Friday, 3 January 2014

rereading lord of the rings - notes 1

(proper title, of course, The Lord of the Rings - though people not always clear on who/what that Lord is)

The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One: The Ring Sets Out.

Chapter 1: A Long-expected Party
Establishing insularity of Shire - rural, unconcerned England. Few pointers to adventure ahead - a little talk of ring. Bilbo's oddness in Hobbit world as one who has travelled beyond the Shire. Feeling of non-working gentry, the country set, for Bilbo, Frodo, etc.

Chapter 2: The Shadow of the Past
Seventeen years pass between end of previous chapter and the main action of this passage - between Bilbo's part and departure and the beginning of Frodo's own adventure. Slow change of things, not dramatic crisis, travellers passing through. Normal setting, fairly familiar to readers, so with hobbits in journey from familiar to strange. The outside world little known, distant lands of no concern, rumours and things thought legend which are real actually.

Language very normal, not yet higher/mythic/saga style with too much plot background/names being unrolled. Starts in chapter 2, though, with Gandalf's return. Memory/reputation of LOTR's written style not really borne out so far - perhaps from later volumes and appendices.

Working to reconcile/explain the Hobbit ring with the LOTR ring. A lot of story dumping. Not afraid to give stuff that we won't fully understand without much explanation. Not drip drip or gradual, unfolding revelation.

Still hazy on why the Ring exists or how it works.

Idea that Shire and hobbits utterly unknown to many, including Sauron. Implausible in modern world, perfectly reasonable for most of history of world.

Aragorn mentioned, searching with Gandalf for Gollum, much earlier than I realised, before Bree. Similarly Merry and Pippin. Means of destroying the ring, and Frodo doing it, also mentioned here - this is purpose of journey from start, not just fleeing to safe place.

There is the idea of Frodo being chosen - but by whom? If the ring desires to be taken home, then not the ring. Implication of another power/Power at work.

Reference to Cracks of Doom, not Crack of Doom which I expected (also in later chapter, I think an implication that Gandalf does not know where it is).

Sam begins role of devoted, cringing servant to Lord Frodo. I remember this from my first reading of it, I'm pretty sure, not just from the films.