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Archive for November, 2011

Like a helpless Scooby Doo, Frodo finds himself falling to the ground, looking up at a dark figure.

Ruh-roh, Raggy.

He feels an icy grip, and remembers no more. He wakes up dazed in some dark place, undoubtedly a barrow. He knows he’s been taken by a Barrow-wight, and fears that their adventure has come to an end. Thinking of Bilbo and their wonderful walks and talks in the Shire steels Frodo, and he regains his courage. Some sort of light appears to be emanating out of him, and he can see through the darkness a bit. Sam, Merry, and Pippin lie nearby, still knocked cold. They are mysteriously robed in white, with treasures strewn about them. A sword lays across their three necks.

So, yes, as I said before, Frodo sees a Barrow-wight, but there isn’t much of a description. It is “a tall dark figure like a shadow against the stars,” with what Frodo thinks are “two eyes, very cold though lit with a pale light that seemed to come from some remote distance.” That’s all. The figure is definitely dark, with a cold feeling, but that isn’t a very visual description. Use your imagination!

Hey look, Rivendell!

And why are the other three hobbits adorned in finery? Perhaps the Barrow-wights are into that sort of thing. I don’t know. Typically though, when you’re captured by evil spirits, they don’t put you to sleep and dress you up. Just saying.

UNLESS HOBBITS ARE JUST BARBIE DOLLS FOR BARROW-WIGHTS.

Look closely. You'll find how I made this funny.

So now Frodo’s trapped in this barrow, and the other three have a sword sitting across their necks. WHO WILL SAVE YOU NOW? *Evil laugh*

“But across their three necks lay one long naked sword.”

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Frodo Show!

Come on down!

It’s just Frodo on this page, for the most part. As he passes between the two towering stones, his pony rears up, throwing him off. As he picks himself up off the ground, Frodo notices that the others are no longer with him. He calls back, and hears a distant reply. He runs off to the left, following the sound, starting to head uphill. The replies start to sound like someone crying for help, and end in a scream. Frodo hurries to the top of the hill he’s climbing, and cannot hear any more replies. It gets very cold, and the mist blows away, leaving Frodo in the open night under the stars. He hears another cry, and heads in that direction, noticing that he is going south and the wind is howling from the east. To his right stands an enormous barrow.

Keep in mind that everything the hobbits have done was exactly what Tom Bombadil warned them against. Foremost of all, they were resting on the east side of the stone at lunchtime when this all started going badly for them, and now Frodo stands on the eastern side of a barrow, dark and ominous. So much for heeding warnings!

CAUTION: CAR-LIFTING BOVINES!

I wonder what Frodo might be thinking. Does he suspect black riders? Obviously, malevolent trees aren’t the problem. I guess, though, because hobbits have stories about Barrow-wights, that he’s probably focused on that possibility. By the way, when I imagine a Barrow-wight, it’s something like a traditional ghost or ghoul-like figure. That isn’t made clear in the text, but that’s typically how they’re depicted. We haven’t seen one here yet, but we will, and we’ll see just how that holds up.

It’s a scary time to be Frodo Baggins!

I should mention that, in my spare time, (especially on train rides) I’ve been reading The Hunger Games, which is quite fascinating to read in conjunction with doing this everyday. It’s written for a younger audience, but it’s still quite fantastic. In addition, it’s highly likely that the Hunger Games movie(s) will be high-powered just like the Lord of the Rings trilogy became. Maybe not the same in critical acclaim, but the hype for those movies is huge.

“‘Where are you?’ he cried again, both angry and afraid.”

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Oh, is this chapter entitled “Fog on the Barrow-downs”? Well that would make sense, wouldn’t it?

It's getting a wee bit foggy up in here.

The hobbits see the sun set through the mist, and are thoroughly distressed. Packing up quickly, they head in the direction of the valley leading to the East Road that they spotted from the hilltop earlier. The fog is so incredibly thick that they get drenched in its moisture as they descend the hill. Though they can’t see for any distance, they bear straight, hoping to come across the road sooner or later. They travel in file, with Frodo leading, followed by Sam, Pippin, and Merry, in that order. Dark shadows appear on either side of the fog, and Frodo assumes that they have entered the valley. Forging ahead, he is dismayed to find that there are two more stone monoliths looming ahead, instead of the road.

Wait, why are the hobbits riding single file? To hide their numbers?

Admittedly, Tusken Raiders are more like the Barrow-wights of Tatooine.

But seriously though, if I were making my way through a dense fog covering haunted hills, I wouldn’t want to be in a single file line. Especially if I were in Merry’s place in the back. Sure, Frodo wants to lead and all, but can’t he do so in a way where the four of them are a little more condensed? You just know this is going to go poorly. I mean, it will.

On another note, I’m unsure of whether the hobbits have arrived at this pair of stones by chance or sinister forces. It’s entirely possible that they just didn’t see them from their perch on the earlier hill, but also possible that they were conveniently turned away from their intended direction by some other force or geography, much like how they were turned southeasterly in the Old Forest towards the Withywindle.

The fun part about this page is its forward motion. I found myself glancing ahead, and wanting to move past it to the next page, which is the constant danger of doing this one page at a time. Suspense is building, which is a good thing to say after having been in the comforts of Tom Bombadil’s home for a while. For every relaxing day here, there will be many filled with suspense and action. I still can’t imagine what this might be like come the enormous battles.

“He could not remember having seen any sign of these in the…”

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As was to be expected, we’ve got trouble.

Right here in River City.

As the four hobbits travel, they come to a wide-topped hill with some sort of depression in the middle. Northwards they can see far off what appears to be the tree-lined East Road. Things are looking up! If they’re within sight of the road, they can certainly make it there before too long. In the middle of the hollow on top of the hill is a single stone, and seeing as it’s around noon, the hobbits stop for lunch, sitting against this mysterious monolith.

Cue timpani.

Without knowing what’s happened, the hobbits wake up from a slumber some hours later. The sun is low in the west, and mist covers the northern, eastern, and southern sides of the hollow.

Thus, our most persistent antagonizing force so far? Unexplained sleep. We saw it before with Old Man Willow, and here it rears its ugly head again. Apparently these hobbits are assailed by their weariness more than anything else. I’m sorry, but do you ever have the problem of suddenly falling asleep without any reason? I don’t seem to run into that.

Undoubtedly there are nefarious forces at work here. I mean, I know there are nefarious forces at work here, but that doesn’t stop me from wondering why sleep tends to be so difficult for these four to overcome. It’s all more fodder for why the ultimate success of the hobbits (especially Frodo and Sam) is so much of an achievement.

In addition, something I’ve noticed: the sun is referred to in different ways depending on whether it is mentioned by a character or included as a part of the narration. I remember bringing up a long time ago how the “Sun” was labelled female, and I wondered if this was true of every character, or only a certain select few. From what it looks like, every character refers to the “Sun” as female. However, whenever it’s brought up in the narration, the “sun” isn’t capitalized, and is neutrally gendered. Just interesting to note.

And, don’t worry, I’ve kept track of the ponies. They’re still there.

“Their ponies were standing crowded together with their heads down.”

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Wow wow wow. That was a long day. I left this morning at 8:30am, and here I am starting this, just after I get home, at 1:15am. I’ve put off the catching-up I need to do on all things internet, and I’m gonna sit here with Pandora going and hammer this thing out.

I have a new respect for the way that travel works in Middle-earth. Thinking about my day, I was all over the place, but I drove, and I had a mix of rehearsal, seeing a show, and having a post-show get-together, including dinner and a party. On this epic journey that we’re following in the book, these characters are walking everywhere, and doing so after sleeping out in the woods most of the time. (We’ll give Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin a bit of a pass on that for now, as they’ve been sleeping in Tom Bombadil’s house for two straight nights, but whatever.) If you think a day like I had is long and tiring, imagine doing that. I don’t think people today really appreciate the effort that takes.

These guys know a lot about walking a long ways.

Anyway, there’s a story to tell! After gazing about on top of the hill with Goldberry, the hobbits have the desire to head straight over the Barrow-downs to the Misty Mountains, instead of cutting north around them like Tom advised them to do. Goldberry seems to sense this, and reminds them of their intentions. Foreshadowing? The hobbits trot off down the hill, and when they reach the bottom can see Goldberry waving goodbye. They continue on their way, going up, over, and back down hills, as the sun grows hotter.

Overall, it’s a pretty tame page, which is good considering how tired I am right now. Push on!

Is it foreshadowing that the hobbits want to cut over the Downs? Yes, probably. To be honest, it’s the result of the hope that Tom has inspired within them. He told them not to fear, but did warn against the Downs. It’s a little conflicting. Would Tom Bombadil be a mysterious and conflicting character? Really? No…

Pun! Ha.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-earth-colours

I mean, you probably understand this one by now. What does this mean exactly? Probably shades of brown and green. You know, the colors of the earth. Not to be confused with the colors of the wind. Can you paint with all those?

“A shadow now lay round the edge of sight, a dark haze above which the upper sky was like a blue cap, hot and heavy.”

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And so the four hobbits set off…again.

NOT LIKE THAT.

They awake refreshed on a beautiful fall morning. After breakfast, Tom sees them off, dancing as usual as they ride away north up a hill. Near the top, Frodo has the sudden (and apparently important) realization that they never said goodbye to Goldberry, and is about to march back down to do so when they see her atop the hill, waving to them. Once they reach her, she turns them around to gaze at the lands behind them. The horizon is clear, and they can see across the vast Old Forest to the hilltop where they rested and ate lunch a few days previously. They can even see the glimmer of the Brandywine River.

How obsessed with Goldberry is Frodo? It’s not like forgetting to say goodbye to her would have been a vitally drastic misstep on their journey. Besides, Tom’s a more important character anyway. I guess that the way she’s been described is just so utterly beautiful that the hobbits are dumbstruck by her appearance. Even with that said, I would expect Sam to be the one yearning for her, not so much Frodo.

Tom refers to her earlier as a "merry yellow berry-o", which sounds more like a cereal to me. Or a gummi candy.

I also wonder if Tom and Goldberry have any sort of control over the weather. I mean, he joked about it earlier, saying: “I am no weather-master,” but wouldn’t that be exactly the kind of thing Tom Bombadil would lie about? When a guy is as strange as Tom is, you never really know what is truth and what is flat-out mystery. It’s a gorgeous day today, clearer than our heroes have seen, especially after coming out of the Old Forest, constantly enveloped in mist. Who’s to say that Tom didn’t make it so? And yesterday’s rain? Maybe he wanted to have a storytelling day…

Notice how much this clear day contrasts with the title of the chapter: “Fog on the Barrow-downs”? Yep, it looks like things are going to get darker from here. Onward, hobbits!

“To the South, over the line of the Withywindle, there was a distant glint like pale glass where the Brandywine River made a great loop in…”

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It’s a short little bit today, so we’ll blow through this and end Chapter 7!

What happens? Tom tells the hobbits to pass by any Barrows, if they come across them, on the west side. Then he teaches them a song to sing should they find themselves in trouble. Then they go to bed. That’s it. When it’s the end of a chapter, the page usually isn’t very long.

Unlike Longcat.

Why does Tom teach the hobbits this song? It doesn’t seem to have a point now, but I know that it becomes relevant later. However, you can’t debate that there’s a song on this page, and that means…

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

This is what Tom teaches:

“Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!

By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,

By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!

Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!”

It’s shaken like a Polaroid picture, and I present:

Hey Tom

(Hey Ya – Obadiah Parker)

Why base this song off the indie cover of a hip-hop hit? Tom is somewhat of a rapper, as I’ve put forth, and oddly different from every other character in Middle-earth. In my interpretation here, Tom raps because he’s the only character that is able to. The hobbits can’t. So, Tom takes his typical form of music and adapts it to be sung by the hobbits’ voices.

Too crazy of an interpretation? I don’t know. This whole project is just for fun. The songs? Extra fun. And I’ll tell you, this one was probably the most fun to do so far!

NOTE: No Polaroid pictures were shaken in the making of this blog.

End of Chapter 7! Can you believe we’re that far?

“When they had sung this altogether after him, he clapped them each on the shoulder with a laugh, and taking candles led them back to their bedroom.”

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