Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog – Lord of the Rings (Book III, Chapters 6-11)

Wow, another book down!  We’re officially halfway through LotR.  Is anyone else feeling a little burnt out?  I don’t normally read on a schedule, so this is a little less fun for me than I’d normally find it but I am FORGING ON.  Because the only way to forget about stupid crap is to get wrapped up in other things, right?  Right.

SOOOOOOOOOOO, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn were all riding to ROHAAAAAAAAAN.  There’s a lot of enmity towards Gandalf there for a few reasons.

  1. He’s usually seen as the bearer of bad news.
  2. Wormtongue.

Okay, seriously.  Why does anyone give any credence to anything someone named WORMTONGUE says?  Really?  Why.  I don’t get this.

Háma lets Gandalf take his staff into meet Théoden, even though HE’S BEEN TOLD NOT TO.  This can probably be attributed to the silver tongued deviltry we see later at Isengard between Gandalf and Saruman, yes?  Anyway.  What follows puts nothing in my head so much as a good old fashioned tent revival.  Théoden, King of the Mark, has obviously been twisted and aged prematurely, but Gandalf yells at him and suddenly he’s all better.

I know it’s horrible. I made it myself so of course it is. No, but seriously, it does make me laugh.

Then, um…I just realized that my reading for comprehension was crap this week, guys.  That means that instead of a total summary, I’m going to talk about things I want to talk about.

  • Battle of Hornburg.  I know we haven’t watched the movie yet, but Legolas clearly WISHES FOR MIRKWOOD ARCHERS THAT HE DOES NOT GET.  I don’t understand why it was necessary to have a billion elves show up at Helm’s Deep, and then have most of them die.  That.  Did.  Not.  Happen.  So, my reading of this part was totally clouded over by my anger at the movie.  Also, PJ killed Haldir.  WTS DID HALDIR EVER DO TO YOU, PJ?!  Grrr.
  • Aragorn’s “parley” with the Uruk-hai.  “WE ARE THE FIGHTING URUK-HAI!”  Um, yeah.  We get it.  You fight, that’s what you do.  Good for you guys, but, um…yeah – you’re still about to get destroyed by the Huorns.  Ha!  Jerks.  Also, the whole “We are the fighting Uruk-hai!” over and over made me think of this:  
  • HUORNS KILLING ORCS!  Loved this.  So much.
  • Háma dies offscreen and we find out about it after the fact.  This made me sadder this time because it reminded me of why I hated JKR for killing Lupin and Tonks and just showing us their bodies.  I get that it’s showing us what war is like, but fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.  [sad face]
  • Everyone else loved Pippin and Merry smoking their pipe-weed and Merry trying to give Théoden a history lesson when they meet him, right?  Good.
  • Legolas would totally be one of those passive aggressive anti-smokers who fake coughs at people that are smoking across the street, I just know it.  “I’m gonna go outside and watch the clouds while you smoke, even though I totally want to hear the story.  HINTHINT.”

    See? Meg’s much better at bringing the funny.

  • Please keep in mind the Mystery of Halfling’s Leaf at Isengard.  It becomes kind of important later on.  Seriously.
  • I know Kate talked about this a little today on her post, but I’m pretty sure that the Palantir is the first inanimate object we’ve seen that’s actually immediately malevolent and exerts outside force.  I don’t buy this whole “BUT THE RING MADE HIM DO IT JUST BY BEING AROUND!” garbage for Boromir, and I don’t remember having this discussion with anyone ever before the movies came out.  This leads me to believe that everyone’s mind has been corrupted by Peter Jackson’s writing team.  I still heart you even if you disagree with me, but I’m not going to talk about that because I’ll get shouty.  You can talk about it in the comments if you wish.
  • Oh, and Saruman’s cloak that they couldn’t tell what colour it was?  Totally put this song in my head:

Shut up.  I love Dolly Parton.

Okay.  I know this is much shorter than everything has been so far, but I’m just not into writing today.  Feel free to talk about the many things I missed in the comments.

24 thoughts on “Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog – Lord of the Rings (Book III, Chapters 6-11)

  1. “the first inanimate object we’ve seen that’s actually malevolent and exerts outside force.” — but didn’t we see a crazy shift in Bilbo’s behaviour when he had the ring, in the chapter when Gandalf reminds him he was going to give it away? And again later, when he sees it in Rivendell (I would grant you that perhaps the image of him as a grasping, Gollum-like creature could all be in Frodo’s mind, but still, that would mean: RING. No?

      • OK, true. On the other hand, maybe that was more about the durability of hobbits. Because didn’t Isildur immediately get all selfish about the Ring? Being a Man, of course; and perhaps they’re just more susceptible to evil devices like Rings of Power and Palantiri governed by Sauron?

        • I think with Isildur, the primary thing to remember is that he was in possession of the Ring at the time – the Ring can twist the intentions of the one who possesses it, but not just from incidental contact, I don’t think. Like I said when I was talking to Kate and Em about this earlier this week – I never had conversations about the Ring perverting intentions without having ever actually come into contact with it before the movies came out. Ever.

          • Hm. See, that was my original impression of the Ring from reading the books, and was one of the shocking things I found, when reading them the first few times, about the contrast between Boromir and Faramir. I had assumed / felt, given the Ring’s influence on Boromir, that Faramir would also be tempted. I don’t think that means the Ring had no influence on Faramir; I think it means he resisted it better than his brother.

  2. The above conversation between you and David pretty much summed up what I went through in my mind when reading what you wrote about the Palantir. “Wait, isn’t the ring malevolent?” “Yes, but you have to possess it. It won’t hunt you down and make you play with it.”

  3. Something that totally made me giggle in this section was the Legolas/Gimli “I killed more than YOU today. NO I DID” banter. Because I have the sense of humor of a child.

    Damn, now I’m going to officially be behind. I can’t pick up the next book until tomorrow, and that’s assuming the library actually has the right version when I show up this time. And I won’t have that much reading time! Grumble grumble.

    I laughed at all the illustrations. Yours AND Meg’s. I’m an equal-opportunity giggler.

    • No, we won’t even start RotK until…next Wednesday? We still have all of the Sam/Frodo stuff to get through in this book. You won’t be behind at all!

  4. I had to unlike your post just so that I could like it a second time. The diner is Meg’s best work to date.

    I always felt like Boromir was susceptible to the ring’s power, even before Peter Jackson’s movies came out. Shout at me if you need to. I’ll just go to my happy place and throw cereal at you.

  5. I agree with you on the Boromir argument. I don’t think the ring made him do it, I think ambition made him do it. And I think Gandalf would agree. He desires power, as do many that we encounter in the book. I think that saying “the ring made him do it” is the equivalent of any evil-doer saying “the devil made me do it”. Lust for power made him do it.

  6. OK, passive aggressive non-smoker Legolas had me howling even before I saw the diner picture. Yes, he would absolutely be that. Did Tolkien predict everything?????

    Also love the idea of the Meduseld Encounter (Robert Ludlum title alert!) as a tent revival meeting. I will not ever be able to read that any other way now. I picture Gimolas and Aragorn with tambourines in the background. Preach ON Brother Gandalf!

  7. Not going to attempt to steamroll anyone here. Just would like to point out that the ambiguous nature of the Ring’s influence in the book is partly what gives the story power — is the evil in Boromir already, and his lust for the Ring just a lust for power, what he would do with the Ring if he got it? Can good and true people like Aragorn and Faramir just resist that darkness within themselves? OR: is the nature of the Ring as an artifact invested with Sauron’s power inherently corrupting even on people who aren’t ringbearers? This is, I think what elevates LOTR — not that Tolkien declares one answer or the other; but that he leaves it open to debate.

  8. - I think the Ring is kinda like Lothlorien. You know, that whole you-bring-your-shit-in-with-you thing. Which is why Boromir is tempted, Faramir is not tempted, Galadriel & Gandalf are both like “Well I COULD be an EPIC FORCE FOR GOODNESS but yeah okay I know better really” and Frodo’s like “wahhhh it’s heavy but stiff upper lip and all that.” (Because, let’s face it, the Hobbits are basically the war-era British. They like their tea and cakes and they frown on adventure.) Or maybe the Ring just has a really high Constitution modifier and everyone but Boromir kept rolling 20s? #nerds

    - Your drawing had me howling. So did Meg’s. Consensus? You two are an unfairly funny team and you should be stopped before something terrible happens to my bladder.

    - I’m with Amy on the Orc-head scorekeeping. That shit is HILARIOUS.

    - I, um, accidentally finished TTT. Oops. NOT REVEALING SPOILERS NOT REVEALING SPOILERS

    • I fail to make my Saving Throw vs. Jericha’s Logic. “Kept rolling 20s”…. damn if that isn’t a winning argument. BUT… I still think the Ring adds negative modifiers.

      • No, it’s just Lawful Evil, apparently. Which doesn’t make a ton of sense. I’m going to go with what you said. I was thinking it’d be a Fortitude save the way a poison is, where the throw is against 10+ the poisoning creature’s racial HD (would be high, no? I mean its race is basically SPAWN OF SAURON and it can only be defeated by Mt Doom, that’s gotta be a big number) + its Con modifier.

        This is probably a good time for…

        THIS

  9. I could never have read these books on at this speed and still done my blog.
    You have convinced me that PJ is pure evil.
    I need to rewrite the ‘I’m a lumberjack’ song by Mony Python as the Uruk Hai fight song… do you think I might have some copywrite issues there?
    You guys are awesome. You are cracking me up.
    When are we going to watch the movies while we drop acid?… just sayin’…

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