September 07, 2005

Tolkien Watch

Gary has his latest post up over at Tolkien Geek. This time it's FOTR, Book 1, Chapter 3 - "Three Is Company". Lots of very interesting information about the original drafts.

I love the early chapters of LOTR. Even though there are plenty of signs of the approaching epic storm, these are still seen from the hobbits' limited point of view (a point of view that will gradually widen in scope as the story progresses, of course). In the meantime, though, we are treated to things like the history of the Shire, the family squabbling among Bilbo, Frodo and the Sackville-Bagginses, trespassing on Farmer Maggot's land, the hobbit fondness for mushrooms and Fatty Bolger's fear of the Old Forest. We are also treated to the intimacy of the relationship among Frodo, Merry and Pippin (and Sam). "A Conspiracy Unmasked," in fact, has always been a favorite chapter of mine and I was much saddened by the fact that so much of this section of the story was excised in Peter Jackson's screenplay, with Merry and Pippin reduced to Beavis and Butthead status.

There is also something stirring about the beginning of the hobbits' adventure. I love in particular Tolkien's attention to the details of the weather as summer ends and fall sets in. This change in seasons (which is beginning to happen around here now) has always been the time of year when I feel most inclined to Do Something, when my interest in things is renewed and refreshed after the summer doldrums. If ever I had to set out on an epic quest myself, this would be the time of the year to do it. (This is also why I tend to reread these books in the fall, I suppose.)

Anyway, go on over and check out Gary's latest entry, as well as his previous ones. Also, it's not too late to grab your own copy of LOTR and start following along.

Posted by Robert at September 7, 2005 11:10 AM | TrackBack

I have to admit - those books are dense, miserable reads.

"Then the hobbits ran over here. Then over there. Then they ate. Then they were attacked by a tree. Hey, 40 stanzas of impenetrable elvish poetry!"

The story is great, but the execution is like reading stereo instructions.


Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 7, 2005 12:17 PM

[Shaking head sadly]

Ah, you young whippersnappers with yer hurry, hurry, hurry, and yer instant gratification!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 7, 2005 12:28 PM

What I want to know is, who is Tom Bombadil?

There are some who say he is a prankster god visiting from an entirely different mythos.* Some claim he is Eru himself.

I have no firm opinions on him. Jackson saw fit not to include him. He did, of course, show up in National Lamppon's "Bored of the Rings" as the drug-peddling Tim Benzedrine, though.

*(Consider, if you will, the Aesir and the Vanir -- two sets of gods from two different mythic systems, harnessed together in one pantheon. Likely a bargain worked out after a battle between the Norse and their predecessors in Scandinavia. Or maybe I just made that up. I'm not sure.)

Posted by: The Colossus at September 7, 2005 12:56 PM

Dude, when I want "hurry, hurry, hurry, and ... instant gratification," I don't read books. I read magazines.

Actually not so much "read" as "look at the pictures."

Of the naked girls.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 7, 2005 01:25 PM

Bombadil never really gets explained. He's discussed briefly at the Counsel of Elrond, but all we learn is that he's been around a long time. Elrond says:

"But I had forgotten Bombadil, if indeed this is still the same that walked the woods and hills long ago, and even then was older than the old. That was not then his name. Iarwain Ben-adar we called him, oldest and fatherless. But many another name he has since been given by other folk: Forn by the Dwarves, Orald by Northern Men, and other names beside."

Earlier, when he describes himself to Frodo, he says pretty much the same thing:

"Don't you know my name yet? That's the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless? But you are young and I am old. Eldest, that's what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside."

I do not recall that he gets mentioned anywhere else, unlike, say, Gandalf and the Ents, who both appear briefly in The Silmarillion. I suppose, based on his self-description, that there could be made an argument that he is Eru personified. On the other hand, he might just be another of the Maiar.

Now, aren't you glad you asked?

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 7, 2005 01:28 PM

Of course, who can forget:

Tim! Tim! Benzedrine!
Hash! Boo! Valvoline!
Clean, clean, clean for Gene!
First, second, neutral, park,
Hie thee hence, you leafy narc!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 7, 2005 01:32 PM

Who is Tom Bombadil? I'm going to cover a lot of that in the appropriate chapter, based a number of web resources I've found over the years. No definite answers, though. Only speculation.

Stop reading ahead, dammit! I'm going as fast as I can!

Posted by: Gary at September 7, 2005 01:36 PM

Ach! Cautiousssss, my preciosssss! More haste, less speed! We doesn't want to breaks our necks, does we?

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 7, 2005 04:13 PM
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