Questions tagged [j-r-r-tolkien]

For questions about the English author J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien or about any of his literary works, most famously The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and the other works making up the Middle-Earth legendarium.

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11
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2answers
2k 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
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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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2answers
1k views

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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0answers
83 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.
4
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1answer
59 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 ...
1
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1answer
362 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.
3
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1answer
78 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 ...
16
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6answers
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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 ...
0
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1answer
48 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 ...
3
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1answer
176 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 ...
2
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1answer
55 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, ...
2
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1answer
169 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
141 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 ...
6
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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, ...
0
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2answers
78 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
126 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
185 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 ...
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1answer
135 views

What does “set out fair and square” mean in the characterization of the Hobbits?

This is taken from from The Fellowship of the Ring prologue where JRRT lays out some of the characteristics of Hobbits: The genealogical trees at the end of the Red Book of Westmarch are a small ...
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1answer
131 views

What do “nothing that lived” and “doughty at bay” mean?

The following quote is from the chapter "Concerning Hobbits" in The Fellowship of the Ring: Though slow to quarrel, and for sport killing nothing that lived, they were doughty at bay, and at need ...
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2answers
229 views

What does “rough handling by grief” mean in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

From the Prologue ("Concerning Hobbits") to The Fellowship of the Ring (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien: Nonetheless, ease and peace had left this people still curiously tough. They were, if it came to ...
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2answers
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What does “they were in name his subjects” mean?

While there was still a king they were in name his subjects, but they were, in fact, ruled by their own chieftains and meddled not at all with events in the world outside. What does "they were in ...
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1answer
84 views

What does “reckoning of years” mean?

About this time legend among the Hobbits first becomes history with a reckoning of years. What does "reckoning of years" mean in this passage from The Lord of the Rings?
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1answer
241 views

What is the internal order of Christopher Tolkien's last three books in the Middle-earth legendarium?

Christopher John Reuel Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien's third son, died very recently. He is best know for editing and publishing materials he inherited from his father, including these three books: The ...
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7answers
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What is Tom Bombadil's importance in The Lord of the Rings?

Tom Bombadil is definitely one of the weirdest characters in all of The Lord of the Rings, he just comes out of nowhere, stumbling upon Frodo and Sam while singing. His actions are just incredibly ...
14
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1answer
463 views

What was supposedly satanic about the Lord of the Rings?

From a comment on another recent question I learned that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have (in certain places and at certain times) been banned for supposedly satanic themes. A quick bit of ...
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1answer
492 views

What is the significance of Sauron never having a physical presence in the Lord of the Rings?

So I noticed that in Lord of the Rings Sauron acts as a very interesting villain. He never makes a corporeal appearance, nor does he have any acting dialogue. He's mentioned plenty of times through ...
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1answer
158 views

The origin of Tolkien's use of the term “hobbit”

In a footnote on page 29 of The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun Verlyn Flieger notes the word korigans appears in the 1891 compendium of folklore known as The Denham Tracts (Vol. II, p. 79) where it is ...
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3answers
667 views

Could Shelob have kept the ring for herself?

In the Lord of the Rings, Gollum/Smeagol’s plan is to lead Frodo and Sam into the pass of Cirith Ungol, where he was gonna leave them to be consumed by Shelob and take the ring from the remains. ...
3
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1answer
90 views

Where does Tolkein talk about hybridization of humans and other beings, in “On Fairy Stories”?

Where does Tolkien talk about hybridization of humans and other beings, in "On Fairy Stories"? I just re-read it, and can't find the spot. Is it just a small mention, related to the Frog Prince or ...
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1answer
370 views

“What a piece of work is man” - echo in The Lord of the Rings?

In The Fellowship of the Ring, after Gandalf tells Frodo the story of the One Ring and challenges him to destroy it, Frodo looks at the ring and we read this description: how rich and beautiful was ...
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2answers
361 views

How much did The Lord of the Rings cost when it was first published in 1954/1955?

What was the original price (first edition/first printing by Allen & Unwin, London) of The Lord of the Rings books when they were first sold in 1954/1955?
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4answers
446 views

Is it a common theme in (western) storytelling that the antagonists are located to the east?

I'm not sure if this is the correct place for this question. I was reading some Lord of the Rings-lore the other day and it got me thinking about the location of "evil" in storytelling. In LOTR, ...
14
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3answers
783 views

In what way is The Lord of the Rings metafiction?

As a student, I read metafictional novels such as Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino. When I checked the Wikipedia article Metafiction, I found, much ...
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1answer
78 views

What is the “Eastern wolf” in this poem?

I'm reading through J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur and in I.29 - I.33 it says [...] But what foe dareth war here to wake or the walls assail of this island-realm while Arthur liveth, ...
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1answer
299 views

Tolkien character names inspired by Early Modern English

I have been browsing through A Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, Especially from the Dramatists by Walter W. Skeat (completed by A. L. Mayhew and published in 1914). It contains several entries that ...
7
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1answer
391 views

What evidence is there for Tolkien's One Ring being based on the Ring of Silvianus?

I recently heard a theory that parts of Tolkien's legendarium and the Lord of the Rings story may have been inspired by the real-life Ring of Silvianus: As Wheeler consulted with J. R. R. Tolkien ...
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10answers
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Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

I spent an extensive amount of time as an undergrad writing about and researching The Hobbit, especially in terms of Tolkien's famous essay on Beowulf. Getting a sense of what inspired Tolkien greatly ...
8
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1answer
263 views

How do the Silmarils solve the puzzle of the Sampo?

It is well established that Tolkien used his fiction as a means of filling gaps and solving riddles in the extant studies of mythology and linguistics. Most of the time, he chose to do this by ...
12
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1answer
521 views

Where did Saruman know Frodo from?

Near the end of The Return of the King, the last Volume of the Lord of the Rings, the hobbits return to the Shire. There, they meet Saruman and his follower Grima (Wormtongue). When Saruman ...
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4answers
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Did Frodo want Bilbo to die?

I was reading in the first volume of the Lord of the Rings recently, and ran across this quote when Gandalf and Frodo are talking about the Ring for the first time after its true nature has been ...
6
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2answers
309 views

Which real-life languages other than English, Welsh and Old English/Norse did Tolkien draw on for naming things?

According to Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey, Tolkien believed that people had an innate ability to "hear" subtle differences in names and dialects, even if they didn't full understand why things sounded ...
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1answer
285 views

Was Théoden's revival inspired by Mark Twain?

I was reading Mark Twain's Joan of Arc and Joan converses with the Dauphin of France. The talk between Joan and the King was long and earnest [...] and has been set down in [...] testimony at the ...
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1answer
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Why did Tolkien publish as J.R.R. Tolkien?

Quite a number of authors of English literature around the early 20th century published with initialed pen names (EM Forster, JRR Tolkien, TS Eliot, ...) whereas others did not (Thomas Hardy, Rudyard ...
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3answers
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If Tolkien disliked allegory, why are there so many allegorical readings of The Lord of the Rings?

There is a famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien in which he states his hatred of allegorical writing. "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old ...
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1answer
253 views

Did Frodo have a prophetic dream?

Right before Frodo and company head into the Old Forest, Frodo has this dream. Eventually he fell into a vague dream, in which he seemed to be looking out of a high window over a dark sea of ...
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2answers
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Why didn't Bilbo put the ring on immediately?

When Bilbo falls into Gollum's cave in The Hobbit and he finds the ring on the ground, why doesn't he immediately put it on? Is there any textual evidence suggesting he was scared or nervous of ...
13
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1answer
523 views

Have any Elves explored Rhûn or the lands to the east?

According to The Silmarillion and Tolkien's legendarium as a whole, the Elves first awoke in Cuiviénen, by a gulf in the Sea of Helcar. We learn that in The War of Wrath (Chapter 3, Quenta ...
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4answers
1k views

What are the Riddle Rules?

In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, while Bilbo is in the cave and has the ring, he and Gollum end up asking each other riddles. After the exchange, Gollum or Bilbo mentions some riddle rules. These ...
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1answer
840 views

Do the female Dwarves in Tolkien's Legendarium also have beards?

In The Return of the King, Appendix A, there's this quote about female dwarves: Dís was the daughter of Thrain II. She is the only dwarf-woman named in these histories. It was said by Gimli that ...
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1answer
217 views

Was J.R.R. Tolkien building on a past tradition when relying heavily on languages he made up?

It is a uncontested and well known fact that Tolkien was a linguist, and he wrote Middle-Earth as a setting for his languages. However, what interests me is whether the approach he took was out of ...