Questions tagged [j-r-r-tolkien]

Questions about the works of the English author J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien or his life as a writer. Tolkien is best known for 'The Lord of the Rings', 'The Hobbit', 'The Silmarillion' and the other works making up the Middle-Earth legendarium.

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2
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1answer
50 views

Is it known why Tolkien made Sam be Frodo's servant rather than very close and trusty friend “on equal terms”?

If I have to find one "flaw" about The Lord of the Rings, it may be the fact that Sam is more or less the slave of Frodo, albeit a willing servant. This fundamentally bothers me, for some ...
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1answer
57 views

How did people assume that Bilbo's house was abandoned after only a year, and how did they get in?

Bilbo may not have told anyone about going away, but Gandalf did lock the door after him. (At least that's heavily implied.) About one year is not a very long time. What kind of bizarre society is ...
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1answer
84 views

Did the original “The Hobbit” really feature that five-army battle in the end?

I first read The Hobbit over 20 years ago, when I was still a child. I remember it as an extremely cozy and "non-epic" story about a bunch of dwarves, a wizard and of course Bilbo. In ...
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1answer
54 views

How did the elves not check the barrels which they noted were “probably not empty”?

So I realize that they were eager to go back to the party, and the person responsible for the barrel management said they were empty, but surely they must have felt that they were obviously not empty ...
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1answer
90 views

What did Tolkien mean by “The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'”?

I'm very confused by this quote, found on: http://www.sean-crist.com/personal/pages/eagles/index.html "The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute ...
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Why did Gandalf not have the Eagles simply transport Frodo almost straight to Mount Doom and drop the ring in there?

While thinking about "holes" in the wonderful, epic The Lord of the Rings story, I had a thought: Why did they go through all this trouble of very slowly sneaking around with a whole ...
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1answer
63 views

What's with the beyond-casual introduction of “stone-giants” in The Hobbit?

In Chapter 4, "Over Hill and Under Hill", I suddenly read this: When he peeped out in the lightning-flashes, he saw that across the valley the stone-giants were out and were hurling rocks ...
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2answers
85 views

What happened with the Fem-Ents?

While reading the third book, I was waiting constantly for the moment when the Ents would show up on the final battlefield, together with their newly found Fem-Ents, combining their powers into one ...
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126 views

Why did Tolkien take such extreme offense to the original Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings?

I may be mistaken, but allegedly, Tolkien really took great offense to the first (and only, during his entire lifetime and decades beyond) Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings. He called the ...
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5answers
8k views

What's the deal with Bilbo being some kind of “burglar”?

I may only be 37 pages into "The Hobbit", re-reading it after 20+ years, but several things already confuse me. First of all, and this is what I'm mainly asking about, Bilbo is casually ...
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1answer
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Did Saruman exclusively want to mess with the Hobbits in the end of the third book?

As the hobbits are on the way home, they meet Saruman walking around, defeated and angry. When they finally get back to their home village(s), they find that they are utterly destroyed and turned into ...
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Why exactly did Bilbo, Frodo and Sam have to leave?

The reason I phrased the title like that is to avoid spoiling the story for somebody who might see it and haven't read the books. I've just finished the last one in the trilogy, minutes ago, but I don'...
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How could Merry know about who “Sharkey” was just before he showed up in end of The Return of the King?

Merry looked round in dismay and disgust. 'Let's get out!' he said. 'If I had known all the mischief he had caused, I should have stuffed my pouch down Saruman's throat.' 'No doubt, no doubt! But you ...
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184 views

What is the English name for “Bilbo Secker”, and why is Bilbo Baggins apparently “alternatively” called that?

When Frodo is leaving Rivendell for home, Bilbo gives him a bunch of notes which are signed "B. S." (in the Swedish translation), or "B.B." in the English original, for Bilbo... S? ...
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5answers
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Why is Aragorn so weird to Pippin when they make their final farewell before going back to the Shire?

But the Palantir of Orthanc the King will keep, to see what is passing in his realm, and what his servants are doing. For do not forget, Peregrin Took, that you are a knight of Gondor, and I do not ...
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2answers
238 views

Why is Minas Tirith called “Gondor” in Return of the King by king Théoden?

As I understand it, Gondor is the big country where a lot of important stuff happens. Minas Tirith, with its series of walls going in circles, is simply the main city of Gondor. The capital if you ...
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2answers
146 views

What errand did Gollum think that the hobbits have in Mordor with the Ring?

Since he doesn't suspect that they are going to destroy it, just like the Dark Lord doesn't suspect this, what did he think? Why else would these mysterious hobbits be traveling to such a place, with ...
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3answers
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Isn't Gríma Wormtongue a very revealing name?

Something which strikes me both while reading the book and watching the movie is the very striking name "Wormtongue". He might as well be named "Evil Dude". He seems over-the-top ...
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0answers
141 views

If Sauron made The One ring, why couldn't he just make another, even better, instead of searching for the first?

As all of us who have read Silmarillion know, Sauron wasn't the original "Lord of Darkness". In fact, he is a much lesser, and later, one. Melkor (AKA "Morgoth") was the original. ...
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1answer
93 views

Where can I locate the letter J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to A.A. Milne?

AKA the author of Winnie the Pooh? This web page ( https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/JRRTolkien ) claims far far down that Tolkien once wrote a strongly worded letter to A.A. Milne ...
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Was the title “The Lord of the Rings” picked on purpose to be ambiguous?

In one sense, it might refer to "the lord of" the rings, as in the person or entity currently in possession of The One ring. In another way, it could (IMO) mean that The One ring is "...
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104 views

What Tolkien essentially means by “Fall, Mortality and The Machine”?

I recently started reading The Silmarillion, and came across the below passage in a letter Tolkien sent to Milton Waldman. "Anyway all this stuff is mainly concerned with Fall, Mortality, and the ...
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Was the One Ring's malevolent nature foreshadowed in the Hobbit? If so, how?

Tolkien's legendary series The Lord of the Rings is centered around a magical artifact known as the "One Ring", and part of this story recounts the tale of a Hobbit traveling to destroy this ...
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1answer
176 views

Why does Tolkien barely mention the Ring in terms of Frodo's physical handling of it?

As I'm approaching the end of The Two Towers, I'm increasingly frustrated by how, other than in the very beginning of the story in the first book, we never hear a single phrase such as: Frodo ...
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1answer
255 views

How is it possible that Sam only realizes that Gollum wants the Ring so very late?

At roughly page 277 (I'm reading a translation) of The Two Towers, where Gollum is talking to himself as Frodo is sleeping, it says: Sam had lain still, fascinated by this debate, but watching every ...
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6answers
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Does Théoden actually say that he misses Gríma (his “old advisor”) at one point in The Two Towers?

At roughly page 155 of The Two Towers, assuming that the English original follows roughly the same page numbers as my rather sloppy Swedish translation from 1970, king Théoden mentions that he now ...
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2answers
254 views

Why did Gimli think that Gandalf would sneak around their camp in the middle of the night, not say a word and scare away their horses?

I'm a quarter into The Two Towers. Just before Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli enter the Ent woods, they camp outside in the night as they suddenly see a sketchy, strange old man standing there, not saying ...
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Is a fish “Alive with breath” or “Alive without breath”?

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit contains many lovely riddles, posed in-universe by Gollum and Bilbo to each other. Most of them are original compositions by Tolkien himself, as he explained in one of ...
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How did the dwarves possibly “dig out” gigantic hallways in the mountains to create Moria with such “primitive” technology?

I've just come out from Moria with the Fellowship of the Ring. They didn't quite see or hear me, but I was hovering around there and mentally "saw" their journey through reading about it in ...
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4k views

What were the ages of Bilbo and Frodo for these six major plot points?

I recently begun re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'm over halfway through The Fellowship of the Ring now. In spite of having the story in "fresh memory", I still can't remember the ...
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0answers
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What exactly did the hobbits eat in the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring when journeying for many days?

Near the very end of the first part, it's mentioned that they now only have "old bread and dried fruit" left of their food, having wandered around for many days in the nothingness outside of ...
9
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1answer
173 views

In the middle part of The Fellowship of the Ring, how did Strider find and interpret that rock message supposedly from Gandalf?

Maybe this is explained later, and if so, please don't mention the resolution. However, if it's never mentioned again, I'd like to hear some reasoning. Basically, Strider leads the hobbits and that ...
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1answer
162 views

Is there something I'm missing about the numerous songs in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

I'm currently re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring (Swedish translation from 1971) after 20+ years. I'm 170 pages in. One thing that strikes me, and which I didn't remember at all, is the numerous ...
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2answers
4k views

Bilbo’s song of Eärendil in “The Fellowship of the Ring”

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the character Bilbo Baggins recites a poem beginning with these lines: Eärendil was a mariner that tarried in Arvernien; he built a boat of timber felled in Nimbrethil ...
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2answers
137 views

How was Thangorodrim “broken” in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

From The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter II, page 273: 'And not so many, nor so fair, as when Thangorodrim was broken, and the Elves deemed that evil was ended for ever, and it was not so.' ...
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What did Elrond mean by telling the council “it is so ordered …”?

This phrase has been taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter II, page 271: Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, we must find ...
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1answer
206 views

What does “cheek” mean in the following phrase below in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

This is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1, page 266: If he had the cheek to make verses about Eärendil in the house of Elrond, it was my affair.
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1answer
288 views

What did Bilbo mean by telling Frodo that Aragorn “thought the whole thing rather above my head”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1, page 265 (emphasis added): "You needn't," said Bilbo. "As a matter of fact it was all mine. Except that ...
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1answer
459 views

What is the meaning/significance of Aragorn putting a green stone into Bilbo's song?

This poem is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1 (page 265): As a matter of fact it was all mine. Except that Aragorn insisted on my putting in a green stone.
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1answer
142 views

Meaning of lines from Bilbo's “Song of Eärendil” in “The Lord of the Rings”

This poem is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1 (page 263): Through Evernight he back was borne on black and roaring waves that ran o'er leagues unlit and foundered shores that ...
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6answers
5k views

How could Thorin and co. journey all the way to Erebor without discussing how to deal with Smaug?

Thorin and co. with the hobbit take such an immense journey to Erebor as known to everyone who has read the book. But isn't it absurd that 14 men do undertake such a perilous journey without ever ...
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1answer
62 views

Meaning of “the throbbing air about him” in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1 (page 261): At first the beauty of the melodies and of the interwoven words in elven-tongues, even though he understood them ...
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1answer
193 views

Why did Bilbo tell himself “Wake up, indeed”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Rings, Book II, Chapter 1 (page 258): Why, sitting and thinking. I do a lot of that nowadays, and this is the best place to do it in, as a rule. Wake ...
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1answer
122 views

What does “other light” mean in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 1 "Many Meetings" (page 258): The doors were thrown open, and they went across a wide passage and through other doors, ...
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1answer
189 views

Meaning of “the morning will speed you upon your way” in “The Fellowship of the Ring”

From book 1, Chapter 8, of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: "There you'll find an old inn that is called The Prancing Pony. Barliman Butterbur is the worthy keeper. There you can ...
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1answer
180 views

What's the meaning of 'Spring' in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

From book 1, Chapter 6, of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: Then another clear voice, as young and as ancient as Spring, like the song of glad water flowing down into the night from ...
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1answer
3k views

What's the meaning of Tom Bombadil's poem?

From book 1, Chapter 6,of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: Tom Bombadil's Song Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo! Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow! Tom Bom, ...
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114 views

What is the meaning of “Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good.”?

From Book 1, Chapter 2, of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: Don't tempt me! For I don't wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity ...
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1answer
205 views

What's the meaning of “ leave him open to the summons ” in The Lord Of The Rings?

From book 1|Chapter 2 of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien The Ring of the Enemy would leave its marks,too, leave him open to the summons. What is the meaning of the phrase in bold?
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2answers
275 views

What does “once removed either way” mean?

From Book I Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: Mr. Drogo married poor Miss Primula Brandybuck. She was our Mr. Bilbo's first cousin on the mother's side (her mother being ...