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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reading Group meeting 28/11/09


Blogger Julie said...

First, I have to say I was gutted at not being able to be present, esp. as it was my birthday and I had been intending to bring goodies to share! I had just had three v. exhausting days in Edinburgh, at the conclusion of which I went down with a humungous cold (which I still have) and I just didn't feel like coming to the meeting, sorry! Second, what I would have said if I'd been there was something about water being a portal to Otherworld in Celtic tradition. I have a deep-down feeling there is a link between Frodo going to look into Kheled-Zaram with Gimli, and Frodo looking into Galadriel's mirror a couple of chapters later, when he sees (amongst other things) the Eye. Which of course Pippin sees too when he looks into the purloined palantir (rescued from or near the water of flooded Isengard). I was thinking, perhaps Chris might have something to say to elaborate upon his idea about Ulmo having a large if unspoken part to play in the events of LOTR by means of water.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Dr. Lynn Forest-Hill said...

First, commiserations to Julie, and the remark about water and the Celtic Underworld reminds me that I too an aware of this idea. There seem to have been lots of pools, ponds and lakes into which the Celts cast swords and other valuables as gifts to the gods, and I think there's some idea that the 'bog bodies' may have been sacrifices in the same tradition. There are still, I think, pools in Ireland that are regarded as sacred, but I'd need to do more research on this to be sure.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Dr. Lynn Forest-Hill said...

Apologies if this blog seems rather clipped and short. Although my PC is usable again it is now apt to freeze and lose the work I’m trying to do. As always, the blog is in several parts but lacking Carols contribution as I haven't had time to work on it yet.

We were looking at the 3 Lothlorien chapters 6, 7, and 8.

Angela opened the discussion with her observation of the great number of details and backstories that are introduced in these chapters. Laura remarked that it seems that Celeborn and Galadriel are not actually as wise as we are led to believe, and Angela added that Celeborn at least seems hasty. Angela noticed with some approval the courtesy and kindness shown by Galadriel to Gimli and Laura commented on the theme of forgiveness that is played out between Galadriel and Gimli as opposed to Celeborn’s less forgiving attitude – initially at least. However, Angela remarked on the degree of concern Celeborn shows for Aragorn.

Angela and I compared the depictions of Aragorn and Boromir, while Diane wondered if Boromir thinks himself more of a man tan Aragorn? Laura remarked on the effect of the loss of Gandalf on Aragorn, leading to loss of confidence and a bleak desire to be avenged. Diane added that Gandalf was clearly a father-figure to Aragorn, and she observed that Boromir seems to be watching him. Boromir’s disparaging attitude to Galadriel was picked up by Angela, and Diane remarked that he came across as speaking from ignorance and superstition. She also observed the way Boromir eventually bows his head in acceptance saying ‘so be it’.

Chris noticed a comparison between Mirrormere and the Mirror of Galadriel, and wondered what Sam saw in Mirrormere. Angela thought perhaps he was contemplating Durin after hearing Gimli’s song. Diane questioned why Gimli asked Frodo especially to go to the mere with him. It was suggested that this may have been due to the introductions at the Rivendell banquet when Frodo met Gimli’s father – Bilbo’s old companion in adventure. Laura thought this suggested Frodo as the ‘sensitive tourist’. Amid comments about Sam ‘trotting after Frodo’, I wondered if we misread his devoted actions at such times. He’s a gardener and capable of facing up to Ted Sandyman, and facing down Bill Ferny with a well-thrown apple. Gandalf has chosen him and told him to look after Frodo and I proposed that Sam does not spaniel-like after Frodo at all, but sticks close to him like a bodyguard. Laura remarked on Sam following Gandalf’s orders, and Angela saw him as protective.

Diane and Angela both commented on the episode of the finding of the mithril shirt, seeing the discovery as a moment of light relief and of the sort of humour that often erupts during profound grief.

Pat wondered about the power in Lorien, wondering if it was just Galadriel or her Ring, or a combination of both. She wondered too about the power of Nenya, and we thought it was helping to preserve Lorien.

Laura compared the virtue of the elves to the difference between angels and devils, but thought that in the light of our readings of The Silmarillion ‘virtue was not the first word that sprang to mind. She went on to comment on how little Legolas knows about Lorien and Angela noted the way groups of elves are estranged from one another.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Dr. Lynn Forest-Hill said...

Pat observed that Gollum is now becoming a reality, rather than a reported matter, and Angela remarked that Haldir suspects the ‘thing’ is either an orc or a hobbit. Pat then wondered if the motif of ‘feet in the water’ implied a form of baptism, or related to this Christian image. Laura pondered whether the orcs, as corrupted elves, could feel the virtue in the water. Pat than asked whether the Nazgul could cross water and Diane reminded us that the Undead traditionally cannot. This brought us naturally to their fate at the Ford of Bruinen, which Angela said reminded her of the Severn Bore.

Diane then remarked on Legolas’s tone when he tells the hobbits to ‘dig a hole then’, and she wondered if this was Elf humour, or a sign of elvish irritation.

Angela went on to consider whether, when Galadriel is tempted and refuses the Ring she is actually more tempted than anyone else. Diane thought her strength came from her past and represented her desire to prove that she had been wrongly exiled from the West. Angela pointed out that the reason she can later return there is because she rejects the temptation. Laura was impressed by Galadriel’s comment about fighting the ‘long defeat’.

Chris wondered then whether the reason for the Fellowship staying for a month in Lorien is because Galadriel is considering during that time whether to take the Ring, and is this the reason why she and Celeborn avoid seeing Frodo all that time. Chris also wondered about the Ring itself trying to control things. Laura considered that the month was perhaps just the mourning period for Gandalf.

We decided to read on to finish Book 3, the chapters are ‘The Great River’ and ‘The Breaking of the Fellowship’.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Admin said...

virtue (definitiom)

1. the quality or practice of moral excellence or righteousness
2. a particular moral excellence the virtue of tolerance
3. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) any of the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) or theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity)
4. any admirable quality, feature, or trait
5. chastity, esp in women
6. Archaic an effective, active, or inherent power or force.

Collins English Dictionary

It was commented on the 'virtue' had an older meaning, see the 'archaic' definition (6) above.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Tellingly (perhaps) Gollum's physical appearance as both described by JRRT and interpreted by artists (and film-makers!) very much resembles the Iron Age "bog bodies" which have been found - even down to his "blackness" ! He really is the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

2:03 PM  

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