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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Why go to Weathertop ?

noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Oct 30 2013, 10:14pm

Post #1 of 21 (602 views)
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Why go to Weathertop ? Can't Post

The chances of an unplanned rendezvous with Gandalf are not good.
The chances that it is being watched by the Black Riders are excellent.
Being able to spot the Black Riders from there would not be all that helpful, given that they are mounted, and so move faster than hobbits walking.

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, 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!"


elaen32
Gondor


Oct 30 2013, 10:43pm

Post #2 of 21 (423 views)
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Hmm, yes.... [In reply to] Can't Post

it does almost seem like a trap. Once they are up there, the Ringwraiths can approach from all directions and the hobbits cannot escape easily. I always wonder why, in movie and tv chase scenes, why the hunted always run towards the top of the building, where they are likely to get trapped, unless they have a handy helicopter or eagle on hand!Crazy I suppose, to Aragorn, it maybe felt like the lesser of evils, and he also thought that Gandalf might have been there, from the "lightening show"


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!



Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Oct 31 2013, 12:47am

Post #3 of 21 (378 views)
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I've wondered about that as well! [In reply to] Can't Post

But I get the feeling that the Black Riders would have caught up with them somewhere on the road anywhere close to habital lands. They couldn't have just wondered around in the wild willy-nilly. Remember what Strider said, that the Riders had many eyes and birds and beasts in their power all across the wilderland. Also, the Ring did draw them. It was only in going out of their way, that Strider managed to avoid the riders for a while, but sooner or later they did have to get to Rivendell and the Riders were watching that route!


Darkstone
Immortal


Oct 31 2013, 8:18pm

Post #4 of 21 (415 views)
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To rendezvous with other Rangers? [In reply to] Can't Post

As Strider said of his fellow Rangers and Weathertop:

“Rangers use runes, and they come here sometimes.”

“Rangers have been here lately. It is they who left the firewood behind.”


However, if so, Aragorn would wait in vain:

Night was waning on the twenty-second day of September when drawing together again [the Black Riders] came to Sarn Ford and the southernmost borders of the Shire. They found them guarded for the Rangers barred their way. But this was a task beyond the power of the Dśnedain; and maybe it would still have proved so even if their captain, Aragorn, had been with them. But he was away to the north, upon the East Road near Bree; and the hearts even of the Dśnedain misgave them. Some fled northward, hoping to bear news to Aragorn, but they were pursued and slain or driven away into the wild. Some still dared to bar the ford, and held it while day lasted, but at night the Lord of Morgul swept them away, and the Black Riders passed into the Shire....
-Unfinished Tales, The Hunt for the Ring: Of the Journey of the Black Riders

******************************************
That hobbit has a pleasant face,
His private life is a disgrace.
I really could not tell to you,
The awful things that hobbits do.
Things that your paper never prints
They only speak of them in hints.
They have such lost, degraded souls,
No wonder they inhabit holes;
When such depravity is found,
It only can live underground.
I really dare not name to you,
The awful things that hobbits do.


CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 3 2013, 2:54pm

Post #5 of 21 (301 views)
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Best meeting place available? [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems to me also that Aragorn figured from the magic battle seen from afar that Gandalf had been at Weathertop, and he might have been victorious and could be sitting there and guarding it, waiting for Aragorn to show up with the hobbits. At the very least, Aragorn would want to find out what happened there, because a Wizard corpse would also be vital information.

Another reason might be that Aragorn and Gandalf knew each other well, had traveled together before, and could guess what the other was up to. Gandalf headed for Weathertop first, hoping to find Aragorn there. Even if they hadn't explicitly agreed to meet there this time, maybe they had held rendezvous there at other times since it was an obvious landmark, and when they weren't being driven off by Nazgul, it seems that Rangers considered it one of their wayposts.


book Gandalf
Rohan


Nov 3 2013, 8:40pm

Post #6 of 21 (266 views)
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maybe.. [In reply to] Can't Post

it turned out alright in the end tohugh ;P

This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party.


sador
Half-elven


Nov 4 2013, 7:55am

Post #7 of 21 (258 views)
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It's no use groping in the dark [In reply to] Can't Post

For all Aragorn's expertise, he still needs to see what's going on around, and this is the best possible point. Also, if Rangers come there occasionally, it is likely he might find them some much-needed stores (as the swords he gave the hobbits in the movie-version; in the book he only found some firewood). Or meet other Rangers. Or Gandalf. Or someone from Rivendell.
And possibly, being of the Arnor royal line, he believed this place had some inherent virtue which would resonate with him, and enhance his own power (like with the palantir); how else could he have chased away five of the Ringwraiths, led by their fell captain?

The place which most certainly would be watched was not specifically Amon Sul, but rather the Last Bridge. And there was no way to avoid it - not unless one took a long and ardrous detour to the headwaters of the Metheithel and Bruinen. As it happened, Gandalf distracted four of the Nine to the northren way, and Glorfindel secured the bridge.


RosieLass
Valinor


Nov 5 2013, 5:58pm

Post #8 of 21 (231 views)
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I think Aragorn stated... [In reply to] Can't Post

...he wanted to have a look around.

And on the slim chance that they *might* have been able to rendezvous with Gandalf, that would have been the most obvious place for them both to go.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 5 2013, 7:30pm

Post #9 of 21 (224 views)
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on balance... [In reply to] Can't Post

It all comes down to whether what Aragorn can learn is worth the added risk of detection .

TOLKIEN might be up to something here too: he lets us hear Aragorns misgivings about going to Weathertop as a,way of building tension, perhaps.

Or is Weathertop something that had different significance in earlier drafts?

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, 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!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 5 2013, 7:34pm

Post #10 of 21 (224 views)
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maybe we should have a "conspiracy theories" subthread? [In reply to] Can't Post

From that high vantage point, they hoped to get some candid shots of Goldberry for the tabloids. But alas, they'd lost their telephoto in Bree.

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, 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!"


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 5 2013, 10:04pm

Post #11 of 21 (210 views)
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Hopefully coherent ramblings [In reply to] Can't Post

I do believe that there was an intent to build tension, but all of the theories and doubts raised about his questionable choice, has led me to muse on the deep 'why's' of the occurrence.
My conclusion was this:

Aragorn had his own quest, separate from Frodo's. He had been training for the day he could reclaim the crown not destroy the Ring, and as such, he was not infallible, He was not meant (A word I use to echo Gandalf's meaning of an over-arching will that opposed Sauron) to stay with Frodo until the Ring was destroyed. Though it's destruction, however, was the hope he had been waiting for--the important quest that allowed him to reclaim the throne. He had his part, but when it was done, he had to face his own trials. I think that he was just trying to protect that hope while he could, and he succeeded on several occasions.

At Weathertop he may have made a mis-step, but his experience taught him the correct measures to use. He knew swords were useless and employed fire. A mistake perhaps, but one that was redeemed. Before, during, and after Moria, he used his battle prowess to protect Frodo-- his rightful place, but only for a while. Soon after Gandalf's fall, he began to doubt his own ability to lead the Fellowship. Was he meant to do so? I do not believe so. I think he might even have been more of a liability than aid in the dark days that faced Frodo. At the Falls, I believe his part in the Frodo's quest ended. Frodo's fate was put beyond him, and anyone else to interfere. The others might have been tempted by the Ring, and now it was put upon Frodo and Sam to finish their own quest (Which they did to the best of their ability, being redeemed themselves by that providence. But that is another discussion). Now Aragorn had to focus on his own goals to reclaim a kingdom-- a purpose that his training was well-suited to accomplish.

The prophecy pertaining to himself, one I think he believed (The one that begins 'All that is gold...'), did not give any details or directions, but gave an end result and highlights that would occur on the road to that end.
A fire was woken from the ashes.--- Sauron rose, and the Ring was found
A light sprang from the darkness.--- A small Hope in dark hour appeared. The ring could be destroyed
The blade that was broken was to be renewed.--- Aragorn was to face his own quest to reclaim his heritage and rights. The Sword would be a fitting instrument to use, supporting his claim.
The crown-less would be king.--- The end result. After the hope had come about, and passing his own trials. Aragorn would get the kingship.

I hope I make some measure of sense.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 5 2013, 10:07pm

Post #12 of 21 (228 views)
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Worse [In reply to] Can't Post

Aragorn buried his illegal steroids on W-top. Gandalf found the stash, which was what enabled him to fend off the Nazgul. They were coming to the mountain themselves because they knew it was reeking with steroids, and were shocked that a bunch of hobbits had arrived first, hence their fear, dismay, and retreat after a half-hearted stabbing.

The whole book is a thinly veiled advertisement for steroids. Gandalf the White becomes stronger than the Grey--how? Merry and Pippin grow taller--how? And just what's in that athelas that it makes the sick stand up and walk around with unaccountable energy? Is it any reason why Gondor won the Olympics every year? Sauron was right to try to get in on the stuff and even the playing field. And those drug-averse Elves were leaving M-earth all the time, sick of the drug scandals and the rigged Tour de Lance bike ride over the Misty Mtns which Elves could never seem to win by playing fair, if you call binging on lembas "fair."


Darkstone
Immortal


Nov 5 2013, 10:50pm

Post #13 of 21 (230 views)
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Well.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Wish that I was back on Weathertop,
Up in the Eriador hills.
Ain't no Dwarven foundries on Weathertop,
Ain't no Anduin mills.

Once I had a girl on Weathertop,
Half bear, the other half cat.
Wild as a mink, but sweet as soda pop,
I still dream about that.

Weathertop, you'll always be,
Home sweet home to me.
Good ol' Weathertop.
Weathertop, East of Bree.

One time five Nazgul climbed Weathertop,
Looking for the Dark Lord’s Ring.
Five torched Nazgul came running off Weathertop,
Never slowed down for a thing.

Weathertop you'll always be,
Home sweet home to me.
Good ol' Weathertop.
Weathertop, East of Bree.

I've had years of cramped up kinging life.
Trapped like a duck in a pen.
All I know is it's a stinging life.
Can't be simple again.

Weathertop you'll always be,
Home sweet home to me.
Good ol' Weathertop,
Weathertop, East of Bree.

(With apologies to Felice and Boudleaux Bryant)

******************************************
“Indeed if fish had fish-lore and Wise-fish it is probable that the business of anglers would be very little hindered.”
-JRR Tolkien


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 6 2013, 6:26pm

Post #14 of 21 (191 views)
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That's how Aragorn kept getting the Yellow Jersey… [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, 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!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 6 2013, 9:58pm

Post #15 of 21 (191 views)
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An attempt to hang-glide to Mordor… [In reply to] Can't Post

…given the inconvenient lack of eagles. But Pippin thought Merry had brought the hang-glider whereas Merry though Pippin had it…

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, 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!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 10 2013, 12:16pm

Post #16 of 21 (156 views)
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Thanks to this discussion I've come to a theory... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to this discussion I've come to a theory that satisfies me, at least for now.

I think Aragorn's main aim is to try and meet Gandalf at Weathertop (he says nearly as much to Sam when Weathertop is first mentioned as the leave Bree). The same conversation suggests that Aragorn hopes Gandalf (who can "travel swiftly") will be there first, will see them approaching , and so will be able to join their party. Clearly, it would be risky for the Ringbearer to wait long at Weathertop, or any other place now he's being pursued. But it's probably OK for Gandalf to camp out at Weathertop: being mounted, a swift mover and with some magical firepower, he can do something about it if he's camped upon Weathertop and sees the Black Riders approach. So its a sensible place to be for Gandalf (whereas, when the hobbits are at Weathertop and know that the Black Riders are coming, they are too slow moving to flee, and not powerful enough to go on the offensive.

I think that Aragorn and Gandalf are trying to guess each others' minds here: maybe Weathertop is a place they have used for meetings before, or its excellence as a lookout point recommends it. My guess is that they haven't anticipated the actual turn of events: if they had, it might have made sense to pick a rendezvous point that the Black Riders are less likely to want to use themselves. That's a problem which Aragorn himself mentions.

And the's where the plan goes wrong, of course - either the Riders guess that Weathertop is a likely rendezvous to stake out, or they're merely using it as an observation point or meeting point of their own.

But that said, Gandalf is (as he points out later) able to divert some of the Riders, so that Aragorn & hobbits don't have to deal with them all.

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, 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!"


sador
Half-elven


Nov 10 2013, 12:48pm

Post #17 of 21 (147 views)
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Not bad at all. In fact, very good. [In reply to] Can't Post

As a matter of fact, Aragorn does not even know that Gandalf is around - only Weathertop itself confirms his presence. And although he does not say a word, or consciously make the connection with the fire he sees from afar, he probably did guess that something was going on, and he had better find out. Also, he probably expected Gandalf to hold out against only one, or even two, of the Riders; it's true the whole muster of the Nine were too much for him, but there was no way of knowing that they would all attack him; Aragorn dod not even know whether all of them were in Eriador at the time.

And Gandalf, too - rather than going straight to Rivendell, to raise the alarm and recruit help - goes first to Weathertop. This proves a near disaster - he barely escapes the Nine, must abandon his horse, and reaches Rivendell a fortnight later than he otherwise would (help does come to Frodo, but through the messages Gildor sent). The only comfort he has is that only five Riders attack at Weathertop, although it is debatable if having four more would have made much of a difference.
Why would Gandalf take this immense, nearly disasterous, risk? Surely, because he was hoping to find Aragorn and the hobbits at Weathertop. And when he finds Black Riders atop it, rather than lying low somewhere in the vicinity and hoping to find Aragorn before the Enemy does, he feels the need to attack them and clear the terrain (so far as he knows, only four Riders are around; apparently he hopes to be able to fend off that number).
It must be that he expected Aragorn to make for Weathertop; and possibly, to find some Rangers there as well. If he would have managed to gather Halbarad and some of his brethen, he might have well held out for the three days needed.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 10 2013, 1:05pm

Post #18 of 21 (140 views)
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Yes, it all becomes an enjoyable exercise about who knows (or guesses) what... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's good question, why Gandalf doesn't head for Rivendell, and ride back with a posse. One possible speculation - he could be followed doesn't want to suggest that Rivendell is where the Ring is going?

What happens is that we contrive to remove Gandalf from the action - so that the rescuer is Glorfindel, not Gandalf.

If Aragorn does guess that the light show on Weathertop is Gandalf battling, it's a brave choice to march toward the sound of gunfire - maybe he should be taking the Ringbearer safely in the opposite direction

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, 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!"


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Nov 10 2013, 9:00pm

Post #19 of 21 (130 views)
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Although Gandalf wasn't trying to find Aragorn [In reply to] Can't Post

Or at least, that was what he said to Frodo at Rivendell that it would have been foolish to try to find them in all of the wild, so he trusted to Aragorn.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 10 2013, 9:06pm

Post #20 of 21 (131 views)
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Not trying to find Aragorn… [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Or at least, that was what he said to Frodo at Rivendell that it would have been foolish to try to find them in all of the wild, so he trusted to Aragorn.


Though this is Gandalf explaining why he did no more. +after + engaging the Enemy. Clearly after that there was a risk of being followed. Maybe that doesn't rule out earlier hopes of a Weathertop rendezvous?

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, 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!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jan 22 2014, 10:49pm

Post #21 of 21 (95 views)
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In early drafts, there are different explanations [In reply to] Can't Post

(I have been reading The Return of The Shadow, an analysis of Tolkien's early drafts of this section of the story. It offers another kind of answer to this question).

In the first drafts, the hobbits go to Weathertop explicitly for a rendezvous with Gandalf: he's been in Bree very shortly before them, & leaves a message for them setting up a Weathertop meeting. While Gandalf has been forced to move on from Weathertop by the time the hobbits arrive, he's left them a stash of supplies.


In later revisions, the stash of supplies belongs to Aragorn 's predecessor in the plot, the Ranger-hobbit Trotter. Going to Weathertop partly to reprovision from his secret supply dump there would make a sensible motive: the hobbits are having to walk, travel light, and want to avoid wasting time hunting or gathering. A supply cache could therefore be very helpful, and worth a little time and risk to retrieve. But for some reason Tolkien dumped the dump: the unexplained wood pile in the dell is all that is left of Trotter's stash in the published version of the story.

In all the versions the hobbits are attacked at Weathertop - so it's a key episode. Maybe it's also one that stayed a fixed point in how Tolkien imagined the story, even as Gandalf's movements and the nature and actions of the Black Riders changed considerably.

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, 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!"

 
 

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