Tolkien Lectures: Week 9

These notes were originally written by Erik Tracey, transcribed to MS Word by Erik Tracey, and HTMLized by Scott Powers. Enjoy!

Why couldn't the Maia/Istari just go in and overthrow Sauron?

Answer-They were constrained not to use force. As described in UT, you must appear as a humble man - New Testament

Old Testament - God is rolling up his sleeves and getting directly involved in events
New Testament - Jesus is getting involved in the hearts of men to do good.

This is the thought Tolkien was using for the Istari.

kraft ->German -> strength
cunning ->German ->kenning = knowledge

All have dual meanings for good and bad.

palantir -> palan=far, tir=seeing
[television - far seeing]
Fernseher ->far seer (German)

Saruman and Denethor are knowledgable but lacked wisdom to make moral choices.

Samwise<=>Samwit<=>Halfwit ; battle between head and heart

Gandalf is wiser than Saruman because he was capable of Pity/Mercy. Gandalf was more interested in people; Saruman w/ things and lore.

Book 5-
Tone of dialogue has changed; loftier, archaic English, nobler. Tolkien uses the older words in describing Gondor to give allusion to an older land, civilized in ancient ways.

"The older the better, the newer the lousier" Prof's interpretation of Tolkien's view that the past was better (idea of entropy increasing w/ passage of time)

Dead White Tree ->symbol of fertility and spiritual health of Gondor.

Denethor -> Theoden => "Old Man"

Denethor is old man winter in fertility cycle.

Gandalf is a Steward; of ME against Sauron and paving the way for Aragorn ->a messiah in the old Judaic sense of spiritual warrior making the way for the one "true king".

Chess Match:
Aragorn reveals self in Orthanc Stone.
West doesn't know Sauron has Ring,
Sauron doesn't know if Aragorn has Ring.
Aragorn causes Sauron to move too soon.

Aragorn and Denethor are same age! Denethor looks older because he used palantir. [better verify this]

Denethor's desire to know the will of the enemy (thru the palantir) was his undoing because Sauron was able to show Denethro only those things to cause his despair.

wolf -> from IndoEuropean
lkwo(A.S. root) -> lobo (spanish) ->lupo -> loup(french) (wo)lk

The reason there are so many words for private parts because once the word is used it is the term and it therefore becomes taboo - now you need another word.

Despair is a sign and a sin that you have lost faith with God's plan.

Denethor's self immolation is suicide/sin and the palantir shows withered hands [sign of hell?] Cremation is not allowed for good character in ME.[christ. thinking won't be around for the raising of the dead]

Aragorn returns as king from the West in a ship. Just like Elendil.

Drug (From Druedain - Pukel Men) also slavic for "companion" Druedain <=> Druids?

Aragorn approaches Gondor/Kingship w/ proper attitude: humility and pity- as shown in his pity to the troops who quailed at the march to the Black Gate.

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Scott Powers
NCSA X Mosaic Lead