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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
*** Favorite Chapters - The Steward and the King (LotR)
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sador
Half-elven


Dec 25 2019, 6:57am

Post #26 of 34 (752 views)
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Not as much as Meriadoc, but still.. [In reply to] Can't Post

or botany -- do you suppose he was also skilled in zoology?
Had zoology been prominent in The Lord of the Rings, I have no doubt he would be.

I have once pointed out that animals are rife in The Hobbit, while the are relatively scarce (except for horses) in The Lord of the Rings, in which plants, and especially trees, are a major theme. I speculated (especially questions 6-8) that animals carry more of a "magical" aura, while trees have a more "mythical" connotation.
If my speculation is correct, this difference has to do with the different flavours of the two books. And Aragorn is clearly a mythical hero.


We have seen him using athelas in the Houses of Healing.
And on Weathertop, and near the Silverlode spring.


Since Aragorn never saw a living White Tree, how plausible is it that he immediately recognizes a juvenile specimen, and that Gandalf (who may have seen one) pipes right up with its genealogy and care?
That's myth for you.
Also, I fully expect Gandalf at least to have prepared for such a moment.



When the last Tree died in the time of the Stewards, had the fruit that Aragorn finds later been planted in the time of the Kings? There is a suggestion that only royalty could go to Mount Mindolluin.
At least, only they could go to the hallow.
Either that, or else the wind blew a seed. Which means that Manwe himself planted it.
Either way, it must have laid dormant for a very long time before sprouting out.


When a King dies of the Plague, so does the Tree, and when the Kings are replaced by the Stewards, the Tree begins to age and eventually dies.
Yes, there surely seems to be something supernatural at work here.
But I find the reverence with which Denethor and his fathers treat the dead tree fascinating.


Thinking about things I don't understand


sador
Half-elven


Dec 25 2019, 7:31am

Post #27 of 34 (750 views)
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What actually remained of Rath Dinen? [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to think that the roof of the whole placed collapsed after the Pyre of Denethor, until I remembered the tree was buried there. So (unless we suggest Tolkien simply forgot that episode) there must have been different crypts. It actually makes sense - the Stewards would not really be buried with the Kings.




That action meant taking a fragile but full-size tree down a level of the city through a quarter-circuit. I imagine the job must have been painstakingly slow.
Well, Aragorn did pardon the Easterlings and Haradrim; do you think it was simply out of the goodness of his heart? Prisoners of war are often a source of forced labour.



The backstory does not say what happened to the earlier Tree that died in the Plague -- was it accorded the same treatment?
I expect it was.



I am a little puzzled as to how finding a sapling of the Tree reassured Aragorn of his qualification to win Arwen's hand. The Tree clearly symbolizes and is stated to represent *Gondor*. It is the Seven Stars and Crown, as embroidered by Arwen on Aragorn's banner, that stands for the High King of Arnor and the Reunited Kingdom.
Well, the sapling does assure Aragorn of his kingship and the continuity of his lineage. And without it, he would arguably not think reclaim the kingdom at all.

The tree is also a direct connection to Isildur.

Thank you, Elanor TX, for this fascinating discussion!


Thinking about things I don't understand


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 25 2019, 2:02pm

Post #28 of 34 (737 views)
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The critters aren't that rare. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
or botany -- do you suppose he was also skilled in zoology?
Had zoology been prominent in The Lord of the Rings, I have no doubt he would be.

I have once pointed out that animals are rife in The Hobbit, while the are relatively scarce (except for horses) in The Lord of the Rings, in which plants, and especially trees, are a major theme. I speculated (especially questions 6-8) that animals carry more of a "magical" aura, while trees have a more "mythical" connotation.
If my speculation is correct, this difference has to do with the different flavours of the two books. And Aragorn is clearly a mythical hero.


LotR has its share of fauna: the fox in the Shire; Wargs and Werewolves; crebain; the Eagles; and your horses and ponies. And there were were the neekerbreekers and midges that Sam so despised.

#FidelityToTolkien


sador
Half-elven


Dec 26 2019, 4:02am

Post #29 of 34 (693 views)
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And the gulls, and a hawk, and black swans... [In reply to] Can't Post

But unlike The Hobbit, nothing is 'magical'. And no domesticated animals - Gollum and Sam are compared to dogs, Shelob to a cat, and there is the imagery of Queen Beruthiel -

Which just highlights the point: there are no animals (except for horses) you have any wish to communicate with. There are tales of communicating with animals (Tom's badgers), a brace of dead coneys for eating, and Faramir knows of the existence of kingfishers and black squirrels, while Treebeard has a long list. But there is nothing of what Tolkien described in 'Of Fairy Stories' as the wish to bridge over the divide.

The Eagles hardly count - they are mythical, the messengers of the Valar rather the talking birds of The Hobbit (indeed, some have gone so far as to suggest they are completely different, something I disagree with). It is like comparing Shelob to the spiders of Mirkwood. There is a cock somewhere in Minas Tirith, and Oliphaunts - but they too are 'mythical'. And why would Aragorn bother to know anything about them?

What I meant to say is not that there are no animals, but that they are sparse and rather uninteresting - mentioned only in passing, but having no intrising importance. The feeling is very different in The Hobbit - in which you engage with the ponies (more than anything in LotR except for Bill), the Wargs, the Eagles, Beorn's animals, the unseen bears, the Mirkwood deer, the butterflues, the spiders, the thrush, the bats and the ravens. Even Beorn, feels like a more authentic animal than Gwaihir.
LotR has nothing similar - except for the fox, which is in the third chapter, while tge story was still to be a Hobbit sequel. Which is why it (he) is so prized by readrs - but it also strictly belongs to The Hobbit.

However, the flora in LotR is prominent and sets the mood for quite a few scenes, and chapters.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.

Thinking about things I don't understand


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 26 2019, 3:18pm

Post #30 of 34 (650 views)
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Okay, I see what you're saying. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I would count the Eagles, though I understand why you disqualify them. We do have the bit with the fox's thoughts in the Shire. And, going back to horses, Shadowfax (along with the horses of the Elves) seems pretty intelligent even if he is not capable of human speech. Still, those are the exceptions rather than the rule. There are no thrushes relaying important information to a future king, or ravens bringing pleas for help. The crebain kind of fills that role for Saruman, but the reader is kept at a distance in that case.

#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Rohan


Dec 26 2019, 5:13pm

Post #31 of 34 (649 views)
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I [In reply to] Can't Post

always thought the symbolism of the Tree was a bit muddled. More than anything, of course, Tolkien intended it as a sign of divine ratification of Aragorn's kingship, Manwe or Eru stamping an imprimatur on it. The problem is, where it falls in the book Aragorn (and Gandalf) clearly read this as a sign of Arwen's pending arrival and the upcoming marriage. Yet the Tree is and always has been a symbol of Numenorean kingship- but it crops up after Aragorn has already been crowned. It has no particular association with Arwen, Elrond, or reuniting the sundered branches of the half-elven.


ElanorTX
Grey Havens


Dec 27 2019, 10:38am

Post #32 of 34 (587 views)
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That troubles me too [In reply to] Can't Post

See my entry immediately below yours on the Dead White Tree, and noWizardme's response.

"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."



(This post was edited by ElanorTX on Dec 27 2019, 10:40am)


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Dec 28 2019, 7:37am

Post #33 of 34 (502 views)
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A fertility symbol? [In reply to] Can't Post

A possible interpretation of the sudden emergence of this White Tree sapling may be that not only does Gondor have a King, but that the succession is renewed by the potential arrival of Arwen.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Dec 28 2019, 8:05pm

Post #34 of 34 (433 views)
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I like your thoughts of the "line of succession restored" [In reply to] Can't Post

And it's been a while since I've seen you on here- welcome back! Smile

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