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Making for Weathertop

just_a_guy
The Shire

Dec 13 2017, 5:00pm

Post #1 of 11 (1720 views)
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Making for Weathertop Can't Post

In Chapter A knife in the dark, when making for Weathertop Aragorn says that - even if Gandalf follows he may not pass through Bree so he may not know that they are making for Weathertop. So the chance of meeting Gandalf is slim. But, The Great Road passes through Bree (entering from West side and exiting from south side of Bree). Why, then, Gandalf would not pass through Bree when following Frodo and company..???


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 13 2017, 8:40pm

Post #2 of 11 (1684 views)
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I think you hit a good hole in the logic [In reply to] Can't Post

And of course Gandalf doesnít just pass through Bree on his journey, he does the logical thing and stops to gather news there, it being the only inhabited place where he could, so the story contradicts Aragornís assumption.

One could argue that Gandalf might come warily back to Eriador and be avoiding the main roads, so for that reason he might skip Bree. Aragorn and Gildor donít know where Gandalf is, why he didnít show up when he promised, or when/if heíll show up at all, so maybe theyíre not making the usual assumptions about him?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 13 2017, 8:53pm

Post #3 of 11 (1676 views)
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Gandalf from the South? [In reply to] Can't Post

If Gandalf had been south of them, coming up the Greenway from (for example) Isengard, he could have taken the Sarn Ford road to the Shire, bypassing Bree.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Dec 13 2017, 11:11pm

Post #4 of 11 (1664 views)
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Of course it's not only a good place for meeting Gandalf [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a good place for meeting the Nazgul as well! If Strider and Gandalf and the Rangers know about it there's a pretty good chance that the Nazgul do as well. In retrospect going to Weathertop might not have been the wise move! And it proved a near disastor though it had one or two advantages even if they were a rather painful one for poor Frodo!


just_a_guy
The Shire

Dec 14 2017, 3:31am

Post #5 of 11 (1654 views)
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What about the letter? [In reply to] Can't Post

In the letter, he mentioned that he would follow them if he found they have already left. Also, Gandalf knows they are making for Rivendell. Wouldn't he instead take The Road and pass through Bree rather than taking other path because by passing through Bree he might get information about the company?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 14 2017, 4:04am

Post #6 of 11 (1648 views)
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You're probably right... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I was just brain-storming and suggesting alternatives.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 14 2017, 4:27am

Post #7 of 11 (1651 views)
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Plans can change. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Aragorn is aware how easily plans can go awry and he's just allowing for all possibilities. Gandalf and Aragorn have been traveling the lands for many years and must have found it impossible to make appointed rendezvous from time to time, so they would be used to arranging back-up plans and leaving messages at various landmarks when necessary. Gandalf might go by a route he hadn't anticipated, discover a need to maintain secrecy in his movements by avoiding towns and gatekeepers, or have some urgent matter arise (as indeed he did, not having anticipated Saruman's treachery). As it turned out, Gandalf did manage to stop by Weathertop, though not at the same time as Strider and the hobbits, but Aragorn isn't taking anything for granted.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




just_a_guy
The Shire

Dec 14 2017, 4:46am

Post #8 of 11 (1646 views)
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Okay [In reply to] Can't Post

So the events might have happened this way :
Gandalf finds Frodo has left Shire. Makes for Rivendell through Bree. Something goes awry. Goes to Rivendell not through Bree.


sador
Half-elven


Dec 14 2017, 5:24am

Post #9 of 11 (1640 views)
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Had Frodo received the letter, [In reply to] Can't Post

he would have been safe in Rivendell by now. So Gandalf might just spare himself the trouble of going to the Shire at all.

Why did he? I don't know. He probably had a hunch (his heart told him, or something) that one can't really count on Butterbur, or feels beholden to his word to be in the Shire at Frodo's birthday.

But Aragorn doesn't really know that, and can't count on it.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 14 2017, 6:48am

Post #10 of 11 (1638 views)
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Well...let's look at what Aragorn and Gandalf have to say about it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf would most likely have tried to go through Bree. But, from Aragorn's point of view, Gandalf was already two months late, his letter hadn't been delivered on time, and there was no way of knowing where he was or what had happened to cause the delay. At that point, all bets are off, especially when you know that the Nazgul are nearby.


Quote
"I am troubled, for the first time since I have known him. We should have had messages, even if he could not come himself. When I returned, many days ago, I heard the ill news. The tidings had gone far and wide that Gandalf had gone missing and the horsemen had been seen..."

"Do you think the Black Riders have anything to do with it - with Gandalf's absence, I mean?" asked Frodo.
"I do not know of anything else that could have hindered him, except the Enemy himself," said Strider.

It takes a lot to hinder Gandalf, and yet something had. Things were already very wrong, Black Riders were on the hunt, and Aragorn wasn't going to assume anything.

As it happened, things were even more messed up than anyone could have imagined, thanks to Saruman.

The letter that Gandalf left for Frodo in Bree was already a change to the original plan. Gandalf took a brief trip south for news, and had meant to be back in the Shire by the time Frodo left. He went south, met Aragorn and told him about Frodo and the Ring at Sarn Ford, then Aragorn went off on an errand and Gandalf went up the Greenway toward Bree. Radagast met him with the message from Saruman, so he spent one night in Bree and wrote the letter instead of going back to the Shire himself, then went off way south to Orthanc. The letter was supposed to have been sent to Frodo immediately and if he had gotten it, he would have left the Shire by the end of July instead of the end of September, but instead it was kept in Bree until Frodo arrived because Butterbur forgot about it. Saruman turned out to be a traitor, and imprisoned Gandalf instead of helping him. Gandalf might never have come at all, if he could not get away from Saruman. Gandalf got away from Saruman after only 8 days thanks to Radagast and Gwaihir, and was taken to Rohan, where he found an unfriendly King Theoden, who had been influenced by Wormtongue. He got Shadowfax and rode north, hearing news about the Black Riders along the way, and finding that they had split up into search parties. When he finally reached the Shire a week after Frodo left (and two months after he should have), he...well, let's get his own account:


Quote
"I came to the house at Crickhollow, and it was broken open and empty; but on the threshold there lay a cloak that had been Frodo's. Then for a while hope left me, and I did not wait to gather news, or I might have been comforted; but I rode on the trail of the Riders. It was hard to follow, for it went many ways, and I was at a loss. But it seemed to me that one or two had ridden toward Bree; and that way I went, for I thought of words that might be said to the innkeeper."


If Gandalf had waited and gotten news of the hobbits, he might have gone via the Old Forest and met Bombadil, then chosen his path from there based on what Bombadil had to tell him. Or, if he had picked up the trail of some of the other Nazgul than the pair that went toward Bree, he might have followed them instead and gone a different way entirely:


Quote
"Their Captain remained in secret away south of Bree, while two rode ahead through the village, and four more invaded the Shire. But when these were foiled at Bree and at Crickhollow, they returned to their Captain with tidings, and so left the Road unguarded for a while, except by their spies. The Captain then sent some eastward straight across country, and he himself with the rest rode along the Road in great wrath."


Gandalf might just as easily have followed the trail of the ones who went east across country, and come into the picture when they all met up as they chased Frodo to the Ford. Or he might have caught up with them just as the rest were riding straight through Bree "like a howling wind" in the middle of the night, in which case he might not have stopped there for messages, and might have followed them all to Weathertop. Or, if the Black Riders had caught up with the hobbits somewhere between Bag End and Bree, they might have been captured and taken South toward the Gap of Rohan and Mordor and Gandalf would have followed them that way. As it was, he was just after the hobbits in getting to Bree but before them at Weathertop and the Nazgul drove him far north before he could work his way east to Rivendell. There was no finding each other while they were all wandering off-road through the wilderness.

I think Aragorn was wise to consider all options, however unlikely.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 14 2017, 10:30am

Post #11 of 11 (1623 views)
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Weathertop logic [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Strider and the hobbits have to move out of Bree - the Riders maybe really will attack the Pony in force, or turn enough of the townsfolk against Frodo to get the Ring. So I imagine Strider is thinking of other places where he might meet Gandalf (or has in the past met Gandalf, when it has not been possible to make any advance plans). That, I think, balances the obvious disadvantages:


Quote
The chances of an unplanned rendezvous with Gandalf are not good.
The chances that it is being watched by the Black Riders are excellent.
Being able to spot the Black Riders from there would not be all that helpful, given that they are mounted, and so move faster than hobbits walking.

http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=658724#658724

I suppose I can add to that: Weatherop has the advantage over a more concealed rendezvous place that if one party is there, they might see the other approaching and know to wait or go to meet them (but that applies if 'the other party' is hostile too).
A disadvantage missing from the quoted list is the one Aragorn states later - it's not possible to stay long on Weathertop, for reasons including no water supply.

At the level of Tolkien writing the story (rather than the plot of the finished story), Weathertop once fitted in rather differently


Quote
In the first drafts, the hobbits go to Weathertop explicitly for a rendezvous with Gandalf: he's been in Bree very shortly before them, & leaves a message for them setting up a Weathertop meeting. While Gandalf has been forced to move on from Weathertop by the time the hobbits arrive, he's left them a stash of supplies.


In later revisions, the stash of supplies belongs to Aragorn 's predecessor in the plot, the Ranger-hobbit Trotter. Going to Weathertop partly to reprovision from his secret supply dump there would make a sensible motive: the hobbits are having to walk, travel light, and want to avoid wasting time hunting or gathering. A supply cache could therefore be very helpful, and worth a little time and risk to retrieve. But for some reason Tolkien dumped the dump: the unexplained wood pile in the dell is all that is left of Trotter's stash in the published version of the story.

In all the versions the hobbits are attacked at Weathertop - so it's a key episode. Maybe it's also one that stayed a fixed point in how Tolkien imagined the story, even as Gandalf's movements and the nature and actions of the Black Riders changed considerably.

http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=706843#706843


~~~~~~
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

 
 

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