~ 05 July 2022 ~
This the first time in a couple of weeks that I’ve managed to post this on the right day! Woohoo! However, I am still a terrible read-along hostess as I am still behind with comments. I hang my head in shame. I would like to think I might get around to them by the end of the week, but be forewarned…it’s equally possible I may not. Sigh…
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we finish Book 2, Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, Many Meetings.
Gloin, keeping the conversation neutral, regales Frodo with all that has been going on at the Lonely Mountain and its surrounds. Frodo says he would like to see Bilbo again, more than anything.
After the feast, the gathering moves to the Hall of Fire, to listen to music, songs and stories. Frodo spots a small figure by the fire who looks to be asleep. Elrond wakes him, though he wasn’t really asleep, and beckons Frodo over. It’s Bilbo, who has been busy composing a song which Elrond wishes to hear that night. But Bilbo claims he needs help from his friend, who is sought out, and it turns out to be Strider.
While they are waiting for him to appear, Bilbo asks Frodo about the ring, and asks to see it. Although Frodo is reluctant, he shows it to him. Bilbo reaches out to touch it and Frodo pulls backs, causing a terrible transformation in Bilbo. Bilbo, on seeing the look of distress on Frodo’s face, immediately understands, and returns to being himself once more.
Bilbo and Strider leave to finish writing the song, and Frodo is left alone to think and ponder. He falls quickly into an almost-dream like state, but eventually he comes to hear Bilbo’s voice as he performs his latest song about Earendil.
Afterwards, Bilbo and Frodo slip away. Retiring to Frodo’s room, they exchange stories of all the wonderful things they had seen on their adventures, avoiding any darker subjects.. A while later, Sam turns up, on Gandalf’s orders, to remind Frodo he needs to rest ahead of the Council tomorrow, so Bilbo takes his leave, to go walk beneath the stars before bed.
Although we’ve made mention of the “master and servant” dynamic of Frodo and Sam’s friendship before, I don’t think it was as awkwardly obvious as it was in this chapter, or at least, that’s how it came across to me. I hated how Bilbo referred to Frodo as “your master” when he was speaking to Sam, even though the tone was not one of reminding him of his station.
I loved spending time in the Hall of Fire. Gandalf’s description of it was wonderful! I could have pulled up a chair by the fire and listened to the songs and stories until I drifted off into an enchanted dream myself…
Next week we begin Book 2 Chapter 2, The Council of Elrond.
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
This week my musing is inspired by Bilbo Baggins himself, and I think it is something many of us can identify with. First, the quote:
“…I have written some more of my book. And, of course, I make up a few songs. They sing them occasionally: just to please me, I think; for, of course, they aren’t really good enough for Rivendell…”
Imposter syndrome. It was this which was brought to mind on the reading of that passage. What is it? A feeling of inadequacy and crippling self-doubt when it comes to one’s own gifts and talents. As Bilbo points out, the idea that we, or our work, or our art, is not good enough and hasn’t earned the attention or praise it is being shown.
Yet, I can’t imagine elves, who are often considered to be lofty and aloof, wasting their time and effort on sub-standard offerings, all in the name of politeness, even if they are kind. Can you?
And, if we are looking for a real world equivalent, this also goes for publishers, reviewers, readers and those kind enough to leave supportive, encouraging comments full of praise in the comment section of our blogs too. Publishers don’t have to accept our work, reviewers don’t have to leave reviews, and no-one has to take the time to tell you they enjoyed your poem or piece of flash fiction. They do it because they see merit in it. They do it because they were moved by your creative expression to do so. It can be so difficult to remember that sometimes.
Why do we find it so hard to believe in ourselves? Why do we find it so hard to accept compliments?
Although we’ve briefly discussed some of the other books written by Tolkien, about Tolkien, and about Middle Earth, and although I’ve mentioned attempting to catalogue my collection of books on Goodreads (and struggling with multiple editions – I’ve not yet looked into your suggestion, Joy, I will get to it!) I’ve never taken a look at Tolkien’s author page on Goodreads until this week…
If you’re looking for a potted biography of Tolkien, I can highly recommend it. It feels a little repetitive for something so short, but all the main points are there. And the most mind-blowing fact on the page? 520 distinct works…
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
If you could only pick one of the following to do in Rivendell, all taken from Book 2, Chapter 1, which would it be?
- Attend a feast
- Listen to music and songs in the Hall of Fire
- Look at the stars of Elbereth in the garden
When I was writing this question, I had anticipated choosing 2, and, on any other day I probably would have. The Hall of Fire sounds so wonderful – it sounds like a dream come true. Yet when I read that final sentence of the chapter, where Bilbo said of his intentions to go out for a walk in the garden and look at the stars…I just wanted to go with him! So, at this moment in time, my answer is definitely 3, no matter that you can see the stars pretty much anywhere in Middle Earth, unless you’re under a mountain or in a cave. I think it would be so special to simply sit and stare up into the night sky and enjoy the gentleness, the serenity of the moment.