Sunday, 12 January 2014

rereading lord of the rings: notes 6

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

Chapter 11: A Knife in the Dark
Not sure why the Riders are only now at the house in Crickhollow.

Interesting how often the tension is not in outright pursuit and flight but in travelling with a sense of menace, and also camping/overnighting when you know danger is near - Bombadil's, Prancing Pony, the dell near Weathertop here (not the more cinematic Weathertop itself) Less of this in film, less cinematic than chase perhaps. Menace rather than chase, a chiller/horror technique rather than an action/adventure one.

Regular reminders of days/dates of travel; even if we're not keeping track, the author has a clear timetable in the background.

Interesting that Strider is suggested as being uncertain what to do on occasion, less the decisive leader.

More poetry/song and telling of old history/legend.

Tension and pace certainly picking up - Strider confirms external reality. Starting to feel more real for the hobbits. They are in unfamiliar terrain, in hands of an unfamiliar person.

Chapter 12: Flight to the Ford
Previous chapter a bit, but especially this chapter is one where you do start to miss having a map. (Looking ahead, there isn't a map in book two; I'm wondering if there was originally a separate map in this (second-hand) box set.) Starting to clock up days and nights of travel, and changes of direction.

Slight puzzle over why they are left comprehensively alone after first fairly successful attack, but accepting idea of ambush at key point which they must pass.

Flavour of a landscape abandoned long ago.

Cross-references to Bilbo's adventure feel odd, since that one was so light and this is so dark, and also that one didn't emphasise the distance but this one does. So to find you are only at the Trolls is odd.

I thought Book One might end more roundedly, but it doesn't. I suppose it does mark the end of the pursuit by the black riders.

Mystery of Frodo's resilience.

Frodo and all of the hobbits are actually very passive as heroes so far. It feels like Frodo's only real action so far has been to consent to leave the Shire in the first place.

And there end the notes on Book One.