Mallorn: Merry in Focus

Discussions of papers inspired by Tolkien's writings.
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Riv Res
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Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:35 am
Location: Walking the fields of the Pelennor with the King

Mallorn: Merry in Focus

Post by Riv Res » Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:48 am

Becky Carter-Hitchin

Essay From The Tolkien Society Journal: The Mallorn
"Merry in Focus"

Meriadoc Brandybuck is one of the most important characters in The Lord of the Rings, but is often overlooked. Here is a piece that tries to bring Merry into much needed focus. See what you think and let's talk about it.

Click on the scan to enlarge and read.
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What say you? :D

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Post by marbretherese » Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:47 pm

Now, this is an article which I wholeheartedly endorse! Merry (along with Pippin) is one of my favourite LOTR characters and as a teenager I recall enjoying immensely both the humour & friendship evident in the relationship of these two hobbits, as well as the developments to their character that each of them underwent as a result of their various experiences. Merry's part in the battle on the Pelennor fields, the role he plays in Eowyn's story there, and the death of Theoden, is one of the most moving passages in the book - and he plays a vital role in the relationship which develops between Faramir and Eowyn in the Houses of Healing.

As well as the Merry-Pippin friendship, I also greatly enjoy the byplay between Legolas and Gimli. Technically I know they are relatively minor characters, but in my mind all four of them loom large and have given me much pleasure over the years - the book would not be the same without them!

I find the author's suggestion that Tolkien saw much of himself in Merry extremely interesting - this hadn't occurred to me before, but it makes perfect sense.
"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back.
But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."

bruce rerek
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Location: Brooklyn

Post by bruce rerek » Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:40 pm

The evolution of Merry is very much in keeping with Tolkien's careful pen. All of the characters start with not much to go on but native talents and pluck, including Gandalf! It is tempting to think that the Professor drew on his World War I experiences, but he might have used it as more of a template rather than to draw a portrait of the Somme.
What is late adolesence-early manhood than a fair faced youth atop his horse daring the world to unseat him? Well it does and for everyone else too, for Merry is not so unique in his faltering. What comes across here is not the false steps or bad choices, it is the courage to see this task to its end that bares out Merry's noble character. His kindness to Theodin is a comfort of sorts that mitigates some of the loss of the King's son, and that too proves a grand heart. Frailty is not in and of itself a lack of virtue, but is the voice of prudence. Only when one's back is against the wall and all alternatives gone can one strike out with our own small blades and hobble the greatest fearful shadow.
I look forward to the Scouring of the Shire when we discuss the Return of the King in depth, but for now let us say that it is a very important chapeter to display that in our own age, we too must face great peril on our own terms - without wizards or enchanted beings.
Mornie utlie
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie
a promise lives within you now

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