Tolkien Tuesday #24…a day late

~ 29 June 2022 ~

Only a day late this week…somehow that feels like progress!

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we begin Book 2, Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, Many Meetings.

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Frodo wakes in Rivendell, to learn from Gandalf that Elrond has spent days tending to the wound he received on Weathertop. Gandalf then proceeds to tell him that he had started to turn into a wraith like the Black Riders, who are the Ringwraiths, the Nine Servants of the Lord of the Rings. He also explains his absence in the briefest possible terms: he was held captive.

Frodo can’t remember how he got to Rivendell, nor can he recall everything which happened at the ford, and begs Gandalf to fill in the blanks of his memory. The river is under the command of Elrond, and when he requires it to bar the way to those unwelcome in this valley, it rises and floods, as it did that day, washing away their enemies.

Frodo is reunited with Sam, Merry and Pippin, and then they all attend a feast. Frodo is a guest at the high table, and is seated next to Gloin, one of Bilbo’s companions on his adventure to the Lonely Mountain. Frodo also sees for the first time, Elrond’s daughter, Arwen.

I felt this was quite a gentle passage in the story. For the moment they are safe, and the calm atmosphere of Rivendell permeates the text and becomes a tangible thing, even when discussing the difficulties they’ve had to endure since leaving the Shire. Also, Pippin’s humorous side makes a welcome appearance in this first half of the chapter, and I thought here he was closer to how he is portrayed in the movies.

Next week we will conclude Book 2 Chapter 1, Many Meetings.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

My musing this week is on the use of the series title in the narrative.

I always feel that this is somehow a momentous occasion when it first appears (in all books, not just this one). And that it’s spotting should be accompanied by an exclamation of something along the lines of “Ah, there it is!”

I’m not entirely sure why I feel it’s an important marker in a story. I wonder if it has something to do with the characters and the readers both being conscious of this same nugget of information contained within the title…I don’t know…

The first time was by Gandalf when he’s explaining to Frodo who the Black Riders are. The second time, Pippin, jesting, calls Frodo “Lord of the Ring” and then when Gandalf pulls him up on it, he quips ironically that the wizard “…has been saying many cheerful things…”

Is it only me who notices things like this? Or do you notice it too?

Elsewhere

Jen Goldie kindly left a link to her blog post on Howard Shore on Tolkien Tuesday #22 in which I was discussing the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. And I’m so glad she did!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and listening to some of the YouTube clips (I’ll definitely be returning to listen to the rest!). My favourite was “How Howard Shore brought out the dark side of Middle Earth.”

If you enjoy the soundtrack, head over to her blog and check out this post. I can highly recommend it. However, if you are avoiding storyline spoilers you may want to check back later ๐Ÿ˜‰

https://jegoldiewrites.com/2022/04/29/howard-shore-canadian-icon-composer-orchestrator-conductor-apr-29-2022-jen-goldie/

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

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Tolkien writes of The Last Homely House east of the Sea: “a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.” What would you go to Rivendell for?

I like the idea of going there and just sitting and thinking. We don’t have enough time to just sit and be still. I also like the idea of going there and writing, like someone else we know…

But I don’t doubt that I would also make time to study there: geography and maps as well as history. I wouldn’t say no to listening to a story or two, either.

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33 thoughts on “Tolkien Tuesday #24…a day late

  1. You hit the nail saying this was a “gentle passage.” And was it needed. After the journey and final fight at the ford, I needed a gentle section to recover almost as much as the Hobbits did. And I”m with you for using the house to rest and think. Knowing me, my nose sniffing all the flowers, touching everything, and reading anything I could get my hands on. Would love to visit the Last Homely House!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I imagine the gardens at Rivendell to be wonderfully fragrant, very peaceful, and filled with a rainbow of pastel coloured flowers! Yep, I’d definitely be happy to sit quietly out there for a few hours, reading ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this – regarding dropping in those little nuggets, I think they are crucial to most stories and sometimes it isn’t until later when it suddenly dawns on you – those ‘ah ha’ moments! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, this was a most welcome calm passage. I think we all needed the rest!
    Yes, I stopped at that “โ€ฆhas been saying many cheerful thingsโ€ฆโ€ And wonder just what those “cheerful” things were.
    As for this little house, I think I would like a mixture of everything plus exploration of the nearby grounds.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sammi, I also immediately jumped on the mention of the “lord of the rings” and what it meant. I especially like how it came up, with Pippin teasing Frodo, and Gandalf being very serious about the termโ€™s evil connotations. I’m with you, I always note where the book title meaning comes to light! I especially like it when I discover that thereโ€™s more to the title than Iโ€™d realized. That happened with the Dresden Files book โ€œDead Beatโ€ โ€“ they never use that term in the book, but it turns out that the way to keep undead creatures under your spell is to pound out an unceasing rhythm on a drum. Get it, dead beat? Lolโ€ฆ More recently I had that โ€œa ha!โ€ moment when reading โ€œGirls Made of Snow and Glassโ€ when I realized the title wasnโ€™t just figurative. (By the way, LOVED that book โ€“ highly recommended!)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sammi — great insights, as always! I had the same response, that this was a nice reprieve from the tension of the previous section – which is a great writing lesson: that you can’t stay at a high level of crisis for the whole book. Having a period where things seem to be relaxing and getting better is nice for the reader, allows us all (readers and hobbits) to appreciate the beauty of the scenery for a little while, and then makes the next crisis all the more shocking and tense because we relaxed!

    Frodo said it perfectly: “But so far my only thought has been to get here; and I hope I shan’t have to go any further. It is very pleasant just to rest.” This was so poignant for me, knowing that he doesn’t get to rest long. It makes him volunteering later to take the ring so much more brave and selfless, knowing that he’d really rather just rest a while.

    Like some others, I also marked Pippin’s comment that Gandalf had been saying “cheerful” things –which emphasized for me that Pippin is being excitable and fun and perhaps fool-hardy, not taking the danger seriously enough for Gandalf’s taste: “He thinks I need keeping in order.”

    Two other things I noticed:

    * Another nod to how hardy hobbits are, and especially Frodo, when Gandalf points out that “it seems that hobbits fade very reluctantly. I have known strong warriors of the Big People who would quickly have been overcome by that splinter, which you bore for seventeen days.” This is laying such rich groundwork, adding up to it making perfect sense to us — if perhaps not immediately to everyone else at the Council — why Frodo is a good choice for ring bearer.

    * Along those same lines, one thing Gandalf said jumped out at me, because I wasn’t quite sure what he meant but it sounded prophetic: He’s thinking about whether Frodo was quite healed yet and thought, “Still, that must be expected,” said Gandalf to himself. ‘He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end, not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.” What do you suppose that meant?

    As to your question, if I came to Rivendell, it would be hard not to treat it like a museum: that is, I would want to explore the architecture and art and ask the elves to tell me ALL of the stories of the objects and their backgrounds, mostly because I assume this would lead into stories of people and histories and myths as well. So I guess that comes back to storytelling after all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That was fabulous insight and an excellent addition to Sammi’s post, Joy. These very things struck me as well. Obviously, I am not so eloquent as you!! Thanks for that.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with Dale, fabulous insights. Frodo being a glass filled with light? I always thought that refers to the fading after being hurt with such a blade in addition to becoming ‘stretched’ like Bilbo felt after carrying the ring for so long. Ring and blade might make Frodo fade and stretch in a way, but instead of becoming a wraith or disappearing, he is, being who he is, filled with a bright light. I find this a very gentle and lovely idea from Gandalf.

      Liked by 3 people

    • So many fantastic insights, Joy. Another great writing lesson indeed!

      Frodo wanting to just get to Rivendell and then rest makes me think even more highly of him.

      As to what Gandalf thinks about Frodo…this paragraph is mysterious, and elusive, and enigmatic, and I think, purposefully cryptic. And I’ve always thought it was *supposed* to be, to reflect the uncertainty that both Gandalf and Elrond feel at this point, which is interesting because we expect them to have all the answers.
      I think the “glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can” means that Gandalf is probably aware that Frodo may well look the same at the end, but he will be greatly changed by this experience, so much so that he won’t be the same person, and some will see it, and some will not, and some won’t want to see it. (I’m thinking far ahead, to very end of the book here)…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh, to study the culture, it has to be for me. And to explore the valley, and meet the folks. And yea, I suppose I might write. Though I think it would be poetry not prose. Though if prose, then very lyrical

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Rivendell feels like home. Our heroes go there to find skills and strength for their adventures and return there to rest when it is over. It is indeed a gentle scene.
    I would love to go to Rivendell and, somewhat like Bilbo, spend my old age there. I would not write poems, but listen, read, watch and wander. If only…

    Liked by 2 people

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