LoTR - The Appendices

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Merry
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Merry » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:01 am

I cheated, too, Lindariel, although the title of The Return of the King should have given us a clue!

I'm actually okay with how Tolkien wrote the story in this regard. To me, the image of Aragorn standing behind Arwen's throne in the Hall of Fire spoke volumes and I was fine with leaving how that happened a mystery. He had to grow into his kingship through the volumes, so I'm not sure where there would have been a place to detour in detail into the past. He would have had to reveal Lothlorien to us, and I was happy for that to be a lovely surprise right where it was. And although the possibility of a romance between Aragorn and Eowyn was only hinted at in the books, knowing that Aragorn and Arwen were formally betrothed would have left even that small possibility dead in the water.

My friends and students, even those who like LOTR, complain pretty steadily about how slow-going the first part is. I've talked to several people who never made it through the first volume. I don't share their experience of this, but Tolkien had to be aware of the need for the story to progress. So I imagine, anyway, that he didn't want to include what would have been a detour, even if it is a nice one! So I guess I don't see it as disorganization.
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Philipa » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:16 am

I agree with Merry the added text of any romantic dealings between Arwen and Aragorn may have bogged down the story. In my humble opinion these books wouldn't have benefited with a large romance angle. I think the Eowyn and Faramir story is all the more sweet because theirs was the only developed one in the story.
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Riv Res » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:20 pm

Lindariel wrote: You must understand -- I NEVER skip to the end of the book, but for Aragorn, I CHEATED!!!


You must understand :wink: :lol: that I always skip to the end of the book and Tolkien's chapter titles did help a bit ... but ... the end of the book to me meant the end of the book text, NOT the Appendices. I still didn't get all that info until I actually read it at the end. D'oh!! :roll: :roll:
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Riv Res » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:33 pm

Merry wrote:My friends and students, even those who like LOTR, complain pretty steadily about how slow-going the first part is. I've talked to several people who never made it through the first volume. I don't share their experience of this, but Tolkien had to be aware of the need for the story to progress. So I imagine, anyway, that he didn't want to include what would have been a detour, even if it is a nice one! So I guess I don't see it as disorganization.


I must be REALLY different. :lol: :lol:

I agree that the story started slowly, all that Hobbit fiddle faddle again, but that ended very quickly for me and Tolkien sunk the hook when he brought in the Black Riders. I was obsessed with the story after that. Then he introduced Strider in Bree and strongly hinted that he was some long lost King. Oh boy!! The plot thickens! Don't get me wrong. I love the Hobbits, but at Bree for me, the story became all about Aragorn and his Kingship.

Merry and Philipa, Tolkien's story bogs down in ssooooo many other places that I can't buy the premise that giving us more of Aragorn's and Arwen's back story throughout the text would have damaged the already all over the place story. I even think Shippey would agree with me because he has written eloquently about Tolkien's rambling writing style.

I have the distinct impression that since Tolkien invented Arwen at the last minute when he realized that a tragic union between Aragorn and Eowyn would not allow Aragorn's line to continue, that he felt the need to expound on their background and being pressured by the publisher to get the story finished, he just threw it in at the end. That's how it feels to me. :wink:
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Philipa » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:26 pm

Riv Res wrote:Merry and Philipa, Tolkien's story bogs down in ssooooo many other places that I can't buy the premise that giving us more of Aragorn's and Arwen's back story throughout the text would have damaged the already all over the place story. I even think Shippey would agree with me because he has written eloquently about Tolkien's rambling writing style.


You get no argument with me about some of those slow places within the story but adding a love interest as Tolkien does with much more story that the story would have been four books long instead of three. :lol: He loves to expound on love stories (as evident with other man / elf love stories) and we'd never get to the hobbity bits of LoTR with them.

I have the distinct impression that since Tolkien invented Arwen at the last minute when he realized that a tragic union between Aragorn and Eowyn would not allow Aragorn's line to continue, that he felt the need to expound on their background and being pressured by the publisher to get the story finished, he just threw it in at the end. That's how it feels to me. :wink:


Yes I have to agree, like an after thought we learn about Arwen in the appendices. He must have regretted that outcome.
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Merry » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:42 am

Even if Tolkien had included the backstory of the romance, he would have needed to wind up the story--Aragorn's long reign, his giving up his life, and Arwen's sad existence after that--in the appendices. Does that part of the story stand alone?
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Riv Res » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:28 pm

Merry, that is exactly the part of their story that belongs in an/the Appendices. It is their final chapter. It buttons up their story. IMHO :wink:
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Philipa » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:46 am

I've been reading about Durin's folk and once again, had completely forgotten the story of Thrain and the Elven ring of power. Tolkien mentions that the 7 rings given to the dwarfs had little effect on them.

"The only power over them that the Rings wielded was to inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless, and they were filled with wrath and desire for vengeance on all who deprived them."

This explains why Thrain left Lune to go back to Erebor to reclaim the King under the mountain status.

"But they were made from their beginning of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination. Though they could be slain or broken, they could not be reduced to shadows enslaved to another will; and for the same reason their lives were not affected by any Ring, to live either longer or shorter because of it."

At least Tolkien gave us the theory why Gimli could not bring the The One Ring to Mordor and that is to say he may have decided to go off gold hunting. Or even if Moria was still in the path to Mordor he wouldn't want to leave it.

Sorry if this is old news to you both. I'm just rediscovering the things I'd forgotten. :D
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Riv Res » Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:53 pm

Great stuff, Philipa!

It leaves me to wonder about Thror, Thrain, and Thorin. Tolkien seems to suggest that the 'gold sickness' that they suffered from was the result of wearing the Ring, does it not? "The only power over them that the Rings wielded was to inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless, and they were filled with wrath and desire for vengeance on all who deprived them."

The explains very neatly Thror's and Thrain's 'madness', but what about Thorin? I can not recall that he ever had contact with his father's Ring, so where did his drive to regain Erebor come from? Certainly not from the Ring. Thorin wanted the Arkenstone and his desire for it was perhaps akin to a madness, but was that because it was the true gem that Durin's heir should have to prove his right to rule?


"But they were made from their beginning of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination. Though they could be slain or broken, they could not be reduced to shadows enslaved to another will ..."
Philipa, maybe if Gimli had possessed Thrain's Ring, he too could have resisted the ONE Ring? :-k
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Merry » Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:39 pm

Was the Arkenstone the sign of the true heir in the books, or just the movies?

I thought those parts were interesting, too, Philipa. It seems that Little People (hobbits and dwarves) can resist evil more than big people. I love the turnabout here!
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Lindariel » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:11 pm

That was a movie plot device only. In the book, Thorin simply wants it because it is such a unique and beautiful gem, " The Heart of the Mountain," which I take means that the Arkenstone was discovered there at Erebor, rather than obtained in trade.
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Riv Res » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:30 pm

Lindariel, I have never heard of the Arkenstone being acquired in a trade. That's a new one to me. :?

The Arkenstone was, indeed, the greatest treasure of the Dwarf-kings of Erebor. According to The New Tolkien Companion, "The Arkenstone was a great white gem of brilliant translucency, mined from 'The-Heart-of-the-Mountain' - as the jewel was itself afterwards called by the Dwarves of Durin's House."

According to The Encyclopedia of Arda ...

The great jewel discovered beneath the roots of Erebor by Thráin I soon after the establishment of the Dwarf-kingdom there, and prized by his descendants as the Heart of the Mountain. The Dwarves used all their skill to work the gem into a shimmering multi-faceted jewel that not only shone by its own pale light, but when light fell upon it, the stone '...changed it into ten thousand sparks of white radiance shot with glints of the rainbow.' (The Hobbit 13, Not at Home). It was a heavy gem, small enough for Bilbo to hold in one hand, yet not so small that he could close his own small hand around it.

In the centuries after its discovery, the Arkenstone became an heirloom of the Kings of Durin's Folk. It was carried away into the Grey Mountains by Thráin's son, and in time brought back to the Great Hall of Thráin under the Mountain by his descendant Thrór. When Smaug sacked Erebor, the Arkenstone was lost to the Dwarves of Durin's Folk - it lay among Smaug's booty in the halls of Erebor.

Many years later, when Thorin led a band of Dwarves to recover their ancient city, their companion Bilbo Baggins discovered the Arkenstone, and kept it for himself. Later, when the Lake-men and Wood-elves came to demand their own shares of Smaug's treasure from Thorin, Bilbo delivered the Arkenstone to them to bargain with. In the ensuing Battle of Five Armies, though, all enmities were forgotten, and Bard of Dale placed the Heart of the Mountain on the breast of Thorin in his tomb beneath Erebor. So, nearly a thousand years after its discovery by Thráin I, the Arkenstone was buried once more in the depths beneath the Lonely Mountain.


I do think the movie was headed in the right direction concerning it's importance though.
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Philipa » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:51 pm

Riv Res wrote:
I do think the movie was headed in the right direction concerning it's importance though.


Time will tell. I think they'll have to turn that around in the 3rd movie. I don't want to change the subject but something else is on my mind. If we want to keep talking about Durin's folk I can wait.

Back to the appendices, I'm nearing the end in Appendex B The Third Age and I've noticed something I'd like clarification about the 3 Elvish rings of power.
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Merry » Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:57 pm

I don't think we have so many posts here that we can't keep a couple or three topics in the air, Philipa. What did you notice?

I've finished the reading the appendices, including the section on calendars and the original hobbit language, etc. Now you know I love Tolkien, and would read his random grocery lists and high school essays were they available. But I have to say that I think these things could have been left out of the appendices with very little complaint from readers.

Oh, P.S., I wanted to add something else about the Aragorn and Arwen story. Again, I guess I get the criticism that there isn't enough of their romance in LOTR. But there's a detail that I think might have meant more to Tolkien than it does to most modern readers: the standard that Arwen made. Now I know that sounds offensive: when all the other characters are out fighting and doing stuff, Arwen's big contribution is sitting home sewing! But I think Tolkien is invoking another medieval symbol of courtly love. Aragorn is moved to silence when he learns what Halbarad has brought from Arwen (I have sometimes imagined the small scene when Arwen summons Halbarad and hands over the precious creation, the look of understanding and awe and secret hope that they share, etc.), and as it took years to make, it is a sign that Arwen believed in him long before his kingship looked possible to anyone else. And the unfurling of the standard of Arwen turns the tide at the battle on the Pelennor. Since the whole defeat of Sauron balances on a knife's edge, as Galadriel says, in many places, would it have been won without the banner of Arwen?
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Re: LoTR - The Appendices

Postby Riv Res » Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:33 pm

Yes Merry, only Tolkien can make the courtly love desirable. He gives us enough description ... here, there, and everywhere :wink: ... to make us fall under the romantic spell of Aragorn and Arwen.

Aragorn went forth again to danger and toil. And while the world darkened and fear fell on Middle-earth, as the power of Sauron grew and the Barad-dûr rose ever taller and stronger, Arwen remained in Rivendell, and when Aragorn was abroad, from afar she watched over him in thought; and in hope she made for him a great and kingly standard, such as only one might display who claimed the lordship of the Númenoreans and the inheritance of Elendil.


The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Here Follows a Part of The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen


And then wonder took [Éomer], and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold.


The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 6, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields


And it came to pass that in the hour of defeat Aragorn came up from the sea and unfurled the standard of Arwen in the battle of the Fields of Pelennor, and in that day he was first hailed as king. And at last when all was done he entered into the inheritance of his fathers and received the crown of Gondor and sceptre of Arnor; and at Midsummer in the year of the Fall of Sauron he took the hand of Arwen Undómiel, and they were wedded in the city of the Kings.


The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Here Follows a Part of The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Sigh ... I am a hopeless (hopeful?) romantic!
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