September 30, 2005

Tolkien Geek Update

I've got to go out in a few minutes and ruin my neighbor's weekend by getting my lawn cut first, but I wanted to note that Gary the Tolkien Geek has his latest post up: FOTR, Book 2, Chapter 3 - The Ring Goes South.

Gary has lots of interesting tidbits about Tolkien's earlier jiggerings with the composition of the Company of the Ring and its evolution into its final form. This brings up a question I've long had about the presence of Legolas. Those of you familiar with the books will remember that he is the son of Thranduil, the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood, originally sent by his father as a messenger to Elrond in Rivendell to bring the news of the escape of Gollum. Why Tolkien chose him to accompany the Ring south instead of one of the Elves of Rivendell like, say, Glorfindel, has always puzzled me a bit, particularly since a) the Elves of Mirkwood are not related to the Elves of Rivendell and really are not directly tied up in the Ring business, and b) I would have thought it would make more sense to send Legolas back to Mirkwood to inform his father of the overall strategic situation, especially since his father is about to be attacked by Sauron's forces.

Gary also talks about the snowstorm in the Redhorn Gate on the flank of Carhadras. There is a fascinating (well to me, anyway) little question about exactly who or what is responsible for this meteorological attack on the Company. In the book, an exchange between Gimli and Gandalf just before it begins suggests that Sauron sends the snowstorm, perhaps with the intent of stopping the Company. However, after it is over, it is suggested that "cruel" Carhadras was responsible itself, and for its own malevolent reasons. Indeed, one could almost make an argument that the Balrog living under it had something to do with the attack (although I don't recall Balrogs having such powers elsewhere in Tolkien's writings). Peter Jackson, as part of his effort to bolster the character's role, assigns responsibility directly to Saruman.

Posted by Robert at September 30, 2005 09:36 AM | TrackBack