Monday, February 28, 2011

Tiny Scenes

Throughout The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien inserts small moments in scenes that seem inconsequential and never lead to much of anything important in his narrative.

For example, when the Fellowship is leaving Bree, Sam tosses an apple he was chewing at Bill Ferny. Look at this passage and try to figure out why Tolkien bothered to insert this tiny scene. What is its purpose in the
overall story? What does Tolkien gain from adding it to the tale? What does it say about Sam? Why is it an apple and not a biscuit or a potato?

Can you think of any other tiny scenes that seem unnecessary to the plot, but which you could argue are important to Tolkien's work for other reasons?


Belladonna Took said...

I think that the tiny scenes make the story more believable and relatable. There are not many readers that must accomplish such significant tasks as Frodo and Sam. It is the less significant aspects of life that most viewers can relate to.
When Sam throws the apple, it adds humor to a very dire situation. It is these small scenes where we can find a small escape from the important tasks and hardships ahead to further bond with and relate with the characters. This humorous tension relief lightens the spirits of both characters and readers.
I am thinking of one small scene where Frodo and Sam are wondering if they will be in any popular stories right before entering Shelob’s cave. In this scene, Frodo laughs, which is not something he often did after the fellowship was broken. This also draws the reader’s minds to a happier setting and gives hope of a better future to both readers and characters. The laughter also lightens the mood in the dark times. For some readers, this hope could even give them “the courage” to keep reading.
In these small scenes with seemingly little significance in overall plot development, Tolkien can add simple elements like humor and hope that make the characters even more relatable and interesting to readers.

Fingolfin said...

I think that this is yet another example of the significance of the seemingly insignificant. It may appear like a small scene now, but it will likely have some impact later in the novel and/or foreshadow events.

Luthien said...

I can think of a small, seemingly insignificant scene that is a huge foreshadowing of things to come - the scene in Two Towers where Frodo sees the head of the statue of the old king that has been overgrown with flowers. Either he or Sam says something about the crownless becoming king again, and that whole scene, for me, becomes such a great foreshadowing of hope for the whole story. So, to agree with both Belladonna and Fingolfin, I think it's a way to foreshadow and use the small things to give hope and light for whatever we think will happen in the rest of the books.