Tolkien Tuesday #19…on a Wednesday

~ 25 May 2022 ~

A day later than expected but at least no later than that πŸ™‚ I wish I had a good excuse for its tardiness, but alas, not really. Yesterday I started putting together a step-by-step outline of my novel outlining process, and once I started I couldn’t stop, I was enjoying it so much. So now I have a draft of a outlining workbook – woohoo…

I think it’s time to talk some Tolkien πŸ™‚

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we concluded reading Chapter 10: Strider.

Frodo reads the letter from Gandalf and learns that the wizard had hoped he would leave the Shire by the end of July. He also says that Strider is a friend, Barliman Butterbur can be trusted, and that they should make for Rivendell. He also reveals Strider’s true name.

As the hobbits digest this news, Frodo demands to know why Strider didn’t say he was a friend of Gandalf to begin with. He explains that the enemy has set traps for him before, and besides, he had no certainty that the hobbits would believe him. He concludes with the announcement of who he truly is and declares he will save them if he can, even if it costs him his life.

It’s settled that Strider shall be their guide and that they will leave Bree the following morning, though they cannot expect their exit to now go unnoticed. Only after a conversation about what might have happened to Gandalf do they realise that Merry is still missing. Yet he returns as soon as this is uttered, and brings with him alarming news.

Black Riders are already in the village. Merry had seen one and tried to follow it, but collapsed when one came near him. One of the inn’s servants, Nob found and rescued him. This news concerns Strider and he fears something might happen in the night. They make plans to hold the fort should something untoward occur.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on

This is a very evocative chapter, especially Merry’s encounter with the Black Riders. There is something quite chilling about what Nob witnessed, and makes you wonder what might have happened to Merry if Nob had arrived a few minutes later…

Next week we begin reading Chapter 11: A Knife In The Dark.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

This week I’ve been thinking about life lessons inspired by The Lord of the Rings. Here’s a short and succinct one taken from the second half of Chapter 10.

“I think one of his spies would – well, seem fairer and feel fouler, if you understand.”

This is one of my favourite quotes from The Fellowship of The Ring, a reminder that looks can be deceiving, so in all things trust your instincts. What you see isn’t always what you get.


I’ve been a little scatter-brained this week, flitting from one thing to the next. In terms of Middle Earth reading, this means I’ve been flicking through Unfinished Tales and The Book of Lost Tales volume 2.

I’ve also stumbled across another Tolkien documentary on You Tube that I want to watch. When I do get around to watching it, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on it here πŸ™‚

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

I think we are far enough into the story now to begin looking at the differences between how characters are portrayed in the film compared to the book, as well as at casting choices.

First up is Frodo. What are the main differences between him in the film and the book, and what are your thoughts on him being played by Elijah Wood?

The main difference I found between the Frodo of the book and the Frodo of the film is that in the film Frodo comes across as much the same age as Sam, Merry and Pippin, when in fact there is quite a sizeable age gap between them. However, character-wise, I’m not sure many differences stand out, or at least, I’ve yet to notice them.

I’ve mentioned this before: I have no issue with any of the casting choices of the film. I thought Elijah Wood made a very convincing Frodo Baggins, and though he looks the youngest of the hobbits when he should be the oldest, I think he makes a fantastic Frodo.

19 thoughts on “Tolkien Tuesday #19…on a Wednesday

  1. Merry collapsing when he gets close to the Black Rider is something we must remember much, much later! Those who know the books will know what I mean. Makes me bow to Mastet Tolkien’s mad writing skills once again.
    The movies: I can’t think of one single character who was miscast. I thought Frodo was perfect. And don’t forget that he had the ring for years. Didn’t he get it on his 33th birthday? That’s when Hobbits come of age. And from then on, his appearance didn’t change, just like Bilbo’s, when he had the ring. So I don’t find the looks of the differently aged Hobbits off.
    I couldn’t think of a better Sam. Or Strider. Or Gandalf. Or Saruman. Or Eowyn, Or … πŸ˜€ And I must admit that the actors for Merry and Pippin really brought the characters’ internal and external struggles close to my heart. I liked them both in the books but they didn’t feel as real to me as the movie characters did, if you know what I mean. They felt to me like sidekicks. They’re more prominent in the films.
    The elves though felt rather different to me. In the films they felt more warrior-like, which they really are meant to be. But in the books they didn’t feel to me quite like that, more like those all-knowing, beautiful magical creatures who could do wonderful things. And Galadriel surprised me. I had imagined her quite different, but not any more. I think you get an idea that I love these films. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • I second everything Gabi said. I don’t think there are any casting choices I would have changed, even though, as others have said, it makes Frodo look to be so much younger.

      To be honest, I am madly in love with the movies, and like anyone in love, I am biased in favor of my love interest, and readily overlook any minor flaws. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

    • So many great insights here, Gabi. So true that Frodo had the ring for years, hence the lack of aging (I seemed to have overlooked such an obvious point here. Sigh).

      I like what you have to say about Merry and Pippin too. I like how they were portrayed in the films as two mischievous hobbits, always together causing mayhem and getting into all sorts of trouble.

      And I have to agree with you about the elves too. πŸ™‚


  2. One thing I found some people don’t realise is that in the book there is a gap of 17 years between Bilbo’s party (3001 TA) and when Frodo leaves Bag End (3018). Frodo is 50 by the time he leaves (same age as Bilbo in The Hobbit). Merry is Frodo’s cousin and Pippin is also related to Frodo. All three are hobbit aristocracy, while Sam is the odd one out being a gardener. In the film both Merry and Pippin get portrayed as thieves at the beginning, when the only mention in the book of anyone stealing is Frodo when he was young and lived in Brandy Hall and would steal Farmer Maggot’s mushrooms.

    I suppose in the films the casting works for the material, but they’re not how I imagine them when I actually read the books.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Great point, Joanne! I have had many a discussion with people who have only seen the films and so don’t understand how much time has passed in between the birthday party and the leaving of the Shire. The film makes it look like a matter of months, but when it’s pointed out it’s actually been years, the response I’ve got is, “Are you sure?”

      That’s my one dislike of how Merry and Pippin are shown in the films. Making two hobbits from some of the wealthiest families in the Shire out to be thieves and stealing regularly from Farmer Maggot casts them in a negative light.

      “I suppose in the films the casting works for the material” – that is a very accurate insight. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Joanne on this one. I wasn’t at all well when I read the book, and mostly unable to remember what I’d been reading, but I do remember th shock of seeing Frodo portrayed so young , the less than noble portrayal of Pippin & Merry, and how quick they were to leave the Shire.
    Having said that, the film works, and I watched it many times during my long illness

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This second half has Sam continuing to be wary and protective – and bringing up what might be the reader’s own question too (or should be), about why should we trust this scary mysterious man who *claims* to be Strider? This is great because it gets the question out in the open and answers it for the reader, hopefully. Although I thought Strider was a bit of a macho dude here, scaring them more than necessary just to prove that he’s dangerous. The whole “If I was the bad guy, I could have killed you already” line sounded cliched, but I suppose it wasn’t back when the book was written.

    The letter from Gandalf helps to explain why he’s not there, which is very useful plot-wise. This is another lesson from this story: if you introduce a very powerful wizard character, how do you keep him from taking over the story if the main characters are everyday hobbits and need time to get up to speed on this whole “adventuring hero” thing? Well, you need some good excuses why he can’t be there to help out, for one, so that the hobbits can go off and have their adventure and be in danger. Now they have Strider to help them, but he’s not nearly as powerful, and the dangers are ramping up at the same time, so that they still feel in trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It appears I shall have to once again watch the movies. I feel like a neophyte compared to all of you!
    I remember appreciating all the actors chosen – Viggo a Aragorn? Absolutely! True, Sam does look older than Frodo, but I didn’t let that bother me…
    Yay! I have finally caught up!

    Liked by 1 person

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