September 29, 2005

Tolkien Geek Update

In my absence, Gary Il Geekisto di Tolkien posted on two of the most important chapters in the entire LOTR cycle, chapters that separate the True Geeks from the Johnny-come-lately Jackson Myrmidons:

FOTR Book II, Chapter 1 - Many Meetings


FOTR Book II, Chapter 2 - The Council of Elrond.

These are the Why We Fight chapters, the ones that fit all the players and plots of the current story firmly into the overall history of Middle Earth, bringing both all the characters and the reader completely up to speed, and setting the stage for the final confrontation with Sauron. When I first started reading these books, I hated the Council of Elrond because it was so wordy and devoid of action. Now it is one of my favorites because of all the history and, as Dubya might say, strategerizing that take place.

I won't get into the Jacksonization of these scenes except to note a) that most of the Saruman plotline is lifted out of these chapters (all of the action taking place offstage in the books) and b) that one of the very first blogposts I ever wrote was on the theme of sacrificing the complexity of things at Rivendell for other plot devices of, er, more basic appeal. Let's hop in the Way-Back Machine and have another look.

Gary brings up the third-rail issue of the relationship between Sam and Frodo here. I think Gary's point about the awkwardness of Sam holding Frodo's hand coming about as a result of their class distinction is perfectly valid, and is something lost on modern audiences. However, to the extent that Tolkien might have been driving at something else - and after having mulled on it myself, I still don't know what the answer might be - a much stronger argument can be made later on based on what happens in Ithilien and Cirith Gorgor. But that's a discussion for another time.

Oh, by the way, speaking of relationships, Gary also notes the fact that it was Elrond's brother Elros who chose to become mortal and thereby founded the line of the Numenorean Kings. Since Aragorn is his direct descendant, this makes Elrond Aragorn's distant uncle and Arwen his cousin. Cue banjo music.

Posted by Robert at September 29, 2005 12:13 PM | TrackBack

Hey, Legolas and Gimli never marry, either, and they spend a lot of time together admiring forests and secret underground lairs.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: The Colossus at September 29, 2005 12:39 PM

Not that there's anything wrong with that. ;-)

Posted by: Gary at September 29, 2005 02:03 PM

Is it still bad if the first cousins are, like, a few dozen generations removed?

Posted by: TheRoyalFamily at September 29, 2005 03:59 PM

Don't you mean Cirith Ungol?

Posted by: Vinnie at September 30, 2005 12:18 AM

Whoops - yes I do.

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