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Raven

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

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On 3/4/2022 at 1:18 PM, Brian. said:

 

- Boromir's departure is very definitely a departure.

 

 

No kiddin'!

 

I will comment on the last four chapters later in the week (ironically I've been delayed because I was reading The Return of the King!).

 

The next four chapters are:

 

2. The Riders of Rohan


3. The Uruk-hai


4. Treebeard


5. The White Rider

 

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Just popping my head in to say I haven't forgotten to post my thoughts on this weeks chapters - I just haven't had time to type them up yet! I have quite a few thoughts for these last chapters too...

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Ok, I'm going to pause this for a week to give Andrea time to catch up and to give the rest of us a break between books (I will also do so again between The Two Towers and The Return of the King).

 

By all means feel free to post comments on the chapters listed so far, but I'll post the next four a week Sunday!

 

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22 hours ago, Raven said:

Ok, I'm going to pause this for a week to give Andrea time to catch up and to give the rest of us a break between books (I will also do so again between The Two Towers and The Return of the King).

Oh good idea! 

 

My thoughts for chapters 2-5:

 

- I really just like Rohan and Fangorn (and the Entwash just sounds nice). It's an environment that feels full of traditional adventure and, despite the very recent fate of Boromir (which is pretty swiftly moved on from!?) it doesn't feel dark or sad. 

- The fact that Pippin thinks to leave a trail, knowing that their friends would try to find them, is pretty heart-warming. When he starts to feel like a burden though, and that maybe it would be better for everyone if they didn't try to find him - that's just really sad.  

- Aragorn seems to be getting more king-like as they get closer to Gondor.

- Love the whole concept of the ents. The moment that the tree leans over to warm its branches by the fire feels quite fairy-tale like and I think Tolkien made treebeard himself the perfect representation of what an old tree would be like if it could talk.

- Ents are also epically tough. Saruman picked the wrong race to mess with.

- The part where the orcs have to work together shows them to be so stupid and selfish, you have to wonder what society would be like if they actually won.

- Merry and Pippin really show how brave and hardy they are in these chapters. Especially in the way they recover. I like them even more after that chapter. 

- Gandalf is brilliant. I think this is the chapter where we realise how special Gandalf is meant to be. 

- By the end of The White Rider things feel truly hopeful again. I really like that chapter :) 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Hayley said:

 

- The part where the orcs have to work together shows them to be so stupid and selfish, you have to wonder what society would be like if they actually won.

 

 

Probably similar to the one we have now...

 

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4 hours ago, Raven said:

 

Probably similar to the one we have now...

 

Actually a fair point.

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On 3/11/2022 at 10:48 PM, Raven said:

Ok, I'm going to pause this for a week to give Andrea time to catch up and to give the rest of us a break between books (I will also do so again between The Two Towers and The Return of the King).

 

By all means feel free to post comments on the chapters listed so far, but I'll post the next four a week Sunday!

 

 

Ah thanks Raven. I've just started The two towers chapter 2 (The riders of Rohan). I've been so busy with work including overtime and then also having work done in my house that I'm just constantly slipping behind. Thank you so much but I'm going to take a break now that I'm at the end of the first book. I'll finish Rebecca which I'd put on hold (naively thinking I'd be able to get through both). Please all carry on without me and I'll catch up and post more when I can.

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Some of my thoughts for chapters 2-5.

 

- The fact that Pippin leaves a trail shows that he isn't as naive as he appeared a little earlier in the book. 

- As more and more different groups enter the story there is a lot more nuance to who they side with. Although some are clearly on the sides of good or evil, there are those who want to remain neutral and those who can be swayed. This echos the realities faced when huge conflicts have happened in human history.

- I really liked the use of grey and white relating to the wizards. Both colours are pretty close to each other and it wouldn't be too hard for one to become the other colour and what that represents if they chose.

- The Orcs would be a far more formidable foe if they all worked together. 

- I really liked the Ents and the way that Tolkien likes to come back to the power of nature on a regular basis.

- Yay Gandalf is back and this time in white.

- The situation between Saruman and Sauron is intriguing. I guess the promise of absolute power is such a corrupting force that people who should be working together are only too keen to stab the other in the back in pursuit of this power.

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Just posted this in the e-book deals thread, but The Silmarillion is 99p on the Kindle today.

 

Also, I've not forgotten about this thread, normal service should resume this weekend!

 

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23 hours ago, Raven said:

Just posted this in the e-book deals thread, but The Silmarillion is 99p on the Kindle today.

 

i have a first edition of The Silmarillion, bought on the day it came out. It's not worth anything because of the huge initial print run.  It's in brilliant condition because (whisper) it's so boring I never got far into it.

 

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4 hours ago, France said:

i have a first edition of The Silmarillion, bought on the day it came out. It's not worth anything because of the huge initial print run.  It's in brilliant condition because (whisper) it's so boring I never got far into it.

 

 

A friend of mine likened it to reading the book of Numbers, from the Bible.

 

I have a print version as well, but for 99p I'm not going to pass this up! 

 

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The next four chapters are:

 

6. The King of the Golden Hall

 

7. Helm's Deep

 

8. The Road to Isengard

 

9. Flotsam and Jetsam

 

Don't go into the the trees...

 

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On 26/03/2022 at 1:01 PM, France said:

i have a first edition of The Silmarillion, bought on the day it came out. It's not worth anything because of the huge initial print run.  It's in brilliant condition because (whisper) it's so boring I never got far into it.

 

:giggle2: That's brilliant (I'm surprised it's not worth much!)

 

On 21/03/2022 at 8:16 PM, Brian. said:

The situation between Saruman and Sauron is intriguing. I guess the promise of absolute power is such a corrupting force that people who should be working together are only too keen to stab the other in the back in pursuit of this power.

It is! Actually, I think examples of leadership are interesting in these books generally. Gandalf and Aragorn make an interesting comparison to Sauron and Saruman. More thoughts on this soon though, when I post notes on the next chapters :D.

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Chapters 6-9

 

- The story around Wormtongue is very prescient, especially in times of war and conflict. With the name Wormtongue we know pretty much straight away that his words are not to be trusted. His decision to flee rather than fight alongside Theoden show his true character. 

 

- Gandalf is ever the diplomat but unafraid of using force when he deems it necessary.

 

- The battle at Helm's Deep is a real epic and could easily be the end point of a book. The sense of impending defeat is really well portrayed in the writing as is the relief of reinforcements arriving.

 

- Merry and Pippin chilling out smoking having no idea about the battle made me smile.

 

- The last chapter felt a little oddly placed but I assume Tolkien wanted to ease away from the hectic battle scene and return to more intimate things for a bit.

 

 

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Not a huge amount to comment on in these chapters, because - with the exception of Helm's Deep - not a huge amount actually happens!

 

- I suppose comparisons with the films are inevitable, but one of the differences that really sticks out for me is how surprisingly short The Battle of Helm's Deep is in print (just over 20 pages, compared to nearly a third of the film!).

 

11 hours ago, Brian. said:

 

- The last chapter felt a little oddly placed but I assume Tolkien wanted to ease away from the hectic battle scene and return to more intimate things for a bit.

 

 

- Yes, two chapters of people just travelling to places for very long winded chats (and food!) where very little really happens! 

 

- Rather than being told first or third-person as something happens, Tolkien spends a lot of time explaining events after they have occurred, so in some ways any potential peril and tension is lost because the the person (or persons) in the exposition are usually the ones telling the story!

 

- I don't know if anyone else thought this, but I don't find a huge difference between Pippin and Merry as characters.  Pipping might be a little more reckless, and Merry a little more thoughtful, but by and large there isn't a huge difference between them!

 

- Not something that is specific to these chapters, but Middle-Earth society seems to be split cleanly between the ruling classes and their servants. People are either Kings, Lords or lesser forms of nobility, or they are the ones polishing their boots (the exception appears to be those who have distinguished themselves in some way, which is usually in battle!).  It's interesting that Tolkien does mention framers and millers etc, especially in the Shire, but there is not a lot of talk (if any) of merchants and trade routes.

 

Been a bit busy for the last few weeks, and what free time I have had I've largely been trying to finish The Return of the King, before the next Rivers of London novel drops this week!

 

The next four chapters, however, are:

 

10. The Voice of Saruman

 

11. The Palantír

 

Book Four

 

1. The Taming of Sméagol

 

2. The Passage of the Marshes

 

Precious....

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This is me catching up because I forgot to come back to post on chapters 6-9! So...

 

- Wormtongue is the creepiest character. He might not be the most evil, but he makes my skin crawl. 

- I really like Eowyn though, I think she's one of the most interesting characters. 

- The battle of Helm's Deep feels like the moment the good versus evil battle really expands into a world at war. I liked slight comic relief of the competition between Legolas and Gimli.

- Tolkien shows his appreciation of trees again and I still love how epic the Ents are.

- It's really nice that Legolas and Gimli promise to visit the places that mean a lot to each of them if they survive the war. Their friendship is a nice way of showing that deep-rooted prejudice against others is ultimately silly and meaningless. 

- You've got to love Merry and Pippin. The contrast between the previous few chapter's events and the two of them just relaxing with a pipe and plenty of food is funny and fitting. The fact that they immediately start playing host was also quite funny and very hobbit-like.

- Their story also reinforces the 'trees/Ents are amazing' theory. 

- Flotsam and Jetsam is one of my favourite chapters because it feels like the tables are turning in favour of the heroes again and (nearly) everyone is back together.

 

On 03/04/2022 at 9:23 PM, Raven said:

- I don't know if anyone else thought this, but I don't find a huge difference between Pippin and Merry as characters.  Pipping might be a little more reckless, and Merry a little more thoughtful, but by and large there isn't a huge difference between them!

Definitely agree! And definitely think it's intentional, but becomes more important later...

 

On 03/04/2022 at 9:23 PM, Raven said:

- Not something that is specific to these chapters, but Middle-Earth society seems to be split cleanly between the ruling classes and their servants. People are either Kings, Lords or lesser forms of nobility, or they are the ones polishing their boots (the exception appears to be those who have distinguished themselves in some way, which is usually in battle!).  It's interesting that Tolkien does mention framers and millers etc, especially in the Shire, but there is not a lot of talk (if any) of merchants and trade routes.

I guess if we see Lord of the Rings as following the medieval tradition of fantasy it does make sense for society to be structured that way. Although, does Hobbit society follow the same rules, do you think? There doesn't appear to be any Hobbit nobility or servants. That's a good point about merchants etc. though. They must have merchant routes, which is how the pipe-weed etc. got to Orthanc? 

 

 

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Rather late I will admit but these are my thoughts on book III, chapters 10 & 11, and book IV, chapters 1 & 2.

 

- The reappearance of Wormtongue caught me by surprise a bit, especially given that he seems to be in a position of some authority/power given his close proximity to Saruman. This further cements my opinion that he is portrayed this way to draw comparisons to politicians and lobbyist who manoeuvre in the background without having to take on any of the front facing responsibilities. However, Wormtongue may think he is clever but in losing his temper and throwing the palantir out of the window he demonstrates that he lets his temper get the better of him.

 

- I really like the fact that once again Tolkien uses an opportunity to show that although Saruman might be on the side of evil now, that wasn't always the case. It shows that everyone, or almost everyone, is corruptible in some way.

 

- The scenes with Pippin using the palantir are really well written because we know Pippin shouldn't be doing what he is doing but we still feel sympathy for him when Gandalf catches him. 

 

- Jumping back to Frodo and Sam helps balance out the menace experienced by the Gandalf/Pippin group as it is very different in feeling. Even though I thought I knew the trilogy pretty well from watching the movies when they came out I clearly don't as I'm constantly surprised by how much of the story revolves around those other than Frodo.

 

- Gollum is definitely the most intriguing character as I never know if I dislike him or if he is just a victim of evil himself. My feelings towards him have swung between the two emotions with pity just about winning.

 

If no one has any issues with it I will post my thoughts about the next 4 chapters tomorrow. Although I have struggled a little to sit down and read in recent months I have managed to keep up with the trilogy and I'm quite far ahead at the moment. I should have posted my thoughts earlier but life kind of got in the way a bit.

 

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On 06/05/2022 at 7:05 PM, Brian. said:

If no one has any issues with it I will post my thoughts about the next 4 chapters tomorrow.

I don't!

 

Here are mine for 10-2:

 

- 'The Voice of Saruman' chapter is very satisfying, when Saruman gradually unravels - realising his lies aren't working any more when Theoden stands up to him and then finding that Gandalf is more powerful and can control him now - it's a real 'ha!' moment. (I wish we had a real Gandalf!)

- I could do with a bit more explanation of why the colours are important to the council. I'm guessing that might be in The Silmarillion? I assume white is the most powerful role but why was Gandalf Grey to begin with? And what about the other wizards?

- I feel really bad for Pippin with the Palantir. Gandalf says that there's something about it that draws you to look into it, so it wasn't entirely Pippin's fault! Although it does mean that Pippin gets to be a bit of an accidental hero, throwing Sauron off the scent of Frodo. 

- I also really like Pippin's curiosity in the Palantir chapter (maybe that makes me feel extra sorry for him too). It seems as though they were really quite sheltered in the Shire but he really wants to know about things and the way they work. Maybe another sign that, given the chance, Hobbits can be more than they seem. 

- I agree with Sam about the rope being magical 

- It's interesting that elvish things burn Gollum 

On 06/05/2022 at 7:05 PM, Brian. said:

- Gollum is definitely the most intriguing character as I never know if I dislike him or if he is just a victim of evil himself. My feelings towards him have swung between the two emotions with pity just about winning.

Agree totally with this. I do pity him and I do think he's mainly just a victim of the ring but, at the same time, there's something so deeply unpleasant about him sometimes! Thinking back to when he first found the ring - was he already a little bit evil at heart? The ring immediately makes him do something terrible but it hasn't worked that quickly on anybody else. Although even if that is the case it's still hard not to pity him and wonder what would have happened if Smeogol had different chances!

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