RE: [mythsoc] Shelob
It is mentioned that Shelob’s brood expanded up into Mirkwood, so the spiders Bilbo encountered were her descendants, as she was in turn a descendant of Ungoliant. And Frodo certainly knew enough Elvish to know Ungol, I would expect.
Janet Brennan Croft
Beyond what is actually said in the text, there are some things that Frodo
ought to have been able to deduce or guess --
There are all these references to the translation of the name of Cirith
Ungol. And Frodo well knew of Bilbo's encounters with the giant spiders of
Mirkwood, so he ought to have been able to guess a bit at what might be
faced there: something of extraordinary size, related to the Mirkwood
Knowing of Shelob herself? That seems more incidental.
Are there some sort of Annals of the Spiders? Is Shelob a daughter of
Ungoliant, or a further removed descendant? (My mind is going off on
> "John Davis" <john@...> wrote:
> To: <email@example.com>
> Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 6:09 AM
> Subject: [mythsoc] Shelob
>>Did any of the Free Peoples know about Shelob before Sam and
>>Frodo encountered her? Gandalf, perhaps, or Faramir since he
>>spent much time in Ithilien?
>>In the PJ films, if memory serves, Faramir seems to know that
>>Gollum is taking them a dangerous way into Mordor. But is
>>there any evidence in Tolkien's writing that anyone actually
>>knew about Shelob?
> Not specifically about Shelob, as far as I can know offhand. But in the
> book, as well as the movies, it's known to be a dangerous way.
> Book 4, chapter 3: "Its name was Cirith Ungol, a name of dreadful rumour.
> Aragorn could perhaps have told them that name and its significance;
> would have warned them."
> Book 4, chapter 6: Faramir interrogating Gollum acts as if the very name
> "Cirith Ungol" should be warning enough. And "Cirith Ungol" actually
> "pass of the spider," so, like, duh.
> same chapter, Faramir to Frodo: "I do not think you are holden to go to
> Cirith Ungol, of which [Gollum] has told you less than he knows. That
> I perceived clearly in his mind. Do not go to Cirith Ungol! ... There is
> some dark terror that dwells in the passes above Minas Morgul. If Cirith
> Ungol is named, old men and masters of lore will blanch and fall silent."
> Frodo then reasonably asks, if he shouldn't go to Cirith Ungol, by what
> route should he then go, to accomplish his errand? Faramir has no better
> suggestion, except that he's sure Gandalf would have thought of something
> else, so he gives Frodo his implied blessing.
- Thanks everyone!John----- Original Message -----From: Darrell A. MartinSent: Friday, March 25, 2011 10:45 PMSubject: Re: [mythsoc] Shelob
On 3/25/2011 9:25 AM, Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> On 25 March 2011 14:51, <aveeris523@... <mailto:aveeris523@...>>
> In a message dated 3/25/11 6:09:24 AM, john@...
> <mailto:john@...> writes:
> Did any of the Free Peoples know about Shelob before Sam and
> Frodo encountered her? Gandalf, perhaps, or Faramir since he
> spent much time in Ithilien?
> That's an interesting question John; the orcs certainly did! I'll
> check _LOTR: A Reader's Companion_, Hammond & Scull.
> My impression is that people had certainly known /about/ Shelob (hence
> the name of the pass, the Pass of the Spider) but the specifics had been
> forgotten, leaving it to simply 'have a bad name'. Unless I misremember,
> there is somewhere a hint that Gandalf might have told Frodo more about
> the pass and its name.
Faramir told Frodo that when the name Cirith Ungol was brought up to the
old loremasters, they were frightened by it and refused to discuss it.
In the same conversation he mentioned that the young men of Gondor no
longer ventured east of the Ithilien road.
Clearly, among the old and learned the meaning of Cirith Ungol was still
known, at the time of the War of the Ring. But the details were not
discussed, and none of Faramir's generation had any experience of the pass.
I think it is a bit of a stretch to think Frodo would have automatically
translated "Cirith Ungol" to "mountain pass where one or more giant
spiders currently live". Yes, he *could* have thought that, or suspected
it (and perhaps he did). Regardless, however, Gollum was right when he
said that if Master wanted to enter Mordor, he had to go some way, and
that no way was safe; and Frodo was right when he rejected the idea of
going back to the Black Gate and surrendering on the spot. Damn the
spiders, full speed ahead.