I don't think that's really a plothole. When Frodo has the ring, Sauron's much, MUCH more powerful than he was in the decades leading up prior to it. Like, the ring's 'poison,' so to speak, but the amount of 'poison' is going to depend on Sauron's strength.It always strains my disbelief that Bilbo possessed the Ring for like a hundred years and wore it often, but Frodo is irrevocably scarred for carrying it for less than a year and putting it on, like, twice.
TBH, I loved going through the appendicies. More juicy lore.When I started my re-read I told myself I was going to read the appendices, but now that it comes to it... I just can't. It's so boring, my eyes glaze over before I've even finished the first page. Why would anybody end a book with a history lesson? A full third of the Return of the King is appendices, 175 pages. Including a 30 page index of every mention of anything in the entire series.
Who's the greater fool? The Grey Fool, or the fool who looks up the Grey Fool, and follows?Who could possibly ever need to be able to look up every page that Gandalf was mentioned on and that he was called Grey Fool on page 106 of book 3?
I don't think that really follows.Oh, I just remembered something else I wanted to say about LOTR. I don't really understand why or where they keep sending away the women and children before a big battle. Before both Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith they send anybody who can't fight away so the soldiers can all duke it out with the orcs without having to worry about civilians being killed. But like, the place with all the soldiers and walls are the most secure places to be. I'd rather be crouching in the cellars of Minas Tirith than sitting in some village in the middle of nowhere waiting to be killed by a small stealth raid. If I was Sauron I would have sent a couple platoons and some Nazgul to go and kill all the unprotected civvies first before making my big attack on the stronghold.
I think it's fair to say that LOTR reflects Tolkein's prejudices, but "racist?" Eh...Also, is it me or does LOTR feel a little bit racist with all the ancient pure noble bloodlines being dimished by inter marrying and stuff like that?
The less drain on supplies does make sense during a siege, but there wasn't really a seige in LotR, they busted down the front door after a day or two. And I don't think it would be a waste of time to kill all the women and children. Sauron is immortal, he could kill all the women and children, wait for all the enemy soldiers to get old and die thinking how stupid it was to leave their civvies unprotected, then win by default.I don't think that really follows.
In the books, Helm's Deep is simply a fortress that the Rohirrim retreat to after learning that Saruman's forces had crossed the Fords of Isen. IIRC, the people of Edoras were moved to Dunharrow. Those are two separate locations.
As for Minas Tirth, I don't recall an evacuation per se, but that does make more sense. If an army's closing on you for a siege, you'd be better served getting the non-combatants away - less drain on your supplies, and if the city falls, at least a lot of people are going to be safe. And yeah, okay, Sauron could send forces out to kill them, but it would be a waste of time and resources.
The humans only become top dogs because the elves get bored and leave to their other, better land that only they can go to.I think it's fair to say that LOTR reflects Tolkein's prejudices, but "racist?" Eh...
The bloodlines thing is a bit weird though, at least thematically. On one hand, the people of Numenor are "better" than regular humans, in-universe, at least in as much that they live longer. On the other hand, Numenor is an Atlantis-type scenario, where their arrogance costs them their kingdom, and via Gondor, that Sauron can get the Haradrim and Easterlings on his side is at least in part due to how Gondor was the aggressor long ago. So it's not an uncritical look at Numenoreans. On the other, the diminishment of the bloodline thing is never questioned in of itself, at least conceptually.
You can say that there's something similar with the dichotomy between elves and Men. On the one hand, elves are "better" than humans in pretty much everything. On the other, the "Gift of Men" is indeed presented as a gift (even if Numenoreans saw it as the Doom of Men), and humans end up becoming the top dogs of Middle-earth in the end, so LOTR is hardly an uncritical look at 'power levels,' so to speak.
The more I examined these efforts at sedentarization, the more I came to see them as a state's attempt to make a society legible, to arrange the population in ways that simplified the classic state of functions of taxation, conscription, and prevention of rebellion. Having begun to think in these terms, I began to see legibility as a central problem in statecraft. The premodern state was, in many crucial respects, partially blind; it knew precious little about its subjects, their wealth, their landholdings and yields, their location, their very identity. It lacked anything like a detailed "map" of its terrain and its people. It lacked for the most part, a measure, a metric, that would allow it to "translate" what it knew into a common standard necessary for a synoptic view. As a result, its interventions were often crude and self-defeating.
It is at this point that the detour began. How did the state gradually get a handle on its subjects and its environment? Suddenly, processes as disparate as the creation of permanent last names, the standardization of weights and measures, the establishment of cadastral surveys and population registers, the invention of freehold tenure, the standardization of language and legal discourse, the design of cities, and the organization of transportation seemed comprehensible as attmpts at legibility and simplification. In each case, the officials took exceptionally complex, illegible, and local social practices, such as land tenure customs or naming customs, and created a standard grid whereby it could be centrally recorded and monitored.