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Minas Tirith Forums » Lord of the Rings » Did the rope fall by command or not?
Author Topic: Did the rope fall by command or not?
Hamfast Gamgee
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The rope in question been the one which helped Frodo and Sam down to earth at Emyn Muil. Now Frodo suggested it was either Sam's knot, which Sam took offence to, or that the rope had frayed on the mountain-side which Sam took even more offence to. Now, if it was neither than it had to have been the word of command when Sam said Galadriel. Which does seem to be what the passage did imply. But if this is true than this must be an example of Elven magic. Otherwise how could the rope have fallen simply on one word? and Sam's wishes perhaps. And at the end of the last book, didn't Galadriel question the idea of Elven magic? This does seem to be a good example of the concept. Unless maybe it was the word of command which Gandalf was fond of often using.
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gollum Gollum
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I'd say the rope fell by command.

If you're an expert in something, you don't like it being generalized. Sam the Hobbit calls it 'magic', Galadriel would probably say 'power'/'skill'/..., but she can't deny its existence. Didn't the Elves create the Silmarils, the palantiri, the Three Rings...? Such objects are not just forged by a Mr Smith - you need something more than your hands to make them.
There were many strange things said about this rope. It didn't take much space and was thin, yet very strong and it seemed it was always as long as necessary. So why shouldn't it also fall by command?

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The Flammifer
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The rope was made by the Elves of Lorien and was made of a substance called hithlain. It was strong, light, and packed very close; and served in many unexpected ways. I doubt it was frayed, and I doubt that Sam tied a loose knot; therefore we are probably left with the word of ‘command’.

Galadriel seemed somewhat puzzled that Sam thought the Mirror of Galadriel was “magic”. To her it was simply a tool. I think it was Arthur C. Clarke that said (paraphrase), “Any sufficiently advanced technology is like magic to those far less advanced.” (Think about the SR-71 to a caveman.) Although the Mirror was not necessarily “technology” it was sufficiently “different”, and Sam would see it as magic.

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Snöwdog
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quote:
I'd say the rope fell by command.
I agree. It just puzzled Sam.
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The Flammifer
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quote:
"Ninnyhammers... Noodles!"... He stroked the rope's end and shook it gently. "It goes hard parting with anything I brought out of the elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself, too, maybe. Galadriel," he murmured, nodding his head mournfully.
Then he gave one last tug and the rope fell free.

I suppose we could call "Galadriel" the magic word, or the elven-rope came free of its own accord.

As Sam had some of the good-ole Roper blood, and had some good knowledge of ropes and knots, it's very doubtful he tied a bad knot or that the rope was frayed. Speaking of "frayed":
quote:
He stooped and examined the ends. "Nor it hasn't either. Not a strand!"
So the mention of "Galadriel" seems our best solution IMHO.
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Hamfast Gamgee
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Well, very well, but it seems a little odd that a rope should fall just by the mention of the name Galadriel. I expect that if someone mentioned the name of her husband, Celeborn, the results could have been different!
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Aiwrendel
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There are many elf-made items that behave “magically” and I think the rope was one of them.

I’d say the rope had “magic” built into it as did the elvish cloaks that could change depending on their surroundings and their owners’ needs:
quote:
Leaf and branch, water and stone: they have the hue and beauty of all these things under the twilight of Lórien... they are light to wear, and warm enough or cool enough at need. And you will find them a great aid in keeping out of the sight of unfriendly eyes, whether you walk among the stones or the trees.
When Sam spoke Galadriel’s name was he using it as a word of command or imploring her to help? Or was he simply remembering her in his sadness at losing the rope?
quote:
He stroked the rope's end and shook it gently. `It goes hard parting with anything I brought out of the Elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself, too, maybe. 'Galadriel,' he murmured nodding his head mournfully. He looked up and gave one last pull to the rope as if in farewell.
The cloaks needed no words to hide the wearer or keep them warm (or cool) and the “magic” phial would glow in dark, evil places and would glow brighter as needed like when Sam was trying to get past the Watchers at Cirith Ungol.
quote:
[Sam] drew slowly out the phial of Galadriel and held it up. Its white light quickened swiftly, and the shadows under the dark arch fled. The monstrous Watchers sat there cold and still, revealed in all their hideous shape. For a moment Sam caught a glitter in the black stones of their eyes, the very malice of which made him quail; but slowly he felt their will waver and crumble into fear. He sprang past them;
So the rope returned to its owner on its own.
quote:
I think the rope came off itself -- when I called.
Although he didn’t audibly call it. The rope “knew” it should return to its owner. The rope had other “magic” in that it was painful to the touch by those who were evil: Gollum felt great pain when the rope was tied around his ankle.

There are also elf-made “magic” swords that glow when orcs are near and “magic” food: Lembas.

Edit: Typo

[ 09-06-2015, 08:12 PM: Message edited by: Aiwrendel ]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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I wonder if with modern technology we could design a rope or rope-like tool which would come off with a voice command? After all we have cars with automatic locks and keys and body sensitive doors nowadays.
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The Flammifer
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Hey Hamfast…

Interesting thought. I think yes we could (probably fairly easily with today’s technology) design a rope or rope-like tool which would come off with a voice command.

We recently bought a new car with a hard drive for music, pictures, and such. It can be accessed, loaded, changed, etc. by voice or touch. Problem is I’m getting too long-in-the-tooth to easily figure out how to use it. (I think I need a live-in ten-year-old to help out! [] ) Every time I want to add a favorite song it takes me a couple minutes to recall the proper buttons to push. [] (I don’t use the voice command – yet.)

Anyway, back to the rope conundrum – I have changed my mind. The way the passage in the book reads “Galadriel” was not used as any kind of ‘command’; just as possibly being connected with the rope’s making.
And as it can reasonably be assumed that Sam did NOT tie a faulty knot, and it is fact that the rope was not faulty – we’re back to the mystical, magical square one, eh? []

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Gollum Gollum
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I think the rope fell because it 'knew' Sam wanted it to. I agree with Flammifer that 'Galadriel' wasn't a word of command.

I also like the point that Aiwrendel made about the rope being 'magical' and causing great pain to Gollum

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The Flammifer
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Gollum2: I also like the point that Aiwrendel made about the rope being 'magical' and causing great pain to Gollum

Agreed. I think we’re left with the magical/mystical. Perhaps the rope knew who its new owner was and automatically released itself to him after a period of time of its disuse?

It seems that Gollum was averse to anything of Elvish make. The rope hurt him; he spat out lembas - yuck [] ; any others?

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Hamfast Gamgee
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He wasn't that fond of Sting.
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Gollum Gollum
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quote:
Perhaps the rope knew who its new owner was and automatically released itself to him after a period of time of its disuse?
I agree with the first part, i.e. about the 'knowing' rope. But if it had such 'knowledge', why shouldn't it also 'know' the exact moment when it should fall? Being 'automatically released after a period of disuse' sounds too technology-like IMO.
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The Flammifer
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Ah, good point Gollum2

To re-quote the pertinent quote that Aiwrendel quoted:
quote:
He stroked the rope's end and shook it gently. `It goes hard parting with anything I brought out of the Elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself, too, maybe. 'Galadriel,' he murmured nodding his head mournfully. He looked up and gave one last pull to the rope as if in farewell.
Maybe if we have a semi-sentient Elven-made rope it might for safety sake take two shakes or pulls for it to release itself to its rightful owner?

Aw, we’re pushing it eh? “Here rope! Here rope! -- Good boy!” []

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