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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Reading Group meeting 14/5/05

On this day....

'.....Aragorn was loth for the fellowship to be dissolved. "....I would have you wait a little while longer: for the end of the deeds you have shared in has not yet come....."'

The Return of the King, The Steward and the King


Blogger Rymenhild said...

We were looking at hidden realms, secret places, and woses this week, but we began with more thoughts on music in Middle-earth and this got us into some technical areas as well as into consideration of how music is used in other cultures. Our discussions are nothing if not eclectic, but all this diversity is sparked initially by looking at a certain aspect of Tolkien’s work.
In this context, we considered particularly the Song of Nimrodel and the difference between the perception of Men and Elves. Elves seem to perceive the sound of the river AS music, perhaps they are capable of hearing it as an echo of the music of creation. Because Men were set on another path by Eru they perhaps do not hear the music as the Elves do, but understand that music as a metaphor for the sound the river makes.
This poses interesting questions about the use of language and how it may differ according to ‘race’ in Middle-earth.
We talked about the woses or Pukel-men and they were seen as a parallel to the ‘lost’ Amazonian tribes. But the Middle-English description of a wose or wild man of the woods bears a striking resemblance to Tom Bombadil. The ancient lineage of the woses who inhabited their lands before the coming of the Numenoreans suggests they belonged to those few races of Men who never went west to meet the Elves of Beleriand.
The category of ‘Hidden realms’ was extended to include the animal kingdom and we were introduced to the observation that unmutated and undominated or truly wild animals are rare in Middle-earth. The fox in the Shire serves to illuminate the difference between wild or free animals and all those others that have been tamed or mutated by Men, Wizards, the Dark Lord, and the hobbits. Elves have a slightly less dominant relationship, at least with their horses. Rabbits and fish were mentioned, but they are prey or food. Treebeard mentions squirrels, but the only ones seen now in Mirkwood are black and so perverted by the influence of Dol Guldur. We did consider Shelob's lair as a hidden place, and decided it was better left hidden!
The discussion moved on to include the Walking Song (both versions) which includes references to hidden and secret places and this threw up the idea of the difference between exploration and stagnation. These two opposing concepts seem important for understanding motivations, actions, and consequences.
For our next meeting some members may continue to consider what all the emphasis on hidden and secret places contributes to the overall atmosphere and significance of Tolkien’s stories but the nominated topic for discussion will be TRANSPORT.

1:10 PM  

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