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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Unofficial Bored of the Rings Discussion: Chapter IX, Minas Troney In the Soup, Part 2: Pay No Attention to that Man behind the Curtain

dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 25, 1:54am

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The Unofficial Bored of the Rings Discussion: Chapter IX, Minas Troney In the Soup, Part 2: Pay No Attention to that Man behind the Curtain Can't Post

As the three slowly wound their way toward the Palace of Benelux the Steward, the citizens of Twodor gaped at them briefly and walked immediately to their nearest optometrist. Curiously the boggies stared back at the dwellers: men, elves, dwarves, banshees, and not a few Republicans were among them.

“Any convention burg gets a pretty mixed bag," Goodgulf explained.


- A precursor to the European Union: the Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg economic union, aka Benelux.
- Gondor? Twodor? Sorhed's realm is Fordor? Get it? I like the homophonic relation with Tudor.
- I wonder what level conventions were held in.


Slowly they ascended the last, creaking set of moving steps and alighted at the first level. Pepsi rubbed his eyes at the edifice before him. It was of lavish design with broad lawns and sumptuous gardens. Rich marble paved the path beneath their feet, and the tinkling of many fountains sang like silver coins. At the door they were rather rudely informed that the dentist was not at home and they-must-be-looking-for-the-old-coot-round-back.

There they found a run-down palace wrought of stoutest Masonite, its walls aglow with fiery inlays of rock candy and old bicycle reflectors. Over the reinforced plywood door was a sign reading THE STEWARD IS OUT. Beneath that was another announcing OUT TO LUNCH, and beneath that, GONE FISHING.

"Benelux must not be here, if I read these signs aright," said Moxie.


- I suspect the dentist's office was one level lower, no need to have one's work clutter one's habitation.
- I wonder if anyone even uses Masonite as a building material nowadays, considering how badly it can warp and deteriorate. Especially after a rainstorm.
- Walls of rock candy and reflectors: this is reminding me of the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel...beware, those who enter!
- Who, in LotR, talked about "reading these signs aright"?


"I think it's a bluff," said Goodgulf as he rang the bell insistently, "for the Stewards of Minas Troney have always been private in their ways. Benelux the Booby, son of Electrolux the Piker, comes from a long line of Stewards dating back many arid generations. Long have they ruled Twodor. The first Great Steward, Parrafin the Climber, was employed in King Chloroplast's kitchen as second scullery boy when the old King met a tragic death. He apparently fell backward by accident on a dozen salad forks. Simultaneously the true heir, his son Carotene, mysteriously fled the city, complaining of some sort of plot and a lot of threatening notes left on his breakfast tray. At the time, this looked suspicious what with his father's death, and Carotene was suspected of foul play. Then the rest of the King's relatives began to drop dead one after the other in an odd fashion. Some were found strangled with dishrags and some succumbed to food poisoning. A few were found drowned in the soup vats, and one was attacked by assailants unknown and beaten to death with a pot roast. At least three appear to have thrown themselves backward on salad forks, perhaps in a noble gesture of grief over the King's untimely end. Finally there was no one left in Minas Troney who was either eligible or willing to wear the accursed crown, and the rule of Twodor was up for grabs. The scullery slave Parrafin bravely accepted the Stewardship of Twodor until that day when a lineal descendant of Carotene's returns to reclaim his rightful throne, conquer Twodor's enemies, and revamp the postal system."


- Very clever! This would make a great who-dunnit movie! They'd never suspect the lowly scullery boy...
- New names: Electrolux, Parrafin, Chloroplast, Carotene. Do any of you have Electrolux appliances?
- The poor postal system, ever the brunt of jokes!


Just then a peephole in the door opened and a beady eye inspected them.

"W-w-what you want?" the voice demanded.

"We are wayfarers here to aid the fortunes of Minas Troney. I am Goodgulf Grayteeth." The Wizard took a crumpled slip of paper from his wallet and handed it through the hole.

"W-what this?"

"My card," replied Goodgulf. It returned immediately in a dozen pieces.

"Steward not home. On vacation. N-n-no p-peddlers!" The peephole closed with a small slam.

But Goodgulf was not easily duped and the boggies could tell from his eyes that he was angered by this impudence. His pupils were crossing and uncrossing like a juggler's oranges. He rang again, long and loud. The eye blinked at them and a smell of garlic floated from the hole.

"Y-you again? Told you, he's t-t-taking a shower." Again the hole shut.

Goodgulf said nothing. He reached into his Mao jacket and extracted a black ball that Pepsi at first thought was the mallomar with a string attached. Goodgulf lit it with the end of his cigar and tossed the ball unto the mail slot. He then ran around the corner with the boggies in tow. There was a large boom and, when the boggies peeked around to look, the door had magically disappeared.



- I am so reminded by this of the scene at the gate of the Emerald City in Wizard of Oz!
- A mail slot in the royal door! Very convenient. And also a bit large, to be able to accommodate a mallomar.
- And a different kind of mallomar, that. Obviously designed for instant communication of a very specific type. Like magic!


Pridefully the three walked through the smoking portals. They were confronted by a seedy old palace guard who was wiping the soot from his smarting eyes.

"You may tell Benelux that Goodgulf the Wizard awaits an audience."

The doddering warrior bowed resentfully and led them through the airless passageways.

"T-t-the S-steward isn't going t-to like t-this," croaked the guard. "H-hasn-t been out of p-p-palace for years."

"Do not the people grow restive?" asked Pepsi.

"T-their idea," drooled the old guide.

He led them through an armorial hall whose cardboard arches and plaster-of-paris vaultings towered fully a foot over their heads. Richly mimeographed tapestries depicted past Kings' legendary deeds. Pepsi particularly liked one about a long-dead king and a she-goat and said so. Goodgulf smacked him one. The very walls glittered with inset ginger-ale bottles and costume jewelry, and the polished aluminum armor cast brilliant reflections on the hand-laid linoleum at their feet.


- Airless passageways: looks like that door has been shut a long time! Apparently the citizens of this city know how to deal with politicians.
- On looking up "plaster of paris", I find that it's used as a fire-resistant coating. Foreshadowing? Or simply cheap materials?
- Interesting scenes they've depicted on those tapestries.
- Inlaid bottle caps can be very decorative! The whole bottle, though, is another matter. I wonder if the bottles were still full.


At last they came to the throne room with its fabled thumbtack mosaics. By the looks of the place the Royal Throne Room gave double service as the Royal Shower Room. The guard disappeared and was replaced by an equally aged page in olive-drab livery. He struck a brass dinner gong and rasped:

"Cringe and scrape thee before Benelux, Great Steward of Twodor, true regent of the Lost King who will one day return or so they say."

The hoary page ducked around a screen and a curtain fluttered nearby. Out rolled the wizened Benelux in a battered wheelchair drawn by a brace of puffing raccoons. He wore tuxedo trousers, a short red jacket, and a clip-on bow tie. On his balding head rested a chauffeur's cap emblazoned with the Crest of the Stewards, a rather showy affair featuring a winged unicorn carrying a tea tray. Moxie caught a distinct whiff of garlic.

Goodgulf cleared his throat, for the Steward was obviously sound asleep.

"Greetings and Happy Holidays," he began. "I am Goodgulf, Court Wizard to the Crowned Heads of Lower Middle Earth, Worker of Wonders and Certified Chiropractor."

The old Steward opened one coated eye and looked at Moxie and Pepsi with disgust.

"W-w-what are those? Sign at door says 'no pets.' "

“They are boggies, my liege, small yet trusty allies of ours to the north."

"I'll have g-g-guard spread some papers," the Steward mumbled as his wrinkled head fell heavily to his chest.



- Great way to save money, no? Have the steward perform multiple duties!
- A unicorn Pegasus bearing a tray: now that's service.
- I seem to recall that chiropractors were considered "quack doctors" at this time.
- Why do I always get a giggle out of the idea of spreading papers for the boggies!


Goodgulf ahemed and continued.

"I fear that I am the bearer of dark tidings and sad. Sorhed's foul narcs have slain thy own beloved son Bromosel and now the Dark Lord wishes thy own life and thy realm for his own unspeakable designs."

"Bromosel?" said the Steward, rousing himself on one elbow.

"Thy own beloved son," prompted Goodgulf.

A flicker of recognition passed through tired old eyes.

"Oh, him. Never w-w-writes except for m-money. Just l-like the other one. T-too bad about t-t-that."

"Thus we have come with an army a few days' ride behind to revenge your grief upon Fordor," Goodgulf explained.

The Steward waved his feeble hands with annoyance.

"Fordor? N-n-never heard of it. No two-bit w-w-wizard n-neither. Audience over," said the Steward.

"Insult not the White Wizard," warned Goodgulf as he drew something from his pocket, "for I have many powers. Here, pick a card. Any card."

Benelux selected one of the fifty-two sevens of hearts and tore it into confetti. "Audience over," he repeated with finality.


- Does it seem that Benelux resembles the Grima-influenced Theoden more than Denethor?

Next up: wherein more chapters are condensed into this soup!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


sador
Half-elven


Mar 3, 2:32pm

Post #2 of 17 (699 views)
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I guess somebody has to do this... (pt. I) [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if squire has all the answers typed already, but is waiting for me to reply first?


A precursor to the European Union: the Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg economic union, aka Benelux.
Two Kingdoms and one Grand Duchy, now ruled by a do-nothing steward?


Gondor? Twodor? Sorhed's realm is Fordor? Get it?
Yes. Haven't we pointed this out already? I don't remember.


I like the homophonic relation with Tudor.
So do I. And I'm not sure I got this one.
So the House of Stuart followed the Tudor kings? Fun! Was Paraffin the Climber also called Banquo?


I wonder what level conventions were held in.
At any rate, it seems they were around the level in which optometrists lived. Which was lower than dentists.
Having been born in 1971, I have nothing to say about the conventions Beard and Kenny probably had in mind; I guess they must have been mixed bags, at some level.


I suspect the dentist's office was one level lower, no need to have one's work clutter one's habitation.
The wizard calls himself Goodgulf Grayteeth. Has he actually been knocking on the rightdoor?

I wonder if anyone even uses Masonite as a building material nowadays, considering how badly it can warp and deteriorate. Especially after a rainstorm.
We have some pretty atrocious stuff around here, but I do not recall anything used in Israel ever being named that.

Walls of rock candy and reflectors: this is reminding me of the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel...beware, those who enter!
Beware, and abandon all hope.

Who, in LotR, talked about "reading these signs aright"?
Aragorn, in The Departure of Boromir.
Also compare to Orlon, in Finders Keepers, Finders Weepers:


Quote
"So be it. You shall leave when the omens are right," said Orlon, consulting a pocket horoscope, "and unless I'm very much mistaken, they will be unmatched in half an hour."




Very clever! This would make a great who-dunnit movie! They'd never suspect the lowly scullery boy...
With Benelux in the role of Nero Wolfe? He seems to be just as reclusive.

New names: Electrolux, Parrafin, Chloroplast, Carotene. Do any of you have Electrolux appliances?
No, although this brand name I did recognise.

The poor postal system, ever the brunt of jokes!
Yes. Only the True King could improve it to include fax machines.

Must run now. More later!





Thinking about things I don't understand


sador
Half-elven


Mar 4, 1:14pm

Post #3 of 17 (633 views)
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I guess somebody has to do this... (pt. II) [In reply to] Can't Post

I am so reminded by this of the scene at the gate of the Emerald City in Wizard of Oz!
Did the "seedy old palace guard" have green whiskers?
I am actually reminded more at the scene in The Land of Oz, in which the soldier with the green whiskers admits to General Jinjur that his gun is not loaded...



A mail slot in the royal door! Very convenient. And also a bit large, to be able to accommodate a mallomar.
Yes, we understand why the Stewards never bothered to reform the postal service - they were well-served.
At least in some things.


And a different kind of mallomar, that. Obviously designed for instant communication of a very specific type. Like magic!
All this for the sake of bursting upon an old man showering?
This is getting even more creepy...

And just asking: How many door-to-door peddlers used to coming smoking cigars?



Airless passageways: looks like that door has been shut a long time! Apparently the citizens of this city know how to deal with politicians.
Or just self-secluding in The_Ivory_Tower by the Steward(s).

However, this might serve as a warning to the top level dwellers, not to let the peons get any ideas.




On looking up "plaster of paris", I find that it's used as a fire-resistant coating. Foreshadowing? Or simply cheap materials?
I knew it from Three men in a boat. The whole chapter is quite amusing.

And foreshadowing of this sort is a pretty cheap material.


Interesting scenes they've depicted on those tapestries.
As the old guide would have probably said: You ain't seen nothin' yet.


Inlaid bottle caps can be very decorative! The whole bottle, though, is another matter. I wonder if the bottles were still full.
How does ginger ale keep in an open bottle? Better not ask, I guess.
I have assumed the ginger ale was used to wash down all the garlic; but it occurs to me the garlic might have been around to keep away werewolves, vampries, nozdrul and wizards.

But the garlic was either stale, or else chiropractors masquerading as fortune-aiding wayfarers could somehow swindle the white magic.




Great way to save money, no? Have the steward perform multiple duties!
Did Benelux actually "perform multiple duties"? Or dis he simply raid a pawnbrokers' shop for second-hand clothes?
If only Goodgulf would have introduced himself as a Salvation Army colonel, he might have been granted an audience...

I also wonder if the tieclip was magic; the garlic was surely enough to induce sneezing.



A unicorn Pegasus bearing a tray: now that's service.
Was it pink and fluffy? Did it dance?


I seem to recall that chiropractors were considered "quack doctors" at this time.
That's what the garlic was for.


Why do I always get a giggle out of the idea of spreading papers for the boggies!
Unlike the raccoons - can boggies be housetrained?

By the way, I never knew that the phrase "Happy Holidays" went so far back.




Does it seem that Benelux resembles the Grima-influenced Theoden more than Denethor?
Well, the tapestries are an Edoras feature, too...



Two further notes:


Bromosel seems just like an ordinary student!
However, he wasn't quite slain by Sorhed's foul narcs - his actual manner of death seems eerily like that of old king Chloroplast.

Also, Goodgulf seems to have found another pack of cards, since:


Quote
"You cannot put a knave on a king. That's cheating," cautioned the elf.







Thinking about things I don't understand


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 4, 2:33pm

Post #4 of 17 (622 views)
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Hypnotic! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

A unicorn Pegasus bearing a tray: now that's service.
Was it pink and fluffy? Did it dance?


Did it possess a cutie mark? I would point out, though, that Fluffle Puff is not an Alicorn and has no wings. Here's your pink unicorn-pegasus:



#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 7, 2:49pm

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Holy smoke [In reply to] Can't Post

Yesterday, in the car, the joke in Minas Troney finally registered after fifty years!

Half a century I've been wondering what a "Troney" was


squire
Half-elven


Mar 7, 4:02pm

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The work goes well [In reply to] Can't Post

And for our part, we shall not wholly fail of our task, though TORn should perish, if anyone reading through this endless discussion can get even one more joke or gag or obscure 60s reference in days to come!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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squire
Half-elven


Mar 7, 6:21pm

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Electrolux? Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time. A long time... [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry to have taken a little time before responding to this very important and popular RR discussion thread. Thanks sador for your thoughts in the mean time. I can only add a few thoughts and reactions, so here goes.

As the three slowly wound their way ... “Any convention burg gets a pretty mixed bag," Goodgulf explained.

A. A precursor to the European Union: the Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg economic union, aka Benelux.
If I remember, in the geopolitics of the 60s Benelux had connotations of small size, military weakness, and hoped-for neutrality in European conflicts. “Faintly ridiculous” was the connotation, in comparison to “real” countries like France, Germany, and the UK. So Dene- in Denethor gets us to Bene- in Benelux, but the name has secondary value in this spoof by demeaning the book’s Denethor, the respected and feared leader of the West’s superpower.

B. Gondor? Twodor? Sorhed's realm is Fordor? Get it? I like the homophonic relation with Tudor.
It took me a long time to get this one when I was younger. I now know that’s because I wasn’t particularly immersed in America’s “car culture”, in which two-door vs four-door cars had distinct images and fans. I’m not sure the Tudor (British royal dynasty) pun was intended, as the joke clearly originated with Mordor -> Fordor, but hey, why not?

C. I wonder what level conventions were held in.
Maybe Fonstad shows it in her book, Atlas of Lower Middle Earth?

In this passage I’ve always noted that Republicans are evidently even weirder than banshees. Also the reference to a “convention burg” (at the time a city with a large convention hall and plenty of hotels in an otherwise fairly homogeneous region of the U.S.) attracting a colorful cast of elves and dwarves, etc., is scarily prescient of Comic Con!

Slowly they ascended the last, creaking set of moving steps ... "Benelux must not be here, if I read these signs aright," said Moxie.

D. I suspect the dentist's office was one level lower, no need to have one's work clutter one's habitation.
Nice to see them play through with the earlier throwaway gag about the dentists’ being at the top of the social pyramid. And here’s yet another instance where the prose approximates Tolkien’s, “…broad lawns and sumptuous gardens. Rich marble paved the path beneath their feet, and the tinkling of many fountains…”, in order to set up a joke that mocks Tolkien’s solemnity.

E. I wonder if anyone even uses Masonite as a building material nowadays, considering how badly it can warp and deteriorate. Especially after a rainstorm.
All those “wet, annoyed pointers and retrievers” would make short work of a Masonite structure, to be sure. As you say, Masonite and plywood connote cheap, hasty construction, like stage scenery. This brings to my mind a buried memory of “backstage shots” of the Minas Tirith set for the New Line films, which was all made of painted plywood and probably Masonite as well (Masonite’s slick surface is valued for scenic elements that require a marble-effect paint job).

F. Walls of rock candy and reflectors: this is reminding me of the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel...beware, those who enter!
Actually the shiny but cheap bling is not the walls, but the lighting effect of “fiery inlays” glowing in the walls. Which evokes, of course, the “fiery letters” that Frodo discovers in his precious Ring at the beginning of LotR.

G. Who, in LotR, talked about "reading these signs aright"?
As sador has noted, Aragorn says “I read the signs aright” when tracking Frodo’s movements at Parth Galen in LR book III. If he hadn’t gotten it, I would have guessed it was Aragorn also, but when reading Gandalf’s cryptic marks on Weathertop!

"I think it's a bluff," said Goodgulf ... until that day when a lineal descendant of Carotene's returns to reclaim his rightful throne, conquer Twodor's enemies, and revamp the postal system."

H. Very clever! This would make a great who-dunnit movie! They'd never suspect the lowly scullery boy...
Yes, it’s quite a spoof on the idiocies of Agatha Christie-type murder mysteries, and on the maniacal detail with which Tolkien indulges himself in his Appendices on the Numenorean Kingdoms. I have always been slightly puzzled that, after being sure to keep the title of Steward for the ruler-in-place-of-King, the ‘Poonies worked out an elaborate kitchen-themed gag that doesn’t explain why the ambitious scullery slave accepted the title of Steward (head of the kitchen staff) rather than the actual crown. To be inappropriately logical for a half-second, who had been the Steward to the royal family before Parrafin accepted the job?

I. New names: Electrolux, Parrafin, Chloroplast, Carotene. Do any of you have Electrolux appliances?
Well, no, not now. But in my distant youth, I was born and spent my first four years in Old Greenwich, Connecticut and I remember, somehow, that there was an Electrolux factory in that town. Probably the first national brand name I absorbed was Electrolux. (Looking it up to see if my memory hasn’t failed me, I see that yes, it was a vacuum-cleaner factory, and it closed in 1985.) I’m pretty sure my mother had an Electrolux cleaner in the good old days.

As for the names of the Stewards of Twodor, it’s clear that besides being another characteristic American brand name Electrolux simply follows from Benelux, which was inspired by Denethor. Booby and Piker as cognomens (royal nicknames) are insults connoting idiocy and fraud. Parrafin is from Paraffin, the British term for kerosene – I’m not sure if the double-r replacing the double-f evokes some Tolkienian royal spelling or name.

For the doomed royal family, Chloroplast is the organelle in the cells of green plants where photosynthesis takes place; Carotene is a red-orange substance in plants that aids photosynthesis and gives some fruits and vegetables their red-to-purple coloring. God only knows what insane biology-class logic inspired these two “C” names with a vegetal theme as a joke on the long lists of king’s names in the LotR Appendices!

J. The poor postal system, ever the brunt of jokes!
Also an infinitely mundane and petty administrative goal to contrast with the Tolkienian ones of “reclaim rightful throne” and “conquer Twodor's enemies”.

Just then a peephole in the door opened ... when the boggies peeked around to look, the door had magically disappeared.

K. I am so reminded by this of the scene at the gate of the Emerald City in Wizard of Oz!
Yes, indeed, it’s certainly informed by that classic comic exchange. But there’s lots here to enjoy, from the stuttering, blinking, beady-eyed, garlic-breathed character sketch behind the door, to Goodgulf actually getting his job done for once, deploying his wallet, crumpled ‘card’, crossing eyes, juggler imagery, Mao jacket, cigar, and anarchist’s traditional ball-and-fuse bomb. And who can resist the image of closing a small peephole with a “small slam”?

L. A mail slot in the royal door! Very convenient. And also a bit large, to be able to accommodate a mallomar.
I never thought of that! But never let the facts get in the way of a good joke, as the sign over the door says here at the BOTR Institute and Beef Jerky Stand.

M. And a different kind of mallomar, that. Obviously designed for instant communication of a very specific type. Like magic!
Love the deadpan outcome of “magically disappeared”. It worked for Dildo at the beginning of the book, and it works now. Shades of Monty Python’s “Holy Hand Grenade”. And “‘Magical,’ sighed Spam.”

Pridefully the three walked through ... and the polished aluminum armor cast brilliant reflections on the hand-laid linoleum at their feet.

N. Airless passageways: looks like that door has been shut a long time! Apparently the citizens of this city know how to deal with politicians.
I don’t think the ‘airless’ jibe delivers that idea; it’s more about how cramped and claustrophobic the so-called palace is, like the gag about vaultings that “towered fully a foot over their heads”. But you’re right about the citizens v. politicians dynamic here; it’s in the classic exchange about the Steward not having left his palace in years. For some reason, the payoff to Pepsi’s mock-serious question about the people growing restive, “‘T-their idea,’ drooled the old guide”, has always cracked me up.

O. On looking up "plaster of paris", I find that it's used as a fire-resistant coating. Foreshadowing? Or simply cheap materials?
I think it’s just a joky image of cheap materials in place of magnificent carved stone. Again, I am helplessly reminded of the New Line films’ attempt to build Denethor’s great hall on a soundstage with an insufficient budget. The camera worked hard not to linger on the semi-cheesy detailing and unartful architecture.

P. Interesting scenes they've depicted on those tapestries.
Richly mimeographed, no less – recalling the hand-cartooned “school newspapers” we would produce in elementary school and the teacher would roll off with that blue ink and pungent smell. Not that we portrayed our betters as engaged in carnal knowledge of carnal species, of course. As to Pepsi’s sense of art appreciation, so reminiscent of Spam’s daydreams of “reptilian pleasures” and Dildo’s song of “trolls who do it in teams”, I love that Gandalf “smacked him one”. I don’t believe I hear that phrasing so much these days – another dated locution preserved in the pop time-capsule that is this book.

Q. Inlaid bottle caps can be very decorative! The whole bottle, though, is another matter. I wonder if the bottles were still full.
Reminds me of the 60s-era decorating idea of putting green glass soda-pop bottles in the window to catch the sunlight for a cheap but pretty “stained glass” effect in your home. Again, here is more low-class décor in bathetic contrast to Tolkien’s love of a good palace hall and shining jewelry and metalcraft. Sorry to see linoleum re-used quite so soon after it did its job in Schlob’s Lair in the previous chapter.

At last they came to the throne ... "I'll have g-g-guard spread some papers," the Steward mumbled as his wrinkled head fell heavily to his chest.

R. Great way to save money, no? Have the steward perform multiple duties!
The Steward doesn’t seem to have any duties at all, but the idea of the Throne Room being the Shower Room is really a disturbing one. On the other hand, we’ve been missing bathroom humor for what, several pages now, so there’s that. I note the page has olive-drab livery, which suggests Army fatigues in contrast to the usual idea of court servants dressing in mock-18th century frillery. I also like “cringe and scrape thee” as a command.

S. A unicorn Pegasus bearing a tray: now that's service.
Benelux’s entire outfit seems to evoke the catering hall staff of a worn-out third-class hotel. Not sure how the “brace of puffing raccoons” fits in, but I suspect the contrast is between Caesar entering Rome in a horse-drawn chariot and this image from a fantastic nursing home for demented royalty. The unicorn with the tea-tray unfortunately reminds me of Beorn’s dinner-servants in The Hobbit, or else something out of the Narnia books. I like to think I’m wrong, and the writers’ imaginations did not reach to those sources for such an extended parody.

T. I seem to recall that chiropractors were considered "quack doctors" at this time.
Aren’t they still? But certainly that is what is intended here.

U. Why do I always get a giggle out of the idea of spreading papers for the boggies!
Rest assured you’re not alone! It’s another classic. And set up, of course, by a Tolkienian turn of phrase, “They are boggies, my liege, small yet trusty allies of ours to the north”, that echoes the originals, “Little service, no doubt, will so great a lord of Men think to find in a hobbit, a halfling from the northern Shire” and the Gondor folk-rumor of an army of halflings arriving in aid: “small maybe, but doughty”.

Goodgulf ahemed and continued.... Benelux selected one of the fifty-two sevens of hearts and tore it into confetti. "Audience over," he repeated with finality.

V. Does it seem that Benelux resembles the Grima-influenced Theoden more than Denethor?
There’s something to that, as the parody chose to compress the Rohirrim’s leadership from Eomer, Eowyn, and Theoden into the one-(large)-size-fits-all Eorache. Without a scene about Theoden in Edoras to spoof, they’ve clearly merged the two throne-room confrontations into one.

I do like, “Oh, him. Never writes except for money. Just like the other one”; “Fordor? Never heard of it”; and “I have many powers. Here, pick a card. Any card.”

But a notable weakness to this last section is that Benelux’s stuttering diction has been foreshadowed by the guard’s at the door; and so has the scene where Gandalf’s offered ‘card’ was torn up as a signal of rejection. That’s just sloppy writing, and I suspect there was a bit of fatigue at this point in the book’s one-night creation, not salved by the Barca-Loungers in every room of the Lampoon Castle.



squire online:
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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 7, 11:37pm

Post #8 of 17 (506 views)
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Electrolux [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
- New names: Electrolux, Parrafin, Chloroplast, Carotene. Do any of you have Electrolux appliances?


In the 1960s, when I was just a wee lad, we had an Electrolux vacuum cleaner. It was either this model or one very much like it:



I never could figure out why it didn't just have wheels on it instead of those runners.

#FidelityToTolkien


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 21, 9:51pm

Post #9 of 17 (232 views)
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Banquo? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Paraffin had a bit longer life than did Banquo, who in the end didn't have a ghost of a chance gaining the kingdom. Well, he did have a ghost...

That's a good point about Goodgulf Grayteeth: what dentist was he seeing? Or had the dentists been rejecting him as a patient?

Benelux is reclusive, but he's no Nero Wolfe! Laugh I think this would be a more humorous movie, a mix of "Clue" and "And Then there were None", ah, that would probably have to be retitled "And Then there was One"!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 21, 10:17pm

Post #10 of 17 (232 views)
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Green whiskers? [In reply to] Can't Post

Good question, the text doesn't give a color for the guy's whiskers, does it! Just an olive-drab uniform.

Smoking a cigar was far more common in the U.S. back in the time this was written. Indoors, outdoors (my Dad smoked one while doing yard-work), I've been watching old Columbo episodes and he's constantly smoking or asking for a light. It would not have been unusual for a peddler to be smoking, that's "just what guys did". Tongue

I wonder if the authors took some of their ideas from "The Ivory Tower", the description of Minas Tirith could have brought that novel to mind.

Ack, that is an old video! Haven't heard Bachman Turner Overdrive in ages. Good point about tapestries on the wall being part of the culture of Rohan rather than Gondor.

I had thought the garlic aroma had been used just to confirm the same person was taking on all identities, but it would also be effective in keeping unwanted types away, wouldn't it! Not working, however.

Good catch about the second deck of cards, I'd missed that!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 21, 10:19pm

Post #11 of 17 (232 views)
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If My Little Ponies [In reply to] Can't Post

had been around when this was written, no doubt the authors would have gleefully incorporated them into the story!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 21, 10:24pm

Post #12 of 17 (233 views)
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*cackles menacingly* [In reply to] Can't Post

Incredible! Seriously? You just recently made the connection?

Yes, our work goes well...

Evil


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


(This post was edited by dernwyn on Mar 21, 10:25pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 22, 3:09am

Post #13 of 17 (231 views)
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*checks on Amazon for copy of Atlas of Lower Middle Earth* [In reply to] Can't Post

Not exactly a best-seller, was it!

A. I didn't know about the derision heaped on Benelux, no wonder they used that for the Steward's name.

C. Omigosh, Minas Troney does portend ComicCon, doesn't it!

D. One of the things that makes this book a "classic" is their excellent imitation of Tolkien's style.

E. Masonite was valued for its surface characteristics? Fascinating!

F. Wow, I had never associated the "fiery inlays" with the Ring inscription.

H. Considering that whoever wore the crown was getting killed off, maybe Parrafin decided not to press his luck that far, and accepted the Steward position (highest in the kitchen, and apparently second only to king). I would assume that the king's household had always had a kitchen steward. The two meanings of that title work perfectly here.

I. I think all of our parents had Electrolux vacuum cleaners! I seem to recall an article about them in a recent Connecticut Explored history magazine.

"C" names - I wonder what inspired "Chrysophylax"!

K-M. Yes, this is great cartoon humor. And somehow it reminds me of RoadRunner and Wile E. Coyote.

O. I do believe you are well-acquainted with how critical it is, that the camera not stray from a position, or linger too long, when the budgets are "on a shoestring"!

P. I remember having to type on those sheets for the mimeograph machine, and the horror stories about the ink leaking all over the pages! Those were the days, kids today have it so easy.

R. The Throne Room usually is a part of the Shower Room, unless there's a dividing doorway. Years ago I travelled to Chicago with my parents, and our hotel room's bathroom really did have a "throne" in it, an actual wicker chair over the commode. Yes, it was weird...

S. Of course, why didn't that occur to me: Beorn's animals walking on hind legs and serving! Good heavens, they put in a Hobbit parody.

V. I suspect that by this point, they were running low on Dr. Pepper, but I do find the redundancy amusing. Ah, yes, the many powers of Goodgulf Greyteeth.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 22, 3:10am

Post #14 of 17 (229 views)
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A thing of beauty, isn't it? [In reply to] Can't Post

And so easy for little kids like me to stumble over when Mom was vacuuming the house...

Maybe the runners were cheaper than wheels?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 22, 4:02pm

Post #15 of 17 (221 views)
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I think [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Incredible! Seriously? You just recently made the connection?

Yes, our work goes well...

Evil


my problem was being too geeky, even as a kid- pronouncing it properly 'Meenas' ruins the pun.


squire
Half-elven


Mar 22, 4:24pm

Post #16 of 17 (221 views)
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Poops!... er, I mean Whoops! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, I hadn't made that final connection between Twodor's "Royal Throne Room" serving as the "Royal Shower Room" and the other "Throne Room". Duh.

There's always something more to find in this book, isn't there?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 22, 5:22pm

Post #17 of 17 (216 views)
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Just like the original... [In reply to] Can't Post

...you can never cease to be surprised by finding something you'd never noticed before!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

 
 

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