~ 23 June 2022 ~
It’s been one of those weeks and truly I have no idea where my time has gone these past few days. But here we are, about to finish Book 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, and conclude the first part of our journey. Can you believe we’ve been on this slow re-read for half a year? So grab a mug of something nice – as always, I’m drinking tea – and let’s begin…
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we finish Chapter 12: Flight to the Ford, and Book 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring!
Frodo, Sam and Strider follow Merry and Pippin further along the path to where they spotted the trolls. But it isn’t long before Strider, teasing the younger hobbits, shows that the trolls were the very same ones turned to stone while Bilbo was on his own adventure. Sam recites a poem he made up about trolls and Frodo declares he is learning a lot about Sam Gamgee.
The company continue on their journey, all in better spirits than they have been for some time and with Frodo feeling a little better. They come across a runestone marking where the dwarves and Bilbo hid their treasure and Frodo declares Bilbo gave all his treasure away.
Now back on the Road they are once more uneasy. As they are looking for a safe place to make camp, they hear the sound of hooves on the Road behind them. Hiding, they fear the approach of Black Riders, but it turns out to be Glorfindel, an Elf-lord that lives in Rivendell.
Glorfindel shares all the news he knows. Gandalf has still not arrived at Rivendell. There are five Black Riders chasing the company down and he suspects the other four may be lying in wait ahead. Knowing the danger they are in, Glorfindel, now taking over the role as guide from Strider, urges them on. He insists Frodo rides his horse, Asfaloth, who has the best chance of bearing him to safety should they encounter the enemy.
For the next couple of days, Glorfindel pushes them on, even though they are weary and exhausted. Concern for Frodo and his wound, and the peril he fears both in front and behind them, drives him.
They are a mile from the Ford when the sound of pursuit reaches them. Glorfindel tells his horse to swiftly bear Frodo away, as five Black Riders come into sight. As the horse does as it has been commanded, another four Black Riders appear ahead of Frodo, but Asfaloth outpaces them all and crosses the Ford.
Frodo, now delirious with exhaustion and the effects of his wound, is only barely conscious to see the river rise up against the Black Riders and their horses and carry them away. After that, he knows no more.
I loved this part of the story, especially with the crossover with The Hobbit. Strider really gets to show his humorous side with the trolls and this injection of levity amid so much danger is welcome. The tone in this scene with the trolls also reminds me more of The Hobbit. I’ve been thinking a lot over recent weeks of the opening stage of both Frodo and Bilbo’s journey, and I’m sorely tempted to begin reading the opening chapters of The Hobbit again.
Next week: Do we look back and reflect on Book 1 or do we jump straight into Chapter 1 of Book 2? If no-one states any preferences in the comments, we will just carry on reading 🙂
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
Glorfindel has always been one of my favourite characters from The Lord of the Rings (and beyond), and every time I read this section of the book, I relive the disappointment I felt the first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring and realised he wasn’t coming to help rescue the hobbits and Strider from the Black Riders. And although I’ve loved the films since that very first time seeing them, this slight change to the story has stayed with me, more so than not getting to see the Barrow-Downs in the movies.
I understand why his role is taken over by Arwen for the film, and I think she does a great job of it, and of course, it’s great to see a female character doing wonderful things in such a male-dominated story (though to be honest, this doesn’t bother me in the least). After all, we have to remember that Tolkien and Peter Jackson were producing a different end product for a different audience who had different expectations.
If you could have a character, scene or setting which was not included in the film, included in it, who, what or where would it be?
In last week’s Tolkien Tuesday #22 post, I mentioned that I stumbled across a DVD in a charity shop called “Creating The Lord of the Rings Symphony: A composer’s journey through Middle Earth”.
Since posting that, I have watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved listening to the music, hearing the explanations given by Howard Shore, and seeing the artwork which was chosen to accompany it. And as we’ve mentioned before regarding the films, you can take one element from it, in this case the music, and feel very much connected to the story and see it play out in your mind’s eye. All the elements are just so wonderfully interconnected.
If you’re a fan of the film soundtrack, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
What’s your favourite quote (or one of your favourite quotes) from Book 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring?
Like every other reader, no doubt, I have so many favourite quotes from what we have read so far. I shared a couple of them along our journey, but thought it would be good to share one I haven’t yet mentioned.
So I picked this one, which I find very moving, from the first half of Chapter 12, when Frodo asks Strider if he has often been to Rivendell:
“There my heart is; but it is not my fate to sit in peace, even in the fair house of Elrond.”