Corey’s Fun and Spontaneous Textual Discussion Exercise with Corey Olsen
Do a close comparison of some passages
Passages picked at random
Random 1/4 chance
theme, character, language usage, special topic
Review a LOTR Passage
Choose a LOTR passe – D20
roll 6 = Book 2
10 Chapters in Book 2
Chapter 3 The Ring goes South
” The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil. With you and your faithful servant, Gandalf will go; for this shall be his great task, and maybe the end of his labours. “
Elrond starts with the number, but only has 7 mapped out
Emphasis on Gandalf,
Shall, Shall, But Gandalf gets a “will”
2 have chosen to go with you from the start. One is Faithful Servant Sam and the second is Gandalf who has been working on this great task for a long time
Gandalf is going in service
Speaking in a register
Not symmetrical description of the two groups
Walkers not riders
But still paired
“The Nine walkers” is not an epic name
“The end of his Labours” will go over Sam’s head, but links things to the longer story.
Callback to the Labours of Hercules and similar myths
“set against” but not a symmetrical group
Company vs Fellowship. The Fellowship bit evolves during Book 2.
“Faithful servant” rather then just servant. Lots of recent betrayals
Now compare two passages
Book 6, Chapter 5, Paragraph 12
“In this house, lady. He was sorely hurt, but is now set again on the way to health. But I do not know–“
Spoken by the Warden of the House of Healing to Eowyn
An unexpected turn for Eowyn. She is trying to get out of the house and going over the head of the Warden
He is pushing back and saying Faramir might not be available. She cuts right though that and demands to see him
He is unlikely to really not know his condition
She is using her ( foreigner, royalty, female) position to intimidate him and cut him off.
Passage 2 from the hobbit, chapter 18
“No!” said Thorin. “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!”
Thorin is living Eowyn’s dream
Thorin has gone back on his earlier bad actions. He knocks down the wall he has created and directly rallys his former enemies
It’s interesting that Eowyn is forbade a heroic death in the text where Theoden, Thorin, etc are granted it. Especially when so many of those seem redemptionary (theoden feels guilt for inaction under Wormtongue, Thorin for his greed in betreyal of the lake men)
“I honestly don’t think that we can really criticise her for being so reckless when Rohan and even broader society holds the heroic sacrifice to high in respect” – Cassidy Winter
The Battle has just been won, Bilbo did not participate in it. But Thorin is what you are has lasting and meaningful value
Eowyn is about to have a similar conversion after he conversation with Faramir
She embraces life and see a new way to make a contribution
Need to remember both are members of collectivist cultures. Less individualistic that modern western culture
“I think the big difference is that they had achieved their redemption and their death appears to be a reward of some kind. Her death is what she’s seeking as escape, rather than redemption”
Thorin’s death is part of he redemption arc, but if he had lived he would still have been redeemed. Although probably screwed up later
Contrast Boromir’s death is a important component of his arc
Thoeden’s death is at the end of his road, he would have died soon anyway. this is the death he would have chosen
Eowyn is still restless, whereas Thorin is at peace and has accepted what he has accomplished. But has moved away from what he originally wanted.
“Child of the kindly West” would not make any sense to original Hobbit readers
Exclamation mark at the end of “Farewell!” by Thorin could be read comically.
A benediction of a King on his deathbed
Especially since Bilbo had kinda Betrayed him just recently
Looking at the characters rather than the specific passages, both characters have long been pursuing a specific goal, and only find peace when they turn away from that goal. or rather, starting a new trajectory along the way that is very different to what they thought they wanted in the beginning
A Tolkien passage and compare to a non Tolkien passage
Leaf by Niggle
Passage about visitors and other duties preventing Niggle working hard enough his painting. Many Responsibilities that he must not neglect. eg his Garden
Tenson with all his friends and relatives coming to visit. Although he visited them during the Winter so it is reaonabily fair.
But he meets all his obligations. The Dilemma is all internal
All his friends see him as a good person (except maybe the garden) they don’t see that in his heart he just wants to do painting.
“Passages” is an interesting turn of phrase when describing a picture. It’s more typical for text.
Neglected Garden = Great Scholarship of Germanic Philology . Painting = LOTR
2nd Passage is from Dune
Fewer people have read Dune than LEaf by Niggle, comparatively few rooms in which that would be true.
Scene at the end of the Feyd-Rautha’s fight in the Arena
He has arranged for a great spectacle but this didn’t happen because slave’s death was clean
Contrast been the attitude of Feyd and his opponent. The Atredies only has a single minimal chance to do something. Feyd doesn’t care about this person it’s just his small part of his plan
Contrast Wants and desires
Parallel is between Niggle’s paining and Feyd’s ambition for brutal supremacy over the universe
Parallel they are both wasting time on fun projects rather than what they should be doing
The Little People and the Horn-Cry of Buckland with Lauren Brand
Dedicated this talk to her father
Climate change is not a comfortable topic
The Hobbits in LOTR is just getting on with their lives. But their world is in threat of change. And not in a good way. Lots of bad reports just in the Shire
Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief approach to seeing people’s “Climate Grief”
In the first Chapters of The Lord of the Rings
Sam and Ted’s discussion in the Green Dragon
“I won’t take Dragons now”
Frodo and Gandalf talk about the ring
I would have done away with it
Will you not take the Ring
Depression and Fear
This Ring, How on earth did it come to me
I cannot keep the right and stay here.
I should like to save the Ring if I could
as long as the Shire lies begind safe and comfortable
When the Hobbits get back to the Shire
Cottons hiding away
Hob Hayward going along with it
Criticise the system
Hob Hayward anger at the sneaks in the ranks
Robin Smallburrow tries to explain why he is a Shirrif
No way to resign position
Sam breaks down and cries at the sight of Hobbiton
Acceptance and Empowerment
Tooks shut off their borders and did Guerilla actions
Fredagar Bolgar join band of rebels
Will Whitford, Lobelia,
4 Companions. Lots of things
Lessons from the Hobbits
Ignore they Nay sayers
Seek out information fom relaiable sources
Join with others
Share the burdon
Blow the horn and get angry
Recommended reading and viewing
The Lord of the Rings
The Big Switch by Saul Griffiths
The Fully Charged Show
” Lobelia Sackville-Baggins as Gina Rineheart was not a comparison i expected to hear today “
Can grief make you stronger not weaker?
Peaceful vs Violent actions
Lamentations in a Troubled World with Trevor Bowen
The song of the Ents and Entwives
Growing apart by separate interests
Sadness for a lost relationship
Loss and separation without hope of reconciliation
The Lament for Boromir
People at movie screen booed at his first appearance
The heroic character is undone by his virtues
He escaped in the end in death. Died in state of grace
Aragorn composes a poem for him at the end
Technical details of Laments
Galadriel’s Lament corresponds to Catholic Lament
The Lament of the Roharim
Inspired by the “Lament of the Wanderer”
Theoden speaks some of the lines in the Movie. Contrasts himself with his great ancestor
Courage to do what is right even against unbeatable odds
Frodo’s Lament for Gandalf
an emotion mechanism to manage grief
A way to move forward and accept new challenges and responsibilities
List of various other Laments in Tolkien
Songs do lots within Tolkiens writing give the world a depth and history
List of Tolkien’s joys and sadness
Throughout the LOTR a profound melancholy pervades
Everything is worse than what came before
Lamenting the diminishment of the glorious past
The Long Defeat
How does Lament have meaning in our own lives?
Pandemic, Wars, instability, inflation, etc
Media brings it from places of war into our daily lives
Samwise “There is still some good in this world and it is worth fighting”
Question: What hope is there for Frodo and War Veterans?
Answer: Frodo had vision from the start (in house of Tom B) that he wouldn’t make it back fully.
Trust is Unbroken/Broken: A Troubador Struggle with Ilana Mushin and Phil Menzies
The Lay of Leithian
Finrod vs Sauron in songs of power
Just describes the song battle but doesn’t have any lyrics
Les Miserables – The confrontation
Pocahontas – Mine, Mine, Mine and Savages
Stray Gods (Role playing Musical)
Rythm 6/8 vs 4/4
Where to start/end
Mapping the songs
F# major vs G# minor
ebb and flow / tuf-o-war
Finrod – woodwinds
Sauron – brass and electric guitars
Listen for character themes and fall theme discussed yesterday
The reading project that I am working on is a re-read of the Lord of the Rings. I’ve read the book/trilogy around a dozen times over the years but the two main differences this time are that I am reading it aloud and that I am consulting a couple of commentaries as I go. The references works I am using are The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion and the The Lord of the Rings Reread series by Kate Nepveu. The Companion is a fairly large book (860 pages) that follows the text page by page and gives explanations for words, characters and the history/development of the text. These can range from a simple definition to a couple of pages on a specific topic or character. The reread has a quick synopsis at the start of the article for each chapter and then some commentary by Kate followed by some comments from her readers (which I usually only quickly skim).
I started my read-aloud on February 15th 2015 and I am now ( April 7th ) just past the half-way point ( I completed The Fellowship of the Ring on March 27th) . My process is to read the text for 30-60 minutes ( I’m reading the three-book 1979 3rd edition paperback edition, which amusingly has various errors that the Reader’s Companion points out as I go) which gets me though 5-10 pages. I read aloud everything on the page including chapter titles, songs, non-English words and footnotes. A few times I have checked the correct pronunciation of words ( Eomer is one ) but otherwise I try not to get distracted. Once I finish for the session I open the Reader’s Companion and check the entries for the pages I have just read and at the end of each chapter ( chapters are usually around 20-30 pages) I have a look at Kate’s blog entry. I try an read most days and sometimes do extras on weekends.
One thing I really need to say is that I really am enjoying the whole thing. I love the book (like I said I’ve read it over a dozen times) and reading it aloud makes the experience even better. The main difference is that I do not skip over words/sentences/paragraphs which tends to happen when I read normally. So I don’t miss phrases like the description of Lake Hithoel:
The sun, already long fallen from the noon, was shining in a windy sky. The pent waters spread out into a long oval lake, pale Nen Hithoel, fenced by steep grey hills whose sides were clad with trees. At the far southern end rose three peaks. The midmost stood somewhat forward from the others and sundered from them, an island in the waters, about which the flowing River flung pale shimmering arms. Distant but deep there came up on the wind a roaring sound like the roll of thunder heard far away.
Nor do I skip the other little details that are easy to miss, like Grishnakh and his Mordor Orcs leaving the rest of the group for a couple of days on the plains of Rohan or the description of country leading up to the west gate of Moria. Although I do wish I’d seen the link to the map of Helm’s Deep halfway down this page before I’d read the chapter as it would have made things clearer. The Companion is also good at pointing out how things fit in the chronology, so when somebody gazes at the horizon and sees a cloud of smoke it will say what event elsewhere in the book (or other writing) that is from. You also get a great feel for Tolkien’s language and words and his vivid descriptions of scenes and landscape (often up to a page long) such the example above. Although I do find he uses “suddenly” an awful lot when he has new events/people break into the narrative.
The readers companion is a great resource, written by two serious Tolkien scholars but intended for general readers rather than academics. Kate Nepveu’s articles are also very useful in giving a more opinionated and subjective commentary. I would definitely recommend the experience to others who are fans of the Lord of the Rings. I’m not sure how well it would work with other books but certainly it enhances a work I already know well and love.
At the current rate I am expecting to finish some time in June or July. The next project I’m planning is Shakespeare’s plays. I am planning on reading each one (multiple times including possibly at least once aloud) and watching the BBC Television Shakespeare and other adaptations and commentaries. My plan is that I’ll cover the majority of them but I’ll see how I go, However I’d like to at least get though the major ones.