Friday, November 1, 2013

LOTR Read-Along: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony (FOTR Ch. 9)

Hooray!  Back to the parts of the book that I love.  And I do love this part -- doesn't Bree sound like a fun place to visit?  Especially the Prancing Pony.  With Strider lurking in a dark corner.  I love him when he's mysterious and shadowy, with his "travel-stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth" and his "high boots of supple leather that fitted him well, but had seen much wear and were now caked with mud" (p. 153).  I wish he would just stay all Ranger-y and cryptic, and we could go about having adventures with him.


Favorite Lines:

"If you want anything, ring the hand-bell, and Nob will come.  If he don't come, ring and shout!" (p. 150)


Possible Discussion Questions:

Tolkien mentions that Strider has "keen grey eyes."  Have you ever noticed that every single human hero in this book has grey eyes?  What is up with that?

11 comments:

  1. That's a really good question, about the eyes I mean! Now that I think of it, my theory is that it's because all those human heroes are depressed in some way – hiding sad secrets or worrying about the future or something. Not that these people are sad ALL the time and do nothing but mope, but I think sadness is pretty prominent in most of the characters. And grey eyes are always associated with sadness. It just isn't the same (in the world of books) if a depressed person has sparkly green eyes! I just picked up this idea off the top of my head, I wonder what suggestions others might have?

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    1. Interesting theory. Yeah, all the humans are pretty wounded. The major characters, I mean. Even Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth has grey eyes, and he's always struck me as a fairly happy guy.

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  2. I think the movie changed how I saw Bree, because Bree in the movie seems always dark, creepy, and filled with potential enemies. I do not like it there, nor ever want to visit. The book is not this way, and I always forget how nice Butterbur is in the book. I do not trust him in the movie, but he's so sweet here. So is Nob.

    It is a great intro to Strider too, but I really want to smack Pippin. Fool of a Took. My least favorite Hobbit for most of the book.

    Afraid I can't comment on the grey eyes, cuz I haven't gotten to the other grey-eyed characters yet! I did not remember that. (Randomly, did you know Bat and Wyatt both had grey eyes?)

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    1. I think the exterior of Bree is kinda scary in the movie, but I got the feeling that it was just scary to the Hobbits because they hadn't been there before and they had just had their scary run-in with the Nazgul. Everything was scary to them at that point. I don't distrust Butterbur in the movie, but he's definitely not as lovable as in the book. On the other hand, I get really frustrated with him in the book for being so forgetful and always interrupting himself and forgetting what he was saying.

      Keep an eye out for eye color, lol -- they're mainly grey. And how interesting about Bat and Wyatt! I don't know a lot of grey-eyed people in real life, so maybe that's why it strikes me as interesting in the book. Well, okay, I'm married to a sometimes-grey-and-sometimes-blue-eyed person, but other than him.

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    2. I hope it's okay if I put in my thoughts on how Bree comes across in the books vs. the movies? :) I was actually thinking about what the function of the Old Forest section is in the book, and I think it's meant to emphasize how the hobbits cross the border of the safe hobbit-lands and go "outside" to lands they don't know at all. The moment they get out of the Shire things get reeeeeeally creepy. Well, the film doesn't have the Old Forest at all, so the first location outside of the Shire is Bree, and I agree with Hamlette that the slight alteration in the look and feel of Bree in the film was made to emphasize the fact that the hobbits really aren't home anymore... Oh I just LOVE these books and all the discussions they initiate! :)

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    3. That makes so much sense! I hadn't thought of it that way, but I'm betting you're right, and that's why they made it darker, full of carrot-chomping scoundrels.

      And yes, please join in on previous discussions! That's the fun part!

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  3. This chapter is definitely more fun. Bree feels like a much friendlier place than anywhere we've been recently, and Butterbur is very enjoyable even if his lack of memory is annoying.

    I totally love the first description of Strider; he feels very mysterious and interesting. I like the way it describes his boots; I have a thing for men in high boots. It also feels like they could be a symbol of him -- something very fine concealed under a layer of mud, in this instance.

    I had definitely noticed the gray-eyes thing. I assumed it had to do with ancestry; Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, and Imrahil, who are all described as gray-eyed, are descended from the Numenorians. I don't think Eomer's eye color is described, and he isn't descended from them. So I don't know -- did all the Numenorians have gray eyes?
    ~Marcy

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    1. I would love to hang out at the Prancing Pony in happier times, when it's not full of creepy spies.

      I've read that Tolkien was a pantser, and would just follow the story wherever it led him, then revise like mad later on to make it all make sense. And that when he wrote about this guy sitting in the shadows, he had no idea it would turn out to be Aragorn. Astonishing, if it's true.

      You're probably right about it being a Numenorean trait to have grey eyes. I thiiiiink Eomer has grey eyes too. Can't recall for sure right now, tho.

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    2. I think you're right about Tolkien being a pantser. I'm very much that way too, so I can totally understand if he just threw a mysterious guy in the shadows and then discovered he was actually hugely important when he wrote more about him. What I'm amazed by is how he had the patience to rewrite everything to the point where all the ideas he had fit together into such a cohesive story. I could use more of that. :)

      In all likelihood you're right about Eomer's eyes, but his eye color isn't mentioned the first time he comes up (I checked) and I'm not sure where else to look. I did see recently that Eowyn had gray eyes, so Eomer probably does too.
      ~Marcy

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    3. Yeah, I've read that a lot of places, and it makes a lot of stuff make sense. Some in LOTR, but even more so in The Hobbit, like how he starts out with this grim-faced man in Laketown saying some stuff, and like four chapters later he finally tells us the grim-faced man's name is Bard. You can see he didn't know this guy is going to be important, and then later on he realized this is gonna be the dragon-slayer, so he gives him a name.

      I think with Strider, he knew about Aragorn, but he didn't realize that Strider and Aragorn were the same guy at first, and then once he made that connection, he went back and revised things so that would work. That's my guess, anyway.

      As you read through these posts of mine, you will probably run into one where I'm like, "AHA! Eomer has ____ eyes!" Hee.

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    4. Yes, it seems Tolkien did much less revising of the Hobbit than of LotR. I definitely noticed the way he didn't even name Bard the first time he came up and found it rather funny.

      I'm looking forward to finding out WHERE I can discover Eomer's eye color. :)
      ~Marcy

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