J.R.R. Tolkien

catseye

Old lady trouser-smell
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
3,701
Reaction score
12,796
Points
224
Location
York
Tolkien did have a habit of subscribing to the notion of 'why use one paragraph to describe something when you can use 3 chapters' :p
Oh yes, brevity was not his friend. But I also love Fellowship - it's just such a 'road' novel. There's something very atmospheric about it and the descriptions of the long walks and the nights under the trees. I also agree that you couldn't have the barrow wights without Tom Bombadil and he would have been hard to work into the film without his appearing as a deus ex machina (which he sort of is in the story too, to be fair). I can't remember how the film gets around the hobbits having swords - as, in the book, they take them from the treasure of the barrow wight.
 

Gloucestrian

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jul 30, 2016
Messages
355
Reaction score
827
Points
99
Location
Gloucester
Aragorn just hands them some swords on Weathertop in the film.
 

Ogdred Weary

The Lich
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
6,074
Reaction score
11,663
Points
289
Trouble is you can hardly have the Barrow Wight without Tom Bombadil to rescue them (or another intervention in the story to erase the need for him) and if Frodo and co can defeat a Barrow Wight then why not the Ring-wraiths that pursue them in Bree. It would damage the sense of suspense, while also confusing the casual audience.

The first half of Fellowship is one of my favourite parts of the story, I love the section between the first night under the fir tree through to the Bucklebury Ferry, the slowly building fear of pursuit is sublime. The subsequent passage of the Old Forest and the other misadventures caused by short cuts are, in my opinion, some of the most atmospheric and world-building parts of the story. I have heard many complaints that Tolkien took forever to get going with the story but in my opinion the story would not be the same without that very dense set of misadventures at the beginning giving us a good sense of how capable the Hobbits are and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

However if this had all been faithfully filmed it could have taken a whole film just to get to Bree. So I can understand why they cut the majority of that material, sad though it is.

In today's IP driven, franchise hungry world Tom Bommers will get his own Netflix series and we will find out about his Dark And Gritty Origins, which will then lead to Goldberry getting her own spinoff which will see her Even Darker And More Grittier Origins as she smites the patriatchtree among the Ents.

The Barrow Wight will get a Youtube series where he does unboxing vids and gives make up tips.
 

Gloucestrian

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jul 30, 2016
Messages
355
Reaction score
827
Points
99
Location
Gloucester
... but when you are subjected to all 143 verses of Tom Bombadil trilling about his very suspect meeting of his 'wife'...well. It's enough to put you off.

So, inspired by the resurrection of this thread, I am now re-reading Fellowship again and I am wondering if some editions omit some of the poetry. The copy I originally read as a child was a 1950s or 60s edition (might have been a first edition, come to think of it) but nowadays I read a reading copy (the dog tends to like shoving his nose into whatever I am reading!) which is from the third printing of the 1991 HarperCollins edition. I do vaguely recall a lot of verse in the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' but in my reading copy there's just a short verse about the meeting of Goldberry and Tom Bombadil, p124.

Nothing in that verse reads as 'very suspect' to me, though I could see how it could be read as somewhat sinister in a way. Curious if your copy has more verse here, and if some has been removed from more recent editions. I intend to look out my older copy and check that too (not sure I still have it, sadly).
 

Lb8535

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 2, 2015
Messages
1,897
Reaction score
3,673
Points
164
So, inspired by the resurrection of this thread, I am now re-reading Fellowship again and I am wondering if some editions omit some of the poetry. The copy I originally read as a child was a 1950s or 60s edition (might have been a first edition, come to think of it) but nowadays I read a reading copy (the dog tends to like shoving his nose into whatever I am reading!) which is from the third printing of the 1991 HarperCollins edition. I do vaguely recall a lot of verse in the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' but in my reading copy there's just a short verse about the meeting of Goldberry and Tom Bombadil, p124.

Nothing in that verse reads as 'very suspect' to me, though I could see how it could be read as somewhat sinister in a way. Curious if your copy has more verse here, and if some has been removed from more recent editions. I intend to look out my older copy and check that too (not sure I still have it, sadly).
No, T made some edits as he went mostly for consistency and to fix the "finding the ring" thing but cutting poetry was not one of them. It's not all that long a poem really, but if you're not fascinated by early English/Norse poetry metres as he was it can go on a little. And of course all of Tom's spoken words are in a meter whose name I don't know but it's all in --..-(pause or -) -..-- . Very cunning of T.
 

Gloucestrian

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jul 30, 2016
Messages
355
Reaction score
827
Points
99
Location
Gloucester
I wasn't suggesting this was a Tolkien edit rather perhaps a later editorial choice by a publisher.

Since length and verbosity has been brought up a couple of times, I'd like to say that in my opinion nothing in LotR strikes me as excessively long or verbose. If the poetry is not to your taste or interest, it is easy to skip over (though less so in audiobook form, I suppose). For my part I tend to skip some of the poems but read others, though when I was younger I read them all dutifully. That said I also read the Bible, the Torah and the Koran too when I was young, even the Silmarillion is an easy read compared to some of those!
 

Kondoru

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
8,240
Reaction score
3,664
Points
239
I read the Sil before I read LotR....

I think this tells you too much about me.

But, I am familiar with a lot of RL myth, and so its not unfamilar to me.
 

Coastaljames

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Apr 26, 2015
Messages
4,126
Reaction score
6,087
Points
214
Location
East Norfolk coast
I spent the Easter weekend introducing my 7 year old stepdaughter to the entire LOTR movie series. Absolutely fantastic. Rekindled my love for them as I watched her love grow.

Been doing some reading and listening to a lot about how Tolkien's deep Christian faith informed a considerable part of his story-telling.
 

Ogdred Weary

The Lich
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
6,074
Reaction score
11,663
Points
289

blessmycottonsocks

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
6,380
Reaction score
11,911
Points
289
Location
Wessex and Mercia
"Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee — the Ring-bearer with an impossible burden, his loyal gardener, and the bond between them..."

I really wouldn't know about that, sir...

ralfandted.JPG
 

pandacracker

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 16, 2004
Messages
1,336
Reaction score
3,247
Points
189
They're more overtones.

Yes... and no.

That the two grow to love each other through their shared trauma is clear. Whether Tolkien meant that love to also include carnal lust is open to debate, which is why I wrote 'gay' not Gay.

With the increase in more positive presentations of Gays and Lesbians in film and T.V. maybe, these days, we rush too quickly to assume same sex love has to be sexual (even if it's repressed) Love between two people can take a myriad of forms, whatever their sex or gender.

It's a lovely piece of work!

Yes Frides, it's a very thoughtful piece of writing.
 

Naughty_Felid

kneesy earsy nosey
Joined
Mar 11, 2008
Messages
9,180
Reaction score
12,958
Points
299
Yes... and no.

That the two grow to love each other through their shared trauma is clear. Whether Tolkien meant that love to also include carnal lust is open to debate, which is why I wrote 'gay' not Gay.

With the increase in more positive presentations of Gays and Lesbians in film and T.V. maybe, these days, we rush too quickly to assume same sex love has to be sexual (even if it's repressed) Love between two people can take a myriad of forms, whatever their sex or gender.



Yes Frides, it's a very thoughtful piece of writing.
I always considered Sam and Frodo's relationship as non-sexual and I've read that male physical affection was more commonplace at the turn of the last century and was not considered the shock horror unmentionable sin that is homosexuality. Holding hands, walking arm in arm etc was seen as perfectly acceptable. Sherlock and Watson living together, Laurel and Hardy sharing a bed and earlier Hardy kissing Nelson. None of these rightly or wrongly was considered homosexual.

Either way, it doesn't matter. Even if we find a long-lost manuscript from Tolkien saying Sam and Frodo were gay it would have absolutely no impact on the story whatsoever.
 
Last edited:

Kondoru

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
8,240
Reaction score
3,664
Points
239
I read LotR first when I was twelve and rapidly plugged Frodo and Sam as being in some sort of relationship. There are definite tones of more than friendship there...but doesn't mean its sexual.

Wind in the Willows is full of manly relationships, but you get the impression the characters might think sex as icky...like they do women.

Toad is very clearly Oscar Wilde though.
 

Cochise

Priest of the cult of the Dog with the Broken Paw
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
7,253
Reaction score
11,066
Points
299
I read LotR first when I was twelve and rapidly plugged Frodo and Sam as being in some sort of relationship. There are definite tones of more than friendship there...but doesn't mean its sexual.

Wind in the Willows is full of manly relationships, but you get the impression the characters might think sex as icky...like they do women.

Toad is very clearly Oscar Wilde though.
Another problem caused by the English language only having one word for love. Of course any two people can 'love' each other without a sexual element. Happens all the time. As 5 minutes reflection ought to tell us.

I'm no Classical scholar but isn't it Greek that has multiple words for the different kinds of love?
 

Ogdred Weary

The Lich
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
6,074
Reaction score
11,663
Points
289
I read LotR first when I was twelve and rapidly plugged Frodo and Sam as being in some sort of relationship. There are definite tones of more than friendship there...but doesn't mean its sexual.

Wind in the Willows is full of manly relationships, but you get the impression the characters might think sex as icky...like they do women.

Toad is very clearly Oscar Wilde though.

Well it would be a bit weird if they shagged women, what them all being animals and everything.
 

Ogdred Weary

The Lich
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
6,074
Reaction score
11,663
Points
289
I don't know if Sam and Frodo are gay but Middle Earth Social Services should have a look at Gandalf, I mean a grown man of three thousand lifetimes of men hanging about The Shire where there happen to be all these very small humanoids and attempting to impress them with his fireworks...
 

Kondoru

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
8,240
Reaction score
3,664
Points
239
Its interesting that JRRT shows little bias with his characters;

A noted positive example is Galadriel, (Who can afford a good lawyer)

And an interesting negative example is Eol (Who's main crime is he resembles a RL myth elf).

In his letters he definitely comes off against Gollum; Possibly because he barged in on Frodo/Sam's happy relationship?
 
Top