Friday, 1 February 2013

The Fellowship of The Ring - Part 2

For part 2, I will be adding more of my own thought not discussed in part 1. So, first I would like to discuss the uncommon relationship between Gimli and Legolas. Gimli and Legolas start off as the enemies because the elves dislike the dwarves almost unnatural love of stone. The theme of evolving loyalties can be uncovered here. At first Legolas and Gimli would no doubt have left one another to an evil if one of them were taken by it. As the novel progresses, particularly in Lothlorién, they become close friends and are always together. This goes to show the difference between races, being most prominent of the “good” races in the differences of dwarves and elves. The elves love trees and despise the dwarves love of stone that led them to unleashing Durin’s Bane. The dwarves dislike the elves despising their love and the two races essentially became enemies. It was a surprise to me after my vague memories of the movies that they were not friends to begin with. I provided my evidence in my thoughts.
Now I will speak about the continued importance of lineage from The Hobbit. I saw, just as in The Hobbit the importance of lineage. This can be found in Aragorn the Ranger’s title, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir of Isildur. Even Frodo’s title, Frodo, son of Drogo, show the importance of lineage. Most characters titles include their fathers. A couple of exceptions would be Legolas and Gandalf the Grey. Again, I provided evidence in my thoughts.
Once more, I noticed the importance of named items. Glamdring and Ocrist are mentioned again, although the most important named weapon is Andúril, the Flame of the West. Andúril is Aragorn’s sword and is re-forged in the book, as it was Isildur’s father’s sword, broken in the fight with Sauron.
Something new that I noticed was the importance of council. In the novel, The Company seeks council after The Council of Elrond is finished. They often hold council among themselves to decide on courses of action. This, to me, demonstrates the importance of council. The Company asks for council quite a bit in the story, and the results are always of interest to the reader. It isn’t superficial, there is always a reason, but it often helps the reader understand aspects of the story or have their guesses proven correct.
I noticed the importance of loyalty in this novel. The Company is originally a group of assorted adventurers, for the most part complete strangers. As the book progresses, as with The Hobbit, the theme of “evolving loyalties” can be found. The Company can be seen transforming from a group of strangers to close friends that rely on one another, trust, and help one another.

The Fellowship of The Ring - Part 1

So, just as with my last review, I will be sharing my own thoughts, and either agreeing or disagreeing with my peer. So! On to discussing The Fellowship of The Ring. Azhar, my peer stated that, “A general theme in The Fellowship of the Ring is good triumphs over evil; the good guys are destroying the bad guys a lot of the time.” Now, I agree with the statement that a recurring theme throughout the novel is “Good triumphs over evil,” however; the bad guys aren’t exactly bowling pins with a strike headed their way. I found that this occurred most visibly in Moria, where The Company takes a rough blow. I’d say that good triumphs over evil most prominently in Moria too, for while The Company takes that rough blow, they dispel a terrible evil. A good example of a contradictory theme is when the mountain Caradhras turns them away from the pass near its peak. As Azhar provided no evidence, I will: To sum up chapter 5 of “Book 2” in The Fellowship of The Ring, A party of Orcs and an evil presence attack The Company in Balin’s Tomb, Near the exit of Khazad-Dúm (Moria) Gandalf puts up a fight, but is soon knocked down that the stairs the rest of The Company used to escape. They flee down into the earth, but soon run into a large chamber with a very narrow bridge. As they enter, The Company notices the Orcs have caught up with them. Not yet knowing what the evil presence is, under the command of Gandalf, they flee across the bridge. Upon reaching the end, Gandalf turns around and recognizes the evil presence as a Balrog. He steps onto the bridge shouting, “You cannot pass!” He is exhausted from his use of magic at Balin’s Tomb, but breaks the bridge underneath the Balrog. Just as it falls, the Balrog uses its whip to drag Gandalf into the depths of Khazad-Dúm. The Company flees, heeding Gandalf’s last words, “Fly you fools!” with Aragorn leading them to Lothlorién.
I noticed that next, Azhar wrote, “The world described by this book is very immersive, and well detailed; there are even some maps of Middle-Earth at the back!” I have to agree. Although I struggled to find the Shire on the maps, I found that I felt like I was one of The Company, ever present on important occasions. The story is very detailed and the archaic writing style made me feel transported to the past, to the land of Middle-Earth, where events of momentous importance were happening. However, he did not provide any evidence, so I will: “The Company now went down the road from the Gates. It was rough and broken, fading into a winding track between heather and whin that thrust amid the cracking stones. But still it could be seen that once long ago a great paved way had wound upwards from the lowlands of the Dwarf-kingdom. In places there were ruined works of stone beside the path, and mounds of green topped with slender birches, or fir-trees sighing in the wind. An eastward bend led them hard by the sward of Mirrormere, and there not far from the roadside stood a single column broken at the top.” Did you have trouble visualizing that?
Azhar said that, “One small “nit-pick” I have with the book is that I think “said” is a little over-used, but it is only a little issue and it should not get in the way of anything (unless you read to people).” I personally agree with your “nit-pick,” but I found that I could usually filter such things as these out and ignore it. My evidence that “said” is overused:
““Say not unscathed, but if you say unchanged, then maybe you will speak the truth,” said Aragorn, “But lore wanes in Gondor, Boromir, if in the city of those who once were wise they now speak evil of Lothloién. Believe what you will, there is no other way for us – unless you would go back to Moria-gate, or scale the pathless mountains, or swim in the Great River all alone.”
“Then lead on!” said Boromir. “But it is perilous.”
“Perilous indeed,” said Aragorn, “fair and perilous; but only evil need fear it, or those who bring some evil with them. Follow me!””
Azhar wrote, “I think there were some unnecessary details (especially in the beginning), I like to “get to the chase”, but I do appreciate how it really gives a good backbone to the story.” Once more, I am forced to agree. Although the beginning is slow, I found that momentum was picked up on every page and that made me read faster each time. I can understand how the slow 2-3-chapter start could even make someone stop reading, but yes, it does give a good backbone to the story, unlike stories that jump in to the action without any explanation. Your point about unnecessary details I do disagree with. I found every sentence important and strengthening to the story. Here’s my evidence: To sum up the 27 pages of chapter one, Bilbo is holding a party for his 111th birthday. It also happens to be Frodo’s birthday, and much of the chapter is leading up to it. There are lots of bits about gossip about the party and that can get annoying, but it builds characters that can make the story more interesting. At the party, Bilbo gives his speech and as a finale, he puts The Ring on his finger and quietly exits. Being invisible, he flees back to his house, for he intends to leave Bag-End that day. Gandalf convinces him to leave The Ring behind, so that Bilbo doesn’t turn evil. Bilbo leaves the ring to Frodo, and the adventure begins.
“The story is easy to visualize, even if you haven’t seen the movie.” Wrote Azhar. My response is: Oh, yes! The story has the detail of a painting when viewed in your minds eye and you may picture anything with Tolkien’s descriptive language. I don’t remember the movie, so there is no way for me to compare what I saw in my mind and the movie. I will forever have an image in my mind of Gandalf the Grey standing on a small bridge challenging Durin’s Bane, and of Aragorn standing upon Weathertop, examining a stone, and of Gimli and Legolas in an elven boat smiling with a twinkle in their eyes. Read my evidence: “They had gone little more than a mile into the forest when they came upon another stream, flowing down swiftly from the tree-clad slopes that climbed back westward towards the mountains. They heard it splashing over a fall away among the shadows on their right. Its dark hurrying waters ran across the path before them, and joined the Silverlode in a swirl of dim pools among the roots of the trees.”
 Azhar stated, “The story is very engaging because it is a huge “myth-like” kind of story; you can forget about real-life here.” Indeed you can. When reading any of the 520-some-odd-pages, you feel as if you were there, seeing the story of The Fellowship of The Ring unfold before you. I agree it is like an Epic, a huge story about great deeds and many details of story. Just read the book, you’ll see what we mean.
            At the end of his review, Azhar said, “I recommend this book to people who want to escape this world and enter another, and who have plenty of time to read a long story like this. I would not recommend this book to people who want a quick book to read, this book will take a while, and once you finish it, you’ll probably want to read the other books.” I must second this. If you want a quick read, perhaps an abridged version is better, however, if you want to occupy your mind with the compelling tale of The Lord of The Rings I would definitely recommend the full length editions.

The Hobbit Litspiration Challenge

Book Review Part 2 (SPOILERS):

            I will now share my own thoughts on a few elements not discussed in the first half of this review. In the novel, I noticed that the individuals in certain races are, on the most part, very typical of their races. I found that The elves, dwarves, humans, hobbits, and goblins are portrayed very differently in the novel. This sounds like a stereotype, however, in the hobbit, all of the goblins are evil, up-to-no-good characters. Only one of them seems to have any importance, and that is the Great Goblin, whom is very quickly brought out of the story. The humans can be good, like Bard, can be evil, like the Master, but are usually in-between. Dwarves are portrayed as treasure-lovers, and that can be good or can be bad. If dwarves care about their gold too much, it can be unhealthy and have dire consequences (like war). Elves are all good – in the book. They sing songs and are very merry, but remain fierce fighters. They all love nature, too. Hobbits are, like humans, in-between, but on a different scale. Hobbits are “respectable” if they don’t go on adventures or quests, and Bilbo had parents from two very different families. I can back it up with evidence, too. For elves,
““Well, Well!” said a voice, “Just look! Bilbo the hobbit on a pony, my dear! Isn’t it delicious!”” (pg. 57) For dwarves,
““But nothing we will give, not even a loaf’s worth, under the threat of force. While an armed host lies before our doors, we look on you as foes and thieves.”” (Need page) For humans and hobbits they can be either good or bad. For good humans, in chapter 15, which I will let you read, Bard, although grim as he is, is a very important hero in The Hobbit. For bad humans, I use an example to explain. The Master’s greed for gold made him run to the wastes, where he later perished. And for good hobbits, I noticed Bilbo is a “not respectable hobbit” but is the main character and is, nonetheless, a good hobbit. He is also respectable when the story starts. Bad hobbits, like Bilbo’s relations do things like try to take over his hobbit-hole and get his stuff while he is gone. Finally, I will provide a quote to support my observations of goblins,
“The goblins were very rough, and pinched unmercifully, and chuckled and laughed in their horrible stony voices; and Bilbo was more unhappy even than when the troll had picked him up by his toes.”
            While reading, I noticed the importance of lineage. For example, Bilbo frequently referred to his Took “side” and Bagging “side.” The Tookish and Baggins’ are very different. In the book, Bilbo’s “Took side” is calling him onwards on his quest whilst his “Baggins side” often makes him think warmly of his Hobbit-Hole in the Shire. That shows the importance of lineage in the book. For example, Bard accomplishes (a) great deed(s) and he is a direct descendant of the ruling family of Dale (a rather important town in The Hobbit). Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, is the title of the dwarf Thorin. That shows the importance of lineage that Tolkien included. I picked tis quote out of the book to support my thoughts. “The Tookish part was getting very tired, and the Baggins was getting daily stronger. “I wish now only to be in my own arm-chair!” he said.”
            I decided to do a bit of research as to why Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and what inspired him. I found that Tolkien stated that Bilbo is meant to be the average person living in a rural area from the 1930’s. He also said that Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon epics, like Beowulf, inspired him. Tolkien was a scholar of ancient languages and I can use that to guess he was inspired by an ancient language to make runes a large part of The Hobbit. Two such examples are Elvish runes and Moon-Runes.
            The last thing I will share my thoughts on is the symbolism of items. I noticed swords and their names have large symbolism in The Hobbit, and there are some examples, “Orcrist” and “Glamdring,” to the goblins “Biter” and “Beater.” The black arrow that Bard uses for a great deed is like Orcrist or Glamdring, but for Bard, and Bard alone. He briefly thinks/talks to himself about its importance to his family, but no more is said of it.

The Hobbit Review Part 1

Book review: The Hobbit Part 1

            For this first part of the review, I will be sharing and contemplating a peers thoughts. I would like to start by comparing our views on theme. Julia said (in her review), “[T]hemes such as self-discovery and evolving loyalties can be uncovered.” She provided evidence in the form of a quote and an explanation. They are: “This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure.” As well as: Just like his descendants, Bilbo Baggins preferred a quiet, average life, but along his journey, we can see his personal evolution into a proactive and adventurous hobbit. I totally agree. In the beginning, Bilbo even shows a bit of hostility towards his soon to be travelling companions. Self-Discovery occurs most prominently, in my opinion, in Mirkwood, a wild forest of the north. I have two more quotes to support this.  In the beginning, he says when he is alone, “Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!” (pg. 22) Here is the other one, from later in the book. 
““Go on! Go on! I will do the stinging!” And he did. He darted backwards and forwards, slashing at spider-threads, hacking at their legs, and stabbing at their fat bodies if they came too near.” (pgs. 159-160). Next I would like to share my view on setting. Some might think it is the same as theme, but is most certainly is not. In her review, Julia said, “One of my favourite things in fictional books is having settings and details strong enough to truly take your mind to a different place. I found this more than present throughout this tale, and that is what truly tied me in.” However she did not provide any evidence.  I must say before I do that I agree wholeheartedly. I had no difficulty envisioning anything written on any of the 285 pages. It was beautifully descriptive. Now listen to this quote and see if you can tell me you had trouble envisioning it. “The next morning was a midsummer’s morning as fair and fresh as could be dreamed: blue sky and never a cloud, and the sun dancing on the water.” (Need to find pgs.) That ties nicely to the next thing, the literary style that Tolkien uses. Julia stated, “Though some may find it too archaic, I really appreciated the strong literary style that Tolkien used. For the most part, it was easy to follow, and yet contained sentence and paragraph structures that most of us wouldn’t normally consider using.” The evidence I found was, “This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure.” I confidently can say that no-one I know would have started a book like that. I agree with this, yet again. I LOVED the literary style in The Hobbit, it made me want to learn how things used to be written and write a story of an adventure like this one. I don’t know a book other than this that had things in brackets explain things, and those sometimes made me smile, laugh, or both. Here is some evidence in the book that I found.
““I believe he is trying to tell us something,” said Balin; ”but I cannot follow
the speech of such birds, it is very quick and difficult. Can you make it out, Baggins?”
      “Not very well,” said Bilbo (as a matter of fact, he could make nothing of it at all); but the old fellow seems very excited.”” (pg. 242)
That was an example of the brackets used in the book, and a rather funny one in my opinion. There is one other thing that I could easily find in Julia’s review. That was the connections in the novel. She said, “Overall there was an intriguing sense of connection between various parts to form the book as a whole, my favourite connection being through Bilbo’s frequent wishes to be back at home.” Her only evidence to support this was, “Bilbo’s frequent wishes to be back home.” I do agree that there was a sense of connection in the novel. There would often be (*cough* *cough*) bracketed connections back to other bits to explain the answer to a question that you might have or might’ve had. My evidence is, once more, a quote from the book,
““I have absolutely no use for dragon-guarded treasures, and the whole lot could stay here for ever, if only I could wake up and find this beastly tunnel was my own front-hall at home!”” (pg. 205)
That was just one of many times he wished to be back home, be it because he was approaching a dragon, starving, or lost.