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Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Mar 24, 2017 7:35 pm
by ValiantArcher
Rose, I enjoyed reading your thoughts. :D Yay for starting TTT quickly! It's hard to stop, isn't it? ;)) Some thoughts in response to your comment follow.
Did you feel vindicated when Gandalf returned? :D

Treebeard and the Ents (particularly Quickbeam) are great. :D (I also think it's fun to see the origins of Moots. ;)))

Also, it's been long enough that I don't remember if I had the same first impression of Eowyn being distracted by Aragorn, but your thoughts definitely jibe with mine (in general, but also specific here). ;)) I always wanted more Eowyn-Theoden-Eomer interactions than we got too.
I am very curious to see what you think of Eowyn in the rest of the series too. ;))

o_O I never thought about the Saruman/Lady of the Green Kirtle comparison. Very on-point, though! :) What other psychological conflict in stories have you encountered?

I think I'm in even more danger of careening off into a LotR reread now. ;))

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 08, 2017 12:40 pm
by The Rose-Tree Dryad
Finally stopping by to share my thoughts on the rest of TTT! (I've just been so busy fending off Orcs right and left since my username turned blue.... :P ;))) I haven't started RotK yet, but planning to do so this evening or tomorrow. Thanks for the nice comments on my observation about SC and TTT, guys. :D

ValiantArcher wrote:Did you feel vindicated when Gandalf returned? :D

I did! :D But the elation was a little short-lived, because he seemed so weary and like he had been time-traveling through grim landscapes for eons... or like a person who has suffered a long illness or a very dramatic brush with death. (Which was essentially what had happened to him!) I was glad when he started to seem more like himself, but he is both merrier and more solemn than before, as Merry said.

ValiantArcher wrote:What other psychological conflict in stories have you encountered?

Oooh... while neither are similar to SC or TTT in any respect, things that come to mind right now are the climax in Ella Enchanted and old psychological thrillers like Dial M for Murder. (A bit odd having those two in the same sentence. :))) The former was one of my favorite childhood books, so I guess psychology and I go way back. :D

Okay, now for thoughts on TTT. (TTThoughts? ;)))

Smeagollum is interesting. He's both fascinating and maddening and I don't feel like I've ever encountered a character like him in literature before. Usually a character like that would be too annoying and rage-inducing to stand, but Tolkien makes him a really intriguing character amid all of his groveling and truly appalling schemes. He kind of reminds me of the third class of people who are both brutal in peace and cowardly in war that C.S. Lewis mentions in passing in "The Necessity of Chivalry", and I think the concept of trying to redeem such a backwards individual — or even just trying to make use of them at all for your own noble purposes — is pretty fascinating. I especially enjoyed the part where pale-eyed Smeagol was warring with green-eyed Gollum. (There's some psychological conflict for you!)

I have always loved redemption stories and I would love to see Smeagol redeemed somehow, but he is making this really, really difficult. X( He is so wretched and I am furious over what he did to Frodo and Sam... and then I think of those handful of times when he seemed almost moved by the goodness of the hobbits and I have a little hope yet, but justice must be served to him somehow for the things he has done. (Pretty sure I can rely on Sam to see to that, if he ever gets his hands on him.) Maybe once the Ring is destroyed, he will have a chance at changing, but one kind of wonders if the "withdrawal" from its power might kill him after he has been under its spell for so long. Needless to say, I'm really curious to see what becomes of him. I would not be shocked if his story is ultimately a tragedy or cautionary tale, but we'll see.

I really enjoyed the parts of the story in Ithilien. When Tolkien was describing all of the natural herbs that were growing about the land, I immediately started thinking about cooking and then Sam has the idea for rabbit stew pretty soon after. ;)) And I had to get a laugh out of the line "Ithilien, the garden of Gondor now desolate still kept a dishevelled dryad loveliness", because I was reading that chapter first thing in the morning and was looking very much dishevelled, but not so lovely. I took it as an unintended compliment anyway, though. :)) If any of you ever see somebody on a LotR forum with the username Dishevelled Dryad, there's a fighting chance that it's me. :P

I also really liked the time spent at the secret hideout of the Gondorian rangers. (And loved the bit where Sam saw the oliphaunt!) At first I was none too fond of Faramir, rather like Sam, but he really grew on me by the time they left and I think he's one of my favorites now... he has much more foresight than his brother did, and it takes a great deal of self-control to let the Ring go when you are already on the front lines every day, staring at the blackness of Mordor. I hope we see more of him!

I may have been permanently scarred for life by the end of this story, though. ;)) Shelob. Even the name gives me the creeps. I'm not arachnophobic per se, but I, uh, really could have done without Tolkien's effective and vivid description this one time. :D :| I would dread watching that scene in the movies more except I am quite certain that what my imagination cooked up is a lot worse than anything the special effects people could have managed.

Frodo's bravery in coming at her in the tunnel with the Phial of Galadrial was awesome, and Sam — :ymapplause: SAM :ymapplause: — going full furious warrior on her and wounding her and driving her off was amazing. Someone had better sing some songs about that boy, let me tell you. And then we get to the part where Sam thinks that Frodo is dead and I am just emotionally destroyed. :(( Oh, that was awful... poor Sam, thinking he had to go on alone and leave Frodo's body behind. (But thank goodness he did, or else he would have been found with him, with the Ring on them and soon in the clutches of the enemy!) I wasn't even sure if I could go on with the reading the BOOK if Frodo died, much less leave my best friend behind and make a solo journey into perilous enemy territory to throw an endlessly heavy, endlessly dangerous ring into a volcano. :P And then we find that Frodo's not dead after all, and I'm rejoicing and feeling like I can breathe again, except he's now a prisoner in the absolute worst of prisons. But at least that's better than dead, right? ... Right? :-ss

Needless to say, I am starting RotK very soon. What a way to end the book! ;))

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 09, 2017 7:36 pm
by ValiantArcher
Rose, I obviously need to reread Ella Enchanted because, while I have a decent recall of the climax, I can't see it being a great psychological conflict. ;)) Perhaps I just need a better definition of terms...
Re: all your TTT thoughts:
Yay for the Gandalf-returning vindication (however short-lived). :D I obviously need a reread because I don't remember him being drastically different after returning, besides being more powerful. ;))

Very interesting thoughts about Smeagol/Gollum. :) (...and I can't say more than that. ;)) )

Ithilien is probably my favourite part of the second half of TTT. :D Which includes the Window in the West and the Ithilien rangers' (VERY COOL) hideout. ;))
I also don't recall my first impression of Faramir ;)), but I asked Summer and she apparently had a very similar thought process to you. ;)) (Though I'm not sure he jumped up as high in her favorite-character list as he did in yours. ;)))

;)) Shelob and all the scenes connected do amp up the tension. There are a lot of good scenes with Sam, but he does really shine in the one you've mentioned. :D And it is rather a nail-biting cliffhanger!
Have you started RotK yet? :D

Also, my mom keeps throwing me things to think about since our recent rewatch of the EEs ;)), so I'm going to run a few things past anyone who would like to weigh in.
My mom brought up Grima's "He must've died sometime in the night" line about Theodred earlier and raised the question as to whether anyone was watching him in the night and then as to whether Grima "helped" him along to his death. We know Theodred was badly wounded anyhow and was dying, but it was advantageous timing for Grima, having Theodred dead and Eomer banished within a day or so of each other... Coincidentally good planning or not?
My mom additionally brought up the scene where Elrond comes to deliver the reforged sword; Theoden is in the middle of talking to Elrond when Aragorn enters. Theoden leaves with an odd look upon his face, pausing as if to say something to Aragorn but then exits without speaking.
I think we've debated what exactly Elrond said to Theoden over the years, but the most recent reigning interpretation was that Elrond, with his foresight, told Theoden that he would die in the next battle. This would bear in with Theoden's instructions that Eowyn would lead the people of Rohan; the "if the battle goes ill" line would presumably then refer to Eomer dying. This is also borne out with Theoden's line to Eowyn that he "would see [her] smile again, not grieve for those whose time has come".

However, my mom also raised (resurrected?) the idea that Elrond said something about Arwen, perhaps that he came on an errand for his daughter whom he loved and who was dying (or perhaps would not leave for the West). Theoden already knows that Eowyn is crushing very hard on Aragorn (at the very least! See the scene where Eowyn brings the cup to Aragorn, Theoden tells Eowyn that he is happy for her, and she doesn't say anything about there not being an understanding), though I can't remember if he knew anything about Arwen besides Aragorn wearing an Elvish necklace. This is borne out by the pause Theoden gives when leaving the tent as he comes up to Aragorn, but him leaving without saying anything. This is also borne out by Theoden leaving Eowyn the ruling of Rohan if he (and Eomer?) dies (die); this provides for her even if, or perhaps especially if, she doesn't marry Aragorn. Also, Theoden is very gentle with her in the scene in Dunharrow; he's almost always gentle with her, but he is especially so there. It could just be he knows it's hard for her and that she had a bitter parting with Aragorn, but it could also be because he knows all her hopes there have been smashed. I'm not sure. ;))

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 10, 2017 5:37 am
by shastastwin
Valia, concerning your first spoiler:

This is made explicit in the GameBoy Advance version of the RotK game. Saruman makes it clear in the scene where he and Grima die. I'm not sure if this is based on some deleted footage or not, but there you are. I always thought along these lines anyway, but the game's use of that idea seemed to solidify it.

I think both interpretations in your second spoiler make sense. I don't know which I prefer. ;))

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 10, 2017 4:52 pm
by ValiantArcher
stwin, o_O REALLY? How come TTT has been out for fifteen years and this is the first I'm hearing of this? :P ;)) Thank you! Do you happen to know/remember what exactly was said in the game? I think I thought Grima may've had something to do with in in the theatrical version, but with the added scenes in the EE (Eowyn's face when she sees the wound), I think I kinda pushed the idea aside. ;))

I'm not sure which I prefer either. ;)) Maybe the latter?

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 10, 2017 6:37 pm
by shastastwin
Okay. It's been a while since I played it and my copy has been gone for a few years, but here goes (with a little help from YouTube):

Theoden: Grima! You need not follow him. You were once a man of Rohan ...
Saruman: You have paid dearly for his devotion, Theoden. Did you not know? He killed your son. Slaked his thirst -- with poison.
Grima: You made me do it.
Saruman: And you do what I say -- always -- don't you worm?
Grima: Nooooo! *stabs Saruman*

Apparently, PJ also discusses this on the ROTK EE commentary. It's been probably a decade since I last listened to those, so I'm not surprised I didn't recall this.

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 11, 2017 6:52 pm
by ValiantArcher
Stwin, thank you! :D Now that I think about it, it seems like there were a number of things cut from RotK last minute... In addition to the aforementioned scene (which didn't make it into the EE; well, a variant did, but not the line about him killing Theodred!), I remember there being a couple of things that showed up in a little picture book of RotK I picked up once. I think one or two of them made it into the EE, but there was something big that didn't....OH! I'm about 95% sure it was a picture of Aragorn healing Faramir! MAN! If that's true, I wasn't crazy about being sure that scene existed. :P ;)) I'll have to check this weekend and see if I'm remembering correctly. There's also the infamous Faramir & Eowyn wedding scene that we have never seen hide nor hair of... :( I should probably watch the EEs with their commentary at some point. ;))

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 11, 2017 11:28 pm
by Aslans_Jewel
I recently got a tattoo, and I'm super excited about it. I've been wanting it since I was relatively new to the forum (2008-2009 or so?), so I felt that I should share it haha


Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 12, 2017 7:28 pm
by coracle
I am about to start my annual read of LOTR. I want to be in a suitable place to begin, so if the weather tomorrow afternoon is better than today, I might go and sit in the park across the road. If not, in the little lounge beside my bedroom, overlooking the lovely green garden (and pool).

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 14, 2017 7:43 pm
by Varnafinde
Marigold has been mentioned elsewhere today ( :ymhug: ), and some of us discussed what relation she was to Samwise Gamgee - it turned out she was his sister.

Marigold is only mentioned once in LotR, at a point (I'm not saying when) where Sam is worried that he may never return safely from his quest.

He says,
"But I would dearly like to see Bywater again, and Rosie Cotton and her brothers, and the Gaffer and Marigold and all."

"The Gaffer" is his father, and it makes sense that Marigold is then his sister.

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 23, 2017 5:37 pm
by ValiantArcher
I found my Photo Guide to RotK and it turns out I was right: There IS a picture of Aragorn healing Faramir!! Along with a caption saying that Aragorn is healing him with Ioreth's help and the quote about the hands of the king being the hands of a healer. o_O On the opposite page is also a picture of Pippin finding Merry on the Pelennor (and NOT the scene in the EE!) during the battle. Also, there's a picture of Eowyn watching the Rohirrim leave Edoras with an accompanying note saying she decides to follow them. So. o_O Those are three (somewhat major?) things they changed in the theatrical/EE releases and/or completely cut. My mom said she remembered them filming multiple versions of the same scenes, so this probably happened for more than those and the infamous cut TTT scene/plot where Arwen fought at Helm's Deep. ;))

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 24, 2017 10:10 am
by daughter of the King
I can't believe I forgot to post this earlier. There is a new cover of The Song of Durin on youtube. It's by the same group that did a 20 minute version of Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold, which is basically everything I ever imagined Dwarvish singing to be. :ymdaydream:

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 24, 2017 3:51 pm
by coracle
Finally started! Have read chapter one, sitting up in bed before going to sleep last night.
Today is a public holiday and very quiet, so I think I'll take my book out into the garden and sit in the sun, and consume more chapters - with a nice cuppa. :)

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: May 16, 2017 9:16 pm
by coracle

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Jun 18, 2017 4:30 pm
by The Rose-Tree Dryad
Finally had a chance to write up my thoughts on RotK! I haven't gotten around to reading the appendices at the end of the book yet (where the text size shrinks alarmingly smaller in my pocket versions, which are wonderful but ill-advised for regular reading ;))) but I'm looking forward to reading those as well. :)

Denethor was... interesting. He seemed to think he was so reasonable and composed and able to take on the power of the Ring, and then after Faramir is wounded and seems near death... he decides that the most reasonable course of action is to consign himself and his son to death upon a pyre. Uh. :| Not exactly the great, invincible, unshakeable leader he seemed to think he was, or even a captain with the fortitude to go down with his ship. Nor so hard-hearted towards his younger son as he would have Faramir believe, either, which is perhaps the most important thing: the crack of a silver lining in his madness is that it was his love for his son that broke him.

I thought that the Pukel-men and the Wild Men that resembled them were interesting. One of the aspects of The Hobbit/LotR that is most intriguing is the idea that there are many stories that are still untold... it's the sort of thing that makes one keen to delve into the rest of Tolkien's published writings. :D

It is surprising to me because there are so many excellent parts and I am not usually good at ranking anything anyway, but I think my favorite passage in the entire series must be Eowyn defending fallen Theoden before the Witch-king. I had to immediately go back and re-read that part; it was so spine-chillingly good. I knew that Eowyn was Dernhelm (I think I picked that up years ago, thanks to our Dernhelm_of_Rohan here on the forum), but I didn't realize she was so awesome. ;)) And to any theoretical personage who might try to diminish the gleam of her bravery by suggesting she was already suicidal anyway: there were cheaper deaths to buy on that battlefield! There was plenty of honor for anyone who wanted it. She didn't have to face down the chief of the Nazgul, for heaven's sake, but that's exactly what she did. Wow.

It's honestly an amazing exchange because all through the series prior to it, we have been learning about the type of effect that the Ringwraiths have on mortals. Their unseen cries alone were an incredible terror... "at length even the stout-hearted would fling themselves to the ground as the hidden menace passed over them, or they would stand, letting their weapons fall from nerveless hands while into their minds a blackness came, and they thought no more of war, but only of hiding and of crawling, and of death." How was Eowyn able to string coherent sentences together, much less slay the adversary? She out of all the characters we have met seems most consumed with despair, and yet perhaps that's it: she had already been living with something akin to the effects of a Ringwraith for a long time, it would seem, and that is why the Witch-king had less power over her. (Think of the icy feeling that passed over Merry when he looked into Dernhelm's hopeless eyes.) It reminds me of a Tolkien quote that I had encountered before I ever read any of his books:

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:A divine 'punishment’ is also a divine 'gift’, if accepted, since its object is ultimate blessing, and the supreme inventiveness of the Creator will make 'punishments’ (that is changes of design) produce a good not otherwise to be attained.

I rather doubt that Eowyn would have been able to slay the Witch-king had she not already been consumed by despair and had long ago steeled herself to it.

(And let's not forget Merry!! Merry was wonderful, and indispensable. "At least she should not die alone, unaided"... bless him! :ymhug:)

In a way, the unhappy parts of Eowyn's story culminating in a necessary, heroic act reminds me a little of Gollum's wretched road ending in a necessary, selfish act. Gandalf was right about him; it seems Gandalf is the only thing close to an all-seeing eye in Middle Earth, however much Sauron would beg to differ. Gollum's demise did surprise me, but it was a fitting end for him. I was having a hard time coming up with a way for Tolkien to conclude his story because he seemed so far gone and much beyond the abilities of anyone on Middle-Earth to redeem. His choice at Cirith Ungol was a new low, to say the least. At the same time, however, he is like an addict, and it is hard to hate an addict in spite of all that they have done. It has always been difficult to pity him when we know that he became a murderer just to possess the Ring in the first place, but then again, Boromir could have easily done the same if he'd had the chance. A cautionary tale indeed... Boromir was very fortunate that the Ring never came to his possession. [-(

The way that Aragorn was revealed to be king was creative! I was interested to read that Tolkien had originally intended for him to marry Eowyn... she seems to have too much fire to be very compatible with his quiet and grave strength. He does seem better suited with the Lady Arwen, but I was very surprised at how little she was in the books! Especially since she seems to be far and away the more popular of the two characters, as illustrated by Google trends. Clearly, they must have expanded her role in the films. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised that Eowyn and Faramir ended up together in the book... for some reason I had gotten the sense that the filmmakers made a change by pairing them, but I'm guessing it was just an additional scene or something. I was all smiles during that part of RotK. ;)) I feel like some people might be disappointed that Eowyn gave up fighting and became a healer, but she had been driven to battle by so much mental and emotional anguish... it seems to me that she had finally found the road to wholeness after her shadow had departed, and that new state meant that her purpose was to make others whole as well.

When Pippin lost consciousness at the end of WotR, my exact thought was, "Tolkien... if you kill him... :|" ;)) Thankfully, all my dear hobbits made it out alive, although some were scarred.

I loved Sam's rescue of Frodo from the tower (I cannot quite believe the rumor that the filmmakers were going to have Arwen do that instead? Surely I misunderstand? :-o), and his broken singing in that land of evil. And all his dogged support of Frodo, all the way through to the end. Sometimes I wonder if I don't love him better than Frodo—his faithfulness makes it hard! I should very much have liked to live in the Shire with Mr. Gamgee as mayor, to say the least. Frodo's quiet courage, his patience with a creature such as Gollum, and the incredible burden he carried all the way to Mount Doom make it impossible to choose between the two, however. It was an awful moment when he surrendered to the power of the Ring, after all he had been through.

I did enjoy reading about the Scouring of the Shire, despite all of the awful things that Saruman and Grima had done. (I really, really did not expect them to be at the bottom of it all.) It was cheering to see the hobbits ride in and put things to rights and free their people, and even more cheering to see the Lady's gift to Sam restore the Shire to even greater glory than it had known before.

The ending of it all makes one feel rather pensive, though. It makes sense that Frodo wouldn't be able to settle back down to life in the Shire, that he needed to go away to seek more extensive healing from what he had been through. The title of a Thomas Wolfe novel (which I have yet to read) was echoing in my mind during that last chapter—"You can't go home again." It was a sad parting, but the three friends returning to the Shire eased the sorrow, as did homey Bag End—and the hope that Frodo was sailing to where he would find peace. "I will not say: do not weep, for not all tears are an evil" was a helpful thing to hear indeed as the curtain fell on our heroes.

(On the bright side, I had spent a lot of LotR fearing that Bilbo was surely going to die at some point, so it was very nice to watch him sail away with Frodo instead!)

I had better stop now before we have to change the word "Road" to "Rose" in the thread title. :P Sorry for my thoughts being all a-jumble, but I suppose you seasoned readers of Tolkien will be able to sort through them easily enough. ;))

Re: The Road Goes Ever On and On: Everything Tolkien - Book 2

PostPosted: Apr 11, 2018 7:38 am
by Varnafinde
What most of us thought would never happen, is finally happening after all - The Fall of Gondolin will be published in August this year.

Edited by Christopher Tolkien and illustrated by Alan Lee, The Fall of Gondolin will follow the same format as Beren and Lúthien published last year, separating out the story so that it stands alone while showing how the narrative evolved over the years. This is the first time the tale of the Fall of Gondolin will be published as a standalone edition, collecting all versions of the story together.

I am so happy about this news!