The Lord of the Rings • The Fellowship of the Ring | Book One

Nothing elaborate or fancy, just some storytelling thoughts on my re-read:

The plot proper — explicit conflict and character makes a choice that changes their situation — doesn’t begin until “Three Is Company” when Frodo, knowing about the Ring (“The Shadow of the Past”), chooses to travel to Rivendell. This is when the Black Riders first appear. 

On that note, the Black Riders serve as the connecting conflict or anatagonism of this part. They exist as a constant source of fear and anxiety which builds into Frodo’s wounding near Weathertop and eventual onslaught at the Ford of Bruinen.

I found it interesting how much set up there was: Bilbo leaving, Frodo inheriting Bag End, even the time between Frodo officially setting out and his decision to leave with Sam. There’s a seventeen years between “A Long-Expected Party” and “The Shadow of the Past” and that fascinates me. It fits the reader into the doings of Hobbiton and, to a lesser extent the Shire, through their gossip and interactions through the lens of Bilbo and his party. 

Additionally, there’s throughline of the Ring, which Bilbo had and passed to Frodo and which serves as the cause of the plot: Frodo’s leaving the Shire seventeen years later. Even more fascinating, is how the rumors about Bilbo are linked to the Ring — he gained both after he returned from his adventures (There and Back Again, if you will.)

While I can still see how Tom Bombadil is something of a detour, I like what his presence (and later mention) show. Namely, that the hobbits are NOT capable of dealing with malevolent forces which bear no influence of Sauron. If not for Tom, the hobbits would not have escaped the Old Forest or the Barrowdowns. It shows how safe(ly guarded) the Shire is. This is emphasized in Bree; the hobbits seem to attract trouble. 

Additionally, at the very end of this part, Frodo tells the Black Riders to go back to Mordor and leave him alone. But “Frodo had not the power of Bombadil” (209). What strikes me here is the contrast. Tom has the ability to command with his words; Frodo does not, but the parallel to Tom reminds of just that, the ability to use words to dismantle and dispel danger. Even though he’s wounded, Frodo resists in a way that he’s seen used before. It isn’t enough. But I thought it was an interesting detail that wouldn’t have been so striking if Tom had been cut from the story. Heck, even Strider and Glorfindel use words to ease Frodo’s wound. (Well, Strider uses words and athelas, but the point still stands, I think.) 

There was a diversity of poem formats, lots of songs and such. A few have struck with me, but it was enlightening to pay attention to them stylistically.

There were a lot of good quotes. I’d also like to (maybe) type up out when each character is introduced and the first time they speak. Just because I found the order and who and when interesting.

On that note, I’m struck with how direct and precise Tolkien’s language is. I like it. 

More to the point, the way that, while characters have reactions to situations and each other, there’s not a lot of character immersion. I know Sam doesn’t trust Strider because of how Sam talks and what the text tells me: “Sam frowned” (162) and “Sam was not daunted, and he still eyed Strider dubiously” (168). What I mean is, the reader doesn’t experience the story from any particular POV (though the feelings of the hobbits are definitely the viewpoint) and especially not from an immersed-in-said-characters’ experience of the story. That’s not to say the text doesn’t give the reader a sense of what the hobbits feel, because it does. Only it’s not, as I learned on a writing cruise, written in a way for the character to serve as an avatar for the reader in the world. But what’s really fascinating to me about this, is how it reminds me of fairy tales and epics and the Arabian Nights — characters are afraid, delighted, terrified, sorrowful, but it’s conveyed strongest in speech and action. 

On the note of speech, that ties back into Tom Bombadil—words and language are powerful business in Tolkien’s writing. Which, with him being a linguist, makes sense.

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    Writing Week • 10/1/17 — 10/7/17

    It’s been an odd week. 

    Also, I have a mild headache, probably from getting distracted on the Internet (tumblr specifically, so it wasn’t like an info-inspiration hole, just the imprint of others’ thoughts and creative projects into my active consciousness) when I had wanted to revel in the sense of openness and work on a few odds and ends, but …nope. Internet. As one does.

    Anyway. 

    I HAVE discovered that a technique used in an old (and now moot) revision may be what I need for Nights of Heroes. I’d been trying to figure out to parcel out the plot via characters. But it’s soooo much easier to:

    1. break into plot categories 
    2. categorize characters into plots 
    3. work out how their wants interact and effect the plot

    Also did some fine-tuning on types of magical imprisonments: 

    • types of magical being
    • type of imprisonment
    • type most likely to be sought be different antagonists

    But it does bring out how odd it (still) is to me that Disney’s Aladdin operates in a world where jinn are automatically enslaved. (Unless that’s some quirk of it being a wish…)
    Sadly, I’ve only made minimal progress on “White Tree.” 

    Did a lot of drawings for Inktober. That’s been taking up my writing attention. Cause deadlines! Bleh. Though to be fair, I did enjoy the load of Dreams drawings I did. Also love drawing those characters. But I have missed writing. I’ve just been off, I guess. A bit tired and a sense of feeling over-ambitious but only getting a bare minimum done. (And being me, I have had medical-inspired anxiety about it!)

    Sorry for the downer post. I guess there isn’t much to say.

    Oh! I forgot. I tweaked a bunch of chronological info and got a better sense of when events happened in lieu of each other. Yay

    Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

    The Guardians: Book Three

    by William Joyce

    “But that was past. This was a different day. And through the friendship he now knew, he could change bad men to good and stone back to flesh” (Joyce, 12).

    Chapter One

    This book has a beautifully structured plot.

    Like E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core! this one begins in Santoff Claussen with the children. They are playing games and it’s actually cute: “In this new game of Warrior Egg tag, to be scrambled meant you had been caught by the opposing egg team and therefore, had a lost a point” (1). There’s a touch of cleverness with the children’s game-naming.

    This opening, rather than feeling out of place, works for me. I don’t mind the other children so much. My previous association and attachment to them from Book 1 and Book 2, makes me glad to see them happy. Additionally, the peaceful, happy set-up into story is a relief after the battle at the Earth’s core and North’s near death. I feel good seeing the characters this way.

    The chapter proceeds to explain what the children and the Guardians have been doing since their last fight with Pitch. One thing I liked was how

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    incomputable

    Day 10: Feb 10

    I have renewed these in lieu of the Refugee Ban in the USA. Inspired by the-cassandra-project and their Every Day Challenge, I am writing every day to raise money for the Urban Justice Center. You can donate here or please spread the word. Thank you.

    Patterns repeat: Flower 1, Flower 2, Flower 3 — scorch, heal, et. al — wood, water, fire… They percolate in new dimensions and orders, a writhing, confusing muddle. What does it mean? What is the order? Shouldn’t it be simple? Why has it become so complex? What is the order? What is it for? What is it’s functionality?

    [56 words]

    January Summary

    a day late

    As part of the Every Day Challenge, instigated by the-cassandra-project, I set up two challenges. The second one, or Challenge #2, focused on Nights of Heroes — revision, outlining, character development. I posted about my progress it every couple days. These posts can be found here at my writing journal.

    Other general writing posts can be found here.

    My Challenge #1, which was to write 100+ words every day, can be found here (among other material and inspiration related to the story.)

    Finally, I made character aesthetics.

    Beauty

    A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

    by Robin McKinley

    “I finished rereading the Iliad and started the Odyssey; I still loved Homer, but Cicero, whom I read in a spirit of penance, I liked no better  than I had several years ago” (McKinley, 157).

    I’ve read some of her books before and I had always meant to read her retellings of “Beauty and the Beast.” So when I couldn’t find Watership Down at a local library, I happened to see this one and thought: Hey, why not?

    I really liked Beauty. Or more precisely, I could relate to her, which isn’t common among characters, book or otherwise. I’m not nearly as outdoorsy as she is while she’s living in the country, nor am I as fond of horses as she is. But her ordinary looks coupled with her love of reading and the Classics felt like someone reflecting my own interests.

    This relatability also made me realize that living in an enchanted castle like the Beast’s would be wondrously grand. No worries about money, endless books and the free time to study and read and write, and a beautiful garden that doesn’t need any pruning or watering.

    The plot was pretty basic. Although it did make me realize that the certain plot points of “Beauty and the Beast” are a bit odd.

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