Posts Tagged ‘Lord of the Rings’

For Angelica’s use: The Matter of the Mirror (J.R.R Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings)

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

I read Tolkien’s “canon”, that is The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, every year about christmas. So also this year.

In chapter two of The Lord of the Rings, we find a short note on one of Bilbo Baggins’ relations, the young Angelica. Bilbo leaves her a round convex mirror as a farewell gift, and tags it with “For Angelica’s use”, and the author adds that “She was a young Baggins, and too obviously considered her face shapely”.

Now, a couple of questions arise at once: Why in Middle-earth would Bilbo own a non-flat mirror like this? Is it clown-mirror, left-over from some carneval party, or just some other old strange mathom? One might also worry about Angelica’s reaction. As a youngster, isn’t this a bit harsh from old Bilbo to tease her for her caring about her looks?

A convex looking-glass is of course a woman’s make-up mirror, as the curved surface makes it magnifying. And Bilbo being a bachelor, obviously must have inherited this from his mother, Belladonna Took. As Belladonna was of a wealthy family, and as Bilbo had taken care of her mirror for all the years after her death, it must have been quite a heirloom, and just not another mathom. I presume a frame of victorian style silver plated engravings at least.

So giving Angelica his mother’s mirror, with a tongue-in-cheek joke, would be a kind gift from old uncle Bilbo, and it was probably warmly received by her.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

I read The Lord of the Rings again. I always do around Christmas. And I always try to find a new angle, case or person to look into. This year: Gandalf’s coup.

Last year, I considered Denethor, and it seems, I’m not all finished yet. Denethor’s view of Gandalf is that he is using Denethor as a shield against Mordor, while behind his back bringing this upstart of a ranger to supplant him, and become king in his stead. The story, as seen in retrospect, of course makes Gandalf’s actions the morally right ones, at least from the reader’s view. But was Denethor really that wrong?

First argument: The stewards had ruled Gondor for 969 years (2050-3019 Third Age), and most of that time in hereditary fashion, that is, as kings, only not in the name. The until the king returns was just cermony words, and had no real meaning anymore. In European history style, in that time, a country would have been created, united with a few others, split up, and been reestablished at least twice. While the Northern branch of the Númenorian kings’ heirs never died out, I’d say it is a bit far fetched to come almost 1000 years later and claim the crown. It’s like, let’s see, a priest should come and claim that some ancestor of king Olaf II (that’s actually saint Olaf for you catholics), should gain kingship over Norway, and not these Danish upstarts that have been kings in Norway the last few years. And if that priest succeed, well, even with the good will of the people, few would call that less than a coup.

Second argument: Gandalf could have averted Denethor’s death, but didn’t. According to the text, first Gandalf reveals his strength by jumping up on the table where Denethor’s son Faramir is to be burned alive, and carries him away. But in the next moment, he is not fast enough to hinder Denethor frying himself on the same table. Not fast enough? Or did he just choose only to save Faramir, which he knew would subdue to a new king?

Third argument: Denethor is right! It is Gandalf’s project to use Gondor’s might against Mordor, and make Aragorn king. He needs Gondor’s army, under a leader that is willing, to grab Sauron’s attention, for Frodo and Sam to succeed in their suicide mission.

So, Gandalf and Aragorn’s takeover is a coup. Even willingly received by Denethors heir, and Gondor’s people.

Far fetched? Of course. And next year, I’ll not write about Denethor. I promise.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The War of the Ring

Friday, December 28th, 2012

This is volume VIII in Christopher Tolkien’s mad adventure of archeology in his father’s manuscripts, notes, scrawlings and other documents left from the creation of the stories of Middle Earth. In particular, this is Book 3 in the History of The Lord of the Rings. Painstakingly accurately, all found scraps of paper are examined, and put together in the jigsaw puzzle that comprises the history of the great work. Why exactly that name for that particular mountain? How did the journey from Helm’s Deep to Dunharrow expand? And so much thinking just to get the dates right!

We follow the rest of the fellowship from Helm’s Deep to Isengard, and from there to Dunharrow, and to Pelargir via The Paths of the Dead. On the east side of the Anduin, we follow Sam and Frodo to the Morannon, through Ithilien, the meeting with Faramir, the fight with Shelob, and Sam’s despair under the Tower of Kirith Ungol (sic). Finally, the ride of the Rohirrim, the story of the beacons of Gondor, and the battle of the Pelennor.

You’ll have to be an enthusiast to enoy these works. And I am. Bonus: Reading it in parallell with The Lord of the Rings itself, it gives even deeper meaning to the work, the names, and the places in the book.

Recommended, as mentioned, for the enthusiasts.

Ursula K. LeGuin: The farthest shore

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Fantasy-middelalder igjen: Spurvehauken, Ged blant kjente, har blitt gammel, og har inntatt sin plass som erkemagiker på trollmannskolen på øya Roke i Earthsea. Det går rykter om at verden mister magien. Trollmenn kan ikke lenger utøve trolldom, og kloke koner mister evnene sine. Alt blir borte i et hull i verden. For å finne ut av ting sendes Arren, den unge prinsen av Enlad til Roke for å søke hjelp. Spurvehauken tar ham med på tur for å redde hele Earthsea.

Vi slår oppi noen ingredienser: Det ville blitt fred bare et kongsemne kunne stå fram, og lede Earthsea fra Enlad som i gamle dager. Men først må trollmannen og følgesvennen hans reise en brokete reise gjennom mange land, til det tørre, fæle, mørke landet og utkjempe kamp med han slemme fyren.

Dette kunne blitt en flau rip-off av Ringenes Herre, men det blir det heldigvis ikke. LeGuin lar seg inspirere av Tolkien, men gjør det på en slik flott måte at vi heller nikker smilende gjenkjennende, enn irritert. Også er det drager med. Kan faktisk trygt anbefales for dem som liker fantasy.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

So … I read The Lord of the Rings again. I do this every year around Christmas, and thought I should be a bit ahead this time.

I always try to find a new angle, some new theme or person I have not considered before. During this readthrough, I dwelt a bit at Denethor, and tried to consider his life. The appendices give a bit background information, and it is quite depressing reading, actually. Growing up watching his father and the whole people loving this stranger captain Thorongil of Gondor’s armies and fleet (Aragorn in disguise), and feeling threatened by him. Then, getting older, perhaps unable to love her as she deserves, seeing his wife wither as in a cage, and then die. Then being lured by the power of the palantír, watching the country he loves and rules being attacked and threatened to destruction by the power of the dark lord. Later finding his eldest and most loved son killed in an outrageous stupid attempt to destroy the only thing that his foe fears. In his anger, considering the love of his other son stolen by the wizard that tries to supplant him with the rival from his youth, he pushes the last heir of his house to an Uriah’s post in a reckless defense by the river. And when his last son is deadly hurt, and he is unable to reconcile with him, he finally despairs to madness. The life of Denethor could have been a rich novel by its own.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Jaja, så var det den tiden av året igjen, da. Hvor mange ganger jeg har lest den? Næh, det vet jeg ikke. Men det er jo ei bok man ikke blir ferdig med. Koste meg ekstra med tilleggene i år igjen.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Jeg har lest LOTR enda en gang. Denne rundens spesialitet: Pussige feil i teksten. F.eks:

  • Når hobbitfølget reiser fra Krikhølen har de med seg seks ponnier. Når de reiser fra dyssehaugene har de bare fem. Hvor ble det av den siste?
  • Gimli ytrer, når han kommer til Moria, at han tviler på at Balin noengang kom dit. Dette rimer dårlig med at Balin faktisk sendte bud til Ensomfjellet om at de hadde kommet til Moria og slått seg ned der. Gimli, sønn av Glóin, var ganske så sikkert informert om dette på forhånd.
  • Når Gimli, Legolas og Aragorn undersøker de døde orkene etter at Munti og Pippin har blitt fanget, sier Legolas at Sauron ikke bruker alveruner. Dette stemmer ikke, noe Gandalf forteller Frodo allerede i kapittel to, når han utlegger betydningen av nettopp alverunene på selve herskerringen.
  • I Rohan sier Gimli at han ikke har brukt øksa si til annet enn å hogge ved siden Moria. Han og Legolas drepte imidlertid mange orker ved overfallet ved Parth Galen, og brukte neppe bare hendene.
  • Idét Sam tilbyr seg å bære ringen for Frodo like før de kommer til Dommedagsberget, blir Frodo sint, og tar hånden til sverdhjaltet. Men sverdet (som egentlig var Sams) ble tatt fra ham i tårnet i Cirith Ungol, og vist fram for Gandalf og Aragorn ved Morannons port. Sam bærer Stikk, så det kan ikke være dette heller.

Flere morsomme feil?

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Ja, det er jo den tiden på året igjen.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Jepp, den tiden på året. Denne gangen har jeg hengt meg litt opp i rariteter som ser ut til å være tanker som ble påbegynt, men som forsvant, enten fordi de ikke ble tenkt ferdig (ekstremt vanlig, om man skal tro History of Middle-Earth-serrien), eller fordi de ble klippet bort da boka ble redigert. Her er noen få ting:

I Kløvendal sier Gandalf til seg selv at Frodos hånd nesten er gjennomsiktig, og sier noe som at han “ikke er halvveis gjennom det ennå”. Så mumler han noe om at Frodo på lenger sikt ikke vil bli til noe ondt, men kanskje som gjennomsiktig, fyllt av lys. Dette motivet hører vi aldri noe mer til.

På veien til Rødhornspasset oppdager følget noe som ser ut som en sky, men som i følge Aragorn flyr mot vinden, og det fort. Hva er dette? Crebain eller andre fugler dette også? Et ringskrømt? Noe annet?

I en av Gandalfs feider med Denethor, sier Gandalf noe slikt som at “også jeg har et rike å forestå” (“for did you not know that I am also a steward”). Hva er det Gandalf refererer til her? Tenker han på Valinor? Eller er han riksforstander for hele verden, gitt ordene hans om at selv om Gondor forgår, består hans oppgave om det kun er noen overlevende igjen til senere tider. Eller er det noe helt annet?

Kjenner du til flere rariteter i bøkene som henger litt i lufta?

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Den årlige gjennomlesningen. Med tilleggene. På originalspråket denne gangen. En god klassiker kan ikke leses for ofte. Nesten ikke, iaffal.