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Week 1 - The Ring Sets Out - Prologue

Discussion in 'Bookclub' started by TheWiseTomato, Nov 22, 2021 at 5:19 AM.

  1. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the Land of Morder where the Shadows lie.
    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Morder where the Shadows lie.

    Let's get this party started. Below is the schedule, helpfully created by @lopeck. All told this will take us about six months if things go well. @Otters get in here. @Irene if he doesn't get in here, say something cutting. Everyone else, you know who you are. It's time to get our geek on.

    [​IMG]


    To start things off: I'd forgotten how much content there was before the story proper started. In my edition at least, there's 'Note On The Text' and 'Foreword To The Second Edition' before the Prologue even starts, and while dry, there's some genuinely interesting tidbits in there, such as the American editions that were published unauthorised and did not pay royalties to Tolkien. You can see how his focus on the technical details held things up with his focus on the appendices. It is amusing to read about his quiet and polite rage at the editors who would change dwarves to dwarfs and elven to elfin.

    The Prologue specifically was interesting in its form, in that it is framed as being from the perspective of a historian from a later Era looking back. I knew that The Hobbit and LotR are supposed to be Bilbo's and Frodo's accounts of their adventures, but this was more explicit that I recalled. It has been a long time since I've read the books, however.

    I almost feel like the Prologue is aimed at an audience that doesn't exist any more - people with limited knowledge of the setting/series. There's some parts in there conveying niche knowledge, such as on the origins of the Hobbits, but I can't think of anyone who isn't familiar with the riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum.

    On a final note, I do like the little note about how Hobbits are not to be fucked with should they have a bow on hand, or if they should stoop to take up a rock to throw.
     
  2. Nazgoose

    Nazgoose The Honky-tonk ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter DLP Gold Supporter

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    Yeah I bought the single volume fiftieth anniversary edition for this, and the foreword and notes were extensive. Found it way more fun than I would've thought to read through the publishing history and then the logic they continue to apply to further corrections now that the author isn't around to say what he thinks.

    The prologue itself was an interesting read, because you end up finding out that a number of the characters end up surviving and/or having children, which could be considered a spoiler. But it continues to sell the idea that you're reading history book, and so I can't really disagree with the choice. I honestly loved the little glimpses we get into the lives of Merry and Pippin after the story ends.
     
  3. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Order Member

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    I'll echo the notes as well.
    In the prologue I noticed three things.
    I'm the opening poem, dwarves have lords, elves have kings, and the dark Lord is a lord as well. But the 9 rings are for mortal men. I can't tell if this is Elvish disdain for Men, or Sauron's or if the rings weren't intended to go to leaders of men.

    We get the foreknowledge that of the hobbits, 3 are safe and prosperous, but our main lead Frodo gets nothing. To me that adds some interesting tension as we go forward.

    I also love the first word we learn in a foreign language is hobbitish, the Mathom. An object that you have no immediate use for, but could not throw away. I see the Ring, to Bilbo, as a perfect Mathom, and I'm going to read this looking for more of them.
     
  4. lopeck

    lopeck Seventh Year

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    Mea culpa. I used the website I've linked before for the word count and they didn't list those. Same thing goes for the appendices. But I think that's a topic for when we are actually done with the main body of the text. So there shouldn't be any more surprises until we reach the end of book six.


    But on that note, I too, found the publishing history strangely fascinating. It is strange to see the (unintended) parallels of tracking names and dates both within the book and the meta level surrounding it. But I don't think I will buy the book of changes mentioned.
    Most of the forward to 'Foreword To The Second Edition' is stuff I've come upon before. The different spelling still comes up when dealing with differing races in D&D for example. The thing that stood out to me was Tolkien talking about critics:
    That's a much more polite way of dealing with it then anything I've read online.
    There is also a line about being his own worst critic. And that despite the many revision, he still dislike a lot of thing about his own work. As someone who struggles with the same thing, it's encouraging to hear Tolkien talk about it.


    :D

    A group of stealth-archer hobbits is responsible for the fall of Angmar, got it.
     
  5. dudeler

    dudeler Seventh Year

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    I am listening to the audiobook, because my physical copy of the book is probably somewhere at my parents place.

    I forgot how much I loved the description of the shire and the dialogues between random hobbits. You get such a deep connection with the world in just the part before the party.
     
  6. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I can't help but notice that a lot of people who were keen in the interest gauging thread have yet to post their thoughts, chief amongst them @Otters. I'd sic @Irene on you, but she has also neglected her responsibilities.

    For shame.
     
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