Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
***The Hobbit Read-through; Ch 9 - Barrels out of bond
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 15, 10:04am

Post #1 of 48 (2533 views)
Shortcut
***The Hobbit Read-through; Ch 9 - Barrels out of bond Can't Post

As the chapter starts, it’s nearly the end for the Mirkwood Expedition. Nearly dead from hunger and thirst and totally lost, they vote on the direction in which to struggle on, but are caught by the elves. Go directly to the elven jail. Do not pass go, do not collect one-fourteenth of a dragon’s treasure.

Welcome to this week’s chapter! As usual, here are some thoughts and questions to kick off a discussion. As usual, I’ll remind folks to please add further thoughts and questions about the chapter that you might have - it's fine to raise new things rather than this OP setting limits on the conversation.

The name's Bond...
It’s a rather good punning chapter title (barrels of drink are kept ‘in bond’ until the relevant taxes have been paid; our heroes are in ‘bondage’ in the sense of ‘imprisonment or captivity’. The barrels in which the party travel are for solid goods not liquid. Barrels used for wine, beer and water are technically ‘butts’; so we narrowly avoid the title ‘Butts out of Bond’ which has a certain ring to it, but maybe is not quite so good.

A plague on the stiff necks of who? Elf-dwarf relations fail badly
Our heroes end up imprisoned because they won’t explain the purpose of their journey. This is the third time they have been required to give an explanation of wat they are up to: is it a little odd that they did not come up with an agreed cover story? They are also indignant at the elf king for his haughty treatment – they seem to assume that travellers in desperate need deserve automatic hospitality. So much so that Balin is openly sarcastic to the elf king (compare Thorin’s answers to the goblin king earlier.) In addition, we later learn that the dwarves fear mentioning the truth – that they are on an expedition to get treasure - in case the wood elves release them only on the condition of getting a share of it. This reluctance to share will come up again, of course, once the treasure has been obtained. What’s with the king though – straightforward xenophobia? Would have been nice until Balin insulted him? An immediate though that these are prisoners to ransom, rather than guests?

How do you see the wrongs and rights of this misunderstanding, confrontation, or whatever it is?

I notice also that the goals of the dwarves mission still seem to be about getting treasure – there’s none of the geopolitical stuff about reclaiming their kingdom, yet. That may be significant – perhaps an attempt to recover or even resettle in the dwarves' homeland would have been an understandable motive to offer the elf king?

The choices of Master Baggins
Bilbo is not apprehended because of his quick use of the invisibility ring. I notice that he seems to have no thought of abandoning or betraying his comrades, though it does take him a while to work out how best to help them. I liked Bilbo’s idea “I am like a burglar that can’t get away, but must go on miserably burgling the same house day after day.”

I notice that Bilbo’s adventures here are echoed by Sam’s later at Cirith Ungol – brave spider-slaying is followed by needing to get your comrades out of a hostile fortress. I’m not sure whether this is just co-incidence, or whether there’s something of interest about it.

Bilbo’s first breakthrough seems to me to be discovering the whereabouts of the dwarves, including Thorin, thus enabling them to give each other heart. What do you make of the narrator’s comment “…they all trusted Bilbo. Just what Gandalf said would happen, you see. Perhaps that was part of his reason for going off and leaving them.”? How literally do you take this – has Gandalf really thrown them a deliberate challenge ‘for their own good’, or trusted to his sense that they are somehow fated to succeed, and if so is that reasonable? Or, is the real function of this narrator’s comment to remind the assumed child reader/listener that it will all work out OK, and not to worry too much?

Bilbo now discovers the mechanics of elvish trade with the Men of Lake-town. Goods are brought upstream to the elvish hall in barrels and butts, and then the empties are allowed to float downstream again. But hang on – last chapter, we learned that “[The elves] neither mined nor worked metals or jewels, nor did they bother much with trade or with tilling the earth” (This is in the context of why elves are hard for dwarves to understand dwarven culture seemingly having a deep vein of admiration for industry and craft.) So I wonder what the elves trade for their goods – do we ever find that out? I notice that the wine has come from far-off Dorwinion (near the sea of Rhun) suggesting a more sophisticated trade network than I would have expected from Middle-earth’s empty roads.

I have a cunning plan…
Drunken guards and butlers and a big feast give Bilbo his chance – for them to escape by barrel. For all of Bilbo's brain-wracking earlier, he ends up winging it, exploiting a chance opportunity (like Sam in Cirith Ungol). I like the dwarves fussing about this “mad plan”, and Bilbo tartly reminding them that they can go back to their cells if they have no better idea, and that he might not bother to rescue them again, if they are so ungrateful. Bilbo seems to have gained a lot of self-confidence. I also like the arrival of the crew of elves to move the barrels, and their banter with the butler – it remedies a flaw in Bilbo’s plan: that the weight of the dwarf-filled barrels would be suspicious, and might prevent them from being discarded as empties.

At this point we’re told Bilbo “suddenly discovered the weak point in his plan. Most likely you saw it some time ago and have been laughing at him; but I don’t suppose you would have done half as well yourselves in his place.” (The problem is that Bilbo cannot seal himself inside a barrel.) Honest now – who foresaw this on their first reading? I didn’t and ended up wondering how obvious it was….

I suppose a related weak point in the plan is that someone must be outside the barrels, if the others are to be let out again after the escape. Had Bilbo somehow managed to seal himself inside a barrel too, or if he got separated from them during the journey they’d all be stuck.
Generally, what do you think of Bilbo’s escape plan? I’m now wondering how on earth Tolkien thought it up!

The barrels make an overnight stop at the confluence of rivers, still inside the elvish kingdom. Perhaps this is the main trading-post with the Men of Lake-town? Bilbo has a night of sneaking about stealing his supper. I notice that Bilbo does not release the dwarves yet, and nor do we read that he does much to check up upon how they are doing – an interesting omission? I’m not quite sure what this final overnight among the elves is for in the storytelling. It looks as if something is going to happen – Bilbo is going to be caught or something – but in the end nothing much seems to occur. Am I missing some significance?

The chapter ends with the barrels being poled off into the river current again and leaving the elvish kingdom. Mirkwood, like Lorien is an elf kingdom that is left by water – only in Rivendell does one simply walk out. Is that a co-incidence, or is it worth looking for hidden meanings?

Isn’t Tolkien good at chapter-closing sentences: “They had escaped the dungeons of the king and were through the wood, but whether alive or dead remains to be seen.”

On the whole, what do you think of this chapter? To me it seems a pretty memorable one, because of the dramatic and eccentric escape. With a bit more though I see plenty of character development for Bilbo, needing to keep his nerve and his loyalty to his friends until he can figure out some rescue scheme. It seems to peter out at the end though, and I’m not sure what the last overnight is about. In the longer term, the events of the chapter work both to get our heroes out of Mirkwood, and to involve the elf king in the plot. It's getting a bit like the Blues Brothers - we now have two aggrieved peoples who will follow the party to the Battle of the Five Armies (plus, I suppose, the eagles and Beorn).

~~~~~~
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 Jul 15, 10:16am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 15, 10:06am

Post #2 of 48 (2425 views)
Shortcut
**sub-thread: the symbolism of forests [In reply to] Can't Post

As Bilbo &Co. escape by fantastical means from the fantastical Mirkwood forest, it might be timely to discuss the symbolism of Tolkien’s forests. I’ll start with q quote that I have posted in an earlier conversation about The Old Forest years ago – but it’s still good!


Quote
"[The forest is] thick wilderness. You cannot see far through it: it thwarts perception. It's a place of formless impressions you must somehow understand, of aboriginal darkness and confusion. No one in a story was ever taken to a forest and offered all the kingdoms of the earth, or invited to turn stones to bread. Jesus was being temped on the mountaintop and in the desert to show mastery, and empty sands or gulfs of air are sites that challenge the traveller's powers, divine or otherwise. But the forest is where you are when your surroundings are not mastered. In the psychoanalytic tradition the forest is therefore identified as the great symbol of the unconscious...It is dark because the fears and desires that grow here have not been admitted to the light of awareness."

Francis Spufford "The Child That Books Built" (Faber & Faber 2003: a thoughtful memoir about the books Mr Spufford read as a child, including their psychological means and effects)
(Italics in the above are the author's)

My starter idea for you is this – Mirkwood is where Bilbo achieves mastery. He becomes the acting leader of the group; the dwarves learn to trust and respect him. He must survive by literal burgling and finds it possible, but miserable. He endures much in order not to abandon his comrades. Escape follows when he has achieved this mastery.
What do you think of this idea?
What other symbolism (if any) do you like to read into this chapter?

~~~~~~
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


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 15, 10:11am

Post #3 of 48 (2427 views)
Shortcut
**sub-thread: the perils of invisibility (some thoughts) [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo is obliged to remain invisible for most of this chapter, and I found myself thinking about how that reminded me of other stories about invisibility, and how invisible characters use or abuse their power. It’s worth remembering that, at this point in The Hobbit neither Bilbo, Tolkien nor his initial readers know that Bilbo’s ring is the evil One Ring – that was something Tolkien invented/discovered later. So far it seems to be a morally neutral gadget that enables Bilbo to do new things. Therefore I thought I’d look at morally neutral invisibility first, before turning to the issues raised by the Ring being evil.


During his overnight stay at the river confluence, Bilbo is nearly caught because of his sneezing and his wet footprints. This reminds me of Griffin, the invisible character in H G Wells’ Invisible Man -who discovers similar problems about remaining concealed when invisible. A quick sketch of Griffin might be helpful for reference:


Quote
Consumed with his greed for power and fame, he is the model of science without humanity. A gifted young student, he becomes interested in the science of refraction. During his experiments, he accidentally discovers chemicals (combined with an unspecified kind of radiation) that would make living tissue invisible. Obsessed with his discovery, he tries the experiment on himself and becomes invisible. However, he does not know how to reverse the process, and he slowly discovers that the advantages of being invisible do not outweigh the disadvantages and the problems he faces. Thus begins his downfall as he takes the road to crime for his survival, revealing in the process his lack of conscience, inhumanity and complete selfishness. He progresses from obsession to fanaticism, to insanity, and finally to his fateful end.

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/...nvisible_Man#Griffin


A second invisible character that comes to mind is Gyges. I’m thinking of Gyges as he turns up in Plato’s Republic - Gyges of Lydia is a semi-historical person, and there are different versions of his story. In Plato’s version, Gyges is a shepherd who finds a ring of invisibility and uses it to murder a king and take over his kingdom (among other immoral deeds). Plato uses the story to debate whether people behave morally because of some inherent virtue, of simply for fear of being caught and punished. Gyges’ story is advanced to support an argument that anyone who could get away with behaving immorally would certainly do so. (see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Gyges for more)

Invisibility seems to me to reveal or give more scope for character flaws in Griffin or Gyges. They behave badly because they want to (or don’t stop themselves – Griffin seems to be at the mercy of a nasty temper). Invisibility gives them greater scope.

How about Bilbo then? He’s now sustained himself by theft for (we worked out last week) about a month. But he seems to take no lasting harm from it, in a story that I think has a lot of moral themes about selfishness, selflessness, and the consequences of one’s actions. The answer seems to me to be fairly easy – Bilbo has little choice, and (as will happen later) choses the lesser of two evils: in this case surviving by theft in order not to desert his friends.

Tolkien doesn’t set this out explicitly, but I notice some prompts. Early on in Bilbo’s adventure, Bilbo escapes through the magic doors at times and the narrator comments “He was hungry too outside, for he was no hunter”. The comment is immediately followed by Bilbo’s observation “I am like a burglar that can’t get away, but must go on miserably burgling the same house day after day.” A life of crime is no fun. Even when, at the end of the chapter, scruples about theft have been worn down by habit, we read:
"He no longer thought twice about picking up a supper uninvited if he got the chance, he had been obliged to do it for so long, and he knew now only too well what it was to be really hungry, not merely politely interested in the dainties of a well-filled larder."
I think this comes down to saying that Bilbo understands to steal only at need, not through the greed (gluttony) to which hobbits are prone.

Later (in Chapter 18 - The Return Journey) Bilbo repays the elven king the stolen food and drink by giving him a necklace. It could be argued that this cancels out the wrong of the initial thefts.
Notable by its complete absence in this chapter, I think, is any mention of plans to escape by violence. It is easy enough to forget that Bilbo is armed with Sting, and was laying into the spiders with deadly effect in only the previous chapter. But there’s no thought of Bilbo using his invisibility to kill the guards (e.g. to attempt to release and arm the dwarves, and then break out by force). Far from killing guards to escape, Bilbo’s first reason for replacing the jail keys on the chief guard’s belt is a merciful one “That will save him some of the trouble he is in for... he wasn’t a bad fellow.”

Because plans involving violence aren’t mentioned at all, I think it’s impossible to tell whether the omission is accidental (Tolkien simply didn’t think of those kinds of possibilities), or whether the omission is significant. But I think that it wouldn’t be going too far to say that it fits with Bilbo’s earlier decision not to kill Gollum unnecessarily.

Even before Bilbo’s ring becomes the evil One Ring, I’d argue that the power of invisibility is already a stiff test of character. Griffin comes to a bad end brought down by his vile temper and disregard for anyone else. Perhaps that would have happened, albeit less spectacularly, if he had not had his invisibility adventure. Bilbo though, seems to have an inherent morality which survives the temptations of being invisible.

Looking back from the vantage point of the end of LOTR, there is of course a further factor – since the writing of The Hobbit, Bilbo’s ring has become Sauron’s One Ring, which is inherently evil. We also now have a third possible comparison – Bilbo’s sneaking around in this chapter reminds me of Smeagol’s early adventures as Ringbearer, before he was exiled. (That can’t have been a parallel Tolkien intended when writing this chapter, because Smeagol’s back-story was invented later; but it works for me now.) It’s left for us to decide for ourselves whether the Ring ‘makes’ Smeagol murder Deagol and then cause other sneaking and prying trouble, or to what extent Smeagol is making his own choices, and the Ring only provides first a motive and them a means. And of course those aren’t binary possibilities – one idea about how the Ring works is Tom Shippey’s suggestion that it is a ‘psychic amplifier’, amplifying the darker side of someone’s personality. I suppose that Bilbo wearing the ring for this whole chapter might be thought to impose a further risk given that the Ring is evil– using it seems to be inherently damaging, and would lead ultimately to ‘fading’. But then again, it seems that intention matters – Gandalf comments that Bilbo took less harm from the Ring because he began by sparing Gollum.

~~~~~~
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


Jul 15, 4:16pm

Post #4 of 48 (2411 views)
Shortcut
Wood-elves, and Dwarves and Baggins, oh my! [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien devised some very clever chapter titles with "Barrels Out of Bond" being an excellent example.

Thorin might remember how poorly he fared when he introduced himself by name to the Goblin King. Still, Thorin's story about wanting to re-establish relations with his cousins to the east was plausible and he could have attempted to use it here if he had not been so angry at his treatment. The Elvenking does have reasons to not trust dwarves out of hand. He does not seem to immediately recognize Thorin (despite having been neighbors not long ago by elven reckoning) and for all he knows the company might be spies gathering intelligence on the Woodland Realm and its defenses. Granted, showing up at a feast, begging for food seems to be a strange way to go about that.

Ultimately, Thorin's goal is to reclaim Erebor, but he may see no way to do this without the ability to finance a campaign--hence the attempt at burglary to steal as much treasure as they can manage from under the dragon's snout. The closest of his companions (Balin & Dwalin, Fíli & Kíli, Óin & Glóin) likely share share his ambitions. Ori, Dori and Nori might have to some extent, but they were more distant relations, far from the line of succession. It is unclear whether Bifur, Bofur and Bombur are even Longbeards or if they are descended from the dwarves who came to Moria from the Blue Mountains early in the Second Age. The relationships between the Dwarves of the Company of Thorin are fairly vague in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings appendices don't fill in all of the blanks. The latter work even contradicts the former on the subject of the order of birth of Fíli and Kíli.

Gandalf was clear from the beginning of the quest that he did not intend to accompany the company all the way to Erebor. That was one of the reasons why they wanted to find a fourteenth man--otherwise Bilbo would have been number fifteen. Still, the wizard does seem to have been confident that Bilbo would grow into his role and be of good use to the dwarves before they reached the end of their journey. So, no, leaving Bilbo in charge was not one of the reasons for Gandalf's departure, but his trust in the hobbit was one of the reasons that he felt justified in leaving them.

The arrangements for trade between the Woodland Realm and the outside world might remain fairly straightforward. The Men of the Lake might be middle-men in the acquisition of Dorwinion wine, so the Wood-elves are only dealing directly with the locals. Of course, from the book alone, we don't know much about the country of Dorwinion, not even if it is a place of Men or Elves. Tolkien does write that the Wood-elves have wine and goods procured "from their kinsfolk in the South" (Lothlórien?), though in the context of the larger legendarium one wonders if such trade ended some centuries ago.

Given the circumstances, Bilbo's plan was probably the best one that could be devised other than giving into the Elvenking's demands and accepting any aid that he might offer in exchange for at least a share of the treasure. At that point, though, cutting a deal might have been a perfectly reasonable alternative to anyone other than the dwarves.

The village of the raft-elves does not seem to be any sort of trading center, but just a place were the barrels can be gathered and lashed together for the remainder of their journey to Esgaroth. The raft-elves do have enough contact with the palace that they are aware that the Elvenking has imprisoned a company of dwarves, though we don't discover this until the next chapter.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 15, 4:38pm

Post #5 of 48 (2410 views)
Shortcut
Ethics of Invisibility [In reply to] Can't Post

Griffin's fall in The Invisible Man is as much due to his inherent character flaws as it is to the problems he encounters with invisibility. He could have shared his discovery and sought out help from his colleagues, but turns to crime instead. There is a possibility, though, that his process has left his mind disordered, making him incapable of making rational decisions.

I never liked Plato's argument for Gyges and the inevitable corrupting power of his ring of invisibility. The philosopher seems to have decided on his conclusion at the outset and structured his arguments in order to arrive at his desired conclusion. Plato uses too many unprovable and unfair assumptions, and there are too many unknowable variables, to reach a definitive conclusion.

Bilbo displays his inherent good character by only stealing what he needs to survive, and by devising a plan to free his friends that avoids violence or betraying their trust in him. He could have fled; even if the prospect of backtracking his way through Mirkwood was far too daunting, Bilbo probably could have made his way to Lake-town on his own and eventually found a way of returning home.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


sevilodorf
Grey Havens


Jul 15, 6:27pm

Post #6 of 48 (2399 views)
Shortcut
The affect of invisibility upon behavior [In reply to] Can't Post

sounds like a dissertation title. Random thoughts.

Are there parallels to be seen between how characters in literature act given a means of invisibility and online behavior?

If you are given a means of being invisible you could just lurk about -- gathering information to use for good or evil or like Lucy in Voyage of the Dawn Treader who eavesdrops upon her "friends" discover informaiton you don't want to know -- Bilbo had a similar episode overhearing the dwarves after escaping from Moria -- Gollum also is said to gathered secrets he put to malicious uses

You could engage in a life of crime -- by choice or by necessity in that being invisible makes it rather difficult to conduct daily life. Face it if you're going invisible you are doing something you know you would get in trouble for if you were seen -- whether your motives be good or bad. But Tolkien later assigns a lot of weight to the fact that Bilbo took and used the ring for "good" motives. (The ring had given him power according to his stature.)

Being invisible is not all it's cracked up to be -- ask Sue Storm of Fantastic Four -- or The Invisible Man (and yes I agree he had only himself to blame for most of his problems).

The practicalities of invisibility -- Tolkien has basically anything Bilbo is touching become invisible as well -- clothing and sword. Would this apply to other people or living things as well? -- However Bilbo leaves footprints behind and then there's the sounds he makes as well as his shadow (which strains all bounds of physics doesn't it?).

There is an inconsistency between The Hobbit and LOTR regarding where the Ring seems to "take" you -- and yes, I know this ring is not yet THE RING but it's a wrinkle that niggles at my brain....
Here the elves do not hear or feel him trotting along behind them, however in LOTR Gandalf tells Frodo that when he wore the ring he was half in the wraith world. Also Frodo was able to see Glorfindel as the shining form he appears on that "plane of existence."

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com
Home of TheOneRing.net Best FanFic stories of 2005 and 2006 "The Last Grey Ship" and "Ashes, East Wind, Hope That Rises" by Erin Rua

(Found in Mathoms, LOTR Tales Untold)




CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 15, 9:35pm

Post #7 of 48 (2386 views)
Shortcut
Invisibility and theft [In reply to] Can't Post

One tidbit about invisibility is that when Bilbo is fighting the spiders, they can see Sting, but not him. But then when he puts Sting under his clothes again, it disappears with him. That seems a common rule about invisibility--it includes the wearers' clothes, though not always. But when it would make the story awkward (such as Bilbo being naked in Mirkwood to fight the spiders, then having to get dressed again), it includes clothes.

That's on the mechanical level. On the ethical level, Bilbo seems to keep enough of his respectable, honorable, upper-class Baggins side to him that even though he's officially a burglar, he doesn't burgle anything beyond food in the halls of the king. Presumably like any fairy tale king, he had gold and diamonds and whatever, but Bilbo doesn't pinch a bit of it. And if anyone had been thinking ahead, they might actually have to pay for supplies in Laketown rather than continuing to count on the generosity of strangers. But I suppose since Thorin kept his gold chain and belt during elven captivity, he was able to keep his travel money too.

It does take adults to see the downside to invisibility, doesn't it? It seems to me if you ask any kid what kind of magic power they'd like, in the top 5 wishes would be 1) the ability to fly and 2) the ability to turn invisible when you want to. Why? Because both just seem so fun. But Bilbo never seems to feel any thrill from being invisible and instead focuses on its pragmatic benefits to solve the problems at hand.

It is a nice touch that, having spent the book as a burglar, Bilbo feels the need to repay the elven-king--probably overpay--for stealing food from him which he would have received for free had he been a prisoner, but that's a different ethical debate.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 15, 10:11pm

Post #8 of 48 (2375 views)
Shortcut
Bilbo comes of age in the forest [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for leading us in another chapter, Wiz, and for getting us out of Mirkwood too. It is too bad we can't call this chapter "Butts Out Of Bond," but maybe in a future reprint...

As Hamfast pointed out in the last chapter, Bilbo takes on a whole new persona in Mirkwood. He was no help in fighting the trolls or goblins, showed no particular ingenuity with Beorn, and was a timid guest/passenger of the Eagles. But here his first impulse is to fight and kill the spider cocooning him (rather than just run away; he didn't kill any goblins in goblin-town, for example), and his next impulse is to fight and LEAD the fight to free the dwarves.

So now he's gone on the initiative again and formed an internal messenger service for the dwarves in captivity, AND he formulates the plan to rescue them, and without discussing it with anyone ahead of time, either to get approval or confirmation or improve it in some way. Is this confident planner of logistics the same Baggins? Or is it the Took in him rising to the occasion? I guess we take our pick. Maybe to be fair to Bilbo, he showed some ingenuity in dealing with Gollum, but he also displayed a great deal of fear then too.

As for the Forest overall: I think Mirkwood feels the most magically atmospheric of any milieu in The Hobbit. The mountains were dangerous and had stone giants, but then the troupe wound up underground and had goblins to deal with. There was some magical ambiance to Beorn's home, but that episode ended in a couple days. The journey from Bag End to Rivendell didn't seem particularly enchanted.

But Mirkwood does, and it is Mirkwood that would have defeated the dwarves through attrition, unlike the more immediate threats from the trolls and goblins. The forest is a place where they're never comfortable, and it almost seems incongruous that the elves can live there so happily when the dwarves and one hobbit are nothing but miserable, and from their point of view, I think it's a miserable place too. I think it's quite a relief to get to Laketown, and I think the only other place as fear-inspiring as Mirkwood is Smaug's lair. Dragons slumbering in the deep places of the earth? That seems on the same psychological level as the id in the forest.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 15, 11:58pm

Post #9 of 48 (2374 views)
Shortcut
"Both sides are wrong" [In reply to] Can't Post

That can often sound like a cop-out to me when someone describes an argument between two people, but it seems to be Tolkien's position on dwarf-elf suspicion/race hatred, and one where I think he's being just. They never give a member of the opposite race a chance to be an exception, do they? For them, membership in the race = instant guilt. The narrator seems on the fence about who's at fault, and in LOTR as the Fellowship nears Moria and the Hollin Gate, Gandalf has that great retort to Legolas and Gimli about who was to blame for their racial enmity: "I have heard both [sides], and I will not give judgment now."

Nice comparison of the dwarves' response to the goblins vs their response to the elves! But I think that with the goblins, they were in fear of being killed, or tortured to death, or eaten, and with the elves they feared none of those things, giving them room to be cheekier, even if it was self-defeating. And yes, it once again seems very odd that these dwarves set out for Erebor with no map, no clear idea how to get there, and then traveling through elven country, no prepared story to give their arch-enemies if they met them. Well, that's what wizards are for, I guess.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 16, 12:11am

Post #10 of 48 (2366 views)
Shortcut
An addendum on Mirkwood: the journey home [In reply to] Can't Post

I just remembered and re-read Bilbo's journey home, where despite being invited to the elven-king's halls, and despite having Gandalf and Beorn with him, Bilbo and his companions take the long way around Mirkwood rather than pass through it. That speaks volumes about how nasty a place it is.

Forests--bah! Who needs 'em?


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Jul 16, 12:12am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 16, 1:32pm

Post #11 of 48 (2332 views)
Shortcut
We're having barrels of fun [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I suppose a related weak point in the plan is that someone must be outside the barrels, if the others are to be let out again after the escape. Had Bilbo somehow managed to seal himself inside a barrel too, or if he got separated from them during the journey they’d all be stuck.
Generally, what do you think of Bilbo’s escape plan? I’m now wondering how on earth Tolkien thought it up!

Tolkien showed a lot of creativity in thinking this escape plan up and making it work. We've seen him borrow heavily from existing tropes at other points, but we don't groan at this one and say, "Oh, gosh, now they're going to escape by barrels in the river just like every other fairy story."

And I like your point--which never occurred to me before--that a violent attempt to escape is completely not on the table for Bilbo. No stabbing a guard while invisible to steal his keys or anything of the like. Which again shows that he's a "child of the kindly West," as Thorin tells him before the latter dies. Bilbo had no problem slaughtering talking spiders, and if you want to go Greenpeace on this, those spiders were just doing what came naturally and getting a meal (what did they eat when there weren't dwarves?). But Bilbo never thinks of killing any elf guards to help their escape.


Quote
Because plans involving violence aren’t mentioned at all, I think it’s impossible to tell whether the omission is accidental (Tolkien simply didn’t think of those kinds of possibilities), or whether the omission is significant. But I think that it wouldn’t be going too far to say that it fits with Bilbo’s earlier decision not to kill Gollum unnecessarily.

That leads more broadly to the notion of the standards of civilization. The elf king bullies and threatens and imprisons, but he follows the Geneva Convention and doesn't torture his prisoners for the information he wants and also feeds them well. That's similar to Beorn, who had his animals feed his guests while he was away and without asking for anything in return, because that's what civilized hosts do.

Contrast that with goblin behavior. And I was even thinking of how the orcs kill each other in fights in LOTR without any reservation or sense of punishment for it, yet we have 13 dwarves and a hobbit on this long, long quest, and they never get into a fight and kill or even hurt each other; they just use the harsh language of frustration, even later when Bilbo betrays them with the Arkenstone. The code of ethics Tolkien sets for his characters seem to rise to the top of every situation.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 16, 3:09pm

Post #12 of 48 (2324 views)
Shortcut
Well... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Contrast that with goblin behavior. And I was even thinking of how the orcs kill each other in fights in LOTR without any reservation or sense of punishment for it, yet we have 13 dwarves and a hobbit on this long, long quest, and they never get into a fight and kill or even hurt each other; they just use the harsh language of frustration, even later when Bilbo betrays them with the Arkenstone.


Thorin does come very close to hurling poor Bilbo off the battlements at Erebor, and is probably only stopped by the words of Gandalf below. At the same time, Thorin is not his old self by then and is suffering from the effects of dragon-sickness (or if you don't believe that, he might as well be dragon-sick).

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 17, 11:10am

Post #13 of 48 (2290 views)
Shortcut
Invisibility - consequences and mechanisms (more ramblings) [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Tolkien is interested in the consequences of invisibility rather than mechanisms If I think about mechanisms, I get the feeling that it doesn't really work. But that's an example of the issue we were discussing under last week's heading - it isn't necessarily going to work to go all sciency-wiency over a fantasy story that has its roots in fairytale.

HG Wells (who of course does go all mechanistic) spends some time explaining how in principle the invisibility works. It does give him some important consequences - that Griffin can't easily reverse his invisibility, and that his clothes, or food that he eats are not invisible. Otherwise though, that mechanistic portion isn't my favourite bit of the book.

Bilbo becomes invisible reversibly, and so do his clothes and things he's carrying (with the interesting exception of Sting when it is drawn). But it doesn't seem like the mechanism is that anything he's touching becomes invisible otherwise he'd easily be detected by a patch of invisible floor. The same objection prevents, I think, the idea that anything within a certain distance of a ring-wearing Bilbo becomes invisible. Other, more ingenious theories might be proposed for fun, but personally I don't think it matters much - the story is about consequences, and provided that the lack of a mechanism doesn't become a noticeable plot hole, then I don't mind that the mechanism doesn't survive fridge logic. I wonder whether Tolkien gets away without attracting suspicion because the ring makes invisible a sort of common-sense notion of a person (including their clothes and any partially undigested food etc.).

I was thinking a bit about Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. That doesn't have exactly the same mechanistic problems as the ring, because it seems reasonable that anything covered by the cloak is invisible, but only for so long as it is covered. I can't remember whether the cloak itself is invisible in the books - it must presumably be itself invisible during use? But that's a bit of a tangental problem: Rowling, like Tolkien is interested in consequences, and gives us no more mechanism than she must in order to get her heroes on their way.

Mr Potter, like Bilbo, refutes the idea from Republic that a superpower like invisibility would inevitably lead to immoral behaviour. Potter could, presumably use the cloak for petty theft, malicious spying, voyeurism, tampering with Slytherin's Quiddich brooms, or other bad things - but he doesn't. Most likely he's just not like that (being, like Bilbo the hero of a childrens' story), Also he has other things to do, more relevant to Rowling's plots.

This brings up a thought about friendship. Bilbo, like Potter, is loyal to and supported by friends. Bonds of friendship can enforce moral codes - Frodo wonders what Gandalf would say (e.g. in the Barrow); I wonder what Hemionie would say about invisible larceny etc. unless it was justified by the group's investigations. By contrast, Griffin is already an isolated, obsessed psychopathic character before he becomes invisible - he hides his work from his Professor, and steals from his father to fund his research. Similarly, Smeagol murders his best (perhaps only?) friend early on, and like Griffin is left without help as his problems mount.

I liked sevildorf's parallel between invisibility and online trolling in real life. One might argue that it counters the argument that invisibility *inevitably* leads to immorality - given the apparent anonymity of the Internet, some people become disgusting trolls, but many do not. I was also thinking about the 'dropped wallet' experiments done by psychologists or journalists. In these, wallets containing some cash and some form of contact details are deliberately left in public places. Some wallets are returned, with the cash and other property intact. No actual invisibility is involved here, of course, but perhaps the parallel is clear enough - someone finding the wallet most likely has the opportunity to just pocket the money without consequences, but some finders nevertheless return it.

So I'm agreeing with everyone here - Bilbo or Potter behave well despite having invisibility powers, and it seems perfectly plausible that they would make those choices. Perhaps it is in part because neither story is *about* invisibility. If Invisibility becomes a theme perhaps it has to lead to trouble. A story built around someone becoming invisible and having a great time might be all that an audience of small children want, but an older audience would be expecting consequences, I think ("it isn't natural, and trouble will come of it").

As I've said, I'm not sure whether Tolkien was thinking about consequences of invisibility in The Hobbit. Of course he is thinking about consequences of using the Ring in LOTR. But there's been a subtle change, in that the Ring's usefulness as an invisibility gadget has been pretty much nullified. Frodo mustn't use it for fear of detection or corruption, and when he does, it often seems to me that invisibility is more like a manifestation of his wish to hide from the Black Riders (or, perhaps, to be found by them). This isn't always true - I see that the Ring enables Frodo to escape from Boromir, for example - but it is often true. I suppose that is invisibility as a different metaphor, also used elsewhere. For example, in the first Incredibles movie, invisibility seems a suitable superpower form the agonisingly shy and insecure teenage daughter of the family. And there's a second book called The Invisible Man (this one by Ralph Ellison, 1952) I haven't read this, but I understand it's titular narrator is not literally invisible: he's talking about the unwillingness of others to see (as in acknowledge or appreciate) him.

~~~~~~
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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 17, 12:15pm

Post #14 of 48 (2286 views)
Shortcut
That seems the key point [In reply to] Can't Post

This isn’t “The Invisible Hobbit,” where invisibility is the central topic to develop and explore, it’s “There and Back Again,” where the central focus is the adventure, and everything else is tangential. So when Eagles big enough to carry full-grown men like Gandalf appear, that’s tangential, and we don’t spend a lot of time asking how much bigger than real eagles they have to be in order to do this, or if they are just a little bigger than usual but have magical powers to lift people, or what are the physics involved in giant birds strong enough to lift people but so heavy themselves they can’t take off from a stationary position? But it’s not “The Eagles of Middle-earth and Their Ways and Customs,” it’s “The Hobbit,” so we let all that go. We would expect more answers if the book’s central focus was the eagles.

And we seem to have undefined thresholds of what we’ll skip over. How does the Shire have tea, for example? Oh, just let it go. But if Bilbo finishes up at Erebor and pulls out his Mark-35A Rocket Plane and flies home that way, we would object.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 17, 12:19pm

Post #15 of 48 (2286 views)
Shortcut
Re: Invisibility - consequences and mechanisms (more ramblings) [In reply to] Can't Post

Invisibility in science fiction seems to be more problematic in science fiction than in fantasy. H.G. Wells might have failed to hit upon one of the greatest complications to full invisibility: If visible light is passing through a person's body with no inhibition than it is doing the same with the subject's eyes, effectively rendering them blind. Griffin should have been unable to see.

The slight shadow that the invisible Bilbo casts in The Hobbit could be seen as an indicator that the hobbit is receiving just enough light to enable him to still see, though the mysterious nature of the invisibility probably plays a much greater part in that.

That the wearer of Rowling's invisibility cloak can still see to move about might be because the crafter of the mantle actually took such considerations into account when weaving the spells into its making. Magic is itself mysterious and we don't need the details involved in its crafting.

Another form of magical invisibility might be the creation of a Glamour, a magic that does not literally render one invisible to sight, but causes the perceptions of others to effectively ignore the presence of the subject or subjects. If you are glamoured, you can be standing before someone in plain view, but the vision of the other person will just glide over and past you without taking note of your presence. The Fae of myth and legend are often credited with such an ability.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 17, 12:30pm

Post #16 of 48 (2281 views)
Shortcut
Tangential Topics [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
And we seem to have undefined thresholds of what we’ll skip over. How does the Shire have tea, for example? Oh, just let it go. But if Bilbo finishes up at Erebor and pulls out his Mark-35A Rocket Plane and flies home that way, we would object.


Such topics are not beyond discussion so much as few readers seem to find them interesting enough to explore in detail. For instance: It seems likely that, like pipeweed, tea and coffee were introduced into Eriador by the Númenóreans, with supplies being maintained through trade. That tobacco ceases to be found in the North in later years might be attributed to a blight that appeared in a later age and destroyed the pipeweed crops of the Shire. Or perhaps the crops were simply lost because of the unknown event that brought about the transition from Middle-earth to the modern world.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 17, 1:38pm

Post #17 of 48 (2276 views)
Shortcut
Have folks read 'There and back again' by Max Merriwell (Pat Murphy really)? [In reply to] Can't Post

It is a science fiction 'space opera' that concerns the adventures of a 'norbit' and which quite intentionally parallels The Hobbit. The author said it is intended "both an enormous joke and a serious meta-fictional experiment". It is (as far as I got anyway) quite ingenious

I read some of it on a holiday once, and my failure to finish it as holiday reading wasn't because it was bad; it had a lot to do with WizKids and WizNieces wanting to play badminton and other sports on the one hand, and my WizInLaws wanting to drink beer on the other. (It was best, I discovered, to do those activities in a certain order). But in my limited time for reading, I did form a dislike for the Relentless Explanations. A character cannot get out an 'EMP grenade' without the action stopping for a narrative discursus about what such a grenade is and how it works. Compare Tolkien where Gandalf can chuck the equivalent of a flash grenade that the goblins, but no explanation is needed, 'cause 'es a wizard, 'arry. Whether Murphy was conforming to the tendency of 'hard' science fiction to set the reader a puzzle, or whether she was sending that up, I didn't decide.

Either way, it seems to be about what level of information readers want not to call 'plot-hole' and when they are willing to take giant eagles and wing it.
.
.
.
African or European Giant Eagles?

~~~~~~
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


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 17, 1:50pm

Post #18 of 48 (2274 views)
Shortcut
I wonder what hospitality norms are in Middle-earth [In reply to] Can't Post

In Ancient Greece they had 'guest-friendship' "xenia" a stranger was automatically a guest, and misbehaviour of host or guest was an offence against Zeus (who was also inclined to 'mystery diner' inspections, such that the ragged stranger who'd turned up at your house might really be a god with a bad temper about poor hospitality).

Germanic or Norse models are more likely than classical for Tolkien, but I think I'm right in saying the Norse gods too travelled around incognito, and expected hospitality.

Certainly in 3rd age Middle-earth guests are greeted with a lot of food, from the Unexpected Party onwards. Slinging your unexpected visitors into jail until they talk might be a big transgression?

~~~~~~
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


Jul 17, 2:14pm

Post #19 of 48 (2272 views)
Shortcut
African or European Giant Eagles? [In reply to] Can't Post

Seemingly European Eagles (though none seem to have survived into the modern age). Though it may be that some of their African (or more properly: Haradian) cousins founded colonies in what is now New Zealand and were the progenitors of what became the Haast's eagle. And Disney Studios seemingly located a remnant of the Great Eagles still extant in Australia.



Sorry, though. I've never encountered Pat Murphy's book.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 17, 2:26pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 17, 2:25pm

Post #20 of 48 (2268 views)
Shortcut
Rules of Hospitality [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure that cultural norms of hospitality could vary quite a bit even in Middle-earth. We could speculate on how the influence of Sauron on the peoples of the East and the South might have affected such traditions and customs. But circumstances seem to dictate many of the details. The Company of Thorin were not only uninvited guests in Mirkwood, but were also seen as intruders and possible spies. As such, they were not subject to normal rules of hospitality but to the sufferance of the Elvenking. I'm not saying that if the dwaves had been more cooperative they would have been treated as honored guests, but they might have received aid and have been allowed to continue on their way (with conditions?), even escorted to Lake-town or given a ride by boat or raft. Still, one wonders at what a Vala in disguise among them (in the tradition of Odin and other gods) would have thought of this treatment.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 17, 2:31pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 17, 2:37pm

Post #21 of 48 (2262 views)
Shortcut
**speculation corner: what if Gandalf had stayed on? [In reply to] Can't Post

What if Gandalf has come with them?

Would the rations have run out?
Would they have left the path?
Would some deal have been possible with the elf king?

and so on.

On the other hand, Bilbo would not, perhaps, have had an opportunity for growth as a character.

Speculate away! There are of course no set answers. But Stan Lee style no-prizes to well-argued or entertaining suggestions.

~~~~~~
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


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 17, 2:50pm

Post #22 of 48 (2254 views)
Shortcut
I was thinking more Monty Python than palaeontology... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but you probably knew that Smile

Still here's the problem of what African or European swallow - I mean eagles - could or could not carry
https://youtu.be/liIlW-ovx0Y
(Links to video clip from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

~~~~~~
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


Jul 17, 3:05pm

Post #23 of 48 (2258 views)
Shortcut
If Gandalf had remained with the company. [In reply to] Can't Post

What if Gandalf has come with them?

I don't see that happening unless the wizard had received word that no action would be taken against the Necromancer at that time. But let's assume for the sake of argument that that was the case.

Would the rations have run out?

Possibly; but no sooner than they did in the book. Gandalf would have had his own share of the supplies that he would have taken with him when he departed for his rendezvous.

Would they have left the path?

Gandalf would have surely attempted to keep the rest of the company on the Elf-path unless he saw no other way of continuing. But dwarves will be dwarves.

Would some deal have been possible with the elf king?

Interesting. Gandalf would surely have carried some influence with Thranduil and could have acted as an intermediary between the Elf-king and the dwarves. If allowed to speak on their behalf, he could have offered a reasonable explanation for their presence that Thranduil might have accepted while avoiding revealing their true purpose. Even if events didn't go quite that smoothly, he could have prevented the company from being imprisoned and secured some measure of aid from the Wood-elves. However, as you say, that would have prevented Bilbo from having an opportunity to shine here and gain the dwarves' respect and trust.

On the other hand, Gandalf might have been caught unaware by the giant spiders as well as the dwarves and also might have needed rescuing. Bilbo would have still been able to shine here as he frees the wizard and the others.

Then we have the additional question of whether Gandalf would have remained with the others for the remainder of the quest, or if he would have left them in the Woodland Realm or at Esgaroth (to meet his fellow wizards near the south end of Mirkwood, maybe at Rhosgobel)?

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


noWizardme
Valinor


Jul 17, 3:08pm

Post #24 of 48 (2250 views)
Shortcut
If there must be a mechanism... [In reply to] Can't Post

Finding a suitably ingenious mechanism for invisibility is (I think we've agreed) a harmless pass-time for those interested, rather than essential to understanding either the story or Tolkien's intentions etc. Ah here's that link I bookmarked a while back - probably my favourite 'solution' in this game:


Quote
As far as I can tell from the books (and these examples in
particular), the Ring only influences light which passes through a
"skin" around its wearer, and in fact, only light which first hits the
_outside edge_ of that "skin."

In more detail, light running into the "skin" from the outside simply
passes along without being affected by anything inside (or at least,
not much; more on this later). Thus, we can see right through the
wearer, as if he were not there. On the other hand, light which runs
into the "skin" from the inside is not affected. Hence, light sources
borne by the wearer (magical or not) are visible on the outside to
precisely the extent that they would be if the Ring were not involved
at all.

This is really quite a good idea, when it comes right down to it.
Among other things, heat can be emitted as (infrared) light, and it
would be very bad for the Rings to interfere with their wearers'
abilities to regulate their body temperatures. Also, it means that
the Ring only needs to "worry about" a one sided, two dimensional
surface, rather than a full three dimensional volume, which has got to
make its job much easier.

Of course, the Ring's ability to stop influences on incoming light is
clearly not perfect: Bilbo's shadow in _The Hobbit_ is testament to
that. However, I don't think we can tell if this "flaw" was
intentional or not.

Finally, (but briefly, as I need to go), I think that the Ring depends
on a sentient being wearing it to be activated (so Frodo's finger
alone didn't cut it). Once the Ring was activated, the wearer would
have some degree of personal control over its operation. For the weak
and/or untrained, that would consist only of a subconscious list of
what counted as "carried" and what did not. For the strong, the
invisibility could be easily limited, as Galadriel confined
invisibility to her Ring alone.

Steuard Jensen

http://oakroadsystems.com/...tm#Jensen_1998-09-08
part of "FAQ of the Rings" http://oakroadsystems.com/...aq.htm#Q0-InvClothes



Missing from this quote is the idea that wearing the Ring pulls the wearer into the wraith world (whatever that means). Perhaps the 'skin' is a bubble of wraith world. A ring-wearer is not invisible to the Nazgul, nor to Tom Bombadil, and presumably wouldn't be invisible to Glorfindel, living as he does in both worlds at once. But it does to get past goblins wood elves and dragons.

Then again, there's probably some objection to this idea, and of course it doesn't really matter (to me anyway) if there's no workable solution, or if the whole thing is a bit like Mornington Crescent*
.
.
.
*Mornington Crescent is an ancient and fiendishly complicated but peculiarly British game, involving naming London underground stations until the winner is able to announce 'Mornington Crescent'. A discussion of the game may be found here, though it is really of course quite incomplete as it lacks a description of Limsky's Gambit https://en.wikipedia.org/...gton_Crescent_(game)

~~~~~~
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


Jul 17, 3:10pm

Post #25 of 48 (2250 views)
Shortcut
If nothing else... [In reply to] Can't Post

...they could grasp things by the husk! Easier for Eagles to grasp large objects than it is for swallows though.

Yes, I'm well-familiar with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but I wanted to get to the Golden Eagle of The Rescuers Down Under.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison

First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.