Roose Boltons Pet Leech

Tolkien 2.0

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43 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

It's also a tad hypocritical of Jackson to portray that as the Charge of the Light Brigade, when he portrays Eomer and Gandalf charging pikes on horseback, and Aragorn charging the orcs at the Black Gate. Never mind Gandalf's advice that Theoden ought to ride out and meet Saruman head-on.

PJ has no idea why actions work in battle, does he?

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24 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

PJ has no idea why actions work in battle, does he?

Jackson's battle tactics make absolutely no sense.

(To be fair, it is easier to fudge these things in a book than on screen, but Jackson doesn't even try. It's basically mindless charges, except when Denethor orders it, when it becomes the Charge of the Light Brigade).

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1 hour ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Jackson's battle tactics make absolutely no sense.

(To be fair, it is easier to fudge these things in a book than on screen, but Jackson doesn't even try. It's basically mindless charges, except when Denethor orders it, when it becomes the Charge of the Light Brigade).

Agreed.  But then film directors want drama and what makes sense in battle isn’t always dramatic.

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1 hour ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Jackson's battle tactics make absolutely no sense

(To be fair, it is easier to fudge these things in a book than on screen, but Jackson doesn't even try. It's basically mindless charges, except when Denethor orders it, when it becomes the Charge of the Light Brigade). .

The one that annoys me the most is the scene where the Gondorians are just standing around behind the main gates of Minas Tirith, just waiting for the orcs to finish smashing it in. That is not how mediaeval siege warfare works!

 

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Oh, and one possible incident has been omitted from last month's essay on rape in Tolkien's work. One involving Tom Bombadil of all people. From The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, as contained in the 1962 collection of the same name:

But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter,
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water-songs to birds upon the bushes.

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil: ‘Here’s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
in her deep weedy pool: there you’ll find no lover!’

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle.

There is something so incongruous about Tom Bombadil, and his infamous nonsense verse, being associated with something like this. Goldberry does not say “no”, and clearly acquiesces later (“a merry wedding…”), but from the poem, she is literally being physically forced to go with Bombadil at first. In contrast to every other example examined in this essay, the narrative does not condemn it either: at no point is Tom is treated as a villain.

There are two mitigating factors, I think:

– In-universe, this is a hobbit poem. In other words, folkloric tradition, rather than necessarily an actual event.
– In terms of literary style, it is pure folklore, with the characters involved being (potentially) nature spirits of whatever description. While I would hesitate to say that Tom and Goldberry are outside Tolkien’s morality system, this sort of abduction narrative is not about characters who interact with the world in the way that humans, hobbits, elves, dwarves, or other sentient creatures do. These are a different sort of being.

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11 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

We get an abbreviated Saurman trapped in Orthanc in the extended edition of Return of the King.

There's part of it that are good, although I don't like the ending. I wish the dialogue between Gandalf and Saruman was a little longer, since it makes Saruman seem more pathetic in defeat (and the way that Gandalf robs him of his staff and his authority). I don't like the fireball that Saruman shoots off. 

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15 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Jackson's battle tactics make absolutely no sense.

(To be fair, it is easier to fudge these things in a book than on screen, but Jackson doesn't even try. It's basically mindless charges, except when Denethor orders it, when it becomes the Charge of the Light Brigade).

I enjoyed the Battle of Helms Deep, the flight through Moria, and the Siege of Minas Tirith (prior to the arrival of the Soap Bubbles of Death) despite the fact that the tactics frequently don't make sense (you mentioned people cavalry charging against pikes;  I'd add. building a broad road up to the main gate of Helm's Deep, in order to make it easy to attack, not bothering to strengthen the main gate until the attack began, allowing the Uruk Hai to form up without shooting at them, using cavalry to charge elephants).  They are still exciting battle scenes, and fun to watch.

Generally, it's unusual to see a battle scene in a film which is depicted accurately.  One which is done well, IMHO, is the opening scene of Gladiator, which gives a real idea of how the Roman army must have fought.

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Didn't the opening scene of Gladiator have catapults launching burning stuff into the Germanic forests? Or am I mixing this up with another movie...?

The "Rome" TV series has some questionable stuff (like Titus Pullo screwing every famous female around 50 BC) but in one of the earlier episodes they show a change of battle lines that was reputedly a specialty of the Romans to allow the front liners some rest. Again, the way they implemented this is not clear but I found it interesting to see it in such a show. (OTOH the escapade that gets Vorenus and Pullo into trouble is not very plausible, as far as I remember.)

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1 hour ago, Jo498 said:

Didn't the opening scene of Gladiator have catapults launching burning stuff into the Germanic forests? Or am I mixing this up with another movie...?

The "Rome" TV series has some questionable stuff (like Titus Pullo screwing every famous female around 50 BC) but in one of the earlier episodes they show a change of battle lines that was reputedly a specialty of the Romans to allow the front liners some rest. Again, the way they implemented this is not clear but I found it interesting to see it in such a show. (OTOH the escapade that gets Vorenus and Pullo into trouble is not very plausible, as far as I remember.)

They use incendiaries to drive them out from under the trees.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I enjoyed the Battle of Helms Deep, the flight through Moria, and the Siege of Minas Tirith (prior to the arrival of the Soap Bubbles of Death) despite the fact that the tactics frequently don't make sense (you mentioned people cavalry charging against pikes;  I'd add. building a broad road up to the main gate of Helm's Deep, in order to make it easy to attack, not bothering to strengthen the main gate until the attack began, allowing the Uruk Hai to form up without shooting at them, using cavalry to charge elephants).  They are still exciting battle scenes, and fun to watch.

Generally, it's unusual to see a battle scene in a film which is depicted accurately.  One which is done well, IMHO, is the opening scene of Gladiator, which gives a real idea of how the Roman army must have fought.

It's actually kinda amusing in the film version that the Deepning Wall offers no protection for its archers. In the book, its walls are so high that only men of great height can peer over, and there are slits to shoot arrows from. I never really got the beginning of the film version. The Uruks line up, in range, and begin what I assume is their version of the Hakka. And the Rohirrim just stand there, politely waiting for them to finish. Except the one old man who looses his arrow too soon, which enrages the Uruks.Even Aragorn chides him to hold.  I mean, if he hadn't released the arrow would they turn around and go home?

In the book the Uruks approach the structure sending volleys of arrows at the Walls, then when the castle seems.... dead, they begin chanting and thrashing, at this point the defenders unleash their own volley and the battle begins. I've also always missed the part where Aragorn stands above the gates and speaks with the Uruks. 

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10 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

There are two mitigating factors, I think:

– In-universe, this is a hobbit poem. In other words, folkloric tradition, rather than necessarily an actual event.
– In terms of literary style, it is pure folklore, with the characters involved being (potentially) nature spirits of whatever description. While I would hesitate to say that Tom and Goldberry are outside Tolkien’s morality system, this sort of abduction narrative is not about characters who interact with the world in the way that humans, hobbits, elves, dwarves, or other sentient creatures do. These are a different sort of being.

Interesting implication that Goldberry's mother loves her not. Tom being manipulative or something tragic about Goldberry's history, or both? I suppose, also being a folk song, there's no real way to know what happened between the meeting and the wedding, and how they communicated. 

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2 hours ago, Jo498 said:

Didn't the opening scene of Gladiator have catapults launching burning stuff into the Germanic forests? Or am I mixing this up with another movie...?

The "Rome" TV series has some questionable stuff (like Titus Pullo screwing every famous female around 50 BC) but in one of the earlier episodes they show a change of battle lines that was reputedly a specialty of the Romans to allow the front liners some rest. Again, the way they implemented this is not clear but I found it interesting to see it in such a show. (OTOH the escapade that gets Vorenus and Pullo into trouble is not very plausible, as far as I remember.)

Rome has moments where they use actual tactics but then lots of moments where they don't (the Roman tactic or throwing massed volleys of javelins into the enemy ranks before closing is usually missing from all depictions of Roman warfare). But then Rome only has a couple of big battle scenes in the first place.

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On 4/10/2018 at 3:15 PM, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Interesting news:

What is interesting is the page count - 304.

  • The 1917 Fall of Gondolin from The Book of Lost Tales - including commentary - is page 144 to 220. So 76 pages.
  • Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin - including commentary - is page 23 to 74. So 51 pages.
  • The Silmarillion summary is page 287 to 295. So 8 pages.
  • The unpublished Lay of the Fall of Gondolin is apparently short.

So unless they are padding out 135-140 pages (+ a short poem) into 304 pages, with massive font and the mother of all introductions from Christopher, there might actually be something new here...

 

Like you my primary interest in this news is finding out if we are seeing new material, or even a completed novel after all.

You might think not, based on the fact that:

  • It was previously assumed there was nowhere near enough material
  • Chris Tolkien stating in "Beren and Luthien" last year that this would be the final book.
  • The synopsis of this Gondolin referring back to the style of Beren and Luthien.

However, something happened that not only changed his mind and made him decide to go ahead and publish, which is one thing, but where does a 300 plus page count ( 320 even on US edition) come from? If I look at my copies of BolT 2 and UT, I come to some 115 pages, and only one of those is in the hardcover format that Fall of Gondolin will be. Add 10 more pages from the Silmarillion and a short poem, we are far, far away from 320 pages. 

So the big question is, is this a more rounded story, what else is added? The synopsis' suggestion that the Tale of Earendal is also presented, even though not written by Tolkien, might mean more has been added to flesh out the Fall of Gondolin itself as well.

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On 4/15/2018 at 1:40 AM, SeanF said:

Generally, it's unusual to see a battle scene in a film which is depicted accurately.  One which is done well, IMHO, is the opening scene of Gladiator, which gives a real idea of how the Roman army must have fought.

You mean the battle where the Roman general decided it was perfectly ok for his cavalry to charge through burning trees.

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1 hour ago, Corvinus said:

You mean the battle where the Roman general decided it was perfectly ok for his cavalry to charge through burning trees.

Were you not entertained?

WERE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?

Edited by Derfel Cadarn

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6 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Were you not entertained?

WERE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?

Speaking of which. I really hope that Blockbuster in Alaska got the Memo.

Edit: And is actually interested.

Edited by A True Kaniggit

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On 4/15/2018 at 5:33 PM, Jo498 said:

Didn't the opening scene of Gladiator have catapults launching burning stuff into the Germanic forests? Or am I mixing this up with another movie...?

That strategy was really used in the Marcomannic Wars. The sacks were seed pods from plants and soaked in oil. The scene is correct in the portrayal of strategy (solid legionary walls with archers behind them, although there should be slingers amongst the legionaries, too). They probably would not have done a cavalry charge through the forests. Not only is it a bad idea, since horses can't see directly in front of themselves and can run into trees, but because their cavalry were being supplemented by Germanic mercenaries and became so unreliable the Romans were loathe to let them operate on their own.

The armour and weapons that the Germanians are using are anachronistic; those are middle-ages weapons with hide armour. Maybe they couldn't be bothered making specialist armour for just one scene and used another film's costume kit? It pretty much shows the Germanians as hairy barbarians, rather than looking more or less like the Romans. Roman legionaries in winter climates tended to grow out their beards, for instance. The legionaries fighting that war were generally of the same ethnic groups as those they were fighting across the Rhine, just separated by generations of cultural assimilation with the Romans. The Germanians mostly wore chain mail and used steel swords, not war axes. They tended to be extremely well organised.

The film also fails to show that the Germanians also used cavalry, usually in small groups of about a dozen, who used hit and run tactics. They'd throw volleys of javelins and then retreat into cover. At other times, they'd bunch together and make charges into the Roman flanks, passing through them in the hopes of cutting the solid walls of infantry into smaller groups. They should have also, like the Romans, had slingers in their numbers. This was an area where Rome adopted their strategy and greatly enhanced it. Germanian slingers mostly used rounded stones but the Roman ones were aerodynamic shots made from lead.

The film correctly shows that the Germanians were very successful at breaking up Roman formations, forcing them into a series of smaller skirmishes where their shortswords and large shields were a liability. The uneven terrain also made this more effective. Hence the Roman frustration and eventual decisions to simply burn the forests down.

Also, in the film camps are in the open. This was never, under any circumstances, a Roman practice. They always - a minimum - fortified their camps with a ditch and rammed earth wall. During those long wars they'd make semi-permanent wooden camps, and some stone barracks at their key supply and trade points.

On 4/15/2018 at 4:40 PM, SeanF said:

Generally, it's unusual to see a battle scene in a film which is depicted accurately.  One which is done well, IMHO, is the opening scene of Gladiator, which gives a real idea of how the Roman army must have fought.

Overall, it's done fairly well in capturing the chaotic nature of the battles. In particular, the emphasis on projectiles and the way that order steadily gives way to individual skill over time. There's a reason the wars dominated Marcus Aurelius' reign.

This is a nitpick, but the films refers to the region as "J-ermania" when it should be a hard G, like "go" and "good."

Edited by Yukle

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On 4/15/2018 at 5:16 PM, AlpenglowMemories said:

I've also always missed the part where Aragorn stands above the gates and speaks with the Uruks. 

Me too. A major theme of Aragorn's character development in the TT is the gradual revelation of his kingly heritage and that scene captured it nicely (never mind Jackson's - well, Boyens and Walsh too - bullshit about "put away the ranger, embrace your destiny" bullshit).  Don't forget Aragorn also parleyed with the Dunlendings in Saruman's service and as men, they were cowed by his mien whereas the orcs weren't having any of it and shot at him.

Edited by Tongue Stuck to Wall
punctuation

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1 hour ago, Tongue Stuck to Wall said:

Me too. A major theme of Aragorn's character development in the TT is the gradual revelation of his kingly heritage and that scene captured it nicely (never mind Jackson's - well, Boyens and Walsh too - bullshit about "put away the ranger, embrace your destiny" bullshit).  Don't forget Aragorn also parleyed with the Dunlendings in Saruman's service and as men, they were cowed by his mien whereas the orcs weren't having any of it and shot at him.

It's important that Aragorn considers that the enemy should be given the option to surrender or run away.  It ties in with the way that he tries to make peace with the Haradrim and Easterlings, and grants Mordor to Sauron's slaves, at the end of the war. Book Aragorn would never say "show no mercy.  You will receive none," or behead the Mouth of Sauron.

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