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  1. Kate Neville

    An alternate take on Gandalf’s use of Black Speech

    I don't think I ever thought that the effect of Gandalf's use of Black Speech was something he intentionally produced. It always seemed to me to be inherent to the speech itself, that the language of Mordor cannot be spoken without damaging the person who speaks it and those who hear it. This...
  2. Kate Neville

    Aragorn, Aragorn, where have you been?

    As I said elsewhere, I was reading LotR for 10 years before the publication of The Silmarillion, so I spent a lot of time going over the Appendices and have built up a personal headcanon of what people were doing in the 'between times.' This I have gleaned from Appendix A: During the reign of...
  3. Kate Neville

    Hunting Gollum & Ring Lore (a timeline)

    Whenever we discuss when things happen, I feel compelled to turn to the Appendices (for ten years, the Appendices were all I had of the larger Legendarium -- I read them a lot). I am fully aware that the Appendices include a large amount of retconning -- Tolkien gives enough to enable the reader...
  4. Kate Neville

    Saruman provides an exculpatory clue as to why Gandalf dithered around for 60 years....

    Thus spoke Saruman: “[The One] was round and unadorned, as it were one of the lesser rings…” (my emphasis) Hah! Clearly, during his seminar to the Council on The Development and Manufacture of Rings of Power, Saruman had taught that the beta versions of the rings -- the lesser rings -- were...
  5. Kate Neville

    An effect of betrayal

    Listening to the talk of Saruman's lies, I was put in mind of C. S. Lewis' The Last Battle. When Tirian and Jill show the Dwarfs (yes, Lewis uses Dwarfs) that the Aslan they've been obeying is a fraud, they react by rejecting the entire concept of Aslan and refusing to believe that Tirian is, in...
  6. Kate Neville

    Bilbo and Frodo and Ronald and Christopher

    Bilbo's comments to Frodo when he sits down put me in mind of a letter Tolkien wrote to his son Christopher during WW2, while he was training in South Africa. It's #66 May 6 1944: "Well, there you are: a hobbit amongst the Urukhai. Keep up your hobbitry in heart, and think that all stories feel...
  7. Kate Neville

    Boromir's Bane

    I sometimes think that we read Boromir’s reactions in the light of Sam’s later comment to Faramir, that Boromir wanted the Ring from the moment he first saw it. But Sam also says that Boromir didn’t or couldn’t acknowledge that desire in himself until Lorien. I think we also need to take into...
  8. Kate Neville

    Aragorn/Bilbo Relationship Timeline

    The earliest moment when Bilbo could have met Aragorn was in The Hobbit when 10-year-old Aragorn was living there with his mother. But Aragorn did not then know his true identity: he was Estel, and I don't think anyone in Rivendell would have told the truth about the boy to a hobbit passing...
  9. Kate Neville

    Time Capsule: Faramir and Eowyn

    This is for thoughts that won’t be applicable until 2030 or so. I had a thought during the discussion about Boromir‘s story about the fight on the bridge. Clearly, Boromir would have left his brother (the other heir) in charge of destroying the bridge behind the defenders. Clearly, Faramir...
  10. Kate Neville

    The Council of Elves

    As I listened to the latest episode, it suddenly struck me how outnumbered the non-elves must have felt. There seem to have been 2 dwarves, 2 men, 2 (official) hobbits and 1 wizard, in the midst of a whole slew of elves from various realms, strange and stranger. I don’t blame Boromir for feeling...
  11. Kate Neville

    On the inspiration for Bilbo's Earendil poem

    I'm listening to the theories of why Bilbo's presence at Rivendell was kept secret from Frodo, and someone suggested that Bilbo absented himself in order that Frodo might have 'his' chair. It suddenly struck me that perhaps the poem of Earendil's journey to Elvenhome was meant to be in honor of...
  12. Kate Neville

    Grey as a cloudless night

    I did a search for twilight sky, and this is the first image without clouds. I doubt JRRT imagined violet eyes for Arwen, but it's a lovely image nonetheless. Especially with the crosses, which are evocative of WWI cemeteries
  13. Kate Neville

    Glorfindel at the Ford

    Let us consider the actions of Glorfindel leading up to the crossing of the Ford. It was on September 24 that Frodo met Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod in the Shire. At that point, Gildor would have learned that Gandalf was missing, Nazgul were in the Shire and Frodo was planning to go...
  14. Kate Neville

    Ring Fingers

    Listening to the discussion on how Frodo wears the ring sent me to the internet, where I found this from a jewelry design site: A ring on the index finger may demonstrate the longing for power, depending on where the wearer placed it. It has associations with Jupiter, which symbolizes...
  15. Kate Neville

    waking up to Gandalf

    Thoughts on why only Gandalf is present when Frodo wakes up. The first and simplest reason (which I think was touched on during the discussion) is structural -- the scene makes a nice parallel to the conversation in The Shadow of the Past, the chapter which truly begins the action of Book One...
  16. Kate Neville

    Strider and Sam and Frodo, oh my

    On Strider’s conversation with Sam: I think the Weathertop incident has significantly altered Aragorn’s understanding of not only Frodo, but all the hobbits. As you pointed out, Aragorn has only known one hobbit — Bilbo, and he has never actually seen Bilbo ‘in action’. He admits that he was...
  17. Kate Neville

    Weathertop Lore Time

    I rarely make the live class, and I apologize for posting this last minute, but my comments relate to what will probably come up tonight. I consider Strider's speech after Merry's question to have two parts to it, divided by the 'answered Strider' attribution. The first is a response to Merry...
  18. Kate Neville

    Keeping an eye on Sam

    For long-range discussion purposes, here's a portion of a question/observation I posted to Narnion: 2. With regard to Sam's 'pessimism' -- I think we need to look closely at exactly how he expresses himself at these moments. After all, he did not follow the apple/pipe adage with "but we'll...
  19. Kate Neville

    Keeping an eye on Sam

    1. I wonder whether the 'apples for walking, and a pipe for sitting' might have been something Nob and/or Bob said when giving the apples to Sam. I only posit this because he doesn't attribute it either to his Gaffer or to old Mr. Bilbo. 2. With regard to Sam's 'pessimism' -- I think we need to...
  20. Kate Neville

    What was Strider expecting?

    I think when trying to make sense of Strider's words, it is helpful to consider what he might have been expecting to see while waiting outside Bree. [And helpful not to remember too much about the Trotter we met in The Return of the Shadow.] He says that he met Gandalf on May 1, which would have...
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