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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A question about boltholes

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 25, 11:55pm

Post #1 of 11 (899 views)
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A question about boltholes Can't Post

As it is a feature in Tolkien's writings. But there are different types I have noticed and all have their strengths and weaknesses and I wonder which is preferable. Is it better to have a more mortal bolthole like the Prancing Pony. Of course it will not last against an attack by the Nazguy l, but it gives a bit of refuge as Aragorn said, the Nazgul are not likely to attack an inn with people and light, but of course, the travellors cannot stay there long. But at least they do know this. Then again, somewhere like Rivendell seems to be better.It can defeat the Nazgul and give a refugee and somewhere to take stock for a while. But long-term is it any better? Like Lorien, it is still only temporary. And after a while, one has to leave that place as well. Possibly it gives a false sense of security.


squire
Half-elven


Nov 26, 1:36am

Post #2 of 11 (858 views)
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What is a bolthole? [In reply to] Can't Post

You use it as if we should know what it means, but I don't. Can you explain?



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Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Nov 26, 3:10am

Post #3 of 11 (852 views)
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I'd call Gondolin a bolthole [In reply to] Can't Post

as it was created expressly to hide the Elves from Morgoth's forces and keep them safe. Numenor, not so much, as the island was given for services rendered rather than to keep the Edain out of harm's way.

The Prancing Pony? I guess it could be used for 'hiding in plain sight' - a soft target that's easily overcome, but where you can be a mingling face among many and so be entirely overlooked. Whereas if you go to a place known as a safe haven, such as Rivendell, the approaches might be watched and you could be jumped before you even get there.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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(This post was edited by Ataahua on Nov 26, 3:13am)


squire
Half-elven


Nov 26, 12:17pm

Post #4 of 11 (819 views)
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What is a bolthole? [In reply to] Can't Post

As with the previous poster, you use it as if we should know what it means, but I don't. Can you explain? Is it a term of art in modern fantasy writing - or in film theory, perhaps? I can see it has something to do with safety in a plot.



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Darkstone
Immortal


Nov 26, 12:35pm

Post #5 of 11 (822 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always taken it as a pre-arranged (usually) place to escape to when in danger. Like say a tornado shelter, or a survivalist's cabin in the woods. It fits in with Tolkien's story structure of journey/refuge/journey/refuge/etc/etc.

It's also an escape hatch in animal dens, but I don't think that's meant here.

******************************************
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"Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in
thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond
all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled
mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye."
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"Cool!!"

-Zack Snyder's The Return of the King


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 26, 1:13pm

Post #6 of 11 (813 views)
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bolthole [In reply to] Can't Post

According to the Encarta World English Dictionary: "a place of escape, especially for an animal fleeing from danger". The Secret Door in the side of Erebor was a bolthole for Thror and his family.

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

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Nov 26, 1:18pm)


Morthoron
Gondor


Nov 27, 1:13am

Post #7 of 11 (745 views)
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I don''t believe Tolkien used the term "bolthole" ever. And I mean "ever" as in "never". [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 27, 9:36am

Post #8 of 11 (709 views)
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But is that a problem? [In reply to] Can't Post

Iím not sure I understand your point: We donít have to stick only to Tolkienís vocabulary to discuss Tolkienís work, presumably?

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 27, 9:48am

Post #9 of 11 (710 views)
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Itís a mostly ďBritish EnglishĒ term [In reply to] Can't Post

....maybe thatís why it was opaque to some of us. I think it comes originally from the architecture of rabbit warrens, which enables the rabbits to vanish down an emergency escape, to the disappointment of someone hoping for rabbit stew. But Iím familiar with it meaning something a bit like ďhideoutĒ.

I donít think Frodo ever tries to hide himself and the Ring away - itís an option that Gandalf rules out early on. Frodo does move between refuges, and to me that makes practical sense (they keep getting into trouble and needing resupply). I can also see a sense in which the refuges are each a temptation. But none of them are safe, so Frodo struggles on again to the only place his problem can be solved.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Dec 1, 11:04pm

Post #10 of 11 (577 views)
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I would agree that none of these hiding places are permanent [In reply to] Can't Post

Is everyone happy with hiding places btw? Smile But a lot of them do provide some temporary relief. But the point I was trying to make was that some of them are more mortal hiding places which are just hidden, but some have a more magical feeling to them as the Elven ones. But the Elven hiding places are still only temporary really even if they feel safer.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 2, 3:00pm

Post #11 of 11 (566 views)
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I like Henneth Annun as a bolthole [In reply to] Can't Post

It's the one mortal place that feels a little magical to me, maybe because of the waterfalls, maybe because Faramir seems so noble, he's almost an Elf.

I certainly agree the Elven places feel safer than the mortal ones. And Rivendell with those flashflood rivers that wipe out enemies--that makes you feel awfully safe there.

(I'm fine with "bolthole," since it's easy to google. I learned of it a few years back when I saw headlines about billionaires treating New Zealand as a bolthole.)

 
 

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