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*** Favorite Chapters – The Tower of Cirith Ungol (LOTR)
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Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 16, 1:29pm

Post #26 of 40 (2643 views)
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Hmmmm [In reply to] Can't Post


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Just to put a little break on all the Sam-love here, It should be reminded that Sam's love for Frodo was really a very jealous, selfish, egotistical love that had (as Tolkien himself pointed out) "an element of pride and possessiveness." It was because of this that Sam failed at his real test, when his jealous love of Frodo destroyed Gollum's moment of redemption, which directly led to Frodo's own final moment of failure and the need for providence to step in and complete the destruction of the Ring.

Without that moment of failure, there would have been no need for Sam to "succeed" at giving the Ring back to Frodo (and even there, it was his prideful, possessive love of Frodo that allowed him to do so).


While I see your point, I wouldn't go so far as "his jealous love of Frodo destroyed Gollum's moment of redemption, which directly led to Frodo's own final moment of failure and the need for providence to step in and complete the destruction of the Ring." Frodo would never have been able to throw the ring into the Fire. In that location, it was beyond the power of any mortal, Elf or presumably even Maia to do so. And we had seen, long before at Bag End, that Frodo couldn't even throw it into his own little hearth-fire!

At most, Sam's not spoiling Gollum's possible moment of repentance would have spared Frodo the agony of being poisoned and made captive


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Apr 16, 1:30pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 16, 1:35pm

Post #27 of 40 (2638 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


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Arguably Sam does get pretty close (is Mayor and master of Bag End and friend of the King Shire nobility?


I think Tolkien had something of the sort in mind, where in Appendix B he has the Mayor as well as the Thain and Master being made "Councillors of the North-Kingdom," and even more so when Elessar gives Sam the Star of the Dunedain (here I think to be equated with membership in a knightly order like the Garter or Bath, whose members wear jeweled stars). In other words, the King elevated Sam to knightly rank, which put him on a par with Merry and Pippin (knights of Rohan and Gondor respectively).


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 16, 1:36pm

Post #28 of 40 (2638 views)
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Not according to Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien says that the most likely result, had Sam not "blighted" Gollum's repentance, would have been that ultimately Gollum "would have sacrificed himself for Frodo's sake and have voluntarily cast himself into the fiery abyss."

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 16, 1:43pm

Post #29 of 40 (2638 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post


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Tolkien says that the most likely result, had Sam not "blighted" Gollum's repentance, would have been that ultimately Gollum "would have sacrificed himself for Frodo's sake and have voluntarily cast himself into the fiery abyss."


Fair point- but then that presupposes Gollum having the Ring at that moment- and also presupposes Frodo having already "failed." It's not like Gollum would just come up and say, "Give uss the Precious, Master, and we'll do an Acapulco with it." In other words, the episode would have played out as written, except that Gollum's plunge would have been voluntary rather than accidental.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 16, 2:19pm

Post #30 of 40 (2633 views)
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Yes, you're right of course [In reply to] Can't Post

I took the point to a bit of an extreme on order to make it clear that Sam, while admirable in many ways, was far from perfect.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 16, 2:51pm

Post #31 of 40 (2627 views)
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Oh, [In reply to] Can't Post

and I should add Sam's descendants becoming hereditary Wardens of the Westmarch, making them very much peers of the Masters of Buckland


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 16, 3:05pm

Post #32 of 40 (2628 views)
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I took the point to a bit of an extreme on order to make it clear that Sam, while admirable in many ways, was far from perfect.


You're in good company, since the Professor himself did the same!


Quote
But Sam can be very 'trying'. He is a more representative hobbit than any others that we have
to see much of; and he has consequently a stronger ingredient of that quality which even some
hobbits found at times hard to bear: a vulgarity — by which I do not mean a mere 'down-to-earthiness' —
a mental myopia which is proud of itself, a smugness (in varying degrees) and
cocksureness, and a readiness to measure and sum up all things from a limited experience, largely
enshrined in sententious traditional 'wisdom'. We only meet exceptional hobbits in close
companionship – those who had a grace or gift: a vision of beauty, and a reverence for things nobler
than themselves, at war with their rustic self-satisfaction. Imagine Sam without his education by
Bilbo and his fascination with things Elvish! Not difficult. The Cotton family and the Gaffer, when
the 'Travellers' return are a sufficient glimpse.


This of course is the same letter you cited above; but in full what T wrote was

Quote
For me perhaps the most tragic
moment in the Tale comes in II 323 ff. when Sam fails to note the complete change in Gollum's
tone and aspect. 'Nothing, nothing', said Gollum softly. 'Nice master!'. His repentance is blighted
and all Frodo's pity is (in a sense) wasted. Shelob's lair became inevitable.

This is due of course to the 'logic of the story'. Sam could hardly have acted differently. (He did
reach the point of pity at last (III 221-222) but for the good of Gollum too late.) If he had, what
could then have happened? The course of the entry into Mordor and the struggle to reach Mount
Doom would have been different, and so would the ending. The interest would have shifted to
Gollum, I think, and the battle that would have gone on between his repentance and his new love on
one side and the Ring. Though the love would have been strengthened daily it could not have
wrested the mastery from the Ring. I think that in some queer twisted and pitiable way Gollum
would have tried (not maybe with conscious design) to satisfy both. Certainly at some point not
long before the end he would have stolen the Ring or taken it by violence (as he does in the actual
Tale). But 'possession' satisfied, I think he would then have sacrificed himself for Frodo's sake and
have voluntarily cast himself into the fiery abyss

(emphasis mine)


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Apr 16, 3:06pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 16, 4:21pm

Post #33 of 40 (2618 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course, there are other statements that Tolkien made that were more complimentary of Sam that that one, but it is the one that sticks with me, because it most closely parallels my own feelings about him.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Apr 30, 10:19am

Post #34 of 40 (1933 views)
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Ok some thoughts about this chapter [In reply to] Can't Post

Although a bit late in the day, oh well, that is the way it goes! One main thing i think is that it kind of mirrors the spider chapter with Bilbo in Mirkwood. Those Hobbits seem to have a thing about spiders as I have mentioned before. Two of our Hobbit heroes which we hear are normally placid and timid and meek suddenly turn psychotic when giant spiders are near. And whilst that is not necessarylly bad, I do wonder why the Hobbits succeed when big, strong Elven and Man warriors do not. In fact, this is one of the possible few plot-holes that I see in Tolkien. Would someone like Sam really defeated such a monster as Shelob? But I have thought of a little adjustment which would make things more realistic if not more heroic. Suppose that somehow Sam put on the Ring and then took on Shelob. That might been more doable.


enanito
Rohan

Apr 30, 2:48pm

Post #35 of 40 (1914 views)
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Shelob vs a Ring-bearer [In reply to] Can't Post

That's an interesting thought. We know the Ring doesn't truly render somebody invisible, and we're led to believe that the Ringwraiths actually can see/sense Frodo better with the Ring on. So I wonder how this might affect Shelob in a fight against Sam?

I don't know that we have any basis to make a conclusion on whether Shelob would be able to not see Sam, still see him but in a different fashion, or see him even better. Even though Shelob is a really evil being, she isn't a servant of the Ring like the Ringwraiths who are under Sauron's power. So are we just left to guess what the result would be if Sam put the Ring on?


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 30, 4:57pm

Post #36 of 40 (1904 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

we know that Shelob's offspring in Mirkwood couldn't see Bilbo with the Ring on


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 30, 5:23pm

Post #37 of 40 (1900 views)
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What do we really know? [In reply to] Can't Post

When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, the giant spiders in Mirkwood were just giant spiders, not the off-spring of Shelob, last child of Ungoliant. Weren't they (I don't have HotH here in front of me so I can't look up what John has to say about the matter).

Moreover, the ring was just a magic ring of invisibility, not the One Ring, imbued with greater part of the power of Sauron the Maia, greatest servant of Melkor. While it is true that Tolkien later retrofitted the Riddles chapter to make it more consistent with the One Ring that it became, he did not rewrite the rest of the tale.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 30, 6:45pm

Post #38 of 40 (1890 views)
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While [In reply to] Can't Post

that's true enough, Tolkien did try to avoid blatant contradictions. There's nothing in the (revised) Hobbit which, in its smaller scale, Tolkien "overrwrote" in the LR (save perhaps the tralalalally Elves).

Shelob was a greater monster than her descendants, but then the Ring was greater too, both by external development, and internally as well since it was on the edge of Mordor now.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 30, 6:58pm

Post #39 of 40 (1890 views)
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While for the most part I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I am still reluctant to look to The Hobbit as a guide to how things work in "Arda" as it clearly was not written as part of the legendarium, and only vaguely influenced by it in places as a way to add depth and background.

(One other thing that I think of that Tolkien "overwrote" in LOTR was the White Council of the Wise replacing the "great council of the white wizards" that is mentioned in The Hobbit as having driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in the south of Mirkwoodof (not yet called Dol Guldur).

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

May 18, 8:34pm

Post #40 of 40 (1299 views)
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I might suggest that given the circunstances [In reply to] Can't Post

Had Sam been given the chance that it would have been worth a try! I don't think that Sauron would have been able to sense Sam as he didn't sense Sam when he was invisible with the Cirith Ungol Orcs. I did have another scenario, however. Suppose that Frodo, been a Baggins put on the Ring when attacked by Shelob, defeated the Spider with the Ring, although poisoned in the process, then Sam finds his Master, takes the Ring, then has his adventures with the Orcs.

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