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tarcolan
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Post Slips of the pen
on: November 17, 2018 10:23
Tolkien can be forgiven for making the odd mistake here and there in LOTR. It was a huge and complicated tale and he was preoccupied with the main themes of the story to be bothered with them. But they can be annoying when you've noticed them as they jolt you out of the world of the story; "Ah, another error by the good Prof."

Which of these have you noticed and do you find them annoying? Is there a way of resolving them internally to the Secondary World?
Gandolorin
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on: November 19, 2018 11:15
As those with the sufficiantly sharp eyes to pick such "bloopers" out have been at it for over 60 years (and Hammond and Scull have collected them in their recently-updated "Reader's Guide" ), it's getting to be a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack endeavor. I know my 2002 edition still has some that have been rectified in later editions. I seem to vaguely remember the odd occasion when I had an "oops" reaction when I read LoTR this year, but it was nothing that stuck in memory ...

[Edited on 11/20/2018 by Gandolorin]
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GreenhillFox
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on: November 19, 2018 06:06
One example might be the description of the firework at Bilbo's party:

"The dragon passed like an express train"
'There’s something mighty queer behind this.'
Gandolorin
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on: November 20, 2018 04:58
Well, yes. But that's caused by "The Hobbit", in which, as Tom Shippey points out, Bilbo was "our" representative in the otherwise (outside of the Shire) rather heroic world that JRRT felt would be met by a "modern" skepticism. With "we modern skeptics" being English(men) of the early 20th century, Edwardians rather than Victorians, the latter being so 19th century.

In "The Hobbit", JRRT introduced quite a few things into the Shire (aka West Midlands England) that would seem quite familiar to Edwardians (most having been introduced in the 19th century). By now, some if not many seem antiquated to second-decade 21st century whatever-we-ares. In modern military terms, Bilbo was a stealth weapon to get below the "modern" skeptical radar and incur the suspension of disbelief necessary for "us" to feel somewhat at home in Middle-earth.

And one thing does come to mind just now: when Lobelia was arrested by the Ruffians in the Shire, she whacked them with her umbrella!

In a certain sense I would enter a plea to excempt the Shire, intended by JRRT as an anchronism in Middle-earth, from our search for events of the thread topic. On the other hand, that would very likely massively reduce the events, customs, manners, speech ... foodstuffs ... that could be discussed here. Image

And, once again revealing myself to be a nitpicker, JRRT's intended anachronisms can hardly be categorized as "slips of the pen". Taking a stringent viewpoint, that could only mean contradictions between statements in one part of the book and another. And as to "book", that obviously (well, to me anyway) mainly means LoTR. But then "The Hobbit" was published in his lifetime, and the "Silmarillion" was what he most had wanted to see published. The "History", which I would define as extending beyond the official 12 volumes to include UT and the three single-story volumes published int the last 11 years, is just full of contradictions of "canon", as CRT pointed out in the several volumes, so no need for us to rehash that.
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tarcolan
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on: November 21, 2018 01:25
There's a great list of anachronisms in 'The Hobbit' here -
Anachronisms In The Hobbit...
For me these are no problem, this is a children's tale. We might say that Tolkien should've rewritten the book before publication to move it wholly into the Secondary World, or that all references to it should've been removed so that it remained just a funny story. After all, LOTR does not have any dragons in and I don't think the legendarium did until the Hobbit had to be absorbed, I could be wrong. And the trolls and all the other folk tale tropes could've stayed safely outside. Indeed Tolkien began a third edition which did just that but he abandoned it.

But that is not what I meant. There are inconsistencies in LOTR particularly, as you say Gando, and once spotted they jump out. So in the same way that Tolkien shifts the discrepancy between the first and second edition of 'The Hobbit' into the legendarium to explain it, I like to find internal explanations for these little problems.

I should say that when one is engrossed in the story it's easy to pass them by in a hurry to see what happens next, but when you read the book many times they start to peek out. It is quite acceptable to blame these on the clumsy scribes of Gondor when transcribing these ancient texts, and thanks to Tolkien name the culprits. It's a quick and easy fix. But where's the fun in that, right?

Let's start with a very confusing one from Gandalf. There are a few in 1.2 'The Shadow From The Past".
And this is the dreadful chance, Frodo. He believed that the One had perished; that the Elves had destroyed it, as should have been done.
No,no,no,no,no, noooooo. And no. Couple of niggles here. How on earth would Gandalf know what Sauron was thinking? Maybe Galadriel said something, she knew Sauron's plans as far as they involved the Elves anyway. Or perhaps it was originally preceded by "Some have even said that...", a popular get out trick Tolkien uses a lot. Some sloppy scribe left it out.

But the main problem is the idea that Sauron did not know whether it had been destroyed and that he wasn't that bothered. The Ring was no more than a weapon he needed and not connected to his spirit as it turns out to be later. This is a big problem. Outside the story we can see that it is the beginning of the evolution of the Ring throughout the writing, which can be tracked from here to the Council until near the end. But that's no good for me as it's an external explanation. Any ideas?

[Edited on 11/21/2018 by tarcolan]
Gandolorin
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on: November 21, 2018 12:09
One possibility that I vaguely remember having been discussed elsewhere was that no one, including Sauron himself, actully knew exactly what would happen if the Ring were cast into the lava of Mount Doom. Certainty was only reached with the actual destruction. Not entirely implausible, but it wouldn't be my favorite.

That would rather be the concept behind the book title of HoME's volume 10, "Morgoth's Ring". "All of Arda was Morgoths Ring." Powerful as Melkor was, he was still a being of finite power. In his constant struggle for domination, first agains his fellow Ainur, then against Elves and Men, and finally against the Host of Valinor at the End of the First Age, Melkor was constantly exerting his power. Dissipating it, so to speak. I dimly remember a statement that by the time he was defeated at the end of the First Age, he had so exerted himself that he was actually less powerful than Sauron!

And over the Ages, one does see a parallel with Suron. His first defeat was against Huan (and Lúthien), and, take note, in at least one description of the battle (the long version?) he is said to have rapidly shifted his shape in trying to confound Huan - but to no avail. And yielding the mastery of the tower (formerly the original Minas Tirith) must have taken a toll, too.

In the Second Age, Sauron can still take shape as Annatar and appear in a pleasant form to beguile the Elven smiths of Eregion. But after having to flee from the downfall of Númenor, and then losing finger and Ring when Isildur cut it from his hand, his ability to shape-shift seems to have gone down the drain.

Three thousand years later, Sauron has again been spending time and energy in rousing forces against the heirs of Elendil. My guessing is that perhaps the destruction of the Ring by Isildur after the downfall of Sauron at the end of the Second age might not have been as catastrophic to him as it was after those three thousand years. In the scene where Sauron realizes that the Ring is at the Cracks of Doom when Frodo puts it on, one does have the impression that the activity of his minions comes to a screeching halt, very much so the Orcs and Trolls. For Sauron, recovering the Ring could have become a must at some point, as the native power remaining to him without the Ring was waning. Obviously, not a concept that PJ would ever try to depict in a film!
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GreenhillFox
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on: November 21, 2018 06:38
Tarcolan, just in the unlikely case you haven't come across it yet: here is a list of inconsistencies.

Tolkien Gateway Mistakes and Inconsistencies



[Edited on 11/22/2018 by tarcolan]
'There’s something mighty queer behind this.'
tarcolan
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on: November 22, 2018 02:35
Thanks GreenhillFox, I haven't see a lot of these. It hasn't got the one above though.

A good answer Gando. Nobody really knew much about the One Ring, not even Sauron. I can't see the passage mentioned in HoME 6, so no clues there. It was undergoing a lot of changes in different drafts. The difficulty is that Sauron was weakened when the Ring was taken as it had a greater part of his power, but during the TA he had become stronger (somehow). One would therefore think the Ring would be less of a problem for him. Did it also absorb some of that new power? We know it became more active, intent on returning to Sauron.

He knew very well the effect of taking the Ring from him, did he think destroying it couldn't be any worse? Maybe, or that it would be no different. He made it and probably assumed he could unmake it, or anyone else for that matter. Galadriel would've known this because it did concern the Elves, very much so. So it can just about be explained away internally.
Gandolorin
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on: November 22, 2018 05:05
Another thought, about the downfall of Númenor etc.. This occurred in 3319 Second Age, and at this time Sauron's then embodiment would also have been destroyed, "only" his Fëa escaped (so he must have left his Ring in Barad-dûr when he went to Númenor?), and he had to re-embody himself. Elendil and his sons founded Gondor and Arnor in 3320 SA. A "mere" 110 years later, they form the Last Alliance with Gil-galad, the Battle of Dagorlad occurs in 3434, and Sauron is overthrown in 3441 SA.

My speculation: this embodiment business takes time to be done properly. I mean, in 2063 Third Age, the entry reads:"Gandalf goes to Dol Gudur. Sauron retreats and hides in the East." So after over 2000 years, he is still unwilling to face Gandalf?? (Who has been in Middle-earth for about 1000 years by then). So this may explain what may have puzzled many people (it has puzzled me): how Elendil and Gil-galad - I mean, they're just not Beren (Húrin / Túrin / Huor / Tuor) and Fingolfin (Fingon / Turgon / etc.) - could have defeated Sauron in direct combat. But this is not the Sauron who was taken to Númenor. Having had "only" 122 years to re-embody, the re-embodiment may still have been, for his "normal", fragile, and extremely dependent on the Ring, so when the Ring was taken from him, his embodiment fell to pieces, so to speak. And now he has to start from scratch, and without the help from the Ring, so the 2063 TA incident with Gandalf makes more sense (when Gandalf returns to Dol Guldur almost 800 years later, in 2850 TA, finding the dying Thrain etc. things are different).

On the other side, literally so in the War of the Last Alliance: as Elendil, Isildur and Anarion escape to middle-earth with a total of nine ships, how could they have mustered a fighting force only 110 years later that could help in defeating Sauron? Or for that matter, how many fighters could Gil-galad have mustered in Lindon? OK, that included Elrond's forces in Rivendell, but I at least never envision that as a place that would support huge armed forces. Somehow, both Elendil and Gil-galad must have had help from unnamed other sources; Thranduil's dad Oropher fell during the battle of Dagorlad, at which Thranduil also was present. I just have this odd feeling of places suddenly spouting masses of armed men one would never have suspected there, to defeat the masses of Orcs (and perhaps Easterlings and Southrons) that Sauron could muster. But in a pre-Uruk-hai era, perhaps Númenoreans and Elves would have laughed at being outnumbered by Orc forces by 10 to 1 - "piece of cake!"

[Edited on 11/23/2018 by Gandolorin]
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tarcolan
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on: November 22, 2018 08:54
I thought Sauron was leaving Dol Guldur anyway? Hadn't he sent some of the Naz off to prepare Barad-dûr?

When Ar-Phârazon took Sauron he left the Ring behind and it didn't seem to bother him much. Maybe it's the taking of the Ring that matters, as Gandalf said about taking it from Bilbo. As to requiring a 'bedding-in' time for embodiments remember he was switching shapes instantly earlier when battling Beren. And yes, a piece of cake for Gil-Galad's Elves in those days to defeat the armies of Sauron. The Elendili had been leaving Númenor for a while before the Downfall so maybe they'd been gathering men to them before Elendil got there. Cannon fodder really. A hundred and ten years is a long time in the lives of the people of Middle-Earth, enough to gather the loyal.

I think we have to admit that the logic of the Ring is a multivariant problem. On the one hand Sauron seemed completely unaware that the Ring was just a few miles from Dol Guldur, even when Bilbo used it coming down the hill. Yet there must have been some sort of connection. It's a puzzle stuffed into a quandary and served on a bed of enigmas. I'll go with the idea that Sauron didn't really know what would happen if the Ring was destroyed.
So it is now: the Nine he has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed. The Three are hidden still.
When did Gandalf know this? He also says he knew Gollum's ring was a Great Ring from the first, so it seems obvious it's the One Ring. Why did Gandalf take so long figuring it out? There are two possibilities: either the fates of the Dwarven Rings was uncertain or perhaps there were more than twenty made and it was one of them. He would need to find evidence either way, interview witnesses, read newspaper cuttings...



GreenhillFox
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on: November 23, 2018 04:17
I won't come in between your (interesting) discussions, which I follow with interest.

If i'm not too terribly disturbing meanwhile, and whilst referring to the original topic, here's another thingy.

Just after the Council Gandalf said:

‘You cannot destroy Ringwraiths like that,’ said Gandalf. ‘The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him. [...]’

We know that their chief was killed, much later on.
'There’s something mighty queer behind this.'
Gandolorin
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on: November 23, 2018 04:58
tarcolan said:I thought Sauron was leaving Dol Guldur anyway? Hadn't he sent some of the Naz off to prepare Barad-dûr?

No, I think that was when the White Council finally attacked Dol Guldur in 2941 TA, the year of Bilbo's quest:

2941: ... Saruman agrees to an attack on Dol Guldur, since he now wishes to prevent Sauron from searching the River. Sauron having made his plans abandons Dol Guldur. {The Nazgûl seem mainly to have stayed at Minas Morgul during these times, when some of them were not at Dol Guldur.}

2951: Sauron declares himself openly and gathers power in Mordor. He begins the rebuilding of Barad-dûr.

Kind of makes me wonder if Barad-dûr had been completed 68 years later when it finally came crashing down - or if some contractors still had scaffolding around the place!

So it is now: the Nine he has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed. The Three are hidden still.
When did Gandalf know this?

This is from "Shadow of the Past".

The Three: he has one himself, and certainly he, Galadriel and Elrond were each aware that the other two were ring-bearers. The Nine: The Nazgûl first appear around 2251 Second Age, so there has been enough time to figure out that they are the bearers of the Nine Rings for Men. The Seven: Just before the quote above, Gandalf says: "Seven the Dwarf-kings posessed, but three he has recovered, and the others the dragons have consumed." So he seems to be informed in detail, however he came by the information. Though regarding The Seven, it makes me wonder where all over the world he had to travel if he wanted to talk to all Dwarf-kings who or whose ancestors once had such Great Rings. My impression is that any Dwarves we come accross in any JRRT tales from Middle-earth are all of Durin's folk, so others would be living pretty far away. From what I remember about Thror / Thain / Thorin, the matter of the Great Ring was a fairly closely kept secret.

But here a question pops into my mind: in what way did the dragons "consume" the other four Great Rings of the Dwarves? Yes, it is said that Great Rings (except for The One) can be destroyed by dragon-fire (though no other outside of Mount Doom). But why would the dragons, so greedy for treasure, want to destroy them? Think of Smaug's reaction when he found the one little cup missing that Bilbo had stolen (shades of Beowulf!). Did they swallow them? If so, why?

I can't find a place where Gandalf states that he was certain Bilbo's ring was a Great Ring from the first. Was it making one invisible that gives it away? The Three certainly do not seem to have this property, at least not on Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf. The Seven I'm not sure of as far as invisibility is concerned, but they certainly did not prolong the Dwarven holders' lives; hardly affected them at all, except perhaps to make them more greedy for treasure. Or is invisibility an effect that Great Rings have only on humans?

But then, Gandalf himself says that Saruman was the master of Ring-lore in the White Council. Maybe Gandalf only started taking an interest in them after Bilbo found "his" ring, and after Gandalf started having nagging doubts about Saruman. So Gandalf might only have concluded the fate of the "Nineteen Others" just shortly before (I'm guessing the seven caused him the most effort), and the coup-de-grace was reading the writing on the heated Ring. An outside chance might be that some of the earlier "trifles" that the Elves made may have come fairly close to being Great Rings, at lest to the effect of conferring invisibility. So that would provide a residue of doubt, if so.
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Elthir
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on: November 23, 2018 05:00
GreenhillFox said: One example might be the description of the firework at Bilbo's party: "The dragon passed like an express train"



To my mind, the conceit is that Tolkien is both translator, and in part, writer, updating Bilbo's tale for a modern audience. For me this is not a mistake but merely a modern simile for readers in the 20th century and later.

Who knows what the actual, original Westron sentence was (besides Tolkien, in theory), but I'm guessing Bilbo's description conjured up something similar in the minds of his readers.



[Edited on 11/24/2018 by Elthir]
Gandolorin
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on: November 23, 2018 05:23
GreenhillFox said: Just after the Council Gandalf said:

‘You cannot destroy Ringwraiths like that,’ said Gandalf. ‘The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him. [...]’

We know that their chief was killed, much later on.

Point one: not by a man, as per Glorfindel's prophecy spoken to Eärnur, heir to the throne of Gondor, when the two of them with their forces defeated the Witch-king of Angmar at Fornost and drove him from the North in 1975 Third Age.

He was stabbed in the back of the knee by Meriadoc, a Hobbit and not a man and, more destructively, with the dagger Merry had taken with him from the Barrow-downs near Tom Bombadil's place, a weapon specially wrought by an exile Númenorean for the Witch-king's destruction. Some have contended that Merry's stabbing him was already deadly to him, others (myself included) think that it broke his protective spell, leaving him vulneralbe to Éowyn's (anso not a man, in case you hadn't noticed ... ) stab to his head with her normal sword when he stumbled forward after Merry's attack. So the key weapon at any rate is that dagger (and maybe he was one of the Black Númenoreans, anyway ... ).
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Elthir
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on: November 23, 2018 08:32
For myself, I see no problem with respect to Gandalf's statement about the Ringwraiths. Despite Merry and Eowyn, the Lord of the Nazgul could have returned in my opinion (and even if he had at some later point, his "fall" in the War was still a great blow against the bad guys) . . .

. . . but Sauron, his master, did fall, and the writer of The Lord of the Rings already knows this.

In other, similar words, the reader -- when reading the fall of the Black Captain -- will learn soon enough why, after his fall in the War of the Ring, the WK's voice was " . . . never heard again in that age of this world" -- but the writer already knows why, taking Gandalf's statement into consideration.

Also, I don't agree that the WK was invulnerable to "normal" blades, but that's for a different thread.



[Edited on 11/23/2018 by Elthir]
Lord_Sauron
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on: November 23, 2018 08:39
Seeing that Glorfindel also wasn't a man I often wondered why didn't he go after the Witch King surely if he was able to kill a Balrog a Nazgul shouldn't be a problem.
Also Gandalf the Grey defeated all Nine at Amon Sul and he technically isn't a man. I once read on another site that someone had the opinion that the WK wasn't truly defeated until the One Ring was destroyed

Perhaps dragons consumed the rings because they ate the dwarves that wore them
Elthir
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on: November 23, 2018 08:44
Tolkien never writes that a Man/man can't kill the Witch-king.


He rather has a character (Glorfindel of course) predict something will happen. Very different in my opinion.
Gandolorin
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on: November 24, 2018 04:04
Lord_Sauron said:Perhaps dragons consumed the rings because they ate the dwarves that wore them

Touché, Lord_Sauron! One of those "stupid of me not to have thought of that myself" moments. Like Gandalf and "Mellon" at the West-Gate of Moria (my affinity for that character should be obvious from my Avatar )

@Elthir: I've skimmed through the tables of contents of UT and the four HoME volumes dealing with LoTR, but have not found JRRT's actual writing on the coming of Eärnur's forces just a bit too late to actually save the North Kingdom, and his conversation with Glorfindel after the W-k had been finally driven off by the latter. As we're about two thirds of the way through the Third Age with these events, I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to find the detailed description that I'm sure exists. Any pointers, as our master librarian?
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Elthir
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on: November 24, 2018 05:19
Gando, Return of the King, Appendix A.

Edit: Appendix A part iv, to narrow it down a bit.


[Edited on 11/24/2018 by Elthir]
tarcolan
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on: November 24, 2018 05:52
For Sauron, recovering the Ring could have become a must at some point, as the native power remaining to him without the Ring was waning.
- Gandolorin

Was it? Why would it suddenly be waning if it had been growing all that time? Many people say this in LOTR, and he seemed to be doing pretty well without it. Is it like fuel running out and having to be topped up?

Chapter 1.2 takes careful reading, Gando.
A shadow fell on my heart then, though I did not know yet what I feared. I wondered often how Gollum came by a Great Ring, as plainly it was - that at least was clear from the first.
-Shadow Of The Past

The early draft of the chapter could explain this, although it was added to later. Gandalf still knew it was a Great Ring but which one? He didn't know where the Three were and it was said that some of the Seven were still guarded by the Dwarves, being the foundation of their hoards of gold. The others were destroyed when dragons devoured them (in an early draft), presumably the entire hoard! Or did they sort through it all to find the Ring? In another version Gandalf says he didn't know it was a Great Ring. It's easy to see why inconsistencies crept in. The nature of the Rings was evolving in these drafts.

Do dragons eat gold? Why would they 'consume' the Rings? Were the Rings really in a pile of gold? How did Thrór manage to escape with his? If the Dwarf Kings always kept them on their person then did the dragons eat a lot of Kings? Where did Tolkien get the idea from, that dragons eat gold? And why would their inner fire destroy the Rings but not their breath fire? Worse than QM.

However the dragons destroyed those Rings you're right Gando, it could've taken ages to find the other Dwarven royal houses and discover the truth of the matter.

I think Gandalf would have known of the Rings for a long time, considering the history and the fact he had one. But not the details maybe. He described the fate of the Rings at that time, but perhaps didn't know when he first suspected. Thus the delay. But yes, he only studied them in earnest after Bilbo found (stole) the One. And it's possible the lesser rings conferred invisibility, I can't find any info about them.

Curse those sloppy scribes.
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on: November 24, 2018 07:24
Elthir said:Gando, Return of the King, Appendix A.
Edit: Appendix A part iv, to narrow it down a bit.

Thank you Elthir. I tend to skip over Appendix A (which is almost as long as the other five combined!) and head straight for App. B. Here's Glorfindel's quote in full: "Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom {a bit over 1000 years}, and not by hand of man will he fall." OK, granted, this does not mean, strictly speaking, that he can not be killed by a man. But that he will not be, so that his fall will be effected by hands other than those of men (here defined very narrowly).


tarcolan said:
For Sauron, recovering the Ring could have become a must at some point, as the native power remaining to him without the Ring was waning.
- Gandolorin

Was it? Why would it suddenly be waning if it had been growing all that time? Many people say this in LOTR, and he seemed to be doing pretty well without it. Is it like fuel running out and having to be topped up?


Curse not just the sloppy scribes, but also our sloppy use of language!

I would take "Sauron's power increased" in the same vein as "Hitler invaded Poland" or "Montgomery beat Rommel". Very few of Sauron's minions outside the Nazgûl would have had any "personal" contact with Sauron, whatever that means (and no, he very definitely was not a gigantic inflamed eye working like a searchlight at the top of Barad-dûr!). What Sauron's enemies saw was the increase in number of his troops, be they his native Orcs and Trolls or allies from way back when from the east and south. Similar to an old and physically enfeebled ruler who commands vastly greater forces in his old age after countless conquests than he did as a young leader who led far smaller forces personally. Now the change is, to my "Morgoth's Ring" slant of thinking, obviously not advancing age, which would mean nothing (or at least little - even the Valar are not entirely unaffected by the passage of time, not even in Valinor, as per several statements by JRRT) to him. But he as Morgoth seems to need to exert his (superhuman) will to achieve his ends, and this exertion takes a toll.

Perhaps even a reason for his getting, as Treebeard would put it, "very hasty" in forcing his attack earlier that he had originally planned after Aragorn hat torn the Palantir of Orthanc from his control. Perhaps even that was a sign of his waning power. He not only tried to prevent his perceived opponent from having time to gather more forces, he also needed to prevent his opponent from becoming familiar with the workings of the Ring, the opponent becoming more powerful the more familiar he got with it. And this with his own unassisted power on the wane. Personal power as being a different matter from the power perceived by others by external "evidence".

[Edited on 11/24/2018 by Gandolorin]
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Elthir
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on: November 24, 2018 08:19
Exactly Gando.

If a seer predicts that Mr. Smith won't die until hit by a bus, that doesn't mean Mr. Smith can jump off a tall building and expect to live.

If the seer "must" be correct, it might mean that after foolishly jumping off a tall building, the crushed and dying Mr. Smith would live just long enough to be hit by a bus!

In my book, Eomer, for example, could have killed the Witch-king.
He didn't obviously, but a prophecy is not a protection, even from the mouth of the great Glorfindel of Gondolin/Rivendell.


We don't expect Glorfindel to be wrong, true, but no one can truly, certainly know that he'll be right, until he is.

Gandolorin
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on: November 24, 2018 10:23
Elthir said:... but a prophecy is not a protection ...

Now that reminds me of one of my other favorite book series, the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. In volume 3 "Life, the Universe and Everything", Arthur Dent meets a very strange creature named Agrajag that apparently constantly gets reincarnated as some entity (petunia bowl, once) that swiftly meets its end somehow with the involvement of Arthur Dent. But then Agrajag mentions an incident at a place called "Stavromula Beta", at which point Arthur Dent interrupts it to point out that he has never been to any such place. Well, that gets cleared up (so to speak) at the end of volume 5 "Mostly Harmless", on Earth (but which one?) of all places. This was Adams' last personally written Hitchhiker book (in 1992), but then Eoin Colfer extended the "four-part trilogy in five volumes" to six with his 2009 commissioned-by-the-estate "And Another Thing ..." (nine years after Adams' death).

But in both secondary-world epics written by their original authors, I do not remember one single "prophecy" of any kind that was ever finally proven false. Both authors seem to have had a bit (if unadknowldged) of a superstitious streak. Compare that to the modern "prophecies" (the garbage is called "planning" these days - believe me, I know what I'm talking about!) by not solely, but mostly economists. Yep, "the media" like to trumpet the one who at the "end of the day" can crow "I told you so!" - utterly ignoring the 99 or 999 or 9999 whose predictions went down in flames. Has to do with the species Homo "sapiens" being almost the worst statistician in the living world. Ants for example are way better ...

[Edited on 11/25/2018 by Gandolorin]
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Lord_Sauron
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on: November 24, 2018 02:51
Elthir said:We don't expect Glorfindel to be wrong, true, but no one can truly, certainly know that he'll be right, until he is.


I understand what you are saying Elthir about the prophecy that Glorfindel says about the WK.

In that case can't the same thing be said about Mando's second prophecy that Morgoth will finally be killed in Dagor Dagorath by the hand of Turin Turambar?
Elthir
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on: November 25, 2018 01:30
According to my head canon, the Second Prophecy of Mandos was dropped by Tolkien -- I note the last paragraph of Quenta Silmarillion [in The Silmarillion, starting with "Here ends the Silmarillion"] -- if the marring of Arda is to be amended "it is not declared in the Dooms of Mandos."

The prophecy itself became a myth of Numenorean origin, or possibly hailed from Andreth herself (at the moment I can't remember the exact wording about this), but in any case it's "clearly made by Men, though Men acquainted with Elvish traditions." Morgoth's Ring, Author's note 7 on the Commentary, Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth.

And if the End is going to happen in my time, I want to stay in shape.

So I'm going jogging today

[Edited on 11/25/2018 by Elthir]
tarcolan
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on: November 25, 2018 08:26
On prophesy
There is a kind of prophesy in Celtic mythology called a geis (gaysh). In Dineen's Irish Dictionary it is defined as "a bond, a spell, a prohibition, a tabu, a magical injunction, the violation of which led to misfortune and death."

For example Fergus mac Roy is compelled to accept invitations to feasts. Sounds nice, but it leads to his murder. Cuchulain's geis was sort of opposite, to refuse to take food from a hearth, and he broke it. These obligations were observed to keep good relations with the world of Faërie. The WK's geis might have been to always accept a challenge from a woman. But then he wasn't bothered about upsetting Elves.

But in both secondary-world epics written by their original authors, I do not remember one single "prophecy" of any kind that was ever finally proven false.
- Gandolorin


Hardly surprising.
I found another slip, Galadriel to Frodo;
"You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine". Oops!
Lord_Sauron
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on: November 25, 2018 10:13
Did Galadriel know that four of the seven were consumed by dragons?
Elthir
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on: November 25, 2018 02:34
tarcolan said: ( . . .) The WK's geis might have been to always accept a challenge from a woman. (. . .)


But as you note, it's the violation of a geis that proves disastrous, so how would that work given the meeting between the Witch-king and Eowyn as described in the book?

For me this prophecy is about wordplay with respect to the spoken word M/man.

And Tolkien can not only play with the double meaning here (not a Man, Merry, not a man, Eowyn), but have the Witch-king boast that "no living man may hinder" him, a saying which need not refer to the prophecy, but I would say certainly "links" with it in any case, and sets up Eowyn's reveal.


Brilliant!

[Edited on 11/26/2018 by Elthir]
tarcolan
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on: November 26, 2018 01:19
I don't think there's any more info about the other six Dwarven Rings, L_S. But I'd be very surprised if Galadriel didn't know the same history as Gandalf.

Elthir, sorry if I didn't explain that very well. Finn mac Roy obeyed his geis and went to the feast, and he was murdered. Cuchulain accepted an offer to eat by a hearth, violating his geis, and his arm went all weak. You never know what's going to happen with geise. Did I read that Tolkien didn't care for Celtic tales? Not surprising really, they are a bit random and not suited to his purpose.
Elthir
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on: November 26, 2018 02:16
Ahhh, thanks Tarcolan. And I checked my MacKillop Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, which has a much longer entry for geis, including a softer statement about violation: "The breaking of a geis often brings instant death and sometimes also ill favour or destruction to the culprit's people."


And yes, you're probably recalling Tolkien's statement in letter 19: "I do know Celtic things ( . . .), and feel for them a certain distaste: largely for their fundamental unreason. They have bright colour, but are like a broken stained glass window reassembled without design."

Still, that's a broad statement. I don't think it rules out all Celtic influence of any kind or measure (not that anyone said otherwise).

[Edited on 11/26/2018 by Elthir]
Gandolorin
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on: November 26, 2018 04:03
tarcolan said:I don't think there's any more info about the other six Dwarven Rings, L_S. But I'd be very surprised if Galadriel didn't know the same history as Gandalf.

..........

Did I read that Tolkien didn't care for Celtic tales? Not surprising really, they are a bit random and not suited to his purpose.

Galadriel: Yes, I would guess Galadriel to be quite knowledgeable about rings, especially Great Rings. If memory serves, she's the only one of the Ring-bearers of The Three in the Third Age to have received her Ring, Nenya the Ring of Waters (=> Ulmo?) or Ring of Adamant (shades of Wolverine! ) directly from Celebrimbor. Elrond received Vilya the Ring of Air (sapphire, => Manwë?) via Gil-galad "shortly before the final battle of the Last Alliance" (huh? didn't they both take part in the last battle? Or does "last battle" mean the Elendil-and-Gil-galad-versus-Sauron encounter?). Gandalf received Narya the Ring of Fire ("red stone", ruby? => Aulë?) last via Cirdan. So Galadriel could have gotten lots of information directly from Celebrimbor.

Celtic tales: I can sympathize with JRRT in his being a bit leery of Celtic tales. From a vacation to Ireland in the early '90s, I brought back two books, on "Celtic Myths and Legends" (apparently a group effort, my edition 1993, originally 1985), and "A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend, and Folklore" by Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats. My edition is from 1986, and in the foreword it is stated that "This volume unites for the first time two classic works of Irish folklore and mythology which could well have been published togethr long ago, since they were both first printed near the turn of the century."

Yeats' book (he was editor, most of the writing was done by others) is "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry" and was first published 1888. Lady Gregory's book was "Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster". Lady Gregory's work is criticized by some as being overly "sanitized" (to spare too easily scandalized Victorian sensibilities?), and the comparison of her writings and the "rawer" versions of the tale in CM&L is certainly marked.

One point about the decay of what were once beliefs into myths, then legends, and finally "fairy stories" is made by the folklore stoy "A Legend of Knockmany" involving two giants, Fin M'Coul and Cucullin, the latter of ideternimate descent (Irish or Scotch) but at any rate the most powerful giant in Ireland, and how by a trick Fin's wife scared away Cucullin, who was spoiling for a fight with Fin, the only giant left in Ireland that he hadn't yet given a beating to.

Cucullin: yep, that's Cú Chulainn of the Ultonian or Ulster Cycle, by some traditions said to depict events from around the birth of Christ. (An interesting P.S.: even perhaps 2000 years a go, there seems to be a consensus that the Ultonians are constantly at loggerheads with the rest of Ireland ...)
Fin M'Coul: Finn mac Cumhal, one of the main heros of the Ossianic Cycle (oddly named after Finn's son Oisin or Ossian - ah, he is traditionally considered the author of most of the tales, so something of a Plato / Socrates situation), supposed to have taken place during the third century A.D. And rather than "among the bleak hills or on the stern rock-bound coasts of Ulster", the action takes place in the Midlands or South of Ireland, perhaps Killarney.

Quite a steep drop on the scale of storytelling, from semi-divine hero (which is probably one reason why Cú Chulainn is often calles the "Irish Hercules" - he's awfully strong, too) to rather dim-witted fairy- or folk-tale giant. Finn's drop is hardly less precipitous.

But even in the original versions (Lady Gregory's version, as mentioned above, already being heavily edited), there is something mad and irrational about the stories, having made me occasionally want to call out "whoa! hang on! time out!". Túrin Turambar would look like a rational, well-balanced, serene personality in some this company (of course he is a very much edited version of Finnland's wild man Kullervo).

[Edited on 11/26/2018 by Gandolorin]
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tarcolan
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on: November 27, 2018 09:31
Thanks Elthir. Quite ironic for him to find Celtic mythology distasteful really. On another tack wasn't the idea of the Land of Faërie being separated from our world from Celtic myth? Wasn't there a battle, a threat from the world of Men?
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on: November 27, 2018 11:37
Perhaps it was just easier for Galadriel to say that he holds the Seven and the Nine rather than say
He holds the Nine and only Three of the Seven.

This just came to me, If the Four were consumed by dragons and we assume that consumed means that the dragons ate them are the rings destroyed or just simply sitting in the dragons stomachs unable to be digested?
Elthir
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on: November 28, 2018 01:26
Lord_Sauron said: Perhaps it was just easier for Galadriel to say that he holds the Seven and the Nine rather than say He holds the Nine and only Three of the Seven.


Huzzah!

The answer for me (which I think agrees with your point here) is simply that Galadriel is talking like a normal person, to a Hobbit, and "seven" obviously enough refers to the Dwarf-rings, no matter the details, which would be, in my opinion, not only unnecessarily pedantic here, but less poetic too.


Tolkien could have worded Galadriel's line so that the issue raised in this thread wouldn't be raised, but if the exchange is natural enough, and conveys the information to both Frodo and the reader, for myself, I see no great reason to tick this as a slip.


I think there are other instances of this in The Lord of the Rings -- for example, Gandalf chatting to Frodo about the Great Rings and invisibility, or Aragorn referring to Sauron not allowing his name to be used (Sauron's name, not Aragorn's).


Some folks find these examples to be mistakes. I find them examples of natural speech -- when the intended meaning is clear enough, and a more detailed digression, or more careful phrasing, is not really necessary in the moment, despite that either would arguably be more accurate.


All in my opinion anyway

[Edited on 11/28/2018 by Elthir]
Gandolorin
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on: November 28, 2018 04:12
About those seven Rings once posessed by the Dwarf-kings and Galdriel's statement:

I found the following statement by Gandalf in UT "Part Three: The Third Age", III. "The Quest for Erebor": "The Dragon {Smaug} Sauron might use with terrible effect."

Now I can imagin that a certain breed of lawyers - or at least as they are portrayed in books / TV shows / movies - would jump on this statement and cry "Aha! So Mr. Sauron has control of these creatures! Therefore, in a wider sense the statement that Mr. Sauron 'holds the Seven' is true, and the perfunctory detail of whether personally (as is claimed for three) or by proxy via Dragons (as is claimed for four) is of no relevance!"

Which brings me to all writings regarding "The Quest for Erebor". A first abridged version appears in Appendix A in RoTK. Then there's the UT version. Some newly-found material in HoME vol.12 "Peoples". And at last, something of a "definitive" version published with CRT's approval in "The Annotated Hobbit" by Douglas A. Anderson, revised edition 2002 (I have a 2012 German translation with additional material, especially in the bibliography).

Not a slip of the pen in the strict sense that we are discussing here, but held by some to be a misguided effort, to link The Hobbit so firmly in the M-e legendarium ("let it stand as a fairy-tale with some historical background"; like the folk-tale I mentioned above about the giants Cucullin and Fin M'Coul). In a German collection of stories and articles abouts Hobbits, published - surprise! - 2012 (there was a flood of such stuff that year), there is an article dealing with the two editions of The Hobbit (the second not limited to the actual book, but including TQfE), specifically the somewhat forced nature of trying to justify Gandalf's decision to send thirteen Dwarves (and not the crème de la crème of Dwarven warriors, to put it very mildly!) and a flabby middle-aged Hobbit to confront Smaug. Particularly the aspect of Smaug's being unfamiliar with Bilbo's smell is jeered at mildly: "... not being able to place the smell of the thief would probably put Smaug off - ahhh - for about six seconds."

The author of the article poits out that (even in the revised book) Tolkien almost goes out of his way to portray not just Bilbo but practically all of the Dwarves as somewhat of a bunch of bumbling misfits, of course all for comic relief. Which makes Gandalf's decision to send this bunch against Smaug such a horrific lost cause that the much later decision to send the One Ring to the fires of Mount Doom in the Middle of Mordor seems sane by comparison.

A thought just struck me. PJ also loads up the Dwarven company with masses of comic relief (which he had already basically done with Gimli in LoTR, to my lasting annoyance). But then in this one instance he is actually staying closer to the temper of the book than one realizes at first - of course we're all expecting a "Hobbit" film much closer to the LoRT film than the books are.

[Edited on 11/28/2018 by Gandolorin]
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