Friday, March 4, 2011


Something that I wrote about in our many free writes on Thursday was the little scenes where unexpectedly a character breaks out into laughter. For example, I chose the scene after Pippin and Gandalf talk to Denethor. " 'Are you angry with me Gandalf?' " Pippin asks. " 'I did the best I could.' " " 'You did indeed!' said Gandalf, laughing suddenly." And then later it says ..."for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth." Pippin always seems to make Gandalf laugh :) These scenes really stick in my head, because amist the saddness there is still laughter. Another scene that I always remember is when Frodo is rowing off to leave the Company and Sam swims after him. When Sam gets in the boat Frodo breaks out into laughter. For readers, we need these little happy scenes, especially in such a hopelessly seeming story as LOTR.


Luthien said...

These scenes of genuine laughter really add to that overall theme that we've been discussing a lot recently - that hope can be found in despair.

One other scene of laughter that I thought of was in "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol" in TTT, where Frodo laughs "a long clear laugh from his heart" which "had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle-earth." It's in this scene where Sam is wondering if the two of them will be remembered in stories to come. The addition of laughter just seems to further the theme that though their hope is a "fool's hope," it's still HOPE, and that tiny spot of light is what makes a lot of the characters do what they do in the face of despair.

Fingolfin said...

There are a few examples of this later in the story. Certain characters will start laughing and the book will state that they had not done so in a long time, and this automatically lifts the mood of the story. Luthien explained it perfectly for me and the example of Frodo laughing on the Stairs is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.