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***Favourite chapters - The Scouring of the Shire (LOTR)
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noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 17, 9:29am

Post #26 of 48 (554 views)
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LIke it - how about 'The Link Inn'? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm imagining a pub sign with chains, which perhaps might have come about because the pub was near a smithy.

But I'm not going to be the one making a work with these things in it, so of course the author (or map-maker or game designer or whatever) should decide.

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 17, 2:55pm

Post #27 of 48 (537 views)
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Books that moralise [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The children's books I read were not so heavily moralising and improving as some of the works for earlier generatons, but they still tended to try to be uplifting, and coming-of-age themes were common.


Maybe the reason some of us still have a problem with Gandalf abandoning his friends in a time of need is because LOTR makes a bedrock thematic assumption (and moral message) that that is precisely the opposite of what friends do. It starts early, from Gildor's reluctance to counsel Frodo


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But if you demand advice, I will for friendship’s sake give it.


to The Conspiracy Unmasked

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‘You do not understand!’ said Pippin. ‘You must go – and therefore we must, too.'


to some absurd mortal heroism in Moria

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With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed.
‘He cannot stand alone!’ cried Aragorn suddenly and ran back along the bridge. ‘Elendil!’ he shouted. ‘I am with you, Gandalf!’
‘Gondor!’ cried Boromir and leaped after him.

And I could go on quoting the whole trilogy. That's why Gandalf's exit stage left feels so off to me. It's just not what a Tolkien character would normally do.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 17, 2:57pm

Post #28 of 48 (530 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm imagining a pub sign with chains, which perhaps might have come about because the pub was near a smithy.

But I'm not going to be the one making a work with these things in it, so of course the author (or map-maker or game designer or whatever) should decide.


...the Bree supplement for The One Ring Rolelplaying Game doesn't specifically place any inns or other waystations along the Great East Road between the Shire and Bree, though neither does it rule them out. I have to imagine that there were at least a couple, probably more. Of course, you never suggested any specific location for your proposed inn; you were probably thinking of some place within the Shire itself. My own interest in the subject started with: 1) my "TOR Guide to the Shire"; 2) my short story taking the three remarkable Took sisters on a journey to Mithlond; and 3) a home-brewed Shire adventure I wrote that was set mostly in the Northfarthing and around Lake Evendim. As for a tavern near a smithy, I could imagine one in Oatbarton (or elsewhere) called The Hammer and Tong.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 17, 2:59pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 17, 6:15pm

Post #29 of 48 (521 views)
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Those relevant quotes... [In reply to] Can't Post

As the hobbits + Gandalf leave Bree


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“‘I wonder what old Barliman was hinting at,’ said Frodo.

‘I can guess some of it,’ said Sam gloomily. ‘What I saw in the Mirror: trees cut down and all, and my old gaffer turned out of the Row. I ought to have hurried back quicker.’

‘And something’s wrong with the Southfarthing evidently,’ said Merry. ‘There’s a general shortage of pipe-weed.’

‘Whatever it is,’ said Pippin, ‘Lotho will be at the bottom of it: you can be sure of that.’

‘Deep in, but not at the bottom,’ said Gandalf. ‘You have forgotten Saruman. He began to take an interest in the Shire before Mordor did.’


The conversation continues, including Gandalf's announcement that he plans to go see Bombadil rather than go with them to deal with Saruman.



Quote
“But if I were you, I should press on now for home, or you will not come to the Brandywine Bridge before the gates are locked.’

‘But there aren’t any gates,’ said Merry, ‘not on the Road; you know that quite well. There’s the Buckland Gate, of course; but they’ll let me through that at any time.’

‘There weren’t any gates, you mean,’ said Gandalf. ‘I think you will find some now. And you might have more trouble even at the Buckland Gate than you think. But you’ll manage all right. Good-bye, dear friends! Not for the last time, not yet. Good-bye!’”

(both quotes from 'Homeward Bound, the chapter before this week's one).


So perhaps it is fair to say that the hobbits have mostly inferred what they are up against (from this, and what they know of the ruffian situation at Bree). Eleven-year-old Nowiz was less good at inference.

I think (now the I do things properly and re-read the bit I was trying to do it from memory) that what makes me want to pull Gandalf's beard is that he somehow knows about details such as the gate, yet he maintains an air of mysteriousness that is just annoying to me by this point. Annoying for the reasons I've already mentioned, plus the one that CuriousG articulated when feel it but hadn't been able to identify it. But I am beginning to feel a bit mollified by now...

Perhaps it is just not Tolkien's finest bit of writing. But note how I'm learning from this discussion and wondering how much of my irritation is me, not him. Of course I'm happy to have a difference of opinion about things like this! But naturally I'm also interested to see if other folks have noticed things I have missed, and which offer a better explanation.

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


enanito
Rohan

Mar 18, 3:18am

Post #30 of 48 (495 views)
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It's Gandalf's mess to clean up [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf who was Olórin, a Maiar, Istari, sent by the Valar, member of the White Council - all those things that Saruman was himself. It sure seems like if anyone should have had responsibility to watch over Saruman - even a diminished and fallen version - it should have been Gandalf (or maybe Radagast. OK, not Radagast). Yes Gandalf was Sauron's principal adversary, and once the Big Bad was vanquished his work in M.E. was done, but it sure seems like he conveniently washed his hands of any collateral effects regarding Saruman.

Which is exactly the vibe given by Saruman when he mocks Frodo:

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When his tools have done their tasks he drops them

Like most effective deceit, the rub lies in determining exactly how much of what Saruman says is truth or lie... is it 90% truth and 10% lie? 50/50? Or a completely unfair assessment of Gandalf's methods?

I am a huge Gandalf fan, but usually struggle to convince myself that he really did the right thing the right way here!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 18, 1:14pm

Post #31 of 48 (478 views)
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Good quote [In reply to] Can't Post

And I agree that while it's a malicious exaggeration, it still nags at me as if there is some truth to it, given that Gandalf has dropped the hobbits to go on a personal vacation. He knows a lot is wrong with the Shire, whether he knows specifically if Saruman is there or not. If he *did* know Saruman is there, then it really is problematic from an ethical stance, as you point out.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 18, 3:44pm

Post #32 of 48 (467 views)
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This chapter - cut or keep? [In reply to] Can't Post

Imagine you're tasked with abridging LOTR - do you cut this chapter (and of course make other minor changes elsewhere so that the text still makes sense), or would that impoverish the story? Naturally it will be more interesting if you can try to say why you decide 'cut' or 'keep'.

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


Dunadan of North Arnor
Rivendell

Mar 18, 3:52pm

Post #33 of 48 (462 views)
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I give Hurin the win [In reply to] Can't Post

But that’s just me…

He held out, suffering outrageous misfortune, for 27 years, released only after the death of his children. He managed to make it to his children’s gravestone where he met his wife Morwen, and held her until she passed away at sunset, eventually burying her there at the site which would survive the Ages as Tol Morwen, including the Change of the World. None of which would have occurred had he killed himself, his only other option.

Morgoth on the other hand, while defeating all the Elvish kingdoms, left a presence of High Elvish survivors at the Havens bearing his missing Silmaril, held by Hurin’s grand-neice no less. I’m sure he was planning a victory tour of Middle-earth once he had secured those objectives, wearing his fulfilled crown, and atop his newly bred winged dragons. But the Third Kinslaying, scattering that last stronghold, also saw the Silmaril pass to the West with the help of Ulmo. So what did Morgoth win? He was victorious as conquerer of Middle-earth, but without his ultimate prize for about a half-dozen years before the Host of Valinor landed, eventually thrusting him out of Arda completely.

The last paragraph of the Lost Tale of Turambar (substituting later names for earlier ones) reads: “it is said that when Hurin was dead his shade fared into the woods seeking Morwen, and long those twain haunted the woods… but the Elves of Tirion have told, and they know, that at last Hurin and Morwen fared to Mandos, and Nienor was not there nor Turin their son. Turambar indeed had followed Nienor along the black pathways to the doors of Nienna, but Nienna would not open them, neither would Mandos. Yet now the prayers of Hurin and Morwen came even to Manwe, and the Gods had mercy on their unhappy fate, so that those twain Turin and Nienor entered into the Bath of Flame, even as Arien and her maidens had done before the first rising of the Sun, and so were all their sorrows and stains washed away, and they dwelt as shining Valar among the blessed ones… but Turambar indeed shall stand beside Eonwe in the Last Battle, and Morgoth and his dragons shall curse the sword of Turin.”

Thus the Second Prophecy of Mandos, left out of the ’77 Sil, was set to play out very early in the legendarium to which the family of Hurin was meant to be central, right up until there was a hole in the ground. We’re talking about the Devil and a Man who didn’t play the fiddle in Georgia, but a Man meant to win in the end according to all the precepts of Tolkien’s writings and beliefs IMHO.


enanito
Rohan

Mar 18, 4:18pm

Post #34 of 48 (459 views)
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Would Hurin have chosen his path, knowing where it would lead? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hurin was pretty amazing, considering what he was up against. Bitter? Deceived? Curse-carrier? Yes, yes, yes. But when you're up against a foe that even the Valar are scared of, you're never gonna come out unscathed. And Morgoth's evil power was always going to be principally focused on those who most strongly opposed him.

If Hurin had the foresight to completely see the effects of his defiance of Morgoth, both on his descendants as well as other good people (Gondolin, Doriath), would he still have taken the course? A proud and good man, I think yes he would.


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 18, 9:44pm

Post #35 of 48 (452 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

You left out the rest of the story: How Hurin, the terrible old man's mind mind twisted by hate, rage and a burning desire for vengeance, played a direct role in the downfalls of Brethil, Doriath and Gondolin. The location of the latter being what he suffered for 27 years to protect.....

High price for a hug.

To mix universe metaphors, the Emperor succeeded in turning him to the Dark Side.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Mar 18, 9:46pm)


Dunadan of North Arnor
Rivendell

Mar 18, 11:16pm

Post #36 of 48 (448 views)
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I’ll give you Brethil... [In reply to] Can't Post

but not Doriath or even Gondolin.

In Doriath he merely delivered a treasure, albeit cursed by Mim, to a powder keg ready to explode, in which Morgoth had no part at all but to laugh as a spectator while all the ‘free peoples’ waged war on one another.

Gondolin was at that point isolated and ultimately doomed by Maeglin, Húrin’s ‘pointing it out’ or not. Any suggestion that without Húrin’s survival the ‘allied forces’ of Middle-earth would have prevailed against Morgoth is, well, a hopeful stretch beyond measure.

An island that outlasts the globing of the world, not to mention a son that delivers the final blow to the Devil, is a little more than just a hug. Brethil, and the house of Haleth, Rest In Peace. :)


(This post was edited by Dunadan of North Arnor on Mar 18, 11:18pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 19, 6:12pm

Post #37 of 48 (419 views)
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Depending [In reply to] Can't Post

on which of multiple versions, but certainly the one which to me is the most coherent, is that Hurin's giveaway told Morgoth where to send scouts- the scouts that before long would capture Maeglin.


enanito
Rohan

Mar 20, 1:23am

Post #38 of 48 (407 views)
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Never! Well... actually... hmmm... yeah, it could be cut [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course my first reaction was "Blasphemy!". Then I put my pitchfork down and thought about it. What if the four Hobbits came home from Rivendell and settled into life, and we just transitioned into the Grey Havens chapter?

Sure maybe "something" had happened in the Shire that required the magic box of dust. Maybe some remnants of the Rangers of the North had banded together and routed marauders who were terrorizing the Shire, and it was in a bad state when the Hobbits returned. Or whatever.

I know this chapter is interesting in what it shows, both from the Hobbits' growth, as well as Sharkey's downfall from on high. And with Tolkien, I'm a firm believer that more is always, always, better.
But I'm not sure I can be convinced it's essential.

I'm hoping somebody disagrees and puts me in my place!


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 20, 10:03am

Post #39 of 48 (379 views)
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Logically vs. emotionally [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm realizing there are (at least) two sides to my question.
Is it possible to abridge the plot so that this episode is cut and loose ends elsewhere are tied up to preserve logic? Yes certainly - the PJ films found a way to do that (Galadriel gives Sam a different gift; bring Saruman's death forward to Orthanc; have the hobbits arrive home to a friendly pint in a Shire that's gone on much as before; Frodo never sold Bag End to Lotho). And you've just given us another possible shortened plot, enanito. Similarly, I suppose, someone could omit just about any episode in the story.

I suppose I'm trying to ask about what feels missing in these alternative plots - why might it matter or be more satisfying that we see Saruman in his degraded final state. or see the Shire damaged and the hobbits co-opted into it, and the other things this chapter contains? I was going to say "why is this plot better than alternatives?" For example, does the PJ movie alternative seem o lack something the book has? but put that way it might be hard to answer without trying to imagine a specific alternative very fully and ending up discussing them more than the actual book.
So it's a hard question. For me, I think the chapter does add things, which might include:
  • That returning from an adventure might be dislocating (c.f. a cosy fairy-tale trope)
  • That 'Et in Arcadia ego' - (in this case I'm thinking that the bad thing that is found even in paradise is a capacity to tolerate and do evil, rather than 'death' as in the painting)
  • A resolution to the plot started in Lorien - Sam chooses to go on with Frodo even though bad things might be going on at home. It works better for me if those bad things have actually happened. It seems to me that Galadriel's gift is to honour the first of the 'Choices of Master Samwise'.
  • And probably a bunch of other things? What do you think?


~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Mar 20, 11:43am

Post #40 of 48 (373 views)
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What happened to Farmer Maggot? [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing I did notice in this chapter is the complete absence of any mention of Farmer Maggot. Now as he was a strong character with fierce dogs, I imagine a stalwood in the Marsh border community, I can't believe that he would have let some foreign ruffians take over his farm or give him instructions, yet there is no mention of what he was up to. Was he with Fatty in the Buckland insurrection, yet he was not mentioned about been released in the lockholes. Perhaps he was leading or part of a guerrilla insurrection somewhere in the country or maybe he was just under siege in his own farm. Strange that he was replaced in the tale by another Farmer, Cotton. Even if this give Sam a greater chance to shine!


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Mar 20, 11:53am

Post #41 of 48 (383 views)
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I'm not sure that Gandalf does know Saruman's whearabouts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not exactly anyway. He does not know everything. He possibly thinks like Frodo that Saruman is a beggar in the wilderness. But what more could Gandalf do? All right, with a burst of flame he could have destroyed all of the Ruffians, but that might well have had more casualties. One more thing to remember that Gandalf is now not so popular in the Shire apart from with the travellers. He might well have some explaining to do or political conflicts.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 20, 1:15pm

Post #42 of 48 (383 views)
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Enanito, you are a bloody fool, and I put you in your place! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just kidding, of course!

I think we could argue that any chapter could be cut. Why have a Council of Elrond when in a few lines, Gandalf and Elrond could privately agree on what's wise to do. Did we need the battle at Helm's Deep? Put down thy pitchfork! Think about how we never saw the fights of Aragorn to take over the fleet on the Anduin and instead had to hear the story recounted anticlimatically after the fact. Yes, that could have been done with Helm's Deep too, or--get your pitchfork read--the Pelennor. I'm not saying *should*, I'm just saying it's possible, and my proof is that Tolkien did it elsewhere. (Other things I wish I'd seen firsthand as a reader: Boromir's solo journey from Minas Tirith to Rivendell, and Gandalf's journey from Isengard to Rivendell, including his fight with the Nazgul.)

But the more I ruminate on this chapter, the more I see it essential as is. It disappointed me as a kid, because I wanted Frodo & Co. to come home to a parade. And I'm not sure its emotional and thematic impact would have worked in the action-oriented movies from PJ, even if we forced him to include the chapter. There's a lot going on inside the characters and thereby inside the readers' minds, such as Frodo coming slowly to grips with what's gone wrong and his silent resolve to eschew violence to solve it. Then there's Merry, who steps up as leader of the Restoration Revolt, and when has Merry led a group of anything before now? Yes, killing a Nazgul is heroic and all, but it doesn't give you leadership skills.

So there are the characters, and then, since we're looking at this chapter in juxtaposition to the opening chapter, there's a look at society too, with Tolkien's conclusion that in a decent society, there are a few bad apples who whole-heartedly support an imported evil regime, and then the masses just go along with whatever happens, be it ruffian tyranny or a revolt against tyranny. This chapter gives a lot of depth to what the Shire and its inhabitants are and aren't. If we were left with only "A Long, Expected Party," we'd problem still see the hobbits as children in adult bodies and have a superficial, quaint sense of their society.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 20, 6:55pm

Post #43 of 48 (371 views)
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“You won’t rescue Lotho, or the Shire, just by being shocked and sad, my dear Frodo.’” [In reply to] Can't Post

Um... newer readers may be reassured to know that CuriousG and enanito are old friends here, and that calling enanito a fool is so ridiculous that it's obviously a joke.

I wanted to pick up on:


In Reply To
There's a lot going on inside the characters and thereby inside the readers' minds, such as Frodo coming slowly to grips with what's gone wrong and his silent resolve to eschew violence to solve it. Then there's Merry, who steps up as leader of the Restoration Revolt, and when has Merry led a group of anything before now? Yes, killing a Nazgul is heroic and all, but it doesn't give you leadership skills.



Frodo's pacifism is a subject I hadn't thought to bring up, but it's a good one. Some of us have previously discussed how Bombadil's live-and-let-live approach won't avail him against Sauron. Tolkien clearly knows that:



Quote
Tom Bombadill is not an important person - to the narrative.


...I would not, however, have left him in if he did not have some kind of function. I might put it this way. The story is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object except power, and so on; but both sides want a measure of control, but if you have, as it were taken a ‘vow of poverty’ renounced control, and take your delight in things themselves without reference to yourself, watching, observing, and to some extent knowing, then the question of the rights and wrongs of power and control might become utterly meaningless to you, and the means of power quite valueless.It is a natural pacifist view, which always arises in the mind when there is a war. But the view of Rivendell seems to be that it is an excellent thing to have represented, but there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends. Ultimately only the victory of the West will allow Bombadil to continue, or even to survive. Nothing would be left to him in the world of Sauron.

Tolkien Letters #144



I'd be interested to find out how people think that Frodo's decision to minimize the killing fits into this wider theme (if it fits in at all).

Someone called CuriousG pointed out, the last time we discussed this quote, that it brings out a parallel between Bombadil and the hobbits. Would it be true that the idyll of The Shire might also be "an excellent thing to have represented, but there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends"?

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 20, 9:15pm

Post #44 of 48 (365 views)
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Wiz, you are a bloody--oh, nvm, I already used that one [In reply to] Can't Post

Since we're juxtaposing start & end of LOTR, Frodo's comment in "Shadow of the Past" seems relevant to your question of

Quote
I'd be interested to find out how people think that Frodo's decision to minimize the killing fits into this wider theme (if it fits in at all).


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Frodo: ‘I should like to save the Shire, if I could – though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don’t feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable:

The ruffians served as the invasion of dragons to shake them up and are good for the hobbits in the sense of reminding them that evil can come even to the Shire, and even from other hobbits, so they need to be more vigilant against another Lotho.

That quote is a reminder that while the Quest had many aspects and involved the fates of many, it was originally inspired by Frodo's desire to protect the Shire from harm. I think he comes home with the same resolve to save the Shire, and he walks a sort of tight-rope in playing pacifist while letting Merry & Pippin lead the military uprising. That actually makes him complicit in the violence that follows. I'm not faulting him for that, but I would say it tempers his pacifism somewhat. "OK, you do the killing. I'll stop the prisoners of war from being slaughtered."

To circle back more directly to your question:

Quote
Would it be true that the idyll of The Shire might also be "an excellent thing to have represented, but there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends"?

I think the Shire's peaceful existence depends on the Rangers to a great extent, and maybe luck too.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 20, 9:29pm

Post #45 of 48 (359 views)
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Farmer Maggot and the Master of Buckland [In reply to] Can't Post

Good points on Maggot's mysterious absence. I'd say the same of the Master of Buckland. If the Tooks were able to keep the ruffians off their lands, did the Brandybucks try and fail, or try and succeed? It seems like Buckland was built for defense and hard to invade. And maybe it was isolated the way that Tookland was.

My own guess is that Tolkien didn't want a full-scale War of the Roses with campaigns everywhere and a sort of repeat of Gondor, where every province mustered troops for Minas Tirith. In keeping with the Shire being fairly small and non-military, he wanted to focus on Hobbiton and get things over quickly.


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 20, 10:10pm

Post #46 of 48 (355 views)
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Given [In reply to] Can't Post

that Buckland was bounded by the River and the Hay, with no entrances save the Gate at the north end and the Bucklebury Ferry (and the Forest Gate which isn't relevant), I can't see how Lotho's/Sharkey's ruffians could get in, especially since the Master would, like the Thain, reject any attempt by an upstart Chief to assert authority.

As for the Marish- well, we saw how even Frodo and Pippin, two veteran trampers, lost their way in the Woody End and Marish- I can't see a handful of Men faring well in that wilderness (think Deliverance or Southern Comfort) against tough and independent-minded farmers like Maggot (and their dogs). I suspect that the "occupation" was heavier in the Westfarthing than anywhere else, together with a ribbon of control along the Road to the Bridge.


enanito
Rohan

Mar 23, 6:08pm

Post #47 of 48 (309 views)
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Hobbits and the Kinslaying [In reply to] Can't Post

With Frodo well-versed in mythic Elvish history, he may have been aware of the Kinslaying(s) and how that propagated evil throughout generations of time. Even if this wasn't present in Frodo's mind, I feel it fits into the narrator's mind as Frodo is very hesitant to kill his own people ("No hobbit has ever killed another on purpose in the Shire, and it is not to begin now").

So in my mind, I made the connection between Frodo's desire to spare life in general and especially of the Hobbits, with a greater caution of how fratricide is an especially dangerous road to travel.


(This post was edited by enanito on Mar 23, 6:09pm)


squire
Half-elven


Mar 23, 9:58pm

Post #48 of 48 (299 views)
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As hinted already here, this chapter crucially depends on the initial three chapters. [In reply to] Can't Post

The films show this connection, by omission. Since Jackson skipped any kind of in-depth exposure to the folkways and characters of the Shire, instead quickly covering the bare necessities with a voice-over intro in order to dive into the plot as fast as possible, he was well within his rights to skip the Scouring at the end.

Fans who demanded "where's the Scouring?" never seemed to say "where's the Gaffer sparring with the Miller at the pub?" or "where's Farmer Maggot and his family dinner?" - but a film scene of the scouring would have made little sense to non-reader audiences without those long, quiet, funsome episodes of character, customs, and setting in the Shire before things got truly weird.

So the answer to the question is, sure, cut - if you cut the equivalent opening scenes that endear the Shire and its people to the reader, and make clear just how much Frodo's and Sam's centered strength comes from their deep roots in the Shire. Or no, don't cut - because it's impossible to convey the real nature of the hobbits' heroic anti-quest without the balanced before-and-after the War vignettes of the Shire.



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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