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BarbaraN
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ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4

Time to move on to the next book

Return of the King, Book 5

June 30-July 6
Book 5: Chapters 1-4
1. Minas Tirith
2. The Passing of the Grey Company
3. The Muster of Rohan
4. The Siege of Gondor
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lorien
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4

Theoden and Denethor seem like mirror images of each other. Neither seems too fond of seeing Gandalf when he arrives as each consider him a bringer of bad news and therefore bad times. In fact they are both rather suspicious of him and his motives.

Each gets his own hobbit pledged to service. Merry to Theoden and Pippin to Denethor and each hobbit does so as his own sincere gesture. And each is interested in hearing what his hobbit has to say.

They both seem rather well schooled in the ancient lore of their countries which seems to be an exception now, a big gap in the education of others.

I think there are other parallels but I don't remember them from my long-ago first reading so I will have to pick them out as I go along.
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4

Yes, Denethor and Theoden are definitely another one of those "pairings"...
Another parallel - Both have been deluded by the Enemy - their minds posessed - except, that in Theoden's case, the cause of the "madness" is easier to percieve - the evil spell of Saruman makes itself quite evident - right on the surface of things - and Gandalf was able to get right to the root of the problem and "exorcize" the
"evil enchantment" from out of Theoden's mind...
But the cause of Denethor's mind-sickness is not so palpable - in fact, it will continue to remain hidden for some time to come, so Gandalf is not in the position to be able to rescue Denethor in the same fashion that he rescued Theoden...
 
Ardo
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
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Ardo Whortleberry
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4

Although the deviding up of what Tolkien wished to be one long narrative into three seperate volumes was an artifice of the publishers, it still works out well, somehow...

TTT left off with a real cliffhanger { Frodo taken captive, Sam locked outside the gates } and ROTK opens with the much talked about [ but not yet actually visited ] great city of Minas Tirith coming into view, and our first foray into the heart of this fantastic castle-like city, which is soon to become the stage for much of the center of action for the next several chapters, and the contrast between the darkness of Mordor and the light of "The West" is highlighted by the "squaring off" between these two great bastions, Barad-dur and Minas Tirith...

 

ardo

"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
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Ardo Whortleberry
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4

Concerning Tone, Mood & language idioms in ROTK ---

 Although Tolkien remains ( sensibly ) sparing in his use of "Lo!" and "Behold!" in the later stages of the story, the tone and mood ( and the idioms used by the "Narrator" ) do tend to bend towards the intonation of "High Magnifigance- Of an "exalted" nature... The story had started out in the familiar surroundings of the Shire, amongst the hobbits, "close to home" - and had more of a "down to earth" feel to it, although we did still get glimpses ( almost from the very beginning) of the deep, rich history of Middle-earth - tales and songs from out of its own "Age of Heroes" and "Time of Legend"... The Elves become presented in a more mysterious and mystical ( and powerful ) light than in the way they were depicted in "The Hobbit" - even Gandalf is shown to have a much longer, more mysterious history to him than we might have imagined before... We are shown visions of incredible battles and other happenings from out of this deep past... Then, as we leave the confines of the Shire, we are drawn along ever more closely into this same "Time of Legend" the further we go from "home"- [ of course, it is not the exact same "Time of Legend" of ages past - but it IS also the same, at the same time - it is the continuation of that same history...

We are smack dab in the middle of the Third Age's "Great Events" - and as we move further inside the working-out of what is to become part of the "Legends of the Fuure", the more "exalted" the language employed in the story sometimes becomes... Subsequently, once the denouement of the story has been reached, so does the language employed return more to "normal" - and as the story winds itself up [ back in reverse - "There And Back Again", again ] and as we "roll up" that long road behind us as we go - that same "common touch" feeling starts to return - [ the closer we get to "home" ] albeit at the same time that element of the "Great Events" that occurred in the world outside of the Shire does not "vanish from sight", but remains intertwined in the story down to its very end... { or, if you prefer, "End of the Beginning" }....

 

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

Good Afternoon/Evening/Morning To You All...

 Ardo Whortleberry

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

Ardo Whortleberry
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Dagor
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4


lorien wrote:
Theoden and Denethor seem like mirror images of each other. Neither seems too fond of seeing Gandalf when he arrives as each consider him a bringer of bad news and therefore bad times. In fact they are both rather suspicious of him and his motives.

Each gets his own hobbit pledged to service. Merry to Theoden and Pippin to Denethor and each hobbit does so as his own sincere gesture. And each is interested in hearing what his hobbit has to say.

They both seem rather well schooled in the ancient lore of their countries which seems to be an exception now, a big gap in the education of others.

I think there are other parallels but I don't remember them from my long-ago first reading so I will have to pick them out as I go along.

While there are many examples of "similar" function/ behaviour between Denethor and Theoden, I think there are likewise just as many contrasts/ contradictions. Theoden seems always to be a concerned and caring lord, a genuine shepherd of his people, while Denethor is aloof, cold, and calculating in his interactions with those he leads. There is an enormous sense of egoistic pride in Denethor that I do not find in Theoden -- this can be seen in their differing treatments of the hobbits. Theoden becomes "like a father" to Merry, and inspires great love and devotion from the Brandybuck traveller. But Denethor remains a cool, manipulative lord, taking Pippin as a "squire" for political reasons, hoping to have an unwitting "spy" who might reveal more of Gandalf's intentions than the wizard would let slip himself. Pippin respects Denthor, but never developes a love for this austere master...

 

Theoden, goes forth to die on the field of battle with his people, Denethor holds his person too important to actually risk himself in physical combat; Theoden sees himself as just one among many leaders resisting Sauron, whereas Denethor sees himself as the chief opponent of the Dark Lord, and tends to think that if Gondor falls it is the end of the world, and it does not matter to him that resistance might still go on elsewhere.  

 

A man with little egotistic drive, Theoden achieves a hero's death on the field of battle -- Denethor, blinded by his pride, committs suicide, a useless death that does not further the cause he presumably serves, because, in the end, Denethor really serves NO cause save his own.

 

Letter #183 "Notes on W.H. Auden's review of The Return of the King" gives us Tolkien's own take on Denethor, from which I think we can see how greatly Denethor fails where Theoden succeeded:

 

"Denethor was tainted with mere politics: hence his failure, and his mistrust of Faramir. It had become for him a prime motive to preserve the polity of Gondor [not to give it back to the House of Isildur, but to keep it as his own realm], as it was, against another potentate [Sauron], who had made himself stronger and was to be feared and opposed for that reason rather than because he was ruthless and wicked. Denethor despised lesser men, and one may be sure  did not distinguish between the orcs and the allies of Mordor [Easterlings and Haradrim]. If he had survived as victor, even without the use of the Ring, he would have taken a long stride towards becoming himself a tyrant, and the terms and treatment he accorded to the deluded peoples of east and south would have been cruel and vengeful. He had become a 'political' leader: sc. Gondor against the rest." (Letter 183, p. 241)

 

Denethor was already quite far along the road to setting himself up as another Sauron, thank the Valar Faramir saw this, and made sure the Ring never came anywhere near his father! 

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Dagor
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4


oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:

Concerning Tone, Mood & language idioms in ROTK ---

 Although Tolkien remains ( sensibly ) sparing in his use of "Lo!" and "Behold!" in the later stages of the story, the tone and mood ( and the idioms used by the "Narrator" ) do tend to bend towards the intonation of "High Magnifigance- Of an "exalted" nature... The story had started out in the familiar surroundings of the Shire, amongst the hobbits, "close to home" - and had more of a "down to earth" feel to it, although we did still get glimpses ( almost from the very beginning) of the deep, rich history of Middle-earth - tales and songs from out of its own "Age of Heroes" and "Time of Legend"... The Elves become presented in a more mysterious and mystical ( and powerful ) light than in the way they were depicted in "The Hobbit" - even Gandalf is shown to have a much longer, more mysterious history to him than we might have imagined before... We are shown visions of incredible battles and other happenings from out of this deep past... Then, as we leave the confines of the Shire, we are drawn along ever more closely into this same "Time of Legend" the further we go from "home"- [ of course, it is not the exact same "Time of Legend" of ages past - but it IS also the same, at the same time - it is the continuation of that same history...

We are smack dab in the middle of the Third Age's "Great Events" - and as we move further inside the working-out of what is to become part of the "Legends of the Fuure", the more "exalted" the language employed in the story sometimes becomes... Subsequently, once the denouement of the story has been reached, so does the language employed return more to "normal" - and as the story winds itself up [ back in reverse - "There And Back Again", again ] and as we "roll up" that long road behind us as we go - that same "common touch" feeling starts to return - [ the closer we get to "home" ] albeit at the same time that element of the "Great Events" that occurred in the world outside of the Shire does not "vanish from sight", but remains intertwined in the story down to its very end... { or, if you prefer, "End of the Beginning" }....

 

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

Good Afternoon/Evening/Morning To You All...

 Ardo Whortleberry


Hullo, Ardo!

 

Somewhere in the Letters there is a statement by JRRT reacting to critics who made fun of his use of a "high/ noble" form of diction for the council at Rivendell and then the courtly speech of Gondor. As you point out above, Tolkien felt that the use of such patterns of expression served to enhance the differences of culture between the rustic Shire/ Breelands and the cosmopolitan centers of ancient empires where archaic formalism in speech was still the common practice. As Tolkien noted, some readers especially liked this use of "high" language, while others found it simply "silly" -- either way, Tolkien thought it appropriate to make some sort of definite change in the patterns of speech to reflect the ancient dignity of such places as Minas Tirith. Worked well for me! 

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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4

Hello, Dagor!

 

Yes, it worked for me, too - and probably why "The Silmarillion" never  did work for me in the same way that [ H ] & Lotr did - why I only attempted to read that book one time - and never returned again and again

( as I had with the previously published books ) - The language in "Silm" seemed too stilted, right off the bat... In Lotr, there is some of that "high" language and phrasing - but the majority of the wording feels more earthier,  more familiar, more friendly, even  more natural ,,,,,,

And  Lotr  being a novel, one is drawn into the story and identifies with the characters before one is ever exposed to this "higher level" ( which, to me, always made [ H ] & Lotr more accessable than "Silm" )  ---

Although  I realize that possibly Tolkien considered "Silm" to be his "true" creation, and the children's book and then the novel that sprung  out of the "Silm" universe were more like side-branches of the "Great   Tree" ( or even like "by-products" of his supreme creation )... ---

 

Ardo

 

P.S. --- I checked out a copy of "The Letters Of J.R.R. Tolkien" from the library almost one month ago -

[ since renewed ] ...but I am afraid I have yet to crack the cover...

When I saw it, and picked it up, and checked it out, it really was more with the idea of doing some leisurely browsing through its pages  - not with the intent of diligently reading it from cover to cover..

But I think that's the way I am around here, in my own "study", anyway - always tend to have stacks of well-intentioned "projects" nearly half-begun all over the place, but nothing much actually gets completed...

Also, I think I really do have a mind similar to old Barliman Butterbur's, and that's no blarney...

 

Ardo

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

Ardo Whortleberry
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Nadine
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Re: ROTK: Book 5: Chapters 1-4

Just read Letter #131 Ardo. It is a fascinating analysis of both books. That should give you all you need from Tolkien's point of view as to the relevance of Silm. I found a lot about that letter in the Letter Topic thread. Apparently Tolkien thought LOTR shouldn't be published without the Silm but had to give in and go ahead with just LOTR if he wanted it published at all. I have a feeling we are going to be returning to the LOTR frequently and certainly many of the topic message threads that you guys have been discussing.

oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:

Hello, Dagor!

 

Yes, it worked for me, too - and probably why "The Silmarillion" never did work for me in the same way that [ H ] & Lotr did - why I only attempted to read that book one time - and never returned again and again

( as I had with the previously published books ) - The language in "Silm" seemed too stilted, right off the bat... In Lotr, there is some of that "high" language and phrasing - but the majority of the wording feels more earthier, more familiar, more friendly, even more natural ,,,,,,

And Lotr being a novel, one is drawn into the story and identifies with the characters before one is ever exposed to this "higher level" ( which, to me, always made [ H ] & Lotr more accessable than "Silm" ) ---

Although I realize that possibly Tolkien considered "Silm" to be his "true" creation, and the children's book and then the novel that sprung out of the "Silm" universe were more like side-branches of the "Great Tree" ( or even like "by-products" of his supreme creation )... ---

 

Ardo

 

P.S. --- I checked out a copy of "The Letters Of J.R.R. Tolkien" from the library almost one month ago -

[ since renewed ] ...but I am afraid I have yet to crack the cover...

When I saw it, and picked it up, and checked it out, it really was more with the idea of doing some leisurely browsing through its pages - not with the intent of diligently reading it from cover to cover..

But I think that's the way I am around here, in my own "study", anyway - always tend to have stacks of well-intentioned "projects" nearly half-begun all over the place, but nothing much actually gets completed...

Also, I think I really do have a mind similar to old Barliman Butterbur's, and that's no blarney...

 

Ardo


 

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