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Did Wormtongue eat Lotho?
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Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 11 2013, 11:16pm

Post #26 of 45 (1136 views)
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So he did, but it wasn't cannibalism. [In reply to] Can't Post

From Morgoth's Ring, Orcs, HoME X:

Finally, there is a cogent point, though horrible to relate. It became clear in time that undoubted Men could under the domination of Morgoth or his agents in a few generations be reduced almost to the Orc-level of mind and habits.... There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore and in his lust for mastery committed this,

So Grima had become so corrupted that he had become an orc.

Alternatively:

Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi [Elves] who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes.
-The Sil

And since:

Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring - even as a rare event.
-Letter #153

That is, just as an elf could become an orc, so could a man.

Therefore, one can well assume that "by slow arts of cruelty" Saruman was well into transforming Grima into an orc.

A third theory is that somehow Saruman had transformed Grima into an orc "from the heats and slimes" of Bag End, (See HoME II.) This unwholesome living condition is entirely possible given the residency of three bachelors. However, given that Sam is the one who had to clean up the place, for his sake one can fervently hope this last scenario is untrue.

In any case, if at that point Grima was an orc then eating Lotho could hardly be cannibalism, could it? (Unless of course Lotho had also bcome an orc, in which case it was.)

Oh, the deep philosophical questions posed by Tolkien!

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



Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Aug 11 2013, 11:20pm

Post #27 of 45 (1114 views)
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i don't think [In reply to] Can't Post

 
it's really about physical hunger. i think it's about degradation so severe and an abnegation of his humanity that he is willing and perhaps desires to eat the flesh of sentient creatures.

in a way, it could be seen as a poetic statement about having an insatiable hunger for the humanity he now lacks.


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 telpemairo


Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 11 2013, 11:26pm

Post #28 of 45 (1112 views)
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So Gollum is a nice mirror. [In reply to] Can't Post

Smeagol or Gollum, Sam or Grima, Frodo or Bilbo, Aragorn or Isildur, Merry or Pippin, Boromir or Faramir, Denethor or Theoden, Lotho or Lobelia, Legolas or Gimli, Galadriel or Galadriel.

Kinda gives a whole new meaning to :

"Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.
-ROTK

,

******************************************
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 Aug 11 2013, 11:29pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 12 2013, 3:46am

Post #29 of 45 (1100 views)
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A further thought [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo offers Grima a place in the Shire. Why doesn't he take it?

I see two solutions:

1 He is too much bound to Saruman.
( Perhaps the enslavement of Theoden was the culmination of Grima's?. Was a similar drug or magic at work?)

2 He is guilty of eating Lotho.
Now, Frodo states that he bears no ill will towards Grima, that he has done nothing to wrong them. The men's killing of the Hobbits were, more or less, overlooked, they were not all killed. So I propose that something else YT Grima beyond forgiveness.

What other reasons can be given, to stay by Saruman? He was bound by too strong a tie, or felt that he had been put beyond forgiveness.

Just my two cents.


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Aug 12 2013, 8:26am

Post #30 of 45 (1096 views)
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I hope Saruman provided ketchup [In reply to] Can't Post

You tried eating Hobbit without ketchup?


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 12 2013, 9:57am

Post #31 of 45 (1102 views)
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Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
it's really about physical hunger. i think it's about degradation...

That's a very good point, Maciliel. I was thinking something like that when I thought of Gollum and Shelob too. Once you have sunk to the level of only wanting to sate your appetites, the craving never leaves you. Yet it struck me that there's often something literal behind Tolkien's "poetic statements" - for instance, Gollum really is hungry, because he can't eat the hobbits' lembas. And Sauron provides Shelob with just enough food to keep her always ravenous for more. So it struck me that this off-hand, mocking comment by Saruman about Grima being "very hungry lately" could be a sign that poor old Wormtongue was being deliberately degraded by his master, perhaps by literally cutting him off from the food that must have been coming into Bag End from all over the Shire. (Darkstone has quoted some interesting suff from Morgoth's Ring downthread that does make me think that Saruman might have been deliberately debasing and degrading his servant, perhaps to bring him to the level of an orc - a last urge, maybe, to show he's still got a bit of his old orc-breeding powers.)


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 12 2013, 10:16am

Post #32 of 45 (1103 views)
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Reflections [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Smeagol or Gollum, Sam or Grima, Frodo or Bilbo, Aragorn or Isildur, Merry or Pippin, Boromir or Faramir, Denethor or Theoden, Lotho or Lobelia, Legolas or Gimli, Galadriel or Galadriel.

True - so many ways of seeing reflections all over the place. Every time you shake it, a new pattern seems to emerge. I'm tempted to say it's like a kaleidoscope, except that the patterns generated by kaleidoscopes are random. Tolkien's patterns seem to be part of complex layers of storytelling, not random at all.

Totally agree with what you said
in your earlier post about Bilbo's fears of being eaten, by the way. It's very much the fairytale fear, as in Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel, isn't it? And in fact almost the first thing that Gollum says to Bilbo is that if Bilbo loses the riddle game, then "we eats it" - to which Bilbo agrees. Frodo comes within a hair's-breadth of being eaten by Shelob, and his finger really does end up being bitten off. I guess it's hard being the "sweeter meat" in a world full of creatures with sharp teeth!

Tongue


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 13 2013, 12:35am

Post #33 of 45 (1064 views)
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Abused spouse syndrome [In reply to] Can't Post

I suspect there are numerous reasons why Grima stuck to Saruman. It could be misplaced loyalty, fear beyond reason, habit, or Saruman's spell. Even a shared interest in evil.

But there are plenty of abused spouses who never leave the abuser. I'm not saying that these two were lovers, just that a bully like Saruman can often intimidate their victim so much that the victim never leaves. (Or until they go berserk and try to murder their abuser.)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 13 2013, 1:57am

Post #34 of 45 (1059 views)
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Many possibilities here [In reply to] Can't Post

Just making a case for him to have REALLY eaten Lotho.

The only two reasons that presented themselves, in light of Frodo's offer, were the two I gave above.

There are many abusive reasons that he could have had to stay with Saruman. Magic, Drugs (like those used in Theoden?), psyco-trauma, or others. These all could have overridden a choice in his best interests.

Guilt was the only other factor that came to mind. He had put himself beyond forgiveness, in his own mind, and wouldn't be able to accept Frodo's offer.

Either way he was set up for a psychological break. I am no psychologist, but here is my analysis.

His higher reasoning was not compromised. He could still speak and understand.

Argument, even half-hearted, was in his power.

Remorse/pain/guilt/a moral sense, was still present, as he could understand his heinous act, and try to justify it/blame others.

He could still understand his position as inferior to Saruman.

He still had memory of the past.

Considering all this, what could have overridden the self-preserving instinct?

A psychotic break of some kind must have occurred. An instinct, or repressed emotion, held in check until now by drugs/magic/psychological abuse broke free.

What caused it? We may never totally understand, but there must have been an element in the final scene of Bag-End.

The defeat of one he looked up to? (Perhaps he isn't so much more powerful!)

The exposure of his cannibalism? (God, what have I done/become!?)

Saruman going one step too far? (Wait a minute! I don't have to take this!)

A reawakening of his humanity on a sub-conscious level? (I can only get so low!)

Loss of Saruman's power and a weakening hold on Grima? (I'm free of his power! I've only been enslaved by the memory of chains!)

I think it likely that he DID eat Lotho, and that the absence of a denial, is a pretty good hint, in combination with all other facts.


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 13 2013, 4:37am

Post #35 of 45 (1045 views)
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I like all these explanations for his behavior [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The exposure of his cannibalism? (God, what have I done/become!?)

Saruman going one step too far? (Wait a minute! I don't have to take this!)

A reawakening of his humanity on a sub-conscious level? (I can only get so low!)

And I agree, what most suggests to me that Grima ate Lotho is that he didn't even try to deny it; he just blamed it on Saruman.


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 13 2013, 4:40am

Post #36 of 45 (1054 views)
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I think Saruman was starving him [In reply to] Can't Post

as another form of abuse. Which is sick and twisted, but Saruman's reign of the Shire was pure sadism.


Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 13 2013, 4:54am

Post #37 of 45 (1059 views)
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Which gives rise to a couple of questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

First, if Elves and Men could be turned into orcs by extreme sadism, could Hobbits?

Second, if so, was that Saruman's plan for the Shire?

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



CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 13 2013, 5:19am

Post #38 of 45 (1057 views)
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Well, my answers are [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Yes. I think anything in Tolkien's world could be twisted into evil. I guess the One Ring wasn't exactly sadistic in its effect, but its master/creator was, and look how orcish it made Smeagol. Thinking of Morgoth twisting Elves into Orcs into his dungeons, I'm sure he could do the same with hobbits. That's awful to think so, because we all love hobbits, but again, look at Smeagol.

2. Twisted little Saruman seemed to emulate Sauron at every turn. I'm sure he wanted the Shire to become Mordor. Though I don't think he envisioned turning hobbits into orcs, just enslaving them. Gandalf's remark about Sauron would apply to Saruman: "And hobbits as miserable slaves would please him far more than hobbits happy and free."

Then again, Saruman enjoyed those genetic experiments in Isengard of orc-men, so maybe he'd start anew with orc-hobbits in the Shire. *shudder*


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 13 2013, 6:00am

Post #39 of 45 (1039 views)
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Another supporting point [In reply to] Can't Post

In Tolkien, we are not always told "and it was just so". He uses the ambiguity of Tradition, gossip, and rumor, to further his stories. They seem to give a nice note of finality, while leaving it a bit open ended.
(The product of a niggling mind? Leaving options to rewrite am ending and fiddle more? He never did finish his quest for perfectionism in his works.$

( It NEVER says that Legolas and Gimli sailed together to Valinor. It is held among the denizens of ME to be true, so we accept it. There are others, the vague references to the Dagor Dagorleb, Turin's grave on an island, Glorifindel's grave, and many, many others that could not have been verified, within the ME universe. Under the strictest scrutiny, we MUST concede that it is tradition and romance of the Free Peoples that corroborate these things, NOT historical fact.)

In light of this, I am more apt to believe the insinuations that the author has written, unless I know them to be provrd false elsewhere. All of this said as an objective, Omniscient spectator of ME, free of any Authorial conceits.

I would be less inclined to believe, however, if I take a viewpoint of a ME historian of Gondor. In context, we might scoff at the ideas, as we do at some of the tales told to children today.


Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 13 2013, 1:27pm

Post #40 of 45 (1057 views)
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Was Gollum an Orc? [In reply to] Can't Post

That is, “by slow arts of cruelty” over 500 years did the ring transform Hobbit Smegol into Orc Gollum?

(Of course, starting with a child-like Hobbit we end up with a child-like Orc.)

If so, then when reading LOTR if we wonder "Why didn't Tolkien explore the minds of Orcs?" the answer is that he did. It was just hidden in plain sight all along.

Sneaky Tolkien!

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



noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Aug 13 2013, 2:57pm

Post #41 of 45 (1040 views)
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Saruman is also desparate to provoke Frodo to violence... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and perhaps alleging that Grima ate his relative is part of that.
Or perhaps actually provoking Grima to eat Frodo's relative is part of that

Layers! Onions have them, ogres have them, and Tolkien has lots of them Wink

We had a good discussion about Saruman's motivations a while back - here's a link if anyone missed it. It seems particularly to annoy Saruman that Frodo will not seek revenge in any way.

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

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Madril
Registered User


Aug 13 2013, 8:49pm

Post #42 of 45 (1031 views)
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Now, that *is* an interesting concept [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd never thought about it in that way before-I'd always just skimmed over that sentence in the past.

I'm very much conflicted as to the (possibly) deeper meaning here, chiefly because I think that Wormtongue is a character who contradicts himself. Part of me thinks (or at least, wants to think), that Wormtongue is not that far down the path of desperation and savagery even at this ultimate low-point in his life...but being fully aware of the character's darker side I must admit that I wouldn't be entireily surprised. Once again Tolkien is leaving the truth within the interpretation of the reader, quite possibly deliberately, and that is one of my favourite things about his writing.

"He's one of them Rangers, dangerous folk they are wandering in the wild."-Barliaman Butterbur


Brethil
Half-elven


Aug 13 2013, 9:59pm

Post #43 of 45 (1011 views)
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Delicate touch of the author - something I love too [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
. Once again Tolkien is leaving the truth within the interpretation of the reader, quite possibly deliberately, and that is one of my favourite things about his writing.




Especially when alluding to a deeply disturbing topic- the reader's own interpretation is the impact, versus any literary 'heaviness' of the written words.

And - Welcome, Madril! Smile

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 14 2013, 2:09am

Post #44 of 45 (1019 views)
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To eat or not to eat [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that Tolkien is deliberately teasing us here to make up our own minds and there's nothing conclusive either way about the eating Lotho part. The only thing that's certain is that Grima killed him.

It jars the mind to think of a man killing and eating a hobbit. Not so shocking for an orc to do it, but hard to picture for Grima, who after all had been a royal counsellor in Rohan and not a habitually starved savage. There's also something innocent about the Shire, in spite of Sharkey's rule, that seems like it's just not possible to kill and eat a hobbit. So there's some mental resistance to accepting that this can happen.

For me, Tolkien is painting a dark picture not primarily about Grima's fall, but about Saruman's depravity, since it seems Saruman drove Grima to that repulsive act, and how the ex-wizard's embracing of all things unnatural would only get worse with time. Saruman was already unnatural in Isengard with his wanton destruction of nature and genetic experiments with hybrid orcs. Compelling Grima directly or indirectly to commit the crime shows how Saruman will fall forever deeper into the abyss of crimes against nature.

So Grima did the world (and the Valar) a favor by killing Saruman, and it's a great tragedy that he was killed in return and not rewarded. Though maybe there wasn't much left of Grima to redeem at this point.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Aug 14 2013, 2:41am

Post #45 of 45 (1021 views)
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Grima's reward [In reply to] Can't Post

Though undoubtably sad that he should die, death is sad, even the death if an enemy, I think that he would be much in the same boat as Gollum, with Frodo serving as the antithesis.

Gollum was tortured and twisted by the Ring. I think that someone said that he could not be effected easily. He needed deep healing, that in the end, he could not find in ME.

Much the same case for Frodo, but there were a few differences. The amount of time involved was much less. The friendship of Sam and other Hobbits played a part as well.

I think that Grima, without friends, or any other support, would have been in the same boat as Gollum. There was almost no chance for him to recover. He had made his choices and had very few left. Wehad a great discussion of fate and free will in the Tuor and Gondolin chapter. Basically, a personality had certain dispositions, and was presented with a finite number of choices, his personality might predispose him to one, but he could also use an objective view making another choice.

Grima had alienated all if his choices, but death, murder, and servitude, refusing Frodo's offer.

I just can't see it end any other way.

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