Tag Archives: LOTR

Took or Baggins? Part 4

Chapter 4: A Short Cut to Mushrooms

  -In the morning, the friends awaken to find the elves have gone.

  -Frodo, Sam, and Pippin leave the main road and cut through the

    wilderness  just in time before a Black Rider appears.

   -The group ends up in Farmer Maggot’s house. He tells them that a dark

    stranger on a black horse is searching for Frodo.

   -Farmer Maggot gets them to the ferry crossing in secret.

Wonderful Quote:

Short cuts make long delays.

My thoughts:


There is beautiful imagery and great reading for those readers who actually love the process of reading: the enjoyment of mood, atmosphere, subtle creation of suspense, beautiful and poetic wording. Those looking for action-based, fast reading may be bored.

Chapter 5: A Conspiracy Unmasked
   

   -A short history of Buckland is given.

   -A glimpse of a Black Rider happens as they disembark from the ferry.

   -At Crickhollow, Merry and Pippin disclose that they know all about the

     Ring.

   – It’s decided that Merry and Pippin will join the quest. They all break into

     song for the third time. 

   _Frodo has a disturbing dream that night.


My thoughts: 

This chapter reminds me much of The Hobbit:  when the friends break into song unexpectedly during the bath and later after they decide to go together on the quest. 

It furthers the characterization of  Hobbits as childlike, innocent, natural creatures who are truly out of their depths in adventures. Only Frodo, in his dark and prophetic dream, seems to have a clearer understanding. It seems that maybe the possession of the ring has already affected him in ways that make him different, less childlike.

Chapter 6: The Old Forest

   -The Hobbits enter the forest and find it a hostile, cunning place.

   – The trees seem to watch the group and paths move or disappear, herding the little group

     away from their destination.

   -They reach the Withywindle, a river edged and surrounded by willows.

   -A spell renders the friends asleep. 


   -Merry and Pippin are swallowed by a crack  in a willow.  Frodo is dumped in the river 
    by the tree he fell asleep on.

   -Enter (singing) the ridiculously cheerful and colorful character  Tom Bombadil, 

     who saves the friends!

   -They arrive as guests at Tom Bombadil’s house.

My thoughts: 


Once again, this chapter is also reminiscent of a children’s tale. The dangers and evil encountered are more like those found in the telling of a fairy tale. The forest shows malice, but it does little harm to the friends. Old Man Willow tries to eat Merry and Pippin, but he is easily derailed by Tom Bombadil’s spell singing. It is almost as if the Black Riders and the Ring have been left behind. The appearance of Tom Bombadil itself is rather comic and unexpected.

Took or Baggins? Part 3

Prologue

  Tolkien uses the prologue to give the reader background he feels is necessary. We are told not only about the physical, cultural, and racial traits of the Hobbits, but also quite a bit about their history. He tells that they descended from three different breeds: the Harfoots, the Stoors, and the Fallowhides. He implies that the histories he talks about may have spanned many thousands of years.

Tolkien then goes into an extended narration of the history of Bilbo’s finding of The Ring and ends up touching on the subject of Shire records. It’s clear that Tolkien assumed that the person delving into LOTR may have never read The Hobbit, and he endeavored to provide information that would be useful to such a reader. 


Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party. (Tolkien titled each chapter.)


   -Preparations begin for Bilbo’s 111th birthday and Frodo’s 33rd, as
    they both share the same birthday, September 22nd. A party like no other
    is planned. Rich Bilbo spares no expense.

   -Gandalf arrives with fireworks. He and Bilbo discuss the Hobbit’s plan
    to leave the Shire and bequeath all he owns to his nephew Frodo, including The
    Ring.

   -The party goes off as planned. At the end, Bilbo makes a farewell speech
    and secretly dons the ring. He disappears in a poof, to the consternation of
    all his guests.

   -At the last minute, Bilbo experiences an inner struggle; he yearns to keep The Ring. 
    The Ring clearly owns a piece of his soul and works its evil, but with Gandalf’s help, 
    he is able to walk away from it and leave it to Frodo. 

   -Before leaving, Gandalf warns Frodo that The Ring may be dangerous and not to
    use it.
Wonderful Quote:
    I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

My Thoughts: 

Chapter 1 serves primarily to paint the image of the Hobbit and the Shire in the eye of the reader. It’s one thing to be told that Hobbits love to eat and have hairy feet. It’s another to see them as a people interacting, gossiping, drinking, blowing smoke rings, living with round doors painted in bright greens and yellows, time marked only by the gentle passing of the seasons. Their idyllic simplicity and lack of concern with the outside world makes them both admirable and vulnerable. I want to both join them and shake them up. But more than anything, I want to protect their world and keep them safe and innocent.


Chapter 2: The Shadow of the Past.

   -Frodo becomes his own master. The years pass and he grows more like Bilbo.
    Rumors of evil and darkness seep into the Shire, but no one pays any mind.
    Strangers are seen crossing through the Shire.

   -After a long absence, Gandalf reappears. He tells Frodo all he has learned of The
    Ring, and tests the ring in fire. He tells Frodo of the making and losing of The
    Ring, of how Gollum found it and was changed by it, and how Bilbo truly got
    The Ring. He tells that the Dark Lord seeks it because it is the one master ring
    that rules all the other rings.

   -Gandalf warns Frodo that the enemy finally is aware of the Shire and the name
    Baggins. 

   -Frodo accepts that to save all he loves, he must leave and take The Ring away
    from the Shire. Gandalf tells him he need not go alone. Caught eavesdropping
    on the conversation, Samwise Gangee is chosen to go with him.

My Thoughts:

This chapter is all about The Ring. Most of it is narrative in Gandalf’s words. Here we finally get the true picture of The Ring’s nature and its ability to influence and possess its bearer. 

Here Frodo struggles with the decision of being the one who has to take The Ring away and his fear of  being insufficient to the task. 

The temptation of Gandalf is quite interesting too. As powerful and central a character as he is, he’s always steady and unchanging at his core. He is not  the dynamic character in this tale.

We also get a compelling  image of Smeagol/Gollum. He has always, in my opinion, been the most moving and disturbing character in the series. 

  
Chapter 3: Three is Company.

   -Gandalf presses Frodo to leave soon. Frodo promises to leave on his 50th birthday.

   -Frodo sells Bag End to Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and buys a small house at
    Crickhollow, Buckleberry. He tells everyone that he is retiring there.

   -Gandalf warns Frodo never to use The Ring and leaves for the southern borders to
    search for news. He promises to be back before Frodo’s departure.

   -On the evening of Frodo’s departure, a stranger shows up at the village asking
    about Frodo. 

   -Gandalf fails to return. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin leave quietly. Merry left
     earlier in the morning with the moving cart.

   -The traveling party walks, talks, sings, eats, rests. The first encounter with the Dark
    Rider happens. Frodo feels a strong urge to wear the rings.

   -The second appearance of a sniffing, tracking Dark Rider is interrupted by the
    appearance of a band of traveling elves. Upon hearing about the Black Riders,
    their leader, Gildor Inglorion, invites the Hobbits to go along with the elves.
    Sam is delighted with the elves!

   -They reach a grassy clearing surrounded by woods under the starlit night. The elves 
    play the gracious hosts to the Hobbits. Later, Frodo and Gildor hold a long conversation.
    The elf advices Frodo to go quickly toward Rivendell, to take companions, and to
    evade the Black Riders, for they serve the enemy.
Wonderful quotes:
 -The wide world is all about you; you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for
   ever fence it out.
-Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
-…advice is a dangerous gift.

-Courage is found in unlikely places.


My Thoughts:

If Chapter 1 was about Hobbits, this one is about elves! I cannot but share Sam’s delight and awe of the beautiful, wise, glowing, merry but mysterious creatures. 


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Zeecé  Lugo is a blogger and author of the Angel’s Guardian Series. 



Angel’s Guardian is Zeecé Lugo’s  fast-paced, romantic paranormal suspense. 


The vampire Maxim makes his home in New York City. Self-exiled from the vampire nation, he spends his days in quiet solitude and his nights prowling the heights and hunting evil, his prey of choice. On a cold November night, he chances upon a gang rape in a desolate back alley. He leaps at the chance to feed on predators of the worst kind, his favorite prey. But the situation takes a turn he never expected, and soon he finds himself wishing he’d made a different choice on that fateful night.

Angelica has been on the run for years. Kidnapped by a sex-trafficking ring at the age of fourteen, she escaped only to be relentlessly pursued by her enemies ever since. Tonight, they found her. As she lies dying on a cold, dark alley, her only fear is for the secret she desperately hid moments before they caught her. A secret she must protect with her life from her enemies and from the monster that destroyed them and now turns red, fiery eyes upon her.

See it at AMAZON

Took or Baggins? Part 2

I am reading The Fellowship of the Ring, which is the first of the LOTR trilogy. (ISBN 0-345-33970-3) At the time I bought it, years ago, it cost $6.99 for the paperback copy. It’s the Ballantine edition, containing a foreword by Tolkien himself. 

One thing that drew my attention is that toward the end of the foreword, Tolkien complains about other paperback editions being published without his consent. He states that only the Ballantine edition is the one he approved and encourages readers not to buy any other! And here I was thinking that stealing authors’ work was a recent thing born of the internet. Obviously not. 

While most readers skip the Foreword (I seldom pay a second’s attention to it), this time I have made a special effort to trudge through it. I’m glad I did. First of all, this is Tolkien himself talking about his work. In my mind, silly as it sounds, he’s talking from beyond the grave, as he’s been dead many years. 

Tolkien denies that his books had anything to do with the war (WWII) and points to the fact that his work’s origins go back way before the war. His main motive in writing the works was to “…hold the attention of the readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them.” Those are the reasons any true writer writes. 

The writing of the series (LOTR) went on from 1936 through 1949! Today, authors put out a book every three months. Anyone who doesn’t produce in numbers is not considered a true writer. But Tolkien, one of the most beloved and successful authors in the English language, did not write every day! His duties, his interests, and the war got in the way. It took him thirteen years, but he never gave up. 

A final point of observation I have is in the way Tolkien writes, primarily his sentence structure. His sentences are complex, often taking up the space of a small paragraph. He uses plenty of commas and an abundance of semicolons. He also does not skimp on the word “that.” 

I don’t find his work difficult to read.  I don’t see many extremely hard or out-of-date words. Words like “laborious, decrepitude, and allegorical” are few and can be easily Googled by anyone who has never heard them. 

The one thing that may make him difficult for today’s reader is that he requires the reader to hold more than one line of thought within one sentence. Today’s readers want to get there fast. They have little patience for the meandering way. 

Tolkien’s Forewordis not without humor. At one point, he talks about his reviewers: 

   Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, 
   absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions 
   of their works, or of the kinds of writings that they evidently prefer.

Here is a genius writing books that eighty years later are still selling, and he had reviewers who put him down! Some of the indies on Facebook and Goodreads should learn from him.

At the end of his Foreword, he dedicates his book to us across the water. America. He obviously knew that we, across the water, would continue to buy millions of his books for many years to come. Smart marketing move, the dedication!
On to the Prologue, where we are filled in on all kinds of background info on the Hobbits.

Took or Baggins?

This morning, early, I got a text message from my daughter. She is married to a great guy named Alex and living and working in Kendall, Florida. Kendall is a suburb of Miami, closer to Homestead than Miami proper. Miami is home to my children; they grew up there.

Anyway, she texted me the following message: “Alex just called me a Took. He says I’m a Took and he’s a Baggins.”

The message brought a burst of laughter to my lips. I experienced a sweep of emotion that most of you would be hard-pressed to understand.

First, you’d have to know the frame of reference. What are Tooks and Bagginses? If you ever read The Hobbit  and remembered it, you’d get it.

Years ago, when I first read Tolkien, I also quickly identified myself as a Took.

Tooks love adventures. They take chances. They get restless and shun the accepted and conventional. Tooks make a difference! They are a pain in the ass. We all want to be Tooks, but mostly, we are Bagginses.

But why did her text bring me such pleasure? Because she is carrying on my ways. She is doing something I did and thinking like I did. She is carrying on tradition. She does this also when she listens to Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix, artists who were dead long before she was born.

Why is she suddenly reading Tolkien? Most of today’s generation are happy to watch the movies and take the plot as true to the books.  However, my children are not your average stock. I did a good job raising them. They seldom shrink from a challenge.

A few days ago, in a telephone conversation about my writing, I said to her that most young people today cannot read the books I grew up reading. They have lost the language. To them, reading Tolkien is like me reading Chaucer or Shakespeare in the original text.

I told her that as indie authors, we are encouraged to write at no higher than a seventh-grade level because that is what the average reader is comfortable with. Classic works that have been the reading bread and butter of generations, are now considered too wordy and “purple” because they contain adjectives, adverbs, and complex sentences.

One of the biggest challenges I face in my editing is cutting down my sentences into palatable pieces that modern readers can digest. Sometimes I feel that my work looks more like a shopping list strung together than a creative endeavor.

Back to my daughter- it seems that she took my words as a challenge. She immediately picked up a copy of The Hobbit, and she loved it. Of course, an immediate discussion followed on the vast differences between the movies and the book.

She started the LOTR  series this morning. I told her that the series is quite different in tone, themes, and reading difficulty. Unlike The Hobbit,  the books that followed were not written for children. Just the foreword can be daunting. I offered to read along with her so that we could discuss as we go along.

That should be fun. For me, anyway. I will post once in a while about our progress.