Monday, March 31, 2008

Pippin's Commitment

In class today, we discussed the new loyalties of Pippin and Merry. I didn't get a chance to ask everyone's opinion- but I wonder how exactly Gandalf feels about Pippin's new commitment. Up until this point, everyone on the mission has had the same purpose in the quest. Now with Pippin's decision, is it possible he may have to choose between the fellowship and Denethor?

On page 18, Gandalf says he doesn't know why Pippin chose to do what he did, but he did it with good intentions, and it honored Denethor. So Gandalf says that he must remember what he has chosen. In your opinion then, do you think Gandalf was proud of Pippin, does he think he shouldn't have made a vow to Denethor, or does it not matter one way or the other?

Milton's influence in The Lord of the Rings

In class today we began to talk extensively about John Milton's Paradise Lost in its relation to The Lord of the Rings. We see Tolkien's view of the orcs vs. the elves in comparison to the faithful vs. the fallen in Paradise Lost. Another similarity is Isilador vs. the fall of man.
We further discussed the elves being angelic figures and orcs are elves fallen from grace; they may not want to be associated with Sauron but nonetheless follow him because there isn't anything better to do and what other races want to be associated with orcs.
I was wondering if my colleagues found any other connections that can be drawn between the two texts. I also was hoping for Dr. Joy's input on the idea of Tolkien drawing on a lot of ideas from Milton's work.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gollum's Shelob Trickery

Today in class we talked about how Gollum may/may not have used Shelob for his own devices, but we only discussed it *after* Frodo's semi-treachery at the Pool. I thought I had read that, much earlier, Gollum had hatched the plan to lead them to "her" (Shelob). This was before they even reached the Gates, after the Dead Marshes (halfway down on p268):
"We wants it. But--" and here there was a long pause, as if a new thought had wakened. "Not yet, eh? Perhaps not. She might help. She might, yes."
"No, no! Not that way!" wailed Smeagol.

Could "that way" be the secret passageway that leads to Shelob's lair? Gollum/Smeagol sure is quick to offer another path once they reach the gate, and he even mentions that they would have to find another route to Sam before they realized they couldn't pass through the gates - granted smeagol/gollum muttered it under his breath. If that's true, then Gollum was planning on going against Smeagol's promise to Frodo anyway.

Would knowledge of Shelob have stoped them?

Before Sam, Frodo, and Gollum enter Shelob's lair they make note of how bad it smells. It seems to me that they should have known that there was some sort of creature inside other than an orc. So why wouldn't they press Gollum more strongly about what was in there before they went in? I mean they only mildly muse over what might be in there. Do you think at this point that they had come so far and were so committed that even if they did know what awaited them inside they would have gone in anyway?

Five Towers and Zero Alliteration

The Two Towers is a great title but I'm counting a few more pointy buildings in this book: Saraman in Orthanc is a given, then Pippin sees the white tower of Minas Tirith in the palantir, Fram finds themselves climbing stairs near Minas Morgal, then its on to the Tower of Cirith Ungol, and oh yeah, don't forget Sauron's all seeing eye atop Baradur...but just two? Which Two Towers are we talking about here? The world may never know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Last Act

So much has been said about Free Will, but most of that has been concerning the good side of the book if you will. What about the likes of Worm Tongue and Saruman? Both are given the opportunity to repent their evil ways, and both deny this opportunity. Is it in this final or last act of free will that defines them? In the end, is it this solitary choice that makes them evil? Or are they written so one-dimensionally, that they too only have one choice, once again negating free will?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why cant it be this simple?

this interpretation of LOTR is inciteful and simple. What do you think?

God-like presence in Middle Earth?

On Wednesday, we ended class discussing pre-destination vs. free will in Middle Earth. We compared characters and talked about how the idea of a "pair" is prevalent throughout these works, ie: Frodo/Sam, Merry/Pippin, Gimli/Legolas, etc. In doing this we came across characters whose pairing made for a stark contrast that reflected more than mutual companionship or brotherhood, ie: Faramir/Boromir, Gandalf/Saruman. With these latter examples, both Gandalf and Faramir are depictions of what the other individual in the relationship could have or should have been--Saruman the White, Boromir being the older brother. Of all the pairings of Middle Earth that we came up, it seems odd to me that Sauron is left out of this common trend. Who could he be paired with? He is this seemingly intangible being (so he's an eye, but that's not the point here) of evil who has no one to answer to, no conflicting power. I feel like his presence in the novel would warrant some type of opposing force equally as powerful, great, and intangible. And if Sauron did have an anti-thesis to his character, maybe this being, entity, idea, or whatever would be just as powerful and capable as Sauron, but still subject to the free will that (seemingly) governs the rest of Middle Earth. But then maybe not? Just a thought.

ps My friend dressed up as the Eye of Sauron for halloween.

good and evil

I was couious about the two towers. We talked about them in class as being good and evil. We have also brought up the the idea of a god but I am lost to what to think. If one tower is good wich one is it? The only thing that I could come up with was that the tower of isengard would be the tower of good after it was taken over by the ents! confused!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Destiny and Choice

In class on Wednesday, while we were discussing destiny vs choice and free will, I couldn't help but notice that so far the only person who has shown complete free will and made choices without any outside pressure is Sam.

I've always been a big fan of Sam and I think that he, not Frodo, is the true ring bearer. And if you think about it, he's the only one who is there by choice.

At the Council of Elrond there was all that pressure upon Frodo to take the ring, silent pressure though it was. So he submitted to it and agreed to take the ring. Sam chose to go along with Frodo without any outside pressure. Only his own sense of right and wrong.

When meeting Galadriel Frodo again tried to give the ring away, was refused and so continued on his quest. Sam saw alarming visions in the mirror, was ready to leave and then chose to stay of his own accord, to see things through.

To me he seems to be the only character who has complete freedom of choice.

What do you think?

-Kelly Huber

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Army from Cirith Ungol

I don't know if anyone else was a little confused when reading the section about the Stair to Cirith Ungol, but I can't seem to get my head around how the three were not seen by he army. I guess I understand that the Elven Cloaks give them some protection, but I was still a little lost at how an entire army could march by, including the King Wraith, and not see him. Anyone able to shed some light on this please?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Help needed

I need help understanding why Gollum is so willing to help the hobbits and why he isn't more aggresive at snatching the ring from Frodo. His precious is what he lives for and it's right under his nose! I know Gollum swore by the ring to "be very very good" and "never, never, to let Him have it. Never! Smeagol will save it" Is "Him" smeagol himself or was Gollum referring to Sauron? I guess Gollum stuck to the promise because he swore by the ring that owns him? Or he stuck to the promise because he is owned by the ring and will therefore obey its master??

Frodo's development

In our recent readings I have been impressed by Frodo's development of wisdom. I feel he has become a knowledgeable leader for him and Sam and has many moments that are similar to how Gandalf or Aragorn would act or speak. For example, Frodo seems to know how to say something to persuade Gollum for his help. In the past few chapters, Frodo has developed the way wise men keep quiet until he delivers a very well stated reply to someone. On the other side, Sam seems to be speaking much more than he did previously and I am wondering if the ring is having an effect on him in a small way. However, back to Frodo, he also has a respect to others (i.e. Gollum) that wise people seem to also deliver. Anyone else picking up on Frodo's wisdom development?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sam and Frodo

Did anyone else noticed that Sam's personality is different after Frodo and Sam seperate from the others. He seems more outspoken and doesn't act like a servant as he has before.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Question: What are the dwarves doing through all this? Are they just hanging out in the mountains, letting the wars wage while Men fight and die on their behalf? Do they have their own troubles and are too few in numbers to send an army? Other than Gimli, they make no mention of them. Any ideas?

Monday, March 17, 2008

I was excited about BEOWULF...

Sorry to those of you who I offended with my spelling. I was excited about the movie and just was not paying attention to my typing. Also, sorry to those who have the time to read all the blogs and proof read them, I just had an idea and wanted to share it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is Sauron God?

So I'm reading Book IV of the Lord of the Rings The Two Towers, and I notice something very peculiar...when Gollum is talking about Sauron, he refers to him as "He" "Him" and "His" all starting with capital letters. Now I was taught that you only start he, him, and his with a capital letter when you are talking about or referring to God. This leaves me confused. Did Tolkien do this purposely to make you question the same thing about Sauron or was it done unintentionally and only to emphasize how powerful Sauron is? What do you think?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Boromirs purpose!!!!!

I no that we have already talked about this but, I have had medical issues and have been dieing to ask! We talked about boromir being the end of a line of men that were the beowulf kind of hero wich boromir was. Why then would the council send him if he had no real purpose. Everyone else had something extra great to bring to the table except him. The only story boromir had is that his father is the steward of ministereth and he has faught orcs. Every one else has a unique history or reason, including the hobbits.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Three Persons, One Functional Unit: The Trinity in the Lord of the Rings

In the Lord of the Rings, there are constant instances when the number three is represented. This continuity of the concept of three could make one think of this as having significance, at least for Tolkien. Why did he not choose four, two, or five as numbers that would be used continuously throughout the saga? Tolkien chose three. Obviously this is a reference to the triune nature of God in the Christian tradition. Examples are as follows: Three rings were given to the Elves, Three men established the kingdom of Gondor: Elendil, Isildur, and Anarion; There are three Elven kingdoms: Rivendell, Lothlorien, and Mirkwood; The Fellowship eventually becomes a unit of three: Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli; Frodo, Sam, and Gollum become an independent group with their own journey; Merry, Pippin, and Treebeard have their own story; Three wizards are mentioned: Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast; Frodo turns 33 at the beginning of the story and Bilbo turns 111, which is three numbers and adds up to three, and the list goes on and on.

The importance of this theme is such that when people and/or kingdoms are involved, they act as one. This is parallel to the idea of God as three persons, but one being. In the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien seems to be putting forth the notion that something whole can still be one even if it has distinguishable parts with distinct functions. The parts or "persons" still are there to function for the existence of each other, which ultimately comprise the one. In a sense Tolkien is conveying that God is a relational being, in that His internal relationship should be the basis for how we should treat one another. The relationship between Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli is that of working together in harmony and creating a sense of interconnectedness in order to achieve the same collective goal. Intuitively, they can only do this if they act as one unit. Gandalf seems to be the only character who brings an "awakening" light to a couple of the triune groups such as Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, and Merry, Pippin, and Treebeard. This can be an allusion to how Christ brought the reality of the Trinity to humankind through his death and resurrection.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Gandalf the Late

Okay so why does Gandalf always dissapear at the last minute. Does he want to see if the fellowship can last without him? I think Gandalf loves beeing needed. I mean the guy always shows up after his friends have been through hell and back. What is he off doing?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beowolf: the new movie...

I just watched the new movie that tries to put Beowolf to a Hollywood script. It was crazy, first off the movie is done as a cartoon/ lifelike movie. The plot is totally different that what we read, Beowolf (plot alert) does not kill Grendel's mom, instead he has sex with her to give her a new son. The new son later becomes the dragon that kills Beowolf. Crazy stuff, did anyone else see this new movie, and if so did they like it better than the REAL story line?

On Good Writing and Failing Memory

It seems that Tolkien forgot once that he had already written something, and then he then missed the repeat when he proofread his books.

The Two Towers, p. 151: "Before the wall's foot the dead and broken were piled like shingle in a storm; ever higher rose the hideous mounds..."

and on p. 199: "At the rim of the shattered bowl there lay vast mounds and slopes, like the shingles cast up by a great storm..."


Courage - Blawk Hawk Down

I know it's a little late to be talking about courage again but I remembered a situation where I think courage can be shown. In the film Black Hawk Down, towards the end one of the soldiers decides to go back into the city and he explains to another soldier why he does it. I think that part shows why soldiers do things that people think are crazy, it's because of the guy next to you and not anything else. When stuff goes down you'll do anthing for your best bud.