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Best thing you have seen on the internet today.


LynnS
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The final of the 6 sections in which professional military historian, Bret Devereaux, breaks down for us the Siege of Gondor:  plausible, historically correct, silly, in both the books and Jackson's films -- this bit got me to laugh out loud long enough for Partner to ask, "What is making you laugh?"

We have now arrived, or rather Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, have arrived with the Army of the Dead to do their part to relieve Gondor's siege.

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If you were hoping for one last logistics section, for old-times sake, I will have to disappoint. Sailing ships – like the ones shown in the film – can manage incredible operational endurance, because they can store a lot of cargo for each individual crewman or marine. And the army of the dead appears to require no food, or water, or baggage, or roads, making it quite possibly the only army to ever have a logistics or operational mobility advantage over the Mongols.

I loved the observation in the bolded!

https://acoup.blog/2019/06/14/collections-the-siege-of-gondor-part-vi-black-sails-and-gleaming-banners/

Tolkien and the books come through with flying colors.  Jackson's films have a great deal that is wrong, impossible and implausible, even with orcs and trolls.  However, Devereaux always gives him A's for providing terrific screen experience.

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11 hours ago, A wilding said:

After all these years, I didn't think anything would give me much more insight into LotR, but Devereaux's Siege of Gondor and Battle of Helm's Deep collections definitely did.

No frakin' kidding!  And then the topping on the sundae, I stumble into this today, in Devereaux' Battle of Helm's Deep Collection's Introduction:

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.... One more thing before we get started in earnest. One of the running themes of my look at Helm’s Deep – which will soon become very apparent – is that Saruman and Saruman’s forces make quite a number of avoidable ‘rookie’ mistakes, both during the campaign and the actual assault. I don’t want this to be misunderstood at a criticism of the source material. Rather, I think it is a hidden sort of genius to the source material. In our last series, we saw two very experienced commanders, the Witch King and Denethor (and also Aragorn, Faramir, and Théoden), engaging in very complex and quite masterful operations. There is a lot to learn from an analysis of a masterful operation (even a fictional one!) even when it is eventually unsuccessful. ....

... it is clear that Théoden, in book and film, is an experienced and capable commander – he may lack the subtly and sophistication of Denethor (who, as an aside, I’d probably rate as the better pure tactician of the two, but the worse overall leader), but reliable workman-like generaling is often the best sort, and proves to be so here.

But as to Saruman – there is no hint in the Silmarilion that Curumo (the Maia who would be Saruman) was a great warrior among the Maiar (indeed, I cannot find that he did any war-fighting before this; his Maia name comes from the Unfinished Tales – he does not appear in the Silmarilion save as a wizard); he was a Maia of Aulë the Smithlord, and it shows. Saruman is an builder, engineer, plotter and tinkerer. Given his personality, he strikes me as exactly the sort of very intelligent person whose assumes that their mastery of one field (effectively science-and-engineering, along with magic-and-persuasion, in this case) makes them equally able to perform in other, completely unrelated fields (a mistake common to very many very smart people, but – it seems to me, though this may be only because I work in the humanities – peculiarly common to those moving from the STEM fields to more humanistic ones, as Saruman is here). I immediately feel I understand Saruman sense of “I am very smart and these idiots in Rohan can command armies, so how hard can it be?” And so I love that this overconfidence leads him to man-handle his army into a series of quite frankly rookie mistakes. After all, the core of his character arc is that Saruman was never so wise or clever as he thought himself to be. ....

https://acoup.blog/2020/05/01/collections-the-battle-of-helms-deep-part-i-bargaining-for-goods-at-helms-gate/

Isn't it a delight to run into an understanding of something one loves that oneself never had seen before? I never thought of it for one second!  But as soon as I read these observations on the blog, "Of course! Duh!"

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19 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Isn't it a delight to run into an understanding of something one loves that oneself never had seen before? I never thought of it for one second!  But as soon as I read these observations on the blog, "Of course! Duh!"

Totally agree. That was the biggest one for me as well.

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