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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Unofficial Bored of the Rings Discussion, Chapter II: Three's Company, Four's a Bore - I

dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 17 2009, 2:34am

Post #1 of 19 (792 views)
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The Unofficial Bored of the Rings Discussion, Chapter II: Three's Company, Four's a Bore - I Can't Post

Like that annoying mosquito that keeps buzzing around your head and which is impossible to swat away, we continue on with the Unofficial Bored of the Rings discussion!

The title of this chapter is "Three's Company, Four's a Bore". Aside from the obvious reference to the "Three's Company" chapter in LotR, the authors had uncanny insight: Tolkien's original title for this chapter was "Three's Company and Four's More".

As usual, you may tackle these questions, add some of your own, or offer profound insights:


Quote
"If I were thee," said Goodgulf, "I would start on thy journey soon." Frito looked up absently from his rutabaga tea.

"For half a groat you can be me, Goodgulf. I don't remember volunteering for this Ring business."

"This is not the time for idle banter," said the Wizard, pulling a rabbit from his battered hat. "Dildo left days ago and awaits you at Riv'n'dell, as will I. There the fate of the Ring will be decided by all the peoples of Lower Middle Earth."

Frito pretended to be engrossed in his cup as Spam entered from the dining room and began tidying up the hole, packing up the last of Dildo's belongings for storage.

"'Lo, Master Frito," he rasped, pulling a greasy forelock. "Just gettin' the rest o' the stuff together for your uncle what mysteriously disappeared wi'out a trace. Strange business that, eh?" Seeing that no explanation was forthcoming, the faithful servant shuffled off into Dildo's bedroom. Goodgulf, hastily retrieving his rabbit, who was being loudly sick on the carpet, resumed speaking.

"Are you sure he can be trusted?"

Frito smiled. "Of course. Spam's been a true friend of mine since we were weanlings at obedience school together."

"And he knows nothing of the Ring?"

"Nothing," said Frito. "I am sure of it."

-Have you ever had rutabaga tea? What did it taste like?
-Did the authors effectively show how LotR's Frodo felt after learning about the Ring? Or how Sam really knew what was going on?
-What is a "groat"?



Quote
Goodgulf looked dubiously toward the closed door of the bedroom. "You still have it, don't you?"

Frito nodded and fished out the chain of paper clips that secured it to his tattersall bowling shirt.

"Then be careful with it," said Goodgulf, "for it has many strange powers."

"Like turning my pocket green?" asked the young boggie, turning the small circlet in his stubby fingers. Fearfully he stared at it, as he had so many times in the past few days. It was made of bright metal and was encrusted with strange devices and inscriptions. Around the inner surface was written something in a language unknown to Frito.

"I can't make out the words," said Frito.

"No, you cannot," said Goodgulf. "They are elvish, in the tongue of Fordor. A rough translation is:

"This Ring, no other, is made by the elves,
Who'd pawn their own mother to grab it themselves.
Ruler of creeper, mortal, and scallop,
This is a sleeper that packs quite a wallop.
The Power almighty rests in this Lone Ring.
The Power, alrighty, for doing your Own Thing.
If broken or busted, it cannot be remade.
If found, send to Sorhed (the postage is prepaid)."

"Shakestoor, it isn't," said Frito, hurriedly putting the Ring back in his shirt pocket.

"But a dire warning nonetheless," said Goodgulf. "Even now Sorhed's tools are abroad sniffing for this ring, and the time grows short before they smell it here. It is the time to set off for Riv'n'dell." The old magician stood, walked to the bedroom door, and opened it with a jerk. With a heavy crash, Spam fell forward ear first, his pockets full of Dildo's best mithrilplate tablespoons. "And this will be your faithful companion." As Goodgulf passed into the bedroom, Spam grinned sheepishly at Frito with a lop-eared stupidity Frito had learned to love, futilely trying to hide the spoons in his pockets.

Ignoring Spam, Frito called fearfully after the Wizard. "But--but--there are still many preparations I must make! My bags-"

"Have no worry," said Goodgulf as he held out two valises. "I took the precaution of packing them for you."

-One would think the authors had been reading some of our Conspiracy Theory or Scenes from the Hat threads! What do you think was "encrusted" on the outside of this Ring?
-Compare this Ring inscription with that for the One Ring.
-Does Spam suitably fill in for Lobelia?
-How large is a valise?
-Do Goodgulf's actions bring to mind Gandalf bringing along items for Bilbo after that hobbit had hurriedly left his hole on his adventure with the Dwarves? Why or why not?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



squire
Valinor


May 17 2009, 4:13pm

Post #2 of 19 (353 views)
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Rutabaga tea and other strange devices [In reply to] Can't Post

-Have you ever had rutabaga tea? What did it taste like?
I don’t think rutabaga tea is real – that is, no one really makes a tea from the rutabaga’s leaves. This is thrown in for comic effect. The rutabaga is a “comic” vegetable, for starters: the name is just plain funny-sounding. I think the “deeper” joke is about Tolkien’s use of antiquary lore to lend a medieval air to his stories – no one really ate rutabagas anymore in the 1960s, they were vaguely associated with old-fashioned European folk foods and (American) immigrant culture. There is probably also a spoof here of the 60’s hippies penchant for making tea of almost anything reputed to be healthy and off the radar of conventional middle-class cookery.


This is an example of how rutabaga comedy lives on in the modern era.


Tea also has an elaborate cultural apparatus attached to it. Frito is relaxing with a cuppa, and meditating due to its restorative powers, and so he “absently” responds to Goodgulf’s provocation. Then he effectively avoids the confrontation of the wizard’s reply by “pretending to be engrossed in his cup” – is he looking at the leaves for help in making his decision? The authors do not say.

-Did the authors effectively show how LotR's Frodo felt after learning about the Ring? Or how Sam really knew what was going on?

What they’re showing is how we think Frodo should have felt. Likewise Sam’s elaborate stratagem of listening in while trimming the eaves outside is shown to be absurd, compared to the conventional method of listening at the door.

-What is a "groat"?

I think it is a “coin of little worth”, from some obscure medieval treasury. Very likely the orcs threw a bag of groats at Nár.

I’d like to register my love of the following bits in this passage:
  • Spam “pulling a greasy forelock” – a classic servant obsequy that Sam Gamgee would never be caught dead performing, but should have.
  • “faithful servant shuffled off” – again, service the way service was meant to be performed, in vaudeville, at least.
  • “[Goodgulf’s] rabbit, who was being loudly sick on the carpet,” – a meaningless throwaway that cracks me up, especially as it follows through on the corny gag that Goodgulf, as a “wizard” necessarily has the “magical” power to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Let no one say that BotR doesn’t have its full share of vomit humor. LotR, on the other hand, barely touches on this important aspect of adventure fiction – there are only two references to it that I can think of.
  • “we were weanlings at obedience school together” – another boggie-as-barely-domesticated-mammal joke. But this also begins to fuzz the master-servant distinction the authors have just set up (as noted above); much as Tolkien makes Frodo and Sam’s relationship indistinct almost immediately in “Three’s Company.”



-One would think the authors had been reading some of our Conspiracy Theory or Scenes from the Hat threads! What do you think was "encrusted" on the outside of this Ring?
Yes, TORn’s Conspiracy Theory and Scenes from the Hat threads are the highly honorable descendants of LotR-spoofing that Bored of the Rings began.


The “strange devices and inscriptions” that “encrust” the Ring are spoofs of the idea that Magic Rings must look like magic rings – rather like Goodgulf’s wearing the traditional wizard’s hat covered with “glow-in-the-dark cabalistic signs, alchemical symbols, and some off-color dwarfish graffiti”.


I take the term “devices” in Tolkien’s sense: meaning “strategems” or “methods” – expressed through written spells – rather than little physical mechanisms. Although later, at the Council, I believe the Ring is revealed to have many cereal-box premium features.


-Compare this Ring inscription with that for the One Ring.

Much funnier! My favorite couplet is:

Ruler of creeper, mortal, and scallop,
This is a sleeper that packs quite a wallop.

Note the use of internal rhymes at the half-line – a classic Tolkien technique.

-Does Spam suitably fill in for Lobelia?

Yes, good catch! It was a sign of Lobelia’s low class behavior that she would steal the cutlery, an activity traditionally assigned to the shady household servants – Spam, in other words. Also note the use of “mithrilplate” snuck in there.

-How large is a valise?
A valise is a small suitcase, used for quick overnight trips. Goodgulf thereby contradicts Frito’s protest that he must pack a lot of things before leaving.


-Do Goodgulf's actions bring to mind Gandalf bringing along items for Bilbo after that hobbit had hurriedly left his hole on his adventure with the Dwarves? Why or why not?
This ending to the scene parallels the “You’ve just won the booby prize” ending of the previous chapter. Again and again we will see Frito snookered into continuing with a quest he is desperately trying to get out of. Does this help us see Frodo as a sap, too?


In a larger sense, this chapter begins the quest itself. And we see here, and will continue to see, takeoffs on the traditional quest mode of heroic action, which Frodo brings to his journey from the moment he leaves Bag End. Frito and his companions will exhibit cowardice, buffoonery, cheating, goofing off, and just plain idiocy – all in comic contrast with Tolkien’s straight-faced and noble heroes.



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


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 17 2009, 9:04pm

Post #3 of 19 (304 views)
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I don't think I've seen [In reply to] Can't Post

rutabagas at the grocery store in a long time - not even at the Super Stop & Shop. A pity, I understand they make great jack-o-lanterns. I recall a cartoon, probably from MAD Magazine, which showed the road sign: "Rutabagas have been planted in the median for your convenience."

Ah, yes, the shuffling servant of days of yore!

Beard and Kennedy did do a marvellous job on that Ring verse, didn't they!

And haven't we had many conversations in this Room, about whether it was morally right or wrong of Gandalf to send Frodo off on that Quest...poor sap...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



FarFromHome
Valinor


May 17 2009, 9:38pm

Post #4 of 19 (450 views)
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There are no rutabagas [In reply to] Can't Post

in the British Isles - over here they're called 'swedes' or 'yellow turnips'. But they're still available in the supermarket, and very nice they are too, as a winter vegetable. And they're very cheap!

'Rutabaga' is not the only Americanism in this excerpt - I've never heard the word 'valise' used in England either - it's a word I associate with old American movies.

Is this deliberate, I wonder? Or are the authors unable to differentiate between Britishisms and odd/old-fashioned words in general?

The shuffling servant is another Americanism, I find. The European tradition in popular literature tends to feature the clever servant who outsmarts his master and/or saves the day. From Harlequin in the Commedia dell'arte, through Figaro and even up to Jeeves, that's the more common popular image (after all, most popular entertainment, as opposed to novels which were aimed at the literate minority, would have servants as their chief audience). I think Tolkien draws on this tradition a bit with Sam, in fact, since he quite often manages to get his own way despite appearances to the contrary.

Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Bilbo's Last Song



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 18 2009, 2:31am

Post #5 of 19 (303 views)
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Bostonian humor [In reply to] Can't Post

The Harvard-based authors definitely intended their little tome for American audiences, specifically around a certain hub city in the Northeast! They probably had no idea how popular it would become.

What's most amazing is how the Tolkien Estate has left them alone all these years...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



sador
Half-elven

May 18 2009, 9:05am

Post #6 of 19 (298 views)
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A few answers [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
The title of this chapter is "Three's Company, Four's a Bore". Aside from the obvious reference to the "Three's Company" chapter in LotR, the authors had uncanny insight: Tolkien's original title for this chapter was "Three's Company and Four's More".


How many hobbits where to travel in Tolkien's original scheme?


In Reply To
As usual, you may tackle these questions, add some of your own, or offer profound insights.

<cough>

Did the authors effectively show how LotR's Frodo felt after learning about the Ring?
Well, Frodo was not quite absent-minded; although he could be seen as in a state of denial.

Or how Sam really knew what was going on?
You are giving Spam too much credit! He was probably remembering Dildo's disappearance because it gave him a sort of glamour - hoping it would be an effective pick-up line!

What is a "groat"?
Something you do not-give lightly, as in Tristram Shandy (quoting from memory):

Quote

Now, as for what the world at large thinks of the last exclamation - I would not give a groat.




Quote

Goodgulf, hastily retrieving his rabbit, who was being loudly sick on the carpet, resumed speaking.

Just had to point out that had the hat been less battered - the rabbit might have felt better.

Compare this Ring inscription with that for the One Ring.
"Ruler of creeper, mortal and scallop" - as far as I remember, Gimlet was called a 'creep', wasn't he? Mortals we know - so does this mean elves are scallops?

Does Spam suitably fill in for Lobelia?
No! He tries, but he gets sidetracked too easily. Never eavesdrop while in the middle of stealing spoons!

Do Goodgulf's actions bring to mind Gandalf bringing along items for Bilbo after that hobbit had hurriedly left his hole on his adventure with the Dwarves? Why or why not?
Yes.


Quote

Spam grinned sheepishly at Frito with a lop-eared stupidity Frito had learned to love

Is this the first introduction of the sheep-theme that runs through BotR?


"There's nothing in the feeling of weight in an idle toss-pot's arms." - Galion


squire
Valinor


May 18 2009, 10:14am

Post #7 of 19 (326 views)
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Molluscy forbids... [In reply to] Can't Post

"...as far as I remember, Gimlet was called a 'creep', wasn't he? Mortals we know - so does this mean elves are scallops?"
Good guess, but remember that the boggies have already been compared to cherrystone clams. I think the rhyme with "Packs a wallop" is what was really important. "Wallop" has unfortunately been replaced these days by the rather precious "upside the head" phrase.
"What is a 'groat'? Something you do not-give lightly, as in Tristram Shandy (quoting from memory): 'Now, as for what the world at large thinks of the last exclamation - I would not give a groat.'"
I think the sense of the (hopefully quoted accurately but certainly quoted impressively!) saying is not that he would not give a groat lightly, but that he values the world's opinion on this matter lightly. As in, "I don't give a damn" or "I don't give tuppence".

OK, OK, twist my arm! Looking it up, we see that a groat is an English silver coin worth four pennies. It was a large coin, which is the general European meaning; the English version was called a groat after the Norman Kings circulated the gros Tournois or "great [coin] of Tours." A groat was also called a fourpence. The coin was devalued to inflate the money supply in the 16th century, and did not reappear for some time after losing the popular trust.
As Wikipedia (yes) assures us, "Not worth a groat" is an old saying meaning "not worth a penny", i.e. worthless.

Can anyone remember where this comes from? "Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote! A little wee man in a red red coat! A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat; If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a groat." This is evidence that the term survived into the 20th century in English country use.

Ah, the joys of research. So we see that Frito refers to "half a groat" - even more worthless than a groat. He is also referring to tuppence, q.v. above, the even more well-known phrase "I don't give tuppence."

There is some additional material on the fact that tuppence is a vulgarism in London slang. But even I will not suggest that the Lampoon's authors are that erudite, since Wikipedia was not available during the 12-hour writing process on that fateful 1969 night in Cambridge.




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


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 18 2009, 11:57am

Post #8 of 19 (285 views)
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A riddle as old as... [In reply to] Can't Post

...Beatrix Potter, at least: that's one of the rhymes from The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. (The answer is: a cherry.)

As I recall, the narrator was rather perturbed at Squirrel Nutkin, for he had no groat to give the old owl.

(Nor two tuppence, neither.)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 18 2009, 12:03pm

Post #9 of 19 (281 views)
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Four's more than...what? [In reply to] Can't Post

In the first draft, Bingo had three companions as he set out: Odo and Drogo Took and Frodo Brandybuck.

And the narrative was just as silly.

Excellent catch on the "sheep" theme!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



GaladrielTX
Tol Eressea


May 19 2009, 12:39pm

Post #10 of 19 (287 views)
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I haven't responded to one of these before. [In reply to] Can't Post

-Have you ever had rutabaga tea? What did it taste like?

Nope, nor have I had even a rutabaga. I imagine it’s kind of bitter like a turnip. I love trying new things. Now I’ll have to find a source and a recipe for rutabagas. I'll skip the tea, though. :o)~


-Did the authors effectively show how LotR's Frodo felt after learning about the Ring? Or how Sam really knew what was going on?

Frodo hardly seemed mentally absent. Riveted is probably more like it. So the “Bored” dudes are understating him. On the other hand, Spam’s blatant ear-to-the-door, falling into the room technique is an exaggeration of his getting caught trimming outside. Spam is probably the funniest thing in this chapter so far.


-What is a "groat"?

I was interested and slightly embarrassed to read the other responses here. I had always guessed it was some kind of grain, like an oat. This probably really confused someone years ago in an email conversation I had when I said someone in a Dickens book I was reading probably liked eating groats.


-One would think the authors had been reading some of our Conspiracy Theory or Scenes from the Hat threads! What do you think was "encrusted" on the outside of this Ring?

The symbols of the zodiac, man.


-Compare this Ring inscription with that for the One Ring.

Three rings for Leos ‘cause they’re proud and faithful like those Noldor

Seven for Tauruses who are stiff-necked and bull-headed like, um, you know who

Nine for Scorpios who are tricksy and false

One for Aries who think they should be The Man.


-Does Spam suitably fill in for Lobelia?

It’s a good way to condense the tale.


-How large is a valise?

Like a suitcase?


-Do Goodgulf's actions bring to mind Gandalf bringing along items for Bilbo after that hobbit had hurriedly left his hole on his adventure with the Dwarves? Why or why not?

Sure.

~~~~~~~~

The TORNsib formerly known as Galadriel.



FarFromHome
Valinor


May 19 2009, 4:06pm

Post #11 of 19 (285 views)
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I should have realized that... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The Harvard-based authors definitely intended their little tome for American audiences



...just based on all those classic American brand names, especially the junk-food names of the four main hobbits! Although Spam, at least, had travelled widely by that time - it's interesting to think that Monty Python was being aired on the BBC at just around this time, and they got even more mileage out of Spam...

Cool

Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Bilbo's Last Song



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 19 2009, 9:45pm

Post #12 of 19 (286 views)
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Groovy, man. [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah, a BotR "virgin" - ready for the "sacrifice"! Laugh

I like your Ringverse! I think you'll fit in just fine here...Evil


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



GaladrielTX
Tol Eressea


May 20 2009, 5:21pm

Post #13 of 19 (271 views)
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Uhh... thanks...I think. [In reply to] Can't Post

Wait, that was a compliment, wasn't it? :o)~

~~~~~~~~

The TORNsib formerly known as Galadriel.



Darkstone
Immortal


May 20 2009, 8:23pm

Post #14 of 19 (269 views)
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Agent 00 1/2 [In reply to] Can't Post

-Have you ever had rutabaga tea?

I’ve had rutabaga wine.


What did it taste like?

Nice hint of peppercorn. Beautiful color.


-Did the authors effectively show how LotR's Frodo felt after learning about the Ring?

It shows the Frodo that mooned distractedly for 13 years after learning of the ring before he actually did anything.


Or how Sam really knew what was going on?

Does Sam ever?


-What is a "groat"?

Either a small British coin of little worth, or a cereal grain. I note groaty pudding is a traditional dish on Guy Fawkes Night.

I also note that “grotty” was a derisive term introduced to the adult world by George Harrison in the film A Hard Day’s Night (1964).


"Like turning my pocket green?" asked the young boggie, turning the small circlet in his stubby fingers.

Copper jewelry in the form of rings and bracelets was a fad in the 1960s. Besides turning green, they tended turn one’s skin green and turn one’s clothing green. I still have a copper bracelet around somewhere. My copper ring corroded through and fell apart long ago.


Fearfully he stared at it, as he had so many times in the past few days. It was made of bright metal and was encrusted with strange devices and inscriptions.

You could buy cheap rings with “Peace”, “Love”, or the peace symbol, or all sorts of various devices and inscriptions. Like my copper ring, they tended to fall quickly apart. I think they were mostly made of really cheap pewter.


This is a sleeper that packs quite a wallop.

This may refer to “The Sleeper Saga”, a 1965 series of Captain America adventures in Tales of Suspense that had him fighting a series of three “Sleepers”. Much like the One Ring, the Sleepers were secret weapons left behind after the defeat of the Nazi super-villain The Red Skull at the end of WWII. 20 years later the Sleepers were programmed to awake, unite into one weapon, and destroy the world.


The Power, alrighty, for doing your Own Thing.

"Do your own thing" was a slogan of the 1960s.


If found, send to Sorhed (the postage is prepaid)."

This was an inscription usually printed on items like hotel keys and such. So if a hotel guest forgot to turn in his hotel key he could simply drop it in a mailbox and it would be returned to the hotel.


"Shakestoor, it isn't," said Frito, hurriedly putting the Ring back in his shirt pocket

An interesting referral to Stoors.


The old magician stood, walked to the bedroom door, and opened it with a jerk. With a heavy crash, Spam fell forward ear first, his pockets full of Dildo's best mithrilplate tablespoons. "And this will be your faithful companion." As Goodgulf passed into the bedroom, Spam grinned sheepishly at Frito with a lop-eared stupidity Frito had learned to love, futilely trying to hide the spoons in his pockets.

This seems a combination of a couple of Marx Brothers’ routines. First, there’s the end of the classic scene in A Night At The Opera where Margaret Dumont opens the door to Groucho’s sardine packed ocean liner stateroom and people cascade out onto the floor. Then there’s the end of Animal Crackers where Inspector Hennessey shakes Harpo’s hand for solving the crime and with each shake a cascade of silverware comes falling out out of Harpo’s sleeve. (Eventually 400 pieces of silverware and one coffee pot.)


-One would think the authors had been reading some of our Conspiracy Theory or Scenes from the Hat threads! What do you think was "encrusted" on the outside of this Ring?

Finger cheese.


-Compare this Ring inscription with that for the One Ring.

Matches a lot of Tolkien’s other poetry quite well.


-Does Spam suitably fill in for Lobelia?

I’m still thinking more of Spam as Harpo Marx, or maybe one of the Ritz Brothers.


-How large is a valise?

Small enough to stuff into an airplane’s overhead compartment.

I note that the 1960s saw a huge number of secret agent movies. Valises containing secret papers, codes, and hidden weapons were standard issue to spies going on secret missions. The most famous valise of the time was James Bond’s exploding valise in From Russia With Love (1963). I got one for Christmas!


-Do Goodgulf's actions bring to mind Gandalf bringing along items for Bilbo after that hobbit had hurriedly left his hole on his adventure with the Dwarves?

Yes and no.


Why or why not?

It’s more reminiscent of Bugs Bunny getting rid of Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam by forcing suitcases into their hands and giving them the bum’s rush out the door.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 20 2009, 9:00pm

Post #15 of 19 (276 views)
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You were given an exploding valise? [In reply to] Can't Post

Uh...how many pieces is it in, now?

Looked up the groaty pudding - sort of like oatmeal stew! The authors probably didn't have "grotty" in mind, though, as George did say it meant "grotesque".

Then again, maybe they did...

Yes, the copper bracelets and rings were supposed to put trace elements into you via your skin, and prevent arthritis, or something like that. I had a friend whose skin corroded silver; she gave me her "harem ring" because it was getting too thin, but its bands eventually snapped.

Finger cheese...haven't seen that stuff encrusted around the house since my kids were little...Tongue

The reference to "Shakestoor" does tend to elevate that particular scion of hobbitry as being more intellectual than the others!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



Darkstone
Immortal


May 20 2009, 10:03pm

Post #16 of 19 (263 views)
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Yep! [In reply to] Can't Post

It had a little mechanism that you stuck an exploding cap in (the same type you used in cap guns), and if you didn't open the valise properly it'd go off with a POP!

I loved the smell of cap gun caps!

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



squire
Valinor


May 20 2009, 10:03pm

Post #17 of 19 (275 views)
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The 007 *briefcase* [In reply to] Can't Post

had a combination lock on it, and a secret setting that you could encode. If someone (like Mom or your younger brother) opened it without knowing the secret, a spring-loaded lever would set off several gunpowder caps with a satisfying and smoky, if low-volume, bang! Blowing your nosy adversary to smithereens, presumably.

Inside the briefcase, under a hidden flap and several stacks of paper money, was a disassembled sniper rifle and telescopic sight, of the finest black plastic. I think it too worked on caps for a realistic firing noise.

In the lining of the briefcase was a gun barrel, that fired a spring-powered plastic bullet if you pressed a certain stud while carrying the closed case. Thus the case itself was a kind of gun, for use in tight situations. Quiet and effective!

All this spy-fabulousness was a close replica of the real thing carried by 007 in "From Russia with Love". We didn't have video games, so we played at assassinating our close family members in real life with real, and really cool, toys. I wonder if today's kids are even allowed to have toys that are powered by gunpowder caps. Can you even get cap pistols anymore? I wouldn't know, because I had daughters, not sons.

I also remember Der TAG, when The Sleeper awoke!



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


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 21 2009, 1:31am

Post #18 of 19 (264 views)
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You two must have been terrors! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can imagine your teachers wondering what just hit them on the leg...or you guys inviting your less-loved peers to take a peek inside the briefcase...Laugh

I seem to recall seeing James Bond gadgets and toys while poring through the Sears Catalog back in the '60s. Now I know who was buying those (instead of the more peaceful Barbie houses).

Considering the type of "Sleeper" from the comic, I'd say that the Ring verse was indeed a nod to that.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


May 22 2009, 12:10am

Post #19 of 19 (575 views)
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Same. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I loved the smell of cap gun caps!



And the gunpowder from fireworks.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories

 
 

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