patch of grass and flowers, gives up her life, and little forest creatures cover her remains with stones and branches.

Or, more realistically....she goes off with a small retinue that actually prepare a moss and flower death bed and then she is covered upon the hill.


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 15 2017, 4:28pm

Post #45 of 87 (2403 views)
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I wonder if the tale of Snow White could have played some part in his thinking [In reply to] Can't Post

https://dettoldisney.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/sw9.jpg

http://sensesofcinema.com/.../Tree-of-Life-12.jpg

The book says she went alone....so I imagine while she dwelt over the winter she made her private preparations.....maybe an enclosed tomb.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 15 2017, 4:37pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 15 2017, 8:52pm

Post #46 of 87 (2375 views)
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Lewis and Tolkien both hated aspects of Disney art [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.atlasobscura.com/...arnia-hobbit-dwarves

"The Tolkien Companion notes that he found Snow White lovely, but otherwise wasn’t pleased with the dwarves. To both Tolkien and Lewis, it seemed, Disney’s dwarves were a gross simplification of a concept they held as precious. “I think it grated on them that he was commercializing something that they considered almost sacrosanct,” says Trish Lambert, a Tolkien scholar and author of the essay, Snow White and Bilbo Baggins: Divergences and Convergences Between Disney and Tolkien. “Here you have a brash, American entrepreneur who had the audacity to go in and make money off of fairy tales.”

"Years later, in a 1964 letter to a Miss J.L. Curry at Stanford University, likely spurred on by the controversy surrounding Disney’s treatment of Mary Poppins, Tolkien further laid bare his true feelings on Disney’s work. He described Disney’s talent as “hopelessly corrupted,” writing, “Though in most of the ‘pictures’ proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them is to me disgusting. Some have given me nausea…” He goes on to call Disney a “cheat,” noting that while he too had a profit motive behind his work, he wouldn’t stoop to working with Disney."

However, he may indeed have been influenced by the ORIGINAL tale - https://books.google.com/...0tolkien&f=false


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 15 2017, 8:58pm)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Sep 15 2017, 11:07pm

Post #47 of 87 (2362 views)
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Is there fan fiction that uses Tolkien's Silmarillion style? [In reply to] Can't Post

Or is it all written in the more modern idiom of LOTR?

There are four lights.

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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 16 2017, 10:13pm

Post #48 of 87 (2286 views)
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The Rohirrim were a rough and ready bunch - was Helm guilty of murder? [In reply to] Can't Post

Helm Hammerhand (now we know where that name comes from) struck Freca, a man of mixed Dunlending and Rohirrim ancestry who came with men and a demand/proposal to have his son Wulf marry Helm's daughter. After some words, Helm speaks to him in private and then smites him....which kills Freca. I guess the King is the Law.

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Helm


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 16 2017, 10:15pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 18 2017, 12:28am

Post #49 of 87 (2243 views)
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We learn that Theoden was 1/2 Gondorian......Thengel married Morwen [In reply to] Can't Post

"Morwen was a woman of Belfalas, of the Prince of Dol Amroth's kin, though her family later moved to the flowery vales of Lossarnach.

Morwen was dark-haired and considerably taller than most of the Rohirrim, owing to her High-Númenórean heritage. The descendants of Thengel, including their grandson Éomer, were said to have inherited many of her characteristics, including his size.[2][3]"

Therefore, Theoden, Eomer, Eowyn had high Numenorean blood lines and were somewhat related to Denethor. Denethor
In T.A. 2976 had married Finduilas, daughter of Prince Adrahil of Dol Amroth. We don't know exactly Morwen't relationship - cousin, niece, sister etc. but we can conclude that Boromir, Faramir and Theoden. Eomer and Eowyn were likely cousins of one degree or another.

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Morwen_Steelsheen


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 18 2017, 12:31am)


Eruonen
Valinor


Sep 19 2017, 1:06am

Post #50 of 87 (2177 views)
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Dain as the slayer of Azog vs Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

JRR Tolkien mad a decision to have Dain Ironfoot as the one who gets vengeance on Azog. I wonder what led him that story line vs investing Thorin with the task of familial revenge,

We also learn more about the 7th ring of the Dwarves and how how immune the Dwarves were to its control other than inciting gold fever. It also seems to have the power to replicate or lead to more gold if gold is present. It took gold to produce more gold.
Was the film's "dragon gold mental effects" based on this ring?

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Seven_Rings

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