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[LotR] - Chapter 02 - 'The Shadow of the Past'


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#1 Enarwaen

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 12:50 PM

well well well ... Chapter 2 is 'THE' place in the early parts of the story where we get laid out the story and the quest. Frodo learns of the dark past of his inherited Ring and Gandalf is at his best ...

it is VERY interesting to follow the creation of this pivotal chapter in HoME vol.06 and to peep over Tolkien's shoulders as he struggles with his narrative ...

i'll post some snippets soon that really stick out ... but right now i've got other things to tend to ...
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#2 dathui

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 12:56 PM

argh...no time to keep up..will try to read both tonight...
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#3 Curufinwe

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:15 PM

(:)

will read it tomorrow on the train in going to work.
I do not really have clear memories of that chapter. It will be a good occasion to read it all through ... :)
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#4 av_nefardec

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 11:34 PM

I always liked this chapter because it was such a necessary chapter in the storyline. It's the bridge between the harmless feeling of the Hobbit and the first chapter of LotR and the darker, sometimes nearly hopeless feelings of the rest of the books.
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Adam [aka av_nefardec]

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#5 Enarwaen

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 07:26 PM

My Comments

This chapter is IMO the turning point in Professor Tolkien's (at first) aimless approach on producing a sequel to 'The Hobbit'.

The narrative so far includes themes as
* Bilbo has reached a certain age (70 or 111) - he wants to leave the Shire (for various reasons)
* the Ring is said to have a somehow unwholesome influence on it's bearer - making him uneasy and stirrs up unrest.
* Bilbo passes the Ring on to Frodo (with Gandalf's help)
* Gollum consciously seems to have wanted to get rid of the Ring by himself - and wanted to use the arrival of Bilbo for that exact action. Their riddle-game had two possible outcomes - 1) Gollum wins and can eat Bilbo; 2) Bilbo wins and Gollum makes him a present (the Ring)
This reflects the initial state of Tolkien's narrative in 'The Hobbit' as it were back in 1937. He revised and changed that around the time LotR was first published in 1954 - to accomodate the changed narrative.
Now Bilbo won the riddle-game and Gollum (lacking the 'present') promised to show Bilbo the way out.

The conception (at first) of the Ring was still uncertain. For one it makes it's bearer invisible ... but after prolonged use it makes him restless and the bearer wants to bestow it upon another (unlucky) victim.

Now Tolkien again picked up the narrative - up to the point which is the first appearance of a Black Rider behind the Hobbits in Woody End (which initially was to be Gandalf himself - but Tolkien quickly changed that).

The sequel to The Hobbit has now progressed as far as the end of the third chapter. But stories tend to get out of hand, and  this has taken an unpremeditated turn. Mr Lewis and my youngest boy are reading it in   bits as a serial. I hesitate to bother your son, though I should value his criticism. At any rate if he would like to read it in serial form  he can.


That 'unpremediated turn' was of course the first appearance of a Black Rider!

<more coming soon>
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#6 Caedus

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 01:51 AM

Ah, how wonderful it must have been to read his progress and comment on it :)!

I really have to agree with what Adam said, about this chapter being the bridge between The Hobbit and TLotR: when Gandalf is telling his story, the shadows seem to grow and evil near: it's getting darker and more serious. Poor Frodo.

Now for some comments of my own:
I hadn't really thought about this, but even though Frodo is (almost) fifty, he still looks like in his tweens. I just point this out, because I read somewhere on some forum (don't know if it was this one) that the movies got it wrong, with the age of Frodo (he was supposedly to young). But it seems that has played out rather well, as the Ring already has its effect on Frodo.
Btw. how would the normal age and behaviour of a Hobbit at fifty compare to a Man (as in: how old would a Man be that's on the same developed level, emotionally/maturally/psychologically wise)?

Gandalf states that evil things are walking around increasingly more. He also says that there are Trolls that are more cunning and have 'dreadful weapons'. What exactly would he mean with that? For a wizard of his stature I wouldn't call an ordinairy club 'dreadful'.

The 'Tree-man' or giant Sam is talking about in the Green Dragon, would that be an Ent? Or possibly an Ent-wife?

Are there any stories of what happened to people that received the lesser Rings, or the 'try-outs' of the Elven craftsman?

Why did Gandalf wait so long with acting, if he know from the beginning that the Ring was a Great Ring?

Gandalf tells us that the Great Rings that were giving to the Dwarves, were either taken by Sauron or consumed by dragons. But how would this last thing have happened? Why would dragons want to consume magical (and also dangerous) Rings? Did Sauron just allowed them to do that?

Gandalf also tells that Sauron first believed the Ring to be destroyed. But if so, wouldn't he have felt that? And how could he again become so powerful is the Ring was destroyed?

He, Gandalf, is already suspiciant of Saruman, but doesn't specifically expresses his doubts yet. Still he trusts him, and calls it pride that has taken hold of the great White Wizard.

Gandalf calls Aragorn the 'greatest huntsman and traveller' of this age of the world. Would he mean the whole Third Age with that? If so, Gandalf really thinks highly of Aragorn, even more highly than of his, direct, ancestors.

Clearly, Frodo can't bring himself to destroy the Ring. Wouldn't this be a major flaw in Gandalfs plan later on, as, even if he did went with Frodo to Mordor, Frodo would never allow harm to be done to the Ring. How would Gandalf have solved this?

-------------------

As you can see, many points that can be discussed upon :D. Overall, I think it's a chapter that takes hold of the reader, sets the tone for the book and gives one an idea of the vastness that is (the history of) Middle-Earth.
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"Christopher was always much concerned with the consistency of the story and on one occasion ... interrupted: 'Last time, you said Bilbo's front door was blue, and you said Thorin had a golden tassel on his hood, but you've just said that Bilbo's front door was green, and the tassel on Thorin's hood was silver'; at which point Ronald exclaimed 'Damn the boy!' and strode across the room to make a note."

~ Priscilla and John Tolkien, The Tolkien Family Album, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992, p. 58.

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#7 Curufinwe

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 10:20 AM

(:)

a few remarks that I would like to make:

at the very beginning of the chapter, we have a very interesting point:

and eventually Mad Baggins, who used to vanish with a bang and a flash and reappear with bags of jewels and gold, became a favourite character of legend and lived  on long after all the true events were forgotten.

We can draw a parallel with Leprechauns and Lutins and all over Celtic legendary small folks ... that they appeared and reappeared with cauldrons of gold. Tolkien surely wanted to tell us that these legends come from Bilbo's story that was twisted all over the Ages ...

A few pages after, Sam says something that is worth noticing.

But what about those Tree-Men, these giants ...

As Caedus pointed out, they may be Ents or Ent-Wives ... or it may also be one of Hal's lies ;)

Now, something that struck me ...

... and they stayed up far into the night.
  Next morning after a late breakfast, the wizard was sitting with Frodo by the open window of the study.

Where did Gandalf sleep??? I don't think a Hobbit bed was big enough for a wizard, however powerful he was ... :(

Something else now, regarding the Rings of Power ...

Seven the Dwarf-Kings possessed, but three he has recovered, and the others the dragon have consumed.

I had always remembered that the Dwarven Rings had been lost or something like that ... I was wrong ;)

Regarding Hobbits, we learn how they lived in the Vales of Anduin.

... it was ruled by a grandmother of the folk, stern and wise in old lore ...

I thought it was odd that they had a matriarchal system in those days, while the Hobbits at the time of the War of the Ring and before clearly had a patriarchal system ...

As a conclusion, as Bernd said, this chapter is a turning point. Besides, we can see the change of tone of a book that was supposed to be The Hobbit 2 into The Lord of the Rings. The end of the chapter introduces Sam, the character who will lead the quest to its end.
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David B. [ a.k.a Curufinwe ]
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"They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name even of Ilúvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them if they kept it not..."
Quenta Silmarillion - Of the Flight of the Ņoldor


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