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Hamiltonian Bicycle
Apr 26, 2008

!


I can't exactly relate to it either but a lot of people just really don't like a) whimsy and b) verse, let alone whimsical verse, in their novels. I think it's that more than any kind of social pressure to pick on Bombadil specifically.

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SHISHKABOB
Nov 30, 2012

I am gently caressed by my SAnta


Fun Shoe

First time I read LotR, Bombadil was one of those things that really drew me in and fascinated me. Maybe not as much as the Watcher in the Water or Moria or the Balrog or whatever, but he was definitely a very interesting thing. Especially when they talked about him at the council. I totally skipped over every song in the books back then because "wow boring songs" but I still enjoyed reading about this weird-rear end jolly guy who does what-the-gently caress-ever.

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

HEY LITTLE SIDNEY WANT TO SEE MY CANNOLI?


The Bombadil section is also not very long (I think only 15 pages or something), I think it's just that people are often already struggling to get used to the language and a kind of slow start of the book and it adds to that a bit

Radio!
Mar 15, 2008

Look at that post.



VanSandman posted:

For those who don't know, Feanor, the creator of the Silmarils which are then stolen by Morgoth, vows to seek vengeance without the help of the gods. Most of his fellow tribesmen follow suit, including the youngest to make the vow, Galadriel.

Feanor's seven sons are the ones who make the vow, but Galadriel is the daughter of Finarfin. Finarfin's kin neither make the vow nor participate in the kinslaying of the Teleri, and therefore are the only line of the three kindreds to be allowed into Doriath by Melian and Thingol.


Also Feanor kind of hated them and left them behind when he crossed the Helcaraxë in the stolen ships- Finarfin's people were the ones who had to walk to Middle Earth.

Strategic Tea
Sep 1, 2012

Those are my runes.
Give them back.
You are a dog.
They don't even fit.


There's something odd about Bombadil that I only noticed the last time I read it, so it might just be nonsense or the mood I was in or something. But he seemed sinister, with all the talk of him being the 'master' of his ordered garden, even the 'you should not be awake, go back to sleep' thing with Old Man Willow. I'm not saying he's secretly a communist servant of Morgoth (who doesn't have a birth certificate in Middle Earth ) or something, but I definitely thought he seemed more menacing than a jolly man with incredible power.

Hamiltonian Bicycle
Apr 26, 2008

!


Radio! posted:

Also Feanor kind of hated them and left them behind when he crossed the Helcaraxë in the stolen ships- Finarfin's people were the ones who had to walk to Middle Earth.

Fingolfin's too - Feanor left everyone behind except his own sons and followers, even those who did participate in the Kinslaying. In fact they outnumbered Finarfin's people because many of these (led by Finarfin himself) turned back when Mandos yelled at them about the Kinslaying, well before the question of walking to Middle-Earth arose.

Safety Biscuits
Oct 21, 2010



Hatter106 posted:

I want to read some scholastic study of Tolkien, and Tom Shippey's books seem to be a good start. But I can't decide which to read; The Road to Middle-Earth or the later JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century. Apparently he re-uses some material from the earlier book in Century, but the reviews seem pretty good otherwise.
Anyone read either?

No, but Humphrey Carpenter's biography is a good beginning, though it's short. He wrote an "Inklings" (mostly Lewis and a bit of Charles Williams) one too, also worth reading.

kyy
Apr 27, 2008


Strategic Tea posted:

There's something odd about Bombadil that I only noticed the last time I read it, so it might just be nonsense or the mood I was in or something. But he seemed sinister, with all the talk of him being the 'master' of his ordered garden, even the 'you should not be awake, go back to sleep' thing with Old Man Willow.

Your comment reminded me about a blog post I read a while ago, which explores exactly that kind of viewpoint on Bombadil, and I remember it being more entertaining to read than most spergy fan theories on things Tolkien deliberately left vague. Here it is, if you're interested: http://km-515.livejournal.com/1042.html

FowlTheOwl
Nov 5, 2008

O thou precious owl,
The wise Minervas only fowl


I always wondered if Tom Bombadil and Radagast were related. They both seem to be protectors of the woods and creatures in a way. We never really see Radagast that much either.

Also, I could see Radagast harboring some hate for creatures that destroy the forest, like humans.

Edit: On further reading http://www.lotrplaza.com/archives/i...hive&TID=160271 I am an idiot.

FowlTheOwl fucked around with this message at 23:37 on Feb 16, 2013

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




concerned mom posted:

Are the History of Middle Earth books worth buying? They seem like such a big cost but I've read everything else including hours on the Encyclopaedia or Arda and am basically a huge nerd who knows a lot about Arda.

Can you get them through your local library system? It's what I've done and a good thing, too, as there are only a few that I would want to own.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



xcheopis posted:

Can you get them through your local library system? It's what I've done and a good thing, too, as there are only a few that I would want to own.
Good plan. Unless you are loaded and want to chuck a bunch of cash at not very much for a nice wall decoration its not very interesting stuff.

Endless CT writing up unfinshed bits and 5 different versions of the pre releases of bits.

Maybe good for a student of writing, JRR was a prof of english after all but you aint getting much story in them.

rypakal
Oct 31, 2012

He also cooks the food of his people


concerned mom posted:

Are the History of Middle Earth books worth buying? They seem like such a big cost but I've read everything else including hours on the Encyclopaedia or Arda and am basically a huge nerd who knows a lot about Arda.

If you've not read the History of Middle Earth you're not a huge nerd that knows a lot about Arda.

If you're a student of the process, they're an invaluable resource. If you're a student of the mythology, they're an invaluable resource. If you're just looking for entertainment, they're probably not worth it. The History of the Hobbit is fascinating for the same reasons, but it deals less with the Lore of middle-earth, so it has less value in that regard.

The Tolkien Professor podcasts really helped me understand things I never considered in The Hobbit before. I'd say listen to his Hobbit Lectures if nothing else. The Tolkien class has some value, except Jordan won't shut the gently caress up and is the biggest goon I've ever encountered.

Tom Bombadil is one of my favorite and least favorite parts of Lord of the Rings. I have a fond affinity to his chapters, but knowing they are an outside creation and inserted into the story roughly has soured my opinion on them.

Hamiltonian Bicycle
Apr 26, 2008

!


rypakal posted:

If you're just looking for entertainment, they're probably not worth it.

Some of them very much are, particularly the ones that aren't nigh-purely about the process of writing Lord of the Rings - there's a lot of interesting otherwise unpublished material in there. (Admittedly the only real reason I'm anything like "a student of the mythology" is entertainment.)

For something a bit unusual I'd recommend Lays of Beleriand, if you can stomach it. Unless I'm much mistaken you don't often see fantasy writers make a serious attempt at epic poetry, let alone come out with anything readable, but I really quite like Tolkien's results, unfinished as they are.

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




VanSandman posted:

...Galadriel, who is probably the oldest thing on Middle Earth before she leaves.


Not at all. Cirdan is definitely older and Celeborn likely is as well. Probably quite a few of the Telari and Avari are older, actually and possibly some of the few remaining Noldor, e.g., Glorfindal.

computer parts
Nov 18, 2010

PLEASE CLAP

Not a Tolkien book so much as a book about Tolkien, but I've been reading Tolkien's biography, and I really have to recommend it, it's an interesting read and you get an impression about why he has the elements he does in his literature.

rypakal
Oct 31, 2012

He also cooks the food of his people


xcheopis posted:

Not at all. Cirdan is definitely older and Celeborn likely is as well. Probably quite a few of the Telari and Avari are older, actually and possibly some of the few remaining Noldor, e.g., Glorfindal.

You're right. Cirdan we know was on the Exodus from Cuivienen. He stayed behind to lead the hunt for Thingol when Thingol went astray. So it is common wisdom that he is the oldest. But we just don't know enough about the others to say for sure. Thranduil could have been part of the same exodus. We know Galadrial is younger and was born in Valinor because she's the grandchild of Finwe's second wife, which he got in Valinor. Celeborn could also have been on the exodus, though again we don't know the relative date of his birth.

Radio!
Mar 15, 2008

Look at that post.



xcheopis posted:

Not at all. Cirdan is definitely older and Celeborn likely is as well. Probably quite a few of the Telari and Avari are older, actually and possibly some of the few remaining Noldor, e.g., Glorfindal.

Would Glorfindel count? He did die, after all, fighting the Balrog in Gondolin. Wikipedia says he was sent back to Middle Earth by the Valar in the Second Age, so would you count his age from then or whenever he was actually born?

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




Radio! posted:

Would Glorfindel count? He did die, after all, fighting the Balrog in Gondolin. Wikipedia says he was sent back to Middle Earth by the Valar in the Second Age, so would you count his age from then or whenever he was actually born?

Gandalf refers to him as such to Frodo.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Radio! posted:

Would Glorfindel count? He did die, after all, fighting the Balrog in Gondolin. Wikipedia says he was sent back to Middle Earth by the Valar in the Second Age, so would you count his age from then or whenever he was actually born?
I always thought that was just another elf called Glorfindel, an ancestor, not the one who died.

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




Seaside Loafer posted:

I always thought that was just another elf called Glorfindel, an ancestor, not the one who died.

Nope. Tolkien wrote several essays on how elves that die "unnaturally" (being slain counts as unnatural) can be "reborn" after a certain period in Mandos AND with the blessing of Manwe. It's complicated.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



xcheopis posted:

Nope. Tolkien wrote several essays on how elves that die "unnaturally" (being slain counts as unnatural) can be "reborn" after a certain period in Mandos AND with the blessing of Manwe. It's complicated.
If you can remember and have time could you point me in the direction of that reference please? I have the entire collection but a crap memory

e: Something that is in the memory banks is 'Glorfindal son of Erestor' cant remember which text came from.

Seaside Loafer fucked around with this message at 00:51 on Feb 19, 2013

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




Seaside Loafer posted:

If you can remember and have time could you point me in the direction of that reference please? I have the entire collection but a crap memory

e: Something that is in the memory banks is 'Glorfindal son of Erestor' cant remember which text came from.

Some is in Morgoth's Ring and some in The People's of Middle-earth.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Thanks

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




Strategic Tea posted:

There's something odd about Bombadil that I only noticed the last time I read it, so it might just be nonsense or the mood I was in or something. But he seemed sinister, with all the talk of him being the 'master' of his ordered garden, even the 'you should not be awake, go back to sleep' thing with Old Man Willow. I'm not saying he's secretly a communist servant of Morgoth (who doesn't have a birth certificate in Middle Earth ) or something, but I definitely thought he seemed more menacing than a jolly man with incredible power.

Well, he isn't a Man, so that part is right. But one of the previously unpublished essays, The Hunt For The Ring, mentions that the Lord of the Ring-Wraiths spent time in the area:

Tolkien wrote posted:

But the Black Captain established a camp at Andrath, where the Greenway passed in a defile between the Barrow-downs and the South Downs... ...it is said that the Black Captain stayed there for some days, and the Barrow-wights were roused, and all things of evil spirit, hostile to Elves and Men, were on the watch with malice in the Old Forest and on the Barrow-downs.

Doesn't mention how Bombadil could have been completely unaware of his presence, however.

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003





Well, if you have any more questions, ask them before the 23rd, which is when these are due back at the library.

Radio!
Mar 15, 2008

Look at that post.



The wikipedia article on Glorfindel is actually really interesting. I'd give it a look as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glorfindel

Solkanar512
Dec 28, 2006



College Slice

Throughout the books there are references to prophesy. Outside of the mirror that Galadriel uses, what form does this take? Are there folks who are born with a gift for telling the future, rituals that go on, or is it just something that is written about in any great length?

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




Solkanar512 posted:

Throughout the books there are references to prophesy. Outside of the mirror that Galadriel uses, what form does this take? Are there folks who are born with a gift for telling the future, rituals that go on, or is it just something that is written about in any great length?

Aside from the Valar (especially Mandos), I think Tolkien is referring to foresight, which can hit at any moment and is often associated with impending death.

Endless Trash
Aug 12, 2007



Haven't read the books in a while so this may be a dumb question but why is it Aragorn who takes the throne of Gondor? Why did his father remain in hiding, or his father, etc? Was there some prophecy about Sauron's return that needed to be fulfilled before Isildur's bloodline could come out of hiding?

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




FrensaGeran posted:

Haven't read the books in a while so this may be a dumb question but why is it Aragorn who takes the throne of Gondor? Why did his father remain in hiding, or his father, etc? Was there some prophecy about Sauron's return that needed to be fulfilled before Isildur's bloodline could come out of hiding?

Sauron and his agents were actively looking for any of Isildur's heirs. Also, it wasn't until the War of the Ring that conditions were such that Gondor would even accept him as king.

euphronius
Feb 18, 2009





I read it as Gandalf talking him into it.

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




euphronius posted:

I read it as Gandalf talking him into it.

Arwen might have had something to do with it, too.

euphronius
Feb 18, 2009





Yeah Gandalf and the Elves.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Elrond did tell Aragorn you aint having my daughter until you are the high king.

euphronius
Feb 18, 2009





It was also a selfless distraction in part. It diverted Sauron's attention from Frodo et al.

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003




euphronius posted:

Yeah Gandalf and the Elves.

It's always those goddamned elves.

Hamiltonian Bicycle
Apr 26, 2008

!


FrensaGeran posted:

Haven't read the books in a while so this may be a dumb question but why is it Aragorn who takes the throne of Gondor? Why did his father remain in hiding, or his father, etc? Was there some prophecy about Sauron's return that needed to be fulfilled before Isildur's bloodline could come out of hiding?

Gondor refused the claim of Isildur's line when Ondoher, the last king of Anárion's direct line, died together with his children; instead they crowned one Earnil, a successful general and direct male-line descendant of a king's younger son a few generations back. If they'd chosen otherwise, their new king would have been Arvedui, then king of what remained of Arnor and married to Ondoher's daughter Fíriel; as it was, though, Arvedui was in serious trouble what with Angmar moving in, and ended up drowning.

His son Aranarth survived (by virtue of having fled in a different direction), which is how the line carried on and ended up producing Aragorn II, i.e. Strider. But there wasn't any Arnor left to be king of even after Earnil's son Earnur finally got around to coming up and defeating Angmar, so they just called themselves chieftains of the Dúnedain for a while. Unfortunately the Witch-king wasn't gone or anything, just driven south, and proceeded to taunt Earnur (now king, and childless) by challenging him to single combat until he accepted. Presumably he got soundly ruined, if there even was any kind of actual fight, because he was never heard from again. The Witch-king and his buddies must have been content with that bit of revenge, because they proceeded to not do much of anything until their boss got back and the Ring finally surfaced.

So then the stewards who were ruling in Earnur's place just sort of kept at it in the southern king's name instead of calling in the northern chieftains, who for their part must have known (foresight again, I assume - broadly interpreting Arvedui's birth prophecy whereby "much sorrow and many lives of men shall pass, until the Dúnedain arise and are united again") to wait for a more dramatically appropriate moment, i.e. the War of the Ring.

Effectronica
May 31, 2011


Fallen Rib

xcheopis posted:

Not at all. Cirdan is definitely older and Celeborn likely is as well. Probably quite a few of the Telari and Avari are older, actually and possibly some of the few remaining Noldor, e.g., Glorfindal.

Treebeard claims to be the oldest living thing in Middle-Earth, and this may also be compatible with the Quendi waking up first- Cirdan may be from one of the later generations of Elves at Cuivienen, or Treebeard could have sprouted unconscious and been woken to sapience by the Quendi later. There's not a lot of reason to believe that there are many Elves that could be older than Cirdan, either. The notes on the Elvish "three cycles of life" suggests that Cirdan is oldest of all the Eldar shown in the books, since he's the only one who's passed into the third cycle. Of course, there could be Avari that are older, but it doesn't seem likely with the harshness of ME under the dominion of Morgoth (after all, the leader of the Nandor died before managing to cross into Beleriand), and in any case none have actually appeared in the books- there don't seem to be any Avari apart from nameless background figures in Lorien and Mirkwood, and in any case both of those have acculturated to the blend of Laiquendin and Sindarin culture present in those lands.


euphronius posted:

I read it as Gandalf talking him into it.

Going further along this road, Aragorn mentions taking long journeys below the equator and far into the east in FOTR. It seems quite possible that these were essentially diplomatic missions to various neutral or anti-Sauron groups that would be in place to negotiate quick peace with Gondor once he took the throne.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



While definitely vintage at this point, http://flyingmoose.org/tolksarc/theories/theories.htm this page may have some interesting fruit for discussion. In particular, here's their old theory about Tom Bombadil:

He's the Witch-king of Angmar!!

A text from the First Age of Usenet posted:

1. We never hear of Tom at all during the whole of the First Age. The Nine Rings aren't forged until the Second Age. QED.

2. You never see the two of them together.

3. In the first part of Fellowship of the Ring, the Nazgul are sent to the Shire to look for the wandering Baggins. Interestingly, Tom says to Frodo at the dinner-table: "...I was waiting for you. We heard news of you, and learned that you were wandering... But Tom had an errand there, that he dared not hinder" (Fellowship p.137 hardback, emphasis mine: note the fear Tom has of his master, Sauron!).

4. In Tom's questioning of the Hobbits, JRRT notes that "there was a glint in his eyes when he heard of the Riders." (Fellowship p. 144) I think he was concerned that his double-life might have been noticed. Interestingly, Tom immediately changes the subject of conversation!
Furthermore, the One Ring had no effect on Tom - which seems consistent with Tolkien's observations about how the Nazgul would have handled the same priceless object (Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #246): "They were... in no way deceived as to the real lordship of the Ring."

5. It's also interesting to note that Tom could see Frodo clearly while Frodo was wearing the Ring (Fellowship p. 144 hardback) - just as the Witch-king could see Frodo clearly while he was wearing the Ring at Weathertop! (Fellowship p. 208 hardback)

6. Perhaps most damning, however, is the incident with the Barrow-wights (Fellowship pp. 151-155), where Tom - with nothing more than a few simple words (p. 154) - commands the Barrow-wight to leave. And it does, without argument. Why would the Wight be so completely under Tom's control? Because in his alternate guise as the Witch-king of Angmar, Tom ordered the Wight to inhabit the barrow in the first place! Turning to Return of the King, Appendix A, p. 321, "evil spirits out of Angmar... entered into the deserted mounds and dwelt there." Obviously the Witch-king was reponsible for sending the wights there; just as obviously, the Witch-king (disguised as Tom) would be capable of ordering them to leave!
(This is related to another passage, which has since been brought to my attention. On Fellowship page 158 hardback, Tom is guiding the Hobbits back towards the Road when he gazes towards the borders of Cardolan. "Tom said that it had once been the boundary of a kingdom, but a very long time ago. He seemed to remember something sad about it, and would not say much." Since Tom, as the Witch-king, was the one who destroyed the kingdom of Cardolan, it's little wonder that he wouldn't say much about his involvement. Perhaps his remembering "something sad" reveals some remorse at being the instrument of Cardolan's destruction...?)

...Yep: I think we have an airtight case here.

...It's worth noting that, after the Witch-king was dead, Gandalf said he was "going to have a long talk with Bombadil" (Return of the King, p. 275). Curiously, he never tells anyone about the meeting later... and he's right there at the Grey Havens at the end of the book, undelayed it seems by long conversation. I think we can therefore theorize that Gandalf made it to the Old Forest, but that Tom (once the so-called "Witch-king" had died) was nowhere to be found!

...Of course, all this brings up the curiosity of motive. What would make the Witch-King of Angmar sport such a double identity? I suppose that the Witch-king, once of proud Numenorean ancestry, felt trapped by the guise of evil which Sauron had tricked him into, and in the fullness of time forged this alternate identity for himself so that he could occasionally feel happy, helpful, noble, and more at one with himself and his lineage. The situation is perhaps analagous to a crossdresser who, feeling trapped in a man's body, would occasionally assume the identity of a woman. It therefore makes sense that the Witch-king's other identity would be so peculiarly enigmatic, and perhaps sheds light on JRRT's observation in Letters #144: "And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."

...Who else would be aware of Tom's double-life, I wonder? Since Tom repeatedly claims to have been around "before the river and the trees", and indeed even claims to be older than the Ents (Fellowship p. 142), surely the eldest of the Elves would know he was lying. Elrond plays along with Tom in public, being kind enough not to reveal his secret, but also seems to know that Tom and the Witch-king are one and the same; hence his refusal to give the Ring to Tom for safekeeping (Fellowship p. 278-9): "Power to defy the Enemy is not in him."

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BrianWilly
Apr 24, 2007

Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

Okay I know that whole thing is joking, but I don't get why this point got stuck in with the rest of the "valid" arguments...

quote:

...It's worth noting that, after the Witch-king was dead, Gandalf said he was "going to have a long talk with Bombadil" (Return of the King, p. 275). Curiously, he never tells anyone about the meeting later... and he's right there at the Grey Havens at the end of the book, undelayed it seems by long conversation. I think we can therefore theorize that Gandalf made it to the Old Forest, but that Tom (once the so-called "Witch-king" had died) was nowhere to be found!
They do realize that several years have passed in between Gandalf going to talk to Tom and then showing up at the Havens, right? It kinda detracts from the humor to put blatant mistakes in your theories.

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