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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Saviour characters

noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 24 2013, 4:56pm

Post #1 of 21 (321 views)
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Saviour characters Can't Post

In Book 1 of Lord of the Rings, there's a pattern whereby, just as things get hairy, a "saviour" character arrives to help (same in many of Bilbo's pre Mirkwood adventures).

This thought is far from originally mine: This from reading a discussion of a Shortcut to Mushrooms from the TORN archive:

Quote

squire: 6. Do you like the idea that there is a “savior” character in every chapter of this book?
Aunt Dora Baggins: I've always liked the periods of rest and safety and "savior" characters, maybe because I first read LotR at a fairly young age. If the book were all danger and suffering, I don't think I would have made it through a first reading. As we say in my writers' group, "Why don't they all just sit down and have party now and then?"
N.E. Brigand: I'd like to hear more about that theory: do the first two chapters have "savior" characters, for example?
Nerdanel_50: Is there? Hmmm. Have to think about that one.
Estelwyn: LAte comments about "saviours" To be honest, I'd never heard this idea before. I'm sure we can all think of plenty of saviour figures throughout LOTR, but as for there being one for every chapter -- well, you've got me very curious there. Here's what I came up with as far as "who's the saviour" in the chapters of Book One. Some are more obvious than others IMO. There were a few chapters in which I couldn't really see anyone "saving" anyone.
Chapter 1 A Long-expected Party -- Gandalf (saves Bilbo from keeping the Ring)
Chapter 2 The Shadow of the Past -- ?
Chapter 3 Three is Company -- Gildor and company
Chapter 4 A Short Cut to Mushrooms -- Farmer Maggot
Chapter 5 A Conspiracy Unmasked -- Merry et al ("save" Frodo from having to go off alone -- a bit of a stretch, this one)
Chapter 6 The Old Forest -- Bombadil (from Old Man Willow)
Chapter 7 In the House of Tom Bombadil -- ?
Chapter 8 Fog on the Barrow-Downs -- Bombadil (from barrow-wight)
Chapter 9 At the Sign of The Prancing Pony -- ?
Chapter 10 Strider -- Nob (saves Merry from BRs, if you like); Strider (saves Frodo from wandering in wilderness with no guidance)
Chapter 11 A Knife in the Dark -- Strider (from BRs at Weathertop)
Chapter 12 Flight to the Ford - Glorfindel

I'm interested where this idea came from and how it can be substantiated. Who would the saviours be in Ch 2, 7, and 9, when no one really needs saving as far as I can see?
squire: Well, I was just shooting from the hip when I said that. I made it up. It just seemed like there was a savior at the end of every chapter as I was writing.
But although there is not one at the end of every chapter, as your list shows, there sure are a lot.
Restricting the list to someone who really saves the hero from impending harm, I get seven out of twelve. (Gildor, Maggot, Bombadil, Bombadil, Strider, Strider, Glorfindel). This has all the earmarks of a conspiracy.
Or at least a real pattern to writing adventure chapters.
http://users.bestweb.net/~jfgm/Mushrooms%20Website/05%20Discussion%20-%20Beware%20of%20Dogs.htm#06%20Estelwyn


Thought the 2013 reading room might like go consider this again! I think the pattern breaks down later in both The Hobbit and in LOTR. Do you suppose that's showing our heroes increasing maturity: instead of needing to be rescued by a grown-up, they are more capable of fending for themselves, or rescuing others?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 24 2013, 5:23pm

Post #2 of 21 (202 views)
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I think it's more about increasing dangers, and fewer rescues [In reply to] Can't Post

Great question!

If that pattern had kept up throughout LOTR, it would have become awfully predictable and ruined any suspense. I would have expected Balin to appear in Moria and say, "Quick, over here, I'll show you secret the way outside past the Balrog. My tomb is fake." The story gets more dangerous, the stakes rise, and the losses mount. There's no savior for Boromir or Gandalf, for example.

From Rivendell to Lorien, there's just Galadriel as savior. Treebeard shows up for Merry & Pippin, Eomer and Gandalf for Aragorn & Co, and Gollum for Frodo and Sam. Then the only other savior I can think of is Faramir for Frodo & Sam.

That's individuals. For groups, there are the Ents and Erkenbrand's army helping save Helm's Deep, and the Rohirrim and Dead saving the Pelennor Fields. Hard to think of others. There's no savior with Shelob, and the only savior at Cirith Ungol is the orcs killing each other, which doesn't really count. The Phial does some saving, if you don't mind that it doesn't talk or walk like a person. The Ring does a lot of anti-saving.

But as you point out, our heroes are growing up and do some saving of their own: Merry with Eowyn, Pippin with Faramir, Sam with Frodo in Cirith Ungol, and Frodo/Gollum saving the army at the Morannon. Then they have to save the Shire on their own too.

Just thinking about all that saving tires me out.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 24 2013, 5:34pm

Post #3 of 21 (190 views)
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Children's book requirements? [In reply to] Can't Post

Another thought: the Hobbit was of course a children's book, and Tolkien started out writing a child-friendly sequel. Maybe these saviours ensure that the end of the chapter is not too exciting, so that we don't have to leave the characters in peril when we say " and now its bedtime, we'll read more tomorrow."

Or maybe there is an other or additional explanation ....

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 24 2013, 5:47pm

Post #4 of 21 (198 views)
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A repudiation of Thomas Carlyle? [In reply to] Can't Post

"The history of the world is but the biography of great men."

But in LOTR, it's not one Great Man saving Middle-earth, but a coalition of the great, the not-so-great, and the humble where everyone needs the help of the other.

Again, Tolkien was ahead of his time.

******************************************
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.”



telain
Rohan

Apr 24 2013, 9:48pm

Post #5 of 21 (164 views)
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well put [In reply to] Can't Post

...and might I say I'm rather glad to see that familiar watermelon-hatted cat!

The fact that it is a Fellowship v. a single Hero certainly underscores the point -- with the word "fellowship" doubly underscored.

...and perhaps the numerous 'saviour characters" both bold and italicize the point.


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 24 2013, 9:51pm

Post #6 of 21 (165 views)
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I thank you. [In reply to] Can't Post

And Meowyn Melonhelm thanks you.Smile

******************************************
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.”



(This post was edited by Darkstone on Apr 24 2013, 9:52pm)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 25 2013, 11:43am

Post #7 of 21 (153 views)
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i don't think the premise of savior characters in every chapter flies [In reply to] Can't Post

 
...nor do i think book one is replete with savior characters.

as listed from the old discussion, there are already quite a few gaps. of those that are listed, i think many are tenuous associations. i only see "savior characters" in five out of 12 chapters (3:gildor, 6:bombadil; 8:bombadil; 11:strider; 12:arwen glorfindel).

to my mind, "savior" is limited to a character that intercedes in a way that far surpasses what the company could have done for themselves, and saves them from certain, immediate, and dire peril.

one of the aspects i've always loved about fotr is the steady progression of danger as the hobbits take steps that lead them out of the shire. it's slow going (even frodo's initial departure was not immediate, and he delayed and procrastinated even longer). the gradual transition, on a practical level, toughens them up for trials their earlier selves would not have been able to navigate. on a poetic level, they shed their old sense of how big the world is, what is familiar, what may or may not be a danger.

it's not like once you pass the borders of buckland you've crossed the dmz and are in a hot zone. the shire is a very insular region, and its inhabitants assume that their peace and their habit of keeping to their own business protects them from dangers without. if sauron were truly encamped outside their borders, that would be unrealistic. the shire would not exsist. there has to be a buffer zone, and it is thoroughly logical that the terrain (and chance) gets wilder and wilder the further they are from the shire.

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 25 2013, 1:11pm

Post #8 of 21 (137 views)
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Great expression [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
it's not like once you pass the borders of buckland you've crossed the dmz and are in a hot zone.

Then again, the hedge fencing Buckland is like barbed wire against menacing trees. But the trees are nothing like the real dangers to come later.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 25 2013, 2:37pm

Post #9 of 21 (140 views)
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The "saviour" idea it becomes increasingly (and interestingly) problematic as the story progresses [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I'd agree, my sense of a "saviour" character is that they should intervene unexpectedly and obviously when our heroes are in a fix and seem unlikely to cope. So Gildor and Bombadil (twice) are excellent examples. I do see this as a pattern in Book 1, even while agreeing to your reduced list of solid examples. Indeed, there is a sense that the Hobbits are initially being chaperoned - Bombadil says that he'd had news from Gildor that they might be coming; Strider is evesdropping on their final conversation with Bombadil, and then Glorfindel turns up again because of messages sent by Gildor.

The "saviour" idea it becomes increasingly problematic as the story progresses - but I think it is a fun one to think about (observing where things break down can be as interesting as watching them work smoothly!) Trying to apply the idea to the rest of the story (and being mindful that results will depend a lot on interpretation):

No-one needs saving from the Council of Elrond (except perhaps from boring meetings, or from too much good food). I suppose that Gandalf relates being saved by an Eagle, but recounted saviousr moments dont' have as much resonance (also, this scene has been foreshadowed by a dream Frodo has at Bombadils)

In The Ring Goes South and A Journey in the Dark, the Fellowship battle against snow, wolves, Watchers and so on, but I don't think this qualifies as a "Saviour" stuff - they are the Ringbearer's companions doing exactly what they were sent to do (I'd even extend this to Gandalf taking on the Balrog in single combat, and apparently losing his life to save the Fellowship).

When the Fellowship get to Lorien, we see a new twist - the elves ask questions first and help later. There is no dramatic rescue. They are not, c.f. Gildor, delighted from the outset to meet these strangers. New characters are now more cautious, might want to hinder as much as help the quest, and need to be won over before they'll help (we later see the same with Eomer, Faramir and Treebeard). So while the Fellowship might not have survived the orcs that happen by unless they had been taken in by the Lorien elves, its not a "saviour" scene -c.f. say movie-Elrond in The Hobbit, AUJ turning up on horseback to save Bilbo & party from the orcs outside Rivendell; Tolkien could have done something similar under the eaves of Lothlorien had he wanted..

Once the Fellowship travels on, there are no more saviours until the end of the Book - I'll disqualify Boromir's heroic defence of Pippin and Merry both because it fails in the end; and it is debatable whether the distraction he is causing has anything to do with helping Frodo and Sam slipping away; and because, after a lapse, Boromir's being a good Fellow.

Moving on to Book 3, Merry and Pippin are saved from the orcs by a combination of orc in-fighting and the Riders of Rohan. But the Riders drive Pippin and Merry into Fangorn. Initially, it's not at all clear that this is much of an improvement in their situation.
Treebeard does not dramatically rescue the hobbits. But their arrival in Fangorn catalyses the entry of the Ents into the War of the Ring. So that's a new issue - new characters are encountered to develop the plot, not to haul our heroes out of danger they can't cope with themselves. After Book 1 the story is much less episodic.
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas don't need saving by Eomer, and their encounter is initially fraught (Eomer's been instructed to arrest or kill strangers, though in the end decides not to).

Reunited with Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, Gandalf turns up at The Golden Hall in order to be a saviour character from Theoden or Eowyn's POV. I guess that's an important consideration - the story is following Gandalf, so we know he has planned to visit Theoden, and that reduces the surprise. I can re-plot it to make that a saviour moment - e.g. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas have gone with Eomer, and Theoden now plans to execute them when - up pops Gandalf! It's not as good, is it?
Same when Gandalf leads Erkenbrand's forces (Eomer in the movie) to break the siege of Helms Deep - we've got an idea that Gandalf went to get help, reducing the unexpectedness.

I think that's it for saviours in Book 3

At the start of Book4, Smeagol is a candidate saviour, in that Frodo and Sam look to be terminally lost and seem unlikely to make it towards Mordor without Smeagol as a guide. I recall finding the recruitment of Gollum unexpected, and I suspect that, without a guide, F&S would have wandered round till they starved. But it's dubious - you could also file this under "develop the plot" as it sets in train that whole thing which ends up with Gollum being the one who finally (if unintentionally) completes the quest.

Faramir does not seem a saviour to me - Frodo's party seem to be getting on fine without him, and although he eventually re-provisions them, he seems as likely at first to be an opponent to their quest. It's very different from Gildor and party, who are immediately helpful (and then become more so once they learn something of Frodo's situation).

I don't call Sam a saviour figure at the end of Book 4 - he does save Frodo from Shelob, but being Frodo's helper is the role he's long given himself - it may be unexpected that he defeats Shelob but its not unexpected that he'd try.

Moving to Book 5, we're largely following people who are doing what the set out to do. The suspense is over whether they will arrive in time, or other details.The book is carefully ordered so that we lose sight of someone in order that they can pop up at the right time. But, perhaps because we know they are forces in play, it doesn't seem Gildor or Bombadil-like. For example, The Battle of Pelanor Fields has a lot of reversals: the people of Minas Tirith could understandably see the Rohirrim as their saviours, but it's not a kind of "saviour" moment for us because we know they're on their way; Eowyn is crucially saved by Merry (but I see that as a bit like Sam fighting Shelob) ; Eomer is saved by the timely arrival of Aragorn and his ghostly marines; Pippin gets Gandalf in time to save Faramir. But I'm not quite sure these events fit with where we started for a "saviour" moment.

So I don't see the plot relying upon many saviours here. Just Ghan-Buri-Ghan (new character, timely arrival, unexpectedly finds the Riders a way around the besieging forces). It's a bit different though - by the time we learn enough of the situation to realise that the need Ghan-Buri-Ghan, he's already turned up to help. For example, we don't have a scene in which the Riders try to break through the forces besieging Minis Tirith, are driven back and things seem hopeless, for example

Moving on into Book 6, I guess you could argue Gollum has one last saviour moment, as his intervention to grab the Ring then fall in the lava is pretty unexpected.

After that, the timely success of Frodo, Sam and Gollum in destroying the Ring saves the Armies of the West from certain destruction (but this was always part of the plan...)

The Eagles then medivac Frodo and Sam, but we never really thought they'd be left to die in the lava, and we're kinda riffing on an established eagle-rescue theme.

And that's it, I think! Our hobbit heroes need no saving by surprise arrivals as they lead rebellion in the Shire.

Did I miss any?

So what (if anything) do we learn?
1) As Curious G has already said:

Quote
If that pattern had kept up throughout LOTR, it would have become awfully predictable and ruined any suspense. I would have expected Balin to appear in Moria and say, "Quick, over here, I'll show you secret the way outside past the Balrog. My tomb is fake." The story gets more dangerous, the stakes rise, and the losses mount.

I guess that Gimli bangs his head on the tomb in grief, and that opens the secret mechanism.....

2) As the story continues, new characters who might be able to help are more likely to need persuading - it's not immediately obvious they are going to help. Increasing suspicion as the War hots up seems perfectly reasonable.
3) As the story continues, new characters may be encountered in order to be helped (Theoden) or to broaden the plot in other ways (Treebeard).
4) The dramatic arrival of forces which we readers knew were on the way doesn't look like a saviour moment to us the audience (though it might to the characters being rescued). The careful ordering of Book 5 means that Tolkien gives up "saviour" moments for other kinds of suspense and effect.
5) The Eagles predictably turn up when not expected. Oh, excuse me, someone is squawking at the door

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 25 2013, 3:15pm

Post #10 of 21 (132 views)
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elf-removal [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i'd remove gildor from that list.

in fact, i did, when i wrote a healthy edit of my original post, simultaneously adding to my contribution while subtracting from gildor's.

(alas, it took too much time to compse my edit, and my window closed, and the internet ate what I had typed. it is as unrecoverable as numenor.)

reason: it'ts entirely possible that the hobbits could still have scuttled along, and escaped from the black rider's proximity. it wasn't in mid-leap, or anything, 'tho i certainly took a breath of relief when i heard gildor coming.

and, 'tho somewhat watched out for, they were not chaperoned. they part ways with gildor, with bombadil, and 'tho it's a happy outcome that the interventions were successful, success was not the inevitable outcome.

there is real danger along the way that the hobbits have to navigate themselves, regardless of their allies and benefactors.

i don't find this idea of a savior theme a legitimate one, as you can probably see.


cheers --

.

cheers -_


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 25 2013, 3:22pm)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 25 2013, 5:40pm

Post #11 of 21 (113 views)
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I can see you're not going for it.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...which is fine: it's very subjective to decide :
how much peril the characters are in?
Would they have figured out a solution for themselves unaided?
Is the intervention surprising enough?
All those things have to be right to qualify as a "saviour" moment.

I see what you mean about about Gildor: at that point the Hobbits have an increasingly bad feeling about the Black Riders, but nothing much to go on. As readers we may have a strong hunch that Frodo has dallied too long in the Shire and things are worse than he's realised. Or we might not think that.

The hobbits do seem very helpless when trapped by Old Man Willow. I cant imagine what Sam and Frodo would have done if Tom B had not happened along. Frodo seems rather less helpless when he calls For help at the Barrow (he's already lopped a hand of the wight. Could he have completed an escape? Dunno.

Certainly the Hobbits feel that they are really fending for themselves with random bits of luck - "chaperoned" was probably too strong a word, but I do think there's a sense in which they are being looked out for by kindly powers. This becomes unnecessary once the Fellowship forms.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 25 2013, 9:26pm

Post #12 of 21 (98 views)
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Semi-saviors [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing Treebeard rescues M&P from is starvation. They can't wander in Rohan and eat grass or eat trees in Fangorn Forest, and their own food is gone. I recall being surprised at that predicament on first read, because they've just escaped from orcs, after all--everything should be golden again. But they're hungry, homeless, horseless, lost, and would have likely died if some savior hadn't shown up for them. Maybe Aragorn would have, or Gandalf, but they needed someone.

Good point that Faramir doesn't save F&S from anything except possibly dying in his own guerrilla warfare. So in a fair sense, he does no saving from danger, but I think his appearance is important for reviving Frodo's flagging spirits for awhile. And he equips them with staves (Sam uses his in his fight with Gollum) and food (can never have too much). Not really a savior, but an important "helper." He also takes news of them back to Gondor which reaches Gandalf, which is important for their fate.

Ghan-B-G strikes me as a savior. True, the Rohirrim aren't in trouble yet, but they would be soon if he hadn't shown up. I think he saved them from getting into a mess rather than pulling them out of one.

I would still accord Gildor full savior status. The Black Riders were clearly closing in on Frodo, and only backed off from fear of Gildor's approach. And were apparently too fearful to follow the Elves to their campground, which gave Frodo a head start in avoiding them the next day and their creepy sniffing. The hobbits were in physical danger, and they needed advice. Gildor helped with both needs (stingily with the latter). And as you say, his messages brought out Glorfindel to play savior. (But wasn't it Maggot who sent a message to Bombadil, not Gildor?)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 25 2013, 10:06pm

Post #13 of 21 (91 views)
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not trying to be argumentative.... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
...just trying to get at the crux of the op....

...which would mean... how is a savior defined? and what is the issue were examining in relationship to fotr? too many different saviors? saviors saving hobbits too many times? hobbits should be saving themselves? the sauce is over-saviored so it is close to spoiling, not being believable?

for my own part, people, in real life, function as saviors and heroes quite often. many don't even realize this is the type of aid they're providing.

people can be in physical danger, but emotional/spiritual danger is real as well. think of gollum/smeagol, when he had that moment in which for the first time in 500 years it seemed he might have a chance to change his course. a kind, acknowledging word from sam or frodo could have changed everything for smeagol, even that wound up having no bearing on the quest.

so, what is the op trying to answer?

again, not being argumentative... just exploratory, and defining.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 26 2013, 8:32am

Post #14 of 21 (78 views)
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Quite so - the right thing to do with ideas like this is to take them for a test run [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not seeing this as being argumentative. I found the saviour idea in old discussion & thought it would be intriguing to kick the tyres, go for a drive & see what we could learn.

I think you're right - a problem is that "saviour " moments segue into a lot if other things, including the general flow of tension & release of an adventure story.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 26 2013, 9:10am

Post #15 of 21 (74 views)
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nowimė, heya : ) [In reply to] Can't Post

 
nowimė, heya : )

i peruse the old threads myself (through this very sleepless morning, in fact). have come across a lot of really interesting topics and discussions, so i thank you for keeping an eye out for these gems.

also, invoking older discussions for newer audiences might well also have the benefit of a siren call to the older posters. i noticed many voices that posted a year ago (or even six months ago) are largely silent now (which could be for many reasons, diverse, reasons).

i'll add this to our discussions of the savior archetype... perhaps it's helpful to look at it from both the practical level and the archetypical level. practically, there are many savoirs. as for the archetype, i think more of the eagles, whom tolkien himself saw as deus ex machina, and to be used sparingly.

he himself recognized the danger of rescuers from danger, that they should not be overused. he was highly cognizant of this, so i think that all these candidates we've been batting about would not share the same aerie with the eagles.

many cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 26 2013, 9:28am

Post #16 of 21 (99 views)
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i will also add [In reply to] Can't Post

 
that i have often reviewed the actions of all the characters in lotr, thinking where each might have had a pivotal role, a critical role, in saving middle earth. a moment that, had it not been for the actions of that character, all would have been lost.

admittedly, my book characters get conflated with the film characters at times (e.g., pippin lighting the beacons of gondor --- causing rohan to come, preventing the destruction of gondor).

i have not read lotr in a while, and during that interval, i have watched the ee countless times, so i'm on shakier ground when discussing the book characters in this vein.

so... care to run down the list with me? what was the moment upon which the fate of middle earth hung in the balance of each character's actions?

1. sam -- taking the ring from frodo, so it wouldn't be found by the orcs at cirith ungol

2. elrond -- causing the flooding of the river, overwhelming the black riders

3. gollum (unintentional) -- falling into mount doom with the ring

4. gandalf -- keeping the balrog at bay while the rest of the company escaped

5. king of the dead -- allowing the army of the dead to fight (i'm fuzzy here, with the film)

6. faramir -- letting frodo move on with his mission

.... please add more...


cheers : )

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Apr 26 2013, 9:30am)


elaen32
Gondor

Apr 26 2013, 3:06pm

Post #17 of 21 (65 views)
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Cause & causation [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf arriving with Erkenbrand's army in the nick of time- a little later and no Aragorn, no Theoden and Saruman in the ascendant possibly

Merry & Pippin waking the Ents to the real danger- if not Saruman could have won, but also the Ents prevented the enemy army on the Wold from attacking the Rohirrim from the rear as they rode onto Pelennor fields and also stopped this army going north to ravage Lothlorien

Sorry, these are moments rather than just characters but I suppose these examples could be narrowed down to Gandalf, Merry, Pippin and Treebeard.

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Apr 26 2013, 3:51pm

Post #18 of 21 (52 views)
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Hand me my Overthinking pills [In reply to] Can't Post

I think one could fairly easily demonstrate that many of the characters get at least one moment of doing something crucial.

But, I suppose that asking "is this character's contribution crucial" has the same problem as looking for "saviour" moments - it starts one thinking about what would have happened if the character had not done that (to decide whether it inevitably leads to a "Sauron Wins!" conclusion)

For example (a slightly mischievous one given our discussion so far); is Gildor pivitol/crucial? "Yes" if you feel that the Black Rider was about to get Frodo in only Chapter 3 when Gildor & Co happen along. "No" if you figure that the hobbits would have escaped again in some other way.

It might be possible to create very convoluted (and possibly amusing) chains of reasoning like the one which runs that the design of the Space Shuttle was influenced by the size of a standard Roman military horse's backside. If you like that kind of thing.

On a serious note - I think Darkstar is on to something saying that contributions both great and small are required
On a silly note - maybe it would be a good game to construct the longest and most unexpected "Roman horse butt to space shuttle" series of connections to find "The Unexpected Saviours of Middle-earth")

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "


elaen32
Gondor

Apr 26 2013, 4:51pm

Post #19 of 21 (53 views)
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"The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everything"!! [In reply to] Can't Post

(Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency).

Allow me to prescribe you an overthinking pill!Laugh But seriously, I think LOTR is a book in which everybody's contribution to the whole is shown to be, if not vital, then very important. Bit like real life really- the best teams in any setting are those that work well together and value everybody's contributions, big or small.

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Frostbitten
The Shire


May 3 2013, 5:16pm

Post #20 of 21 (31 views)
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Tolkien: Believer [In reply to] Can't Post

JRRT was a Christian. He was, in my opinion, trying hard to display the "Jesus" savior with presumably Gandalf being the most obvious representation. If you pay attention to the conversation between Mithrandir and Frodo in Bag End about Gollum, the redemptive side of Christian faith kinda shines through: "I wish Bilbo had killed him when he had the chance."
Gandalf - "Many who live deserve death, and some that die deserve life - can you give it to them? Do not be so quick to deal out death and judgement. For Even the very wisest cannot see all ends."

Frodo - "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened"
Gandalf - "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

Not trying to preach, but I'm just saying, this is one major aspect that I think Tolkien had reason to portray so many "Saviors."

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement."


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


May 3 2013, 5:39pm

Post #21 of 21 (46 views)
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Welcome to the Reading Room, Frostbitten. Interesting point!// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "

 
 

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