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Old 10-30-2005, 11:00 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!
Silmaril LotR -- Book 6 - Chapter 6 - Many Partings

This chapter could have been titled "The Breaking of the Fellowship Part 2"; now that the Quest has been completed and the celebrations are over, we get the feeling that this is the final act and that everything is being wrapped for the conclusion. Everyone goes home, life gets back to normal - yet nothing is the same!

It is right for the adventurers to wish to return home; as Aragorn says, trees are not intended to be transplanted. (By the way, speaking of trees, does the second sentence of the chapter give you the impression that there is a direct connection between Arwen's singing and the growth of the White Tree?)

We see the contrast between the two truths throughout this chapter - belonging home and yet changing. The formerly humble, unknown and unimportant hobbits are now famous; Théoden returns to his kingdom dead, and Éomer is King; Aragorn is still their friend, yet has his place in Gondor and will no longer be with them.

The bond between Frodo and Bilbo is shown by the strong desire Frodo has to see his relative again.

This chapter includes quite a few important references to things that are much discussed among Tolkien readers. First of all is Arwen's gift of her place in the ship westwards, and the jewel - not as a ticket, but it does have a function. What's your opinion on that?

We also have a delightful passage that harks back to Éomer's and Gimli's dispute concerning Galadriel in TTT. I like the fact that Tolkien did not forget this bit and resolved it here. His humourous dialogues for the characters are wonderfully subtle.

Another important, brief reference - Aragorn's declaration concerning the Druadan Forest.

Théoden's burial and the following feast bring the Rohan part of the story to a close, ending with the betrothal of Faramir and Éowyn. We read a fragment of the poem concerning Théoden's deeds - how does it affect you? The situation between Aragorn and Éowyn is also resolved at the end of this passage. Are you satisfied with the outcome, or would you have liked more or a different resolution? Did you suspect the importance of Éowyn's gift to Merry when you first read this chapter?

More loose ends being tied up - Legolas and Gimli visit first the Glittering Caves, then Fangorn together. We revisit Treebeard at Isengard, though one rather important loose end remains. What is important to you here? The Fellowship begins to disintegrate - sad?

Saruman reappears with Gríma, foreshadowing the coming events in the Shire. What do you think of his attitude? Would there have been a chance of repentence and forgiveness for him/them yet? Saruman appears to have lost some of his power, for his voice is broken. He still does have the ability to see more than others.

There are clues to what is going on in the Shire. What might have happened had the hobbits gone home directly instead of staying so long in Rivendell? Could they have prevented some of the damage? Why doesn't Gandalf predict that?

Another brief yet important, much discussed passage comes next - the silent communication between the Elves. We know more about osanwë from other sources, though it is not named here.

Then comes Rivendell and Bilbo. We see some entries for the 'Book of Records' coming up - Bilbo's age, with yet another of his birthdays marking the passage of time, and Merry and Pippin's height. Sam says something that echoes back to a passage in The Hobbit - about having a bit of everything for everyone in Rivendell.

We have another gift-giving, by Bilbo. Any thoughts or comments? There's also a newly revised version of "The Road goes ever on" - what do you think of the changes?

With the farewell to Rivendell and Bilbo, the chapter ends and the five remaining companions leave. Elrond foresees another ending. I noticed for the first time consciously that it is mentioned that he blessed them!

A long chapter, and much content - I look forward to your thoughts! On a personal note, I'd like to close with a few of my favourite lines - there are a number of them in this chapter:

Quote:
'Never is too long a word even for me.' (Treebeard)

'The world is changing...' (Treebeard, used for the movie prologue and there spoken by Galadriel)

'I wish we could have a Stone that we could see all our friends in, and that we could speak to them from far away!' (Pippin) [Do you think Tolkien wrote this with tongue in cheek? Or was he so much into his story that he merely expressed a thought his characters would have had? I wonder what he would have thought of modern cellphones/mobiles/handys, with their many possibilities, including pictures?!]

'...pray do not smile at me! I prefer your frowns.
'All my hopes are ruined, but I would not share yours.' (Saruman)

'Don't let your heads get too big for your hats!' (Bilbo)
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'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:27 PM   #2
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This seems at first a very strange chapter, filled with odds and ends, without any centre or building towards a highpoint. Yet it has to be a chapter of decline, of disintegration as that is what is happening in the story. Not only is the Fellowship breaking up for the last time, with people gradually peeling away from the procession until very few are left, but this is the end of cultures, of Lorien and Rivendell, and the end of the Ents too.

In this chapter the story is slowly moving out of the mythic and back towards the more familiar Shire. In fact, the central idea I got from this chapter is that this is where the adventure all stops being crrent experience and slowly starts turning into story. There are numerous references to story and how it is used.

I'm becoming more impressed by the oral literature of the Rohirrim, and that they clearly place stories as very important in their culture; here we actually meet the storywriters:

Quote:
Then the Riders of the King's House upon white horses rode round about the barrow and sang together a song of Theoden Thengel's son that Gleowine his minstrel made, and he made no other song after.
Quote:
Then a minstrel and loremaster stood up and named all the names of the Lords of the Mark in their order
Here there are at least two minstrels, as the first 'made no other song after', which suggests he retired from his profession, at least from making songs about the King. I wonder do all the Kings each have their very own personal minstrel? Do they all have a style of poetry which each King finds to his taste (suggesting development in the poetry of Rohan)? It is like the position of Poet Laureate, but of much more importance as these personal minstrels must also record the history of the King, not only for his sake but for the future. It is sobering to think that we have not known Theoden for a long time, and he is now dead and already a part of history, or of story.

The next mention of story is at Isengard:

Quote:
Hoom! I gave him some long tales, or at least what might be thought long in your speech.'
These stories are Treebeard's version of news items, delivered with extra information, maybe a lesson or two by the sound of it. Here the stories are long to the listener, maybe they even bore him or annoy him.

The next mention is from Galadriel who refers to both old stories and future stories:

Quote:
Not in Middle-earth, nor until the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again. Then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan we may meet in the Spring. Farewell!'
Quote:
Often long after the hobbits were wrapped in sleep they would sit together under the stars, recalling the ages that were gone and all their joys and labours in the world, or holding council, concerning the days to come. If any wanderer had chanced to pass, little would he have seen or heard, and it would have seemed to him only that he saw grey figures, carved in stone, memorials of forgotten things now lost in unpeopled lands. For they did not move or speak with mouth, looking from mind to mind; and only their shining eyes stirred and kindled as their thoughts went to and fro.
Again, when the Elves and Gandalf sit together 'talking', their talk is becoming more like story. They talk together of the past, of what they have seen and done; it seems they do this so that none of them may forget the tale of the other. Their appearance is as 'memorials of forgotten things'; they tell each other stories but they do not tell them to anybody else.

Finally the chapter turns to Bilbo, who I think is the most famous (or infamous?) storyteller we have met.

Quote:
Sitting round the fire they told him in turn all that they could remember of their journeys and adventures. At first he pretended to take some notes; but he often fell asleep; and when he woke he would say: 'How splendid! How wonderful! But where were we?' Then they went on with the story from the point where he had begun to nod.
It is incredibly sad that Bilbo now cannot concentrate on the great story the younger Hobbits have to tell. He tries to appear serious, taking notes, but really he just wants to listen, if he can stay awake. All those great deeds that Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin have been involved in have now become fireside tales to send an elderly Hobbit off to sleep. That's what happens with great deeds and big adventures, if they are lucky, they become stories.

Quote:
'I don't think, Mr. Frodo, that he's done much writing while we've been away. He won't ever write our story now.'
At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard. Then he roused himself. 'You see, I am getting so sleepy,' he said. 'And when I have time to write, I only really like writing poetry. I wonder, Frodo my dear fellow, if you would very much mind tidying things up a bit before you go? Collect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will.

You see, I haven't much time for the selection and the arrangement and all that. Get Sam to help, and when you've knocked things into shape, come back, and I'll run over it. I won't be too critical.'
Then there is this passage, which is so sad, and refers to the end of a writer's life, to the stage when he has no more time or energy for long stories, just enough for poetry, where he can express his thoughts and reflect upon what he has seen. It could apply to any writer, but I cannot help noticing just how much it makes me think of Tolkien himself. As he aged, his writing seemed to become more thoughtful and reflective, and he never did finish his legendarium; it had to be completed by Christopher Tolkien, just as Bilbo's great story had to be finished by another writer. It seems to show that in the end, those stories which do get lucky and get written down, can sometimes be too big for any one person, too overwhelming. Lives turn into stories, and stories take up whole lives.
'
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Old 11-01-2005, 08:00 PM   #3
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After the excellent opening posts of Estelyn and Lalwendë, my own thoughts will be but scattered and brief.

I think Lal's observation about the thematic importance of story in this chapter is wonderfully suggestive. This is part of the source of the wistfulness in this chapter, the winding down of adventure and the contemplation of its translation into story. These coments suggest one very important reason why the Jackson interpretation could not capture all of Tolkien, for part of Tolkien's theme has been story after all, and that aspect does not blend well with the action-adventure movie genre.

I have just a few observations to make. First, Celeborn's farewell to Aragorn, replete with sadness, even tragic longing, worthy of a longer story:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien
Kinsman, farewell! May your doom be other than mine, and your treasure remain with you to the end!
My other observations concern Saruman and Wormtongue. How much Grima seems to have taken on aspects of Gollem's behaviour, talking about himself in the third person and seeming to lack much self-dignity, being dominated by some other will.

For myself, I don't quite know just how believable this Saruman is. I suppose readers do need to see his maliciousness and pettyness. And obviously Tolkien felt that the tale of good and evil required that we see mercy held out to Saurman and it refused. Is this a depiction of the sardonic cynic?

Bilbo seems to prefer to write poetry now rather than story, we are told. I rather fancy this is a very much an unfair representation of poetry as somehow shorter and simpler! However, his recitation of "The Road goes ever on" raises a thought: What is the function or purpose of the poetry in the story? Does the poetry advance the plot or does it satisfy more some sort of emotional function? When do characters 'break out into song/poetry' and why?
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Old 11-02-2005, 03:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry
Bilbo seems to prefer to write poetry now rather than story, we are told. I rather fancy this is a very much an unfair representation of poetry as somehow shorter and simpler!
At first I thought maybe Tolkien was trying to show how Bilbo, as he aged, had become less concerned with long tales of adventure and more interested in the concentrated language of poetry as an expressive, contemplative type of writing. But then there are many opinions on what poetry is. So it is possible that Tolkien's opinion is that poetry does take up less time to write, even though this is not always the case; poetry can be just as complex and time-consuming to write as prose. Although Tolkien of all people must have been fully aware of the work involved in writing poetic epics.


Quote:
Kinsman, farewell! May your doom be other than mine, and your treasure remain with you to the end!
This quote fascinated me, too. The 'doom' I think refers to the different fates of Men and Elves, but it could equally refer to the new flowering of Gondor versus the decline or 'doom' of Lothlorien. What is the 'treasure' he speaks of? I would say Aragorn's greatest treasure is Arwen, Celeborn's grandaughter; this then begs the question of what Celeborn's treasure is? And will his treasure remain with him to the end?
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Old 11-02-2005, 09:50 AM   #5
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Quick point. I always have a sadness for Treebeard in this Chapter, not for his farewlls to the hobbits, but because HOW CLOSE he got to picking up a clue that entwives might be in the Shire.

Why oh why did he have to take Merry and Pippin aside when he asked them to pass on news of any entwives that might be around the Shire? If only Sam was within earshot - he would have no doubt told Treebeard about the 'Tree men...seen up away beyond the North Moors' he mentioned to Ted Sandyman in the Green Dragon.

This just adds to the melancholy of Treebeard. He was THAT CLOSE to perhaps finding his Entwives again............
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Old 11-02-2005, 10:42 AM   #6
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This is a chapter of endings & partings - as others have pointed out already. As with the previous chapter Frodo appears little - though the cahpter begins & ends with him.

We begin with him seeking out Aragorn & Arwen, who are sitting beneath the White Tree of Gondor. Arwen sings of Valinor - a place she has never seen & now never will see. Its odd that she would sing of the place she has given up forever, but as one of the Half Elven we must assume that she has had the yearning for Valinor in her heart for most of her life. Ever since Legolas heard the cry of the Gulls at Pelargir he has felt a yearning to go into the West & at times it has seemed to overwhelm his thoughts. This little vignette sums up Arwen’s story perfectly. She sits beneath the White Tree, an image of Telperion, & sings iabout the Undying Lands - her Elven heritage will be simply that from now on: image, memory & song. She has chosen mortality & in the end that is all she herself will become.

She gives Frodo both a white jewel (which is only like a star, unlike the gift given to Frodo by her Grandmother which contained the blazing light of the Silmaril, for Arwen is now mortal & can no longer bestow magical gifts) & her place on the Last Ship. Tolkien discussed this gift in his letters & states that Arwen could not have just ‘handed over her ticket’ to Frodo. It seems that she must have discussed it with Gandalf, who authorised it. Again we see the limits imposed by mortality. It seems though, that she has not lost either her insight or foresight:

Quote:
But in my stead you shall go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you then desire it. If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed.
She may phrase it in such a way that it seems she is saying ‘just in case’, but it seems likely that she knew, even if Frodo himself did not at that point, that in the end he would suffer beyond endurance & have to depart.

Something that happens on the way back to Rohan I found interesting:

Quote:
Without haste and at peace they passed into Anorien, and they came to the Grey Wood under Amon Din; and there they heard a sound as of drums beating in the hills, though no living thing could be seen. Then Aragorn let the trumpets be blown; and heralds cried:
'Behold, the King Elessar is come! The Forest of Druadan he gives to Ghan-buri-ghan and to his folk, to be their own forever; and hereafter let no man enter it without their leave!'
Then the drums rolled loudly, and were silent.
This is more or less what he decrees should happen in the Shire. It seems Aragorn will make a habit of this - not simply giving autonomy to other races & cultures, but actually giving them the power to shut themselves off from outsiders.

The funeral of Theoden is a classic Anglo-Saxon one - the songs, the riders. It is almost a straight lift from Beowulf - as was his death on the Pelennor, with the Fell Beast standing in for the Dragon & Eowyn for Wiglaf. The setting & the similarities to the A-S epic serve to link Middle-earth to English history & myth, for it wouldn’t just call to mind Beowulf but also Sutton Hoo & the, at the time of writing, recent discoveries made there.

As far as Hobbits are concerned it is Merry who takes the dominant role in this chapter. He recieves the gift of the horn from Eomer, he stands forward & says goodbye to Theoden, after riding on the wain & bearing the king’s arms. Again we see Merry’s similarity to Bilbo - he set out wanting to see the wide world, & ends up in posession of ‘treasure’ from a Dragon’s hoard.

It all seems as if things are winding down to a ‘happy ever after’ ending. But then we come to Isengard. Treebeard has released Saruman. Did Gandalf suspect he would? After all Saruman did to the Ents Treebeard’s freeing of him seems strange. Did Saruman ‘persuade’ the Ent to let him go? Whatever, it is clear that he is still out there. There are only two possible fates for him - either he will wander off & become a wandering conjuror - a joke, a ‘how are the mighty fallen’ lesson for the people of Middle-earth, or he will play some significant part in the coming events. What he would not do is just repent & become... what? Actually, Tolkien did play with the idea of making him repent - specifically when Merry gives him tobacco later on - but he decided it would take more than that to make him change his ways.

Saruman would rather, it seems, gloat over the sufferings of others (‘Misery loves company’), & if they are not actually suffering he will try to convince them they are. What he cannot get into his head, it seems, is that he is not a ‘power’ any longer. He’s a broken loser, but won’t see it. He still expects to be treated with awe & respect, In fact, he becomes increasingly pathetic: One of the Maiar, an Ainur who sang the world into being in the Great Music ends up stealing a tobacco pouch from a Hobbit - & his end will be worse.

Esty has already mentioned the use of Osanwe (or is it ‘Sanwe’) among Gandalf & the Elves:

Quote:
Often long after the hobbits were wrapped in sleep they would sit together under the stars, recalling the ages that were gone and all their joys and labours in the world, or holding council, concerning the days to come. If any wanderer had chanced to pass, little would he have seen or heard, and it would have seemed to him only that he saw grey figures, carved in stone, memorials of forgotten things now lost in unpeopled lands. For they did not move or speak with mouth, looking from mind to mind; and only their shining eyes stirred and kindled as their thoughts went to and fro.
I wonder how far Tolkien had developed the concept of Elven telepathy at the time of writing. The idea of them appearing to a wanderer as carven figures ties in with numerous accounts in folklore of standing stones & stone circles actually being people who had been turned to stone. Another name for Stonehenge was ‘The Giants Dance’ & the legend behind the Nine Maiden’s stone circle was that the young women were turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath.

Quote:
Quickly fading into the stones and the shadows the grey-cloaked people of Lorien rode towards the mountains;
I noticed on this reading that both Aragorn & Galadriel say farewell in the same manner- Aragorn holds aloft the Ellessar, Galadriel Nenya & a light flashes from both.

We end with the meeting up again with Bilbo, the ‘de-briefing’ of the Hobbits & the gift giving. Bilbo’s gifts are perfectly suitable - gold for Sam, the poorest of them (just what he needs to start a family), good advice for those cocky young so-&-so’s Merry & Pippin, & his books (stories & histories) for Frodo. Bilbo has become so much like a monk in a peaceful monastery, living among books & surrounded by Elves. Although a Hobbit its clear that he belongs here, rather than in the Shire. Its clear that it is a dangerous business, stepping into the Road - for Hobbits at least. None of these five will end their days in the Shire, because their experiences make them too ‘big’ for it.

Frodo’s response to Sam’s praise of Rivendell:

Quote:
'Yes, something of everything, Sam, except the Sea,' Frodo had answered; and he repeated it now to himself: 'Except the sea.'
not only reflects his ‘Elvishness’, but also confirms that Arwen was right. Frodo has probably been thinking over Arwen’s words to him that morning, & it seems that the seed she planted then has taken root.
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Old 11-02-2005, 01:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeborn
Kinsman, farewell! May your doom be other than mine, and your treasure remain with you to the end!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lal
This quote fascinated me, too. The 'doom' I think refers to the different fates of Men and Elves, but it could equally refer to the new flowering of Gondor versus the decline or 'doom' of Lothlorien. What is the 'treasure' he speaks of? I would say Aragorn's greatest treasure is Arwen, Celeborn's grandaughter; this then begs the question of what Celeborn's treasure is? And will his treasure remain with him to the end?
I've always fancied that this line could well represent Celeborn's oblique comment to Aragorn on the fate of their marriages: Celeborn's doom is to lose his wife when she sails west without him. Celeborn loses his treasure whereas Aragorn retains his until his demise.

At least, this was the scenario I envisioned when I suggested there could be an entire storyline behind his comment.
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Old 11-04-2005, 03:07 AM   #8
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As Esty says, there is a lot of content in this chapter. Musing about ‘Many Partings’, there are so many points where Tolkien describes loss, which contrasts with all the gains in ‘The Steward and the King’. In a way the previous chapter is more of the ‘happily ever after’ the reader expects, while this chapter really focuses on the theme of ‘loss and sacrifice’ which has been present through LOTR, but is more clear from now to the end of the book.

Eomer returns for Theoden’s body. We see the old king being honored for his sacrifice:
Quote:
“Then the kings of Gondor and Rohan went to the Hallows and they came to the tombs in Rath Dinen, and they bore away King Theoden upon a golden bier, and passed through the city in silence.”
What a powerful image of Theoden being carried through Minas Tirith by Kings Elessar and Eomer while the populace watches in respect. Then in Rohan Theoden is laid to rest, and the company prepares to separate.

Aragorn and Arwen had their fairy-tale wedding, but now we read
Quote:
“None saw her last parting with Elrond her father, for they went up into the hills and there spoke long together, and bitter was their parting that should endure beyond the ends of the world.”
Granted, this is a lot sadder after reading the appendices and The Silm, when the reader understands how final their parting is. But that sentence tugged at my heart from my first reading. I suppose then I thought how terrible it would be to lose my own father; now as a parent I imagine Elrond’s agony at losing his daughter. And while I have always believed that the ‘bitterness’ of their parting was because they were losing each other, the phrase is just ambiguous enough to make me wonder if it’s possible they parted in anger. Could they have gone off alone so that no one would hear them arguing? Did they ‘speak long’ because Arwen had lost the gift of Osanwe? Would Elrond, in his grief, have spoken to her in anger because of the choice she had made all those years ago? Surely not...and yet there’s not enough specific information about their conversation to keep me from wondering.

Gimli becomes positively prophetic in this chapter. When he and Eomer are comparing Arwen and Galadriel, and he says
Quote:
“You have chosen the Evening, but my love is given to the Morning. And my heart forebodes that soon it will pass away forever.”
And in his farewell he predicts
Quote:
“...and some of us may yet meet at times; but I fear that we shall not all be gathered together ever again.”
As the friends were gathered together in Minas Tirith in the previous chapter, now they scatter across Middle Earth. Aragorn returns to Gondor, Gimli & Legolas head to Erebor and Mirkwood, and the hobbits want to go home to the Shire. All feel the pull of home (and responsiblities?), especially Sam and Frodo.

Of the encounter with Saruman – did he decide to head to the Shire after Gandalf and the hobbits caught up with him, or was he already headed there? I can see reasons for either scenario, but I kind of like the idea of him wandering aimlessly until he sees the Hobbits, then bitterly deciding to go ahead and pay a personal visit to the Shire.

Of course, there is one important meeting here: the hobbits finally return to Bilbo in Imladris. My own thought is that his failing mental and physical faculties are due to the Ring’s destruction. The ring ‘preserved’ him, so to speak, while he possessed it, and he was showing signs of failing even in FOTR, after he had given it up. Its destruction hastened Bilbo’s own fading. Bilbo's health and mental alertness are yet another loss resulting from the completion of the Quest.

Regarding Bilbo’s preference to write only poetry at this point – could that be a reflection of Tolkien’s own admiration for poetry? Perhaps Bilbo, knowing his time was now limited, only wanted to put his efforts into a more noble form of literature (in his & Tolkien’s opinions) than simply writing memoirs or translating lore. (I admire good poetry because I always found it so darn hard to write, lol.) I’m basing this speculation on the fact that Tolkien’s first attempts to write down his mythology were in poems, and he wrote the stories of ‘Luthien and Beren’ and ‘The Children of Hurin’ as epic poems before they were in narrative form in The Silmarillion.
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Old 11-04-2005, 10:59 AM   #9
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A small thought concerning Bilbo and poetry - Alphaelin wrote:

Quote:
Regarding Bilbo’s preference to write only poetry at this point – could that be a reflection of Tolkien’s own admiration for poetry? Perhaps Bilbo, knowing his time was now limited, only wanted to put his efforts into a more noble form of literature (in his & Tolkien’s opinions) than simply writing memoirs or translating lore. (I admire good poetry because I always found it so darn hard to write, lol.) I’m basing this speculation on the fact that Tolkien’s first attempts to write down his mythology were in poems, and he wrote the stories of ‘Luthien and Beren’ and ‘The Children of Hurin’ as epic poems before they were in narrative form in The Silmarillion.
What I find interesting is that, at least on a superficial inspection, Tolkien himself changed in the opposite direction from Bilbo. Tolkien wrote far less poetry, or at least, far less poetry related to Middle-earth, after LotR than he did before. The first five volumes of HoMe are filled with verse, but there is hardly any in the final three, or in UT.
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Old 01-14-2006, 02:03 PM   #10
Hilde Bracegirdle
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Hilde Bracegirdle has just left Hobbiton.
This chapter is so very full, and bittersweet! We know that we should be happy that the hobbits may now return home, but that happiness is dampened by having to take leave of all that supported them along the way, almost as if this chapter were a nod from Tolkien acknowledging the reader’s sense of loss at the close of a tale. I think of the finally of Gimli’s statement
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‘We will send word when we may, and some of us may yet meet at times; but I fear that we shall not all be gathered together ever again.’
It is like a speedy rewinding of the story. As we head back toward the Shire, many familiar names both of people and places are heard along the way, and the distance it took a goodly portion of FotR to cover, is now crossed in mere pages, with nary a Dunlending or wolf to worry them. Only Saruman, leaning on a staff, wearing dirty rags, a doglike Grima at his heels, is found on the road. Saruman has been brought low and his behavior reflects it. No fair voice beguile the listener, he is revealed for what he has become. The external appearance of the Maia matches his internal state and his conversation recalls what we have learned of orcs. I am reminded of how Sauron was once fair, but ultimately surrounded himself with these sorts of beings.

In this chapter we also hear Arwen speak, and she speaks very well, so that we better understand why the new king might have been anxious for the sign he sought in Minas Tirith.

We also have the words Gimli spoke to Eomer, that Alphaelin quoted earlier:

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“You have chosen the Evening, but my love is given to the Morning. And my heart forebodes that soon it will pass away forever.”
It is true. Galadriel belongs to another page of Middle-earth’s history. She and the brightness of her people would shine like the sunlight in their strength, and belong to the morning of Middle earth, but Arwen is a solitary evening star that shines unwavering when that brightness has, for the most part, passed into the west. There is such a contrast between Galadriel and Arwen, both in their coloring as well as in their ambitions, despite close kinship. But the strength of both seems evident, a shared trait.


We also have the curious words of Galadriel to Treebeard about the chances of meeting him again.

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Not in Middle-earth, nor until the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again. Then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan we may meet in the Spring.
And Elrond’s disclosure of Bilbo’s impending journey.

It is interesting to note that the three rings of the elves, along with their bearers accompany Frodo a great distance before taking their leave. Gandalf, with his ring of fire, Narya, continues the longest with him, who in a respect has passed through fire.
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:37 AM   #11
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The emotional response begun for me in "The Steward and the King" continues in "Many Partings," which is a bittersweet journey backward through the lands we covered in the previous books, all the way back to Rivendell. It's a farewell to all the non-Hobbit (and non-Gandalf) characters we've met: Faramir and Eowyn, Theoden, Eomer and Rohan, Treebeard, Saruman and Wormtongue (seemingly), Galadriel and Celeborn. To me, this chapter is as bittersweet as "The Grey Havens," which it foreshadows.

Its title is an echo of "Many Meetings," and it is very much full-circle from that point. "Many Meetings" opened Book II, and it's possible to argue that, structurally, Book I is sort of a different story: a prologue or a prequel: the adventure of the Hobbits getting to Rivendell. If that is so, then "The Lord of the Rings" begins with "Many Meetings," and I would argue it ends with "Many Partings." With the next chapter, we'll be moving, geographically, back into the realm of Book I and towards the conclusion of the overarching story begun with "The Shadow of the Past"--and to the conclusion of the whole saga (this long, complex story has several beginnings and consequently several ends).

"Many Meetings" begins with the Hobbits' arrival in Rivendell and "Many Partings" ends with their preparation to depart. "Many Meetings" introduced us to Arwen in thebhouse of her father and introduces us to an Aragorn as "the Dunadan"; "Many Partings" shows us Aragorn and Arwen wed and his kingdom established--and Arwen parting from him. "Many Meetings" begins the story of the pan-Free Peoples Fellowship by introducing Gloin and Gimli at supper while "Many Partings" shows the end of the same story as Gimli and Legolas ride off for Fangorn.
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