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Book IV - Rookie Review
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Cygnus
Lorien


Mar 2, 3:56am

Post #1 of 81 (8693 views)
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Book IV - Rookie Review Can't Post

Thanks for all the help on how to maneuver around this place. Every time I get lost around here there is always someone to give me good advice and show me the way, which is why I am starting a new thread. How appropriate since Sam and Frodo also need someone to show them the way. I know a lot is mentioned about Tolkien and his experiences in WWI influencing the books. I can't remember if this has been mentioned. (I think it has....I'm absorbing so much I can't remember) but in war you have to sometimes make a snap decision on whether or not to trust someone and that decision can mean the difference between life and death. I probably would have been more like Sam, that is less trusting of Gollum. Of course Sam doesn't know what it's like to bear the Ring and that bond seems to make Frodo have something in common with Gollum. Even though Gollum owned the Ring for a completely different reason than Frodo did, there was still a bond there that Sam and Frodo didn't share. It would be like anybody who went though a traumatic event with someone else (like in a foxhole). You may have nothing in common otherwise but afterwards the trauma produces a bonding effect. I had a paramedic save my life once (although there is no way of knowing if I would have actually died or not but I suspect I would have) and even though we are only aquaintences to this day the bond we have is like none other that I have with anybody else on earth. Of course that is not a perfect comparison but bonds can be quite personal and unique.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 2, 4:05pm

Post #2 of 81 (8456 views)
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I was squarely with Sam on my first read and [In reply to] Can't Post

thought Frodo was showing signs of mental illness or some bewitchment by the Ring to trust Gollum, the same Gollum that had been hunting him across Middle-earth for the sole purpose of murdering him in revenge and reclaiming his Ring. I've grown to appreciate why Frodo made his decision, and it's fun to watch the twisted relationship between them unfold.


Saruman
Bree


Mar 2, 10:18pm

Post #3 of 81 (8401 views)
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Yeah, [In reply to] Can't Post

I never really understood why Frodo stayed his blade, but after my recent reread I came to understand his decision a little better. The moments he shared with Gollum, whether they were genuine or not, at least felt genuine enough for Frodo to develop a bond with the creature. I always thought that if I was in his shoes, I would have killed Gollum for stalking me all over Middle-earth, but hey, then the Quest might have failed.

"I have seen it..."


Cygnus
Lorien


Mar 3, 2:36am

Post #4 of 81 (8384 views)
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killing Gollum [In reply to] Can't Post

It is funny when you watch movies sometimes you feel like you want to kill the character on the screen but I suppose that just means the writer did a great job by digging deep inside you and making you feel that extreme. It makes me wonder if Tolkien was trying to make a point with Gollum by showing us that even the lowest amongst us has value. I suspect he intentionally did things in his books to teach us. Are there interviews or written papers where he explained his intentions with certain things, those intentions being he wanted to make points about real life and/or give us all subtle instructions on how to conduct our lives?
The angriest I was at Gollum is when he set Sam up by throwing the bread off the cliff and making it look like he ate it.
So, I'm getting ahead of the story here but in the movie version would you say that Gollum died happy because he had the Ring?

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Mar 3, 4:07am

Post #5 of 81 (8371 views)
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No. [In reply to] Can't Post

And I think you're in for some surprises.

As for insights into Tolkien's intentions, later you might find it interesting to read The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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noWizardme
Valinor


Mar 3, 9:47am

Post #6 of 81 (8340 views)
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Which bit was “no”? :) [In reply to] Can't Post

To me it couldn’t be much clearer that Tolkien has a point to make about the necessity of mercy, for Frodo’s sake apart from anything else- hence Frodo remembering Gandalf’s comments in Book I Ch2 (or receiving a further sermon telepathically, or whatever it is, if it isn’t ordinary remembering).

The Sam—Frodo—Sméagol/Gollum triangle* certainly works out differently in the book cf. the movies. I thought the movies were raised by fine performances by the three actors here. But I thought that the movie simplified things by (among other things) emphasising a sort of bromance triangle (who’s going to be your best friend Frodo?). I think Frodo hopes to save Sméagol, or at least to follow Bilbo’s example of not dealing judgement. But I don’t think he trusts Sméagol/Gollum as much as Sam fears. But you’ll have to make your own mind up,Cygnus.

As for whether Sméagol, Gollum, both or neither die happy, I’ll be infuriating and say “wait and see”


* Hmm - triangle? Quadrilateral? Pentangle, even, if we involve the Ring?

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


noWizardme
Valinor


Mar 3, 7:27pm

Post #7 of 81 (8278 views)
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Frodo is waiting for some help to turn up, I think [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Quote
It is my doom, I think, to go to that shadow yonder, so that a way will be found. But will good or evil show it to me?

...says Frodo, in Taming of Sméagol


So, when Sméagol turns up, perhaps Frodo thinks “oh, there it is.” He knows that big forces of doom and fate are at work.

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 3, 7:36pm

Post #8 of 81 (8278 views)
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That was a huge departure in the movie from the essence of the books [In reply to] Can't Post

Most book-firsters couldn't comprehend Frodo telling Sam to "go home" as if he had chosen Gollum as his new best friend. The book-verse has Frodo hoping quixotically for some redemption for Gollum, but Gollum is never their equal or friend, just a guide, and a fellow hobbit who had been touched badly by the Ring, so Frodo felt that in common with him. Frodo going from his Bag End attitude of "it's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him" to "now that I see him, I pity him" wasn't the same as, "Oh, look, a new friend like Sam!" [rant over]


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 3, 7:38pm

Post #9 of 81 (8276 views)
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I think those moments were one-sided [In reply to] Can't Post

with Frodo always having more hope for Gollum becoming Smeagol again than Gollum had hope for himself. Gollum may be divided between a little good and a lot of evil, while Frodo was divided between wisdom and naivete.


Saruman
Bree


Mar 4, 1:25am

Post #10 of 81 (8239 views)
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"GO HOME" [In reply to] Can't Post

Laugh I had just finished reading the books when I saw Return of the King in theaters, and I thought that entire "go home, Sam" segment was so painfully against the grain of book Frodo that I cringed. He was basically condemning Sam to die for being paranoid (which he really wasn't paranoid as we know - Gollum *was* out to kill them). Ugh. Just ugh. Hate that part.

"I have seen it..."


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 4, 2:06am

Post #11 of 81 (8231 views)
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Same. [In reply to] Can't Post

I do not like that bit, and I find that all the scenes on the Endless Stair, until Frodo enters Shelob's Lair, are not quite up to par with the rest of the movie. One thing I've never liked, for instance, is the odd zoom-in to Sam's lips - it always seems rather peculiar, and unnecessary. Frodo, in those scenes, also seems strangely enraptured by Gollum, without a clear basis for why that is, while Gollum goes from sympathetic to entirely unlikable. Just my opinion, anyway.

"We are Kree"


sador
Half-elven


Mar 4, 3:44am

Post #12 of 81 (8214 views)
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No spoilers, please! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Mar 4, 3:50am

Post #13 of 81 (8222 views)
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I think it has to do with the production schedule [In reply to] Can't Post

If I'm not mistaken, the Endless Stair scenes had a number of factors that might account for this quality gap:

1) Due to flooding conditions, these sequences were suddenly the only scenes available to shoot. The problem is this was at the very beginning of production– the strategy was to allow the cast to grow into their actors by shooting fairly sequentially. Everything else filmed was Fellowship at this time.

2) Andy Serkis hadn't even been cast. Elijah and Sean were acting against nothing.

I think if these scenes had been filmed even a bit later on, or especially long enough for Andy to be on board, the scenes would feel a bit more polished than they come across. I think Elijah and Sean would have more insight into their character's journeys and challenge Phillipa and Fran a bit more. They'd also be acting against Andy, not empty air.


sador
Half-elven


Mar 4, 3:59am

Post #14 of 81 (8221 views)
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And what is Gollum? [In reply to] Can't Post

In the movies, it seems that the question "but will good or evil show it to me?" is in doubt even after he becomes their guide - although one can argue that the Smeagol personna, too, is thoroughly corrupt and evil. That, however, is a discussion for a neighbouring board.

But this quote is from the book, and at the time Frodo and Sam are trying to avoid Gollum. Is there any chance that Frodo had a foreboding that there could be some good in Gollum (it appears he remembered Gandalf's words only later in this chapter)? And is there any - not asking whether he could be redeemed, but is there throughout the journey any tangible "good side" to him? Or is Frodo fantasizing about an unforseen friend, like Elrond said?

However, these are questions to bear in mind; no attempt to answer them can be made without dpoilers. Smile


Cygnus
Lorien


Mar 4, 4:08am

Post #15 of 81 (8215 views)
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Spoilers [In reply to] Can't Post

As I've expressed before I won't fault anybody for a spoiler. I don't want to restrict the conversation. There have been times when I have asked to not give a particular thing away that I was getting ready to read but that hasn't happened too often. You could always write at the beginning CYGNUS- DON'T READ if you're concerned. I'm not concerned though. I do appreciate all these comments. I was a little too busy this weekend to pick the book up without distractions.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)


uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Mar 4, 5:10am

Post #16 of 81 (8209 views)
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ye gods [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Most book-firsters couldn't comprehend Frodo telling Sam to "go home" as if he had chosen Gollum as his new best friend

Wow. I had no idea. I've seen snippets of the later movies and heard an assortment of details, but nobody ever mentioned this.

I suppose the good news, Cygnus, is that there's plenty of new material ahead of you. Just be ready for almost any plot point to turn out to be wholly unrelated to what happened in the films.


noWizardme
Valinor


Mar 4, 9:53am

Post #17 of 81 (8185 views)
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For me, the important point is Frodo's doom [In reply to] Can't Post

What I currently think is that Frodo's quote announces a theme for the rest of his adventure: "It is my doom, I think, to go to that shadow yonder, so that a way will be found. But will good or evil show it to me?"

I think Frodo means that *if* he's meant to get to Mordor (and poor Frodo can't come around to our side of the page and see that he's the Main Character, and we're all expecting him to get to Mordor), then there will always be some means of doing so. Very problematically for Frodo though, a correct path for him to take won't always be nice - not nice at all, Precious. He might accept 'good help' or he might have to accept 'evil help'. Probably it won't be that binary, or even possible to tell the difference. But perhaps, since we've just been reflecting on 'oft evil will shall evil mar' with Saruman as an example in Book III, this shouldn't seem too strange.

Worse still for Frodo, doom is not his friend, any more than Smeagol is. 'Doom' bears the multiple meanings of fate, judgement, and punishment. I think Tolkien chose the word with his usual exactness. The quest will, of course inflict plenty of punishment. Not (I think) punishment in a moral sense - a spanking in judgement of Frodo for wrong choices - but 'punishment' in the sense of suffering because doom (or Doom?) doesn't really care whether he's comfortable or has a nice time.

As Frodo's quest proceeds in this book, we will see several points at which the apparently impossible obstacle turns out to be part of a path to the goal. Of course, to an extent that is how fiction writing works - the storyteller has to think of interesting obstacles that keep the protagonists busy not reaching their goal until the end. But I think Frodo and Sam see and reflect upon this aspect of their adventure, and I see that as a theme rather than an authorial apology.

So in the current instance, I think Frodo is willing to accept Smeagol/Gollum as help despite the obvious risk that S/G will throttle them both and steal the Ring. There's an important (and very obviously prompted) point about mercy as we've already discussed, but you could argue that Frodo is just being practical, given his understanding of his doom. In fact (I would argue) Frodo might also consider that his doom *is* to be throttled in his sleep by Gollum, who will then achieve the quest in some way that Frodo will never know. It won't happen through carelessless (especially with Sam around) but if it is doom, it will happen anyway, and that just has to be faced.

Those are my thoughts anyway, and not compulsory for anyone else. And besides, when I post things like this other people often change my mind...

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 4, 2:09pm

Post #18 of 81 (8168 views)
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"Doom, doom, doom" said the orc drums in Moria [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, couldn't resist that pun. I'm pretty sure you're talking about a different kind of doom, but need to cover all bases just to be sure.

I think Frodo discussing doom is something that makes him seem more Elvish, since Elves are more philosophical and talk about fate as if they can half-perceive its workings. It doesn't seem a hobbity thing to discuss. It's hard to imagine Sam saying fate will bring him home to Rosie, or Pippin telling Treebeard they are fated to see each other again, etc.

So, back to the workings of fate and the earlier discussion of what's set in stone and what is free will. I dug this out of Appdx A, where Elrond discovers Aragorn's love for Arwen. He doesn't forbid it, even though it will cost him his daughter, because he perceives it as the hand of fate, and there's no good going against that. But he still has the free will to dictate bridal terms to Aragorn, i.e., he must go from scruffy Ranger to not only a king, but a King of the reunited Dunedain realms, which is setting the bar awfully high, though not impossibly so, since it seems implied that if Aragorn works hard, eats his vegetables, and trusts to fate, he will achieve this somehow.


Quote
‘“My son, years come when hope will fade, and beyond them little is clear to me. And now a shadow lies between us. Maybe, it has been appointed so, that by my loss the kingship of Men may be restored. Therefore, though I love you, I say to you: Arwen Undómiel shall not diminish her life’s grace for less cause. She shall not be the bride of any Man less than the King of both Gondor and Arnor. To me then even our victory can bring only sorrow and parting -but to you hope of joy for a while. Alas, my son! I fear that to Arwen the Doom of Men may seem hard at the ending.”

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 1061). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.

Why bring this up? I think it relates to your comment on Frodo, Gollum, and fate. I think fate (i.e.,Tolkien) dictated that Frodo and Gollum were going to meet up at some point. It could have been in the flet in Lorien, or in Moria, or other places, but it was going to happen. Just as fate/doom dictated that Frodo would take the Ring to Mt Doom. It dawned on me that Frodo is referred to as "Ring-bearer" throughout the book, never "Ring-destroyer" or "Ring-melter." That seems a tacit acknowledgment that it was his job and his fate to get the Ring to Mt Doom, and fate would work out the Ring's destruction when he actually got there since it was already known he couldn't throw the Ring into his fireplace in Bag End of his own free will.


noWizardme
Valinor


Mar 4, 2:40pm

Post #19 of 81 (8169 views)
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But of course the Moria drums go “doom” [In reply to] Can't Post

It’s far creepier than the usual onamatapia “boom” (and “doom” seems to me far too unusual a choice to be accidental). Besides, if Gandalf met his boom, instead of his doom In Moria, then the story wouldn’t be so good.

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


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 4, 4:20pm

Post #20 of 81 (8149 views)
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I had heard that first bit - but I didn't realize Andy hadn't been cast yet [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting. Well, without the wonderful genius of Mr Serkis, it's no wonder those scenes seem a little half-baked! At least to me.

"We are Kree"


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 4, 7:27pm

Post #21 of 81 (8130 views)
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I suppose you're right [In reply to] Can't Post

On the one hand it almost seems too obvious for Tolkien to choose "doom" as the sound of a drumbeat, because we'd be expecting someone to meet their doom there. For that reason, I thought he was just playing with language, the way he does with "confusticate", etc.

On other hand, maybe it's only in 20/20 hindsight that we say, "Of course the drums said all along that someone would meet their doom." It's hard for me to remember what I really thought of them on first read.

Sauron met his Boom when Mt Doom blew up. Why wasn't it called Mt Boom?? Smile


Cygnus
Lorien


Mar 5, 2:55am

Post #22 of 81 (8097 views)
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Doom Doom [In reply to] Can't Post

All this gloom and doom talk is quite appropriate because this is sure a dark and depressing part of the book. I just finished "The Passage of the Marshes" and "The Black Gate is Closed". I find myself so much more into the adventure in this part than I have in been in others. That's a bit odd since I'm such a happy person. Or maybe my happiness is what makes this part so intense...it is opposite of my lucky and fortunate life. Or maybe it causes me to remember a part of my life 30 years ago when I was at the lowest and didn't even know if I would make it out alive. Or maybe I'm overthinking this whole thing and just need to remember it's just a book of fiction and nothing more. Or maybe I should just shut up summarize by saying getting through these two chapters felt like work, both mentally and physically. Whew!
I have certainly made the adjustment away from the Company and I'm really into this trio now. Everything has been a little expected...for now at least...but nothing has been boring. Just the opposite. There were times when I nearly could smell the stenches!
I may have missed this but I can't remember anywhere that Gollum asks (verbally or to himself in his head) what Frodo intends to do with the Ring. I guess it did come up once but you would think it would be constantly on his mind. It's what he cares most about in the world so you would think Tolkien would have brought it up more often. Either Tolkien didn't put himself in Gollum's shoes very well or he intentionally avoided it. I'm guessing the second one.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 5, 3:39am

Post #23 of 81 (8084 views)
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I doubt that question has entered Gollum's head [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I can't remember anywhere that Gollum asks (verbally or to himself in his head) what Frodo intends to do with the Ring.


At the start he is utterly cowed by Frodo and how he (arguably) draws on the power of the Ring to force Gollum's subjugation. But as the story goes on, Gollum doesn't intend for Frodo to hold onto the Ring for long - so any plans that Frodo has just aren't relevant (to Gollum's way of thinking).

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

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s 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.


Ataahua's stories


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 5, 3:44am

Post #24 of 81 (8087 views)
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I don’t think Gollum wants to know [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo’s plans for the Ring. I’m not sure he’s thought of Sheldon at this point, so it can’t be that Gollum doen’t care what Frodo’s plans are because he (Gollum) intends to get it for himself.

Gollum is still a bit of an ally in the Dead Marshes, so he’s doing what Frodo tells him to do. Gollum knows how difficult it is to get into Mordor, and is likely watching for an opportunity to persuade Frodo to turn back.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 5, 3:45am

Post #25 of 81 (8077 views)
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Ha! I said almost the same thing [In reply to] Can't Post

Great minds....Cool

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