1149: Broomstick

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PolakoVoador
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:59 am UTC

Magiko wrote:I understood the Ring and Sauron to be the same. It didn't slip off of Sauron's finger insomuch as cutting off the ring was equal to beheading him. He lived on as if the Ring were a Horcrux (oh shit I'm mixing more nerd culture here, we don't need a 3rd topic).

The Ring influences minds of those who are around them (as others have said) but it was less good at manipulating Hobbits (and terribly good at manipulating humans). Tolkein speculated in The Hobbit that Gollum was once Hobbit-like. One side-effect/power the owner gets is prolonged life. It was always described by Bilbo as "thin"... or... "butter scraped over too much bread" -- he looked too young for his birthday (the 111th birthday I think) when he takes off to live with the elves. He didn't really feel like a hobbit anymore.

Well before the party, the ring saw an opportunity in Bilbo to leave Gollum's cave. Gollum was a convenient hiding spot, but it really didn't want to be there, as Gollum wasn't a corruptible human. Bilbo wasn't a desirable host either, but it wanted to start moving, as Sauron's power was growing again. Gandalf saw all of this and knew that the carrier had to be a hobbit. This is why he wouldn't carry it, and why he shot down when others offered. It had to be Frodo (and Frodo was the only hobbit in the shire with the adventurer's desire - hobbits don't normally have that trait, not even Bilbo was an adventurer, and Bilbo was already too far corrupted for this mission - it really had to be Frodo).


The Ring was not so omnipresent and/or omniscient as to choose to be taken by Bilbo (or by Gollum in the first place). It's unknown if the Ring was lying around solely because of Gollum's carelessness (it was usually so dark at the caves that he rarelly used it anymore), or maybe it was in fact caused by Sauron's will, since Sauron was trying to get back at kicking everyone's ass (as the Necromancer in Dol Guldur).

What you said at the begining is quite right: we can see Sauron and the Ring as one. All the talk about "the Ring wants to be found" can be considered some sort of "popular saying" of Middle-earth, when what was really happening was some manifestation of Sauron focusing strongly in finding his damned Ring.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:02 pm UTC

ShuRugal wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:[edit]If the One Ring had the foresight to "know when to duck", then it would have abandoned Gollum where a Goblin would have come across it, rather than where it could be found by the only other non-Goblin to walk those tunnels in a thousand years...


A goblin serves little purpose for the ring. Individually, they are too small and weak to accomplish any useful purpose, and are (generally) far too short-lived (even with the ring extending them?) to be worked on over time and turned into something that would be more useful. Gollum was sufficiently tenacious to survive living outside goblin society, and preying upon it. Gollum kept the ring isolated from the world, but also preserved it in a fixed location/stewardship at a time when being in contact with the world at large would be useless, as Sauron was not able to take advantage of the presence of the ring. Then along comes this hardy, if timid, upworld creature, still in the prime of his youth and excellent health. Having had experience with a similar creature (Smeagol), the ring knows that it can ride Bilbo back to the surface, and keep him alive long enough for Sauron to finish restoring himself sufficiently to come retrieve it.


Goblins would have been ideal for the One Ring's purposes - weak, evil creatures, ready to be given extended duration and a purpose by an external power. If an Orc or a Goblin had got his paws on the One Ring, it would have been Game Over for the good guys...

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby mathmannix » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:59 pm UTC

mrob27 wrote:
Rotherian wrote:I know I'm gonna regret this...
ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY WALK INTO MORDOR!
- SARUMAN


No, I think the saying goes, "Only Nixon could walk into Mordor."


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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Klear » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:41 pm UTC

It's missing attribution:

Only Nixon could simply walk into Mordor
- Dumbledore

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby mathmannix » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

Klear wrote:It's missing attribution


Allrightythen.
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby cphite » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:13 pm UTC

TimXCampbell wrote:This approach really shortens the Oz series.

Now, then, if we can come up with a way for Bilbo Baggins to make The One Ring inaccessible instead of destroying it, we can save ourselves all kinds of time. I'm thinking about encasing it in lead , rowing out to sea and chucking it over the side. (Do hobbits know anything about plate tectonics? I'm thinking subduction zone.)


They could have just thrown the The One Ring into a sealed box and then transported it on one of the boats to Valinor; that would have made it essentually unreachable for Sauron, pretty much forever.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Klear » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:24 pm UTC

Perfection itself.

You provoked to making a picture as well, though a completely different one:

Image

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
TimXCampbell wrote:This approach really shortens the Oz series.

Now, then, if we can come up with a way for Bilbo Baggins to make The One Ring inaccessible instead of destroying it, we can save ourselves all kinds of time. I'm thinking about encasing it in lead , rowing out to sea and chucking it over the side. (Do hobbits know anything about plate tectonics? I'm thinking subduction zone.)


They could have just thrown the The One Ring into a sealed box and then transported it on one of the boats to Valinor; that would have made it essentually unreachable for Sauron, pretty much forever.


And that would make it even worse. First of all, Sauron could win the even without the Ring. Second, you just sent the Ring to the one place FULL of beings as powerful as Sauron (some even more powerful). Not a good place to keep a "corrupt everyone" device...

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Magiko » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:18 am UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:The Ring was not so omnipresent and/or omniscient as to choose to be taken by Bilbo (or by Gollum in the first place). It's unknown if the Ring was lying around solely because of Gollum's carelessness (it was usually so dark at the caves that he rarelly used it anymore), or maybe it was in fact caused by Sauron's will, since Sauron was trying to get back at kicking everyone's ass (as the Necromancer in Dol Guldur).


"Omnipresent and/or omniscient" is a bit of an overstatement from what I meant. I'm meaning it bends wills, and is somehow tied up into fates of certain folk. When humans get near the Ring we see the greed come out - and the elf queen sees it as a test she passes when she doesn't take the ring (but she wanted it). I take this as it calls to people (in more than just people being greedy for power).

At its weak strength (sauron's mostly dead, after all) it can do only a little. If it had ultimate power it would have been able to make a better selection in hosts to come get it. My understanding has always been that Gollum was called to it too. It went unseen for a long time and then its power grew just enough to get itself "found" by Gollum, who hoarded it and hid himself away.

It's been some years since I read any of the books, I admit, but I remember it was a topic that was brought up more than once that it was thought to not be coincidence that on the same day Bilbo comes around the cave that the ring (which was so amazingly important - his precious - to gollum) got itself under Bilbo's hand in the complete darkness. Gollum has the riddle contest, gets fed up with Bilbo and goes to get his ring so that he can kill him while invisible and realizes it's not in its special spot... he retraces his steps and is only able to determine that somehow he must have lost it (it "fell" off his fingers (part of the willful manipulation)) and so he suspects that bilbo has it after remembering Bilbo's last weird riddle "what have I got in my pocket?".

I read it several times as a kid, so I admit my memories are old and maybe skewed by my ability to interpret as a child. I'm considering reading it again to see if as an adult I still get this theme out of the book.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Icalasari » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:07 am UTC

TimXCampbell wrote:This approach really shortens the Oz series.

Now, then, if we can come up with a way for Bilbo Baggins to make The One Ring inaccessible instead of destroying it, we can save ourselves all kinds of time. I'm thinking about encasing it in lead , rowing out to sea and chucking it over the side. (Do hobbits know anything about plate tectonics? I'm thinking subduction zone.)


Question this made me think of:

What's so special about the "fires it was forged" in?

I mean, if it was just the heat, then maybe they didn't realize that there are other volcanoes

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby ijuin » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:35 am UTC

Well, Middle-Earth is not quite the purely logic-driven sort of universe that we live in--it's a universe where there really are what we would consider supernatural beings out there.

But putting that aside, Mount Doom may be the hottest volcano known, or its lava may contain certain impurities which would lower the melting point of the alloy of which the One Ring is composed. The fact that only the fires of Mount Doom could create said alloy in the first place would tend to support such a notion--that the One Ring is made of a material that only melts under conditions not present in other volcanoes on the continent.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Jorpho » Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:46 pm UTC

A wizard did it.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Kain » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:17 am UTC

Now, I am just basing this on a half-remembered reading of the fellowship from about twelve years ago, but didn't the council at Rivendell suggest that the ring could conceivably be melted in the belly/fire of a truly powerful dragon (with a slightly ironic note that Smaug was the last dragon known to be powerful enough to obtain the required heat)?
I've always pretended that the reason Mount Doom was needed was because the rest of the volcanoes in the region were extinct, and Gandalf just didn't want to take the time to teach everyone geophysics.

As for Oz, I haven't read it in ... ever? (That can't be right, but I honestly don't remember when I last read it). Was the WWotW's vulnerability to water known to the WoO, and if so, did he tell Dorothy? No, right?
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby curtis95112 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:01 pm UTC

So all they really needed was thermite?
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:56 pm UTC

Magiko wrote:It's been some years since I read any of the books, I admit, but I remember it was a topic that was brought up more than once that it was thought to not be coincidence that on the same day Bilbo comes around the cave that the ring (which was so amazingly important - his precious - to gollum) got itself under Bilbo's hand in the complete darkness. Gollum has the riddle contest, gets fed up with Bilbo and goes to get his ring so that he can kill him while invisible and realizes it's not in its special spot... he retraces his steps and is only able to determine that somehow he must have lost it (it "fell" off his fingers (part of the willful manipulation)) and so he suspects that bilbo has it after remembering Bilbo's last weird riddle "what have I got in my pocket?".


Yeah, it's mentioned that there may have been outside intervention behind that unlikeliest of outcomes - that the one thing the Enemy most desired - the one thing that could make his victory complete came into the hands of someone who happens to be able to resist its power and hand it on to someone capable of bearing it to Mordor. There are several places in LotR where characters in a position to know such things make it clear that they believe that there is a plan behind events (and not just from the bad guys).

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby ijuin » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:07 am UTC

curtis95112 wrote:So all they really needed was thermite?


Too bad thermite requires substances like aluminum or magnesium, which can't be de-oxidized by heating, but require lots of electricity instead (and not just a lightning bolt either). Probably only a wizard would even know about such stuff in Middle-Earth . . .

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Dryhad » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:13 am UTC

ijuin wrote:
curtis95112 wrote:So all they really needed was thermite?


Too bad thermite requires substances like aluminum or magnesium, which can't be de-oxidized by heating, but require lots of electricity instead (and not just a lightning bolt either). Probably only a wizard would even know about such stuff in Middle-Earth . . .

Maybe Mithril is just what the Elves call aluminium.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby drummerpatch » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

Dryhad wrote:
ijuin wrote:
curtis95112 wrote:So all they really needed was thermite?


Too bad thermite requires substances like aluminum or magnesium, which can't be de-oxidized by heating, but require lots of electricity instead (and not just a lightning bolt either). Probably only a wizard would even know about such stuff in Middle-Earth . . .

Maybe Mithril is just what the Elves call aluminium.


I think Mithril was a lot stronger than our aluminium is, unless they figured out some sort of special smelting process to make it unlike anything we've ever seen. Try wearing a chain-mail made out of aluminium. If it can even support its own weight, I strongly doubt it can save you from a direct stab by an orc-blade.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby addams » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:34 pm UTC

Red Shoes.

I would not kill for Red Shoes. That would be stupid.
I had Red Shoes. They came in every color of the Rainbow.
Mine were Red. The person next to me had Purple. They came in White.

A work shoe so comfortable. Prototypes. They did not hold up. Mine did.
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby ijuin » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:46 am UTC

drummerpatch wrote:
Dryhad wrote:
ijuin wrote:
curtis95112 wrote:So all they really needed was thermite?


Too bad thermite requires substances like aluminum or magnesium, which can't be de-oxidized by heating, but require lots of electricity instead (and not just a lightning bolt either). Probably only a wizard would even know about such stuff in Middle-Earth . . .

Maybe Mithril is just what the Elves call aluminium.


I think Mithril was a lot stronger than our aluminium is, unless they figured out some sort of special smelting process to make it unlike anything we've ever seen. Try wearing a chain-mail made out of aluminium. If it can even support its own weight, I strongly doubt it can save you from a direct stab by an orc-blade.

Mithril is most similar to titanium in terms of the properties of real-life metals, since it is as strong as the best modern steels (i.e. better than what pre-industrial tech could make) and forty-odd percent less dense than steel.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Dmytry » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:59 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
TimXCampbell wrote:This approach really shortens the Oz series.

Now, then, if we can come up with a way for Bilbo Baggins to make The One Ring inaccessible instead of destroying it, we can save ourselves all kinds of time. I'm thinking about encasing it in lead , rowing out to sea and chucking it over the side. (Do hobbits know anything about plate tectonics? I'm thinking subduction zone.)


Two of the Silmarils were lost forever in those sorts of ways (one in the open sea and one down a volcanic fissure of some sort... it's been a while and the Silmarillion is a chore to read). Those things were even more valued by even more people back then than the One Ring was in the Third Age. (Sauron's boss stole them way back before the dawning of the first day, and pretty much the entire world moved heaven and earth fighting him for untold millennia trying to get them back; the only one that wasn't lost per se is now on the bow of a magical ship sailing the sky, better known to us the Morning/Evening Star, and some captured light from it is what Galadriel gave Frodo in that vial which made the spider Shelob freak out and stay away from him. They in turn shine with the light of the primordial trees of which the sun and moon are mere fruits. We're talking old, powerful magic here.) So if it worked for them it should damn well have worked for the Ring.

Just offer Bilbo that trip to Aman that he gets at the end anyway, and chuck the ring overboard on the way there. Problem solved. (Well, there's still disempowered-Sauron's armies to fight by conventional means, but he'll have lost his superweapon for good).


The ring would mind control a crab to pick it up, a fish to eat a crab, a fisherman to catch the fish... though if you encased the ring in a lot of lead that may take a lot longer due to all the lead poisoning ;) But EPA would never permit that.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby hyplar2000 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:36 pm UTC

So what if the witch stipulates that no one flies the broom.

Can Dorthy or the Wizard enchant the Broom to carry water then return the Broom?

Wait, WHY is the witch allergic to water?

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby webgiant » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:06 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:
nykevin wrote:It is, of course, a plot point that the slippers cannot be removed.

Not only that, but even if the plot point is that the slippers cannot be removed "against her will", we all know that no woman would willingly give up a pair of shoes, so this comic could never happen.

In the book, the silver slippers can come off on their own, as the witch puts an invisible iron bar in the kitchen, tripping up Dorothy and causing her to lose one slipper. The witch grabs it and puts it on, and the two of them limp around for the next few pages with only one slipper each.

hyplar2000 wrote:Wait, WHY is the witch allergic to water?

It's never said in the book (or the movie, for that matter) why she is allergic to water. She is so evil the blood has dried up in her veins.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby mathmannix » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:00 pm UTC

I know the common interpretation of the movie is that the bucket Dorothy picked up contained water, and that it dissolved the witch. And she picked it up because the scarecrow was on fire, so Dorothy at least assumed it was water. And, I think I remember it was next to a mop, like it was used for cleaning the floors. But, I don't think anyone ever actually says "that bucket had water in it" or "witches can be killed by water" in the movie. All they tell the wizard is "We melted her."

So... at least as far as the movie is concerned, could the bucket have contained acid?

(Note: I haven't read the book, but I have to assume that, if the witch died the same way in the book, then the book said "water". Because, well, books are usually more wordy than the movies adapted therefrom.)

Oh, and I don't think witches can be dissolved by water "because they're just so sweet."
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Klear » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:27 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:I know the common interpretation of the movie is that the bucket Dorothy picked up contained water, and that it dissolved the witch. And she picked it up because the scarecrow was on fire, so Dorothy at least assumed it was water. And, I think I remember it was next to a mop, like it was used for cleaning the floors. But, I don't think anyone ever actually says "that bucket had water in it" or "witches can be killed by water" in the movie. All they tell the wizard is "We melted her."

So... at least as far as the movie is concerned, could the bucket have contained acid?

(Note: I haven't read the book, but I have to assume that, if the witch died the same way in the book, then the book said "water". Because, well, books are usually more wordy than the movies adapted therefrom.)

Oh, and I don't think witches can be dissolved by water "because they're just so sweet."


Of course witches cannot be dissolved by water. Witches float on water.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby webgiant » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:43 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:I know the common interpretation of the movie is that the bucket Dorothy picked up contained water, and that it dissolved the witch. And she picked it up because the scarecrow was on fire, so Dorothy at least assumed it was water. And, I think I remember it was next to a mop, like it was used for cleaning the floors. But, I don't think anyone ever actually says "that bucket had water in it" or "witches can be killed by water" in the movie. All they tell the wizard is "We melted her."

So... at least as far as the movie is concerned, could the bucket have contained acid?

(Note: I haven't read the book, but I have to assume that, if the witch died the same way in the book, then the book said "water". Because, well, books are usually more wordy than the movies adapted therefrom.)

Grandma had a complete set of first edition OZ hardbacks. It is explicitly stated in the book that Dorothy picks up a pail of water, and that the Witch avoids water because of her dread/fear of water.

Regarding the movie, I'd have to invoke Occam's Razor here regarding what liquids would be easily available in a bucket that just happened to be sitting around on the floor. I doubt there were many housewives in 1938 (a) who hadn't read the book, and (b) who thought, "oh, I never realized my leaving acid buckets around like that in the hallway could be so dangerous!"

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby philsov » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:52 pm UTC

could the bucket have contained acid?


The bucket was wooden with nails in it, yes? Or wholly metallic?

Neither one of those are usually considered "acid proof" or even "acid resistant"....

Shame that the witch would die in every rain storm in Oz, or never bathe...
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby bmonk » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:58 pm UTC

Magiko wrote:. . .
It's been some years since I read any of the books, I admit, but I remember it was a topic that was brought up more than once that it was thought to not be coincidence that on the same day Bilbo comes around the cave that the ring (which was so amazingly important - his precious - to gollum) got itself under Bilbo's hand in the complete darkness. Gollum has the riddle contest, gets fed up with Bilbo and goes to get his ring so that he can kill him while invisible and realizes it's not in its special spot... he retraces his steps and is only able to determine that somehow he must have lost it (it "fell" off his fingers (part of the willful manipulation)) and so he suspects that bilbo has it after remembering Bilbo's last weird riddle "what have I got in my pocket?".

I read it several times as a kid, so I admit my memories are old and maybe skewed by my ability to interpret as a child. I'm considering reading it again to see if as an adult I still get this theme out of the book.


Remember that Tolkein was a Catholic, and Catholic theology does show up here and there in the books.

For example, evil intent carried out in evil ways often has unintended consequences for good: Sauron is so intent on destroying the Lords of the West and their pitiful army that he rushes all sorts of orcish armies north to face them--and in the process sweeps up Sam and Frodo with the ring close to Mount Doom so they can destroy it. I once knew of others, but cannot recall them at the moment. Perhaps Radagast sending the eagle to Gandalf and Saruman with news, so that Gandalf can escape?

But to the point here: Doesn't Gandalf, and others among the wise and powerful, often deny chance or coincidence? When he is telling Frodo what he has found, early on in the Fellowship, he says, "There was more than one power at work, Frodo. The Ring was trying to get back to its master. . . . Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meantto find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meantto have it. And that maybe an encouraging thought." Tom Bombadil expresses something similar, "Just chance brought me then, if chance you call it." And even Elrond (at the Council): "That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say. though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world." No, they believe in a world ordered by the will of the One, who gives human beings (and other intelligent creatures) roles in the shaping and healing of the world.
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Jorpho » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:16 am UTC

philsov wrote:Shame that the witch would die in every rain storm in Oz, or never bathe...
Pretty much the only thing of note in the original novel of Wicked (which you should never, ever bother trying to read, please) was the revelation that the witch bathed herself with oil, which I have to imagine is how real people whose skin reacts badly to water deal with it. She's also very careful to avoid the rain, and her face burns when she cries.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby ijuin » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:38 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:I know the common interpretation of the movie is that the bucket Dorothy picked up contained water, and that it dissolved the witch. And she picked it up because the scarecrow was on fire, so Dorothy at least assumed it was water. And, I think I remember it was next to a mop, like it was used for cleaning the floors. But, I don't think anyone ever actually says "that bucket had water in it" or "witches can be killed by water" in the movie. All they tell the wizard is "We melted her."

So... at least as far as the movie is concerned, could the bucket have contained acid?

Very strong alkaline (base) liquids can corrode flesh just as well as acid. What is a very common strong base that people keep around the house along with cleaning supplies? Concentrated bleach! High-strength bleach would at the least give severe, possibly lethal, chemical burns to just about any being made of flesh.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Varriount » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:33 am UTC

Am I the only one here who notes that, contrary to first appearances, it's really Glinda who's the villain? (Or at least, that the "Wicked" witch isn't so wicked). I mean, the shoes belonged to the Witch's relative, so isn't it only fair that she get them upon the relatives death? Anyway, I think I would be a bit cranky to if someone dropped a house on my relative and then stole his/her shoes.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby chridd » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:34 am UTC

Varriount wrote:Am I the only one here who notes that, contrary to first appearances, it's really Glinda who's the villain? (Or at least, that the "Wicked" witch isn't so wicked).
Isn't that what Wicked is about?
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:52 am UTC

No, if anything the wizard is pretty much the villain in Wicked.

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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby bmonk » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:36 pm UTC

Magiko wrote:
PolakoVoador wrote:The Ring was not so omnipresent and/or omniscient as to choose to be taken by Bilbo (or by Gollum in the first place). It's unknown if the Ring was lying around solely because of Gollum's carelessness (it was usually so dark at the caves that he rarelly used it anymore), or maybe it was in fact caused by Sauron's will, since Sauron was trying to get back at kicking everyone's ass (as the Necromancer in Dol Guldur).


"Omnipresent and/or omniscient" is a bit of an overstatement from what I meant. I'm meaning it bends wills, and is somehow tied up into fates of certain folk. When humans get near the Ring we see the greed come out - and the elf queen sees it as a test she passes when she doesn't take the ring (but she wanted it). I take this as it calls to people (in more than just people being greedy for power).

At its weak strength (sauron's mostly dead, after all) it can do only a little. If it had ultimate power it would have been able to make a better selection in hosts to come get it. My understanding has always been that Gollum was called to it too. It went unseen for a long time and then its power grew just enough to get itself "found" by Gollum, who hoarded it and hid himself away.

It's been some years since I read any of the books, I admit, but I remember it was a topic that was brought up more than once that it was thought to not be coincidence that on the same day Bilbo comes around the cave that the ring (which was so amazingly important - his precious - to gollum) got itself under Bilbo's hand in the complete darkness. Gollum has the riddle contest, gets fed up with Bilbo and goes to get his ring so that he can kill him while invisible and realizes it's not in its special spot... he retraces his steps and is only able to determine that somehow he must have lost it (it "fell" off his fingers (part of the willful manipulation)) and so he suspects that bilbo has it after remembering Bilbo's last weird riddle "what have I got in my pocket?".

I read it several times as a kid, so I admit my memories are old and maybe skewed by my ability to interpret as a child. I'm considering reading it again to see if as an adult I still get this theme out of the book.


Also: The ring had taken Gollum as the best bet to get back to Sauron--after all, it had been lying in the river for a long time, and handy persons passing by didn't seem too common. Then Gollum went and hid in the caves, so the ring was stymied again. After another long time--these two indefinite periods adding up to 2939 years!--it decided to leave Gollum and take its chances in the caves--only to be found, not by a passing orc/goblin, but by Bilbo! A coincidence--if you believe in coincidences or chance. (As noted above, several times Tolkien hints that chance does not really exist--but rather that there is someone who is guiding the destiny of the cosmos.)
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Re: 1149: Broomstick

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:42 am UTC

bmonk wrote:Also: The ring had taken Gollum as the best bet to get back to Sauron--after all, it had been lying in the river for a long time, and handy persons passing by didn't seem too common. Then Gollum went and hid in the caves, so the ring was stymied again. After another long time--these two indefinite periods adding up to 2939 years!--it decided to leave Gollum and take its chances in the caves--only to be found, not by a passing orc/goblin, but by Bilbo! A coincidence--if you believe in coincidences or chance. (As noted above, several times Tolkien hints that chance does not really exist--but rather that there is someone who is guiding the destiny of the cosmos.)

Now that is an interesting interpretation I hadn't though of before. I always imagined that the Ring sensed that a useful carrier was coming along that would take it out of the caves and back into the world (Bilbo), and slipped off specifically intending to be found by him. Instead, you are suggesting that the Ring had simply finally run out of patience with Gollum and decided to take its chances with the next goblin that came by... but "as fate would have it", Bilbo was "coincidentally" there to find it before any goblins could find it. Heavy sarcasm on the "fate" and "coincidence"; really, it was Illuvatar knowing way ahead of time exactly what the Ring was going to do when and arranging that events should be in motion to bring Bilbo to the right place at the right time.

(Of course now I find myself applying age-old theological problems to Tolkien's transposed Catholic theology here; Illuvatar created all the Ainur to be exactly what they are and knew then exactly what they would do in the Music of which the entire history of the world is an echo, which yes nicely explains how he's able to introduce counterpoints to the composition right where the discord is getting intolerable, but then also raises the question of why the hell a supposedly good god would set it up so there was discord to begin with. Tolkien's answer is something along the lines of "it makes the music greater" to have these points and counterpoints and dissonance introduced and then reintegrated into the melody, and as far as music goes sure, and as far as stories go of course the conflict is what makes it interesting, but when you're writing not just a musical score or a work of fiction but the script according to which the history a real world with real people who really suffer will play out, it makes God look like a dick to have anything besides peace and love and happiness in that script).

(Edit to continue my own train of thought: It'd be fine if only the people living in that world knew that it was only a story, and were free to enjoy it with complete detachment and just take in the drama like a good play; if everything everyone experienced was couched in an inbuilt 'but this is all just an act, of course, this doesn't really hurt' level of distance from the direct experience. Granted some people are able to attain such a level of detachment from worldly suffering eventually, but if there were a God who set everything up it would be a major failing of his not to have that built-in to everyone, for everyone to know instinctually that it's all just an act, and that everyone else knows it's an act, but not to break character anyway because the fun of it is in acting out the show. This is getting more into pseudo-Buddhist philosophy than Tolkien's Catholic theology now, though.)
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