of the Rings : Book 3, Chapter 2
The Riders of Rohan
A Discussion Led by Annael
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III, Chapter 2, The Riders of Rohan - 1. You and whose army? - Annael
At no point do Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli seem to consider the question of what they could DO against an army of Orcs if they ever caught up with them. What do you think they intended, or were they looking that far ahead? Do you think they could have taken the Orcs on and defeated them and freed the hostages? How?
Precedence. - Inferno
In the old tales, with which Aragorn would have been familiar, there are at least two instances I can recall off the top of my head, where an individual or small group infiltrate an orc camp and make it out again. The first is Beren retrieving the Ring of Barahir from the orc cheiftan: He slays the cheiftan with his bow, takes the ring in the confusion, and escapes. The other is when Beleg and Gwindor free Turin from the orcs. Aragorn will have been familiar with these two tales, and possibly others. Orcs don't seem to set very efficient guards around their camps. He may have had some idea of catching them up, then waiting until they stopped to rest, then stirring up a little confusion and freeing the hobbits at that point.Inferno.
they have at least some hope - Malbeth
I agree that they are doing what they believe is the right thing, even if it's hopeless. But I think they believe they have a chance. First, as Eledhwen says, stealthy rescue is a possibility. But also, they don't know exactly how many orcs there are - if there are only thirty or forty, it's not so impossible. Pick off one at a time at the margins (easy for Legolas with his bow), and the orcs will get very nervous. A sudden attack by an elf and the heir of Elendil wielding Anduril (not to mention Gimli) might send a good part of the remaining orcs running away screaming in terror, leaving hopefully only a small number of Uruk-Hai to deal with. It might have worked, with a little luck.
don't think the heir of Elendil - Kimi
should wield Gimli. It smacks of exploitation. Sorry, Malbeth, I couldn't resist that one :-)
Good one, Kimi! - Malbeth
I had to go back and read the post to see what I did, but I got a good laugh out of it :-)
I agree. - septembrist
Stealth? - Eledhwen
Perhaps they were hoping to creep in on the camp and free the hobbits - after all, Aragorn is a master of tracking. Following Merry and Pippin was really the most useful thing they could have done though; as following Frodo and Sam would have achieved nothing, Boromir was dead - therefore going down on to the plains of Rohan is a logical direction, and meeting Eomer was a stroke of luck.
they were looking ahead at all. - Ophelia
Kimi's right- there doesn't seem to be a lot of hope going around at this point. Last chapter Aragorn was blaming himself for the ruin of the fellowship, he can't have bounced back that quickly.
Part of me, namely because I know the rest of the story of Merry and Pippin, knows that the three hunters could easily have played upon the Orcs weaknesses and through trickery freed the hobbits. But the rest of me agrees with Eomer- the three hunters would have fast become prey- they were tired and small in number.
this echoes something I was just thinking about - Kimi
when looking over the last chapter one more time, and starting to look at this one: the word "hope" comes up over and over at this point, and often in the negative. Gimli in particular seems almost despondent in "The Departure of Boromir": "We must follow the Orcs, if there is hope that any of our Company are living prisoners." "Maybe there is no right choice." "There is little hope either way." Aragorn says in the last speech of that chapter, "With hope or without hope we will follow the trail of our enemies." I don't think they undertake this task with a great deal of hope. They feel (especially Aragorn) that it's the right thing to do; that it's their duty. They'll do their best to free the hobbits, and maybe by some miracle they'll succeed, but most likely they'll die in the attempt. I was just talking about this with Mr Kimi, and he came up with the following occasions when Aragorn takes an action that appears to lead to almost certain death:
- Facing down the Black Riders at Weathertop
- The Bridge of Khazad-dum
- Choosing to chase the orcs at this point
- The final sortie at the Hornburg
- Taking the Paths of the Dead
- The Black Gate
There's room for disagreement on how likely death was as an outcome with most of these (the Hornburg sortie and the Black Gate, IMHO, really didn't appear survivable), but they do illustrate how little Aragorn takes his own safety into account when making decisions about the right thing to do.
agree..they think it is the "right" thing to do. Also.. - Patty
to paraphrase Gimli, I think it was...something to the effect of that the thought of those merry young hobbits being captive gave him motive and energy--so the danger to himself and the overwhelming outnumbering odds he didn't pay much attention to.
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Chapter 2 - 2. The Three Hunters. - Annael
What do we learn about Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in this chapter?
with everyone about Aragorn. - Beren11:11
The conversation with Eomer, in particular, shows him really coming into his own. Last chapter, when he broke through his indecision, i think he really hit a turning point, and this chapter shows hiim in "stride," so to speak... Also, I kind of think this is the chapter that Legolas and Gimli really start to "bond" in.
the eyes of the Elves. . ." - Annael
I noticed in this chapter that we learn: Aragorn can read sounds heard through the earth from many miles off. Aragorn can spot footprints in grass. Legolas doesn't have to sleep. Legolas has amazing eyesight - he can see the color of hair on a rider who is "only" 5 leagues off (what's a league? 3 miles?). Gimli can run as fast as people whose legs are twice as long as his.
and . . . - Annael
Legolas can ride a horse without saddle or bridle, unlike wimpy Glorfindel . . .
LOL! - Cat
of Queen Berúthiel
I'd never thought about the last one before, Annael. It really is quite a feat!
Gimli. - Inferno
This is one of a few 'real time' segments of story where there are no hobbits present to tell the tale. Here, at Edoras, Helm's Deep, and the entrance to the Path's of the Dead, are really the only areas of the tale that are told without the hobbits being there. Other elements of the story are told to the hobbits later, like the Grey Company's assault on the Corsairs. For all these segments, the point of view character is Gimli. From an internal standpoint, he is the logical choice: the hobbits have better relations with Dwarves than any other races. For Frodo, and those writing the story, Gimli would be the most easily approachable for information. External to the story, Gimli is also a logical choice for point of view. Legolas is an Elf, and Tolkien has worked very hard to this point at keeping the Elves somewhat mystical and distant. Their otherworldliness would be lessened if this segment were told from Legolas' perspective. Aragorn is the true classic hero of the tale; as such, he is intended to be somewhat less than common. Giving the tale from his perspective would make him seem too human. Especially at this time where he is questioning his own actions, showing his heroic flaw, it would lower his status as the classic hero to tell the tale from his perspective. This leaves us Gimli to tell the story. So far, his only real additions to the story have been his knowledge of Khazad-Dum, and his embodiment of the antagonism between Elf and Dwarf, which he takes the first steps towards reconciliation with Galadriel. These elements aren't central to the tale, however, and giving Gimli the role of narrator elevates him beyond being a peripheral character. It also, as Aiya points out, make Gimli more accessible, and less 'stone-like'. He becomes more believable later, and his discourse with the hobbits over the battle with the Corsairs makes more sense, as he has already given us part of the story.Inferno.
Word. - Beren11:11
What he said! Seriously good points, Inferno...
points, I hadn't thought about that before... though not all of
Helm's Deep is from Gimli - inkgirl
...the period when he's been swept back to the caves with Gamling, you don't know what's happened (or even if he made it) until they all come pouring out with the charge. Presumably the hobbits felt comfortable enough with Strider to get at least the information about the night in the Hornburg from him.
Excellent points, Inferno. - Patty
revealed more deeply - Aiya
Aragorn is especially being revealed in this chapter as the true king that he is. You have seen flashes of it before, at the Argonoth (however you spell that) in particular, but when he speaks to Eomer you truly begin to see what is underneath. Legolas & Gimli you also get to know better in this chapter. They are willing to keep going on, even when there is little or no hope. Gimli also begins to seem more human, before he is like stone, but here he begins to show weariness, etc, that makes him more, I don't know the right word- approachable maybe.. not as remote...
definately is changing from Strider the Ranger to King Ellessar - Ron
Aragorn is now becoming the larger than life legend that the people of Rohan and Gondor will remember in time to come.
can just imagine.. - Aiya
a rider of rohan talking to his grandson in the far off future- 'yes, I was there when King Elessar first met King Eomer'
and you just know that cranky Rider who dissed Aragorn will brag the most later! - inkgirl
of course! - Aiya
... - Eledhwen
Legolas and Gimli's devotion and respect for Aragorn is also shown - at no point do they say 'This is hopeless, mate, let's go to Minas Tirith' - instead they follow his lead and when he is challenged by Eomer they back him up.
leaving Rivendell.. - Aiya
I think Gimli takes to heart what he 'faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens'.. they have taken Aragorn as a type of liege-lord and will not question or leave him.
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Chapter 2 - 3. The leaf of Lorien. - Annael
When you first read this chapter, can you remember what you assumed about the brooch from the elf-cloak that Aragorn found, and the footprints?
honesty ... ? - Nenya
I remember thinking about how that was as bad a Daniel Boone on the old TV show looking at a broken twig and figuring out how many people they were tracking, how long ago they'd passed by that spot, and which one had the measles when he was age four. Finding the brooch was proof positive that someone who had been in contact with the Hobbits had passed that way, but he had no way of knowing if the brooch had been dropped on purpose, by accident, if it had been taken from an injured/dead hobbit and then dropped by mistake or on purpose by an orc ... you get the idea.I was willing to let it go for the sake of the story though. It *is* a work of fiction after all, and Aragorn is sort of a super-Daniel Boone, and it certainly didn't ruin the story by playing along and seeing what happened next.
you really that surprised by his deductions? - Frodo
It doesn't appear that Aragorn makes all that much of a leap. He sees hobbit prints which have veered from the main company and orc prints which close in on them. Tolkien has him put in that bit about the leaves of Lorien not falling idly to remind us that there are properties inherent in some of the things of Middle Earth that would be unrealistically applied if it were a mere story about our own world. His conclusions didn't seem to take a special amount of skill beyond the determination of which hobbit's prints it may have been. But, hey, he's no Fess Parker (thankfully!). At least we don't expect Gimli or Legolas to release a sappy top 40 single ("My cup runneth over with luuuuu-uv!").
Actually, I was a bit. - Nenya
Hobbit prints, orc chasing, fallen leaf ... this could also lead one to conclude that a hobbit or two could have been knocked upside the head on the spot, the brooch taken as booty (but then dropped) and then the bodies carried away for dinner later that evening. There really was no reason to suppose that brooch was dropped on purpose by some level headed Fool of a Took. But that's just my take.
have you ever read Sherlock Holmes?.... - Patty
Those are exactly the types of deductions he is able to make from miniscule data. Another work of fiction.
But I do have to say that Pippin comes off very well here in the iniative he shows dropping the brooch and purposefully trying to leave some of his footprints there to be found.
Read Louis L"amour for that matter.... - dudalb
Aragorn is using the tracking skills he has learned in his years as a Ranger, a lot like those used in Real History by frontiermen in the American Wast. Louis L'Amour writes very well about this type of tracking skill....
Of course I have. - Nenya
Not to mention having also seen every Sherlock Holmes Jeremy Brett made as many times as possible.And I certainly agree that, for once, Pippin comes off looking better than he usually does in this escapade. He kept his head, made some difficult and intelligent decisions, and ended up saving the Hobbits' sorry arses.That, however, doesn't really explain how Aragorn can pick up the dropped brooch and know how it came to be there. If I recall properly (I don't have the books at work, unfortunately) he comments that that "leaves of Lorien do not fall lightly", but how could he possibly know it was intentionally left there as a clue? Aragorn was no Sherlock Holmes, long on logic and short on skills involving human contact. He didn't note that the angle of the dropped brooch indicated that it was dropped from Hobbit height rather than Orc height, nor was he able to ascertain from a smidge of grass caught behind the clasp indicated that the bearer of the brooch had been led/dragged on a forced march through certain fields where this rare grass specimen only grew. He made one helluva leap of intuition (I originally mistyped that "leaf of intuition" - interesting typo) that I found stretch the bonds of credibility, even for a fantasy story.But, as I said, I was willing to forgive the rather incredible jump in logic because it was necessary to further the plot.
the brooch - Arathorn
Perhaps, if it's elven, the orcs would've been afraid to deal with it? See the power of Galadriel's phial.
Sorry, Nenya...didn't mean anything by it... - Patty
I shoulda known you to be a gal of incredible taste...in other words a Jeremy Brett fan! I know I've discussed him with folks here but wasn't sure who.
Huh? No apology necessary! - Nenya
I was completely rocked by the news of Jeremy Brett's untimely death. There never was before, and will never be again, such a definitive interpretation of Holmes. He had "imperious" down pat.
Amen to that. Incidently, I have them all taped, too! - Patty
The first time I read this . . . - Annael
my first thought was that one of the hobbits had tried to escape in the dark and had been recaptured, and the brooch got dropped in the struggle. I didn't go with Aragorn's theory until it was borne out in the next chapter. Up to this point in the book Aragorn seemed pretty fallible to me.
That's exactly what I thought, Annael. - Beren11:11
I took it as a sign of hope that they were alive, but I didn't at all expect them to have escaped. "My political opinions lead more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs)..." JRRT to CT; 29 November, 1943
remember, but I think - Kimi
I assumed that Aragorn was right in his conclusions (which he was, of course): that Pippin had run to one side and dropped the brooch as a sign for his friends.
too. - Eledhwen
I always assumed Aragorn was right in whatever he said!
(grins) me three :) - Aiya
Although, truthfully, I think at that point I was still spitting nails because I thought they had killed off Gandalf and wasn't paying attention to much else. That ticked me off for well- until they brought him back :) I was all set to throw the book down in disgust
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Book III, Chapter
2 - 4. Saruman's power - Annael
Aragorn says "there is some will that lends speed to our foes and sets an unseen barrier before us: a weariness that is in the heart more than in the limb." Pretty powerful magic, to reach so many miles from Isengard. Does Saruman know there is pursuit, or just assume it? Would the use of such power be noticed by Sauron? Was Gandalf capable of similar magic, and if so, why didn't he use it, for example at the Battle of the Pelennor?
thought Aragorn was speaking literally - Bullroarer
I always assumed he was just voicing his own doubts about the hobbit's eventual fate and the usefulness of their pursuit. Maybe he'd read Annael's post "You and what army?" below. Or maybe they were just really, really tired. But I never thought Saruman actually had anything to do with it.
me too. I think this - zaccraven
might be a case of 'reading too much into things'. If there was some shit with Saruman using magic going on, no doubt that would have been made more obvious.
suppose Saurman's use of the palantir... - Patty
made him aware of the pursuit?
suppose so... - Ophelia
After all, he does appear at the end of the chapter and pay the hunters a brief visit- its very likely he knew of them, but not specifically who they were.
think Saruman is specifically aware of - Kimi
the Three Hunters, so perhaps he's assuming pursuit. Powerful magic indeed. He seems to be sending out a sort of mental fog that dulls the spirit of his opponents. I think it's the same sort of power as that of his voice, of which Tolkien said (In "Letters") "Saruman corrupted the reasoning powers." I like GTX's comparison of Saruman's power and Gandalf's. They're like positive and negative aspects of the same power: Gandalf's used to encourage the flagging spirit, Saruman's to dull the spirit and weary the heart. I think Gandalf does use his power to encourage the good guys at the Pelennor. Could Sauron detect it? If his Eye was bent in that direction, I think so.
Agreed - Aiya
although I think that perhaps Saruman's 'mental fog' was more for any Rohirrim pursuit... they were crossing deadly territory for orcs
Power - GaladrielTX
This doesn't exactly answer your question, but it does bring up something that occurred to me while reading this chapter. Gandalf's power is described as encouraging the hearts of the free peoples in their struggle against evil. Yet the manifestation of Saruman's will seems to be the "weariness that is in the heart more than the limb", which you mentioned. This passage seems to illustrate subtly the difference in the nature of how the two wizards use their power.
You took the words right out of my mouth, GTx. ; ) - Beren11:11
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Chapter 2 - 5. What Legolas knows - Annael
Legolas argues against breaking the pursuit to rest, but is overridden. In the morning he says "I know in my heart that they have not rested this night." The next morning, after Aragorn again chooses to stop, he wakes the others by saying "Strange things await us by the eaves of the forest. Good or evil, I do not know; but we are called. Awake!" How does Legolas know all this? Who or what is calling to him?
sensitivity to nature - Idril
Legolas is very sensitive to the natural world and can interpret its messages and signs better than anyone else in the Fellowship. (We saw this first in Hollin, where he percieves the stones' memory of the Elven realm of Eregion.) Here, I think he's hearing the earth complain of the progress of the Orc party across the plains of Rohan and their ambush on the eaves of Fangorn Forest. He's also drawing on his knowledge of Orcs. It would take little predictive ability to guess that the Orc band would continue after nightfall because it's common knowledge that Orcs prefer the darkness. (Even the Uruk-hai are more comfortable traveling at night.) Legolas also has extremely keen eyesight, and as Binky proposes, could probably see something going on on the edges of Fangorn Forest. Finally, Elves have more control over their bodies than other races. I think Legolas is simply not as weary as Aragorn and Gimli and still wants to continue the pursuit.
reason... - Binky
I always assumed that Legolas could actually see to the edge of the forrest and could tell a commotion was going on there but couldn't make out the details...but now that I think about it...he must have some kind of elvenly intuition... :) They all didn't have 'foresight' did they???? Or did they all have it...but just in varing degress...some stronger than others???? Binky
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Chapter 2 - 6. Setting the scene. - Annael
Tolkien frequently breaks the narrative to describe the land, or give us the time of the moonrise or moonset, or tell us about the weather. For example: "Ahead and eastward they saw the windy uplands of the Wold of Rohan that they had already glimpsed many days ago from the Great River. North-westward stalked the dark forest of Fangorn . . . beyond there glimmered far away, as if floating on a grey cloud, the white head of tall Methedras, the last peak of the Misty Mountains. Out of the forest the Entwash flowed to meet them, its stream now swift and narrow, and its banks deep-cloven." What does this attention to detail add to the story?
it seem more real - Kimi
Tolkien's characters move in real space, not in some disembodied plot vehicle. And Middle-earth is described so beautifully that it helps me love it and care about its plight.
personally I didnt like - zaccraven
all the descriptive passages of the landscape and so on. Whenever I found myself struggling to read the book and my mind was wandering, it was ALWAYS one of these descriptive passages. I found many of them difficult to envisage, and i often spent 5 mins trying to picture a scene, only for in the next paragraph to have the whole picture town down when the characters sit under a tree or something. I think there should be a picturebook to accompany the book in all bookshops. Shame tolkein didnt draw any pics himself, like he did with The Hobbit...
the same problem when I was a kid. - Bullroarer
I didn't even really read those passages until I was twenty or so. I'd just zip through them to get to the "good stuff". Now they're my favourites. It takes me a lot longer to read (I used to read the entire trilogy in a weekend) but I enjoy it even more now. Tolkein's detail throughout the books is a large part of why these books are so captivating. Middle-Earth is as real as it is because Tolkein is able to present it to us fully formed. You always get the impression that he's holding himself back, that there's a million more details he could tell us but doesn't.
good for you, but i still - zaccraven
find them a pain. im only 22 though, so perhaps the next time I read it I will appreciate them, I cant see myself picking it up again until Im at least 35. I guess what I was getting at was that I think those parts arent actually that well written, or perhaps written for an exclusive audience. Im about to begin third year of a degree, and I didnt understand a lot of the words he was using. I sometimes felt he could have just put the descriptions in a simpler way, though I guess then the play off would be between heightening the enjoyment of dumb readers like me at the expense of our more educated friends. There were also times when I found the language a bit OTT, and felt Tolkein was being a bit TOO romantic.
Those are common criticisms of Tolkien - Bullroarer
And there's certainly some validity to them. Is Tolkien's language distancing and therefore a weak point, or is it integral to the story he's telling and thus a tremendous accomplishment? I take the latter viewpoint but I can see the point of the former. Most of the literary criticism I've read of Tolkien has taken the former viewpoint. I don't think I've ever read a favourable scholarly assessment of Tolkien, which has always saddened me. He does not get taken very seriously amongst the acadaemonica.
*resigned sigh* - inkgirl
It's hard for me to get an objective distance, considering I've re-read the thing since age 10 so many times I've lost count. But why don't they like him? I agree that the descriptive language adds to the depth for me. I too tended to blip through them as a kid, and have grown to love them. It's like that Peter Beagle guy says in his foreword to the old paperback editions: "Lovers of Middle-earth want to go there. I would myself, like a shot." The descriptions create sufficient depth for that wish. see? I've read it so many times I even know that Peter Beagle guy's foreword. no objectivity here, nope nope.
completely understand! - Aiya
I've discovered that I'm using Tolkien as an example whenever anything happens :) and I myself would head for middle earth quick as a heartbeat :)
I hear you . . . - Annael
Seems like most conversations I have, something comes up that reminds me of LOTR. I'm always having to stop and think about whether the person I'm talking to will get it (or appreciate it) if I mention it. I would go to Middle-earth in a heartbeat too!
have played a PC game called Asherons Call? - zaccraven
There is no big quest for everyone to do as it is 'non-linear', but basically it is set in a middle-earth type place, and you can roam from town to town in the game. every character in the game (axecpt shopkeepers) are human, and there are about 2000 players online in your timezone at a time. Give it a go, but be careful as it is very addictive, I have had to throw it away to aviod failing my degree this year.
hmmm... tolkien- addictive? :) - Aiya
I'll have to see if I can find that- however- maybe I should wait til Christmas when I have spare time.. spare time? I've forgotten what that is :)
does several things... - AlanPartridge
sometimes it can make something seem constructed and artificial, because you notice the detail so much.
But in this case we actually stand next to legolas, gimli and Aragorn. We are part of their chase as we see all around us the place we are in, and as GTX states, it prepares us (and the three characters) for the coming events invlving Fangorn and Rohan.
orient us, while giving us a glimpse of what lies ahead. - GaladrielTX
In the passage you cited, Tolkien refers not only to the familiar landscape of the Misty Mountains, but he also prepares us for the imminent adventures of some members of the Fellowship in Rohan and Fangorn Forest.
The glimpse of the mountains gives us some perspective of where we have been and where the places we are about to go are, in relation to them. Calling our attention to the existence of the new places before the story's action occurs in them allows us to approach them and experience their wonders less abruptly. It piques our interest and makes us wonder what these places are like.
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Chapter 2 - 7. The Riders appear - Annael
I know Tolkien despised allegory, but here we have a group of people who have been a nation about 500 years; live to west of Gondor; are proud yet unlettered; big & physically adept, particularly at horse riding; at this point choose to remain neutral while looking to their own borders, but are about to be drawn into the war anyway because of an unprovoked attack from a surprise enemy . . . does anyone else here see any parallels?
to consider the U.S. as being wrapped into the tale... - Frodo
but it would have to be a very loose sort of analogy. Rohan is dissimilar from the US in that they didn't have a period of war with Gondor to assert their independence. Also, Rohan seems to be a fairly homogeneous group, whereas the US, for all its faults, contains many different people groups that function under one government. The people of Rohan have always reminded me more of a land-based Viking group than the US, but hey, that's just my perception.
definitely, but if you want to go down that route... - Beren11:11
I used to think that the Ring was Atomic Energy. Then I thought that Numenor was America and their stab at immortality that proved their downfall was atomic energy. Then I thought that the Noldor were Americans and the Silmarils were atomic energy, etc., etc., etc. (you get the picture) But you bring up a great point -- the Rohan parallel is maybe the strongest of all the purported WWII allegorical elements, IMHO. I'd be curious to know when he conceived this part of the story, pre-war or during war? Anybody know the answer?
would have thought of that...but - Patty
if, as Binky suggests you read unsophisticated for unlettered (from an Englishman's point of view) it is an interesting parallel.
That's such a good parallel! - Alan
Unlettered and all! :-) But as you say, he didn't like allegory. I suppose it shows how life never changes from the third age to today, politics and war still pose the same problems.
that one never occurred to me before :-) - Kimi
Only my opinion with no real evidence to back it up, but I don't think so. I get the impression (no more than an impression) from "Letters" that Tolkien wasn't very US-aware; at least not until the joy and grief your nation gave him post-publication. *Thinks* now, can I find an allegory of New Zealand in here? The Druadan, maybe :-)
unlettered? hey - wait a sec :) - Aiya
I do agree with the parallels- but I doubt that Tolkien put them in intentionally (or maybe he did just to mess with our heads) :) I would add also that Gondor & Rohan have some very strong ties that bind them together (ala mutual defense treaties)
admit it... - Binky
I thought of the US the first time I read it...a younger country being the allies in arms to an old and established kingdom...but I was only 12 at the time and didn't know it wasn't an 'allegory'...
don't know about the 'unlettered' part though...unsophisticated maybe....:) Binky
remember this is from an Englishman's point of view . . . - Annael
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Book III, Chapter 2 - 8.
Gimli and Legolas confront Eomer - Annael
Eomer gets off on the wrong foot with Gimli right at the start, by seeming to criticize Galadriel. Isn't Gimli a bit over-touchy, especially considering he's facing 105 Rohirrim who have bows & arrows and are horseback? And why is Legolas so quick to side with him? Pretty rash behavior for our Elf boy, wouldn't you say?
Frustration of the Hunters. - septembrist
These guys are frustrated. They've gone thru Moria, lost Gandalf, attacked and scattered by Orcs, gone 40 leagues on foot and then are considered and are insulted at spear point. Is it no wonder that Gimli, Legolas, even Aragorn are sick and tired of distrust and ready to vent their frustrations even if it is foolhardy?
all said *points below*, plus... - Beren11:11
1.) The whole Lothlorien/Galadriel experience is probably meant to be a bit beyond our ability to understand unless we've been there. There's a magic about the whole thing that transcends normal, rational experience. It obviously touched Gimli very very deeply. But others feel similarly -- it's the invocation of her power and the light of her vial that Sam and Frodo call on on the edge of Mordor, too -- not Gandalf or anyone else that has helped them along the way. 2.) These guys have been through so much shit since they left Rivendell -- it's like, if they're not actually looking for a fight, they're certainly not going to run from one, nor are they about to let anything get even "sort of" in their way at this point...
tells us how kick-ass these fellows really are. - Bullroarer
We haven't really seen these three (Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas) get medieval on anyone other than the orcs in Moria, and that's all pretty confused and chaotic so you don't get a clear view of what's going on. I always liked this moment. Three people, on foot, by themselves, surrounded by a hundred moderately hostile horsemen, and do they show any sign of concern? Not them. Gimli is being irrational, but I also think he's simply not afraid. Nor is Legolas. Dunno if they think they can win, but they're not afraid to fight. Reminds me of the end of "The Pheonix Guard" (another Steven Brust reference coming up) when our six heroes face an army of a thousand or so "Easterners" (regarded as lesser beings). One hero says, "I assume you've come to surrender." The leader of the Easterners says, "Why is that?" Hero: "Because, as you can see, there are six of us." Leader: "So?" Hero: "Therefore, you perceive, you are outnumbered." Heh, heh, heh...
Considering that they're already out to find 100 Orcs and kill them
. . . - Annael
I guess 105 horsemen don't seem very scary from that perspective.
and also consider what they had already been through... - Binky
snowstorms, a balrog...orcs and more ocrs...nights out sleeping in the cold...I guess a few measly horsemen was simply a minor interruption in their more serious business....:0 Binky
it's showing the intensity of - Kimi
Gimli's feelings for Galadriel. He's reacting with irrational fervour to any criticism of her. I get a bit like that myself when I here real or imagined criticism of my nearest and dearest (though I've never threatened anyone with an axe!), and I'm a fairly calm person. I think we're also seeing something of the strong affection Legolas now feels for Gimli. And possibly Legolas takes Eomer's remark as something of a racial slur on Elvendom. Having said all that, I think Gimli's being rather foolhardy.
far from subtle.. - Aiya
especially when his anger is aroused- and Legolas- well- I think this is the first time we begin to realize the depth of their friendship. He is willing to fight solely on the basis of that friendship.
Eomer.... - Binky
used to dealing with men and orcs...and is just now getting accustomed to the idea of a dwarf and elf roaming about in Rohan...and makes a remark that about Galandriel that probably only expresses the common rumors of the area...that the white lady is dangerous and perilous (remember Boromir's attitude) and is suddenly taken to task for his remarks that no on had probably challeneged him on before...makes me think of the old days when people would make off the cuff racial remarks...only to be surprised when someone actually showed offense to them!!! :)
Now he is confronted with a dwarf...who dares stand up to him...and an elf who threatens to shoot him...he probably thinks he has stepped into the Middle Earth's version of the x-files or the twilight zone.... :) Binky
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Chapter 2 - 9. Aragorn revealed - Annael
"Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Anduril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. 'Elendil!' he cried. 'I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dunadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!' " This is one of my favorite scenes in the whole book, and astounds me every time I read it. Why does Aragorn declare himself in this manner right at this moment?
Gandalf - Bullroarer
I think Aragorn has been trying to replace Gandalf and lead the Ringbearer, and that all fell apart on him, and he's lost the other hobbits, and Boromir's dead, and nothing's going very well for him. I think that when the Riders come up, Aragorn (and the reader) awakens to the fact that there are people involved in all this who don't know anything about what's going on. Aragorn can't replace Gandalf, so what is he going to do? At this point he figures it out: he's going to be himself. Only Aragorn son of Arathorn can do what needs to be done at this point -- lead the armies of the West against Sauron. Gandalf can't do that. Only he can, and here's where he realizes that and starts that plan in motion. But first he has to find some hobbits.
Agreed. - septembrist
Aragorn realizes he is the only "world" leader now that Gandalf is gone and must finally reveal himself.
no longer be a furtive traveller... - Alan
and had no need as the ring was not with him. In fact, as when he reveals himself to Sauron, Aragorn helped to distract Sauron from spotting Frodo and Sam. Also, he realised the time for war was at hand. It had started in fact. He needed to be honest with Eomer (to tell if he were friend or foe) and also to show ppl that a leader was here and could lead with a strong heritage. I like the scene too; it refers to their passage through the Argonath and preceded his full emergence as a kingly figure at Helm's Deep. I just can't stand the way he shouts 'Elendil' all the time.
It sounds daft and unnatural - not that other speech isn't, that's just my bugbear :-)
agree.... :) - Binky
about the "Elendil!" business...I could understand his need to declare his true idenity.. but it just seemed a bit too over the top to me as well.... Binky
fed up? - Aiya
No- not really- although I do think that he realized time was wasting as far as rescuing Merry & Pippin, and that the Riders were not going to allow them to go free without some kind of event that would shock them into compliance- and revealing yourself as the heir to the throne of Gondor would be a shock for them- especially because of the awe that Aragorn is capable of making people feel. That passage gives me goosebumps.
Actually, I think there's an element of truth in that, Aiya... - Patty
or more than an element. It's the old, time's a-wasting idea--he needed to get going, these folks were blocking him, and the best defense (when you are far out-numbered) is a good offense.
Not just that - - Annael
Gimli and Legolas were behaving like jerks, which wasn't sitting well with Eomer, and I bet Aragorn could see the whole situation starting to get out of hand. He put a stop to that quick by focusing everyone's attention on him.
and also.. - Aiya
I doubt that the Riders would have given horses to just anyone- and Aragorn knew they didn't stand a chance of saving Merry & Pippin on foot from that point
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Book III, Chapter 2
- 10. Enter Eomer - Annael
What do we learn about Eomer in this chapter? How does Eomer differ from Boromir in his relations with Aragorn?
strikes me as a simple man - Kimi
and I don't mean that as a slight to his intelligence. I think he divides the world into good guys and bad guys, and he quickly puts Aragorn and co. into the good guy category. He's somewhat overwhelmed by Aragorn, but a warm affection for Aragorn is rapidly kindled in his heart. He's brave and loyal. And he admires Gandalf, which inclines us to think well of him.
reminds me... - Beren11:11
...a lot of Faramir. There's a certain calmness about him that Boromir lacked, and a certain depth of perception that I think both lets him easier understand and accept his own position when dealing with someone like Aragorn, and lets him get a better handle on the truth about Aragorn himself. "My political opinions lead more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs)..." JRRT to CT; 29 November, 1943
a little too much like Faramir? - Talon
Actually, Faramir and Eomer strike me as essentially the same character, Tolkien just needed them in two different places in Middle Earth at once. They both have the strange ability to know if you're a "good guy" or a "bad guy" just by looking at you (a trait also shared by Hamma). Tolkien, to his credit, attempts to explain this as an ability held by all men of Rohan because they don't lie. Personally, I think it would be easier to be able to decieve someone who never lies and is used to taking people at their word, but then again, I didn't write one of the most popular books of the 20th century, did I? They also serve the same exact purpose to the fellowship, giving an essential helping hand at just the right moment.
Re:Truth and Deception - Frodo
Talon, you raise a fascinating point here. I'm sorry it took until Sunday for me to see it. You say that you think that it would be easier to deceive someone who is not used to lying, presumably because they are less familiar with the phenomenon of deception and perhaps are too trusting of others. That is certainly a possibility. There is another way of looking at it. A person so familiar by a lifelong association with truth would recognize a departure from the truth as something foreign and out of place. I'm told that a very successful method of training individuals to recognize phony money is not to make them acquainted with all the various methods of counterfeiting, but to have them handle genuine currency over and over and over. When they come across a bill that is not genuine, they recognize it as something other than what they are used to handling. I think perhaps that is the case with Eomer. At least, I prefer to think of him as someone who is not naive to deception, but so well versed in truth that he would recognize when something other than the truth was passed his way. Just a different perspective...
Very interesting - Talon
That could be exactly what Tolkien meant. Perhaps this explains why Saruman needed Grima. He had to slowly poison Theoden's mind, almost "conditioning" him to hearing lies. Thanks!
Oh, I like that, Frodo Hoy! - Annael
You touch on one of my favorite themes - that it is always better to focus on what is true over what is not true, the beautiful over the ugly, love over hate, trust over fear. I think Tolkien would agree with you.
really is a trusting individual. Are maybe.. - Patty
he's very discerning. Anyway, he takes what Aragorn says on faith, and even gives them a major gift of Rohan horseflesh. Even letting them leave alive was probably contravening their laws.
knows who Aragorn is from day one - Bullroarer
He doesn't have to harbour any of Boromir's jealous suspicions. Besides, he's not in competition with Aragorn. He's a little skeptical but the Rohirrim seem to respond pretty well to boldness and I think Aragorn takes just the right tone with Eomer and impresses him right off the bat. Despite his skepticism, Eomer seems willing to take Aragorn as his lord from the get-go. What's the story with Eomer's father? He seems to come to consider Aragorn as almost a father figure.
Eomer's father died in 3002 - Kimi
when Eomer was 11. Theoden has been as a father to him since then, but he's seen Theoden sink into a Grima-induced premature senility. Theoden's only child, Theodred, was killed a short time before we meet Eomer. Theodred was 13 or 14 years older than Eomer, and Eomer may well have looked up to him as to an admired older brother. It might be that role that he places Aragorn in.
those more....free civilizations..... - Binky
notice I didn't say 'primative' :) You have to trust your 'gut' instinct'. You are concernec with survivial and can't waste time worrying about this or that detail..you have to get on with it....Eomer's little voice let him know Aragorn was trustworthy....and he went with it.... Binky
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Chapter 2 - 11. A Tale of Two Wizards - Annael
Eomer has had direct dealings with both Saruman and Gandalf, and gives us the Rohirrim perspective on both. How do you think Grima been able to build up Gandalf's faults to Theoden without damning Saruman at the same time?
voice may play a part, too - Idril
Speculation here ... We know that Saruman can manipulate people with his voice, especially the unwary. If Saruman had ever spoken to Theoden in person, he could have used his voice to plant negative feelings toward Gandalf in Theoden's mind. (No such meeting is described in LOTR, but it is possibile that they met earlier.)
Interesting idea, Idril, but I don't think so. - Kimi
In "The Voice of Saruman", it sounds as though Saruman is meeting Theoden for the first time: "But you, Theoden Lord of the Mark of Rohan, are declared by your noble devices, and still more by the fair countenance of the House of Eorl." It sounds to me as if he's never seen Theoden before. I could be wrong, of course.
Wormtoungue was the tool that was used to undermine Theodin - Ron Austin
stays aloof. - Bullroarer
Familiarity breeds contempt, right? Most of Grima's accusations towards Gandalf concern the old wizard's constant meddling, which Saruman doesn't attempt. Saruman doesn't show up at Edoras asking for horses and armies and such.
Sauron, like a Mafia Don, prefers to do his dirty work through others.... - dudalb
saruman comes at the right times.. - Aiya
Gandalf comes only when he is needed- which gives him the name stormcrow- Saruman knows how to twist people's thinking around better..
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III, Chapter 2 - 12. Fangorn holds some secret of its own - Annael
Legolas mentions the Ents, yet in the next paragraph, Aragorn says "Fangorn holds some secret of its own. What it is I do not know." Clumsy writing here? Or does Tolkien mean the Huorns?
remark could be read as - Kimi
implying that the Ents may have died out. He says, "I have heard nothing of this in my own land, save only songs that tell how the Onodrim, that Men call Ents, dwelt there long ago; for Fangorn is old, old even as the Elves would reckon it." If Elves don't know how long Ents live, and perhaps do know that they lost the Entwives long ago, they migth well think that the Ents have faded away. But Aragorn is saying that there's something in Fangorn that sets it aside from ordinary forests. He doesn't know if it's Ents or some other beings, or perhaps sentient trees.
Thanks Kimi, that makes sense. - Annael
yes... - Beren11:11
He means the Huorns, but also he means Treebeard himself, and the actual number, power, and wrath of the Ents, which seems to be known to very few if anyone, including Gandalf. "My political opinions lead more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs)..." JRRT to CT; 29 November, 1943
Aragorn refers to Fangorn... - Alan
as in Treebeard.
As much as this might be unlikely, it does show that Fangorn/Treebeard, the oldest of all living creatures, may yet have a trick up his sleeve that will go against habits of countless millenia.
Fangorn has his secret - the emotion and will to destroy Saruman.
think I agree with you Alan.. - Aiya
but it also could be that Aragorn doesn't know what those secrets are- he just knows they are there.. that's why Legolas' comments don't register with him...
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Chapter 2, The Riders of Rohan - 13. Summing up - Annael I'm sorry
I missed this chapter... - leo You
can post to a topic after the summing up if you want to - Ron
yeah, I know, but... - leo Thanks,
Annael, for another interesting week. - GaladrielTX Superb
summary, Annael. - Frodo
excellent job again, Annael. Thank you. - Kimi Excellent
summary and character analysis, Annael! - Patty
Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are in pursuit of the Orcs, although what hope they have of ever catching up with them fades more every day of their four-day chase. What they would do if they did in fact catch up is never mentioned; it is the right thing to try to save their friends, so on they go. Their pursuit seems hampered not only by the Orcs' ability to run day and night, but by an unseen force that saps the will. They are nearing Saruman's territory. As they run, we learn more about each of the three. Aragorn is an astounding tracker, able to read a single bent blade of grass. He can also read sounds transmitted through the earth, even from miles away. Legolas can see like an eagle, does not need to sleep, and seems tuned in to information on some other plane: he knows "in his heart" that the Orcs do not rest at night, yet feels a call to keep pursuing them. Gimli, dwarf though he may be, can evidently keep up with the tall Man and Elf. On the fourth day of their pursuit, they encounter an eored of the Rohirrim. We meet Eomer, but at first things go badly as Eomer offends Gimli and both Gimli and Legolas go on the offensive. Aragorn steps in and in a thrilling passage declares himself to Eomer and demands his assistance. Awed, Eomer grants it. From him we learn of the troubles facing Rohan from Orcs and Saruman. We get a hint too about Theoden when Eomer mentions that he pursued the Orcs "without the king's leave." He has chased down and killed the very Orcs our friends were pursuing, but saw no Hobbits among them. Sure that their pursuit is fruitless, he urges the three to come with him to Meduseld, where their help is needed. But Aragorn refuses to give up hope. In the end Eomer lends them two horses, and the three head for Fangorn as Eomer leads his eored home. At the scene of the battle between the Rohirrim and the Orcs, Aragorn can find no sign of the Hobbits. Disheartened, they make camp within the eaves of Fangorn. Suddenly they see an old man watching them, but before they can confront him, he disappears. Saruman? At the same moment they discover that the horses have gone. They are alone in Fangorn.
I won't reply to it all now, but it sure sounds interesting looking at this summing up.
knowing that I wouldn't be able to join the discussion, I haven't really read the chapter ( a shame, because it's a good one), and I reckon most points have been raised already...
And, as I said on the main board yesterday, I appreciated your thought-provoking questions this week. Thanks for the time and effort you put into leading this chapter!
I missed this chapter... - leo
You can post to a topic after the summing up if you want to - Ron Austin
yeah, I know, but... - leo
Thanks, Annael, for another interesting week. - GaladrielTX
summary, Annael. - Frodo
An excellent job again, Annael. Thank you. - Kimi
Excellent summary and character analysis, Annael! - Patty
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