~ 31 May 2022 ~
Tuesdays are fast becoming my favourite day of the week…a few hours spent lazing with a book, a cuppa, a notepad and pen, and a nicely scented candle, where I can indulge in letting my mind runaway to another world. Bliss!
And just a quick note: I’m a little behind – by which I mean very behind – with comments, but please bear with me, I will get round to them all. 🙂
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we begin Chapter 11: A Knife in the Dark.
Black Riders attack the cottage at Crickhollow, but a wary Fatty Bolger escapes and raises the alarm. The Black Riders are now certain Frodo has fled the Shire and the ring has gone with him.
When the hobbits wake in Bree, it is to find the room they were supposed to be sleeping in had been broken into in the night and had been trashed. Also, the stables had been opened and all the horses and ponies had gone.
With delay forced upon them, it is late when they leave Bree, and under the watchful eye of a large crowd. Once into open country, Strider guides them off the main road and into the wild, hopefully leading them on such a convoluted trail that they can’t be followed.
They travel through woodland (The Chetwood) which turns into a lonely, miserable, marshy landscape, making the going difficult, and the night’s unbearable. Unexplained lights in the night sky are spotted in the distance on the fourth night.
On the fifth day, the terrain improves and they begin to head for a line of hills, of which Weathertop is the tallest. Here they hope to find Gandalf. Strider shares some history of the area, and Sam surprises them all when he recites three verses of The Fall of Gil-Galad.
I enjoyed this part of the chapter as it mostly deals with landscape and history. I liked that Fatty Bolger isn’t forgotten, but my favourite part is when Sam recites the poem, surprising everyone. That is wonderful, and a reminder that he should never be underestimated.
Next week we conclude Chapter 11.
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
Something that has become apparent to me on this re-reading is just how rich and multi-faced each of the chapters of the book are. There are so many layers of storytelling to be found at each stage of this journey. Tolkien never allowed himself to be solely concerned with the present as he told his story. The past, in the form of songs and poems, or in explanations of places and the histories of peoples, is to be found constantly through the narrative. There there is also the foreshadowing of things to come, or a switch to explain things that happen elsewhere, or off the page, as it were, such as the return to the cottage in Crickhollow to learn of Fatty Bolger’s fate.
This concept of a multi-dimensional chapter shows the reader how interconnected parts of the story are, that life, even in fiction, doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and that while we might be focused on what is happening to one cast of characters in a story, more stories are unfolding around them, and sometimes these stories meet and influence the other, and sometimes they don’t. But just like real life, there is always something happening somewhere, and it has always been this way, and will continue to be this way.
In the UK, we will be marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the end of the week, with a four day weekend. To celebrate, I will be baking lots of goodies, drinking lots of tea, and having a The Lord of the Rings movie marathon – the extended editions, of course. Or at least, that’s the plan. Him Indoors might have other ideas, and they usually come in the form of Star Wars and Star Trek…Yes, we are a house of nerds.
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
It appears that Frodo almost has a sense of what occurs in Crickhollow whilst he is asleep at Bree. And, we have already seen how he is able to learn of things happening far away in his dreams, though he seems barely conscious of the fact or is unable to retain the information. (Think back to Tom Bombadil’s house when he dreams of Gandalf).
Where do you think this ability comes from? Is it important to the storyline or is its importance only as a literary device, allowing Tolkien to share what is happening elsewhere?
I think it comes from the ring, though I don’t recall it being mentioned that Bilbo was effected by it in the same way. That being said, Frodo has had the ring for longer in The Lord of The Rings, that Bilbo had in The Hobbit, and so perhaps time is a factor?
As for its importance, I’m unsure at present. I can’t recall how often it happens over the course of the entire story, so I will come back to that as we read on…