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***Favourite Chapters - The Mirror of Galadriel (LOTR)
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CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 25 2019, 2:15pm

Post #1 of 38 (1902 views)
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***Favourite Chapters - The Mirror of Galadriel (LOTR) Can't Post

What I like:

• It’s got magic!
• It gives insight into Galadriel.

• It shows the difference between Frodo’s and Sam’s perception. Frodo sees Nenya, Sam does not, plus Frodo can guess what Galadriel is thinking: “You have perceived my thought more clearly than many that are accounted wise.”
• It leaves me with a fun, unanswered question: what would have happened if the hobbits touched the water?

• Gandalf has just died, and the Fellowship is depressed and directionless. Sauron seems to have the upper hand in everything. Then along comes this solitary, never-before-mentioned Elf woman who can read Sauron’s mind while shutting hers to him—AWESOME morale boost for the reader who wants the good guys to win.
• Galadriel’s trial transformation with the Ring is both terrifying and fascinating.

• The whole chapter drips with wisdom, ending with Galadriel’s reply to Sam about people trying to do good with something essentially evil, “That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that, alas!”
• Like “The Shadow of the Past” and “The Council of Elrond,” we’re reminded that Frodo is in the middle of an epic struggle vast enough to overwhelm most people.

• The moral lesson about “to thine own self be true:” “I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.” She’s defeated in one sense—she’s passing up great power—but she wins in a moral sense and embraces humility. How many (de facto) queens/kings do that?

Some questions:

1. What do you like/dislike about this chapter?
2. Do you wish the Mirror was a true mirror (reflective glass) and not a basin of water? Or that it had some other kinds of power, maybe even a portal back to Bag End?

3. Should Tolkien have amped up the action here, maybe with a Nazgul or a big claw coming out of the water and clutching at Frodo?
4. I personally like Galadriel’s formal speech pattern making her loftier than the hobbits. Does this work for you, or do you wish she were more formal or more plainspoken?

5. This is in intimate setting of only 3 people. Do you think others should have been included, particularly Aragorn? Why do Merry and Pippin get left behind? Where’s Celeborn?
6. How would you compare the Mirror’s clairvoyant abilities to the palantiri’s? Are they basically the same device, or do you see differences between them?

7. Galadriel says “The Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds.” So, what do you think was her ultimate purpose in bringing the hobbits to look in it, especially since she denies being a counsellor?


InTheChair
Lorien

Nov 25 2019, 7:26pm

Post #2 of 38 (1773 views)
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A kind of rest in between the plot progression that is more rare in the next books. [In reply to] Can't Post

1. I like the description of the city, and little details that distinguish the Elven customs from human.

There are many stairs and paths on the hill. The Elven guards (If they are guards?) are seated, not standing, and only rise as the company approaches.
On the wide talan high up in the tree there's a house so large that it almost would have served for a hall of Men.
I do not know what to make of that description of the house. I could mean both a small and a large house, and seems to be considered from the perspective of a hobbit.

I also like some phrases used in the chapter, like when the mirror goes, dark as if a hole had opened in the world of sight.


7. There's a peculiar line spoken by Galadriel near the end, In the morning you must depart, for now we have chosen.
I assume she means that both she and Frodo has made a choice, and maybe that was the purpose. What Frodos choice was, or how and when he made it, is not clearly related. We have to assume he chose to go on with the burden, but his words at the time suggests he would give the ring to Galadriel. I do not know what goes on there. Probably there's something in the way it is told that I am missing or misunderstanding. Or else the author is deliberately keeping Frodos choice to Frodo himself, allowing only Galadriel to divine it, and the reader only through her.


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Nov 26 2019, 12:25am

Post #3 of 38 (1763 views)
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who, I ask you, is the fairest [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
• “You have perceived my thought more clearly than many that are accounted wise.”

Is it cliché that Frodo is my favorite character? All the hobbits grow as the book goes on, but Frodo quietly climbs into the ranks of the great. The first to strike a blow and the first to lay down arms, he never seems quite as overwhelmed by the very presence of the great as his kinsmen do; even from the time he meets Gildor, even before, when we are told that he is suspected of meeting elves sometimes, it seems he has been trained for a wider world (by Bilbo and Gandalf, I suppose, probably deliberately on both counts). He belongs in Elrond's council, at least by the time he's there. By the time he meets Faramir, he is ready to cross swords, intellectually, with the best. By the time he meets Saruman, his wisdom is in some ways greater than that fallen angel's, and he knows it.

His interchange with Galadriel is probably the single biggest step in that progression, as if she is the one who hauls him from the top rung of the ladder up onto the Flet of Wisdom.



In Reply To
5. This is in intimate setting of only 3 people. Do you think others should have been included, particularly Aragorn? Why do Merry and Pippin get left behind? Where’s Celeborn?


I think the intimacy matters, for the reader's experience most of all, because if all the characters always have all the same information they lose their dimensionality a bit. Also it's just better atmosphere, not so much crosstalk.


In Reply To
6. How would you compare the Mirror’s clairvoyant abilities to the palantiri’s? Are they basically the same device, or do you see differences between them?


I'm kind of amazed that I never really thought of the obvious (now you say it) parallel here. Indeed maybe what Féanor did in making the Palantiri (Prof T never quite says it was him, but he certainly thought of it and nearly as certainly never thought of any other possibility) was precisely to take the enchantment G works in her mirror, and froze it in a rock.

They always were rivals after all. Or rather, they became so the longer he wrote.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 26 2019, 1:36am

Post #4 of 38 (1753 views)
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It's a kind of magic [In reply to] Can't Post

Except it isn't. Well, not according to Galadriel anyway. Doesn't she say that she doesn't really understand what Sam means by magic? Which is a fair enough point as magic seems to work in many different ways and could be considered as simply advanced science by some. Or craftmanshp I suppose as science is not really a middle-earth word. It's also a rather wibbly-wobbly and unreliable kind of magic as it can't be depended upon to show the truth. But perhaps the Mirror does give a hint. Mind, one question is what was the Mirror. Was it always there or did Galadriel or someone give a little nudge to it. And was it in communication with the Palantir, the other seeing devices in ME? Yes, it is strange that we suddenly meet this powerful Elf-Queen who is not even hinted at earlier. Although. surprise, surprise, she has retreted into her own land which is in decline.


Solicitr
Rohan

Nov 26 2019, 7:18am

Post #5 of 38 (1735 views)
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I've always wondered about the ambiguity [In reply to] Can't Post

Was Frodo deliberately testing Galadriel? I don't think so, it's not in Frodo's nature at all. Did he genuinely want to be rid of the Ring? Part of him, definitely. Is it merely that his Ring-enhanced perception vaguely 'sensed' Galadriel's hunger, striving with her wisdom?


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 26 2019, 2:25pm

Post #6 of 38 (1693 views)
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Frodo's choice (some ideas) [In reply to] Can't Post

First, thanks to CuriousG for getting this new project underway so well!

...and now...

In Reply To
7. There's a peculiar line spoken by Galadriel near the end, In the morning you must depart, for now we have chosen.
I assume she means that both she and Frodo has made a choice, and maybe that was the purpose. What Frodos choice was, or how and when he made it, is not clearly related. We have to assume he chose to go on with the burden, but his words at the time suggests he would give the ring to Galadriel. I do not know what goes on there. Probably there's something in the way it is told that I am missing or misunderstanding. Or else the author is deliberately keeping Frodos choice to Frodo himself, allowing only Galadriel to divine it, and the reader only through her.


It's not obvious, is it! I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure which (if any) are right.

1. Before they see Galadriel, Frodo and Sam were discussing that it now felt like time to leave. Galadriel is aware of part of that conversation at least (because she knows that Sam wanted to see some Elven magic but that Frodo was content). So perhaps she knows that Frodo and Sam had already chosen to leave, before showing them the mirror?

But I don't really like that - this seems to me to be a chapter of tests, and the mirror feels like a test set by Galadriel (albeit one that ends up testing her too!).

2. Galadriel says: "In the morning you must depart, for now we have chosen." The 'we' might not mean 'Frodo and I'. Sam has very clearly been forced into a choice by the mirror. Maybe that was the whole point of the exercise? Frodo-and-Sam are a double act, and it's hard to see the quest succeeding without Sam. So perhaps Galadriel wanted to ensure Sam was committed wholeheartedly before the Fellowship left? Perhaps the 'we' is 'Sam and I'?

3. Or perhaps Frodo did make a choice at the mirror after all. His vision of The Eye includes this:

Quote
“Then the Eye began to rove, searching this way and that; and Frodo knew with certainty and horror that among the many things that it sought he himself was one. But he also knew that it could not see him–not yet, not unless he willed it.

(my italics)



So might we say Frodo makes a choice here? He could allow The Eye to see him right there and then (and there does appear to be some sort of struggle over this). But he chooses not to. The probably inevitable day when he will reveal himself to Sauron is not yet, and so there's hope that Frodo and Sam can still complete the quest. Maybe all three of them are the 'we' that have chosen.

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 26 2019, 4:46pm

Post #7 of 38 (1680 views)
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All of them at once [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Was Frodo deliberately testing Galadriel? I don't think so, it's not in Frodo's nature at all. Did he genuinely want to be rid of the Ring? Part of him, definitely. Is it merely that his Ring-enhanced perception vaguely 'sensed' Galadriel's hunger, striving with her wisdom?

All of them except him testing her, which I agree is totally outside his personality. I personally think it's a combination of him wanting to get rid of the burden plus his perception that she is a truly great being, far wiser and more powerful than he is, and thus from his perspective better suited to be a keeper of the One Ring. I don't think he believes she'll take it to Mt Doom, just that it would be in better hands with her.

I was thinking of a personal analogy: I have no military training, and let's say, for a thought experiment, I materialize at an army base with a grenade in my hand (pin still in place). I know it won't blow up if handled correctly, and I don't trust myself to carry it around (I would hold it like an annoyed tarantula), so I ask a trained infantryman to please take it away from me, because I'm sure he'll know how to dispose of it. Maybe a clumsy comparison, but it's about as parallel as I can get.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 26 2019, 4:57pm

Post #8 of 38 (1679 views)
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Just wow, Uncle I [In reply to] Can't Post

I would pin this post to the top of "character synopses," because you've done an amazing job of concisely and eloquently covering Frodo's persona across the tableau of the trilogy.


In Reply To
Is it cliché that Frodo is my favorite character? All the hobbits grow as the book goes on, but Frodo quietly climbs into the ranks of the great. The first to strike a blow and the first to lay down arms, he never seems quite as overwhelmed by the very presence of the great as his kinsmen do; even from the time he meets Gildor, even before, when we are told that he is suspected of meeting elves sometimes, it seems he has been trained for a wider world (by Bilbo and Gandalf, I suppose, probably deliberately on both counts). He belongs in Elrond's council, at least by the time he's there. By the time he meets Faramir, he is ready to cross swords, intellectually, with the best. By the time he meets Saruman, his wisdom is in some ways greater than that fallen angel's, and he knows it.

His interchange with Galadriel is probably the single biggest step in that progression, as if she is the one who hauls him from the top rung of the ladder up onto the Flet of Wisdom.


And I do consider this Frodo/Galadriel scene as a profound before/after moment in his character's development. He's never the same afterwards, but in a good way.

Related to that, I think the intimacy was important since it increases the intensity of the exchange. Having others present would have been a little distracting and would seem to dilute the effect.

RE: the Mirror vs the palantiri: I think the latter have a slightly sinister edge to them, the way they entrap both Saruman and Denethor into becoming drug addicts of a sort. I know it's Sauron's fault, but there's no virtue in the palantiri to filter him out the way the Mirror does with Frodo: he sees the Eye, but it doesn't harm him, and unlike S & D & Pippin, he's able to break away from it without harm. In fact, I think his experience in seeing the Eye increases his insight--Galadriel says as much.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 26 2019, 5:11pm

Post #9 of 38 (1670 views)
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Treehouses and choices [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
On the wide talan high up in the tree there's a house so large that it almost would have served for a hall of Men.
I do not know what to make of that description of the house. I could mean both a small and a large house, and seems to be considered from the perspective of a hobbit.


I agree that the description makes it seem like the Elves are almost as rich and sophisticated as Men, but not quite (and for most of the book, we're led to believe Elves are the superior race). On re-reads of the book, I'm always a little bit disappointed that there isn't some dazzling palace at the top of the tree, or something dazzling in it, like Treebeard's water wells that give off light. Just seems a little plain to me.

Choices: while Galadriel speaks inclusively here, lumping their choices together, I think they're not equal in importance. Frodo's choice is like an acorn while hers is like a big boulder, if I were to compare them. And her choice is more obvious. But Frodo did offer her the Ring, so he made a choice to give up the quest and stop being a Ring-bearer. She rebuts his choice with her dramatic enactment of the consequences, so his choice seems whisked away by the theatrics. And seeing her become something terrible, Frodo's next choice (though unstated) is to never again try to give up the Ring and instead see the quest through to the bitter end. That's my explanation, but I'm still with you: Galadriel's words seem to equate their choices in a way that the scene doesn't quite do on its own.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 26 2019, 5:29pm

Post #10 of 38 (1673 views)
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Like Sam, I have a limited vocabulary [In reply to] Can't Post

It's all magic to me!

I may have a skewed perspective from reading Tolkien's technical details on how the palantiri worked in Unfinished Tales, and given that technical detail, they seemed a little more like science than straight magic. But I view the Mirror as pure magic, and something that Galadriel brought into being herself (maybe she had a mason construct it, but her magic is in the water and the viewing properties it exhibits). Maybe she used Nenya (Ring of Water) to make it, or maybe she could have done it with her own power. After all, Uncle Feanor had no Rings of Power to make the Silmarils, he just made them. For that matter, Celebrimbor had no Rings of Power to make the Rings of Power, so there's innate magic in the Noldor for making magical things.


Quote
It's also a rather wibbly-wobbly and unreliable kind of magic as it can't be depended upon to show the truth.

That is a little disturbing, isn't it? Especially when she's just said that using the word "magic" to describe both Elven "artisanship" and the deceits of the Enemy is semantically wrong. Isn't the Mirror rather deceitful if it shows you things you assume will happen, only they won't happen unless you try to prevent them? But we're back to semantics: the Enemy deceives out of malice and a desire to break you, and I think of the Mirror "deceiving" as more a test of wisdom, patience, and resolve. Ultimately, I would speculate that Galadriel has brought these two hobbits here to test (and fortify) those qualities in them so they could succeed at the quest.

I also think that Tolkien makes magical objects behave somewhat randomly, because if they're too well-defined, then they're too well-understood, and that robs them of their mysterious nature as magical artifacts. Their mysterious nature in turn fires up our imaginations and increases the likelihood that we'll feel like we're in a fairy tale rather than an HG Wells adventure.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 26 2019, 5:51pm

Post #11 of 38 (1667 views)
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I wonder if we should include the end of that line. [In reply to] Can't Post


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"In the morning you must depart, for now we have chosen, and the tides of fate are flowing."


Tolkien likes to combine freewill with fate, and here he does it in a single sentence. Galadriel isn't evicting them from Lorien; she's saying that fate is forcing them to leave, as if fate were giving them time to make their choices, and now that they have, it's going to carry them along to their destinations. Maybe I've read LOTR too many times to think that Sam and Frodo could have credibly made any choice to not pursue the quest, especially having come so far, so their choices don't seem like they had a 50-50 percent possible outcome.

Galadriel's choice, however, seems much more like a decision tottering on the sharp edge of a knife. She admits she's long pondered (let's assume centuries) what she would do with the One Ring, and here it is, offered freely to her. Given her Silmarillion story, she left Valinor to create and rule over a large kingdom all her own, and now that ambition of a few thousand years could bear fruit, and she'll rule much more than little ol' Lorien. So I think the only choice with an iffy outcome is whether she'll take and use the One Ring or not.

Frodo and Sam didn't have iffy outcomes available to them, IMO, but their resolve was strengthened by virtue of the Mirror. If we wonder later how they could crawl up the side of Mt Doom rather than stop and give up, I think it was partly due to them being hobbits, partly due to their adventures as a whole, and partly due to the galvanized willpower they developed here.


Roverandom
The Shire


Nov 26 2019, 6:32pm

Post #12 of 38 (1668 views)
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Frodo's Deference [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo has a history of deferring to those in whom he senses a greater power and/or a better claim on the ring.

In the Shadow of the Past, he tries Gandalf: "You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?"

At the Council of Elrond, he as much as offers it to Aragorn: "Then it belongs to you, and not to me at all!"

And here, it's Galadriel: "I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me."

I don't believe he's testing any of them, merely exercising good hobbit sense and deferring to someone he believes to be more capable. There is something in the language of each offer, however, that makes me look at Frodo differently when taken in context. With Gandalf, he seems genuinely terrified. He wants to wish the whole thing away and go back to living an ordinary, untroubled life, much as Bilbo felt during the majority of The Hobbit. Once Strider is revealed to be Aragorn, Frodo treats him as would a loyal subject of the King Restored. In the exchange with Galadriel, I think it's more of a hint of the Frodo yet-to-come, the Frodo who trudges hopelessly through the Land of Shadow. He has already wearied of carrying the burden and is looking for an honorable way out.

For just as there has always been a Richard Webster, so too has there been a Black Scout of the North to greet him at the door on the threshold of the evening and to guard him through his darkest dreams.


Archestratie
Rivendell

Nov 26 2019, 7:02pm

Post #13 of 38 (1655 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Frodo has a history of deferring to those in whom he senses a greater power and/or a better claim on the ring.

In the Shadow of the Past, he tries Gandalf: "You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?"

At the Council of Elrond, he as much as offers it to Aragorn: "Then it belongs to you, and not to me at all!"

And here, it's Galadriel: "I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me."

I don't believe he's testing any of them, merely exercising good hobbit sense and deferring to someone he believes to be more capable. There is something in the language of each offer, however, that makes me look at Frodo differently when taken in context. With Gandalf, he seems genuinely terrified. He wants to wish the whole thing away and go back to living an ordinary, untroubled life, much as Bilbo felt during the majority of The Hobbit. Once Strider is revealed to be Aragorn, Frodo treats him as would a loyal subject of the King Restored. In the exchange with Galadriel, I think it's more of a hint of the Frodo yet-to-come, the Frodo who trudges hopelessly through the Land of Shadow. He has already wearied of carrying the burden and is looking for an honorable way out.


Agreed, these instances always struck me the same way.


InTheChair
Lorien

Nov 26 2019, 7:27pm

Post #14 of 38 (1652 views)
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Frodo is certainly making some kind of choice by offering her the ring [In reply to] Can't Post

I had considered if maybe Frodos offer to give her the ring represents a choice not keep it for himself, and that though he would not abandon his mission he had resolved to get rid of it. Kind of like Bilbo when he left the ring for Frodo. Only there's no evidence to the contrary in Frodo before this moment.

Maybe noWizardme has it right, that she was referring to Frodos previously stated intention to leave.


(This post was edited by InTheChair on Nov 26 2019, 7:28pm)


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Nov 26 2019, 9:43pm

Post #15 of 38 (1645 views)
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just to swim against the stream a little [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not a hundred percent sure Frodo wasn't testing Galadriel, or at least partly. Or more like, I think maybe the two of them, in their dialogue, were testing the very idea. I certainly think it is true that he was speaking from the heart, and that he offered her the Ring plainly and sincerely as an expression of the faith he found himself inspired to, an expression of loyalty to this higher-order queen (just as his avuncular cousin once chose, on balance, to show loyalty, unmarked, to an elf-king he barely knew). He believes that nothing ill can really come of trusting her, perhaps. But is it not possible that partly he knows he can trust her because he already rather suspects that there's no way she'll take it? Gandalf wouldn't, after all, and he gave similar reasons why not.

Is it not possible that just as she's tipping him off to a plane of struggle and impasse that exists among the Wise, the Ringbearers, unknown to anyone else, he—an unlikely Ringbearer among them—is simultaneously showing her that he understands something of the temptation he carries, and showing her that he trusts her to do what's right, and even giving her a final confirmation in her own heart that she will do right, since she never faced the trial before—even as he is also honestly confessing his own weary, entrapped longing to be spared his burden?

It's a layered moment, I think. Gently are you revenged, she says. I rather thank that on some level he does know full well that he's tugging on the heart of this lofty lady, even if he does it gently.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 27 2019, 3:31am

Post #16 of 38 (1618 views)
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I was thinking of Galadriel's words too [In reply to] Can't Post

about him taking revenge on her. But I just can't square myself with Frodo testing her or anyone else. I think she said those words in jest, or more likely, she did what we all do, which is to project our own behavior and motives onto other people. She tested him, so she thinks he's testing her back. But, I just don't see that in him.

I would go with Roverandom's point that he's naturally deferential to powerful people. She is wise and fearless and fair--of course she could handle the Ring, and he knows he can't.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 27 2019, 3:34am

Post #17 of 38 (1618 views)
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Great points [In reply to] Can't Post

And I think Frodo found the visions in the Mirror, and specifically Sauron's eye, to be horribly challenging. Just as with Gandalf in Bag End, he wanted to offload the Ring to a superior person and be done with all the burden and fear that lay ahead of him. I would too!


sparrowruth
Rivendell


Nov 27 2019, 5:46am

Post #18 of 38 (1598 views)
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mods up // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Archestratie
Rivendell


Nov 27 2019, 12:14pm

Post #19 of 38 (1564 views)
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Um, [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm not a hundred percent sure Frodo wasn't testing Galadriel, or at least partly.


But why, though? What would be in it for him? To see if Galadriel really was who she said she was? To see if the Ring really could corrupt someone powerful? Seems like a terrible risk to take to me.

I think he just wanted out of the situation if possible. I look at it as a sort of Garden of Gethsemane moment.

My Low-Magic Fantasy Novel on eBook/hardback: The Huntsman and the She-Wolf

The Huntsman and the She-Wolf on audio Book.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 28 2019, 10:48am

Post #20 of 38 (1492 views)
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I'll join you for that swim - I'm not sure how sincere Frodo really is [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think that at one level Frodo really does want to hand the Ring over to some competent authority. But I also wonder how sincere his attempts to do that really are, by this stage in the book.

Tolkien has Gandalf tell us that an owner of a Ring of Power cannot give it up, and to me that is one part of what makes the Ring such an original and interesting quest item. But Tolkien does of course allow Bilbo to give the Ring up (with the right help). So there's plenty of scope here to interpret Frodo's offers in different ways.

My reading (for what it is worth) is that it's not a totally sincere offer: while Frodo says it and it sounds guilless (which is what makes it such an effective 'revenge' on Galadriel) I can't believe would unhesitatingly comply if Galadriel said "A wise choice, Frodo Baggins" and held out her hand for the Ring.

I think there are a couple of clues in the text to support this: Back in Bag End, Frodo really does physically hand over the Ring to Gandalf (for him to toss it into the fire), but if I remember, Frodo is reluctant to do so even then, and he's only been asked to lend it 'for a moment', not to give it away. My guess is that it's only getting harder for Frodo to let go of it as the adventure proceeds. He doesn't want even to show people the Ring, come the Council of Elrond.

A bit later in our current chapter, Frodo says something interesting: “I am permitted to wear the One Ring: why cannot I see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them?’”

The 'I am permitted...' sounds to me like the Frodo who undertook to take the Ring and guard it. But maybe he's beginning to wonder 'just hypothetically, of course' about using it?

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 28 2019, 3:39pm

Post #21 of 38 (1482 views)
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Maybe, but [In reply to] Can't Post

in "The Shadow of the Past," we have these passages:


Quote
‘It has everything to do with it,’ said Gandalf. ‘You do not know the real peril yet; but you shall. I was not sure of it myself when I was last here; but the time has come to speak. Give me the ring for a moment.’

Frodo took it from his breeches-pocket, where it was clasped to a chain that hung from his belt. He unfastened it and handed it slowly to the wizard. It felt suddenly very heavy, as if either it or Frodo himself was in some way reluctant for Gandalf to touch it.


Later:

Quote
Frodo drew the Ring out of his pocket again and looked at it. It now appeared plain and smooth, without mark or device that he could see. The gold looked very fair and pure, and Frodo thought how rich and beautiful was its colour, how perfect was its roundness. It was an admirable thing and altogether precious. When he took it out he had intended to fling it from him into the very hottest part of the fire. But he found now that he could not do so, not without a great struggle. He weighed the Ring in his hand, hesitating, and forcing himself to remember all that Gandalf had told him; and then with an effort of will he made a movement, as if to cast it away – but he found that he had put it back in his pocket.


and then:

Quote

‘But I have so little of any of these things! You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?’


So, first Frodo is able to reluctantly give the Ring to Gandalf. Then, when trying to cast it away and focusing on what Gandalf told him, he finds despite his willpower he's put it back in his pocket. Then after all that, he still asks Gandalf to take the Ring. So my conclusion is that Frodo is in the same frame of mind with Galadriel: verbally he wants her to take it, but when it came time for the physical act of turning it over, he likely would have been wholly unable.

I am surprised he was able to give it to Gandalf at all, but I think the plot required it to be thrown into the fire at some point to reveal the letters on it, so Tolkien may have fudged a little to bring that about.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Nov 28 2019, 3:40pm)


sador
Half-elven


Nov 28 2019, 5:13pm

Post #22 of 38 (1486 views)
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"Me, I don't believe in dot pixie-dust schtuff. Magic-schmagic, I saying." [In reply to] Can't Post

Shamelessly recycling old jokes - and the previous time was in response to one of the very first discussions in your illustrious career around here!

• It’s got magic!
But the magic seems like an unknown piece of technology. Less special effects than a small hand-held device I have (which is one of the less advanced models out there), and not that much more reliable. However, like my own device - the Mirror can turn into something which spies upon you.
Okay, that was a joke - however, I am quite more impressed by Tom Bombadil's.



• It gives insight into Galadriel.

It introduces Galadriel, to be more precise. After which, Tolkien had to integrate her to the rest of his mythology.
And I am not exactly sure what is the insight actually given. I see there is a lively discussion - which I hope to reply to on Sunday. As it is, I won't even get to answer your questions today.

• It shows the difference between Frodo’s and Sam’s perception. Frodo sees Nenya, Sam does not, plus Frodo can guess what Galadriel is thinking: “You have perceived my thought more clearly than many that are accounted wise.”
Galadriel attributes this perception to the Ring. From what we know of the Ring, it suggests that Nenya was actually Galadriel's weak spot, or at least the focus of her ambition. Frodo did not see Vilya or Narya - which might indicate that Gandalf and Elrond were less flamboyant about them.



• It leaves me with a fun, unanswered question: what would have happened if the hobbits touched the water?
The thing we fear is that the shroud which protects him from Sauron would be torn away. But this refers to Galadriel's second admonishment about touching the water, not the first.
Had Sam touched the water - maybe her deep plans, whatever they were, would be shattered?


• Gandalf has just died, and the Fellowship is depressed and directionless. Sauron seems to have the upper hand in everything. Then along comes this solitary, never-before-mentioned Elf woman who can read Sauron’s mind while shutting hers to him—AWESOME morale boost for the reader who wants the good guys to win.
And then she says she had long desired the Ring... after Saruman's (which was supposedly an ally) betrayal, and his possible appearing in the Mirror... and Aragorn suspects no evil, and Boromir who does is sidelined, and not altogether trustworthy himself... How safe do you feel?
And after passing the test, Galadriel diminishes and goes to the West. Thanks for the morale boost.



• Galadriel’s trial transformation with the Ring is both terrifying and fascinating.
Yes. I have hinted at my understanding of it above, but here I wrote it down in full.
I still think that is the correct reading of the scene - but in today's climate, would I be held accountable for not thinking her as awesome as many others?



• The whole chapter drips with wisdom, ending with Galadriel’s reply to Sam about people trying to do good with something essentially evil, “That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that, alas!”
And the wisest of the Elves of Middle-earth is Celeborn. One wonders how does that compare with what we know - does this mean that Celeborn is of Middle-earth, while Galadriel is not (this contradicts one of the last theories Tolkien had about the pair, as recorded in Unfinished Tales)? Or is Galadriel more powerful, but not that wise for using Nenya?
I suppose some of you have read Michael Martinez's take on this; but some may not have. Enjoy.





• Like “The Shadow of the Past” and “The Council of Elrond,” we’re reminded that Frodo is in the middle of an epic struggle vast enough to overwhelm most people.
Which might explain why he offered Galadriel the Ring - he might have been simply overwhelmed (could this have been her plan all along?)
I've read nowiz's suggestion, and your reply - but at the Council of Elrond, is there any suggestion that Frodo might resist surrenbdering the Ring to a different messenger? Not that I can see. Which indicates that Gandalf's words in The Shadow of the Past might not be so conclusive.
Also, recall Sam's words in The Breaking of the Fellowship:

Quote
Now it’s come to the point, he’s just plain terrified. That’s what his trouble is. Of course he’s had a bit of schooling, so to speak—we all have—since we left home, or he’d be so terrified he’d just fling the Ring in the River and bolt.




• The moral lesson about “to thine own self be true:” “I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.” She’s defeated in one sense—she’s passing up great power—but she wins in a moral sense and embraces humility. How many (de facto) queens/kings do that?
Well, the said moral lessons did not do Polonious or Laertes any good, did it?
(By the way, before finding out this was Hamlet, it reminded me of Peer Gynt: "Troll, be thyself - and thyself alone!")
And unless we accept conspiracy theories - the last example is pope Benedict XVI.




I'll reply to your questions later - possibly on Sunday. Happy Thanksgiving to you, and all American ToRNsibs!

Thinking about things I don't understand


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 28 2019, 5:16pm

Post #23 of 38 (1479 views)
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I suppose it's back to that 'how does the Ring work' unanswerable question [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo might be making an offer to hand over the Ring, but deep down he doesn't really mean it, or;

Frodo really wants to get rid of the Ring and fully intends to hand it over if his offer is accepted. But in fact he wouldn't be able to go through with it.

I'm not sure how distinct those options are, or how we could possibly distinguish between them. I suppose it's also back to that 'how does the Ring work' unanswerable question. Does Frodo want to hand the Ring over but the Ring has an independent will and wouldn't let him? Or do different parts of Frodo (perhaps the nascent 'Smeagol' and 'Gollum' parts that might emerge fully in time) want and not want to hand it over, respectively? I think it could be read either way (or, of course, other options - there are always other options!)

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


Solicitr
Rohan

Nov 28 2019, 8:29pm

Post #24 of 38 (1466 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

"He loved and hated the Ring, as he loved and hated himself". Said of Gollum, but applicable to a lesser degree to Frodo also.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 29 2019, 2:54am

Post #25 of 38 (1444 views)
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A reminder that even after 9 years of discussing these books, I don't understand them. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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