Friday, February 29, 2008


There is talk about how old Tom is and how old Treebeard is, but how old do you think Gandalf is? He seems to have been around forever too. I mean you can't even kill the guy. He reminds me of a Dr. Who character that continues to exist. Never in the book do they mention that Gandalf is human. When they mention the humans in the company they name Borimir and Aragorn.

While we are at it, how old do you think Aragorn is? The books talk about things that he done 38 years ago. Is Aragorn 50 plus years old when all of this is taking place? This reminds me of Beowulf fighting a dragon at age 70. Aragorn could be 70 too. How long exactly does a Numenorian live?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Anyone else think that he Ents are just awesome. Although their story is pretty sad, about the entwives and all, I think that they are probably one of the most amazing races that Tolkien has come up with in the books. And how deep they seem to be is also pretty amazing. Just curious what others thought about these guys.

Tolkien's thoughts

I discussed with the professors after class about something that I heard on the radio when the movies first came out. Apparently a lot of people were analyzing the religious aspects of the movies much like we are with the books in class. The DJ mentioned that he had read an interview with Tolkien who once commented on similar critiques of the books much like they did with the movies. All Tolkien had said that it was "It's just a story I wrote, read it and enjoy it." The professors and I thought it would be an interesting discussion for everybody. So what are everyone's thoughts on that? Do you think people are analyzing too much or is Tolkien just avoiding unwanted attention?

The Ents going to war

I believe that that Ents deciding to go to war was kind of like Blythe being told by Spiers that he is already dead. The Ents decide to fight now as a group then being destroyed later one by one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This was a while back, but on page392 of Fellowship of the Ring about 2/3 of the way down the page, it says that the elves at Lorien held back from shooting Gollum. Why? They say that they don't allow someone to walk into the forest and come out alive. They say that they didn't shoot him while he was in their sights because they didn't know if he was good or ill. I highly doubt that they used such discretion before. Why did they do it then while never before?

Thoughts on Sauron, Saruman, and evil

It seems that the orcs are physical representations of evil and chaos. Sauron himself seems to resemble satin or god of evil on (middle)earth with the power "see" and bring all that is evil together. Even the “sinful” men try to come to his aid for example Boromir. The orcs of Mordor are his minions/ death bringers; they will not turn on their master because he is the only reason for their existence; the only one that can give them propose. Without Sauron the orcs would not have common goal and thus would turn on themselves.

One the other hand you have Saruman and the uruk-hai who seem to represent the evils on an industrious world and the faceless army of a dictator. To me Saruman himself could represent Hitler or any of the WWII dictators of Tolkien's time. He is someone with a sliver tough and who is able to gain influence and bend the will others with the power just of his speech. Moreover he cares not for the world he lives but seeks to destroy it in oder to bring it into the future to and create his own ideal utopia just as Hitler and his allies attempted to do in second world war. Like Hitler he obsessed with perfection.

Staying vs Running Away: Honor

We all know that staying to fight during a battle brings much honor even if it means inevitable death. So, of course, we know the alternative is to run. However, it is seldom mentioned that after those who stay to keep their honor are killed, there is a great possibility of an open pursuit for those who run away to loose their lives dihonorably anyway! Just a thought!!!

The Reach of the Novels

Being a knitter, I decided to do a search for patterns that were inspired or designed in response to The Lord of the Rings.

I found:

Hobbit socks so that you too can have furry feet:
Socks knit with Tolkien's runes integrated into the stitches themselves:(They say "The Hobbit, Or There and Back Again)

Adorable crocheted hobbits:

A scarf designed with the One Ring's inscription:

And the white tree of Gondor:

I'm always interested to see what sort of a lasting affect that the written word can have on people. It shows the adaptability of the stories and the characters that they can be taken from paper not only to screen, but also into other forms. Like yarn.

- Kelly Huber

Friday, February 22, 2008

Some Questions

I have some questions for the people in the class that are more experienced with the trilogy and Tolkien. In chapter 9 Frodo recites a poem that has "the Man in the Moon" and a dish that ran off with a spoon. Did Tolkien use the theme of a common nursery rhyme or did the nursery rhyme come after Tolkien? Which came first? I know that the class is past this part in the book but I honestly forgot about the blog.

Also, it seems to me that after Frodo meets and leaves Goldberry his character is more mature. It was mentioned during class once that there are no romantic interests in the books, but to me Frodo acted like he had a crush on Goldberry. Was this so or was Frodo acting like a knight who showed courtly love for Goldberry?

Another thing that I wondered about is the constant use of the word queer to describe something odd. Why doesn't Tolkien use synonyms instead of using a single word over and over?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Racism of Middle Earth

While reading about the Uruk-Hai, I couldn't help but notice how it is impressed upon the reader that they are far more evil than just Orcs.

Later it is revealed that they are half-breeds. A mixture of men and orcs. (I swear I read that somewhere but now I can't find the quote to save my life...)

In a land where each race is isolated from the other, either through distance or ancient feuds, could it be that the mixing of blood is what makes the Uruk-Hai so great a threat to Middle Earth?

-Kelly Huber

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Unification of Cultures: The Chase of all Chases

In the first chapter of the Two Towers, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli make a pact to pursue the Uruk-Hai to save Merry and Pippin. Aragorn boldly proclaimed, "We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men." This triune bond clearly represents cultural unity and how collaboration can result in the best possible outcome when faced with a perilous situation. The three run almost endlessly for days on the trail of the Uruks, utilizing each of their ethnically inherent abilities. The concept of an extraordinary action done by a few representatives of different societies as a way to bring them together is another example Tolkien used to condone pluralism. The "New Fellowship" of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli essentially set out on this chase because of their loyalty to their friends and the quest. As a result of this hunt, it is implied that a legacy will be created, which would bring prestige to the three ethnic groups through this unification. One could compare this to the alliances many different ethnic groups made in Medieval Europe, such as the Crusades (in a trans-European sense), and the Romans aligning with the Franks in order to save the Papal States from invasion, and especially the Convivencia in Spain; when Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived together in the south. This theme of uniting under a common goal seems to be an ever recurring one in the Lord of the Rings.

Any thoughts?

'Remembering' Gandalf

This is going back quite a bit in the story, but I have been questioning it for awhile, so I'd like anyone's input...

When Gandalf 'dies' in the previous book, it seems to me that none of the fellowship spends much time thinking about him, or mourning him, or whatever they would normally do in that culture.

I know they don't necessarily have time to stop their mission, but it seems to me that Gandalf played such an important role in the whole journey. Once he was gone, it was mentioned that they missed him, but it seems like they go on with their business without much thought. I felt that Gandalf was not only their leader, but their close friend. Especially from Frodo's point of view. Thats why I wonder why it seems like none of them have much to say about his death. Any thoughts?

Boromir's Saving Grace

This is just a thought that popped into my head tonight after the reading? As we all know Boromir tries to take the ring before Frodo departs the fellowship. However, he gives his life in order to save the other Hobbits, well at least he tried anyway.

The question I pose to everyone is this, are Boromir's actions at Amon Hen enough to gain his honor back after he tried to take the ring? Or is he destined to be remembered as a "betrayer" and "backstabber"?

I believe this does redeem his actions with Frodo. I mean granted he shouldn't have tried to take the ring, but, he was only doing so because he though it would help his people in the coming war. Is it so wrong for him to do so? And can anyone really be blamed for giving into the power of the ring? He must have realized the error of his ways because he gave his life in an attempt to save other fellowship members and maintain his honor.

What does everyone else think?

Father vs. Son

When we were talking about the common theme of father vs. son in stories, I was surprised that no one mentioned the connection between Gandalf and the Balrog. The Balrog consists of two parts: fire and shadow. Gandalf is a "servant of the Secret Fire." This pairing makes for a sort of father/son match, either with Gandalf being the father of the Balrog (making the shadow representative of the here absent mother) or as a son ("servant") of the Balrog.

If one looks at the matter with the opinion that Gandalf represents the father of the Balrog, one could argue that the Balrog is a character foil for Gandalf, who represents fire and good (light). The Balrog represents fire and evil, or shadow (the opposite of good/light). This puts the two and an equal standing on the basis of sharing "fire" and an opposite standing on the basis of good/evil or light/shadow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

An Orc's Thought

What do you think is going through the orcs’ minds? There side of the tale is largely dismissed. Is it possible that they are fighting for freedom? Who knows what Sauron has promised. I bet every orc has at least one family member who has died at the hands of elven arrow or human lance. Maybe they just want the opportunity to live free without fear of being hunted by day dwellers. Or they could be slaves of Sauron who have no choice but to fight. Or just maybe they are thinking about how great it would be if Tolkien didn’t write us as such one dimensional figures?

Gandalf and his bag of tricks

There is all this talk about comparing Gandalf and Obi-Wan Kenobi and old Tom to God, but why not compare Gandalf to Jesus? After all, Gandalf did sacrifice himself and was resurrected, clad in white symbolizing goodness. Gandalf seems to know things that no one else knows. He has an uncanny foresight into the future, an unparalleled wisdom about him. Not to mention, he does pull off few miracles of his own! What connections do you see? Who disagrees? Personally I find it annoying when people try to make everything about Jesus, but I thought it would be a topic people might have something to write about.

Also on page 370, Gandalf says that he is the wielder of the flame of Anor. What is this? Is this his Elven ring of fire? If not, does anyone know the name of the ring? I haven't read the third book yet.

prose eda christianity

I was definately mixed between this being more pegan or more christian. I do not know enough about the bible but I do think this seems to be christian. It reminds me of the ark that noah bilt. All becomes pure and green once more after the flood. It also reminds me of heaven because it talks of how beautiful the earth will be with kind of guides us to a kind of heaven. please help me clarify!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Coming Late to the Conversation: Is Sauron the Good Guy?

Figure 1. page from a manga version of Crime and Punishment (by Tezuka Osamu, 1953)

I am sorry to come late to the conversation that developed in response to Joe Donaldson's post "Is Sauron the Good Guy?" [I am currently at Wake Forest University where I have been guest-teaching on, you guessed it, Beowulf], but I just wanted to say that the level of intellectual conversation here is very, very rich and I am really impressed with all of this commentary on a very difficult question: the nature of evil, goodness, whether or not absolute morality exists, etc. I think Mike Pilato does an excellent job of summing up the different threads of the conversation here and also raising the interesting idea of a pluralistic objective morality, which is not the same thing as an absolutist ethics in which there is always one perfect answer to any ethical dilemma [i.e. God is always right, read the Bible, read the Constitution, read the law codes, do unto others, thou shalt not kill or steal, an eye for an eye, etc.]. Although I would point out that even the Council of Elrond represents different, interested [i.e. subjectively invested in the outcome] parties who, for one reason or other, all come to agree on the importance of destroying the ring--they are a kind of precursor to something like the United Nations [although I'm not sure the U.N. has ever effected a real and lasting peace or helped to avoid disastrous military conflicts, which was one of the intentions behind its foundation: in other words, the U.N. has not triumphed over evil, but then again, although the Fellowship will manage to destroy the ring, that does not mean evil has been eradicated from the world, only that a temporary stay against the wholesale destruction of the world has been effected].

Rocky's point that history is always written by the victors is very apt here, too [and also a famous sentiment echoed by many historians and philosophers over the years], and it connects in certain interesting ways to the idea that one actually can get away with murder sometimes. I want to share with everyone here some dialogue from Woody Allen's film, Crimes and Misdemeanors, during a Seder dinner [a Jewish holiday devoted to the Passover], in which family relatives [one of whom is a rabbi] are arguing over the same provocative moral questions you are all raising here. I will first provide the plot set-up and then the dialogue:

Woody Allen's film, Crimes & Misdemeanors is a kind of creative adaptation of Dostoevky's Russian novel Crime and Punishment. Judah (played by Martin Landau), the sixty-something successful and married opthamologist has been suffering various attacks of his conscience over the fact that he hired a hit man to kill his lover (played by Anjelica Huston), because he didn't want her to expose their affair (which she was threatening to do), and therefore ruin his life and marriage. Repeatedly, throughout the film, he claims he doesn't believe in God, and he doesn't think it's fair that, for one brief adulterous affair, his life should be ruined. How is it justice (?), he wonders, to be destroyed by a "neurotic" woman. He feels he has no choice but to get rid of the girlfriend. He has a patient, a rabbi (played by Sam Waterston), who appears in a dream sequence just as Judah is getting ready to make the phone call to arrange the murder, and says to him, "Don't you think God sees?" To which Judah replies, "God is a luxury I can't afford." The rabbi replies, "Without the law, it's all darkness." Nevertheless, after the girlfriend is killed, he finds he can't sleep at night, and he is convinced he will be caught and punished for what he did. One afternoon, he drives to the house in Brooklyn where he grew up, and as he is wandering through the rooms, he sees himself as a young man and his large extended family having Passover supper in the dining room, and he listens in on the conversation. Saul, his father (a rabbi) is praying and his sister, May (Judah's aunt), interrupts to say, "hurry up, enough of the mumbo jumbo, we're hungry":

Saul: I apologize for my disrespectful sister.

May: This is the twentieth century, you have young boys sitting here. Don't fill their heads with superstitions.

Saul: Oh, the intellectual, the schoolteacher--spare us your Leninist philosophy just this once!

May: Are you afraid if you don't follow the rules God's going to punish you?

Saul: He won't punish me, May. He punishes the wicked.

May: Oh, who, like Hitler?

Saul: May, how can you say that?

May: Six million Jews burned to death and they got away with it!

Saul: How did they get away with it?

May: Ah, come on, Saul, open your eyes! Six million Jews, and millions of others, and they got off with nothing!

Relative 1: How could human beings do such a thing?

May: Because might makes right. That is, until the Americans marched in and stopped the--

Saul: (interrupting) I don't like this kind of talk at my Seder.

May: Okay, okay, all right! You know, wait a minute, there's this joke about the prize fighter who enters the ring, and his brother turns to the family priest and says, father, pray for him. And the priest said, I will, but if he can punch, it'll help.

Relative 2: So, what are you saying May? You're saying you challenge the whole moral structure of everything?

May: What moral structure? Is that the kind of nonsense you use on your pupils?

Relative 2: Do you not find human impulses basically decent?

May: There's basically nothing!

Saul: Such a cynic, my sister, a nihilist--back to Russia!

Relative 3: Listen, I happen to agree with May when it comes to all that mumbo jumbo.

Saul: How can you say that? You come to every Seder, you pray in Hebrew.

Relative 3: Yes, I'm going through the motions. It's like any ritual, it's a habit.

Relative 2: What are you saying, May? There's no morality anywhere in the whole world?

May: For those who want morality, there's morality. Nothing's handed down in stone.

Saul's Wife (Judah's mother): Saul's kind of faith is a gift. It's like an ear for music, or the talent to draw. He believes, and you can use logic on him all day long, and he still believes.

Saul: Must everything be logical?

[at this point, even though this is a fantasy sequence, Judah enters the conversation, while standing in the doorway]

Judah: If a man commits a crime, if he kills?

Saul: Then one way or another, he will be punished.

Relative 3: If he's caught, Saul.

Saul: And if he's not caught, that which originates from a black deed, will blossom in a foul manner.

Relative 3: You're relying a little too heavily on the Bible, Saul.

Saul: No, no, no--whether it's the Old Testament or Shakespeare, murder will out.

Judah: Who said anything about murder?

Saul: You did.

Judah: Did I?

May: And I say, if he can do it and get away with it, and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he's home free. Remember, history is written by the winners. And if the Nazis had won, future generations would understand the story of World War II quite differently.

Relative 3: And if all your faith is wrong, Saul? I mean, Just what if, huh? If, hmmm?

Saul: Then I'll still have a better life than all of those who doubt.

May: Wait a minute. Are you telling me that you prefer God to the truth?

Saul: If necessary, I will always choose God over truth.

[end of film "clip"]

Another interesting counterpoint to Allen's film [especially in relation to Aunt May's commentary] is this excerpt from Freud's Civilization and its Discontents [you don't have to agree with this, by the way, as it's a rather dim viewpoint on human nature, but it's a viewpoint, that's all]:

". . . . men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favorable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien. Anyone who calls to mind the atrocities committed during the racial migrations or the invasions of the Huns, or by the people known as Mongols under Ghengis Khan and Tamerlane, or at the capture of Jerusalem by the pious Crusaders, or even, indeed, the horrors of the recent World War -- anyone who calls these things to mind will have to bow humbly before the truth of this view.

The existence of this inclination to aggression, which we can detect in ourselves and justly assume to be present in others, is the factor which disturbs our relations with our neighbor and which forces civilization into such a high expenditure [of energy]. In consequence of this primary mutual hostility of human beings, civilized society is perpetually threatened with disintegration. The interest of work in common would not hold it together; instinctual passions are stronger than reasonable interests. Civilization has to use its utmost efforts in order to set limits to man's aggressive instincts and to hold the manifestations of hem in check by psychical reaction-formations. Hence, therefore, the use of methods intended to incite people into identifications and aim-inhibited relations of love, hence the restriction upon sexual life, and hence too the ideal's commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself -- a commandment which is really justified by the fact that nothing else runs so strongly counter to the original nature of man. In spite of every effort, these endeavors of civilization have not so far achieved very much. It hopes to prevent the crudest excesses of brutal violence by itself assuming the right to use violence against criminals, but the law is not able to lay hold of the more cautious and refined manifestations of human aggressiveness. The time comes when each one of us has to give up illusions the expectations which, in his youth. he pinned upon his fellow men, and when he may learn how much difficulty and pain has been added to his life by their ill-will."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valhalla and Valinor

So, I just read on Wikipedia (the most reliable source in the world) that elves go to a place called Valinor when they die, much like warriors would go to Valhalla when they died in battle in Norse mythology. Anybody else see connections here?

Led Zeppelin and LOTR

I'm a pretty big fan of Zeppelin and I don't know if anybody else is. But Robert Plant's favorite books were the Lord of the Rings. Some of their music was inspired by the books and of course, it rocks. If anyone's interested just Google Led Zeppelin and Lord of the Rings, you'll find some interesting articles. Keep on Rockin!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I just saw Vince Vaghn's "comedy" movie the other night. In the end of the 'movie', after documenting the traveling of 30 shows in 30 nights with his buddies, he makes the wonderful declaration to correspond with class: Traveling brings experiences and lessons that cannot be taken away and will change them forever. This was about the only thing that really caught my ear/interest during the entire movie but it so perfectly fit with some of the discussions in class concerning traveling.

Elves in Exile?

Going back all the way to the bottom of page 89... Frodo meets the High Elves, and Gildor (their leader) says that they are Exiles. Are they really exiles, in the sense that they are cast away from their people? or does it just mean that they are waiting until they cross the Great Sea? When I think of Exile, I assume that they have done something wrong where they are not allowed to return.

Power in Small Size?

During the Council of Elrond, I sort of got the idea that one race has faith to handle a situation pretty much only in itself, and does not really trust any one else. Yet all agree to trust Frodo, the small little hobbit, with the Ring. The hobbits continually surprise the others with their ability to "bounce back" and to take on hardships not easily thought of halflings. Aragorn has made at least three exclamations about his opinion, usually with something like "You're strong for your size," or "I never thought such a small hobbit could have so much courage." Is it all/only forshadowing?

And, the Ring is a small object that has a lot of power. Sauron's Ring can destroy the earth, but rings are also important gifts, like in Beowulf. Anyone see any connections, or other ideas?

Spoof of Fellowship

I found this spoof of Fellowship of the Ring and thought I'd share it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gandalf with a Lightsaber

A while back, we talked about the similarities between LOTR and Star Wars. It's obvious that George Lucas was a fan and was inspired by LOTR. One noticable similarity is the chacters of Gandalf and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Both are the wise old men of their groups. And both are martyrs to save their friends. Also the scene in the Prancing Pony where the Hobbits meet Strider is a lot like the scene where Luke and Obi-Wan hire Han Solo. Any more similarities you can find.

Is Sauron the Good Guy?

I'm having trouble with perspectives here... one moment we're the good guy- angry at Agamemnon and philosophizing the evils of war- and the next we're screaming our lungs out at the gates of Troy- but if Troy is called Heorot then we're not Achilles- we're Grendel's mom. Sauron (the bad guy) just wants his ring back, but Tolkien used this same set-up in the Silmarillion whereas the Elves (good guys though) just want their rocks back. However both will go to endless wars against anyone who keeps these possessions. Joy asked what separates the hero from the villian- is it a moment? a perspective? or is it just your name? I don't know... 'good is a point of view' (The Emporer from Star Wars) or is that just something the bad guy has to say?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fair Fight

I am surprised no one has really mentioned this yet, but I have some thought concerning the weaponry and the fights between Beowulf and Grendel, and then again with Grendel's mom. Grendel had already declared that he does not fight with a weapon, thus, I believe is why Beowulf enters the fight also without a weapon. This is one of the oldest traditions and no one has brought it up. When entering a one on one fight, the two opponents come with equal weaponry. Old westerns: each gun-slinger has one gun, sword fights- only one sword. Or, on the other side, a wave displays no weapon, so does a handshake. Even sumo wrestlers slap their thighs and wear their minimal mawashi (the 'uniform') to show they do not have any weapons. Furthermore, in the movies we notice the incredible immorality and, essentially, cheating when the 'bad guy' draws out a hidden knife or gun, etc.
So, as far as weapons are concerned- it is as simple as that as to why Beowulf fought Grendel without "help." When he enters the fight with Grendel's mother, he does not know what exact weapon she may bare.
So there it is: in a true and fair fight, only experience, knowledge, and strength are to be the variables.

Where have I been?

I really do wonder where I have been. Other than hearing of the Lord of the Ring movies, I had no idea the Lord of the Ring existed. I certainly did not know these books had been around that long.

I am wondering how I could have gotten to be this old with out becoming aquanted with these stories. Especially since there seems to be a cult type following like a "Treky".

I had never heard of Beowolf either. It seems to remind me of parts of the Old Testament in the Bible.

I am a bit dissapointed that our Lord of the Ring books have pictures of the characters on the cover. As I have never watched the movies (and will not until after I have read the books), I would have rather their appearance be left to the readers imagination. After all that is the one of the major advantages to reading a book as opposed to watching the movie. I really think that is one reason the movies are never as good as the books, because the reader has already attatched a profile with the character.

I prefer to picture the hobbits to look more like Dobie from Harry Potter. I know that probably doesn't go along with the book, but I am going to stick with that as it is much more interesting then the pictures on the cover that look like regular people.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gandalf...what's up with the attitude?

I just want to make a general comment, but before I do I want to prelude it with this. I love Gandalf. I think he is someone to be admired and a very intriguing character. Having said that, however, I still wonder what's up with all the attitude he has? I mean, it just seems to me that he is the best and he knows it. He asks everyone to "counsel" him with their ideas, but always does what he wants to do anyway. If I was traveling with him I would give him a piece of my mind (probably only to be punished with his staff or something). Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else saw the massive attitude problem that he has been displaying for the last set of chapter that we have been reading or if it is just me.

Friday, February 8, 2008

poem in a poem?!

In class we spent much time discussing the importance of the "poem within the poem", but what about the story taking place within the story? That lecture reminded me of Bilbo's story that he is writing, which correlates with the actual LotR series. Bilbo is writing a story of all of he and Frodo's adventures, when actually. Tolkien has already done this. Ironic as well?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

About the Movies

I have only watched the movies before this class. I am enjoying reading the books. My husband is a huge Lord of the Rings fan. He just told me today for all those movie watchers out there that Peter Jackson is going to be making the Hobbit and Hobbit 2 into movies also. The Hobbit is scheduled to be released in 2010 and the Hobbit 2 for 2011. I just thought I would let everyone know.


In class we were talking about Strider being a different kind of hero than Frodo. It seems to me that Strider was breed to be a hero that may be why he feels obligated to go and do the things that he has to. Just a thought.

I do have a question about the women in heroic poetry that was discussed. Why are women to be feared? It seems that in the history books women couldn't do anything but tend to the house and raise the kids. They couldn't own land or work outside the home, so why are they feared?

the fight with Grendel's mum

It seems to me if Grendle's mother is so fierce and so crucial to this part of the tale, that she should be given a proper name. If names are usually given according to the father's name and Grendel has no father, shouldn't his name come down from his mother and not the other way around? I mean if she is a more vicious opponent should she not have her own name or even her own legend as Grendel does. Not only that but the whole confrentation in general seems to not add up. Beowulf's wepondry is no match for her, so it would seem that no one's would be, but yet she houses a wepon that can defete her and displays it in her home. Then there is the issue of Beowulf seeking her out instead of the other way around. This seems to not only break the "avenge" code, but also kind of violates Beowulf's ethos code. Is it that Beowulf doesn't not see her as a threat and there for does not wait for her as he did Grendel? Or is it that Beowulf's sense of urgency got the better of him? To me it is both. It could be that Beowulf doesn't consider Grendel's mother a threat because she is a woman, and there for easily dominated. Also the fact that he just pluges into the conflict with out weighing his opponent seems to support this notion. I don't know, alot of things don't seem reasonable in this battle and therefore make me doubt Beowulf's heroic characteristics.

The Voyage of Ibn Fadlan

Here is a link to a recent article available on-line about Ibn Fadlan, accompanied by a new translation and notes by James E. Montgomery at Cambridge.

Ibn Fadlan

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Is this a running heroic or fantasy theme?

I've read a few different fantasy series and something keeps popping up. It seems that the heroes in whatever story you're reading aren't the first heroes to be around.

In Lord of the Rings, there are the tales of Gil-galad, Beren and Luthien, etc. In Beowulf, there's Sigemund the dragon slayer. It seems in every fantasy series that comes to mind there are heroes of the past to which the heroes of the story are compared.

Where else have you noticed this happening? Does this happen in other genres, or is this a heroic/fantasy thing?


All this talk of Glorfindel being cut from the movie, but can’t the same be said to be true of Gloin. Is Gloin in the movie? The movie seems to cut out the entire dwarven race focusing on just Gimli. I always wondered what happened to all of the dwarves. In the book, there are dwarves who are always travelling the roads. Sure, the dwarfs of Moria are gone, but that doesn’t mean that the race is extinct.

Well as a Forgotten Realms fan, I just wanted to say that I would have liked to have seen more done with dwarves in the movie.


Once the hobbits went off with Strider, they camped out one night and wanted to hear some stories. Strider told of a story of Beren, a mortal man, who was in love with Luthien, an elven princess. He says the story does does not have a known ending. So he tells the story and Beren is slain and Luthien picks mortality.

This story is kind of what Aragorn is living since he is in love with Arwen. Tolkien does a good job of finishing the story of Beren through the life of Aragorn as we find out towards the end of the trilogy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Beowulf and God

I just have a question about the tie between the story of Beowulf, and that of God. There are multiple times so far in the story in which there are statements such as 'The judgement of the Lord', 'Holy Lord', 'Wise God'...etc.

I know we briefly touched on this in class, and I believe when we were talking about Beowulf, we said he had more confidence and faith in himself than in any higher power. I was just wondering other people's opinions as to how the characters forsee 'God' seems as if they speak of him and a higher power often, but have much more faith in themselves...

Or maybe I have it wrong?

Sam's Potato Rap

This has nothing to do with anything, except that it has Sam and Gollum, my two favorite characters.

- Kelly Huber

Monday, February 4, 2008

Getting Frodo safely to Rivendale

I just have a quick comment. I have watched the movies but never read the books. In the movies, they made Liv Tyler's part out to be pretty significant. The first appearance she made was when Frodo was stabbed by the knife of the enemy. In the book, however, it was days after he was stabbed before they were saught after to be saved, and it was by no female. I was wondering if anyone could tell me if her character plays a significant role in the book or if it was all just made up for the sake of a "good" movie plot? Also, why all the inconsistencies with the book to the movie? Wouldn't you think if you were making a movie based on a book it would be a little more accurate? Any thoughts?


I know this was a few chapters back... but I seriously love the way Tolkien made Strider appear to be an enemy at the inn in Bree when he's actually a good guy. In literature, dark colors almost always seem to represent evil and Strider dresses in dark green. As he sat and "watched the hobbits," "he wore a hood that overshadowed his face; but the gleam of his eyes could be seen." Yikes! Furthermore, the way he had earlier followed the hobbits over the gate entering Bree and later secretly followed the hobbits to their room at night. What a creep! My hair stood on end, but he turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to them. So far, that has been the best part of the story. Anyone agree?

Beowulf the movie

The new movie has an interesting twist to Beowulf. Grendel is the son of Hrothgar and a super hot demon played by Angelina Jolie. Although certainly entertaining, I don't know if I liked this idea. I thought that the movie took a lot of liberties to change the storyline, but then again so did the Lord of the Ring Movies. What do you think and what did you think of the movie? I thought that they could have done more with it. Overall, I was left disappointed. I think that I may even prefer the movie, the 13th Warrior based off of Eaters of the Dead.


Pamela Gay from the Physics Dept. here at SIUE (who happens to be a LotR fan, and is quite knowledgeable concerning the astronomy of Middle-Earth) sent me a link to a podcast about Wagner's 'Ring' cycle, which comments on LotR. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Similarities between LOTR and Beowulf

I've noticed a few things that are very similar that we have touched on in the Lord of the Rings.

There's a lot of talk about ring givers. That being people who give freely of their riches. This matches with the hobbits giving of gifts and of the sayings of the high one. also the term "ring-giver" makes me think there is something more significant about rings in this culture that I'm not seeing. This might add something more significant to the value of the One Ring.

Also the long lineage and the historical value of each person in that lineage makes Beowulf a lot longer than it would be if it just concentrated on him. Definitely reminds me of that Monty Python skit. It also reminds me of the hobbit lineage that just seems to keep going in LOTR.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Why does Tolkien hide the true abilities of the two main heroes we have seen so far in the book? With Strider/Aragorn it seems as if he has this humble outward appearance and he is weary from travel as a ranger, but in reality he is a king. Same with Gandalf, I think it was Strider who says the wizard is more clever than he appears.
-Matt Stapay

Friday, February 1, 2008


After reading the lengthy and very hard to understand text of Beowulf, Grendel descriptions from the reading of beowulf sound a lot like the predessors of modern monsters or creatures. The vague descriptions of Grendel give forms to many types of monsters in our literary world: From Wolves to Vampires to Orcs. From The description of too repulsive, a picture of an ogre like shrek pops into your head, yet shrek for entertainment purposes is pretty round and jolly. When the text decribing his thirst for blood, they basically infer a vampire type creature. But when he totally dismembers and devours the men limb for limb a werewolf type creatures comes up. Too Boot he also has an incantation or spell which leaves him immune to all types of weaponry such as swords, dagggers, arrows, spears, pikes, and everything molded from steel. From his ignorance of thinking he was invincible, he played into beowulf's ploy of fighting hand to hand. If he were to be carrying Sword of some sort, i wouldn't think beowulf would gladly fight him unarmored.