Forum: Research Questions

Discussing: Minas Ithil

Minas Ithil

Upon the further side, some way within the valley's arms high on a rocky seat upon the black knees of the Ephel D?ath, stood the walls and tower of Minas Morgul. All was dark about it, earth and sky, but it was lit with light. Not the imprisoned moonlight welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, Tower of the Moon, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills. Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light that illuminated nothing. In the walls and tower windows showed, like countless black holes looking inward into emptiness; but the topmost course of the tower revolved slowly, first one way and then another, a huge ghostly head leering into the night.


 

I'm trying to figure out what is meant by that last line in the above passage from TTT - what part of the Tower of the Moon is revolving, and how is it doing so?  Any ideas?

RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Minas Ithil

but the topmost course of the tower revolved slowly, first one way and then another, a huge ghostly head leering into the night. 

I'm trying to figure out what is meant by that last line in the above passage from TTT - what part of the Tower of the Moon is revolving, and how is it doing so?  Any ideas?

I envisage some sort of spiral/switchback form in the architectural design of the topmost part of the wall of the tower. Like a spiral staircase going round the outer wall or some such.

Although I do have to admit that on first reading that passage, I imagined the top to be actually moving, like one of those sightseeing towers (I distinctly have one of those in mind, where there is a restaurant on the top which slowly moves around the axis of the building, but I can't for the life of me remember in which city this is)...Grin

Imhiriel 

 

 

Re: Minas Ithil

I've definitely always read that as the top of the tower actually moving. And as to how it is done? I would imagine in a way fairly similar as to how the top bit of Dutch windmills can turn so that they always catch the wind, though with the mechanism probably being treadmill-powered rather than wind-powered (check wikipedia for details on windmills if you really must know ;-) ). 

 

 

Re: Minas Ithil

The Space Needle in Seattle has a revolving floor in which the restaurant is set, and on top of which is an observation site.  Similar restaurants with revolving floors are in San Francisco and, I'm told, on the Waikiki strip.

I'd never paid that much attention to this portion of TTT, although heaven knows I've read it often enough over the years.  Thanks, Raksha, for bringing it to mind.

 

 

Re: Minas Ithil

I definitely read it literally. I saw it as the uppermost segment of the tower rotating (like a head might rotate). Technologically feasible? Sure, why not. This is not earth circa 1600 (which a lot of people tend to forget when they insist upon accuracy).

 

 

Re: Minas Ithil

Why can't the top move? Tolkien is not writing about medieval technology but a total different world. In world within which the One Ring and the Simarils can exist, to me a moving tower top is small stuff.

 

 

Re: Minas Ithil

Thanx, everyone, for your answers/ideas; it's for a plotbunny that's sitting around in my head but wanting some technical details for background.   That is a Neat Bit from JRRT, isn't it....

RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Minas Ithil

It could be that the Tower's top did indeed move/rotate (BTW, in addition to Seattle; San Francisco, LA, Pheonix, Dallas, San Antonio, Detroit, Atlanta, and Washington DC all also have rotating restaurants. I am sure that there are other cities that have them as well. I know two iN canada).

ME is definitely not 1600 CE Earth, nor is it 1600 BCE Earth, but rather earth in an entirely different time and space. Aman was filled with technological marvels, and the top of a tower revolving would have been well within the technological capabilities of even an ancient civilization such as Egypt or Greece, to say nothing of the Marvels of Rome (Anyone recall the Pharos lighthouse in Alexandria? Pretty tall building with a rotating mirror and a rather large mechanism for rotating a portion of the structure as well).

I would need to go back and re-read the entire description in situ to get a better idea, and maybe see if there is anything relevant in HoME.

MB 

 

 

In Forums

Discussion Info

Intended for: General Audience

This forum is open to all HASA members. It is read-only for the general public.

Membership on HASA is free and it takes only a few minutes to join. If you would like to participate, please click here.

If you are already a member, please log in to participate.

« Back to Research Questions

Stories linked to the forum