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[LotR] - Chapter 03 - 'Three is Company'


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#1 Enarwaen

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 06:18 PM

anyway ... before we allow dust to settle in our Reading Group - i'll proudly present the next thrilling chapter ... 'Three is Company'

This chapter features the 'original' plan of Frodo's departure from the Shire - his sale of Bag End *sniff* - a Black Rider reaching Hobbiton - an more or less uneventful romp through the country-side - and the first actual encounter with a Black Rider - and of course Elves.

'Elves!' exclaimed Sam in a hoarse whisper. 'Elves, sir!'

The meeting with Gildor Inglorion reveals more of the danger that pursues our three Hobbits - and it features some odd late-night BBQ and festivities :)
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#2 av_nefardec

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 06:50 PM

I just have to say I love this chapter - the meeting with Gildor Inglorion is one of my favorite parts. Mainly because the first time I read it I had no conception of the history of the Noldor, and when I read it now, I have a much more complete conception of their history. So it means so much more to me now that I can understand the Noldor so much better. Also it reminds me each time about how much I have learned.
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#3 Gilluin

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 07:48 PM

I have to agree Adam, Gildor is one of my favourite characters in the entire trilogy and he is your first real encounter with Elves and it left me wanting to know more. I always got a kick out of the line though that he uses on Frodo, not directly but it is something like this - I dare not tell you more for fear that the terror would keep you from your path! Like that isn't in itself terrifying enough!

Great Chapter!
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#4 Curufinwe

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 10:25 AM

(:)

a few remarks for this chapter:

although the second chapter showed that the "Hobbit" tone had radically changed, we can still see some remnants of it ... as if Tolkien was reluctant to abandon the idea of a Hobbit 2.

"Hobbits!" he thought. "Well, what's next? I have heard of strange things doing in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree.

This speaking character is a fox ... It seems quite odd to find such a passage in LotR, especially in later chapters ...

Finally, this is the chapter where all things change ... with the appearance of the Black Rider ... From then on, the tone of the text is itself darker, all the way through, except when elves appear.
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#5 rohirwine

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 09:43 PM

This evening i'm planning to read all three chapters in a row, so to keep up with the line. :)

I deeply agree with Curu, here: this is the switch chapter...
... i wish we knew some more about Gildor...
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#6 Drashkurz

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 11:43 PM

Yes, Gildor is rather enigmatic. Who is he? What's his purpose? Why is he seeking the havens? These are questions that need to be answered. Do the HoME hold no clues?

By the way, rohirwine, in the sig - wasn't Jethro Tull an eighteenth-century Agricultural Revolutionist who invented the seed drill?
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#7 Curufinwe

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 11:40 AM

(:)

Well, it seems quite clear to me that Gildor is a Noldo ... an Exile as he says. Therefore, I quite understand why he wants to go into the West ...
As for his purpose, he may have none, except the knowledge of the existence of the One Ring and the wish to have it sent to Rivendell ASAP ...
that's my belief.
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David B. [ a.k.a Curufinwe ]
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Visit Ardaquenta - our community driven Encyclopedia on J.R.R. Tolkien and Arda.
contact me: Curufinwe's email

"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 Ñoldor


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#8 Mithrandil

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 04:23 PM

I began far too late, but now it seems I cought up with you, and even passed it...

Well, indeed a good chapter, but my remark is that up until this chapter, I pictured elves far different from how I picture them later in the books. This feeling only comes back one more time, and that is when (if I recall it right, it could also be a quote from The Hobbit) the elves in Rivendell start singing. This vision of the elves is more mystical, far more joyfull, and less powerfull and wise than the vision I have with the elves in the Silmarillion and later in the books. Don't know what causes it though.
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Loonis Logghe [ aka Mithrandil ]

'Shouldn't we send him a message and call in his help?' Erestor asked. 'It seems that he even has control of the Ring.'
'No, I shouldn't say it that way,' Gandalf said. 'Rather say the Ring hasn't got control of him. He's his own master. But he can't change the ring, nor break the power it has on others.'


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#9 Beren IV

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 02:44 AM

The question that always facinates me is what does the encounter with Gildor indicate about Elven life? All of the other Elves we meet in the trilogy are Elves living in or around Elven cities (Imladris, Caras Gladhorn, etc.).

It has always seemed to me, based on the fact that the tales of Elves have them wandering all over the place, that Elves are a very wanderlustful and consequently semi-nomadic people, and that their cities are refugia and places of gathering more than they are places of dwelling. Tolkien conviently glosses over exactly who Gildor's party consists of; presumably, they are Noldor, possibly Teleri, since they refer to themselves as Exiles, again, presumably, from Aman. But are they from Imladris and on their journey to the Havens? It does not seem so, since they have a hall that they take the Hobbits to (an Elven dwelling in the Shire!). How many other bands of Elves like them are there in Middle Earth? How widely are they distrubuted? Considering that they are able to live in the Shire without the Hobbits knowing of their existence, it seems likely that they could be all over Middle Earth (although probably not in the southlands like Rohan and Gondor - it is easier to hide in woods, which the Shire has plenty of, and Elves like forests anyway).


The other question that I think about when reading this chapter is why the Nazgûl seem so ineffective in pursuing the Hobbits. At the time Tolkien first wrote this chapter, he had no idea how powerful the Nazgûl were, but by the end of the book, they were quite powerful. Are they merely weak because this is daytime, they are far from Mordor, and Sauron has not bent his will on their might in arms? Are they under orders not to kill? In the context of LotR itself, this is plausible, but a description of the hunt for the Ring in Unfinished Tales has them slaying the Dúnedain guard on the Shire, but they still don't cut down Farmer Maggot for his insolence. Perhaps they are trying to be at least somewhat inconspicuous? Perhaps they are having some trouble keeping up with the Hobbits because they are themselves being pursued by Dúnedain and Elves from Lindon?
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#10 Drashkurz

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 08:47 AM

The other question that I think about when reading this chapter is why the Nazgûl seem so ineffective in pursuing the Hobbits. At the time Tolkien first wrote this chapter, he had no idea how powerful the Nazgûl were, but by the end of the book, they were quite powerful. Are they merely weak because this is daytime, they are far from Mordor, and Sauron has not bent his will on their might in arms? Are they under orders not to kill? In the context of LotR itself, this is plausible, but a description of the hunt for the Ring in Unfinished Tales has them slaying the Dúnedain guard on the Shire, but they still don't cut down Farmer Maggot for his insolence. Perhaps they are trying to be at least somewhat inconspicuous? Perhaps they are having some trouble keeping up with the Hobbits because they are themselves being pursued by Dúnedain and Elves from Lindon?

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I think perhaps that the answe is 'to be inconspicuous'. After all, the hobbits don't know that the Rangers are guarding Sarn Ford, but Farmer Maggot is an important landowner and thus his absence would be missed.
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#11 rohirwine

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 07:43 AM

OT: yes, Dashkurz, Jethro Tull was that person, but his name has been reused by a famous progressive rock english band... :)
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#12 Caedus

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 11:16 PM

About who Gildor is: he calls himself 'of the house of Finrod', so I take it he belonged to the entourage of Finrod took with him from Valinor (as Gildor is an High Elf). Possibly he is even kin to Finrod himself, but that is speculation from my part.

I also wondered why the Ringwraiths were so incapable of actually sensing were the ring was. I think Beren provided a good answer in that they themselves may be hunted upon by Rangers and Elves (what was Gildor's party doing there anyway?) in a land strange to them.

Some more comments:

I marvel at how deep and realistic Tolkien depicts the characters. He let's them struggle with emotions that may not always seem rational (and emotions often aren't), but surely natural. Frodo always wanted to travel, but when he needs to, he hestitates to leaves the place he lives in. A lesser author would've let his main character dive in the action, but not so Tolkien.

In the last chapter Frodo scared Sam by telling him Gandalf would turn him into a toad. At the beginning of this chapter however, Gandalf promises to actually DO that if Sam can't keep his mouth shut. Question is: does he really have the power to do so? It seems a bit out of the way, considering the rest of the 'magical' elements in Middle Earth.

About Sam's 'farewell' to the beer barrel: I have the feeling Tolkien doesn't try to add funny elements, but rather that he describes the characters so well that they automatically act like they should. It makes the funny elements genuine funny to me.

The thinking fox is actually of huge philosophical weight! If we had that knowledge in our present day, thinking would've a whole different meaning! Animals capable of rational thought? I won't bore you guys with too much dull information, but for one it would make the difference between animals and humans not essential (meaning there is a huge gap that can't be crossed between them) but gradual (which means there are differences between animals and humans but we would stay in the same 'line' --> our essence is the same).

I really liked the poem about the road. And the TLA group does too, why else would you guys have placed it on the welcome page :axeman:! It's great to think that the road in front of my door leads to so many different and far-away places.

Do you try to sing the songs out loud? I do and that makes me like them even more, even though I am not always able to find the right melody :torch:.

Minor point: could the second encounter with a Black Rider, actually have been an encounter with the Witch-King himself, as Frodo can't resist the temptation to put on the Ring, contrary to the first encounter. It's fortunate the Elves showed up.

The inspirating desription of the star-lit heaven, reminds me again how fundamentel the sky is in Tolkien's work. It makes me think: will the TLA group be able to implent this properly in the game? I believe you are already planning on night and day themes, but to let the stars and the moon and the sun return? Very difficult I think, if you use that isometric view I saw in the screenshot os 0ad.

Finally: the Hobbits really are honoured that the High Elves take them with them AND serve them with diner. I know the Ringwraiths are pursuing the poor little folks and the Elves wouldn't want them to get hurt, but still that doesn't automatically mean they would serve them.
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Anco Peeters [ aka Caedus ]

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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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#13 Beren IV

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 06:29 PM

Interesting thoughts.

In the last chapter Frodo scared Sam by telling him Gandalf would turn him into a toad. At the beginning of this chapter however, Gandalf promises to actually DO that if Sam can't keep his mouth shut. Question is: does he really have the power to do so? It seems a bit out of the way, considering the rest of the 'magical' elements in Middle Earth.


I am not sure you can make this claim out of hand.

Fantastical powers, or "magic" to use the common English word*, is not fully described in The Lord of the Rings. There is quite a bit of it happening "off-stage" so-to-speak, while the Hobbits aren't looking. Tolkien, however, never describes Middle Earth from the prospective of, say, Gandalf, or Galadriel, or Sauron, so we really don't know how much. Does Gandalf hold off on flexing his powers because he literally can't, or because he is sworn not to, or because he is afraid of revealing himself to the enemy (see Book II chapter III)? Are there any other beings besides the Maiar that wield fantastical powers? For instance, Tolkien does not describe the bulk of the armies in Middle-Earth in the battles in the later books in terms of what kinds of weapons or armor they have. He drops hints and notes around that clearly show that they use swords, spears, bows, and such, but they presumably have other weapons as well (e.g. hammers, maces, axes, etc.). Is "magic" among their weaponry? Or gunpowder? How is it that the Orcs are able to fill ditches with fire on the Pellenor (or blow holes in its wall)? Obviously they have something more than Dark-Age weaponry, but Tolkien never says what, or how much.

I think it very clear that Tolkien intentionally left it ambiguous just how fantastical Arda is. This means that he did not describe the fantastical parts of it, and this carries the side effect that the most literal interpretation has the world being not very fantastical. We can envision it as a pre-history of our own Earth with religious overtones, with relatively little magic and technology (although still too much technology, since for it to fit with history it would have to be pre-iron age). Alternatively, we can envision it as a truly fantastical world, every bit as fantastical as your "standard" fantasy world, although perhaps with a different emphasis.

Can Gandalf turn Sam into a toad? There is no reason to be sure that he can't - but at the same time, Gandalf says he will do things as a dangerous Wizard (e.g. "I shall roast him" [Butterbur]), even though he never carries out those threats. I tend to doubt that Gandalf would turn Sam into a toad, just as he does not turn Butterbur into a roast. But that doesn't mean that he can't - and we do know that he can torch things.
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#14 Caedus

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 03:35 PM

I'm sorry I can't prove my point with textreferences and good arguments, but it doesn't feel like Gandalf, or any other powerful being in Middle Earth, to be able to turn some one into a toad.

I mean, torching things by casting fire comes from the wizard himself, but directly altering other objects seems like quite another category of powers.
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Anco Peeters [ aka Caedus ]

The Last Alliance Semi-active TLA forumer (philosophy student)

"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.

Nice Mythology site: Encyclopedia Mythica