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    Stick-at-naught Strider

    The first interpretation seems more likely to me. As far as Breelanders have seen, 'Strider' is a lazy bum who does nothing in particular for very long. And he disappears for long periods of time, too. Ne'er-do-well is the modern term. But we don't really know what rumors could have been...
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    Did Sauron have a body during the events of 'The Lord of the Rings'

    There are clear implications in the text that the Istari are somehow restricted. Probably this was a deliberate strategy by the Valar to prevent more rogue 'Dark Lords' from being created. Notice how there is some sort of vague popular awareness that a staff in the hands of a 'wizard' is...
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    Did Sauron have a body during the events of 'The Lord of the Rings'

    Yes, Gollum met him in person while being 'interrogated' and says he only has nine fingers.
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    The One Ring, Sin, and Tolkien's Catholic Imaginative Influence

    I think I know what map you are referring to, but I cannot find it online right now. It's oriented facing east instead of north, so that Jerusalem is at the 'top' of the Mediterranean with Europe on the left, Africa on the right, and Asia (what Medieval Europeans knew of it) at the top... (BTW...
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    NoME - houseless fear, uncomfortable hroar, and Theseus' ship

    This is a very strange idea anyway. Our bodies are not static. They are changing all the time. The "Ship of Theseus" riddle is a good example. Think: You are constantly breathing. That is because your body is burning fuel (glucose) to produce energy. And of course, the fuel has to come from...
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    Broad-bladed axe and long white knife – #219

    But... the Roman gladius did not have cross-guard. Neither did the larger spatha. In fact, the whole idea of a cross-guard is a medieval invention. All ancient swords in the Mediterranean area were plain straight blades, though the top of the hilts of some might be slightly larger than the...
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    Alternatives to "criticism"

    A very interesting observation... Critical thinking is indeed about making distinctions ('splitting' ideas into clearer segments) and so quite applicable. The problem is that we tend to assume this is always negative, the effort to find what is wrong with whatever is being examined. This does...
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    Broad-bladed axe and long white knife – #219

    A very real possible material for a white blade is a ceramic. Most people are familiar with ceramic blades in the kitchen, I think. The problem with using such blades in combat is that they are usually more brittle than metal blades and might break. Even metal blades can break in combat, of...
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    Frodo and Narrative Perspective

    There is one more consideration when considering the presentation of 'internal knowledge' of Frodo's mind in the narrative. The author does have goals or intentions for the character, after all... If the character is supposed to be 'ennobled' and 'rarefied' then he will necessarily be...
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    Does Sauron accomplish what Morgoth could not; break the unat and penetrate the barrier of unwill?

    This is a fun one. While I can't formulate a conclusive answer, there is some evidence that has not been considered: First, as Tolkien writes in the Letters: We see the same principal applied many times in Tolkien's work. Yavanna cannot create new Trees once the vital and unique Two are...
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    Quenya Word "hondo"

    Since Spanish descended from Latin, and 'hondo' comes from 'fundus' (bottom) it seems more likely he was just borrowing from that foundational language and applying well-known rules of transformation. He seems to have done this quite a lot. Even Quendi ('speakers') is suspiciously similar to...
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    Domestic Arrangements

    Elrond may have had a fairly large 'manor house' with space for many people of his household, not just family, but it seems unlikely that the actual Last Homely House was the only dwelling place in the valley. He is leading an army in retreat when he founds Rivendell. That's got to be thousands...
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    Unrecognized borrowings

    Before we leave Anduril and Sting behind, I wanted to point out that Tolkien is borrowing from Norse legends again in plain sight. Many will recognize the story of the sword broken and reforged by the original owner's descendant as the story of Gram ("Wrath"), Sigmund's sword in the Volsung...
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    The List of Heroes

    But when an object is described as speaking words, doesn't that up the case for consciousness/sentience?
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    The List of Heroes

    Really, Gollum fulfills his oath to not let "Him" have it. Since Frodo could not destroy it by his own will, it would have fallen into Sauron's possession again. All he had to do was go get there in person. Somewhere in the Letters, Tolkien states that no one could hope to resist Sauron in...
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    If Bilbo had killed Gollum

    No, it isn't. The thread was started as a discussion of how the story would be different if Bilbo had killed Gollum, but the initial post failed to account for how it would affect Bilbo to have done so. My pointing that out has caused it to slide into some pretty extreme speculations. What...
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    If Bilbo had killed Gollum

    From what background that Tolkien gives, Smeagol was already a pretty dark personality. I don't think the Ring instantly turned him into a murderer. He was already a potential murderer when he and his cousin found it. That he actually did murder his cousin to obtain it would clearly not improve...
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    If Bilbo had killed Gollum

    That's a bit strong. It seems unlikely he would be that swiftly and thoroughly corrupted by a single dubious act and be completely absorbed into the Gollum persona. It's not like he had to be pure evil to have killed Gollum. It was certainly clear that Gollum would have killed him. Admittedly...
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    The Shadow has crossed the Mountains

    The 'foot' of the mountains is admittedly difficult to understand. Normally we would think of that as the place where the actual steep terrain begins. Which would be all around the Misties from any direction. In this case, it might mean the southern tip of the chain -- the Gap of Rohan...
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    If Bilbo had killed Gollum

    I'd say the real number 1 on your list should be about Bilbo. He would not have been so 'well-preserved' but would have become a much darker person even as he apparently did not age. His 111th birthday might not have been a party and a formal (if snarky) goodbye, but an abrupt disappearance...
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