Reply
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat

Hello, Nadine!

 

You brought up a great observation there! I think you have to add Tolkien's very early youth spent in South -Africa, as well as his military service during WWI as a kind of "travel" as well - but the most "travelling" Tolkien ever did was mostly in his mind ( while sitting in his study, I would think )...

From what I have learned about Tolkien's youth that was spent in Birhimham, England, ( and how he and his brother used to often "roam about" ) - my feeling is that much of Middle-earth is like an "extension" or "elaboration" on what  might  be considered less exotic, more ordinary places, more "familiar" places that eventually became transformed into something more grand and fantastical in the stories ( or, at least, those more familiar places served as the "germ" of the ideas of many places in LOTR - mainly the Shire, of course, but some other locations in Middle-earth, as well ) ---

 

Ardo

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat

Hello Again...

 

I don't know why I always think of these things afterwards, but I think maybe the words I was searching for

( to describe what Tolkien may have done with some of his familiar surroundings from his youth in LOTR )

were "expand" and "enlarge" rather than so much "elaborate" or "extend" ---

 

As a personal aside, I think I may have travelled even less than Tolkien did in his lifetime...

I have been as far north as Southern Oregon [ Ashland & Medford ] twice, as far south as Anahiem  once   ( and didn't see anything hardly of what  was inbetween, as I was on the overnight  bus, going straight through the Sacramento Valley -)

we did come down out of the hills/mountains above Los Angeles at  daybreak [ on the way down ] and  did travel for a few blocks through North Hollywood in the daytime [ and we visited the LA Greyhound station during our stop-off there ] ) ...I've been to the Yosemite Valley twice ( & once beyond - up to Hetch Hetchy & also up to Tuolemne Meadows )...I've been down to Santa Cruz perhaps seven times - but have never  seen any more of the great Pacific coast past what I  could see from there - in fact, except for the times I have looked at the ocean from "Ocean Beach" in San Francisco [ or around the Golden Gate ]  ... I know I was only one time at Half Moon Bay [ in 1964 ] but there are huge stretches of California coastline ( both north & south ) that I have never seen...And, my wife & I have been to Reno ( again, on the Greyhound Bus ) a few times...Even always having lived so close to the great cosmopolitan city of

San Francisco,  [ except for the brief period that I worked there ] it is normally a rare occaison   to visit there ...

And,  it's kinda funny,  as when I was young, I always just ASSUMED that one day I would at least travel to London & Paris ( perhaps even live in those places, at least for a while ) & travel to even remoter locations as well...[  who knows? perhaps even round the world? ] ...But I have turned out to have led a rather provincial, stay-at-home life, after all...

Although my wife and I have certainly done our share of vicarious travelling, having an almost insatiable

appetite for travelogues ( Rick Steves is one of our favorites ) ... I have often at least felt like I've been travelling, when watching movies, or reading...

 

Ardo

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
Dagor
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎03-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat


Nadine wrote:
I might add as a post script to this thread that Tolkien himself did not travel very far. I think he took a trip in his youth into the alps and that really impressed him. Yet his geographical world is very diverse. He puts most of his effort into describing the Shire, but he does have the Misty Mountains and the utter desolation of Mordor with its volcano (now where did he ever see that!).

Tolkien did manage to travel to Europe. While there he went backpacking through the Alps where he picked up much of his personal understanding of mountainous terrain:

 

"The hobbit's (Bilbo's) journey from Rivendell to the other side of the Misty Mountains, including the glissade down the slithering stones into the pine woods, [see Hobbit, chpt. VI, "Out of the Frying-pan Into the Fire," pp 107-08 hb version] is based on my adventures [in Switzerland] in 1911 ... Our wanderings mainly on foot in a party of 12 are not now clear in sequence, but leave many vivid pictures as clear as yesterday ... We went on foot carrying great packs ... We slept rough ... One day we went on a long march with guides up the Aletsch glacier -- when I came near to perishing. [An avalanche!] I remember the member of th party just in front of me (an elderly school mistress) gave a sudden squeak and jumped forard as a large lump of rock shot between us. About a foot at most from my knees." (Letters # 306)

 

In John Garth's biography, "Tolkien and the Great War," he writes that the blasted ruined landscape of Mordor was largely based on the shell-out desert muds of the battle fields of World War One, including the near poisonous vapors from cordite explosions and drifting plumes of choking gas. But, I cannot find if Tolkien ever himself saw a volcano, though Mount Etna, Stromboli etc would not have been that far away from his trekking spots in Switzerland... 

Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat


Dagor wrote:

Hullo, Tiggerbear!

 

I went off to the mountains... Many decades ago, when few had ever heard of hobbits/ orcs or Gandalfs, I was wandering lost in the high Tetons with a group of misled Explorer scouts. We carried enough food for ten days, but seemed to devour it easily in six. When we finally tumbled from the heights, we were half-starved, thin as hermits and in that strange half-way state that aesthetics try to find so that they may more easily approach a direct confrontation with the awful realm of the numinous. At the lodge bookstore, I plunked down 95 cents for a fantasy venture book, "The Fellowship of the Ring," and, perhaps, preconditioned by my "holy fasting" I was quickly swept away...

 

Periodically, a return to the mountains refreshes and restores my original experience with Tolkien's writing -- hence, I feel "renewed" today -- so I'll probably be waxing ecstatically here again, be advised! 


 

Dagor - what a great story!

If it had been me ( in your position ) I think I would have passed out ( in my famished condition ) before I got through the first chapter, even, especially with all those descriptions of abundant food and drink...

[ the opening chapter of "The Hobbit"  always make me hungry too, thinking wistfully about all those goodies, as well ] ---

Of course, if you really have been fasting, I realize the worst thing you can do is to suddenly "gorge" yourself - and that you probably pass a certain point where your mind is no longer focused on food, where you sort of break that "barrier" ( kind of like that "runner's high" I've heard about - or something similar ) ---

 

I've never been able to do any serious fasting  myself - possibly because for much of my young life, I grew up rather poor, basically, and around  the house,   there were never copious amounts of food in the  larder, meals were often quite simple,  & so forth, so I think I developed a personal "scarcity syndrome"  ( of sorts )...Even in times more recent, when  economic circumstances   were lean, ( and  we were getting by on spaghetti  & white bread  & margarine mostly  ) I found myself   obsessing about  food, & dreaming about what goodies I would be able to sink my teeth into, once the circumstances  improved...

 

Actually, all this talk of food  is making me hungry right now...   A.W. 

 

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat


TiggerBear wrote:

And here I am basing them on the Blue Ridge.

That's not a bad question. What local or semi local geographical landscape do you base your own mental image of Tolkien's spots?


 

Greetings, TiggerBear!

 

I was hoping we  would get more responses ( from all over ) to this query...

I just want to make a couple of more contributions to this train of thought...

I'd say ( out where I am ) we have our own  version of The Lonely Mountain in our vicinity...

It's called "Mount Diablo" - several  miles east  of the eastern edge of the East Bay Hills ( which for hills, are really comparable to what some people might consider to be "mountains" ) , out in the middle of what is a mostly flat plain, it rises up in its grand  

( and, as its name suggests, somewhat forbidding ) dark majesty...

 

Unfortunately, there is no "Lake-Town" anywhere nearby - although there are creeks and aqueducts all about ( the confluence  of the Sacramento & San Joaquin Rivers runs to the North ) - & there is no great forest like Mirkwood inbetween the eastern side of the hills and the "Lonely Mountain" ( although there are plenty of trees up in the hills - it's like a great big forest up there) - although, at one time, there was almost nothing except groves of orchard trees in the valley surrounding Mount Diablo... ---

 

ardo

 

 

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat

O.K. - just a couple of more additions to this subject, & then I quit....

 

Further up North ( quite aways ) there is another "Lonely Mountain" sitting way out by its lonesome in the

Northeast sector of the Sacramento River Valley ( and east of the Coastal Mountains ).......

Mount Shasta is a real big mountain, a dormant volcano ( as Mount Diablo is either an extinct or dormant volcano, as well )....

Again, there is no "Lake-Town" as such, but Mount Shasta does have a "Lake Shasta" to its west -

( actually, a resevoir created by a dam, but the center of a lot of recreational activities - & I think there might be houseboats there, at least - at least a lot of boats, for sure...)

 

There is one remarkable vista that sticks in my mind, as well - that harks back to the times my wife and I were returning from Reno, Nevada on the bus, and as the bus was winding  its way down the west side of the Sierras, coming down from the foothills there - looking North as far as I could squint - and catching a

vision of a long, long line of grey, rocky mountains their sheer sides like a wall, going off for maybe even hundreds of miles into the horizon... this too puts me in mind of the Northwest sides of the

 Misty Mountains ( if one were to be standing there, & gazing towards the North - towards the vicinity of the

"Ettenmoors" & thereabouts ) ---

 

ardo

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat

CORRECTION!***

CORRECTION!***CORRECTION!***

 

Mount Shasta is NOT located in the "Northeast sector of the Sacramento Valley"

[ as I so erroneously  suggested before ]

Mount Shasta IS located in the NORTHWEST SECTOR of the Sacramento Valley  ---

ardo

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: LOTR: Prancing Pony: Off-topic chat

Greetings, Dagor!

 

Concerning your "Relections/Ruminations/Musings/Deep Thoughts of an Orc" ---

 

Now, now, we'll have none of that "Orc Talk" around here!

Actually, that was such a stupendous, "Jaw-Dropping"

piece of work, that I almost dropped my Elf-shank dinner

in pure amazement --

I must confess, I still haven't actually finished reading

that whole piece, its being so really "Heavy, Man"

^^^^^^^

 

ardo

 

 

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Users Online
Currently online:49 members 452 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: