Sunday, 5 January 2014

rereading lord of the rings: notes 2

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

Chapter 3: Three is Company
Not a precipitate crisis departure but long planned, with reluctance to leave - unusual in such a plot set-up.

Wonder why so slow. Move from Bag End to Crickhollow. You can see why some thing streamlined for films. How few of the details I remember from my first reading. Conveys time spent on walking journey non dismissively, in this chapter at least. Often walking/riding journeys of scores or hundreds of miles are dealt with very lightly. Also reminder that pre-industrial era, many countryfolk (particularly non-coastal) would not have travelled further than they could walk in a day or perhaps two.

Moves out just in time. First leg of Frodo's journey with Pippin as well as Sam, and starts overnight. Two toffs and a servant.

The outside world is intruding in the Shire - men, elves, black riders. Frodo, like Bilbo, is know to elves and talks to them of international affairs - knowledgeable and interested, not such an innocent abroad.

Also, so far, no keeping secret or misinterpreting bad dreams, knowledge, info or encounters, tediously commonplace in fantasy especially.

Quote from p111, exchange between Frodo and Gildor the elf, Frodo first:
'I knew that danger lay ahead, of course; but I did not expect to meet it in our own Shire. Can't a hobbit walk from the Water to the River in peace?'
'But it is not your own Shire,' said Gildor. 'Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.'

Chapter 4: A Short Cut to Mushrooms
In modern novels they would find other hobbits murdered in their stead in Bag End or in Frodo's new home. That's not a change for the better.

Pippin and Merry, as well as Frodo, have travelled further than peasant Sam.

Gradual encountering of fantastic things in home territory, where not meant to be; this a bad sign. Frodo an outsider in Hobbiton, 'returning' to Buckland. Hobbiton thought sufficiently strange by folk of Buckland, never mind outside world beyond that. This is a world in which hobbits as race, and Shire as place, could go unnoticed by other nations/peoples/forces; implausible today, plausible hundreds of years ago.

Surprising how many pages spent before leaving the Shire. Does emphasise scale of journey (and also how much was omitted from the film).