~ 19 July 2022 ~
I hope if you’re living in a place that’s been affected by the heatwave these past few days, you are staying cool and hydrated and safe…I do not like the hot weather, by which I mean my ideal summer temperature is around the 25-28 degree mark – warm enough to enjoy, but cool enough to go for a nice long walk! As I’m writing this it’s already 37… Yesterday I kept out of it by staying indoors and reading Tolkien – which is why this post is ready to go for once 😉 I suspect, the same is on the cards for today…Take care all x
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we concluded Book 2, Chapter 2: The Council of Elrond.
The council continues with Gandalf declaring either Sauron already knows that they have the ring in Rivendell, or he will very soon. Boromir asks what has become of Gollum. Aragorn answers that he was handed over to the care of the Elves of Mirkwood, but Legolas reveals his purpose in coming to Rivendell was to tell them Gollum has escaped.
Gandalf then explains what kept him from returning to the Shire to meet Frodo. On the hunt for news, he met Radagast the Brown who had an important message for him from Saruman. Gandalf, tired, spent the night in Bree, leaving a message for Frodo, and then travelled on to Isengard, only to be imprisoned by Saruman. He claimed the only options ahead for them is to work with Sauron or to take the ring himself, revealing how his purpose has turned against theirs.
Gandalf, held captive at the top of Orthanc, was then rescued by the Great Eagle Gwaihir, who took him to Rohan, where the wizard was not warmly received but told to take a horse and leave. There Gandalf met Shadowfax, who carried him to the Shire where he found Frodo gone, to Crickhollow to find the house had been broken into and empty, to Bree to learn the hobbits had joined Strider and they were being pursued by ringwraiths, some of whom he encounters at Weathertop. Knowing it to be impossible to find the others in the wilderness, he then rode on to Rivendell, where he sent out help and helped prepare for their arrival.
Those at the council then discuss the options open to them, and they are not many: to hide the ring for as long as possible, or try to destroy it. The ring cannot be used as a forced for good. Yet to hide the ring now will only lead to subjecting future generations to the terrible danger it poses should it be found. So the decision is that they must attempt to destroy the ring.
But who shall take it? Bilbo offers to go. Although his suggestion is met with respect, it is clear that he is not strong enough to do it. As the councils falls into quiet reflection, Frodo seems to realise this is a task he has to undertake, even if he would rather not. And so he announces he will go, and Sam offers to go with him.
This is a long chapter, with many different story threads coming together, which is why I like it. It gives a real world dimension to the story, showing that what Frodo and the others have been going through is not taking place in a vacuum.
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
Quotes, quotes, quotes…this week I’ve chosen my three favourite from this half of the chapter:
“And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”
‘”Worst is a bad word,” I said to him, “and I hope you do not live to see it.”
This one struck a chord with me. One of the mantras I use when I need to find a sense of perspective is, “Things can always be worse”. And coupled with this unprecedented heatwave we are experiencing over here (and throughout Europe), it makes me fear for a much warmer world, a world where weather extremes become the norm…
“For nothing is evil in the beginning.”
I’ve been trying to sort out all of the notes I’ve written on Middle Earth since I first read The Hobbit (when I was in Year 5 at school). That’s a good few years of thoughts, notes, ideas, questions, doodles and drawings, random musings and even an essay or two, inspired by these stories and their histories.
And, since the start of the year when we began this slow re-read, those scribblings have multiplied! Each week, I’ve been making pages of notes, though I do try and condense these posts down to hopefully no more than 1000 words!
For now, I’ve set myself the more manageable task of finding some order for my lists of favourite quotes…As easy as I thought that would be, I’ve already hit my first hurdle: should I order them by chronology or theme?
I suspect, like with most things, I’m over-thinking this…
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
What do you think Bilbo’s motivations were in offering to take the ring? If he had been allowed to go, do you think he would have succeeded?
I think the main reason he offers to take the ring is because he does believe he is responsible for the predicament they are in and he thinks he should fix it rather than expecting someone else to clean up the mess. However, I’ve always wondered if there might be a very small part of him, perhaps a subconscious part, that offers to take the ring so he might get it back, at least for a little while. That’s not to say I think he would take the ring, go rogue and refuse to destroy it outright – he’s Bilbo after all. Like Frodo, a good hobbit, resilient to a certain extent, true and trustworthy.
That being said, and this leads on to my answer for the second question, I don’t believe that when it came to destroying it, he would have had the mental strength to do it. I also struggle to believe he would have the physical strength to undertake the journey as well as the internal strength to fight the power of the ring. After all, he had been exposed to the ring for a lot longer than Frodo has been and that has lasting consequences.