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Jul 25 2018, 4:12am

Post #1 of 5 (1393 views)
Istari Can't Post

JRR Tolkien says 2 Istari do not come into these stories. But, are we sure Eown is a sister of Eomer? Or is she a hidden Istari? Am I reading too much into this?

But then I remember, she introduced herself as Durnhelm. Eowyn in disguise?

Does the name Durnhelm appear in any other stories? Yes, Joan of Arc. I don't remember which version.

The character Elminster appears in Robin Hood, 1905, author Buckingham.

Sancta Philomena Ora Pro Nobis

(This post was edited by dlnewhouse on Jul 25 2018, 4:21am)


Jul 25 2018, 12:12pm

Post #2 of 5 (1352 views)
Shippey and Christopher Tolkien had a noted dispute about this [In reply to] Can't Post

Shippey notably and properly deferred to Mr. Tolkien on the issue of the mysterious Blue Wizards, the two 'missing' Istari that you asked about. Until, that is, he re-read the footnote in The War of the Ring (HoME VIII) that referred to Dernhelm's (Eowyn in disguise) carrying his "staff" before him on his horse, to Merry's great discomfort. Looking further, Shippey found two references to the princess of the Rohirrim wearing blue garments in HoME VII, when she was first introduced - in the company of a second maiden-in-waiting to the King!

Shippey's conclusion, as you note (or did you discover this independently?), was that at least in his early drafts Tolkien did imagine the two Istari as both female, and living in disguise in the court of Theoden. Presumably they were to counter Saruman's influence.

As Shippey acknowledges, this idea was never developed, and Tolkien repurposed the magical princesses into just one 'shield-maiden', wielding a sword, not a staff, and madly in love with gallantry and the Ranger from the North. A great story it is, too, and probably better and stronger in the overall arc of the epic than having two additional wizards in the same theater of campaign as the two acknowledged ones, Gandalf and Saruman.

But Christopher Tolkien let it be known, via his usual means of talking to French reporters, that Mr. Shippey had strayed badly from his usual penetrating understanding of the elder Tolkien's methods of composition. According to CT, the 'blue' references were to mood and outlook, not clothing, indicating the newly-imagined Eowyn and her sister as depressed, not magically clad. And the staff reference, poking uncomfortably into the little hobbit on the horse, besides being excised in revision, was more of a vulgar old-boys-school joke by his father composed after a late night out with the Inklings, than any serious attempt to sneak a magical tool into the battle with the forces of Mordor.

It's hard for us mere mortals to contest interpretations with these two towering doyens of Tolkien scholarship. I am glad you brought it up, though.

I am rather lost by your reference to Elminster, the fictional fantasy character from another series, and to Durnhelm, mis-spelled as a variant on Dernhelm. But that's for another post, as I have to go to work now.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Jul 25 2018, 2:19pm

Post #3 of 5 (1340 views)
You have a cruel sense of humor, Squire. [In reply to] Can't Post

Positively: Evil

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


Jul 25 2018, 9:57pm

Post #4 of 5 (1321 views)
Later known as the blues brothers of Middle-earth, [In reply to] Can't Post

they first appeared in Edoras at the time of the great termite plague, selling pesticide which they carried in little carts they towed, so they became originally known as "the two towers."

Eowin always carried in secret a stolen palantir under the robes (a method later employed by lesser wizards,) obsessively using it for discovering who at the present time had become fashionably renowned in Middle-earth. It led people to wrongfully think Eowin was pregnant. Myth became legend, legend became history and eventually Eowin was whitewashed into ladyhood.

The other brother wizard became known as king's counsellor Grima blue tongue, a wizened fellow affectionately called by his henchmen as "Sharpei."

In the original tale it was Rohan under the Blues brotherhood who were allies with Sauron, whom they provided with black horses and wargs raised at the Howls Deep fortress.

Escaping the ruins of Middle-earth after the disastrous Age of Men, they returned to evil blues business and are nowadays known by the aliases Steven Tyler and Keith Richards. So, even if the real Eowin failed to marry Aragorn, she set up a trap and married her daughter to him, which seems strange and marvelous in a most Tolkienian way.


Jul 29 2018, 10:58am

Post #5 of 5 (1230 views)
Wasn't 'Howls Deep' originally a moving castle? // [In reply to] Can't Post


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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