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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
Elros' ears and other problems
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fantasywind
The Shire

Sep 18, 3:19pm

Post #51 of 77 (755 views)
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Sauron, Ring, Numenor and Tolkien final word [In reply to] Can't Post

As much as this is amusing, I would honestly say that Tolkien letters cannot be ignored as a source no matter in what state Tolkien was when he wrote them. As I said earlier Tolkien sometimes did forgot things he wrote earlier or changed his mind as his stories developed some coherence and continuity but that doesn't mean his word on the matters that fans asked him about cannot be trusted, who otherwise would say what's a 'fact' what's not if not the author himself?

It also should be noted that Tolkien often felt obliged to make stories internally consistent. There is one interesting example of things he felt he needed to explain, the norse names of Dwarves used in The Hobbit explaining it in essay Of Dwarves and Men in the Peoples of Middle-earth, where he also had moment where he strove for consistency but ultimately found there's no problem, concerning the runes Dwarves use of ultimately elven origin (Daeron runes) and the statement in the Hobbit that 'moon-letters' were invented by Dwarves.

This indeed shows that Tolkien tried as much as possible to connect the dots even taking The Hobbit into consideration.

As far as the Ring in Numenor is concerned I see nothing wrong with showing it there, especially since logical move for Sauron would be to take it (after all when not wearing it Sauron would purposefully lower his power which is stupid, with it on his finger Sauron is stronger). Also one thing when all is said and done the One Ring is a mind control tool, it allows for far better and more efficient dominating of minds (beings like Ainur could certainly do this mental domination thing on their own, with their own minds, but the Ring would be a much easier in this, an artifact which would make the task easier and more efficient would be desirable for Sauron). Leaving the Ring would be like crippling yourself or removing the advantage you have, so leaving it would be stupidity. Second Sauron and the Ring were never in danger and Sauron did not know or believe that Numenor will become totally destroyed, and certainly he did not believe that the Valar or their emissaries would arrive on Numenor especially since such a thing haven't happened since the Numenoreans ideological conflict with Blessed Realm and rejecting their teachings.

Ar-Pharazon as per the letter itself, did not know anything of the Ring, in fact the Rings of Power were known only to few, the knowledge about them was kept secret (Dwarven lords kept secret their rings, and only members of royal family would know of them etc.) so that's not a problem also Sauron could well veil and hide the Ring just like the bearers of the Three could (after all in 'earlier incarnations' Sauron could veil his power in physical form), in the War of the Last Alliance, Sauron shape would be terrifying and unable to hide his might and power and true nature, hence:


Quote
"It was hot when I first took it, hot as a glede, and my hand was scorched, so that I doubt if ever again I shall be free of the pain of it. Yet even as I write it is cooled, and it seemeth to shrink, though it loseth neither its beauty nor its shape. Already the writing upon it, which at first was as clear as red flame, fadeth and is now only barely to be read. It is fashioned in an elven-script of Eregion, for they have no letters in Mordor for such subtle work; but the language is unknown to me. I deem it to be a tongue of the Black Land, since it is foul and uncouth. What evil it saith I do not know; but I trace here a copy of it, lest it fade beyond recall.
....
The Ring misseth, maybe, the heat of Sauron's hand, which was black and yet burned like fire, and so Gil-galad was destroyed; and maybe were the gold made hot again, the writing would be refreshed.


As the letter of Tolkien has it:


Quote
Ar-Pharazôn, as is told in the ‘Downfall’ or Akallabêth, conquered a terrified Sauron’s subjects, not Sauron. Sauron’s personal ‘surrender’ was voluntary and cunning*: he got free transport to Numenor! He naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of most of the Númenóreans. (I do not think Ar-Pharazôn knew anything about the One Ring. The Elves kept the matter of the Rings very secret, as long as they could. In any case Ar-Pharazôn was not in communication with them. In the Tale of Years III p. 364 you will find hints of the trouble: ‘the Shadow falls on Numenor’. After Tar-Atanamir (an Elvish name) the next name is Ar-Adunakhôr a Númenórean name. See p. 315.2 The change of names went with a complete rejection of the Elffriendship, and of the ‘theological’ teaching the Númenóreans had received from them.)

Sauron was first defeated by a ‘miracle’: a direct action of God the Creator, changing the fashion of the world, when appealed to by Manwë: see III p. 317. Though reduced to ‘a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind’, I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended. That Sauron was not himself destroyed in the anger of the One is not my fault: the problem of evil, and its apparent toleration, is a permanent one for all who concern themselves with our world. The indestructibility of spirits with free wills, even by the Creator of them, is also an inevitable feature, if one either believes in their existence, or feigns it in a story.

Sauron was, of course, ‘confounded’ by the disaster, and diminished (having expended enormous energy in the corruption of Númenor). He needed time for his own bodily rehabilitation, and for gaining control over his former subjects. He was attacked by Gil-galad and Elendil before his new domination was fully established.


Other matters that need to be resolved would be concerning various versions differing background for Galadriel and Celeborn history from UT. The use of name Annatar (used in the Silm, 'Of the Rings of Power..') or UT used Aulendil, Artano, probably solved by simply being all used :)or when exactly Gil-galad and Cirdan and Elrond received the Rings (one version has Gil-galad the two of the Three Vilya and Narya and later distributing it to Cirdan, while giving Elrond Vilya before Last Alliance the other version has Cirdan getting Narya immediately from Celebrimbor).


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 18, 3:58pm

Post #52 of 77 (749 views)
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Yup. [In reply to] Can't Post

The best thing for the TV show to do is duck. Just avoid the issue. If any bullet-counters in the audience object, then the writers can blame Tolkien for it!


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 18, 4:06pm

Post #53 of 77 (751 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Other matters that need to be resolved would be concerning various versions differing background for Galadriel and Celeborn history from UT. The use of name Annatar (used in the Silm, 'Of the Rings of Power..') or UT used Aulendil, Artano, probably solved by simply being all used :)or when exactly Gil-galad and Cirdan and Elrond received the Rings (one version has Gil-galad the two of the Three Vilya and Narya and later distributing it to Cirdan, while giving Elrond Vilya before Last Alliance the other version has Cirdan getting Narya immediately from Celebrimbor).


Without looking into each of those individually, I would say that for the most part those can be sorted easily enough by the familiar Third Rule of Relative Canonicity: where Tolkien's writings conflict, the last composed usually takes priority.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Sep 18, 4:06pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 18, 5:03pm

Post #54 of 77 (742 views)
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Published Canon [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Without looking into each of those individually, I would say that for the most part those can be sorted easily enough by the familiar Third Rule of Relative Canonicity: where Tolkien's writings conflict, the last composed usually takes priority.


I don't think I can get wholly behind that Rule where manuscripts that were not published in the author's lifetime are concerned. For me, the published canon takes precedence so that (for instance) Celeborn is a Sindar Elf born in Middle-earth and not the Teleporno of later writings.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 18, 6:44pm

Post #55 of 77 (729 views)
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Oh, yes [In reply to] Can't Post

It is after all only the Third Law. The First Law is that Tolkien's published works take precedence over unpublished material. (Although in the case of two published works in conflict, the Third Law may still apply).


squire
Half-elven


Sep 18, 7:50pm

Post #56 of 77 (727 views)
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When the familiar is unfamiliar... [In reply to] Can't Post

What is the origin of the familiar Three Rules of Relatlve Canonicity? How many fan-fiction, gaming, and scholarly groups and forums subscribe to them, thus cheerfully and easily settling all such arguments regarding Tolkien's fantasy writings?

I am ashamed to admit that after almost 15 years on these boards, following very many extended and (to my mind) pointless arguments about what is and isn't 'canon' in Tolkien's extended legendarium, I have never heard of these Rules before.



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Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 18, 8:21pm

Post #57 of 77 (723 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

That's probably because I just made them up. Tongue I probably should have given them more generous numbers, like 86th and 132nd (in honor of the Rules of Acquisition)

Still, they do pretty much digest the informal guidelines which have come to govern canonicity discussions, all the way back to USENET.


squire
Half-elven


Sep 18, 8:37pm

Post #58 of 77 (725 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't dare ask what the Rules of Acquisition are.

But I continue to be a little confused, when you suggest that your clever 'Three Rules' for deciding canon and not-canon encompass "the informal guidelines which have come to govern canonicity discussions" all the way back to Yertle the Turtle, I mean USENET.

As I said earlier I feel like I have witnessed, and at times participated in, an almost endless number of discussions about what is canon in Tolkien. I can't remember any 'guidelines' doing any 'governing' at all: not published v non-published, not date order, not 'Letters' vs the books, not CT-authenticated vs non-CT-authenticated, nor any other so-called standards. Everyone has their own ideas about it, however pig-headed or misinformed in comparison to mine those ideas might be. As well, very often fans borrow rules of canon in odd ways from similar debates in other fantasy-universe fandoms, which are not really equivalent to Middle-earth in how or why they were written. Need I mention the films? No? Thank you.

Think about it: if any 'informal guidelines' existed which have governed canonicity discussions since USENET, there wouldn't be any need for canonicity discussions in the first place!



squire online:
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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 19, 12:53am

Post #59 of 77 (704 views)
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Here hear! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 19, 1:16am

Post #60 of 77 (711 views)
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Please, enlighten us! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That's probably because I just made them up. Tongue I probably should have given them more generous numbers, like 86th and 132nd (in honor of the Rules of Acquisition)

Still, they do pretty much digest the informal guidelines which have come to govern canonicity discussions, all the way back to USENET.


Informal rules of canonicity that are only codified in your head are not particularly useful for meaningful discussion. Feel free to elaborate upon them here so we can have a common ground for debate. I do recall past discussions of what is canon and various levels of canon (primary, secondary, tertiary). Perhaps these rules would be helpful in defining such terms.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sep 19, 1:20am)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Sep 19, 1:40am

Post #61 of 77 (707 views)
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That's a Star Trek reference. [In reply to] Can't Post

The "Rules of Acquisition" are prescriptions for successful dealing followed by the generally avaricious people called the Ferengi, who were introduced in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation and then elaborated in the spinoff series Star Trek: Deep Space 9, on which one of the main characters was the Ferengi bar proprietor named Quark.


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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squire
Half-elven


Sep 19, 1:51am

Post #62 of 77 (709 views)
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Take me now, oh Lord [In reply to] Can't Post

Really? My vague observation that 'canon' as a topic in Tolkien fandom is liable to corruption from other fandoms turns out to be accurate, within the bounds of the current discussion? Oog.

And someone named a character 'Quark' in a galactic fantasy universe? Isn't that like making the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs?



squire online:
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Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 19, 6:50pm

Post #63 of 77 (682 views)
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Good heavens! [In reply to] Can't Post

Obviously my little joke didn't come off. No, there never have been any actual rules for determining canonicity, not even more than very rough guidelines. But relative ranking of texts is something that Tolkien readers have been doing since before the WWW (literally), probably since UT appeared and certainly once HME started coming out. I don't think any of the potential issues listed above pose intractable problems that can't be sorted in the traditional way.

(The fact of the matter is, I've never been of the mindset that says 'This is Canon and every other version is to be disregarded or, at best, considered apocrypha- Tolkkien isn't Scripture. I tend to incline towards "Well, Tolkien had two (or three) views and never really settled the matter to his own satisfaction." But a TV series has to pick one version and run with it.)


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 19, 6:53pm

Post #64 of 77 (678 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

And someone named a character 'Quark' in a galactic fantasy universe? Isn't that like making the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs?


"Quark" is a Ferengi name like Rom, Brun and Nog, and has no more relation to the English physics term than Nog does to egg punch.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 19, 7:00pm

Post #65 of 77 (679 views)
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I doubt the people writing/producing the show care what is "canon" [In reply to] Can't Post

Nor should they. They should care about what makes the best television show.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


InTheChair
Lorien

Sep 19, 7:08pm

Post #66 of 77 (672 views)
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Greed is eternal. [In reply to] Can't Post

Every Ferengi business transaction is governed by 285 rules of acquisition. To ensure a fair and honest deal for all parties concerned. Well, most of them anyway.

There's a video on youtube going through all that were mentioned in the shows. I think they exist solely for the Ferengi to have something to talk about.


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 19, 7:23pm

Post #67 of 77 (674 views)
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Except [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Nor should they. They should care about what makes the best television show.


... to the extent the Estate apparently retains veto power over materials that contradict 'canon'.....


kzer_za
Lorien

Sep 19, 7:24pm

Post #68 of 77 (668 views)
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Rule of canonicity #107: There is no canon [In reply to] Can't Post

On a more serious note, when it comes to Galadriel (and to a lesser degree other things), they should pick and choose from the different versions. Galadriel and Celeborn in its winding textual history is our only detailed source on the early-mid mainland second age, and much of it is quite interesting and parts from the revisions can easily be combined. I would prefer to see both a Galadriel more complicit in the Noldor revolt and Celebrimbor’s rebellion/coup, for example.


Noria
Gondor

Sep 19, 8:55pm

Post #69 of 77 (658 views)
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What Voronwë said [In reply to] Can't Post

Even if they stick to canon, surely the writers will simplify and streamline so to make everything as easy to understand as possible for the audience, a significant portion of which will not have read any of Tolkien’s writings. That’s part of what adaptors do.

Many of the details being discussed on this board will probably just be ignored. For instance back when FotR was released, I remember a heated discussion about the fact that skipping the Barrow-downs meant Merry didn’t have a magic sword with which to stab the Witch-king and break the spell and so on. But in the movie, having a woman and a Hobbit do the deed with their ordinary blades fulfilled the prophecy and worked just fine. But while we wait for the TV series, all these discussions are interesting.

It will also be interesting to see how far the Estate’s veto power goes. I’m still finding it hard to believe that Amazon would have put out all that money and given away primary creative control over the product


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 20, 3:37am

Post #70 of 77 (645 views)
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Merry's Blade [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Many of the details being discussed on this board will probably just be ignored. For instance back when FotR was released, I remember a heated discussion about the fact that skipping the Barrow-downs meant Merry didn’t have a magic sword with which to stab the Witch-king and break the spell and so on. But in the movie, having a woman and a Hobbit do the deed with their ordinary blades fulfilled the prophecy and worked just fine. But while we wait for the TV series, all these discussions are interesting.


On the other hand, who knows what the origin might be for Merry's blade in the films? It might very well still have been a "King's Blade" forged for a Man of Arthedain for the war against the Witch-king.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


fantasywind
The Shire

Sep 20, 3:42pm

Post #71 of 77 (607 views)
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Now that your mention it :)... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Many of the details being discussed on this board will probably just be ignored. For instance back when FotR was released, I remember a heated discussion about the fact that skipping the Barrow-downs meant Merry didn’t have a magic sword with which to stab the Witch-king and break the spell and so on. But in the movie, having a woman and a Hobbit do the deed with their ordinary blades fulfilled the prophecy and worked just fine. But while we wait for the TV series, all these discussions are interesting.

On the other hand, who knows what the origin might be for Merry's blade in the films? It might very well still have been a "King's Blade" forged for a Man of Arthedain for the war against the Witch-king.


It depends on which version of the film you go by, in cinematic cut, the blades used would be those given to Hobbits by Aragorn on Weathertop, in extended edition, they receive 'noldorin daggers' from Galadriel (extended gift giving scene), but indeed in between book and film this (quite important) plot point is lost.

But indeed sadly I wouldn't expect the showmakers of Amazon to be THAT into intricacies of the Tolkien lore as we discuss on this forum. I naively hoped for faithful adaptation, but we know it's not the case with corporate cash grab attempt, maybe the reported veto right of Tolkien Estate would keep them in line, but we'll see. So much is still uncertain.


Noria
Gondor

Sep 20, 8:57pm

Post #72 of 77 (588 views)
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Yes, [In reply to] Can't Post

 the EE certainly enabled us to believe that the weapon Galadriel gave Merry was imbued with that same magical quality that made book Merry's attack on the WK successful, but the way it played out in the Theatrical Edition worked too. My point was that some book details can be ignored or glossed over without destroying the spirit or intent of the story.

And that kind of thing will be necessary in this adaptation of Tolkien’s writing for television. A television series is more visual and less "wordy" than a book, it has its own requirements, its own flow and rhythms that are inevitably different from that of a piece of literature. It won’t be able to encompass every plot point and detail.

It’s not corporate cash grabbing for Amazon to need this series to be commercially successful and do whatever they think will ensure that. After all, like movie-making, television production is a business. They aren’t making this series for Tolkien or his book fans out of the goodness of their hearts, though we are of course a part of the target audience. It has to appeal to as many people as possible to survive.

All that being said, it’s interesting to read what people would like to see in this series and discuss what may or may not happen.


fantasywind
The Shire

Sep 22, 1:59pm

Post #73 of 77 (434 views)
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Adaptations, storytelling and business [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
the EE certainly enabled us to believe that the weapon Galadriel gave Merry was imbued with that same magical quality that made book Merry's attack on the WK successful, but the way it played out in the Theatrical Edition worked too. My point was that some book details can be ignored or glossed over without destroying the spirit or intent of the story.
And that kind of thing will be necessary in this adaptation of Tolkien’s writing for television. A television series is more visual and less "wordy" than a book, it has its own requirements, its own flow and rhythms that are inevitably different from that of a piece of literature. It won’t be able to encompass every plot point and detail.
It’s not corporate cash grabbing for Amazon to need this series to be commercially successful and do whatever they think will ensure that. After all, like movie-making, television production is a business. They aren’t making this series for Tolkien or his book fans out of the goodness of their hearts, though we are of course a part of the target audience. It has to appeal to as many people as possible to survive.
All that being said, it’s interesting to read what people would like to see in this series and discuss what may or may not happen.


I know well the differences between literature and visual mediums, (though at times it's a lazy excuse for poor story telling ;)) and the adaptations work differently, but in the end what matters is the story that they are to tell, adaptation movie or series need to tell the story it draws from in a way that makes it compelling, but that doesn't mean that adaptational choices are all for the better. It's also clear that a cinematic movie has time constraints, and with story as long and detailed telling every single thread would be turning into impossibly long movie :) (I hope though that the series with longer tie to develop story arch will have no such problems, not to mention if Shippey talking about 20 episodes for first season alone, is not some mistake then this would be far longer than needed, though in the same time he claimed to know little, heh).

Very rarely adaptations of some great literary works achieve the level of success that the original may had (and even rarer case where an adaptation would really improve upon original), it's a delicate process and it all comes down to writing the script.

But in any case we all know why Amazon greenlighted (or rather Bezos) this project, the Amazon Prime suddenly woke up seeing that the competition has the big hits and popular works, and they don't have any so they immediately jump to the occasion. And here also lies difference between this project and PJ's adaptation of Lotr. In the end the Lotr movies came from the passion, and Peter had to convince the studios to give this a chance. The Lotr trilogy (which had it's flaws too) had initially something more than business making purpose behind it (well it's the cause for film industry in the first place but I think you get what I'm trying to say), in the same time that can't be said about Hobbit films, which though overall successful financially were big mess due to executive meddling of WB (this was the reason behind the weird love angle of Tauriel's character, which wasn't necessary, plus the turning of it into trilogy), changes of directors in the last minute and general pressure to make this a big hit like those 'acclaimed lotr films that won Oscars' :) the Hobbit films in other words were the victim of Lotr success (if I was in the place of the makers of the Hobbit films I would seriously revise the script ;)). This Hobbit example is what I would hope the Amazon will avoid.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 22, 3:48pm

Post #74 of 77 (425 views)
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The (Movie) Blades of Merry and Pippin [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It depends on which version of the film you go by, in cinematic cut, the blades used would be those given to Hobbits by Aragorn on Weathertop, in extended edition, they receive 'noldorin daggers' from Galadriel (extended gift giving scene), but indeed in between book and film this (quite important) plot point is lost.


The book The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare by Chris Smith presents an interesting note on the swords possessed by Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took in the films:


Quote
Merry and Pippin were given the first of a number of short swords by Aragorn on Weathertop. It is not known if Aragorn was possessed of foresight or not, but he gave to Merry a blade that he had acquired in Rohan...and to Pippin one that had come to him in Gondor... However, neither sword made it back home, as they were taken and discarded by the raiding party of Uruk-hai when the two hobbits were captured at Anon Hen, as were the two Elven daggers given to them by Galadriel in Lothlórien... Both remained unarmed until they pledged their fealty to Rohan and Gondor, when Merry was presented with the very sword that had been Théoden's...when he was a boy, and Pippin was given a blade...that had belonged to the young Prince Faramir.


This does suggest the question of how Merry in the book managed to retain possession of the blade he acquired in the Barrow-downs. Had Aragorn recovered it at Amon Hen and kept it for him?

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sep 22, 3:49pm)


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 22, 9:08pm

Post #75 of 77 (399 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

This does suggest the question of how Merry in the book managed to retain possession of the blade he acquired in the Barrow-downs. Had Aragorn recovered it at Amon Hen and kept it for him?


'The Departure of Boromir' (p.415 2005 Ed.):

"See!" cried Aragorn. "Here we find tokens!" He picked out from the pile of grim weapons two knives, leaf-bladed, damasked in gold and red, and searching further he found also the sheaths, black, set with small red gems. "No orc-tools these!" he said. "They were borne by the hobbits. Doubtless the Orcs despoiled them, but feared to keep the knives, knowing them for what they are: the work of Westernesse, wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor. Well, now, if they still live, our friends are weaponless. I will take these things, hoping against hope, to give them back."

He does just that, in 'Flotsam and Jetsam' (p. 564).

"Here are some treasures that you let fall," said Aragorn. "You will be glad to have them back." He loosened his belt from under his cloak, and took from it the two sheathed knives.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Sep 22, 9:12pm)

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