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You know the faces in the Dead Marshes? Who were they? Were they men or elves or dark lords or something?
They were the ones who fought the great war against the armies of mordor, there were men and elves and orcs, and all that failed to survive the great battle
They were killed during the Battle of Dagorlad.
Thanks. But what was with them trying to pull Frodo down in the movie? Were they supposed to be evil?
They were kinda creepy ghosty undeady thingies.
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But what was with them trying to pull Frodo down in the movie? Were they supposed to be evil?

They wanted to drag him into the water, drown him and make him a ghost as well, but Gollum saved his arse.

Never happened in the books, though. Gollum just warns them not to look into it, that's all.

PJ just changed it. What a big surprise.
Oh PJ changed a lot of things for sure. But I'm thankful that LOTR hasn't turned out as bad as Harry Potter. So we can say that these changes turned out for the good.
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So we can say that these changes turned out for the good.


I'd be more inclined to say that the movies turned out good irrespective of the changes, rather than the changes made for a good movie. I haven't read HP, but as the women who wrote it has an imput into the films too, I'm surprised she has allowed detrimental changes to be made. At least she has had a chance to add her imput, unlike JRR.
Yes, that's right. Tolkien has been dead for so long...
I don't know any exception to the rule where the film's been better than the book... feel free to prove me wrong though ! Smile Smilie
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At least she has had a chance to add her imput, unlike JRR.

JRRT destroyed Dan Zimmerman's adaptation of LOTR in his letters, though (he had allowed for the adaptation as he needed the money).

Some excerpts :
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As far as I am concerned personally, I should welcome the idea of an animated motion picture, with all the risk of vulgarization; and that quite apart from the glint of money, though on the brink of retirement that is not an unpleasant possibility. I think I should find vulgarization less painful than the sillification achieved by the B.B.C.


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I am sorry, but I think the manner of the introduction of Goldberry is silly, and on a par with 'old scamp'. It also has no warrant in my tale. We are not in 'fairy-land', but in real river-lands in autumn. Goldberry represents the actual seasonal changes in such lands. Personally I think she had far better disappear than make a meaningless appearance.


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But I would ask them to make an effort of imagination sufficient to understand the irritation (and on occasion the resentment) of an author, who finds, increasingly as he proceeds, his work treated as it would seem carelessly in general, in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about. ....
The canons of narrative an in any medium cannot be wholly different ; and the failure of poor films is often precisely in exaggeration, and in the intrusion of unwarranted matter owing to not perceiving where the core of the original lies.
Z .... has intruded a 'fairy castle' and a great many Eagles, not to mention incantations, blue lights, and some irrelevant magic (such as the floating body of Faramir). He has cut the parts of the story upon which its characteristic and peculiar tone principally depends, showing a preference for fights; and he has made no serious attempt to represent the heart of the tale adequately: the journey of the Ringbearers. The last and most important pan of this has, and it is not too strong a word, simply been murdered.


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Pan III.... is totally unacceptable to me, as a whole and in detail. If it is meant as notes only for a section of something like the pictorial length of I and II, then in the filling out it must be brought into relation with the book, and its gross alterations of that corrected. If it is meant to represent only a kind of short finale, then all I can say is : The Lord of the Rings cannot be garbled like that.


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I feel very unhappy about the extreme silliness and incompetence of Z and his complete lack of respect for the original (it seems wilfully wrong without discernible technical reasons at nearly every point). But I need, and shall soon need very much indeed, money, and I am conscious of your rights and interests; so that I shall endeavour to restrain myself, and avoid all avoidable offence. I will send you my remarks, particular and general, as soon as I can; and of course nothing will go to Ackerman1 except through you and with at least your assent.


Imo, PJ has been quite lucky that JRRT never had the chance to see his adaptation.
Well, JRRT has spent a good deal of his lifetime making up this world, it's no wonder he wouldn't want it garbled up into some sort of gagaland. As for Rowling, she's now writing those books solely for the sake of her audience and the producers of the movies, so it's not exactly the same thing now, is it?
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Personally I think she had far better disappear than make a meaningless appearance.

Looks like PJ did the right thing in leaving Tom and Goldberry out of the movies. Wink Smilie

Rowling writes her books because she has a story to tell, and people happen to like her story. The last chapter in the last book was written long before she became popular, as were the idea of seven books and seven school years for Harry. I do wonder how much she really has to say in making the movies though... The producers knows that people will watch a HP movie even if they are bad, simply becuase it is a Harry Potter movie. LOTR was a quite risky experiment which easily could flop, so they had to put more effort into it.

I have forgotten the topic of this thread... oh the dead marshes. I suppose PJ and his crew tried to show that the dead marshes where inspired by old folklore about creatures, usually people who had drowned there earlier, would try to lure people out on the marshes with lights and calls so they would drown too. Or maybe it just looked good on the screen. Easier to show why it was a dangerous place, rather than have Gollom explain why it was a dangerous place.
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Looks like PJ did the right thing in leaving Tom and Goldberry out of the movies.

He would have his say about Arwen, though. Not to mention, the Elves at Helm's Deep.
You just did!
Did what?
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I suppose PJ and his crew tried to show that the dead marshes where inspired by old folklore about creatures, usually people who had drowned there earlier, would try to lure people out on the marshes with lights and calls so they would drown too. Or maybe it just looked good on the screen.

PJ's "ghosts" are definitely related to Eddie, the mascot of Iron Maiden.
IF those elves, and such were dead, well why would the ghosts of elves try to pull a nyone in the water? I thought upon dying their spirits, souls, whatever went to the halls of Mandos and after a while they might even be able to come back. I don't get it.
help..........anyone out there?
IMHO, there weren't any spirits actually present. The horror of that ancient battle simply inbued the landscape with hallucinatory visions of those long dead faces via the marsh gas, the tricksy lights, I believe only Frodo was pulled face first into the water, and that was due to the weight of the ring via the chain around his neck.
It was Sam who fell in the book (at one point Frodo is described as having slime and water on his hands at least).

I don't imagine any Elves who fell at Dagorlad had become spirits who refused Mandos. It was the faces of Men, Elves, Orcs... but all dead. This had a strange and ill effect on those who saw them of course.

Visions can be dangerous too; entrancing, but visions nonetheless, explainable in some measure, as the Marshes had encroached upon the dead bodies of the fair and noble as well as the foul and wicked among them -- yet unexplainable essentially.
Grondy's explanation seems like the logical one, I cannot see how it would make any sense otherwise. The dead marshes were eerie and with the gases and lighting and such, that alone would give an already tired and anguished mind hallucinations.

I remember when I started the graveyard shift , ten hours, nine to seven in the morning at a care facility for the aged and dying, I was all alone with the seventy plus clients and I had to do reception, all the cleaning, food prep for chef as well as taking care of the needs of the patients including medic alert and lifeline. I was so tired I could barely function after a month.

One night I was worried about the steam problem , we had steam heating. Something seemed very wrong and steam was everywhere in the living room of the downstairs. I called a relative at home and asked him to come and take a look. He did and then examined the steam heating room and then he came and stood before me.

'Um, you are hallucinating because of your lack of sleep' he told me simply. It is true , I had been living on two to three hours sleep, in the nearly five years I never did sleep more, my mind couldn't adjust.

I was so embarrassed. So it is certainly possible this could be the case with Frodo.
I think "visions" explains it pretty well. To me it is a case of the land "remembering" all those slain 3,000 years ago. All the blood spilled on that dreadful place surely must have influenced the essence of the land itself.
Well said Virumor (better than my attempt), and I agree.

That is fabulous Vir. Was not there written somewhere about a barren patch of land the nine had to travel over and someone, perhaps Aragorn mentioned that the land still 'remembered' the elves and all the good that had dwelled there at one time?
I think that text of Leelee's might be found during their passing through Hollin (Eregion) though I haven't time to look for it at the moment.
I remember reading somewhere that the faces in the Marshes were based on some of Tolkien's war experiences, namely the faces of dead soldiers submerged in the pools of the French battlefields in WWI.

wonder why sauron didn't teach the dead in the water to guard hes territory...
that would have stopped frodo from getting thru..
Indeed Tolkien wrote to L.W. Forster: 'The Dead Marshes and the approaches to the Morannon owe something to Northern France after the battle of the Somme'

I must have been unbelievably terrible.
Yes unbelievably, you are so right. Where I worked at one time I had to watch people die and it was only my faith that kept me sane, and I believe the same can be said of Tolkien. He emerged so sane and beautiful and willing to keep hopeful and loving others.
That would have been dreadful if the dead had to guard the marshes, but the One already had a plan for that as well don't you think?
Thank you Grondy, I will try to look that up and read the actual text.
Does anybody know here about Tolkien's exploits in the war, in fact? I believe he was part of the Lancashire Fusiliers (or something in the like) and was called to arms in 1916, but I wonder how much fighting he actually did?

I have selected a segment from the Free Library. Forster does mention what you said and said that although Tolkien admitted that an author cannot be entirely unaffected by his experiences he fiercely denied that some of his writing was an allegory of his experieinces in the war.
However, some critics took him on in this claiming this just was not so-David Lloyd George said:

official opening day casualties for the British army alone have gone down to history as 57,470, of which 19,420 were fatal. Both numbers still stand as gruesome world records for loss of life in one day's fighting. (7) By contrast, the United States lost less than 60,000 men during the entire duration of the Vietnam War. In his memoirs, David Lloyd George writes of the course of the battle:
It is claimed that the Battle of the Somme destroyed the old German
Army by killing off its best officers and men. It killed off far more
of our best and of the French best. The Battle of the Somme was fought
by the volunteer armies raised in 1914 and 1915. These contained the
choicest and best of our young manhood. The officers came mainly from
our public schools and universities. Over 400,000 of our men fell in
this bullheaded fight and the slaughter amongst our young officers was
appalling. (Lloyd George 9-10)

The addition of at least another 200,000 casualties among Allied forces by the time the campaign ended in November brings the total Allied losses to nearly 600,000 men--all lost in order to press the lines 10 kilometers closer to Germany.

Tolkien was in reserves on the day of the opening battle, but one of his best friends, Rob Gilson, was killed in the first wave (though Tolkien would not learn of his death until some weeks later). (8) And even in reserves Tolkien would have witnessed "clear signs that things had not gone according to plan on the battlefront: wounded men in their hundreds, many of them hideously mutilated; troops detailed for grave-digging; and a sinister smell of decay" (Carpenter 82). Then, on 14 July, Tolkien and his company were called into action and he saw for himself the results of what he would later call "the 'animal horror' of trench warfare" (Carpenter 84). The account of another participant in the Battle of the Somme is perhaps useful here for another perspective on the events that Tolkien witnessed. John Raws had to apply to the Australian Corps twice before he was accepted, and just weeks before his own death in the battle, he described what he saw in a letter to a friend:
The glories of the Great Push are great, but the horrors are
greater. With all I'd heard by word of mouth, with all I had imagined
in my mind, I yet never conceived that war could be so dreadful. The
carnage in our little sector was as bad, or worse, than that of
Verdun, and yet I never saw a body buried in ten days. And when I came
on the scene the whole place, trenches and all, was spread with dead.
We had neither time nor space for burials, and the wounded could not
be got away. They stayed with us and died, pitifully, with us, and
then they rotted. The stench of the battlefield spread for miles
around. And the sight of the limbs, the mangled bodies, and stray
heads.
We lived with all this for eleven days, ate and drank and fought
amid it; but no, we did not sleep. Sometimes, we just fell down and
became unconscious. You could not call it sleep.
The men who say they believe in war should be hung. And the men
who won't come out and help us, now we're in it, are not fit for
words. Had we more reinforcements up there many brave men now dead,
men who stuck it and stuck it and stuck it till they died, would be
alive today. Do you know that I saw with my own eyes a score of men go
raving mad! I met three in 'No Man's Land' one night. Of course, we
had a bad patch. But it is sad to think that one has to go back
to it, and back to it, and back to it, until one is hit. (Raws)

For the next months, Tolkien was in and out of these trenches, somehow managing to survive unscathed until he was felled by trench fever on 27 October; he was pulled from the lines and eventually sent back to England. He had survived the war, but he had not left it. On 3 December he learned that another of his best friends, Geoffrey Smith, had died from gas gangrene in northern France. By the end of the First World War, Tolkien later wrote, "all but one of my close friends were dead" (LotR I: Foreword, xvii)

That the "shadow of war" would leave marks in Tolkien's writing, then, is not surprising. And, in addition to Tolkien's admitted borrowing of geographical description in the Dead Marshes and the approaches to Morannon, critics have discovered a number of intriguing parallels between the Somme (and the First World War in general) and The Lord of the Rings. (9) Barton Friedman, for instance, points out the similarity of the faces in the bogs of the Dead Marshes to specific descriptions of the Somme, of the Noman's Lands of northern France to the "Noman-lands" (LotR IV:2, 617) between the Dead Marshes and Morannon, of the shrieking of the Nazgul to incoming mortar rounds and their respective effects on men (Friedman 121). Hugh Brogan has also seen similarities: in how the description of Sauron's destruction echoes contemporary descriptions of shell-bursts, in the polarizing of consciousness between "us" and "them," in the reversal of day and night, in the road that leads from home to the front, and in even such small details as the ore who snarls "Don't you know we're at war?"
The rest as I say is found at the site mentioned. I just wrote-tolkien, what part did he play in world war 1?
Thank you.
Yes thank you LeeLee

I have a few details to add, though some of this you already covered. Hammond and Scull present a quite detailed account of Tolkien's movements in the war, with some notations from his diary even, though I have used Carpenter mostly (as quoted in your source).

Tolkien survived the war by luck, especially the 'luck' of getting Trench Fever (carried by lice), and may possibly have been helped in some measure by his position as Signaling Officer.

According to Carpenter: 1 July 1916 British troops make a charge from the trenches but Tolkien's battalion remains in reserve. Tolkien's friend and fellow T.C.B.S. member Rob Gilson dies -- among very many soldiers, as the German lines and barbed wire had not been dealt with as believed -- but Tolkien will not find out about Gilson until later.

6 July the Lancashire Fusiliers go into action, but only A company. 14 July 1916, B company (Tolkien's) go into the trenches, and 15 July attack the hamlet of Ovillers. Hammond and Scull add that it remains unclear, whether, as a Signaling Officer, Tolkien would have gone 'over the top' or remained in the front line trench to manage communications.

Carpenter relates that the pattern of days to follow was that of periods of rest, back to trenches, more attacks (usually fruitless), more rest, and so on. At one point Tolkien speaks to a German prisoner, offering him a drink, and the officer corrects Tolkien's pronunciation. At another point (and I assume such details being noted in Tolkien's own diary), JRRT will note a mouse running over his fingers. In August Tolkien and his friend G.B. Smith (also of the T.C.B.S.) come under fire while eating at Bouzincourt.

Carpenter generally notes that Tolkien returns to the trenches, and though the intensity of the fighting lessens British losses continue and many of Tolkien's battalion are killed. JRRT remains uninjured, and in 27 October 1916 is reported with Trench Fever. As his fever does not relent, by 8 November he is put on a ship for England. He ultimately receives a letter informing him that G. B. Smith has died from wounds.

Tolkien remains in service of course, and is wanted back in France, but his health is not good. He is in and out of hospital often, and is never sent back. With the armistice of 1918 Tolkien contacts the Army and obtains permission to be stationed at Oxford until demobilization.

JRRT had already been writing some poetry by this time, as well as his early legends while convalescing in England. The T.C.B.S. is the Tea Club and Barrovian Society. Another member Christopher Wiseman also survived the War, having served in the Royal Navy.
You are welcome,
and thankyou for this added information. I cannot bear the thought of ordinary men and women, living their lives, loving and being loved by t heir families no matter what problems they have, suddenly being wrenched from home and family to go to the Land of Mordor and suffer such ghastly things, and all because a few madmen think like Sauron they have the right to dominate all men. Horrible, beyond comprehension.
In the condo complex I live in against a mountainous ridge, I always had, in the beginning this sense of grief and despair. It would just come upon me and I did not know why. My family felt it too and then Travis did some research on this area and found to our amazement that this exact spot was the site of a Ukrainian interment camp. I don't know all the data, I did some research myself, but it was very bad for the internees in many ways.
So I suppose that somehow one can believe that the land 'remembers' good or evil , something out of the ordinary. So those places Tolkien was probably still cry out as it were in some strange way like the places Aragorn and company passed over. Life imitates aret and art imitates life?
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I cannot bear the thought of ordinary men and women, living their lives, loving and being loved by t heir families no matter what problems they have, suddenly being wrenched from home and family to go to the Land of Mordor and suffer such ghastly things, and all because a few madmen think like Sauron they have the right to dominate all men.

Men have always needed someone to dominate them and tell them what to do since the dawn of time, since it is a sedentary creature; Men cannot think and act for themselves, they feel uncomfortable and act erratically when forced to do so and the white ravens that are capable of standing alone usually do not last long against the pecking beaks & raging talons of their black kin.

Domination by the iron fist of Sauron or the gloved hand of King Elessar the Mad: in the end it is all the same. Above all Men want order and live their daily lives along clear, set paths and both Sauron & Elessar (would) have provided that.
Beautifully written Vir.

I wonder though, if teens , if any of us when we were teens, knew this, it seems we went and did and did not come under much authority except our own. Smile Smilie
Shaking Head Smilie poor thales and the rest of d guys who came after... what in vain were they thinking and why were they even thinking tsk tsk
I just did not understand the dead marshes in the movie. I thought, and I am hazy about this as well,what exacty happens to we elves when we are 'killed'. But if we do go to the halls of Mandos or whatever, then why, when Frodo looked into the water did the eyes of that fellow open as if he, the soul of him was still hanging about in the water. The entire thing did not make sense to me. I shall have to go back and carefully reread the dead marshes in the book.
When elves die they abandon their body and there spirits move to the Hall of awaiting in Mandos where after a time they are allowed to return among their Kin.

The dead marshes of the movie, the part where that wraith tries to pull frodo is not found in the book. In the book it is mentioned that although the bodies can be seen they cannot be touched. Gollum once tried to reach them but fail. However it is unlikely that there spirit still linger there. The logical explanation to me seems that this is some devilry made by Sauron, defiling the graves of those who fought against him.
I'm glad Gollum couldn't reach them; especially as he wasn't trying to refresh their make-up or anything nice like that; like that when he was hungry. Shocked Smilie
PJ could have been trying to show the public what happens when an elf dies. Their spirit leaves the bodies and travels to the halls. He may of thought that having them linger would show those who did not know the nature of elves completely, would see that spirits of elves do depart the bodies and live on as them after. He couldn't have displayed that information other than fading to a small tale of what happened after the elves were killed during the battle there at the time, showing them travelling west towards the halls. True, he did display the elves as scary and deformed spirits, when they should be gentle and gracious ones. We can just add that to the long list of faults in PJ's thinking Orc Going Huh SmilieElf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
I'm actually kind of glad that PJ left Valinor and everything in the Far West as hazy as possible. The most beautiful part of the movies for me was near the ending, where the grey ship just fades into the west... It's really a great echoing of Tolkien's description of the silver glass and the rain-curtain falling down. I guess I'd like to have seen Valinor, but at that moment, I figured I'd just as soon leave it forever up to my own imagination.
What you've said is probably the main reason why most Tolkien Readers do not want The Sil to be made. It is described so mythically and wonderous that you would really only be able to imagine it, with your imagination. I agree, it would have been an even bigger mistake to have had the Elven spirits arrive at Valinor. It is good that he kept the confinements of Middle-Earth to Middle-Earth. He didn't venture to the HelcaraxŽ or the South. Only the Middle part Orc Smiling Smilie. There is just so much information that if he did go into what really happened to the Elves, then it would have strayed from the main plot. Even though we had about four separate stories to follow Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie

Could not agree more Loss the Magnicent. Say, I hope, I hope very much that you will take a moment from Bag End and tell us how you do. I pray your health is good, if anyone deserves it you do.

Question, are the waters of the marshes actually enchanted, I ask this because , are those lying beneath their ripples still intact after all that time or are they decomposed? Just wondering.

For me the Dead Marshes are simply a reminder of the past, a rememberence of war and the souls left behind by it. I remember reading somewhere that the little torches, or lights, are actually witnessed occasionally by those unfortunate enough to stumble across the left overs of war. I suppose they are ghost stories which Tolkien used to make a point regarding how many souls would have been lost in the Battle of The Last Allience, and that perhaps a left over part of these souls inhabit thir resting place as a reminder of war and sacrifice. As a device, this is very effective, in book and film. I find the lighting in the film very eerie indeed. Perhaps the actual spirits were a little ghoulish. Very scary tho.

Dear Leelee,

I have the same doubt as you and searching I found that in a BBC interview Tolkien's daughter said that the description of the Dead Marshes were inspired in the Great war, when his father fought and many of his companions died.

The Journey through the Dead Marshes in The Lord of the Rings looks like a description 
of the marshy and swampy battlefield in Flanders. In the course of the war the 
surroundings of the city of Ypres were transformed into a deadly mud swamp with 
slithery clay and shell holes filled with water. Countless soldiers drowned in these 
treacherous pits. 

 

This note doesn't clarify your question but perhaps, the idea of the corpses remaining in the marshes as they died was to remember death for a good purpose: to keep Good in Middle Earth . Ufff, I don't find the right words to explain it.... I mean, those people sunk in the marshes as puppets and not buried, it's a good way to make everyone that walks near to remember that there was a battle long ago, hundred of people died and even if no one remember that battle, those people were living beings and had their lives, they must be remembered. If it wasn't for them, the current folks in Middle Earth would be ruled by Sauron.

In my opinion, the Dead Marshes show both sides of a story. The battle that brought many deaths and the intact corpses showing the not dead people but ancient soldiers that fought for their races and freedom in Middle Earth. If not, why the corpses were incorrupt and however, the places smelt like rotten flesh? That is unnatural. ¿?

Thank you, I guess after rereading about the horror of what John Ronald went thru, the way it is described, severed heads right beside you and other body parts. And the wounded, nothing could be done for them so they suffered and then died and then rotted right beside him and others still living. To look into their vacant eyes and see also the mouths twisted in grimaces of horror would be too much. And of course nothing would honestly be real in those moments, hours and days. It would almost be like an enchantment, because horror in the first moments, at least in my life, made everything about me go super slow and everything my eyes looked upon was like a far away dream. I just wondered, because some of the wars were so far in the past that you would think that only bones would remain, not actual intact bodies and faces.

I saw Gilgalad. He was the one that opened his eyes. Freaky, but cool!
I don't think it was Glofindal in the marshes. He was destroyed by Sauron closer to Mount Doom. From memory his body was emulated by Saurons power. I could be wrong though.
The faces in the marshes were men and elves who died in the wars of last alliance (battle of dagorland)