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


Mar 15, 3:07pm

Post #1 of 48 (945 views)
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***Favourite chapters - The Scouring of the Shire (LOTR) Can't Post

I have been enjoying the new insights we’ve come to in this project by tackling chapters out of their book order. So I thought it might be interesting to read and discuss Scouring of the Shire right after Long-expected Party - the two of them seem to me to make a sort of contrasting pair.

I read just this chapter afresh just now (just the one chapter by itself), and invite you to do the same. Then please share whether you have any fresh thoughts about it, or just generally what you think about it (you can do the latter even if you decide not to re-read).

It is stretching a point to call this a favourite chapter of mine - in fact I think it’s an easy chapter not to enjoy so much, and one in which it might be easy to miss things. At this point in the story (just short of page 1,000 in my edition) a reader can be weary. When we passed this chapter in our last read-through, I was weary and perhaps everyone else was too. And Tolkien does something unexpected here: the story seems to be winding down in a leisurely way, when it takes an unusual turn.

This last, unexpected (to me on first read anyway) hurdle can’t be as epic or exciting as Helm’s Deep or the other battles, nor as desperate as Mount Doom. In fact, although our heroes are exposed to danger --battles of any size are not all that safe -- they never seem to be in much mortal or moral peril, or at much of a loss about what to do. Tolkien risks an anticlimax. For what? People were suspecting an authorial message sufficiently long ago that Tolkien rebuts one guess in LOTR 2e. I’d be interested to know why you think Tolkien includes this section - what if anything does it add to your enjoyment of the story, or understanding of Middle-earth, authorial themes etc.?

In case the above prompt is too general, I’ve made two further posts with lists of questions. One of them covers interpretations, themes and your reader experience. The other is a quiz of more there’s-a-literal-answer-in-the text kinds of things. Feel free to answer all, any or none of them as you please. And feel free to add any other questions, thoughts or observations that you feel will help the discussion along, as is the nature of a good discussion.

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


(This post was edited by dernwyn on Mar 15, 10:01pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 15, 3:12pm

Post #2 of 48 (839 views)
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The Significance of the Scouring - prompts about meaning and your reading experience [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh well, it looks like I can't have A-G, so this list comes out as 1-10.


  1. Just before this chapter, Gandalf has dropped some hints about all not being well in the Shire, and then has absented himself on the grounds that our fab foursome are more than equal to sorting it out without his help.

    1. Does this seem contrived (it does to me - a sort of relapse into The Hobbit Gandalf as a sort of Outward Bound instructor who has organized this adventure for your improvement)?

    2. Are we to suppose that the descent of the Shire into its current sad state has been arranged for our heroes' benefit in some way? Is that a nice way for reality (or Eru or whoever) to behave? Does reality in Middle-earth behave like that whether I like it or not?

    3. Or, does Gandalf reason politically - e.g. The Shire has been colonized by a wizard via a local puppet (I think it might have been squire last time around who pointed out that Saruman’s methods resemble how European colonial powers reached into many an African or Asian country. There are of course also other possible historical parallels, including the fascist and Stalinist powers that had emerged during Tolkien’s lifetime). Might Gandalf therefore be cautious about a different wizard coming along to affect regime change with what might look suspiciously like his puppets? I don’t see this explicitly in the text, but maybe it is clear enough to older or more attentive readers than I was on my first reading?

  2. What hobbit behaviours did we see in ‘Long-expected party’ (last week’s discussion) that have enabled or contributed to the Shire’s current problems? (There is a direct quote to find if you want, but I didn’t make this a quiz question, because I’m interested in interpretations). Do hobbits behave in ways now that surprise you?

  3. At what point in events do you guess that Lotho lost control? Could his plans ever been beneficial to the Shire? Was Benefitting The Shire ever his intention anyway?

  4. One thing I noticed on my re-reading is that our awesome foursome benefit from refusing to take the Shire’s situation seriously. I don’t mean they think it’s funny that the Shire has got into its state, but they make a point of laughing at (and flouting) the Rules, and in general not believing that the situation ‘can’t be helped’ or is beyond repair. This, and some references to ‘needing to wake people up’ (not a direct quote), made me think about waking and dreaming. I’m not suggesting that this chapter is a dream sequence, but I’m wondering whether the waking/dreaming (about which there was an exchange just as the hobbits nearly arrived home) is something to do with the trope of returning to reality back from fairyland. What do you think?

  5. I notice that there’s a fairy-tale trope of the hero returning home and everyone is delighted and things are much the same or better (pretty much the PJ film ending). Tolkien subverts this trope in The Hobbit (there’s a perhaps more realistic process of assuming Bilbo’s legal death and distributing his effects). I’d say that’s as far as he should have gone in a children’s story. Does he revisit this idea more extremely in this book, which is for an older audience? And is it because of thoughts about the problems of returning home from a life-changing experience that is incomprehensible to the people you now rejoin- from his own experience of the Great War, for example?

  6. Speaking of themes, it’s been important in the story so far that nobody however heroic was safe from Sauron’s Ring. Is a similar point here that not even The Shire - the least Mordor-like of countries - is not safe from the risk of becoming Mordor?

  7. Frodo seems to understand the orcish-derived name ‘Sharkey’ Have I missed a time when he’s heard that word before, or if not then how is this?

  8. Does Saruman’s death resemble Sauron’s (assuming ‘death’ is the right word; but I think you know what I mean)? If it does, what does this mean?


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


(This post was edited by dernwyn on Mar 15, 5:10pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 15, 3:17pm

Post #3 of 48 (826 views)
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The Scoring of the Scouring - a quiz [In reply to] Can't Post

One unexpected thing that happened when I re-read the chapter all by itself is that I found myself thinking of things that would make quiz questions. We used to do that sometimes and I thought that some people enjoyed it. So I have made this quiz. It has questions that (with one exception) require looking in the text for an answer or using general knowledge, rather than thinking about your reading experience or what you feel the text means. Please do all, none, or whatever part of it you find entertaining.


  1. Rules and breaking them:Who breaks Rule 4, and what is their offence?

  2. What other offences do people say the returning foursome committed (I don’t think we are told what any other numbered rules are (unless you know different?), so we’ll need to include things that might be byelaws edicts pronouncements or other official requirements whatsoever without limitation)?

  3. What other book, by an English author and roughly contemporaneous to LOTR, has a running gag about ever-lengthening lists of authoritarian Rules?

  4. (Bonus question) Is this other book (4), or what it satirises, anything to do with this LOTR chapter and its themes?

  5. Which pubs or inns are mentioned in the chapter? If you wish, compile a complete list of known pubs and inns in The Shire by adding any known from other chapters but not mentioned here.

  6. Who travels fourteen miles, and to do what? (The full answer is more complicated than it looks.)

  7. Who is a hagling?

  8. Who is wall-propping?

  9. How did Lotho end up being called the Chief? (I mean how the title came about, rather than how he became the notional dictator).

  10. Horn calls: Count the horn calls (the answer will have to be ‘at least...’ since sometimes there are ‘answering calls’ whose number is unspecified and is presumably therefore unimportant).

  11. (Bonus question from 10)Why might Pippin be getting through many pocket handkerchiefs (if there are any in The Shire’s current sad state).

  12. How does The Gaffer summarise Sam’s adventures during his absence?

  13. Who started the shooting, and why?

  14. What have hobbits never done, according to Frodo, and how close do you think they come to doing it?

  15. Who is living in Bag End when our heroes arrive? (This is something of a trick question BTW).


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


(This post was edited by dernwyn on Mar 15, 10:01pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 15, 4:27pm

Post #4 of 48 (809 views)
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Inns and Taverns of the Shire [In reply to] Can't Post

I composed this list some time ago for my home-brewed Shire supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game. The All-Welcome Inn was named only in Tolkien's 1960 rewrite of The Hobbit which was never completed. The Rabbit Hole is my own addition. An alternate name might be The Hole-in-One Tavern.

- Green Dragon, an inn on the Hobbiton side of Bywater.
- The Ivy Bush, a modest inn located on the Bywater road in Hobbiton.
- The Golden Perch, an inn in Stock, said to have the best beer in Eastfarthing.
- The Bridge Inn at the west end of the Brandywine Bridge.
- The Floating Log, a popular inn in Frogmorton.
- The All-Welcome Inn just west of Frogmorton, where the Northway meets the East Road.
- Hole Inn at Michel Delving.
- The Rabbit Hole, a tavern in Greenfields.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 15, 4:32pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 15, 5:59pm

Post #5 of 48 (795 views)
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Sharkey's end [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, mechanically it resembles Sauron's, necessarily, since in both cases it is the forcible separation of an Ainu spirit from the physical body in which it is clad. So in both cases those present see a shadow-figure rising, which is then blown away by a wind.

But there are differences as well- to start with, Saruman's end is pathetic, almost pitiable- stabbed by a slave, his man-sized shade looks pleadingly into the West, as though at the last begging for mercy, which is denied. Whereas Sauron, rising above the cataclysmic wrack of the Dark Tower and indeed all of Mordor, is a mountain of shadow, utterly gigantic, lightning-crowned, and unrepentant to the last stretches out a threatening arm against his foes before, again, the judgment of Manwe dissolves him.

There are also differences 'under the hood' about which we don't really know enough, save to say that they are different; Saruman was an Istar, whose physical body was not like the "clothing" of Ainur in Valinor, but something more akin to an actual hroa; and on the other hand Sauron like Morgoth before him has experienced Villain-lock; he seems to be stuck with the physical body he can make for himself without the easy shape-changing of his earlier period.

However, there is one really big difference: the Ring. Because Sauron had poured so much of his native force into the Ring, with its destruction he was reduced to eternal impotence, a spirit of malice gnawing itself in the darkness forever. That wouldn't I think be the case with Saruman; one would think that "he" retains some sort of coherent identity and a spiritual existence.... speculatively, one which might even come crawling to Taniquetil for pardon at some time in the distant future. No Ainu can be completely extinguished (save by Eru Himself) - not even Morgoth.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 15, 6:56pm

Post #6 of 48 (781 views)
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The Northway [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The All-Welcome Inn just west of Frogmorton, where the Northway meets the East Road.


I should have noted that the Northway is a name I assigned to the road that branches north from the Great East Road and passes through Oatbarton to end at Greenfields. In my head-canon, it was part of an older path that might have once led to Lake Evendim and Annúminas. Similarly, I've named the road that passes through Sarn Ford the Southway.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 15, 7:02pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 15, 7:26pm

Post #7 of 48 (774 views)
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Spendid - where's the 'Hole Inn at Michel Delving'? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's in Michel Delving, of course Smile

No, what I mean is that I can't find the place in the text where it is mentioned.Or not in this chapter at least - is it somewhere else?

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


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 15, 7:33pm

Post #8 of 48 (773 views)
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Thank you - splendid answer. And, thoughts about Frodo's mercy. [In reply to] Can't Post

...and I love the idea of 'Villain-lock' Smile
It's interesting that Saruman seems to want the hobbits --perhaps Frodo for choice -- to kill him, and that's why Frodo's mercy is so wounding. For myself I suppose that Frodo's right about Saruman bluffing (that is, killing him won't blight The Shire in some magical way), but I see that this is not clear-cut. More likely (to me) Saruman's degraded, dog-in-a-manger aims include corrupting the nearly un-corruptible Frodo as a last act, if he can do it. Whether that makes any sense as a form of revenge, or whether Saruman is completely mad by this stage is debatable.

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


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 15, 8:05pm

Post #9 of 48 (769 views)
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That [In reply to] Can't Post

reminds me of Morgoth and Hurin a bit. Hurin thinks he won, because he defied Morgoth to the "end" and refused the sucker-bait, choosing to suffer horribly instead. But really, didn't Morgoth win? Because he succeeded in turning the greatest captain of Men into a twisted figure of hate, a moral Typhoid Mary who spread evil (the Shadow) everywhere he went after his release.

The Devil doesn't want you dead, but damned.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 15, 9:29pm

Post #10 of 48 (756 views)
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Y'know what? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It's in Michel Delving, of course Smile

No, what I mean is that I can't find the place in the text where it is mentioned.Or not in this chapter at least - is it somewhere else?


Come to think of it, I think I might have made that one up, too, when I was writing a short story about Belladonna Took and realized that there would have needed to have been an inn at Michel Delving. 'The Hole' is probably not the best name. How 'bout 'The Mathom-house Inn' or 'The White Downs Inn'? 'The Lock and Key'? For that matter, there would doubtless have been an inn at Greenholm at the western border of the Shire, largely servicing thirsty Dwarves traveling to and from the Blue Mountains. Maybe that would have been called 'The Thirsty Fox' (for the Fox Downs).

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 15, 9:37pm)


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 16, 1:23am

Post #11 of 48 (727 views)
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hero returns home, demonstrates growth [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Tolkien risks an anticlimax. For what?

Surely no battle in this neck of the woods can compare with the Morannon for drama in absolute terms. I think what the reader is really watching here is our party of undersized protagonists, battle-tested and steeped now in the legendary doings of a much wider world. They're here to clean up this unexpected mess, of course, but also they're in a mess to let the record show—for the reader, and for their countrymen—that they have achieved greatness and brought it home with them.

As Gandalf tells our hobbits, they have been trained to handle trouble now—and that's what we get to see them do. Merry, who earlier orchestrated a careful escape from the Shire, now a veteran (even a hero) of battle, becomes the hobbit general, planning their strategy—because presumably he studied what he saw on the field, just as he studied the maps and histories at Rivendell. Pippin, who joined us as a careless adolescent on a lark, has since fast-talked his way out of assorted troubles, defied a king (basically) in his own house, killed a troll in battle, and looked Sauron in the eye; now he is more than prepared to stand toe to toe with Big Men and tell them where to get off. Sam, the moral stalwart who always loved the Shire and wanted to return, is forced to stand up for his homeland as he knows it, and then to survey its scars and sufferings and settle in for the long work of rebuilding it. And Frodo, always a scholar in a land of rustics, makes his bid to bring the Shire safely into the greater world, trying simultaneously to give his people a sense of empowerment and a restraining principle of mercy.

Stray notes: solid point on the hobbits refusing to "take the situation seriously." But I might put it more like, they refuse to legitimize the brayings of the self-appointed authorities they've come home to find, and that is indeed crucial to resistance, which is always half a psychological struggle.

And yes, agreed, that it has always seemed a little hard to swallow for Gandalf to knowingly ditch them on the verge of trouble, at this point. While I do not tend to think that this whole trouble in the Shire has been wilfully arranged by providence to test our boys on the homecoming, or anything—to suppose that is to suppose the real sufferings of all the other hobbits are just backdrop in the eyes of God, which seems quite unacceptable—it does seem that Gandalf has already got a shrewd guess, or a guess and a half, what's going on back there. Surely it is real that he does believe the hobbits of the Fellowship will be able to handle things without great tragedy; I don't think he would leave the laureled Ring-Bearers to hang on the gibbets of ruffians after all that praising them with great praise.

But. What I do to let myself live with it may have some legitimacy, too, which is try to stand in Gandalf's shoes a bit, on his time scale. He's just now polished off the ceaseless labor of literally thousands of years, at great and constant peril to himself (as he proved by actually dying one time), and damn it all, he did it. He pulled off a major upset and engineered the defeat of the devil himself. Does he not, good reader, deserve a break by now? Can it be someone else's turn to break up somebody's small-time evil empire?

And I can feel for that. If anybody has earned the right to sit one out, surely it's him.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 16, 2:43am

Post #12 of 48 (717 views)
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Credit Where Credit is Due! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I should have noted that the Northway is a name I assigned to the road that branches north from the Great East Road and passes through Oatbarton to end at Greenfields. In my head-canon, it was part of an older path that might have once led to Lake Evendim and Annúminas. Similarly, I've named the road that passes through Sarn Ford the Southway.


D'oh! I did NOT come up with the name 'Northway'. I was reminded from an old topic that Tolkien used that himself in his unfinished revision of The Hobbit. And I believe he also used a variation of it in Rohan. As part of my own head-canon (and for my "TOR Guide to the Shire") I did designate the Southway for the road that led across Sarn Ford, but even that was inspired by what Tolkien had done. FYI: I've settled on The Lock and Key for the inn I've placed in Michel Delving. It's a favourite watering-hole for the shirriffs!

And I've spend far more time and effort on this digression than I ever thought I would.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 16, 2:56am)


Dunadan of North Arnor
Rivendell

Mar 16, 8:31am

Post #13 of 48 (676 views)
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I’m curious whether you’re suggesting... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hurin thinks he won, because he defied Morgoth to the "end" and refused the sucker-bait, choosing to suffer horribly instead. But really, didn't Morgoth win?


...that Hurin would’ve won if he had taken his own life? Or that it was a no-win situation? (27 years was certainly an unreasonably long time to be chained to a rock face, whether he chose it or not.)

[apologetically Off-Topic]


squire
Half-elven


Mar 16, 11:58am

Post #14 of 48 (658 views)
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Wait, when were the Lockholes first used as prison-camps (prison-holes)? [In reply to] Can't Post

As I read the story, the Lockholes were never prisons until the Troubles under the Boss and Sharkey. There's no suggestion the Shirriffs were concentrated at the Shire's 'capital' at Michel Delving; the text implies that calling Michel Delving a capital at all is a misnomer, nor were the Shirriffs any kind of functioning police - before the Boss and Sharkey 'set the country to rights'.

So it would seem very odd indeed, to me at least, to name a pub in Michel Delving the Lock and Key, and to suggest that the phrase makes sense in traditional Shire terms, much less that the Shirriffs had a clannish 'blue blood' kind of brotherhood associated with arrests, courts, and prisons - in the Shire!

How about 'The White Hole' or 'The Digs' or 'The Town Hole'?



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noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 16, 2:29pm

Post #15 of 48 (650 views)
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How about... [In reply to] Can't Post

"The Klink" as the 4th age name (the sound of glasses, but also British English slang for a jail). Before that, the pub might perhaps have had a name to do with the local mining industry (Miners Arms, Pick and Shovel etc.).

In general, real English pub names seem to reflect local features (e.g. 'the pub near the haystack' eventually becomes The Haystack), or be named for royal symbols, heraldic features of the local lord's badge etc. So jokey ones tend to sound like modern places to me.

Also in general, The Shire would be a disappointing place to play Pub (Sign) Cricket - and I can already imagine ferocious in-car arguments about how many legs a Green Dragon has.
Laugh

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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 16, 3:19pm

Post #16 of 48 (649 views)
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First Shirriff @ Michel Delving [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
As I read the story, the Lockholes were never prisons until the Troubles under the Boss and Sharkey. There's no suggestion the Shirriffs were concentrated at the Shire's 'capital' at Michel Delving; the text implies that calling Michel Delving a capital at all is a misnomer, nor were the Shirriffs any kind of functioning police - before the Boss and Sharkey 'set the country to rights'.

So it would seem very odd indeed, to me at least, to name a pub in Michel Delving the Lock and Key, and to suggest that the phrase makes sense in traditional Shire terms, much less that the Shirriffs had a clannish 'blue blood' kind of brotherhood associated with arrests, courts, and prisons - in the Shire!

How about 'The White Hole' or 'The Digs' or 'The Town Hole'?


Since the office of the First Shirriff would have been at Michel Delving, there probably were always at least a handful of shirriffs hanging around. But I think you're right about the Lockholes. I was thinking that they might have been used previously as a local drunk tank and a place for brawlers to cool off when they weren't being used as storage. If you don't mind, I'll borrow 'The Digs' as a name for a tavern rather than an inn. The Free Fair was also held at the White Downs, presumably at or near Michel Delving; maybe an inn there could use that as the inspiration for its name. The Fair Weather Inn (yes, it's an awful pun)?

My list as it stands now:
- The Green Dragon, an inn on the Hobbiton side of Bywater.
- The Ivy Bush, a modest inn located on the Bywater road in Hobbiton.
- The Golden Perch, an inn in Stock, said to have the best beer in Eastfarthing.
- The Bridge Inn at the west end of the Brandywine Bridge.
- The Floating Log, a popular inn in Frogmorton.
- The All-Welcome Inn just west of Frogmorton, where the Northway meets the East Road.
- The Fair Weather Inn at Michel Delving.
- The Diggs, a tavern in Michel Delving.
- The Thirsty Fox, an inn at Greenholm on the western border of the Shire.
- The Rabbit Hole, a tavern in Greenfields.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 16, 3:33pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 16, 3:59pm

Post #17 of 48 (641 views)
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What Uncle I said [In reply to] Can't Post

Here I show up, ready to disgorge my thoughts, and it turns out Uncle I has said it all, and probably better than I would have anyway. I particularly like the nuance of


Quote
Stray notes: solid point on the hobbits refusing to "take the situation seriously." But I might put it more like, they refuse to legitimize the brayings of the self-appointed authorities they've come home to find, and that is indeed crucial to resistance, which is always half a psychological struggle.


Gandalf checking out: I can say that since first read, it's hard to read this as anything but abandoning his friends in a clear time of need, and also when he somehow knows more about what's gone wrong in the Shire than they do. Kinda like TORN members traveling around Europe with Wiz, then getting to Calais and looking across the Channel at signs of neo-Roman invasion and occupation, and saying, "Well, mate, it looks like your home's a mess, but we're headed to a fun party in Barcelona. Good luck getting it all sorted. Text us when you're done."

So it really doesn't work on the interpersonal relations level, but it does work for all kinds of thematic reasons:
1. Soldiers come home alone after war and feel isolated from wartime friends and resources (such as Wizards).
2. The 4 hobbits have indeed been "trained" to right their own affairs.
3. All the Shire hobbits need to re-learn that they can maintain their independence from evil (and thugs) through their own efforts, and they shouldn't be sitting around saying, "When will a Wizard come and save us?"
4. Since meeting Strider at Bree, our 4 hobbits have been followers in events, and it's time for all of them to become leaders in their own way as part of their personal growth.
5. [I'm sure there's more I could list.]

So while Gandalf's disappearance seems contrived for thematic reasons, just as it was at the start of the trilogy when he abandons his horse and walks to Rivendell on foot, wasting precious time, I think it is highly satisfying on an emotional level to see the 4 hobbits rescue their homeland when they've spent quite a bit of the trilogy needing to be rescued themselves.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 16, 7:30pm

Post #18 of 48 (624 views)
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So just for the avoidance of doubt I think we have... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's:

Shire pubs and Inns invented by Tolkien:
- The Green Dragon, an inn on the Hobbiton side of Bywater.
- The Ivy Bush, a modest inn located on the Bywater road in Hobbiton.
- The Golden Perch, an inn in Stock, said to have the best beer in Eastfarthing.
- The Bridge Inn at the west end of the Brandywine Bridge.
- The Floating Log, a popular inn in Frogmorton.
- The All-Welcome Inn just west of Frogmorton, where the Northway meets the East Road. (This only appears in the unfinished 1960s Hobbit revision, whereas the others are mentioned in LOTR)

Further inventions from Otaku-sempai et al.:
- The Fair Weather Inn at Michel Delving.
- The Diggs, a tavern in Michel Delving.
- The Thirsty Fox, an inn at Greenholm on the western border of the Shire.
- The Rabbit Hole, a tavern in Greenfields.

I'm trying to come up with one along the lines of The Clings Inn (c.f. the Inklings), but I can't say it's really working....

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


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 16, 7:55pm

Post #19 of 48 (620 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


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Hurin thinks he won, because he defied Morgoth to the "end" and refused the sucker-bait, choosing to suffer horribly instead. But really, didn't Morgoth win?


...that Hurin would’ve won if he had taken his own life? Or that it was a no-win situation? (27 years was certainly an unreasonably long time to be chained to a rock face, whether he chose it or not.)

[apologetically Off-Topic]


Hurin could have chosen the sucker-bait Morgoth proffered, command of the Black Armies. Do a Benedict Arnold.


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 16, 7:56pm

Post #20 of 48 (617 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post


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Gandalf checking out: I can say that since first read, it's hard to read this as anything but abandoning his friends in a clear time of need, and also when he somehow knows more about what's gone wrong in the Shire than they do. Kinda like TORN members traveling around Europe with Wiz, then getting to Calais and looking across the Channel at signs of neo-Roman invasion and occupation, and saying, "Well, mate, it looks like your home's a mess, but we're headed to a fun party in Barcelona. Good luck getting it all sorted. Text us when you're done."


There comes a time where you have to tell your child, "Tie your own shoes; I can't tie them for you for the rest of your life."


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 16, 8:40pm

Post #21 of 48 (624 views)
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Hmmm. [In reply to] Can't Post


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I'm trying to come up with one along the lines of The Clings Inn (c.f. the Inklings), but I can't say it's really working....


The Linking Inn? Possibly located mid-way between the Brandywine and Bree? That's almost 100 miles, so there could be as many as three or four such traveler's stops.

The King's Inn?

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 16, 8:52pm)


Dunadan of North Arnor
Rivendell

Mar 16, 8:49pm

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OT: Sure, but... [In reply to] Can't Post


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Hurin could have chosen the sucker-bait Morgoth proffered, command of the Black Armies. Do a Benedict Arnold.


...you characterized this along the lines of who won, and said that it was Morgoth in the end. I know you’re surely not suggesting Húrin would have won by such a surrender - a non-sequitur as far as Húrin was concerned - so I’m still curious: would he have won if he had done what his son did 2 decades later and oppose the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Or was this a Kobayashi Maru, and he was no Captain Kirk?


(This post was edited by Dunadan of North Arnor on Mar 16, 8:57pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 16, 11:43pm

Post #23 of 48 (601 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post


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Hurin could have chosen the sucker-bait Morgoth proffered, command of the Black Armies. Do a Benedict Arnold.


...you characterized this along the lines of who won, and said that it was Morgoth in the end. I know you’re surely not suggesting Húrin would have won by such a surrender - a non-sequitur as far as Húrin was concerned - so I’m still curious: would he have won if he had done what his son did 2 decades later and oppose the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Or was this a Kobayashi Maru, and he was no Captain Kirk?


Suicide would have been the only "not-lose" option, but it wasn't an option, since once he was freed he was too far gone to perceive the trap.... until much too late; and Morgoth quite deliberately was not going to kill him. So it really was a Kobiyashi Maru, with no "cheat" option.

It's hard to beat a god. I'm minded of C Tolkien's comments in his foreword to Children of Hurin, about Morgoth's inconceivable power. Sometimes "They'll never take me alive" really is the right course.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Mar 16, 11:45pm)


squire
Half-elven


Mar 17, 1:10am

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"Among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you." [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to admit I've never had a problem with Gandalf sending the four hero hobbits into the Shire to handle the ruffians and Sharkey. One, they don't actually have the slightest problem scouring the Shire; it's over and done in a jiffy. And two, Gandalf's farewell instruction to them repeats the one he had given Aragorn just two chapters earlier:
‘Not for long now,’ said Gandalf. ‘The Third Age was my age. I was the Enemy of Sauron; and my work is finished. I shall go soon. The burden must lie now upon you and your kindred.’ (LR VI.5)

‘I am with you at present,’ said Gandalf, ‘but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. ' (LR VI.7)
Aragorn and the Hobbits represent the two extreme ends of Mankind, the high and the low (or perhaps, the noble and the common); and they also represent the two intertwined main story-arcs of the entire epic: the hobbits destroy the Ring and Aragorn returns to be King. Gandalf has helped both do their tasks, admirably and indispensably, but all he did was help, being sure that each team ultimately took on their final tasks alone. And now Gandalf is done, and is leaving, and has "no longer any fear at all for any of you."

When I read that, I realize that I too need have no fear for any of them (until I read about Frodo, in fevered agony longing for his lost Ring, a season later!)



squire online:
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noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 17, 9:27am

Post #25 of 48 (544 views)
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Still not working for me, I'm afraid [In reply to] Can't Post

It's interesting (to me at least!) for me to think more about why Gandalf's retirement seems 'contrived' to me- and interesting to read what others think. I do appreciate that our awesome foursome are up to the job, and that Gandalf has decided to retire. (Also of course that the interference in Shire affairs of 'that dratted wizard' might be a bad idea for political reasons I've already suggested). Moreover, it seems that Gandalf is putting his feet up with the Bombadills, so he's not far away and maybe he could quickly bring re-inforcements if the need arose.

The contrived bit (as I see it) is that Gandalf drops some hints that he somehow knows all is not well in the Shire. (Or I'm pretty sure he does from memory - which is good enough I hope, without having to rush off and find quote just yet.) But Gandalf does not do what would seem sensible under those circumstances - share with the hobbits what he does know or guess, so that they can make an effective plan. It reads to me that Tolkien is rather clumsily protecting the surprise he wants readers to have. Hence my use of the word 'contrived'. Tolkien has (in my view) been at fault in this way before, when Gandalf won't explain why only a negotiating party is needed to go from Helm's Deep to Isengard. But I find it harder to forgive him this time!

I think the other cause of my irritation might be to do with when and how I first read the book. It's interesting (again, to me at least!) to discover in this project a few points at which my ideas about the book were formed by a child of about 11 rather a long time ago! Reading as a child I found it easy to imagine myself as represented by the various hobbits. Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and the other 'noble' figures represented the grown-ups. 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. Reading the book yet more as an adult, this grown-up to child relationship between supposedly adult characters starts to wear. Yes of course Gandalf has been a friend, advisor and mentor figure to Frodo (as, in Gandalf's absence, Aragorn and then Sam have been). But Gandalf is not formally a father, teacher, Sensei or so forth responsible for the hobbits' moral, skillful or other progress. If, by this time they are becoming more equal, I'd expect the relationship to read as less paternalistic - if the hobbits are great and grown-ups, cut the crap Gandalf and treat them like that Smile.

If we say that Gandalf does not have a responsibility (other than that of a friend and general decent person) to the hobbits, we might also say that he bears some responsibility for the state of things in The Shire. It is after all his co-opting of Bilbo and ongoing interest in the country that has brought it into the Tale of the Ring, and attracted first Saruman's commercial interest ad then his particular spite.

Then again, if we see Gandalf as a holy messenger, we can apply all sorts of other meanings and we might differ in how we feel abotu it. I've floated the idea already that I don't personally like The Scouring is a mechanism for the benefit of our returning hobbits (Uncle I has expressed my own philosophical problem to that better than I did). Or perhaps we're supposed to see obedience to Gandalf as a test of faith? But wouldn't that be ironic, given that 'do whatever the wizard says because he is so wise' is exactly Saruman's schtick?

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

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