one of my favorite lotr facts is that gondorians speak sindarin as a first language and yet when faramir was talking to frodo and sam about cirith ungol he was like “we don’t know what’s in there.” like faramir. cirith ungol is sindarin for “pass of the spider.” do the math
to be fair, you’d assume the name means “there’s a lot of spiders here,” not, “there is one spider the size of a draft horse here.” so you go up expecting to have to shoo a lot of skeeter eaters out of your tent, and instead you have to figure out how to rope and shoe godzillarantula.
Hmmm…They do live in a world where godzillarantulas feature prominently in mythology and history (Ungoliant plunged the world into darkness, scared the crap out of Sauron’s old boss, etc) and existed within the last century in Mirkwood. Assuming they ever talk to anyone who’s been to Mirkwood. They… probably know they were giant spiders in Mirkwood pretty recently? It’s hard to figure out how much anyone in Middle-earth has been talking to anyone else when we didn’t actually see it.
On the other hand – what if it’s the giant evil spiders’ prominence in history/mythology that’s causing trouble? What if lots of evil/nasty things/places get called “spider” just to indicate how nasty and evil they are, rather than any association with literal spiders, and it’s just… overloaded? Maybe the bad part of town in Minas Tirith is the Spider District. Maybe every tavern trying to be edgy calls itself the Spiderweb.
Actually spider/Ungoliant references could be really appealing to Gondorians trying to be edgy. They’re dark and evil! Plunged the world into darkness! But they AREN’T involved in the war they’re actually fighting, they aren’t directly associated with Sauron at all, so getting too interested in them would be creepy without being potentially treasonous. Because no one’s ACTUALLY going to worship those dangerous but not epic spiders up in Mirkwood, and no one’s heard anything from any proper spawn of Ungoliant in ages and ages.
In fact, spider/Ungoliant references might be appealing to ORCS trying to express that something is nasty and creepy! Nobody likes Ungoliant.
Maybe Faramir’s been to fourteen different Spider Caves across Ithilien, and half of them he didn’t even see regular spiders in, they’re just dark and damp and may have had orcs at some point, or something, and at some point in history someone got spooked. So you know, it’s POSSIBLE Spider Pass has something to do with spiders? But really it just means people don’t like it.
(The problem with this theory is we never actually SAW anyone overusing spider references. But it’s plausible they would!)
“The average spider on Middle Earth is the size of a dinner plate” is a statistical error. The average spider on Middle Earth is smaller than a coin. Cirith Ungol (lit: Spiders Gorge), which contains a spider larger than a horse, is an outlier adn should not have been counted.
this map, by jonathan hull, shows all the places in the USA named after the devil or hell. assuming big giant awful spiders were a common thing in middle earth, it’s likely that there were a shit ton of Spider Stairways.
you don’t wander into Devil’s Lick assuming that satan himself is gonna give you a rimjob. you presumably also don’t head up Spider Stairs assuming an arachnid the size of a cottage is gonna try and eat your friend.
FUN FACT: A huge portion of the “Devil’s [OBJECT]” names in Wyoming are from a poor bastard called John Coulter, who was probably the first white man to see Yellowstone! He saw it because he got seperated from the Lewis and Clark expidition on their way back east, decided that with winter coming on, he should head south to stay ahead of the weather, rather than east to try to catch up with the party, and instead got lost inside the Yellowstone caldera, the COLDEST fucking part of Wyoming, with its scalding, posionous geysers, earthquakes, massive packs of wolves that weren’t afraid of people yet, and temperatures hitting as low as Negative 40, and naturally assumed that he had somehow taken a wrong turn into the Nnth Circle of Hell.
He lived, managed to get out of the caldera, took extensive notes on the landscape, eventunally met up with some Blackfoot tribesmen who gave him a horse and directions to the nearest european settlement, and he left, naming every single notable feature after hell or the Devil, because Wyoming is clearly His Infernal Country.
So as far as Frodo knows, “Spiders Pass” was just named by a particularly disgruntled and arachnophobic field cartographer.
#that one post with the thing #it got better #Middle Earth #language #names #spiders #Spiders Georg #maps #geography #this probably deserves some other warning tag but I am not sure what #hell cw?
But today I learned that there’s a huge caveat to those statistics. The more often you go to prison, the more you’re counted in recidivism statistics.
Consider five people who go to prison. Four of them never commit another crime, but one of them was Criminal Georg, who is imprisoned ten times. Out of the fourteen prison sentences (ten for Georg, four for the others), nine of them are followed by recidivism (Georg’s first nine). The proportion of these people who are serial criminals is 20%, but the recidivism rate is 64%.
When considering people rather than prison releases, the recidivism rate is lower than I thought.
you’d think they would have been able to get more than 50 undergraduates to do. it doesn’t take a long time and requires answering no surveys
Also, psych researchers have a reputation for lying their asses off to the subjects regarding [what a study is actually about] until after it’s over. I would seriously consider pressing the button once or twice just to see if they were telling the truth about it being a shock button.
(Not sure if I’d *do* it, but I’d seriously consider it, and I would definitely wonder if it was some sort of covert test that I was failing by not pressing it.)
#the first draft of this post only had commentary in the form of the tags #”basically what shacklesburst said” #”I’m not comfortable with the gender-focused framing here but I’m reblogging for Electroshocks Georg” #but–while I’m still primarily reblogging for Electroshocks Georg–I realised I did in fact have something to say #reply via reblog #the power of science #sexism cw #this probably deserves some other warning tag but I am not sure what #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #Spiders Georg
real talk why do so many fantasy universes think giant spiders are necessary
The sad part is there’s a decent chance a large proportion of them can be blamed on one spider.
The tarantula that bit JRR Tolkien as a child.
He swore he didn’t have a spider phobia and the experience had nothing to do with the man-eating giant spiders in The Hobbit, the even more giant and even more man-eating spider in Lord of the Rings, or the unholy eldritch spider from outside creation that plunged the world into darkness and made literal Satan scream like a little kid in the Silmarillion. Very few people believe him.
Given LotR’s influence in the fantasy genre, there is a high probability that tarantula is the progenitor of even more fictional spiders than Ungoliant was.
wow fuck that one tarantula
“fantasy universes have too many spiders” factoid actually just statistical error. Georgs Spider, who bit JRR Tolkein & is to blame for menacing over 10,000 fantasy universes, is an outlier adn should not have been counted
#spider #Lord of the Rings #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #Spiders Georg
“Average human is double agent factoid” actually statistical error. Average human is regular agent. Spyders Georg, who lives in a secret base and is 10000 recursively nested levels of agent, is an outlier adn should not have been counted.
#Spiders Georg #I didn’t actually laugh aloud but it still amused me enough to reblog