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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
“One for the Shire!”

N.E. Brigand

Mar 10 2008, 1:07am

Views: 342
“One for the Shire!” [In reply to] Can't Post

A. My God, what is that thing?
Well, it’s not a Rider, because they approach the dell from the other side.

B. None of the hobbits want to say “Black Riders”, evidently, though it’s perfectly clear what’s going down. Why not?
No horses.

C. What time of night is it? Is the timing consistent with what we’ve seen of earlier Black Rider attacks?
It’s not yet midnight. The wait-almost-until-dawn approach didn’t work in Crickhollow, so they’re attacking now, as quickly as they could find the party. Remember that the Riders were several miles away when Frodo saw them from the hilltop, and they had no way of knowing where the hobbits would go.

E. Why does Strider say “Hush!” when Frodo is only thinking that he wants to shout out loud?
Frodo “stirred”, making some sound that Strider heard. Or Strider has telepathy.

F. Well, is it three or is it four? If three – what was the fourth dark shadow?
It’s actually five. The idea is that we don’t know how many there are.

G. How can Frodo tell that the hiss is “venomous” by its sound?
It sounds more like a snake than tea-kettle.

H. Have you ever felt the kind of compulsion to act, against your own will or “better judgement”, that Frodo feels? Where does that kind of behavior come from?
This is a very curious moment. But yes, in real life, every time one strays from a diet, etc. one is acting against one’s best judgment.

I. “Keen eyes”, “white faces”, “grey hairs”, “haggard hands”. Are the Riders “people”, or not?
Well, the big surprise here is that they look very different when seen by one wearing the Ring. And that wearing the Ring doesn’t make Frodo invisible to them.

J. Why do two of the Riders hang back at the lip of the dell – and then why do two more stop when Frodo draws his sword? Wimps?
I’m sure the Witch-king thought so. He learned his lesson on the Pelennor.
By the way, was Frodo holding a stick per Strider’s instructions? We’re not told that he dropped it in favor of his sword.

K. Why does Frodo’s sword (from the Barrow, remember) flicker as if on fire?
It’s made as a weapon against wraiths. (But when in the writing process did Tolkien decide that?) At the Ford the Witch-king comes prepared with a spell to destroy the sword, which he fears. He would have done the same on the Pelennor, if he had noticed Merry.

L. If the knife and the hand of the final Rider (the Morgul King, we later learn) “glows with a pale light”, does that imply that the rest of him, and the other Riders, do not in fact glow? If not, by what light did Frodo see their features so plainly?
Is there darkness in the wraith-world? Or is it always “light” there? The Riders do not glow; this glow indicates an enchanted object. (Not sure about the Witch-king’s hand.)

N. Aragorn’s “leaping out of the darkness”… How dark is it at this point, under the moonlight?
Hmm, so it is dark in the wraith world.

P. Given that he just put it on against his own desire, how or why does Frodo have the will and self-possession to take off the Ring at this point – much less clench it in his fist afterwards?
If Frodo had not put on the Ring and seen the Wraiths clearly, could he have responded as effectively as he did, getting stabbed only in the shoulder and nearly stabbing the Witch-king’s foot?

We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Mar. 3-10 for "Lothlórien".

Subject User Time
**A Knife in the Dark** 14. “he felt a pain like a dart of poisoned ice pierce his left shoulder” squire Send a private message to squire Jan 20 2008, 4:27am
    The Nazgul revealed! Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Jan 20 2008, 5:38am
    A light from the shadows shall spring? N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jan 20 2008, 6:17am
    Once upon a midnight dreary dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jan 20 2008, 11:21pm
        Why, you'll be beating Darkstone next. Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Jan 22 2008, 8:02pm
            No, he is still the Master dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jan 23 2008, 1:32am
        The moon is three days past first quarter. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jan 28 2008, 1:58am
            Ah! Thanks! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jan 28 2008, 1:30pm
        "for any money" Finding Frodo Send a private message to Finding Frodo Jan 28 2008, 4:05pm
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jan 26 2008, 2:50pm
    “One for the Shire!” N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 10 2008, 1:07am


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