Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: The Muster of Rohan (ROTK Ch. 3)

Okay, so we need to discuss the word "fey" for a minute.  I always thought it meant that you had gone a bit... not crazy, but sort of not-quite-here or acting oddly.  Kind of high on fairy dust, I guess.  But here Eowyn describes Aragorn as being fey "like one whom the Dead call" (p. 780).  So I Googled "fey" and discovered here that although it can mean "being in unnaturally high spirits," it can also mean "marked by an apprehension of death or calamity."  Huh.

Anyway, isn't Merry great in this chapter?  He starts out feeling oppressed by all the mountains and "long[ing] to shut out the immensity in a quiet room by a fire" (p. 774).  He's sad because his friends "have all gone to some doom" (p. 779), and I get kind of melancholy myself over the course of this chapter.  But he doesn't let that sadness get him down -- he refuses to be left behind, and when Theoden says he can't ride to war with the Rohirrim, he says, "It is a long way to run; but run I shall, if I cannot ride, even if I wear my feet off and arrive weeks too late" (p. 784).  Sad and lonely, but undaunted.  Dear Merry.

Favorite Lines:

Now all roads were running together to the East to meet the coming of war and the onset of the Shadow (p. 774).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Theoden says, "In the morning counsels are best, and night changes many thoughts" (p. 783).  Do you like to sleep on decisions?  Or once you've made up your mind, does the passing of a night or two not change your decisions?

8 comments:

  1. You know, that word always threw me too! It just didn't make sense in the context of the chapter. I guess it's like "cleave" it can me split apart or hold something close. Weird.

    In response to your question, I usually like a day or two to make up by mind, but once I've made a decision I rarely ever change it.

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    1. Yeah, 'fey' trips me here every time. Maybe because writers like LM Montgomery use the "otherworldly and dreamy" meaning and that's what I grew up with?

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  2. Hah! You didn't grow up on Alistair MacLean, who uses "fey" in just about every novel. In his, it was always a character in a fey mood, meaning they sensed their own death or doom approaching. I was actually never aware of the definition you mention above! At least not in the crazy/high sense. Faery folk, yes.

    I'm not caught up yet, so, can't comment on the chapter properly, but the word fey caught me and I had to read... :-D

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    1. I actually remember us having a discussion about the word 'fey' years ago -- I used it, and you were like, "I do not think that word means what you think it means!" And I looked it up and promptly forgot the other meaning.

      I can't remember what it's from, but I've read the fairy folk described as "fey folk." I would describe Luna Lovegood as a little fey, for instance.

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  3. Either way, "fey" is a simply scrumptious word. :-) And I love that Merry quote! "It is a long way to run; but run I shall, if I cannot ride, even if I wear my feet off and arrive weeks too late."

    And how about this one from the beginning of the chapter? "He sat for a moment half dreaming, listening to the noise of water, the whisper of dark trees, the crack of stone, and the vast waiting silence that brooded behind all sound."

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    1. I just finished the next chapter, and "fey" comes up again, so I'll be sure to discuss it again in my chapter post. And it really is a great, underused word.

      The beginning of the chapter was a slice of loveliness before all the gloom and doom to come.

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  4. Not much to say about this chapter. I always love that red arrow, and that the messenger from Gondor looks like Boromir. I also like that Theoden explains who the dead guy is that Aragorn found in the Paths of the Dead, and that wasn't left as some mystery. The end of this chapter is one of my favorite thrilling moments in the movies, but not so much in the book.

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    1. The red arrow is quite cool! Fraught with symbolism and all.

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