This website contains archives of the Tolkien Discussion Group from 2009 to early 2013.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Discussion - Hobbit, Chapters 3 & 4

AelKennyr Rhiano 
Zakar Zamin           
Belenos                    (belenosstormchaser.magic)
Shawn Daysleeper 
Lihan Taifun           

Gandalf is portrayed in The Hobbit as a much less powerful and learned figure than he appears in Lord of the Rings.   For example, it is Elrond, not Gandalf, who recognizes and reads the Elvish runes on Gandalf and Thorin's swords.

The Five Wizards – originally Maiar from Aman – have been in MiddleEarth nearly 2000 years at the time of events in The Hobbit.   Lord of the Rings takes place 68 years later.   So, from Gandalf's perspective, there is not much elapsed time between events in those two books.

Was the change in how Gandalf is portrayed simply because Hobbit was written first, and as a light children's story, before the character of Gandalf crystalized into what it became in Lord of the Rings?  Was Gandalf "holding back" in The Hobbit, not using his full powers, and letting others take center stage?  Did Gandalf actually mature quite a bit in those 68 years?  Is Tolkien showing the difference between "book learning" (which Gandalf brought with him from Aman), vs.  learning from life experiences (which Elrond had more of, and Gandalf was gaining in MiddleEarth)?

Tolkien and C.S.  Lewis, who were good friends, were both members of an informal literary discussion group, The Inkling, associated with the University of Oxford, England, in the 1930s and 1940s.   Members of the group read aloud from the books they were writing.   This leads to a lot of speculation on how much influence they had on each other's writing styles.

The Elves of Rivendell also are portrayed in The Hobbit as primarily teasing the dwarves.  This may be in part because Elves, being immortal, do not have the same sense of urgency as mortal races, which can lead them to appear frivolous to mortals.  And foreshadowing the conflicts, or at least different viewpoints of Elves and Dwarves.

We find the modernisms, like the stone giants "playing football" jarring.   Also the use of little spoilers (like "That would be the last time they use their ponies").   These fit more with the style of telling a children's story aloud.   Are we seeing a deliberate choice of styles on Tolkien's part, or did he learn, between the writing of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, to be "a writer rather than a teller of tales"?

Are the "goblins" in Hobbit the same as "orcs" in Lord of the Rings? Probably.   But we will discuss orcs in more detail next week.

AelKennyr Rhiano:  So...tonight is chapters 3-4; anyone want to start? anyone need the notecard from last time?
{Last month's notecards are distributed.}
Lihan Taifun:            I was noticing how much Gandalf grew between the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Please elaborate, Lihan
Lihan Taifun:            well, in the Hobbit, we have Elrond reading runes to Gandalf, and explaining ancient history, as though Elrond were MUCH more learned than Gandalf. that just wouldn't happen in LotR , they would be equals at least
AelKennyr Rhiano: you mean the literary development...
Lihan Taifun:            yes, the "character" of Gandalf is not nearly so well formed as it is in LotR
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Oh, I agree.
Belenos:                     well.. is it that Elrond IS much more learned than Gandalf or the 'thinks' he is?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  It might be, too, because of the difference in the writer's purpose for each of those books?
Zakar Zamin:            Or maybe the time gap between publications? Middle Earth seems to always have been a work in progress up until his death.
Belenos:                     yes.. it's hard to re-write something once it's already published if later books don't quite align with it
Lihan Taifun:            I agree about all that
AelKennyr Rhiano:  The LOTR and later the Sil...those are much more serious works. There is a lightheartedness in the Hobbit that does not exist in LOTR triology
Shawn Daysleeper:  yes I agree
Zakar Zamin:            Ael, I wonder if that is Lewis' influence with his Narnia stories.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Please, elaborate?
Zakar Zamin:            Also, how long had Gandalf been in ME at this time?
Zakar Zamin:            Tolkien, Lewis and one or two others who's names I can't remember were part of a group called the Inklings.
Shawn Daysleeper:  Gandalf and the other 4 wizards arrive in 1050 of third age, the hobbit takes place in 2941, so some 2000 years
Zakar Zamin:            Thanks Shawn
Lihan Taifun:            thank you, Shawn
AelKennyr Rhiano:  oh..yes, Shawn thank you. I think that is important to note.
Shawn Daysleeper:  lord of the rings occurs in 3019, only 68 years later so gandalf learns a lot quickly
Lihan Taifun:            :P
Zakar Zamin:            While Tolkien did not like the allegorical style of writing that CS Lewis used in Narnia, still they collaborated.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  when you say, "collaborated," do you mean on literary works?
Lihan Taifun:            Tolkien and Lewis were good friends, but "collaborated" sounds like too strong a word
Zakar Zamin:            Lewis' writing was aimed at young children as evidenced by his introduction to the Lion, Witch & Wardrobe. Maybe collaborated is too strong. : As I understand it, they would read chapters to each other for the others to critique. So with the beginnings of ME in Tolkien's mind and Lewis writing at a child's level, it is not unreasonable to suggest an influence.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  The Inkling an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1940s. They did read aloud each other's works, and there has been debate on whether that exposure influenced each, but to my limited knowledge, none of them collaborated.
Lihan Taifun:            I would think a bigger influence was that the Hobbit derived from bedtime stories he told his children
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I think I get what Zakar is trying to say, but I think also I would urge caution in making that leap, because the Inkling was NOT just Lewis and Tolkien...Let me list who was involved...thank you, Wiki :P : J. R. R. "Tollers" Tolkien, C. S. "Jack" Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, Tolkien's son Christopher, Lewis' elder brother Warren or "Warnie", Roger Lancelyn Green, Adam Fox, Hugo Dyson, R. A. "Humphrey" Havard, J. A. W. Bennett, Lord David Cecil, and Nevill Coghill. : But I am sooooo glad you brought up the Inklngs, Zakar. AelKennyr Rhiano smiles
Zakar Zamin:            I knew there was more than the two. And, from your kind comments, I'll limit it to "influence"
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I didn't know if everyone knew. I thought it is helpful to share. It's soooo easy to skip over the influence of others. : As I said, thank you for bringing to our attention. Those writers had alot in common.
But Shawn made some great comments too, about Gandalf. : He did grow very wise in a short amount of time, didn't he?
Belenos:                     yes..he definitely did
Zakar Zamin:            One possibility (and I am relying on memory at this point) is that he was hiding himself, letting Elrond take center stage.
Belenos:                     I think perhaps that was because Tolkien simply decided to take his character in a different direction to where he began in the Hobbit.. he needed Gandalf to be wiser and more knowing..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  You know, I had to wonder that myself, Zakar. Oh, Belenos, good point. or maybe Elrond WAS older and wiser.
Lihan Taifun:            I agree with Belenos too
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Wasn't Gandalf a Maia?
Belenos:                     he was.. *smiles*
Zakar Zamin:            I don't think Elrond was wiser and certainly not older.: and Elrond was half human, as I recall the geneology
AelKennyr Rhiano:  he was, indeed, Zakar. Well, if I can submit something for consideration?
Belenos smiles. yes please..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Well, it's this: perhaps whether consciously or not, Tolkien was saying something about knowledge gained through living and experience as opposed to knowledge gained merely through years of existence.
Belenos:                     that's quite possible too.. : just being alive and existing doesn't make one wise.. it's what one does and learns in that time..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Gandalf is a Maia. They, as a race, do not live as part of Middle Earth. They are not part of it. Not like elves, not like humans. Elrond is both elf and human. He is completely part of Middle Earth. He has experienced it, lived it, gained his knowledge....what she said!
AelKennyr Rhiano grins
Belenos grins back
AelKennyr Rhiano:  heh heh
Zakar Zamin:            There is that. I believe Hebrew has two words for knowledge: one from learning and one from experience. I would have to look it up to clarify the definitions.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I think you are right? : not sure, but that sounds close if not spot on :)
Zakar Zamin:            And the elves did love learning.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  And both elves and humans experience the world first hand. Until Gandalf was sent among the children, he did not.
Zakar Zamin:            I suspect it is not spot on, but close, Ael.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  close is good  :)   Does Elrond change too, between the Hobbit and LOTR?
Lihan Taifun:            I didn't notice much change in Elrond himself, but the other elves of Rivendell seem pretty frivolous in the Hobbit,: not that we see much of them
AelKennyr Rhiano:  and Elrond was also descended from Melian, right? so he is not simply half-elven.
Lihan Taifun:            from Melian, yes
AelKennyr Rhiano:  His mother was Elwing the White
Zakar Zamin:            Somewhere I read that elves can seem frivolous at times to mortals.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  oh, and they so are in the Hobbit.
Shawn Daysleeper:  yes I remember the elves in the hobbit seem much different than in LOTR
Lihan Taifun:            can you explain that more, Zakar?
Zakar Zamin tries to dredge more out of his memory.
Zakar Zamin:            As I can recall, because elves don't die, they don't have the same sense of urgency that the mortal races to. Another thought
Lihan Taifun:            hmmm interesting
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Well, I can see where long life would give them a much different perspective.
Zakar Zamin:            LOTR dealt with more serious events and the elves could have acted appropriatly.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  LOTR were more serious in nature overall, too. : Maybe the elves were being frivolous because they knew that from this point on, Bilbo and the dwarves would have a hard journey?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  "Lighten up, dudes. Sucks to be you in two weeks, but hey, tonight, party on?"
Zakar Zamin:            lol
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Well, was a thought :P
Belenos:                     elves, frivolous?.. *thinks of our partyloving teleri*.. never.. *grins*
AelKennyr Rhiano:  heh heh They did rest there for...was it 10 days or so?
Lihan Taifun:            I'd love to see the Hobbit Movie showing the dwarves as the important people to be taken seriously, and the elves as the comic relief
Belenos:                     but i think that's a valid point, Ael.. about why they were being frivolous while the dwarves were there..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  if they follow the book, I don't think neither race would be taken quite seriously
Shawn Daysleeper:  I notice that the use of modern words seem interesting like when Thorin thinks the mountain giants might kick them around like footballs
AelKennyr Rhiano:  oh, I caught that too. I forgot he did that.
Lihan Taifun:            oh yes
Belenos smiles.. yes.. it's a trap a lot of writers fall into..
Zakar Zamin:            Also, Dwarves and Elves were not best of friends so this could be a bit of taunting on the elves' part
Lihan Taifun:            yes, I thought it sounded more like "mean teasing" on the elves part, rather than trying to cheer the dwarves up
AelKennyr Rhiano looks at Zakar with his jaw hanging open. What? Elves? Taunt? Why we would never ."  :P
Belenos pokes Ael
AelKennyr Rhiano squirms
Zakar Zamin:            I was looking at the wikip page on Tolkien, and the books were published 18 years apart
AelKennyr Rhiano:  that is a big lapse of time.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  You know, Shawn, I have often wondered about the purpose of the stone giants playing football. It just seems to stick out like a sore thumb to me.
Zakar Zamin:            same reason angels bowl.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Angels bowl?
Zakar Zamin:            it's where thunder comes from
AelKennyr Rhiano:  really?
Lihan Taifun:            it is
Zakar Zamin:            Steeerrrriiike
AelKennyr Rhiano:  omg...I have never heard that  heh heh heh
Lihan Taifun:            DON'T ask where rain comes from
Zakar Zamin:            I remember my dad taking me to the bowling ally one night when I was very young
Belenos:                     when my grandson was little he thought it rained because god was crying
AelKennyr Rhiano:  My grandmother told me the ancestors were weeping to give the earth life.
Shawn Daysleeper:  there are also places where he spoils the story a little, like "That would be the last time they use their ponies" even before they fell asleep in the shelter cave before they were caught
AelKennyr Rhiano:  oh yes, yes, he does!
Belenos:                     yes.. it shows the hallmarks of it being a children's story being told to them, rather than a book being written
Shawn Daysleeper:  or when he finds the ring "that is a turning point in his carreer"
Lihan Taifun:            that does sound like a "children's story" style
AelKennyr Rhiano:  it does.
Shawn Daysleeper:  ok
Zakar Zamin:            Which is who it was written for:
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I agree with Shawn..There are several "spoilers"
Zakar Zamin:            wikip: "by sheer accident a book called The Hobbit, which he had written some years before for his own children, came in 1936 to the attention of Susan Dagnall, an employee of the London publishing firm George Allen & Unwin, who persuaded Tolkien to submit it for publication"
Lihan Taifun:            as well as the stone giants playing football, and the golf joke
Belenos:                     i think that may be why there was such a delay between this and his other books... in the meantime he was learning to be a writer rather than a teller of tales..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  thank you, Zakar :)   and he was deciding what to do with this world he was creating.
Shawn Daysleeper:  in French the title is Bilbo le Hobbit, it is different in English
Belenos:                     yes... worldbuilding is a VERY time consuming task for a writer
Zakar Zamin:            Not to mention that ME was taking shape
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I read somewhere that Tolkien was not much of a self-starter.
Belenos giggles.. you know.. few writers are..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  nod nodnod
AelKennyr Rhiano gave you The Hobbit-- Chapters 3 & 4.  {hands out current notecard}   I thought this might help as we move forward...blushes
Zakar Zamin:            Which gives value to a group like the Inklings, give you a reason to get something done.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  literary groups are very very important.
Belenos:                     you have to watch that thought though zakar. sharing your work with others, and having it critiqued can also daunt the usually fragile confidence of a writer.: it can actually slow you down as you constantly second guess yourself..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  You have to have a secure relationship and alot of literary groups are very tight knit
Lihan Taifun:            if the group survives reading their works-in-progress to each other, they become tight knit?
Belenos:                     yes
AelKennyr Rhiano:  usually, they have something in common long before they become a literary group...usually, not always

AelKennyr Rhiano: for next time, Chapter 5-6?
Belenos:                     yes please.. *smiles*
Lihan Taifun:            sounds good
Shawn Daysleeper:  ok 5-6
Zakar Zamin:            Anyone have a view on the difference between orcs and goblins?
Belenos:                     size?
Shawn Daysleeper:  I thought they were the same
AelKennyr Rhiano:  they are the same, according to tolkien.
Zakar Zamin:            One place I read suggested that "goblin" was Hobbitish and "orc" common.
Shawn Daysleeper:  on the back of my copt the summary says Bilbo has to comfront orcs, wolves, spiders, etc
Belenos:                     i've always thought goblins were not as tall.. skinnier..
AelKennyr Rhiano:  I believe that is D&D
Zakar Zamin:            hmmm... mine too, Shawn. : I think you're right Ael.
Belenos giggles.. possibly.. or maybe i'm thinking of the difference between goblins and those mega-orc things that were created
Lihan Taifun:            I always thought they were the same, just Tolkien changed his terminology between the books
Zakar Zamin:            Urik'hai??
Belenos:                     that's it: sorry.. my brain is not firing on all cylinders today
AelKennyr Rhiano:  "Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin) for the larger kinds..." That is from Tolkien's prologue.
Shawn Daysleeper:  oh ya orcs and urik are different
Zakar Zamin:            and, slightly off subject, hobgoblins in myth are very different than in D&D
Shawn Daysleeper:  Uriks were created by saruman I think, after he becomes more evil
AelKennyr Rhiano:  oh, yes to both
Belenos:                     yes.. i believe so, Shawn
Zakar Zamin:            That seems right... Saruman trying to make a bent and broken race "better".
AelKennyr Rhiano:  or worse, depending upon your view :P
Shawn Daysleeper:  orc /ôrk/
(in fantasy literature and games) a member of an imaginary race of humanlike creatures, characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent.
ORIGIN late 16th cent. (denoting an ogre): perhaps from Latin orcus hell” or Italian orco “demon, monster,” influenced by obsolete orc [ferocious sea creature] and by Old English orcneas [monsters.] The current sense is due to the use of the word in Tolkien's fantasy adventures.
Shawn Daysleeper:  according to my mac dictionary giggles
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Go, Shawn!
Belenos grins.. go Mac Dictionary
Shawn Daysleeper:  goblin /ˈgäblin/
a mischievous, ugly, dwarflike creature of folklore.
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French gobelin, possibly related to German Kobold (see kobold ) or to Greek kobalos “mischievous goblin.” In medieval Latin Gobelinus occurs as the name of a mischievous spirit, said to haunt Évreux in northern France in the 12th cent.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Go mac Dictionary!
Shawn Daysleeper:  those sound a lot different
Zakar Zamin:            Reading the last para of your NC makes me think of "Providence"
AelKennyr Rhiano:  you mean, pure blind luck, Zakar?
Zakar Zamin:            no... Providence, or heaven, or the hand of God. : often capitalized: divine guidance or care
Shawn Daysleeper:  Goblin seems a lot different from orc, but I think tolkein intends they are the same
AelKennyr Rhiano:  That could definitely be discussed
Shawn Daysleeper:  there is the sword Orcrist too
Lihan Taifun:            "Orcrist" is an Elvish name
AelKennyr Rhiano:  yes, I think Tolkein does, too, Shawn.
Belenos:                     Yes, it sounds like it Shawn.. :)
AelKennyr Rhiano:  This was a great discussion :)
Shawn Daysleeper:  providence /ˈprävədəns, -ˌdens/
the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power : they found their trust in divine providence to be a source of comfort.
( Providence) God or nature as providing such care : I live out my life as Providence decrees.
timely preparation for future eventualities : it was considered a duty to encourage providence.
ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French, from Latin providentia, from providere “foresee, attend to” (see provide ).
Belenos nods nods nods
Shawn Daysleeper:  giggles

AelKennyr Rhiano:  Any last comments, thoughts, observations?
Shawn Daysleeper:  I am finished
Lihan Taifun:            this was a good discussion  :)   thank you
AelKennyr Rhiano:  no, no, please, it is just that I know it is late for some people.  and it was a great discussion.
Shawn Daysleeper:  eeek ya bedtime for me
Zakar Zamin:            Given the hour, I'll hold my peace.
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Remember, too, Lihan is always looking for topics for the Tolkien Discussion group
Lihan Taifun:            oh, we dont' have a topic for Discussion Group
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Snap! lol
Lihan Taifun grins! NEXT WEEK   and we don't have at topic. oh, Zakir, can you leverage what you don't have time to say now into a topic for that discussion?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  what about orcs? omg...yes
Shawn Daysleeper:  you started provedence so maybe Valinor as Tolkein's providence or something, oops typos
AelKennyr Rhiano:  Shawn that was very well put :)
Zakar Zamin:            I was going to comment on the NC's description of the races being morally homogeneous, but I'm not sure that would take that long. hmmm
AelKennyr Rhiano:  with us? you would be surprised.
Zakar Zamin:            probably
AelKennyr Rhiano:  :P
Zakar Zamin:            well, how about: Is ME monotheistic or polytheistic?
Lihan Taifun:            does that tie back to orcs?
Zakar Zamin:            did I miss a post?
Lihan Taifun:            does the "morally homogeneous" tie back to orcs?
Zakar Zamin:            yes,
Lihan Taifun:            orcs for next week? and providence/luck on the waiting list?
AelKennyr Rhiano:  that would work for me
Zakar Zamin:            fine with me
Belenos:                     works for me
{We confirm that Book Dicussion – Hobbit, Chapters 5 &6 – is Tuesday, May 15, 7 pm.
Tolkien Discussion Group – Topic: Orcs – is Tuesday, May 1, 7 pm}

The Hobbit — Chapters 3 & 4 - Notes

AelKennyr Rhiano

Chapter 3
As the company sets off the next morning, Gandalf explains that he has checked the road ahead up to the last safe stop along their way. This stop is Rivendell, a city of elves located just beyond the Edge of the Wild, near the foothills of the Misty Mountains, which the company will have to pass. As the company approaches Rivendell, a number of elves approach them and invite them back to eat and rest. During their stay, they meet Elrond, the great chief elf, who is “as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer.”

Elrond can interpret the ancient runes, or markings, found on the company’s new weapons and on Thorin’s map of the mountain. The swords taken from the trolls, he tells them, are renowned goblin-killers from the great wars between the elves and the goblins. Gandalf’s sword is called Glamdring, and Thorin’s is named Orcrist. On Thorin’s map, Elrond is able to read moon-letters—writing visible only in the light of the moon in the proper phase—that describe how to find the secret entrance on the Lonely Mountain. Though they are puzzled by the message, the group is in high spirits when they depart from Rivendell. Everyone is well rested and prepared for the road ahead.

Chapter 4
Bilbo and company advance upon the Misty Mountains. Thanks to Elrond’s and Gandalf’s advice, they are able to find a good pass over the mountain range among the many dead-end trails and drop-offs. Still, the climb is long and treacherous. A violent thunderstorm breaks suddenly, forcing them to find shelter. Luckily, two of the dwarves (Fili and Kili) find a cave in a side of the mountain. They bring in the ponies and make camp for the night.

In the middle of the night, Bilbo wakes with a start, just in time to see the ponies get dragged into an enormous crack that has opened in the cave wall. He yells, and out of the crack jump dozens of goblins, who tie up and carry off each member of the company except Gandalf, who was forewarned by Bilbo’s yell.

The goblins carry the dwarves and the hobbit down into the mountain to a huge chamber where the Great Goblin sits. He demands to know what the travelers are doing in his mountain. Thorin tries to explain about the storm, but one of the goblins brings forth the sword that Thorin took from the trolls, which he was carrying when captured. This sword, Orcrist, the goblin-cleaver, is well-known among the goblins.

The goblins go into a rage and the Great Goblin lunges at Thorin to eat him. Suddenly, the torches lighting the cavern go out and the great fire in the middle of the chamber throws its sparks onto the goblins. In the darkness and confusion, a great sword flashes and strikes down the Great Goblin. Then a voice guides the captives out of the cavern. It is Gandalf, who leads the dwarves through the passages and deeper into the mountain. The goblins follow quickly after them, and one of the goblins catches up to the dwarf Dori, who has been carrying Bilbo on his back. Bilbo falls off, strikes his head on the ground, and loses consciousness.

The swords that the company steals from the trolls’ cave are a link to the tradition of heroic epic on which so many aspects of The Hobbit are based. Great swords that have mythic lineages and heroic names are characteristically present in heroic epics, the most famous example being King Arthur’s legendary sword, Excalibur. The possession of a named sword is a symbol of heroism and prowess in battle, and for this reason, it is significant that Bilbo’s short sword is not named yet. As we shall see, after Bilbo performs some deeds more worthy of his quest, he names his sword.

In The Silmarillion, the swords are described as having been made for the goblin wars of an earlier age of Middle-Earth, in which the elves fought off the goblins. There is no question of which side was good and which evil—the evil nature of the goblins is described in Chapter 4, and the good nature of the elves is obvious from the glimpse we get of them at Rivendell in Chapter 3. Elves were the first creatures in Middle-Earth: they are immortal unless killed in battle; they are fair-faced, with beautiful voices; and they have a close communion with nature, which makes them skillful craftsmen. The unique magic of the swords, as Elrond tells the company in Chapter 3, is that they glow with a blue light when goblins are near.

The uniform wickedness demonstrated by the goblins in Chapter 4 affirms the connection between race and moral tendencies in Tolkien’s fantasy world. The different races of Middle-Earth possess specific moral characteristics, so that goblins, who are infamous for their ability to make cruel weapons and instruments of torture, are evil, and elves are good. There are no exceptions. The races of Middle-Earth also possess qualities that have little direct bearing on their overall moral standing. Hobbits love food, for instance, and dwarves love gold. Again, there are no exceptions.

The characteristics of the races result primarily from the mythic theology of Middle-Earth. Under this theology, the gods create certain creatures for very specific purposes. Each race also has a particular relationship with nature. Of the various characters Tolkien depicts, Bilbo seems to be the only one capable of making complex moral choices that test the boundaries of his race.

Bilbo’s heroism is somewhat dubious, for though he behaves heroically, his acts seem to be the result of luck, or else destiny, rather than effort on his part. He seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. In his first encounter with the goblins, for example, Bilbo proves useful by shouting enough to awaken Gandalf, who, in turn, ends up saving the whole company. Bilbo is credited for helping the whole party when his companions were unable to do so, even though it was only his chance awakening that enabled him to warn everyone.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

9th Annual Tolkien at UVM Conference

April 13-15, 2012
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont

Lihan reports on her wonderful, geeky weekend.

Friday, April 13
Open-Mic Fireside Reading
where we all reminded ourselves why we love Tolkien

something that I never noticed in 40 years of reading Lord of the Rings:
In Galadriel's Lament ("I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold"), Galadriel speaks of a golden tree in Tirion.
"... And by the strand of Ilmarin there grew a golden Tree.
Beneath the stars of Ever-eve in Eldamar it shone,
In Eldamar beside the walls of Elven Tirion.
There long the golden leaves have grown upon the branching years ..."
Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lórien"
But the only tree we hear about associated with Tirion was not gold.
"In Tirion upon Túna the Vanyar and the Noldor dwelt long in fellowship. And since of all things in Valinor they loved most the White Tree, Yavanna made for them a tree like to a lesser image of Telperion {the Silver Tree}, save that it did not give light of its own being. ... This tree was planted in the courts beneath the Mindon there it flourished, and its seedlings were many in Eldamar."
{That tree became the ancestor of the White Tree of Númenor and the White Tree of Gondor.}
Silmarillion, "Of Eldamar"
I suppose Galadriel might be homesick for a different tree than the famous White Tree.

Saturday, April 14
"Good morning" becomes a running joke for the weekend.

Session I — Student Voices (term papers from the UVM Tolkien course)
Similarities between Lord of the Rings and Dr. Who
Imagery of Light and Darkness
History of Language Families of Middle Earth

Session II
Forth Eorlingas: Horses and Ponies in The Lord of the Rings — Martha Monsson
"Pony" is a term that was not used until well after the Middle Ages. It originally refered to a horse from Scotland.
Hobbits, and their ponies, are small, sturdy, hardworking, and "plain" rather than showy.
These are contrasted to the horses of Rohan, which are in the heroic style, where size, speed, and appearance are valued.
The bad guys all ride black horses. The good guys' horses are white (symbolizing "honor" in medieval lore) or grey (symbolizing "good fortune"), or else the color is not mentioned.
Why is it that Gandalf rode Shadowfax without saddle or bridle, but Glorfindel used a bridle (with bells on it)? Tolkien at one time answered that question by saying Glorfindel's horse was actually wearing a decorative headstall, not a bridle with a bit.

The Many Faces of Trolls in Middle-Earth — Andrew C. Peterson
Trolls are portrayed inconsistently. The trolls in Lord of the Rings are quite different being from the three trolls Bilbo meets. Showing trolls in Moria carrying the slabs of rock for the balrog to cross the chasm does demonstrate that trolls are a valid part of the Lord of the Rings-style Middle-earth.
The Troll Song is meant to go to the tune of The Fox Went Out on a Winter's Night (

From Goblins to Valaraukar: Scourges of Fire and Demons of Terror — Matt Dickerson
Only one Balrog is ever named – Gothmog.
The "Flame of Anor" which Gandalf invokes might refer to Anar, the Sun, meaning Arien the uncontaminated fire spirit. It might also refer to the "Imperishable Flame", associated with Eru Iluvatar, and which Tolkien sometimes equated with the Holy Spirit.

Session III — "What to Do with Tolkien's Orcs" — Round Table Discussion
Many of the old philosophical questions about orcs were discussed. If orcs are twisted elves, does that mean orcs do not die of old age? (Not that an orc would have an opportunity to die of old age!) Do the souls of dead orcs go to Mandos? Do orcs have souls? Later in his life, Tolkien said that, while elves thought orcs were twisted elves, it is possible they were really twisted humans. If Melkor/Sauron/Saruman has forced the orcs into evil, are the orcs morally responsible? Or are they victims themselves? Does it make any sense that "evil" could be come part of the genetics of a race? How does this fit with the importance Tolkien places on individual moral choices?

Keynote Speaker — Jonathan Evans — Tolkien's Non-Allegorical Bestiary
(I think this is where the comment about dragons fits.) Fafnir is the only sentient, speaking dragon in northern European mythology. But he provides a strong prototype.

Session IV
Manwë's Messengers: The Role of Eagles in Middle-Earth — Ray Saxon
Eagles appear as helpers, as warnings, and as messengers. Tolkien deliberately used "rescue by Eagles" sparingly, because it tends too much toward deus ex machina. Eagles are important warriors in the War of Wrath and the Battle of Five Armies.

An early note on a typescript suggests that Thorondor (and perhaps all the Eagles of Manwë) were Maiar. The Eagles of the Third Age were "ordinary" creatures, and Tolkien said that they had no fëar. The Eagles of the Third Age could still be distant descendants ofMaia Eagles.

The Eagles are probably influenced by Zeus's eagles and Odin's ravens.

Mammoths, Mûmakil, and 'The Old Fireside Rhyme of Oliphaunt': Tolkien's Contributions to the Medieval Bestiary Tradition — Mark Zender
The "Oliphaunt" poem is very much influenced by medieval bestiaries.

Session V
A Creature of an Older World: Tolkien and the Mythology of the Prehistoric — Kristine Larsen
Paleontology was in the news a lot while Tolkien was a child. A live coelacanth (a species believed extinct since the time of the dinosaurs) was captured in 1950. These might have influenced Tolkien's mammoth-like mûmakil and pterodactyl-like mounts of the Nazgul. The descriptions of the Pukel-Men resemble pictures of "Piltdown Man".

A Boy and His Dog — Gerry Blair

Tolkien and the Codification of Non-Human Beings — Jamie Williamson
Tolkien took his world-building seriously, where a lot of earlier stories didn't.

Sunday, April 15
Springle-Ring — Hobbit Festival

Cake and scones and tea for "elevenses".

 Do hobbits have Morris dancers?  They should.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Shawn Daysleeper  
Rajani                     (rajani.milton)
Lihan Taifun           
Leowen Landar       
Merp Brotherhood  

Varda is the most powerful of the female Valar. She is Manwë's partner. Manwë sees all; Varda hears all. From the earliest times, she could perceive Melkor's thoughts, and hated him.

Varda's specialty is "light" – not only the stars but all forms of light. She had an important role in making the Lamps (which came before the Two Trees) and also the Moon and Sun, as well as the stars.

Varda was especially revered by the Elves of Middle Earth This is partly because the Elves are fond of the stars, which she made, and which the Elves saw when they first awoke.. By the end of the Third Age, Varda ("Elbereth") is the only one of the Valar that the Elves of Middle Earth speak of. Is she somehow considered "friendlier" or more accessible than Manwë? Does she help the Elves more? Do the remnants of the Noldor feel that they are still in trouble with Manwë, but that Varda is more sympathetic to them? We don't know. And, do we really know that what the Elves of the Third Age told the hobbits (and thus what was recorded in Lord of the Rings) reflects everything the Elves were thinking? Maybe the Elves just didn't talk about the other Valar in the hobbits' hearing.

Varda/Elbereth seems to fill the role, for the Third Age Elves of Middle Earth, that the Virgin Mary filled for Tolkien with his Roman Catholic background – the powerful and accessible female helper and intercessor. Galadriel then fills this role for Frodo. Several times Frodo says, "if Galadriel were here, I would ask her for __", and that ends up happening. Some of us suspect Varda was actually responsible, since Galadriel's influence did not extend that far?

In Tolkien's early versions (Book of Lost Tales era), "Varda" was a title, meaning "queen".

(Off the topic of Varda), Aragorn and Arwen were related. Both were descended from Melian, and Luthien and Beren. Elrond was the brother of the first king of Númenor; Aragorn is a descendant of Arwen's first cousin.

In the Hobbit movie, will we see ten-year-old Aragorn, being raised at Rivendell?
"Born of Hope", a fan-made movie about Aragorn's parents:
"The Hunt for Gollum", another fan-made movie:

Merp's links:
Talk show (about 41 episodes so far): Middle-earth Talk Show with Michael Martinez and Hawke:
Middle-earth Radio (4 streams of all Tolkien, all the Time):
Inland Empire Tolkien Society and official UK Tolkien Society Smial: Spokane ASL weekly study group
an annual convention for Tolkien non-gamers and gamers called Tolkien Moot (formerly MerpCon) and

{Rajani, Ael, and Rhûn are each detained by other business.}
Lihan Taifun:            you won't tell us all about Varda before you go?
Rajani:                      has not been thinking about her enough to have anything to say :P
Lihan Taifun:            hmm, ok
Rajani:                      except she is the Star Goddess, and everything that Ilmare wants to be when she grows up :P

Lihan Taifun:            you and I could talk :) What do you know about Varda?
Shawn Daysleeper:   ok she seems to be the strongest of the female valar, and in charge of the air, like manwe is
Lihan Taifun:            she is a close partner with Manwe
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes I remember they are close
Lihan Taifun:            she has a connection to "light", not only the stars, but anything with "light"
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes
Lihan Taifun:            she helped a lot in making the Sun and Moon
Shawn Daysleeper:   Ael says he has to take a phone call and he apologise
Lihan Taifun:            yes, thank you
Shawn Daysleeper:   she made the lamps too I think
Lihan Taifun:            and the lamps, yes
Shawn Daysleeper:   they came before the sun and moon
Lihan Taifun:            yes, first the lamps, then the Trees, then the sun and moon. the sun and moon were high enough in the sky that Melkor couldn't break them
Shawn Daysleeper:   nods
Lihan Taifun:            on the third try -- an unbreakable source of light
Shawn Daysleeper:   right, which is closest to what exists in our physical world
Lihan Taifun:            yes
Shawn Daysleeper:   the stars came before the sun and moon.: the elves saw them when they first woke
Lihan Taifun:            Varda made some new stars, before the Elves awoke, brighter than the old ones
Shawn Daysleeper:   so varda was respected by them because of that
Lihan Taifun:            yes, Varda seems to be the one that the elves in Middle Earth really remember
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes
Lihan Taifun:            was that just because of the stars? why is she the most important of the Valar to them?

{Leowen arrives.  Greetings.}
Shawn Daysleeper:   I do not recall the elves saying much about Varda past her being the star kindler
Lihan Taifun:            we were just reviewing what we know about Varda
Leowen Landar:        I only know a bit from the Silmarillion
Lihan Taifun:            that is about all there is. that, and that she is the "Elbereth" from Lord of the Rings
Shawn Daysleeper:   and the bit from LOTR as Elbereth, yes  Shawn Daysleeper giggles   she is the only Valar mentioned in the films as well
Lihan Taifun:            we were just wondering whether creating the stars was the reason she was so respected in Middle Earth, when the other Valar are nearly forgotten.  was she mentioned in the films?
Rajani:                      ((is back))
Leowen Landar:        She is the hearer while Manwe is the seer of things
Lihan Taifun:            yes, that is an interesting partnership
Shawn Daysleeper:   Frodo says her name when he ligts the glass in Shelob's den
Lihan Taifun:            ah, ok, "light" again
Shawn Daysleeper:   yes that seems to be her sphere of influence
Lihan Taifun:            we mentioned that she helped make the Lamps, and the Sun and Moon, so she wasn't limited to making stars, although she is most famous for that
Rajani:                      it's interesting that the Elves would remember her more than Manwe,: or at least tell Hobbits about her more :P
Lihan Taifun:            yes, that is interesting
Shawn Daysleeper:   nods
Rajani:                      maybe she was friendlier? maybe she answered people when they called on her or something
Lihan Taifun:            or they felt they were in trouble with Manwe, after the Noldor left the Undying lands, but they weren't in trouble with Varda?
Rajani:                      hmm, that is very likely
Lihan Taifun:            the elves' songs are mostly about how much they miss the Undyling Lands
Rajani:                      "and now Varda, Queen of the Stars, has lifted up her hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow"
Lihan Taifun:            Maybe if they think they are in trouble with Manwe, it is too embarassing to write songs to him?   yes!
Leowen Landar:        Tolkien was Catholic and some say Varda was like the virgin Mary so yes more accessible and warmer
Rajani:                      "The long years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble in the voice of her song"
Shawn Daysleeper:   that makes sense
Lihan Taifun:            she does seem to fit a similar role, yes
Rajani:                      she does
Lihan Taifun:            did the elves need an intercessor with Manwe?
Leowen Landar:        She is the more caring and compassionate, while still being powerful
Lihan Taifun:            or was that more something Tolkien felt?   IS she more caring and compassionate than Manwe? Manwe seemed nice enough
Rajani:                      it seems like they think of "Varda, and the rest of the Valar" like she represents the concept of the Valar, and maybe even Eru, to them.: or maybe that is just how it sounds to Hobbits.: I would be hesitant to say that Manwe was too lofty to talk to if Varda wasn't. they're both pretty thorougly godlike.: Frodo is to Galadriel as Galadriel is to Varda? something like that
Lihan Taifun:            heh, yes, I noticed that, too
Rajani:                      (except Frodo wasn't a rebel, I guess)
Lihan Taifun:            Frodo keeps saying "if Galadriel were here, I would ask her for ..." and whatever it is always ends up happening
Rajani:                      yes   :D  : I actually always kind of assumed it was Varda's doing when that happened, without realizing that that was what I assumed
Lihan Taifun:            hmmm, interesting
Rajani:                      probably because of the whole thing with the light of Earendil and calling on Elbereth, hmm
Lihan Taifun:            either Galadriel is more godess-like than she realizes, or Varda is working through her
Rajani:                      nod, nod
Lihan Taifun:            yes, I get the same feeling there is some connection there
Leowen Landar:        Maybe both
Shawn Daysleeper:   now that is intresting
Rajani:                      Galadriel has certainly grown since she was a brash young kid running off to Middle Earth with the Noldor
Leowen Landar:        and how do you define "goddess"?
Lihan Taifun:            good question

{Merp Brotherhood arrives. Greetings.}
Merp Brotherhood:   Hawke of Inland Empire Tolkien Society, Middle-earth Radio, etc.
Leowen Landar:        We are discussing Varda
Lihan Taifun:            we were discussing what connections we saw between Galadriel and Varda; at least, Rajani and I saw connections
Lihan Taifun:            did you, Shawn?
Shawn Daysleeper:   Varda seems to be the only Valar she recognises,: so yes there may be a connection
Lihan Taifun:            the other Valar are hardly mentioned at all

Lihan Taifun:            have we just run out of things to say?
Leowen Landar:        Varda is more of a title than a actual name.
Rajani:                      oh hmm really?
Leowen Landar:        Well I had heard that and found a reference: In Quenya Elvish, vard- is "rule, govern", vardar is "king", varni is "queen" so this could be translated in context as queen.
Lihan Taifun:            hmmm, we were looking for the word for "queen" in Quenya once, and couldn't find it! I have also seen "Varda" translated as "the exalted" where are you looking? you must have a source I don't
Shawn Daysleeper:   this goes along with her being strongest of the female valar
Leowen Landar:        I am not sure how reliable references are
Lihan Taifun:            that looks like it is from Book of Lost Tales
Rajani:                      aha
Lihan Taifun:            which is much earlier than the Silmarillion, but does have some interesting things
Leowen Landar:        Melkor feared and hated Varda the most out of the Valar, because she could read his thoughts
{Shawn has to leave. Farewells.}
Lihan Taifun:            reading Melkor's thoughts sounds seriously unpleasant
Rajani:                      it really does
Lihan Taifun:            though it would certainly explain why she hated him
Rajani:                      ha! would
Lihan Taifun:            do we want to pick a topic for next month?
Rajani:                      hmm
Leowen Landar:        Were we going to continue with the Hobbit chapters?
Rajani:                      something Ael and Belenos will come to? :P
Lihan Taifun:            yes, we will also have chapters from the Hobbit
Rajani:                      oh yeah what's happening with the Hobbit?
Lihan Taifun:            Book Discussion: The Hobbit, Chapters 3 & 4
Tuesday, April 17
7 pm SLT/PDT
Lihan Taifun:            and Ael and Rhun would have been here tonight, except Ael's phone rang
Leowen Landar:        I just came upon something I didn't know that surprised me.
Lihan Taifun:            oh?
Leowen Landar:        Not about Varda though.  Elrond was Melian's great-great-grandson, and Aragorn, too, was her descendant, though through many more generations than Elrond. So they were actually related
Rajani:                      they were!
Lihan Taifun:            yes, that is why the story of Beren and Luthien is so important to the story. heh heh, but nobody ever asks whether it was incestous
Rajani:                      ha
Lihan Taifun:            Elrond was the brother of the first king of Numenor
Rajani:                      well, it is lucky that Elros was counted as Human and had so many descendents before Aragorn showed up,: because Elros's kids would have been Arwen's first cousins
Lihan Taifun:            The Valar gave the two "half-elven" brother the choice of which race they wanted to belong to
Rajani:                      Aragorn is just Arwen's first cousin's great-something-something-grandson :P
Lihan Taifun:            Elrond chose elvish, Elros chose human, and became the first king of Numenor; yeah, what Rajani said
Leowen Landar:        Arwen was related to Aragorn though distantly
Lihan Taifun:            she was also 2300 years older than he was, which I would have thought would be awkward
Leowen Landar:        Elrond in fact raised Aragorn as his own son
Lihan Taifun:            and probably wasn't as snarky about it as he was in the movie
Rajani:                      heeee
Merp Brotherhood:   after Arathorn was slain in the Fall of Arnor right?
Rajani:                      yeah Arathorn was killed fighting orcs when Aragorn was, like, three?
Lihan Taifun:            was that where Arathorn died? ok
Rajani:                      I think much later than the fall of Arnor, but when Aragorn was wee. and really, ten-year-old Aragorn *should* be in the Hobbit movie at Rivendell
Lihan Taifun:            oh, he really should!
Merp Brotherhood:   there is that community based "Born of Hope" movie about the early years with Arathorn meeting the mother of Aragorn and such, who has seen it?
Rajani:                      I saw it! it was quite good really
Leowen Landar:        I have not seen it
Merp Brotherhood:   definitely enjoyed, and encouraged that the community was able to produce it.
Lihan Taifun:            oh, I haven't either!
Rajani:                      it's worth looking up, oselle
Merp Brotherhood:
Rajani:                      very much in the style of the Peter Jackson movies
Merp Brotherhood:   a little over an hour
Lihan Taifun:            I will have to watch it
Rajani:                      all fan-made
Lihan Taifun:            thank you for the link
Rajani:                      features wee baby Aragorn, later in the story, and an OC who isn't completely terrible
Merp Brotherhood:   there is also the Gollum one from another group, "The Hunt for Gollum", it wasn't quite as good, but still worth seeing:
Lihan Taifun:            that one I have seen
Leowen Landar:        Thank you I will watch this soon
Leowen Landar:        I have not seen that one either
Rajani:                      I don't know if I saw the Gollum one! I should, hmm, especially if it does come subtitled, hmm, will have to check

Merp Brotherhood:   btw, would love to get folks feedback from our talkshow on these kinds of topics, Michael and I have many such conversations, and always looking for knowledgeable Tolkienists to join in the conversations. I'm wondering if it's possible to link our voice broadcasts into a secondlife session so we can all participate together? are these meetings here weekly or monthly?
Lihan Taifun:            currently monthly.  we have a couple of people for whom voice wouldn't work well
Merp Brotherhood:   ok. we also have our IRL Tolkien Society meetings once per month, usually the second Saturday of each month, is it possible to link the audio from my laptop into here, so folks in SL could participate? ic, but could they listen, and then type to post questions?
Lihan Taifun:            between the hard of hearing, and the not native speakers of English
Merp Brotherhood:   oic; I do also run an ASL weekly group here in Spokane (American Sign Language), so I understand that challenge.
Lihan Taifun:            wow! Tolkien in ASL?
Merp Brotherhood:   heh, alas no, two different groups, none of the ASL members are signers, and none of the signers are into Tolkien  :-(  : but it would be fun to do
Lihan Taifun:            it would!
Leowen Landar:        I have attended some meetings in SL where the speakers in voice were translated at least in summary for those who could only use text
Lihan Taifun:            but we might have some people who could participate in your broadcast
Merp Brotherhood:   anyone want the link to the talk show, society, and asl sites? I don't want to be spammy, but excited to share for folks to join in, but asking permission first. ;-)
Leowen Landar:        I do
Lihan Taifun:            please
Merp Brotherhood:   Talk show (about 41 episodes so far): Middle-earth Talk Show with Michael Martinez and Hawke: Middle-earth Radio (4 streams of all Tolkien, all the Time): Inland Empire Tolkien Society and official UK Tolkien Society Smial: Spokane ASL weekly study group
Merp Brotherhood:   any Tolkien RPG fans here? (non-computer based or otherwise?)
Rajani:                      we have a SL-based RP going here in Alqualonde :)
Lihan Taifun:            we have Fellowship of the Fourth Age roleplay here, yes
I told you about our archive; the RP archive is at
Rajani:                      which reminds me I owe Lihan an email about Ilmarë :P
Lihan Taifun:            the rp here is very text-based, even if it happen in sl
Rajani:                      yes,: I'm sort of in costume for my character right now, though Lihan isn't
Merp Brotherhood:   I run an annual convention for Tolkien non-gamers and gamers called Tolkien Moot (formerly MerpCon) and
Merp Brotherhood:   ic
Lihan Taifun:            lots of interesting things to read, Merp. It will take me a while to catch up. do keep in touch
Merp Brotherhood:   sorry, didn't mean to sidetrack the Numenor related conversation, but it is an area I enjoy. : I hope to be more regular joining in the future.
Lihan Taifun:            so, what do we want to discuss next month?
Leowen Landar:        It is easy to get too multi focused so I will read it later. Thank you for the links
Merp Brotherhood:   you bet leowen. here's stuff wrote on NUmenor:
Merp Brotherhood:   what is the usual process for deciding on an upcoming topic here?
Lihan Taifun:            people suggest topics they want, and often one of the suggestions appeals to the group. we have discussed quite a few things, over the years
Rajani:                      what were the last few topics for the last couple of months, do you remember?
Lihan Taifun:            previous topics:
Rajani:                      (keeps forgetting to come to these...) oh! thank you
Lihan Taifun:            recently? Tom Bombadil, Geography ... Minas Tirith, Yavanna
Leowen Landar:        oooo I would have liked those
Rajani:                      *scrolls down list* holy cats you've talked about a lot of things :D
Leowen Landar:        Have there been any machinimas in SL made that were based on any of Tolkien's books?
Rajani:                      possibly, but I haven't seen them.: do you know, Lihan?
Lihan Taifun:            I haven't heard of any, but I'm not sure that I would have
Rajani:                      I remember a few years ago we knew people who were talking about it but I don't think it ever got off the ground
Lihan Taifun:            do you know how to make machinima?
Rajani:                      some of the Valimar crew
Lihan Taifun:            it would be fun, wouldn't it?
Merp Brotherhood:   indeed. years ago we tried to get a fully animated version of the Silmarillion going (underground community)
Leowen Landar:        I like hearing the Elven songs in Quenya and Sandarin too.
Merp Brotherhood:   starting with the creation via music, and working forward from there, using cgi rendering, but alas it bogged down after a few years.
Lihan Taifun:            that sounds like a huge project
Leowen Landar:        aww that would have been great Merp
Lihan Taifun:            Ilianor sometimes sings the elven songs
Leowen Landar:        Silmarillion is huge
Merp Brotherhood:   keep hoping someday to bring those stories to life, make it smaller pieces by just one portion of a story at a time. I'm getting closer to a setup that might mke it possible for people to read their portions of script more effectively. : still in dream stage, but hope over time will become more a reality. ;-)
Lihan Taifun:            it's a start
Leowen Landar:        It is easier to do machinima in SL or other VWs than to get good enough quality CGI or to do in RL. Lots less costly too
Lihan Taifun:            since the viewer is doing most of the cgi for you
Leowen Landar:        Let me know if you would like some help.
Lihan Taifun:            do keep us informed
Leowen Landar nods
Merp Brotherhood:   something to consider. the first step is trying to gett all the voice recordings first, then the animation medium could be worked on.
Rajani:                      yes, that sounds very cool
Lihan Taifun:            it's midnight in my timezone. did we have any ideas about topics? we can do one we have done before, if it hasn't been recent
Leowen Landar:        There is no lip synch at all good in SL. More like watching a forgien movie
Lihan Taifun:            lip sync would be very hard
Rajani:                      yeah
Rajani:                      thinking about topics, hmm
Leowen Landar:        That is one of the hardest things in CGI too
Leowen Landar:        Were we going to stick with the Hobbit more or move on to other things?
Rajani:                      have we talked about hobbits recently? or, IDK, peoples of southern Middle Earth? or just more about The Hobbit I suppose. or, Giant Spiders of Middle Earth?
Lihan Taifun:            there are two sets of discussions each month: first tuesday is "topics", and third tuesday (more or less) is Hobbit book discussion
Rajani:                      ahh, so they are separate, ok
Merp Brotherhood:   ah
Lihan Taifun:            yes, so Hobbit Chapters 3&4 is already on for April 17
Leowen Landar:        Oh I see thanks
Lihan Taifun:            AND we need a topic for May 1
Leowen Landar:        oooo May Day hmmm
Lihan Taifun:            and half the people will be exhausted from Fantasy Faire
{Discussion wanders off on the topic of Fantasy Faire, and of other Tolkien RP groups, in and out of SL.}