FoTR - A Long-expected Party: Bk I, Chapter I

A chapter by chapter as well as general discussion of Tolkien's masterpiece
Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:14 pm

'Yet this is not the impression the work makes as a whole.' That's very true. The impression the work 'as a whole' makes is very different and coincidentally ties in with what I've only just finished posting about on the Tolkien Conference thread. One of the speakers, Father Leon Pereira, made the assertion that the main point of LOTR is the celebration of the 'ordinary life' - that it's sacred in itself and worth fighting for and that Sam's wedding and return at the end is the core of the book, what it's all about, what it's all been for. That I suppose is the happy ending. Father Leon also saw Sam as Bilbo's true heir.

Neat coincidence of ideas here 8) .
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Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:24 pm

Iolanthe wrote:Father Leon also saw Sam as Bilbo's true heir.


Absolutely!
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Postby Airwin » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:26 pm

Iolanthe wrote:One of the speakers, Father Leon Pereira, made the assertion that the main point of LOTR is the celebration of the 'ordinary life' - that it's sacred in itself and worth fighting for and that Sam's wedding and return at the end is the core of the book, what it's all about, what it's all been for.


And with that in mind, living "happily ever after to the end of his days " can also be considered an oridinary ending, but it's something everyone strives for, is it not? So in many ways, Bilbo's book ending can have many several different meanings.
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:34 am

I'm having a little whisp of a memory of a line, and I can't remember where it is from. Doesn't somebody in LOTR say something about living happily ever after, and doesn't Sam say, " . . . but where will they live? That's what I'm worried about," or something like that?

Sam, too, after Rosie dies, goes off to the Blessed Isle. Don't we have to assume that he, too, has some healing to accomplish? Maybe happiness is always a somewhat mixed thing for humans.
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Postby Iolanthe » Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:32 pm

That quote does sound familiar but I can't remember for the life of me where it comes from in the book.

Yes, I think Sam does need healing - not just from the experience of carrying the Ring for a while but also from the experience of not being able to 'save' Frodo in the end. It must have been terrible for him to watch Frodo dwindle.

I think it's very interesting, though, that Tolkien saved this for an appendix rather than make his ultimate fate part of the story. We need the consolation of him coming 'back', being home with Rosie, living the Happily Ever After in the context of the completed book. At least, I do :lol: !
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Postby Merry » Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:45 pm

Yes, I think you're right, Iolanthe. The 'well, I'm back' line ties together many threads, and it's necessary to end the story that way.
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:53 pm

I'm finally nearing the end of Shippey's The Road to Middle-earth and guess what I read today? Quite a coincidence. Made my eyes :shock: :

One final point to be made about 'escapism'. Many a classic novel (Tom Jones, Emma, David Copperfield) has hanging over its ending the invisible words, 'and so they lived happily ever after'. This could be said of the Lord of the Rings as well - Bilbo has had it in mind as an ending from very nearly the start, and his wish does seem to come true. Sam gets married, Merry and Pippin become famous, the Shire enjoys a season of unnatural fertility, good weather and growth. But even inside the fiction many characters (Aragorn, Legolas, Gimil) know and say that all this is going to vanish, because such things always do. There is even a point in the deaths of Aragorn and Arwen being sent off to an Appendix. The Appendices prevent any sense of easy happy closure, show the whole story fading into memory - and then, like the Third Age, into oblivion. Meanwhile the actual ending is not the Field of Cormallen, nor in true cinematic cliche the ship sailing into the sunset, but the three companions riding home, along 'the long grey road' from the Grey Havens, where the ship sailed down 'the long grey firth' in 'the grey rain-curtain'. Sam returns, like Firiel, to 'yellow light, and fire within', but something has gone out of the world just the same. Michael Swanick, himself a brilliant writer of the fantastic, calls Sam's words, 'Well, I'm back', 'the most heartbreaking line in all modern fantasy', and backs up his assertion with personal reminiscence. More philologically, I would say that what hangs over the end of all Tolkien's fiction is not 'And they all lived happily ever after', but the line from the Old English poem Deor, paes ofereode, pisses swa maeg. This could be tranlated bluntly, 'That passed, this can too', but Tolkien translated it - see BLT 2, p 323, for it's importance to him, and his writing - 'Time has passed since then, this too can pass'.


You've probably all read this long ago, but how appropriate for it to surface again now so I can add it to the conversation :D .
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Postby Merry » Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:43 pm

Great find! (You know, I DID read that long ago, but do I remember it? No. Memory, too, has a tendency to pass, moreso at my age!)

So it does seem that there is a duality to Tolkien's eucatastrophe. The unexpected wonderful ending does happen--the destruction of the Ring, the Field of Cormallen, the coronation and wedding--but these good things are not frozen for ever, because that is the nature of time. (Does " happily ever after to the end of his days" rather than just "happily ever after" suggest this?) Eucatastrophe would be totally unrealistic if the possibility of fading weren't included, maybe.

So the only real eucatastrophe could only occur beyond the confines of the world, and so beyond the confines of the book. Do our heroes meet again, healed? Do Aragorn and Arwen find each other again, beyond the circles of the world? Does Gandalf finally find rest? Does Morgoth's destructive song play itself out at the end? We can only hope.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Postby Philipa » Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:41 am

Great find Iolanthe. :D

So the only real eucatastrophe could only occur beyond the confines of the world, and so beyond the confines of the book. Do our heroes meet again, healed? Do Aragorn and Arwen find each other again, beyond the circles of the world? Does Gandalf finally find rest? Does Morgoth's destructive song play itself out at the end? We can only hope.


That's all there is, isn't there. Hope. It rings all through the story of Middle-earth. Another reason they have survived as they have...timely anytime. Because they are a mirror of life itself.
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Postby Merry » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:02 am

Happy Birthday, dear Bagginses! It is fall, and the adventure begins again!
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:28 am

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door…You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:05 pm

The Road goes ever on and on.... :D

Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo. :cake:

We should all celebrate with something suitably Hobbity for tea :wink: .
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Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
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Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:36 pm

We are actually having sausages and nice crispy bacon for dinner this evening. :wink:
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Lindariel
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Postby Lindariel » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:31 pm

My dear Bagginses and Boffins . . . and my dear Tooks and Brandybucks, and Grubbs, and Chubbs, and Burrowses, and Hornblowers, and Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses and Proudfoots . . . . I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.


Wouldn't you dearly LOVE to hear speeches like this more often?

Happy Birthday dearest Bilbo and Frodo! You will live forever in our hearts!
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“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

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Postby Merry » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:38 am

ProudFEET! :D
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.


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