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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Journey to the Crossroads: They Walk in Beauty

a.s.
Valinor


Aug 7 2008, 12:58am

Post #1 of 13 (830 views)
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Journey to the Crossroads: They Walk in Beauty Can't Post

[My leg is giving me fits tonight and must be paid attention to, I'll have to cut this short and just post what I've saved. More tomorrow/a.s.]


The hobbits prepare to continue walking on their journey with a last look and sigh in Faramir's direction: "Hoisting their packs and taking their staves in hand, they passed on into the woods of Ithilien". And what a lovely woods it is; the text in this chapter is some of the loveliest description in the whole of LOTR.


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The sun rose and passed overhead unseen, and began to sink, and the light through the trees to the west grew golden; and always they walked in cool green shadow, and all about them was silence.




What a sentence.

They walk "7 leagues" in the woods, noticing in the intense silence that all the birds seem to have flown away. "Darkness came early to the silent woods" and they finally rest for the evening. Frodo sleeps well but Sam passes a restless night:



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Sam beside him was more uneasy: he woke many times, but there was never a sign of Gollum, who had slipped off as soon as the others had settled to rest. Whether he had slept by himself in some hole nearby, or had wandered restlessly prowling through the night, he did not say; but he returned with the first glimmer of light, and roused his companions.




1. What's Gollum been off doing, anyway? What's he been eating, since he won't eat the foods from Faramir? It doesn't have the special qualities of lembas--it's just ordinary human food. Why won't he eat the Rangers' food? He won't find any birds too eat, since they're all gone...



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[Gollum] returned with the first glimmer of light, and roused his companions.

`Must get up, yes they must!' he said. 'Long ways to go still, south and east. Hobbits must make haste!'




It's the morning of March 9.

2. Why does Gollum stress "south and east" here? In "Journeys of Frodo", Strachey's maps have them walking due south for quite a distance more.





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As the third stage of their day's march drew on and afternoon waned, the forest opened out, and the trees became larger and more scattered. Great ilexes of huge girth stood dark and solemn in wide glades with here and there among them hoary ash-trees. and giant oaks just putting out their brown-green buds. About them lay long launds of green grass dappled with celandine and anemones, white and blue, now folded for sleep; and there were acres populous with the leaves of woodland hyacinths: already their sleek bell-stems were thrusting through the mould. No living creature, beast or bird, was to be seen,




Hammond & Scull in LOTR Companion define launds: A laund is an open space in woods, a glade.

Of "ilex", they say: Besides the common holly. which can grow to sixty-five feet, the term ilex also encompasses the holm-oak or evergreen oak (Quercus ilex), which can reach ninety feet. Frodo, Sam and Gollum sleep in a holm-oak the following night.

And they identify the "celandine" of the text with the "Lesser Celandine" (figwort) because it flowers in March and grows in shady places:




And the "woodland hyacinth" is the common bluebell:






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Light was fading fast when they came to the forest-end. There they sat under an old gnarled oak that sent its roots twisting like snakes down a steep crumbling bank. A deep dim valley lay before them.



3. Where have we read a similar passage?



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There it seemed to Frodo that he descried far off, floating as it were on a shadowy sea, the high dim tops and broken pinnacles of old towers forlorn and dark.




4. And that passage; does that remind you of any other in LOTR?



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Frodo looked down on to the road. At any rate nothing was moving on it now. It appeared lonely and forsaken, running down to empty ruins in the mist. But there was an evil feeling in the air, as if things might indeed be passing up and down that eyes could not see. Frodo shuddered as he looked again at the distant pinnacles now dwindling into night, and the sound of the water seemed cold and cruel: the voice of Morgulduin, the polluted stream that flowed from the Valley of the Wraiths.




5. Comments on Frodo's perception here? Is this just ordinary "shivers" or can Frodo sense something unseen?



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Gollum reluctantly agreed to this, and he turned back towards the trees, working eastward for a while along the straggling edges of the wood. He would not rest on the ground so near the evil road, and after some debate they all climbed up into the crotch of a large holm-oak, whose thick branches springing together from the trunk made a good hiding-place and a fairly comfortable refuge. Night fell and it grew altogether dark under the canopy of the tree. Frodo and Sam drank a little water and ate some bread and dried fruit, but Gollum at once curled up and went to sleep. The hobbits did not shut their eyes.






Any comments on this part of the text would be very welcome. There are a lot of beautiful words in this little chapter.

Tomorrow: The Dawnless Day.

a.s.


"an seileachan"

Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


sador
Half-elven

Aug 7 2008, 6:01am

Post #2 of 13 (286 views)
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First and foremost: feel better! [In reply to] Can't Post

And may this Walking in Beauty thread help your poor leg recover.

1. What's Gollum been off doing, anyway?
I used to think he was visiting Shelob, but it seems too far away. Probably off hunting, or nosing about the valley.

What's he been eating, since he won't eat the foods from Faramir? It doesn't have the special qualities of lembas--it's just ordinary human food. Why won't he eat the Rangers' food? He won't find any birds too eat, since they're all gone...
Ithilien is a land of swiftly-running streams. I'm sure he could find something in them.
And he doesn't eat Faramir's food, probably because he doesn't need it. Probably, he refuses on principle, which is easier once he is full.

2. Why does Gollum stress "south and east" here? In "Journeys of Frodo", Strachey's maps have them walking due south for quite a distance more.
It could be "south and then east". But later, Gollum will say the detour Faramir recommended was a bad one.

3. Where have we read a similar passage?
Both the Withywindle in 'The Old Forest' and when Pippin and Merry enter Fangorn in 'Treebeard' seem similar, now that you ask (and I can't check).

4. And that passage; does that remind you of any other in LOTR?
There are a few cases of seeing mountain ranges in the distance: the Weather hills in 'A Knife in the Dark', The Misty Mountains in 'The Ring Goes South', the Ered Nimreas in 'The King of the Golden Hall'.
But this passage reminds me more than all of something quite different: Frodo's far-off glimpse of Caras Galadhon at the end of 'Lothlorien'.

5. Comments on Frodo's perception here? Is this just ordinary "shivers" or can Frodo sense something unseen?
He can make a test, and put on the Ring.
But he might be remembering his vision on Amon Hen, where he was 'forced' to look up the Morgul valley until his gaze is caught by Barad-dur.

"A job of work for me, I can see; but I'm so tired" - Sam


orcbane
Gondor


Aug 7 2008, 7:53pm

Post #3 of 13 (238 views)
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We will see at the crossroads [In reply to] Can't Post

This is an important place to me. But not yet. Its all about mood and physical description so far.

I don't like to think about what gollum's been foraging. Laugh

btw a.s. not bad for a short post!



An Ent juggling spikey things ?


weaver
Half-elven

Aug 7 2008, 8:14pm

Post #4 of 13 (265 views)
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Three answers.... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What's Gollum been off doing, anyway? What's he been eating, since he won't eat the foods from Faramir? It doesn't have the special qualities of lembas--it's just ordinary human food. Why won't he eat the Rangers' food? He won't find any birds too eat, since they're all gone...

I guess Shelob's Lair is too far off yet for him to be off talking to "her." More likely, he's out talking to himself, firming up his plans. As for food, perhaps he's eating orcs, or the dead bodies of things...yuk! Faramir's food may not be special, but Gollum at this point isn't in the mood for accepting charity -- and it's best to keep him "corrupted" rather than to infuse him with something from a source of goodness at this point int he story, I think.

2. Why does Gollum stress "south and east" here? In "Journeys of Frodo", Strachey's maps have them walking due south for quite a distance more.

Sorry, my sense of direction is worse than Movie Legolas'. So I'm not even going to attempt this question!


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Light was fading fast when they came to the forest-end. There they sat under an old gnarled oak that sent its roots twisting like snakes down a steep crumbling bank. A deep dim valley lay before them.


3. Where have we read a similar passage?

Hmm...aren't the tree roots compared to snakes in the Old Forest, too? But they are deep in the forest there, not at the edge of it as they are here. So perhaps you are thinking of another forest/tree passage...


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There it seemed to Frodo that he descried far off, floating as it were on a shadowy sea, the high dim tops and broken pinnacles of old towers forlorn and dark.

4. And that passage; does that remind you of any other in LOTR?

Reminds me of his dreams at Tom Bombadil's home, with perhaps a bit of his vision on Amon Hen's Seat of Seeing thrown in as well...

Feel better and thanks for the pretty flower pictures! I never know what kind of flowers Tolkien is talking about, so I appreciate the illustrations...



Weaver



batik
Tol Eressea


Aug 8 2008, 12:10am

Post #5 of 13 (255 views)
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Frodo shuddered [In reply to] Can't Post

    

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Comments on Frodo's perception here? Is this just ordinary "shivers" or can Frodo sense something unseen?

Let's think about some of the comments made by others about Mordor --
from Gandalf:
"Mordor-that name even you Hobbits have heard of, like a shadow on the borders of old stories".
and
"Alas! Mordor draws all wicked things..."
an exchange between Strider and Butterbur;

"They come from Mordor..."
"Save us!"
from Elrond:
"...shadow of Mordor lies of distant lands..."
and
"To walk in peril to Mordor"
from Erestor:
"That is the path of despair."
Then add to that Frodo's glimpse eastward from Amom Hen which included: fire glowing amid the smoke; a great reek rising; and "he saw it-Barad-Dur, Fortress of Sauron." "All hope left him."
No wonder that he shuddered.



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 8 2008, 2:38am

Post #6 of 13 (238 views)
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A picture is worth [In reply to] Can't Post

a lot more words than I can write about it! Thank you for finding those, they do help improve one's "mental image" of this area.

1. Where's Gollum been off to? Hunting out grubs, worms, whatever he can find in moist areas, plus beetles and other insects - and perhaps going into holes and nests to find small animals who have hidden themselves away in fright at the evil passing through their land.

3. That old gnarled tree! I can think of two similar trees: Old Man Willow, and the the tree-root that Merry and Pippin "clamber onto" to get a drink of water shortly after entering Fangorn. But for a tree with a valley before them, I think we have to go back to the Shire, to the morning after they are seen by the Fox, when Frodo complains about the tree-root he slept on, then sees the road going down into a valley before them.

4. The "dim tops and broken pinnacles" remind me of the road beyond Weathertop, where they see the ruins of ancient towers on the hills.

5. By the pricking of my thumbs...the closer they get to Minas Morgul, especially to where the Lord of the Nazgûl resides, the more Frodo is going to feel the overall evil, and that evil presence. Even in the safety of the holm-oak, with branches that splay out from the trunk and form a nice bower, the dread makes sleep impossible.

Now tell that leg to behave itself, you've got a trip coming up soon! Wink


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Elros
Rivendell


Aug 8 2008, 8:17pm

Post #7 of 13 (215 views)
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Gollum's Curiousities [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What's Gollum been off doing, anyway? The hobbits assume he's hunting, but, having seen the movie first, I assumed Gollum was bargaining with Shelob. Then I read the next chapter where he leaves the hobbits again on the stairs, which would be a more likely place to venture ahead and alert Shelob of the unsuspecting meal he brings. So more than likely he is looking for food, since he knows there won't be a whole lot in the land of Morgal. One alternative possibility I've considered could be Gollum simply went ahead as far as Minas Morgal in order to make sure the passage was safe. He doesn't want the Enemy to get the ring, and there is the possibility that Minas Morgal will be just as heavily guarded as the Morannon, so if that turned out to be the case, he would have to further delay the hobbits as he did at the Black Gate. Once he comes back, Gollum turns into the "anti-Treebeard" in this chapter and the next when it comes to haste. Could this possibly be because he has returned from Minas Morgal and found it relatively unguarded? Regardless his haste proves justified, since if they'd arrived just a little bit later the would certainly have been discovered by the Morgal host.

2. Why does Gollum stress "south and east" here? In "Journeys of Frodo", Strachey's maps have them walking due south for quite a distance more. Perhaps he's just thinking ahead, beyond their current trek. As I touched on earlier, he pleads for haste every time he speaks, so if it were entirely up to him, they probably would have gone a lot farther that day than they did.

3. Light was fading fast when they came to the forest-end. There they sat under an old gnarled oak that sent its roots twisting like snakes down a steep crumbling bank. A deep dim valley lay before them. Where have we read a similar passage? Twisting roots reminds me of the misadventure in the Old Forest.

4. There it seemed to Frodo that he descried far off, floating as it were on a shadowy sea, the high dim tops and broken pinnacles of old towers forlorn and dark. And that passage; does that remind you of any other in LOTR? An obvious answer would the "The Great River". I have to admit I am quite guilty at times of glossing over certain paragraphs when Tolkien starts straying from the "meat" of the story and describes every detail of the surrounding environment.

5. Comments on Frodo's perception here? Is this just ordinary "shivers" or can Frodo sense something unseen? I would imagine that as he draws near to the city of the Ringwraiths, it would affect him. Although, it the unending night of Mordor is upon him, so maybe it's a combination of both physical and supernatural.

Frodo and Sam drank a little water and ate some bread and dried fruit, but Gollum at once curled up and went to sleep. The hobbits did not shut their eyes. Any comments on this part of the text would be very welcome. Gollum is at peace in this cold, dark place, which makes sense considering his lifestyle for the last 500 years. Also, as they draw nearer to the shadow, the hobbits grow more apprehensive. Adrenaline, plus the Elven bread, would probably give them a jolt of energy.



a.s.
Valinor


Aug 10 2008, 1:45am

Post #8 of 13 (204 views)
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I'll settle for "walk", period. :-) [In reply to] Can't Post


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And may this Walking in Beauty thread help your poor leg recover.




Thanks! I've taken on too much (or had it thrust upon me, like greatness but the only similarity would be the "thrust upon" part...) and am trying to pack my offices for moving my program to another site. I should be trying to be more careful with the almost-but-not-quite-healed knee and refuse to pick up certain things, etc, but feel bad when the staff are all packing boxes and moving things. And one can only skip out to so many "meetings" to avoid those kinds of activities.

LOL

Anyway, it's better now.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


a.s.
Valinor


Aug 10 2008, 1:46am

Post #9 of 13 (204 views)
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I had most of it saved [In reply to] Can't Post

Just had to insert the pictures!

I hope "we will see at the crossroads" means you'll be back to comment more at that time!

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


a.s.
Valinor


Aug 10 2008, 1:53am

Post #10 of 13 (208 views)
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it's behaving itself now! [In reply to] Can't Post


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Now tell that leg to behave itself, you've got a trip coming up soon! Wink




Oh yes, can't wait for that! I'll be good to go.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


squire
Valinor


Aug 11 2008, 3:35am

Post #11 of 13 (221 views)
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Many great trees grew there of untended age [In reply to] Can't Post

I just want to comment a bit on how part of this chapter picks up on earlier themes of Ithilien’s landscape.

They stood under the boughs of the woods again. No noise of the falls could be heard, for a long southward slope lay now between them and the ravine in which the stream flowed. To the west they could see light through the trees, as if the world came there to a sudden end, at a brink looking out only on to sky.
‘Go straight on, [said Faramir] for thus you will have the cover of the woodland for many miles. On your west is an edge where the land falls into the great vales, sometimes suddenly and sheer, sometimes in long hillsides. Keep near to this edge and the skirts of the forest.’
… Hoisting their packs and taking their staves in hand, they passed on into the woods of Ithilien.
… The sun rose and passed overhead unseen, and began to sink, and the light through the trees to the west grew golden; and always they walked in cool green shadow, and all about them was silence. The birds seemed all to have flown away or to have fallen dumb.
Darkness came early to the silent woods, and before the fall of night they halted, weary, for they had walked seven leagues or more from Henneth Annûn. Frodo lay and slept away the night on the deep mould beneath an ancient tree.
… That [next] day passed much as the day before had gone, except that the silence seemed deeper; the air grew heavy, and it began to be stifling under the trees.

I find this sequence remarkable only because Tolkien does not bother to describe this “silent” “woods of Ithilien” in any detail – unlike every woods we have visited up to now! I assume that this is the same forest as in the brief description given when Faramir led Frodo and Sam to Henneth Annun:

Skirting the hither side of the pool where the hobbits had bathed, they crossed the stream, climbed a long bank, and passed into green-shadowed woodlands that marched ever downwards and westwards.
They walked on in silence for a while, passing like grey and green shadows under the old trees, their feet making no sound; above them many birds sang, and the sun glistened on the polished roof of dark leaves in the evergreen woods of Ithilien.

But I could wish for more! Because Faramir suggests that this “woodland” is a kind of linear forest that parallels the Ephel Duath to the east and the Anduin to the west, just at the crest of some kind of cliff or highland edge. If the hobbits go up the slope to the east they will leave the woods and presumably return to the “groves and glades of Ithilien”, like the place where Sam cooked the rabbits: a more open landscape of grasses, patches of trees, and brush and bush characteristic of the Mediterranean highlands. They cannot head west in any case, because the land “falls” in an alternating series of sheer vales and long hillsides.

Falls how far? What is their altitude? Is this break in the landscape the edge of the “great vale below: a wide gulf of silver fume” that Frodo saw the night before? Why is there no equivalent edge on the Anorien side? Faramir refers to the landscape ten miles uphill from Henneth Annun (which is on the same stream as the basin where Sam and Frodo camped) as the “uplands” of Ithilien. Yet this is certainly not the lowlands – those are down in those vales and on the banks of the Anduin. Can a “midlands” exist at the top of a cliff and valley system – or does Faramir’s “uplands” term include the Henneth Annun area as well, though the writing suggests a distinction exists in his head?

What type of trees are these, described as “evergreen” and so thick that the sun never penetrates the canopy? Are they pines, or deciduous trees? If deciduous, why are they fully leaved in late winter? If pines, why can the hobbits see daylight to the west? Why all the talk of “leaves” instead of needles?

In Chapter 4 it was suggested that the “uplands” had been the “Garden of Gondor” – with plantings and landscape architecture, now gone to seed. Why is the “Garden”, surely a haven of landed aristocrats, so high – above the cliffs and above the thick band of woods, and so close to the Mountains of Shadow? Wasn’t transport of food and luxuries up that steep slope a logistical problem of the first order?

As Frodo and Sam walk south for two days along the crest of the “upland” forest, do they pass any more streams? Surely the streams are what cut the “great vales” between the “long hillsides” – as we know, the falls of Henneth Annun are “fairest of all the falls of Ithilien, land of many fountains.” Surely deep ravines and wild mountain streams cross their path many times, (“You will have no lack of water as you walk in Ithilien”) yet there is no mention of this in the writing. But they are following no road or trail south along this wooded edge of the brink: no bridges or fords would be available, just ten or fifteen miles downhill from the major highway along the foothills of the Ephel Duath. (Although one also wonders how Henneth Annun is supplied.)

Certainly Strachey puts in a few streams, as the text suggests must have been there. Yet as with all maps of Middle-earth, this only serves to highlight what is “missing” from Tolkien’s storytelling!

As the third stage of their day's march drew on and afternoon waned, the forest opened out, and the trees became larger and more scattered. Great ilexes of huge girth stood dark and solemn in wide glades with here and there among them hoary ash-trees, and giant oaks just putting out their brown-green buds. About them lay long launds of green grass dappled with celandine and anemones, white and blue, now folded for sleep; and there were acres populous with the leaves of woodland hyacinths: already their sleek bell-stems were thrusting through the mould. No living creature, beast or bird, was to be seen, but in these open places Gollum grew afraid, and they walked now with caution, flitting from one long shadow to another.

This is curious – here Tolkien picks up the same pastoral or post-pastoral style of writing that so distinguished Chapter 4. “…and there were acres populous with the leaves of woodland hyacinths: already their sleek bell-stems were thrusting through the mould” is pure poetry that echoes “…and there were junipers and myrtles; and thymes that grew in bushes, or with their woody creeping stems mantled in deep tapestries the hidden stones”. The trees here are “great” and “giant” and “hoary”, just as in Chapter 4 “Many great trees grew there…” of “untended age”. Were these Ilexes and Ashes and Oaks "planted" too, in ancient days?

Yet the hobbits are now leaving Ithilien, although they have not left it. Once again they are passing through “groves and glades of Ithilien” – a mixed landscape of tree groves and open fields of wildflowers – but now they are at a lower altitude. Before there were birds singing – now there are none. Before Sam laughed at the smell of the herbs – now they “walk with caution”. As they entered Ithilien and became carefree, now they are leaving Ithilien and remembering The Fear.

I love the sudden revelation of the valley of the Morgulduin – whose appearance constitutes yet another of Frodo’s “obstacles” that forces him to turn aside to find his true path. If we had read of previous gullies and ravines, this mega-ravine would have had less impact.

If I remember my HoME, Tolkien intended the hobbits’s trip south from the Morannon to be short and dark – influenced by the haunted castle of Minas Mordor. He got distracted, and now he is trying to catch up. This journey, rushed and forced through underdescribed landscapes, seems to be a remnant from that earlier story design – before the rabbits, and the Oliphaunt, and Captain Faramir.



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


a.s.
Valinor


Aug 11 2008, 11:07am

Post #12 of 13 (208 views)
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at least some are holm oaks [In reply to] Can't Post


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What type of trees are these, described as “evergreen” and so thick that the sun never penetrates the canopy? Are they pines, or deciduous trees? If deciduous, why are they fully leaved in late winter? If pines, why can the hobbits see daylight to the west? Why all the talk of “leaves” instead of needles?




I would venture that at least some of these are the holm oaks that Frodo, Sam and Gollum sleep in one night. According to Wikipedia they are evergreen and have leaves, of course, and not needles.



Quote
If I remember my HoME, Tolkien intended the hobbits’s trip south from the Morannon to be short and dark – influenced by the haunted castle of Minas Mordor. He got distracted, and now he is trying to catch up. This journey, rushed and forced through underdescribed landscapes, seems to be a remnant from that earlier story design




I've never noticed the lack of description of the woods and environs they are walking through before, but it's interesting now that you point it out. I get the feeling of silent menace and hurry as they are almost speeding through the woods, though. Maybe that rushed fearful walking is what he was aiming at? They are still "under the influence" of the "haunted castle" of Minis Mordor? Which would explain Frodo's perception:

But there was an evil feeling in the air, as if things might indeed be passing up and down that eyes could not see. Frodo shuddered as he looked again at the distant pinnacles now dwindling into night, and the sound of the water seemed cold and cruel: the voice of Morgulduin, the polluted stream that flowed from the Valley of the Wraiths.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 13 2008, 3:34am

Post #13 of 13 (393 views)
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Organic writing [In reply to] Can't Post

The entire section from the Black Gate to Kirith Ungol continuously evolved as Tolkien was writing it. Originally it was to be a quick march between the two places; then he found the need for Sam to cook coneys, and while writing about that, wrote the note: "Describe baytrees and spicy herbs as they march." So the description of Ithilien was added.

Then they witness the battle between the men of Gondor and Harad, after which they "Strike the road to Osgiliath far down, and have to go back long [?detour] East. Deep Ilex woods. Gollum goes [?on] by day. Evening of third day they reach Cross ways. See broken statue."

But then Faramir appeared - first as a kinsman of Boromir - and Tolkien bemoaned that the story "is growing and sprouting again...and opening out in unexpected ways."

When he finally got his Hobbits back on the road again, the draft for this chapter seems to emphasize the growing darkness and menace and burden of the Ring rather than the land they travel through. Then Tolkien realized that to align with what was happening elsewhere, he needed them to travel an extra day - "achieved by the insertion of the following passage into a typescript of the chapter": the three paragraphs following "The birds seemed all to have flown away or to have fallen dumb."

And that's why there's not much description right there!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915

 
 

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