January 25th, 2011


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Discussion (41)¬

  1. BarGamer says:

    “No, Honored Digger. You are going home.”

    You heard it here first, folks.

  2. bemused_canadian says:

    I love this comic. I gotta tell you though, this is turning out to be as long a goodbye sequence as in Return of the King

  3. TekServer says:

    @bemused_canadian: Movie, or book? Because as long as the sequence was in the movie, they shortened it CONSIDERABLY from the version in the book. Heck, in the book, the hobbits had another mini-adventure upon returning to the Shire, during which Saruman was actually killed.


  4. jr says:

    “Yes, I’m going to the hospital to fianlly have my arm treated. Did you think I was going to stay here and let it rot off?”

  5. Robin Bobcat says:

    You know… I can’t help but hear the King of All Cosmos music (Fugue 7777) whenever Statue speaks…


  6. Jimblewix says:

    In that case there’s time for Digger to have another whole mini-adventure – if it was good enough for Tolkein it’s good enough for Vernon!

    I hope so… don’t want it to end…

  7. Bartimaeus says:

    I know what the answer’s going to be.
    “No, Digger. You are.”

    Maaan, the adventure’s almost over…

  8. CatsbyMoo says:

    Hm, if we’re going to end this like the book version of Return of the King, does that mean that Digger can go back to her home, which is now overrun with monsters, and use her newfound courage and skills to brutally slay all foes in her path? Because, y’know… that’d be pretty cool.

  9. JewelWolf says:

    Didn’t see that coming. Yay! Drawn out end!

  10. Loren says:

    Murai is pretty specifically referring to her _own_ departure, here. While Digger may be heading home at some point, perhaps even very soon, I think that if Ursula wanted tp make the statement ambiguous, she’d have done so rather more …unambiguously. 🙂


  11. wombat32 says:

    you know, in Return of the King, there’s a part where the main characters fly out on the backs of giant eagle type birds, and even at the age of 12 or 13, I thought to myself “Why the )(*#$@# didn’t they fly to to get rid of the ring, instead of going by land and almost dying 48 times?” Just do a flyover and toss the damn thing in and go home.

  12. Hawk says:

    Heh heh hehehe

    “drawn out” ending?


  13. Korlee says:

    A drawn out ending is not so bad. I’d rather have this then a cut short one leaving you with fifty billion questions.

  14. CasCat says:

    I wonder if Murai’s fated-from-the-beginning-of-time mission was simply to stand, injured, in front of a great warrior and defy him to kill her, thus making him change his mind? Not what one ordinarily thinks of when one thinks of Fated Destinies (duels-to-the-death come rather more readily to mind) but yet it has far-reaching ramifications for the whole region that are worthy of a Fate-with-a-capital-F….

  15. MadamAtom says:

    @Loren: Yes, and thank you. “Before I left” seems pretty clear to me. The only question is whether Murai is leaving permanently, or just expects Digger to have left herself before she gets back.

  16. Nicole B says:

    I wonder if Murai is going back to that fishing village, to find the Good Man. Even if she’s not, I have a feeling she’s done with Jhalm and the Veiled for good. The poor thing. :/

  17. slywlf says:

    I’m glad they are getting a chance to say goodbye, and if we are going to have lots fo farewells maybe we’ll get to see Shadowchild again 😉

  18. Karyl says:

    Man, I’m going to miss reading Digger! I keep hoping that there will be another adventure of some kind, and it would be great if it included Shadowchild. Maybe she’ll go with Murai to help her out.

  19. Exindiv says:

    Murai is leaving to rejoin the veiled and replace Jhalm as their commander. This is my prognostication.

  20. Siege says:

    @wombat32 The Nazgul and other flying enemies had to be defeated first, before the eagles could get through. When your enemy has more AA than you have aircraft, you tend to be cautious about attempting a very visible frontal assault.

  21. Brave Horatio says:

    Murai looks happy …nay, excited! I don’t think we’ve ever seen her actually happy before – she’s either been tormented or at peace. But now she’s positively bursting with joy. Wherever she’s going, she’s thrilled about it, and even more thrilled that Digger’s up and about. This portends good things.

    My personal guess is that she’s the new cultural liaison to the Hyenas.

    And yeah, both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings feature six months of actual story followed by nine months of walking home. But still, a coronation that you don’t spend at least a chapter on isn’t worth having, right? And Siege is totally right about the eagles.

  22. Lycanthromancer says:

    I’m guessing that most of her issues were caused by her having been opened to psychic phenomena, and hearing the screams of He-Is being tormented by Sweetgrass Voice.

    It’s just a theory.

    (I’ve got a theory! It must be bunnies!)

  23. mouse says:

    Well, as to long-drawn-out-endings, a la Lord of the Rings – Digger, also, is still a long way from home, and if she goes back with Trader Manuel, I suspect the trip would be an adventurous one…and surely we will get to see Digger’s home-coming, right? (hint, hint)

  24. I think Shadowlecent or Statue is going to be the last goodbye. No it’s going to be statue. He’s the first one she met, so It’s fitting that He’d be the last to say goodbye.

  25. Timotheus says:

    Just to clarify things a bit, Tolkien intend the razing and restoration of the shire to be the culmination of the story from its very beginning. The fact that it was cut out of the movie trilogy was a horrible disappointment to me and was a disservice to the whole intended plot of sacrifice for the sake of rebirth.

  26. Themightyjagrafess says:

    @wombat32 It appears that somone else has asked that question http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yqVD0swvWU

  27. Kinto_M says:

    I’m seeing poignancy here. The hyena tribe will get to celebrate, even if they’re not sure why. The hooded acolyte is relieved It-That-Was-Once-He-Is is finally dead. Murai is smiling and happy, excited about a journey that, while certainly important, will not involve her wombat friend. Digger’s actions have brought good to many.

    But what about Digger? She’s done what had to be done. Shadowchild, Ed, and now Murai have moved on. What use is there for a hero when the epic is complete?

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it. I look forward to seeing where the story goes.

  28. WafflesToo says:

    I don’t think it’s really as drawn out as we think it is. I think it’s more an effect of the medium; we only get TWO pages every week (right around 8 – 9 every month). It’s really only been 25 pages since we found Ed’s crumpled remains at the bottom of the chasm (and I’m not counting the holiday splashes).

    @ Siege: Took the words right from my mouth. In fact, I think the book states so very specifically (something about, “where no living thing now dared to fly…”)

  29. Mark Antony says:

    Regarding just flying the blasted ring into Morder, remember that the Nazgul, at the founding of the Fellowship, were still busy trekking back to Morder on foot. Heck, Gandalf should’ve just gotten Eagles to transport him and Frodo right from the Shire, while the Nazgul were still on horses and couldn’t fly at all. Sure, it wouldn’t have been a walk in the park, but it’s still a better option than the plan they went with, which only worked by dint of a one heck of a lot of luck and a few minor miracles.

    Of course, if they had done that, the story would have contained significantly less awesome, so the Fridge Logic can go stuff itself.

  30. Cookiemonster says:

    Also because the eagles were busy having a tea party, and when some morsel of food comes asks for a ride…That looks awfully yummy.

    The only reason they said yes to Gandalf was because they owed him a favor.

    Also what Siege said. 😛 That was the serious answer.

  31. The Occupant says:

    “Not everyone gets to go home.”
    But you do, Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels, Hyana Sister, Troll Friend, and Shadow Mother.
    You do.

  32. Shadw21 says:

    @ The Occupant

    Beautifully said.

  33. wombat32 says:

    I remembered the part about the Nazgul and all that, but it has been the better part of 35 years since I read the books. I just thought it was a funny thought, and I relayed it. 🙂

  34. TekServer says:

    @Timotheus: very good point, and absolutely correct. (I only admitted this point myself for the sake of brevity … )

    And about the eagles: I wondered about this myself, but then I got to thinking. Why would we assume that the fell beasts that the Nazgul rode were the only flying forces that Mordor could field? We know, for example, that Mordor used large murders of crows as spies/assassins (in the movie, at least, and I’m pretty sure I remember that from the books as well); one of those flocks would at least be an annoyance to the Great Eagles, and would certainly be deadly to their passengers.

    And we also know that the eagles didn’t fly into Mordor until after the Ring was destroyed; it seems logical that the explanation for this is that some aspect of Sauron’s power would have made the flight impossible before that point.


  35. Hawk says:

    If I recall correctly from my reading of the Silmarillion (yes I’m that much of a Tolkein geek, though I don’t go so far as to speak fluent Elvish…yet):

    Sauron had the power to affect the mind of any living thing within the walls of Mordor; this is why anytime the Great Eye was passing over Frodo and Sam they needed to hide, because that Eye could have seen them, detected them, and instantly would have grabbed their minds. Eagles are kind of hard to hide. They surely would have been seen.

    Prior to entering Mordor, Gandalf does call on the Eagles, at Sauron’s tower; but the entire race of giant eagles does not owe Gandalf a favor, only their King. And that favor was, technically, discharged at the War of Five Armies…but I imagine the King of Eagles is also a friend to Gandalf. Now, as regards why they didn’t use eagle travel the whole time, there’s also this. It took weeks of riding, to get from Gondor to the Shire – this equates to at least a week, possibly more than one, of flight. Only Gandalf is ever shown riding an eagle; presumably only he would have the skill. How well would Frodo have fared, riding in the talon of an eagle (which just can’t be comfortable)…for a week? And that doesn’t take into account stopping for food and rest. Eagles aren’t albatrosses, or 747s *grin*

    TekServer has a VERY good point, also, about the minions of Sauron. A pigeon can kill a Cessna; a bird the size of a crow doesn’t even need to attack the eagle, just slam into him. Flight is not easy to maintain, and even if the eagles themselves weren’t hurt (and count on it, Sauron would have ordered his minions to inflict maximum pain and damage), they certainly would have defended themselves…and most likely would have dropped their passengers. Gandalf is only hanging on to some feathers; Frodo, remember, is clutched in a talon. One raven to the face, and Gandalf is gone – Frodo fares no better should the smaller birds swarm him. It’s hard to recall how powerful birds really are, when we mostly are familiar with the wonderfully ineffective chicken and the pretty but frail songbirds. Predatory birds like eagles and ravens can knock a man down, raking talons across his head; they can strike a human unconscious with a well placed blow of the wing. And if they get hold of your arm and are in range of your face…you’re either dead or wishing you were, because you have no face.

    My last point relates to something that I recall from the books (though it’s been some time since I read them) – the eagles were engaged in a battle of their own, during the Battle of the Pellenor Fields. Not until after Gondor’s gates were breached was Gandalf even able to send word to the King of Eagles, and once he had, he basically got word back to the effect of “Busy saving our own nests, just now, be there when we can.” The race of eagles was directly threatened by Sauron because of the fact that everyone knew Gandalf could call on them. I don’t recall what was sent against them, sadly.

    So yeah, the eagles were not a real option, for many reasons. I bet Tolkein didn’t think in terms of “just fly there” either – his was not a time of supersonic jets and “just hop across the pond” mentality as regards crossing huge, largely inhospitable stretches of land. When you don’t grow up with “let’s just get on a plane,” you tend to think more in terms of road trip. And hey, getting there was half the fun, right? We would never have gotten to see just how strong Frodo’s spirit is, without that journey.

    Just as here, we would never have gotten to see the amazing, peculiar, touching things that can happen when a good wombat interacts with a strange world!

  36. Hawk says:

    Oh my gosh, wall of text. I’m sorry y’all

  37. MadamAtom says:

    More about eagles. Those who don’t care about the Tolkien geek-out, move on. 🙂

    On top of everything else, weren’t they Manwe’s own servants? They were proud and arrogant because they were flippin’ Maiar. (At least I’m pretty sure Thorondor was, and I think the rest were his siblings or descendants.) Asking what’s effectively an angel to help you isn’t most people’s first resort. Gandalf could get away with it once or twice because he’s one himself.

    The West has a history of letting Middle-earth solve its own problems; it took a personal and desperate appeal from Earendil to get the Valar involved in Beleriand at the end of the First Age, and after Numenor fell they saw to it that only Elves who’d cut their ties to mortal lands could make that voyage ever again. Also, Sauron’s rise was aided by Middle-earth’s inhabitants, so he was Middle-earth’s foe to deal with. The Valar might well have directly forbidden the eagles to swoop in and solve the problem; after all, hadn’t they sent (and greatly de-powered) the wizards for that purpose? It was time for mortals to rise, and that was only going to happen if mortals were the main agents in cleaning their own house.

    (I don’t believe in this kind of divinely ordained destiny in real life, mind you, but I do like it in fiction if it’s well done.)

  38. TekServer says:

    Hawk, you’ve read the Silmarillion? (And I suspect MadamAtom has as well … ) Kudos!

    It took me two tries to get through the Silmarillion. That thing reads like a history textbook! I tried reading it in print first, and kept falling asleep after less than a page, so I put it down and started something else.

    Later (but still several years ago) I got the Silmarillion as an audiobook, which (ironically) helped me stay awake on long car trips (I was running a lot of out-of-town calls for work back then).

    I just wish I could remember more of it now. (Maybe I’ll listen to it again some day, after I finish the Discworld audio books of course … ) Still, it never ceases to amaze, how much thought and detail Tolkien put into creating his world. It’s no surprise that the world of Middle-Earth (and surrounding realms) remains a benchmark for works of fantasy to this day.


  39. Maureen says:

    I don’t think Manwe’s eagles are precisely Maiar. More like magical/holy animals the same way the Trees were magical/holy plants.

    The major reason not to fly Eagle Airways was that the giant eagles tired pretty easily, couldn’t carry much weight, and had to eat a lot of food. (The Hobbit talks a lot about how the eagles were pretty tired after just flying for a day or so.) Raptors don’t do a lot of straight line flight if they can help it, because it tires them. But there’s not going to be wall-to-wall convenient thermals all the way from the Shire to Mordor.

    They were extremely vulnerable to weather attacks, fire attacks, arrows, catapults, etc. Mordor was well defended against conventional forces like the eagles’ army. We never saw the flying Fell Riders up fighting the eagles, either.