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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Fellowship: such litterbugs!

noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 12 2017, 10:38pm

Post #1 of 21 (16310 views)
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The Fellowship: such litterbugs! Can't Post

There’s abandoned equipment outside the walls of Moria, more at Party Galen, and a souvenir hunter willing to rappel might find some battered pans in a crevasse in Mordor.

~~~~~~
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


InTheChair
Lorien

Nov 13 2017, 6:44pm

Post #2 of 21 (16228 views)
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Didn't Bill the Pony bring that luggage back to Rivendell though? [In reply to] Can't Post

They also washed nine black sooty cloaks down river together with seven or eight horse carcasses. Or maybe that was Elrond.

And Tom Bombadil left a heap of old grave-rubbish and gold just littered on the ground.


cats16
Valinor


Nov 14 2017, 4:57am

Post #3 of 21 (16211 views)
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What a waste! A topic I can't refuse [In reply to] Can't Post

Saruman and Sauron have their nasty cavernous trenches and slag-hills, and the Fellowship abandons objects rather than excrete them (I don't intend to re-introduce the 'do they ever go to the bathroom?' discussion).

Does the Fellowship, or any other 'good guys,' ever leave anything trash or garbage-like behind? I can only think of usable tools or supplies abandoned along the way. Even in Hobbiton there's never a reference to something like natural fertilizer or the natural byproduct of an organic process like farming. The closest thing I can think of is the passing reference to the amount of dirty dishes and clean-up in the wake of Bilbo's birthday party in FOTR (and the Unexpected Party too).

It's a stretch, but Sam wastes a perfectly nice apple on Bill Ferny's head, I suppose!

Also, I'd just like to say 'hello' again to the Fellowship of the Room. It's been many months since I last popped in (72k posts...), and I'm quite ready to sit by the fireside again.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 14 2017, 8:50am

Post #4 of 21 (16200 views)
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Only when they can’t help it [In reply to] Can't Post

The Fellowship are attempting to travel in secret and to avoid being tracked. I’ve never done that, and quite likely we have someone here who is more knowledgeable (ex-military, for example). But it seems obvious that you’d want to minimise the evidence you left behind (food scraps, fire ashes, faeces).

Secondly, I imagine Middle-earth would be like pre-industrial societies elsewhere: raw materials are laborious to get, costly to transport, and require any manufacturing by hand. I think that would incentivise people to treat possessions as something of value. (I think, though I might be wrong, that Sauron and Saruman’s cultures produce waste that is more like industrial effluent or chemical warfare than consumer litter).

Last but not least, several of our characters have an affinity for the natural world, so may be disinclined to make a mess.

Yes, so my accusation against the Fellowship is not fair (and was of course not meant seriously): they abandon stuff only when they must.

Welcome back, cats16

~~~~~~
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


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 14 2017, 4:35pm

Post #5 of 21 (16167 views)
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Bill the Pony [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Didn't Bill the Pony bring that luggage back to Rivendell though?


Quote
Sam stood sullenly by the pony . . . and fumbled with the straps, unlading all the pony’s packs and throwing them on the ground. The others sorted out the goods, making a pile of all that could be left behind, and dividing up the rest.

Thus it appears the Bill the Pony had a lightweight journey back to Bree.

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Darkstone
Immortal


Nov 14 2017, 6:10pm

Post #6 of 21 (16160 views)
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They were pikers. [In reply to] Can't Post

Rangers and others tend to leave caches either to retrieve on their way back, or for others:

There were some fallen rocks on the edge of the dell nearest to the hill. Behind them Sam came upon a small store of firewood neatly stacked.
'I wonder if old Gandalf has been here,' he said to Pippin. 'Whoever it was put this stuff here meant to come back it seems.'
Strider was greatly interested in these discoveries. 'I wish I had waited and explored the ground down here myself,' he said, hurrying off to the spring to examine the footprints.
'It is just as I feared,' he said, when he came back. 'Sam and Pippin have trampled the soft ground, and the marks are spoilt or confused. Rangers have been here lately. It is they who left the firewood behind.'

-A Knife in the Dark

(Similarly when I finish camping I leave behind any unused firewood for the next people to use.)

Note Lewis and Clark left three major caches along their route. For example:

We determined to deposite at this place the large red perogue all the heavy baggage which we could possibly do without and some provision, salt, tools powder and Lead &c with a view to lighten our vessels and at the same time to strengthen their crews by means of the seven hands who have been heretofore employd. in navigating the red perogue; the mouth of the Marias River on June 9, 1805, the captains decided to store some of their heavier baggage, plus some excess provisions, and pick them up on their way back...

In order to guard against accedents we thout it well to conceal some ammunicion here and accordingly buryed a tin cannester of 4 lbs. of powder and an adequate quantity of lead near our tent; a cannester of 6 lbs. lead and an ax in a thicket up the S. Fork three hundred yards distant from the point. we concluded that we still could spare more amunition for this deposit Capt. Clark was therefore to make a further deposit in the morning, in addition to one Keg of 20 lbs. and an adequate proportion of lead which had been laid by to be buryed in the large Cash. we now scelected the articles to be deposited in this cash which consisted of 2 best falling axes, one auger, a set of plains, some files, blacksmiths bellowses and hammers Stake tongs &c. 1 Keg of flour, 2 Kegs of parched meal, 2 Kegs of Pork, 1 Keg of salt, some chissels, a cooper’s Howel, some tin cups, 2 Musquets, 3 brown bear skins, beaver skins, horns of the bighorned anamal, a part of the men’s robes clothing and all their superfluous baggage of every discription, and beaver traps.— we drew up the red perogue into the middle of a small Island at the entrance of Maria’s river, and secured and made her fast to the trees to prevent the high floods from carrying her off put my brand on several trees standing near her, and covered her with brush to shelter her from the effects of the sun.

-Journal of Captain Meriwether Lewis

Now that's littering!

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”




InTheChair
Lorien

Nov 14 2017, 9:29pm

Post #7 of 21 (16134 views)
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And to top it all the remains of the tower of Durin comes crashing down on it all. Or maybe not. [In reply to] Can't Post

Aha!

In that case it would just lie there littering

Uness that watcher in the water grabbed them... 'A golden ring, and a tasty midget within reach and all I got for my troubles are severed limbs and this lousy luggage.

Though the way it uprooted and threw those trees across the door it probably left the luggage just lying there too.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 15 2017, 2:55pm

Post #8 of 21 (16065 views)
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There was that effort by a Snaga Orc and Uruk-hai to track F&S in Mordor [In reply to] Can't Post

and they mentioned the stuff the "spies" left behind which helped the Orcs track them. One could argue that innocent hobbits don't know modern Navy SEAL concealment operations, but I would say they had been on the road for months with Gandalf and Aragorn and should have learned those habits by now.

Still, I wonder how modern we're being. As recently as the 1960s, American picnics in the countryside meant leaving all your waste behind, and it took public awareness campaigns to convince people to stop leaving litter behind at campsites/picnics, or throwing it out of the car as you drove along the road. Only fussy, uptight, holier-than-thou environmentalist kooks actually cleaned up after themselves. It's nature, let the animals eat it or the wind blow it away!

Going even farther back in time, there were vast areas of North America and Europe deforested over time because people were happy to cut down trees and just expected them to grow back on their own. Nature is supposed to take care of itself. So, what's the matter with little messes in Hollin--it's a big area, and there's always wind, rain, etc to remove your litter and your tracks. And given how big the area is, and how empty, why would the Fellowship expect to be spotted as a result of their litter? (Kind of like crossing the Sahara or Antarctica today--who's going to know what you leave behind or be able to spot you in the vast emptiness?) Oh, but then aerial reconnaissance/spy satellites/drones appears in the form of the crebain, and then they seem to have been reckless in their lack of concealment.


noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 15 2017, 5:20pm

Post #9 of 21 (16043 views)
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Tracking Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

I have no idea how difficult tracking the Fellowship would be. It would seem that it's a close call before they vanish into Moria - when possible trackers include birds (perhaps most likely to see figures moving) and wargs (perhaps able to track by scent). One of Gandalf's reasons for going through Moria is that it would be helpful to disappear for a while. But that could readily backfire not only (as Boromir suggests) if Moria is watched, but also if they are known to have gone into Moria - maybe there are not too many ways out, and there's a risk that ambushes could be prepared for the Fellowship as they emerge.

Of course we don't find out whether anyone works out where the Fellowship have gone - Tolkien is eager that we don't come to any settled conclusion about who is tracking and obstructing the Fellowship in Ring Goes South. It's entirely possible that there are rival or separate forces at work, and I think one could make an argument that they thwart each other.

The Fellowship's equipment dump outside the Walls of Moria is a pretty good signal to leave that they went that way, even if they weren't seen by birds or scent-tracked by wargs. But (as per earlier posts in this thread) the evidence may have been quickly buried by the Watcher, who also blocks off the Doors against any pursuers following that way (and who knew the password). Pursuers could possibly go over the Redhorn Gate to intercept, but Carhadras has just blocked that with a big snow drift. Birds could possibly fly over the mountains to take a message into Moria, and feasibly that did happen (or, the creatures in Moria noticed the Fellowship anyway - we don't find out). But I suppose birds alone can't stop the Fellowship leaving Moria.

I'm

~~~~~~
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


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 15 2017, 5:46pm

Post #10 of 21 (16039 views)
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Littering Gorgoroth [In reply to] Can't Post

Luckily for Sam there were no Barad-dûr constabularies sneaking in the area when he:


Quote
… put aside his orc-gear; and he took out all the things in his pack. … Hardest of all it was to part with his cooking-gear. Tears welled in his eyes at the thought of casting it away.

-No greater love hath Hobbit than to lay down his cooking-gear for his friends.


‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




InTheChair
Lorien

Nov 15 2017, 10:35pm

Post #11 of 21 (16018 views)
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How shall we clean up this mess? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Sam would have gotten off with a warning.

Frodo and Gollum is another matter. The pile of rubble they created when throwing down Barad-Dur must have been a janitors nightmare.


cats16
Valinor


Nov 15 2017, 11:48pm

Post #12 of 21 (16014 views)
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Antarctica [In reply to] Can't Post

Those expeditions actually crossed my mind as I replied to the OP. The US literally left behind buried nuclear waste (in the 50's, I believe), which is now more dangerous to remove than leave untouched. And at the bottom of the Ross Sea, waste from decades of expeditions and wreckages litter the sea floor. Thankfully the current policy is 'leave nothing behind' and takes great care to remove literally every waste element.

I don't know much about the history of pre-environmentalism, so I can't speculate on how people thought about, condoned, condemned or could care less about littering and the way society handles garbage.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




Darkstone
Immortal


Nov 16 2017, 2:48pm

Post #13 of 21 (15955 views)
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And Everest [In reply to] Can't Post

A "fecal time bomb":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/...m_term=.ec7b7b142c09


There are also the many unrecovered bodies that other climbers use as guideposts.

(****Caution: Gruesome photos!!****)


https://www.ranker.com/...verest/sabrina-ithal

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”




CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 16 2017, 11:27pm

Post #14 of 21 (15914 views)
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I wonder if the effectiveness of tracking Frodo is essentially plot-driven [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Think the Black Riders pursuing him to Crickhollow, and only getting close enough when a) there was no true danger, and b) when it gave a thrill.

2. They *did* catch him at Weathertop, and we know that was not a friendly parley.

3. But then they lost him--rather conveniently for the plot--until he was nearly at the Ford of Bruinen where a nasty surprise awaited his pursuers.

4. Tracking the Fellowship through Hollin meant not finding them until they were a day's march from Hollin's Gate: then the Wargs attacked, and their howls could be heard again at the Hollin Gate. But conveniently, the Watcher in the Water attacked before they could, which was more interesting plot-wise.

5. The Fellowship was easily tracked into Lorien, but safe there.

6. They had a leisurely post-Lorien journey down most of the Anduin, until the plot called for them to be found again.

7. Frodo & Sam were never found by any of Sauron's servants until they reached Shelob. Only free agent Gollum found them in the Emyn Muil.

In sum, I think I'm playing off your comment that Tolkien doesn't really want us to know who is tracking Frodo, and how, at all times. I think he's basically found when it's most exciting. That makes the litter issue not as consequential as the exigencies of plot. But still glad you brought it up.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Nov 17 2017, 3:51am

Post #15 of 21 (15901 views)
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Argubably Sauron's trackers are too good. [In reply to] Can't Post

For the same reason you mention: it makes the plot more exciting when there are close calls. But in an area of thousands of square miles, a small party might never even be noticed by pursuers without surveillance technology.

There are four lights.

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cats16
Valinor


Nov 17 2017, 4:16am

Post #16 of 21 (15892 views)
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Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a sad situation. I do like the garbage deposit idea, even though it's mostly symbolic in practice.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




FarFromHome
Valinor


Nov 17 2017, 4:59pm

Post #17 of 21 (15858 views)
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Littering was different [In reply to] Can't Post

before the invention of plastic. Everything else will biodegrade eventually, although luckily for archaeologists not everything does! But the amount of stuff we throw away now dwarfs anything that was produced back in pre-industrial days, and even worse since the recent rise of single-use, disposable plastic that stays in the environment for ever. Most of the stuff the fellowship leaves behind, if someone doesn't find it and put it to good use, is going to go back to the earth with no harm done.

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


Nov 17 2017, 6:25pm

Post #18 of 21 (15848 views)
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shhh...no; it's all 'oft evil will shall evil mar'! [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course on one level you are right - Tolkien the storyteller makes the pursuers close in and disappear as the tale requires ('the tail has to serve the tale' one might say*).

I think though that with help from Tolkien the Worldbuilder he does manage it without things seeming too artificial, and I was amused by my reconstruction of why the pursuit was unable to cross the mountains.

*''Tail' as in 'to follow':
1)I'm reading Raymond Chandler again - such fun - hence thinking about that meaning of 'tail'
2) Tolkien didn't write the other (American) kind of 'tail'

~~~~~~
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


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 20 2017, 12:07am

Post #19 of 21 (15791 views)
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Also [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo and Sam where travelling with the Ring right on the bordor of Mordor with Nazgul flying overhead and the Nazgul didn't properly sense the Ring. Not very good where the Nazgul?


No One in Particular
Rivendell


Nov 21 2017, 2:59am

Post #20 of 21 (15737 views)
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Nazgul [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Frodo and Sam where travelling with the Ring right on the bordor of Mordor with Nazgul flying overhead and the Nazgul didn't properly sense the Ring. Not very good where the Nazgul?


Their focus was on the war and it's related efforts. Even Sauron himself didn't sense it, or so it seems.

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


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 22 2017, 12:41am

Post #21 of 21 (15652 views)
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Was Tolkien thinking of us? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Of course we don't find out whether anyone works out where the Fellowship have gone – Tolkien is eager that we don't come to any settled conclusion about who is tracking and obstructing the Fellowship in Ring Goes South. It's entirely possible that there are rival or separate forces at work, and I think one could make an argument that they thwart each other. [Bold by BG]


This brings up some quotes by Tolkien wherein he describes himself as describing rather than inventing. Things seem to ‘pop up’ unannounced (inspiration?).
Some mentions by the Master that come to mind:
The word “Hobbit” just sort of appeared on a blank sheet of paper. He had no idea what or who a Hobbit was. This seems inspiration rather than invention. (Subconscious?)
I recall from Letters by JRR Tolkien I believe. Sorry to not nail it down closer:
He was mystified at Gandalf’s failure to appear at Bag End on Frodo’s birthday.
He describes that he had never been to Bree before the Hobbits arrived, and was somewhat startled to see Aragorn sitting in the shadows, and had no idea who he was.
Moria and Lothlorien were unknown places when he (Tolkien) arrived there, as was Fangorn.
He was unfamiliar with a palantir until one was cast from Orthanc, which brought to mind a rhyme that had been running around in his head – “Seven Stars an Seven Stones…”.
I also recall that he said he didn’t invent Faramir, he just ‘appeared’ in the woods.

There’s more of course, but as you say “Tolkien is eager that we don't come to any settled conclusion” is most certainly true in most cases. Yet in many cases we could envision him as an inspired observer recording a most exciting voyage of discovery. My, what a journey he had!

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor



 
 

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