The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2 #LotRreadalong
My Reading Process. I listened to most of this book on audio, though I did go back from time to time and read through portions again on my ebook for the purpose of marking quotations and whatnot. The ebook/audio thing is still really working for me.
My Thoughts on Book 2. I am still having a lovely time reading through this epic tale. I don’t have quite as many quotes marked up this time due to the aforementioned listening, but I do have quiet a few. Here are some of my favorites:
The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. His hair was dark as the shadows of twilight, and upon it was set a circlet of silver; his eyes were grey as a clear evening, and in them was a light like the light of stars. Venerable he seemed as a king crowned with many winters, and yet hale as a tried warrior in the fulness of his strength. He was the Lord of Rivendell and mighty among both Elves and Men.
There was also a strange Elf clad in green and brown, Legolas, a messenger from his father, Thranduil, the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood. And seated a little apart was a tall man with a fair and noble face, dark-haired and grey-eyed, proud and stern of glance. He was cloaked and booted as if for a journey on horseback; and indeed though his garments were rich, and his cloak was lined with fur, they were stained with long travel. He had a collar of silver in which a single white stone was set; his locks were shorn about his shoulders. On a baldric he wore a great horn tipped with silver that now was laid upon his knees.
‘And here in the house of Elrond more shall be made clear to you,’ said Aragorn, standing up. He cast his sword upon the table that stood before Elrond, and the blade was in two pieces. ‘Here is the Sword that was Broken!’ he said.
‘And who are you, and what have you to do with Minas Tirith?’ asked Boromir, looking in wonder at the lean face of the Ranger and his weather-stained cloak.
I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!”
I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered. “I liked white better,” I said.
“White!” he sneered. “It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.”
“In which case it is no longer white,” said I. “And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”
“We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means.”
“Saruman,” I said, “I have heard speeches of this kind before, but only in the mouths of emissaries sent from Mordor to deceive the ignorant. I cannot think that you brought me so far only to weary my ears.”
‘True indeed!’ said Gandalf. ‘And there is one among them that might have been foaled in the morning of the world. The horses of the Nine cannot vie with him; tireless, swift as the flowing wind. Shadowfax they called him. By day his coat glistens like silver; and by night it is like a shade, and he passes unseen. Light is his footfall! Never before had any man mounted him, but I took him and I tamed him, and so speedily he bore me that I reached the Shire when Frodo was on the Barrow-downs, though I set out from Rohan only when he set out from Hobbiton.
‘I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.’
Elrond raised his eyes and looked at him, and Frodo felt his heart pierced by the sudden keenness of the glance. ‘If I understand aright all that I have heard,’ he said, ‘I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will. This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. Who of all the Wise could have foreseen it? Or, if they are wise, why should they expect to know it, until the hour has struck? ‘But it is a heavy burden.
Oh Frodo. I love this kind of thing.
‘The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil. With you and your faithful servant, Gandalf will go; for this shall be his great task, and maybe the end of his labours. ‘For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Legolas shall be for the Elves; and Gimli son of Glóin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least to the passes of the Mountains, and maybe beyond. For men you shall have Aragorn son of Arathorn, for the Ring of Isildur concerns him closely.’
Therefore Boromir will also be in the Company. He is a valiant man.’
‘It is grim reading,’ he said. ‘I fear their end was cruel. Listen! We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frár and Lóni and Náli fell there. Then there are four lines smeared so that I can only read went 5 days ago. The last lines run the pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the Water took Óin. We cannot get out. The end comes, and then drums, drums in the deep. I wonder what that means. The last thing written is in a trailing scrawl of elf-letters: they are coming. There is nothing more.’
‘They are coming!’ cried Legolas. ‘We cannot get out,’ said Gimli.
‘You cannot pass!’ he said.
With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.
I hate to admit it, but I like the movie line “You shall not pass!” better.
In this box there is earth from my orchard, and such blessing as Galadriel has still to bestow is upon it. It will not keep you on your road, nor defend you against any peril; but if you keep it and see your home again at last, then perhaps it may reward you. Though you should find all barren and laid waste, there will be few gardens in Middle-earth that will bloom like your garden, if you sprinkle this earth there.
I have fear for the Shire.
‘Oh, Mr. Frodo, that’s hard!’ said Sam shivering. ‘That’s hard, trying to go without me and all. If I hadn’t a guessed right, where would you be now?’
‘Safely on my way.’
‘Safely!’ said Sam. ‘All alone and without me to help you? I couldn’t have a borne it, it’d have been the death of me.’
‘It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,’ said Frodo, ‘and I could not have borne that.’
‘Not as certain as being left behind,’ said Sam.
‘But I am going to Mordor.’
‘I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.’
ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Even if you’ve read the books before (or you’ve seen the movies), were you surprised by who Elrond picked for the fellowship?
Yes and no. I thought he might pick an elf from Rivendell to go. I was, however, surprised that he was reluctant to send Merry and Pippin along and that he wanted to send Pippin back to the Shire to help there.
2. How do you feel about Gandalf’s fate in Moria?
I’ve seen the movies, so I was not surprised this time. But the first time I saw the movie, I was pretty upset. Pretty upset.
3. What do you think you would see in Galadriel’s mirror?
I have no idea. I’d rather hang out with Galadriel than look in the mirror. :)
4. If you could have any of the gifts the elves from Lothlórien gave to the fellowship, which one would you choose and why?
I have to say that I love the gift to Sam and how he uses it. But if I were choosing for me, I would want the light of Elendil, of course. Bottled star seems cool.
5. Do you think Boromir had any logic in his thinking about using the ring to fight Sauron?
Yes, I do. All he wants is to save his lands and to give his men the strength to fight the enemy. And he sees the power to do that in front of him. Though I find Boromir at little boring and annoying, I do at least see his motivations.
6. Do you think Frodo was rash for leaving the fellowship behind?
No, I don’t. I think eight or nine people would attract too much attention. Even Aragorn sees it at the end there.
7. Do you have a hard time following the action? Do the movies, if you’ve seen them, make it easier to envision the events taking place?
Yes, I think the movies do help me “see” the action better. I’m not sure how I would have fared without the movie background, but I think they are written well enough that I would have been fine.
8. Who is your favorite and least favorite character in The Fellowship of the Ring?
My favorite is always Aragorn. Always. And my least favorite is Boromir, with Legolas a close second.
9. What is your favorite and least favorite scene in The Fellowship of the Ring?
I have so many favorite scenes. I can’t pick! I love the declarations of courage and honor the most: Merry and Pipping revealing their well-laid plans; Aragorn declaring he will protect them; Frodo saying he will be the ring-bearer; Gandalf facing down the Balrog; and Sam declaring he will go to Mordor with Frodo. There are some repetitive travel scenes in there that aren’t my favorite, but I think they lend the tale a bit more realism about the perils and length of the road.
10. These books seem to be very male-centric. Does this bother you? Do you wish there were more important female characters? How do you think the book would’ve changed if one of the main characters were female?
Very very very male-centric. Lady Galadriel is really the only exception to the all-male cast. Arwen makes an appearance but it was just an appearance. I don’t know how I feel about that. There are some awesome females coming, like Eowyn, but it would have been nice to have a girl along as a member of the fellowship.