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Discussing: OMY Ch. 19 - Home

OMY Ch. 19 - Home

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Warnings: None

In which Frodo bids many cousins farewell, Gilda resists a great temptation, Rory does as the Master should, and Frodo finally finds his way home.

A lot of Gilda in this one.

 

 

Re: OMY Ch. 19 - Home

I have to confess that I have taken an intense disliking to Gilda.

Somehow, I've never cared much for the "powerful old matriarch" character wherever I encounter her, and here she is again. I think the reason this character doesn't work for me is that her creators seem to want me to believe that her strength does not mean she is not a deeply caring and loving person, but I simply can't see it. Yes, there is care and love there, but it always seems bound about with cords of calculation and cunning, so that even the people she supposedly loves the most are just characters in the drama of her own life, to be manipulated in order to serve whatever outcome she deems best.

I was far more upset by Frodo's meeting with Gilda in this chapter than by his meeting with Rory. Rory struck Frodo and said horrible things to him, but he did so from a position of heated emotion, of shock. I understand that. But when Gilda tells Frodo that he is "a temptation" to Sara, it is after she has had plenty of time to think about the situation. Perhaps I am approaching this too much from my own modern thoughts about child abuse and the pyschology of those who prey on children, but her whole attitude towards Frodo in this matter just makes my stomach turn.

It also bothers me that she never seems to take any responsibility upon herself. Such a wise old woman...where was SHE when all of these things were happening? Yes, yes, I know, she was sick, but surely, someone as clever and as in-tune with her household as she is should have seen something was terribly wrong. And even after she knows, she does not seem to look to herself. Frodo is a temptation, Bilbo is tainted, Sara is weak, a blight is present throughout the land. Never does she say (or at least we do not HEAR her say), "My son did this. My son." We hear her say how "horrible it was to hear" that Sara had done this, but that doesn't really make me feel any better about her...to me, it's more like she's saying, "Hey, I got hurt in this too! Poor me!"

I fully understand that a character like Gilda could not have been some sentimental, motherly fool. But I do think it's possible to be strong, but also to be compassionate and kind, and to express those things in a way that does not resemble weakness. For example, I found Rory's apology to Frodo moving, satisfying and appropriate, yet it did not make Rory appear weak, only kind and truly sorry. I know that Frodo is very attached to Gilda, especially since he lost his own mother at such a young age, but when Bilbo tells Gilda in a later chapter that she will never see Frodo again, I could jump for joy. I hope she never does.

 

 

Re: OMY Ch. 19 - Home

you absolutely expressed my own feelings here, oselle. although i like gilda as a strong character in the story, i do absolutely NOT like her as a person i would like to count to my friends (if she were real). such people, always aiming for the greater good (of the hall in this case) seem to forget about the fact, that the greater things (like the hall) are made of many small individuals. and the great entity (like the hall) cannot be whole and healthy as long as there is one small individual that is not. so the whole thing about sacrificing one small person for the greater good is total crap in my opinion and no one has a right to do so. of course sacrifices have to be made - but only the one who has to make the sacrifice can decide to do so. so people like gilda making decisions about everyone else's lifes is just sooo wrong. even if i dislike esme - gilda deciding she is not going to have anymore children is criminal i think.

all those people that have hurt frodo in this story will never see him again, i hope (and their loss it is!!!).

ang, i'm still aching to kill sara.... and where are my four more...???
PLEASE???

kete

 

 

Re: OMY Ch. 19 - Home

Well, Gilda is as she is. There are good reasons to like her and good reasons to not like her. I myself would gladly count her as a friend, as I know this is one person who would never hand me bullshit or let me get away with any.

I am trying to figure out why you think she is "sacrificing" Frodo. How so? What exactly should she be doing at this point?

I sincerely hope that Bilbo's claim they will never see Frodo again doesn't come true. That would be terrible, though not for obvious reasons. Also, life doesn't work that way - one usually ends up having to deal with people who have hurt you, insulted you, even done you terrible wrongs, on a regular basis.

Sara dies of natural causes in 1432, SR, just like it says in the genealogy chart. Sorry.

At the moment, I am stuck in Minas Tirith, a fascinated guest of the next Lord Steward and his wife-to-be. They are telling me a very interesting story, so I fear the Hobbits will be on a holiday for the next few months. Never fear, I will come back to the Shire - just like Gandalf, I can't stay away for too long.

Ang

 

 

Re: OMY Ch. 19 - Home

ang,

when i say that i share oselle‘s opinion about gilda as a person (although she is a strong character in a literary sense) it is not meant as a critique of your writing. it is in fact a compliment, when we start discussing the characters as if they were real.

i do read lots and lots of fanfic (having a kind of sabbatical right now) and know by now quite a lot of shire scenarios. daisy gamgee‘s „the history of us“, mary borsellino‘s „pretty good year“, lobelia/mira‘s „rain“ etc., adrienne‘s „fairer than most“ and of course willow_wode‘s „rites of passage“. still i like yours the most as all of the others exist in a kind of historical, political, economical void. by adding shire politics and economics etc. plus the way you portray them as adult and mature beings with sexual desires your characters gain a depth and believability that makes me as a reader love them, hate them - even want to kill them (like poor sara).

but your constantly countering „no, it is not this way - it is THAT way“ does exactly what the prpofessor never did - it leaves no room for the reader‘s imagination and speculation plus it cuts every discussion off before it even had a chance to start.

regarding sara i am convinced that he died of a severe infection with a virus called „killeri keteriensis“ that befalls those literary characters who have insulted or harmed one of my literary crushes. the symptoms vary with every victim, but one thing is always the same: there is no cure for it.

after five months on mostly american occupied message boards and discussion threads i do now think that the european art of light intellectual banter which works so well and border crossing with my french and italian friends is totally unintelligible and therefore lost to americans. i leave you therefore in minas tirith and will be grateful if there will be some more shire lore sometime in the future, but i won‘t comment anymore.

kete

 

 

Re: OMY Ch. 19 - Home

I don't think that I feel Gilda is "sacrificing" Frodo, but my resentment of her treatment of him stems from the way she seems to place far too much blame on his very young shoulders. Her insistence, both to Bilbo and to Frodo himself, that Frodo "tempted" Sara strikes a very sour note with me. We haven't been privy to Gilda's discussions with Sara, but it makes me cringe to think that she may have said as much to him as well, thereby exonerating him from at least some of the blame that he so richly deserves, and allowing him to think, "Yes, it WAS Frodo's fault."

I'm aware that in the past, unlike today, there was a widely-held opinion that children were capable of being sexual, and of using their sexuality as a tool, or even a weapon, to achieve their own ends. As I was reading both "Legacy" and "OMY," I was somehow reminded of Lewis Carroll's obsession with Alice Liddell, the little girl for whom he wrote the "Alice in Wonderland" books. He was an amateur photographer as well, and many photos exist that he took of this little girl (about 10 years old when he knew her) that, by our standards, are disturbingly provocative. I recall reading a review of a recent biography of Carroll, in which the biographer recorded that, while Carroll's infatuation with Alice is disturbing to us, others who knew the girl also claimed that there was something oddly captivating about her, in a very mature and sexually precocious way. There is nothing to suggest that Alice actually WAS engaging in any sexual activity with Carroll, or anyone else, at her tender age, but it would appear that she was well aware of the power of her feminine charms, and that she was not shy about using them.

I relate this story because it seems consistent with the way Gilda approaches Frodo's relationship with Sara. Yes, she admits Frodo was badly used, but she also feels that he was manipulative as well---using his own charms to avoid Sara's wrath and possibly to win back the affection that Sara had shown to him in his youth. It is horrible to me that she would lay this upon Frodo, and that she would assuage Sara's guilt with it. And once again, she seems to take no responsibility upon herself. Even if Frodo DID tempt Sara, it would seem that for such a child to use sex as a tool to manipulate others, something must have gone terribly wrong with his upbringing---an upbringing for which Gilda was responsible.

I think that Gilda is also blinded by her love for Sara. Understandable, but not necessarily commendable. When Rory told Bilbo, "You have only one heir. I have others," I thought it showed us something very admirable about Rory: that even though Sara is his son, Rory is still capable of seeing him for what he is, and for what he is NOT. And what he is not, at least not at this stage in the story, is the type of person who has the integrity to be Master of Buckland. Gilda, it seems, is not capable of such objective reasoning.

As for what Gilda SHOULD be doing, I suppose I'd like to see her deal with Frodo as Bilbo, and even Rory have. With acceptance, and love, and affirmation of his character and worth, rather than by planting in his mind the idea that he is responsible for his own abuse. Now that I think about it, it is JUST this sort of thinking that could eventually turn Frodo into who he is after the Quest: someone who is mortally burdened by an erroneous sense of guilt over his "failure," and who cannot accept that some things were simply beyond his power to control.

And while Gilda might not necessarily be a bullshitter, I'd defintely be wary of taking her advice. She's certainly capable of willfully witholding or releasing information as she sees fit, based upon what SHE believes would be best for herself and for the Hall. And that can be just as harmful as, and more craftily manipulative than bullshitting. Personally, I'd much rather deal with an oily bullshitter any day...they're SO much easier to figure out.

 

 

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