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Weeping warriors in Tolkien?

webpoppy8
Registered User

Jun 12, 8:17pm

Post #1 of 16 (5407 views)
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Weeping warriors in Tolkien? Can't Post

I remember reading Beowulf, the Iliad and Odyssey and being struck by the scenes of warriors weeping, recalling how dear friends died in battle. I think such scenes are in some other epics as well. Nothing in Tolkien?

I have not read the Silmarillion, but I know the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fairly well.

I remember after a few times watching Peter Jackson's Return of the King, thinking that the scene of the Rohirrim celebrating after victory would actually have been a good occasion for a weeping scene.

Does anyone know if Tolkien wrote such a scene in any of his work. Can someone better-informed enlighten me?

Thanks

ADW


squire
Half-elven


Jun 12, 9:37pm

Post #2 of 16 (5365 views)
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I think there are some scenes like that [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought of these scenes:

‘Alas!’ said Aragorn. ‘Thus passes the heir of Denethor, Lord of the Tower of Guard! This is a bitter end. Now the Company is all in ruin. It is I that have failed. Vain was Gandalf’s trust in me. What shall I do now? Boromir has laid it on me to go to Minas Tirith, and my heart desires it; but where are the Ring and the Bearer? How shall I find them and save the Quest from disaster?’
He knelt for a while, bent with weeping, still clasping Boromir’s hand. So it was that Legolas and Gimli found him. - LotR III.1

A little to the left facing them stood she whom he had called Dernhelm. But the helm of her secrecy, had fallen from her, and her bright hair, released from its bonds, gleamed with pale gold upon her shoulders. Her eyes grey as the sea were hard and fell, and yet tears were on her cheek. A sword was in her hand, and she raised her shield against the horror of her enemy’s eyes.

And there stood Meriadoc the hobbit in the midst of the slain, blinking like an owl in the daylight, for tears blinded him; and through a mist he looked on Éowyn’s fair head, as she lay and did not move; and he looked on the face of the king, fallen in the midst of his glory, For Snowmane in his agony had rolled away from him again; yet he was the bane of his master.
Then Merry stooped and lifted his hand to kiss it, and lo! Théoden opened his eyes, and they were clear, and he spoke in a quiet voice though laboured.
‘Farewell, Master Holbytla!’ he said. ‘My body is broken. I go to my fathers. And even in their mighty company I shall not now be ashamed. I felled the black serpent. A grim morn, and a glad day, and a golden sunset!’
Merry could not speak, but wept anew. ‘Forgive me, lord,’ he said at last, ‘if I broke your command, and yet have done no more in your service than to weep at our parting.’

But Éomer leaped from the saddle, and grief and dismay fell upon him as he came to the king’s side and stood there in silence.
Then one of the knights took the king’s banner from the hand of Guthl‡f the banner-bearer who lay dead, and he lifted it up. Slowly Théoden opened his eyes. Seeing the banner he made a sign that it should be given to Éomer.
‘Hail, King of the Mark!’ he said. ‘Ride now to victory! Bid Éowyn farewell!’ And so he died, and knew not that Éowyn lay near him. And those who stood by wept, crying: ‘Théoden King! Théoden King!’
But Éomer said to them:

Mourn not overmuch! Mighty was the fallen,
meet was his ending. When his mound is raised,
women then shall weep. War now calls us!

Yet he himself wept as he spoke. ‘Let his knights remain here,’ he said; ‘and bear his body in honour from the field, lest the battle ride over it!

Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, rode up and drew rein before them.
‘What burden do you bear, Men of Rohan?’ he cried.
‘Théoden King,’ they answered. ‘He is dead. But Éomer King now rides in the battle: he with the white crest in the wind.’
Then the prince went from his horse, and knelt by the bier in honour of the king and his great onset; and he wept. And rising he looked then on Éowyn and was amazed. ‘Surely, here is a woman?’ he said. ‘Have even the women of the Rohirrim come to war in our need?’ - All from LotR V.6. (bolds by squire)


I believe there are others, but I haven't the time right now to find them. I'm pretty sure Bilbo cries his eyes out when Thorin dies in The Hobbit. Perhaps these brief mentions of weeping warriors are not comparable to extended passages such as you've remembered in earlier epics? That might be because Tolkien is only evoking epic poems, not writing one.



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webpoppy8
Registered User

Jun 12, 9:48pm

Post #3 of 16 (5363 views)
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Good point, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

Those are good examples of individuals or a few people grieving. However, I'm wondering if there are episodes of "group grief."


squire
Half-elven


Jun 13, 1:12am

Post #4 of 16 (5338 views)
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Ah, that's a good one [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for clarifying. I would tend to agree with you that Tolkien doesn't do "group grief".

Whether he doesn't do it because he's consciously bucking a convention of the epic form, or because his approach to narrative focuses on individuals not a collective no matter the genre he's working in, I couldn't say.



squire online:
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jun 13, 1:44am

Post #5 of 16 (5335 views)
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Can't think of groups of grieving warriors. [In reply to] Can't Post

There are groups who mourn in Tolkien, like the people of Lake-town, but not, I believe, in the sense of your inquiry.

Treason doth neuer prosper? What's the Reason?
for if it prosper none dare call it treason.


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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jun 13, 1:45am

Post #6 of 16 (5336 views)
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Then again: the dwarves in Nanduhirion? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have the text handy, but you might check App. A to see if that passage has something like what you're thinking of.

Treason doth neuer prosper? What's the Reason?
for if it prosper none dare call it treason.


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sador
Half-elven


Jun 13, 2:26am

Post #7 of 16 (5327 views)
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I'm not sure [In reply to] Can't Post

At least, not in the sense ADW was asking. Although Thrain's grief at his father's death is an excellent example of oersonal grief - as powerful as Feanor after his father's murder, but in a different way.

One example of group grief i can think of is the dwarves of Belegost mourning for Azaghal.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 13, 5:07am

Post #8 of 16 (5316 views)
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How about Gandalf's death? [In reply to] Can't Post

That was a group weeping:

Quote
They looked back. Dark yawned the archway of the Gates under the mountain-shadow. Faint and far beneath the earth rolled the slow drum-beats: doom. A thin black smoke trailed out. Nothing else was to be seen; the dale all around was empty. Doom. Grief at last wholly overcame them, and they wept long: some standing and silent, some cast upon the ground. Doom, doom. The drum-beats faded.



webpoppy8
Registered User

Jun 13, 2:19pm

Post #9 of 16 (5281 views)
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Excellent [In reply to] Can't Post

yes, good, thank you


webpoppy8
Registered User

Jun 13, 2:27pm

Post #10 of 16 (5280 views)
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Yes, Nanduhirion a good example [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 13, 7:07pm

Post #11 of 16 (5238 views)
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Overall, this is an interesting question not just about Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

But about historical stories where all the men were manly men, and in just about every epoch and culture, men aren't supposed to cry, that's what women do, and a man loses social stature for crying. But maybe exceptions are made in war?
I was thinking that men/men-elves do a fair amount of crying over lost friends/kin in The Silmarillion, which has a darker and more archaic feel than LOTR.

It seems okay in LOTR for hobbit-men to cry: Sam does quite a few times; Frodo less often, but he realizes as they flee the Bridge of Khazad-dum that not only is Sam crying, but Frodo is crying himself; at the end of the book, Merry & Pippin show up at the Grey Havens weeping that Frodo is leaving for the West.
But back to men: at the Field of Cormallen when the minstrel sings, not only Sam cries, but "all the host laughed and wept." But that was weeping en masse out of happiness and relief, I think, especially since the war had been over for a couple of weeks by then.


Dunadan of North Arnor
The Shire

Jun 15, 11:26am

Post #12 of 16 (5129 views)
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There is of course The Battle of Unnumbered Tears [In reply to] Can't Post

Which may nominally support your inquiry, though I can’t recall a narrative containing actual weeping warriors per se in any versions of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, other than the Dwarves lamentations carrying away Azaghal as mentioned somewhere above.


webpoppy8
Registered User

Jun 15, 1:50pm

Post #13 of 16 (5118 views)
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"All the host laughed and wept" - GREAT! [In reply to] Can't Post

YES, I completely forgot about this.

I don't really agree that "men don't cry" is a permanent and universal cultural norm. It's true that "manly men" won't allow emotional distress to impede their action or affect their judgment.

But the extreme sorrow of recalling a friend dying beside you, regret at not saving him, even survivor guilt—I think that, outside times for urgent action, tears for such sorrow are not unmanly.


Na Vedui
Rohan


Jun 15, 3:54pm

Post #14 of 16 (5112 views)
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Men crying etc [In reply to] Can't Post

There were a couple of discussions on TORN a while back about this, which arose from people objecting to hugs and overt expressions of affection between men in the films, on the grounds that "men wouldn't do that". It threw up various responses from people which indicated that emotional reticence has not been a consistent cultural norm for men in the past, far from it. Somebody mentioned men in Elizabethan England kissing in greeting. I found these:
"and so the good and grey-haired Dane,
that high-born king, kissed Beowulf
and embraced his neck, then broke down
in sudden tears...
... And such was his affection
that he could not help being overcome:
his fondness for the man was so deep-founded,
it warmed his heart and wound the heartstrings
tight in his breast..." [Beowulf, c.7th-10th century, tr. S Heaney]
"Alas, Sir Gawain , my sister's son, here now thou liest, the man in the world that I loved most, and now is my joy gone"... And then Sir Gawain wept, and King Arthur wept, and then they swooned both..." [Malory - Le Morte D'Arthur, 15th century]
I have an idea that things may have begun to change with:
1. Enlightenment glorification of rationality over emotion (there was then a bit of a reaction in the opposite direction with Romanticism), then
2. Empire - and racism, added to the usual sexism and classism, made how emotions are dealt with into a marker for Us v Them. Pukka sahibs keep a stiff upper lip, letting it all hang out is for other sorts of people who are not male/WASP/upper-class
3. The final coup-de-grace was delivered by Oscar Wilde's notoriety etc, coupled with Freud and the rising popularity of pop-psychologising your neighbours. Men start being afraid that People Will Think...
I wish I knew more about this cultural history stuff.

(This post was edited by Na Vedui on Jun 15, 3:56pm)


Petty Dwarf
Bree


Jun 16, 3:56pm

Post #15 of 16 (5041 views)
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The Hobbits weeping at the Grey Havens. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not for a death, but definitely for a permanent parting.

"I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil."

"No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone."


Attalus
Lorien


Jun 16, 7:12pm

Post #16 of 16 (5032 views)
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It didn't end with the Enlightenment. [In reply to] Can't Post

How about the dying Nelson asking Hardy to kiss him? Or, earlier, Shakespeare, "If you have tears, prepare to shed them now" (Julius Caesar.) Yeah, it was a Victorian thing, the stiff upper lip and all, but even by the Edwardian era, (in which Oscar flourished) people like Winston Churchill could break into tears when a MFH presented him with a fox head. "Poor fox!," he said brokenly." (Manchester, The Last Lion, v.1) Winnie also cried when his pet dog, Rufus, was run over. "I've always been a blubberer." (Ibid.)
I sympathize, personally. If you want to get me weepy, just give me something like Kipling's "The Power of the Dog." Unsure

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!

(This post was edited by Attalus on Jun 16, 7:14pm)

 
 

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