Tolkien Tuesday #28

~ 26 July 2022 ~

Compared to the temperature when I was writing Tolkien Tuesday #27 – during a heatwave, it’s almost wonderfully cold here today. At 19 degrees, that’s twenty degrees lower than this time last week!

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we started Book 2, Chapter 3: The Ring Goes South. I actually read just under half of the chapter this week, using the natural break in the story as my guide. So I stopped reading once the Fellowship left Rivendell.

Photo by Rudolf Kirchner on

Merry and Pippin find out that Sam is going with Frodo, who has volunteered to be the Ring-bearer, and they insist they are to go too.

Scouts are sent out to scour the lands for news of the Ringwraiths. A couple of months pass before they return with the news that nothing has been detected of the enemy. And so it’s time for Frodo to leave.

Elrond hand picks those who are to go with him, believing that he should take eight others to help him, so that in total they are nine to match the Ringwraiths. Only Frodo cannot choose to leave this quest; the others may quit, should they find the need. Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Aragorn and Gandalf are named in the company. Elrond isn’t keen to allow Merry and Pippin to go, believing instead they should return to the Shire and prepare for the enemy to reach it. However, Gandalf speaks up for them and Elrond first relents and agrees to Merry’s going, before Pippin tells him he will simple follow them if he’s not chosen, and so Elrond gives in.

While they are preparing to go, Bilbo gives Frodo his sword, Sting, and his mail shirt. The Sword-that-was-Broken is forged anew and has been renamed by Aragorn, and Sam has packed everything he thought he might need, except rope.

The gentleness of the time they spent at Rivendell oozed out of this half a chapter, making this week’s reading a very peaceful read. One of my favourite parts was Pippin trying to justify why he had to be included in the company:

“There must be someone with intelligence in the party.”

I also liked Bilbo’s song, especially the penultimate verse, which speaks a lot, I think of human preoccupations: dwelling on the past, and thinking of the world of the future that we won’t see.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

The quote that got me thinking this week was said by Gandalf:

“…it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom.”

It served to remind me, that above all other things, The Lord of The Rings is about friendship, and the impossible things that can be achieved with the support of one’s friends.

And my mind was immediately cast back to Chapter 5, Book 1, A Conspiracy Unmasked, when Frodo first learnt that his friends wanted to come on this journey with him, no matter the danger. That same kind of faithful loyalty is shown again here, only this time when Sam, Merry and Pippin sign up, they have first-hand experience of the peril they most likely will meet. Before, they were aware of the danger but had yet to encounter it. And here they now are, months later, determined to stay with their friend and share the danger because they don’t want him to face it alone. The courage they show in making this informed decision is what makes them extraordinary and the story wonderful.


A little light-heartedness this week…I stumbled across a very topical jigsaw puzzle this past weekend in a charity shop, and could not resist…

It’s of The Hobbit, and the artwork is by Peter Pracownik. I absolutely love it, and I’m blown away by how many aspects of the story can be found in one piece of art. If you follow my Facebook page, you will have seen that I started it almost immediately…

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

Out of the nine chosen to go on this quest, only Frodo as Ring-bearer must stay the course. Everyone else can leave as and when they choose as there is no obligation for them to remain. Do you think this is fair?

I think it is. Frodo volunteered to take the ring and become the Ring-bearer, and though the others are not going against their will, I think help freely offered is always better than help given out of obligation. This way, none can resent the path ahead, only the enemy for making such action necessary. They are there because they want to be, not because they have to be.

An interesting thought to ponder in relation to this question is the use of conscription in the armed forces…


14 thoughts on “Tolkien Tuesday #28

  1. Woo hooo! Lookit that! I am here and up to date, to boot πŸ˜‰
    Woke up to a wonderful 18. It is now 21 but should not get higher than 25 – as far as I am concerned this is the ideal temperature. What a nice break.

    I agree. This is a lovely interim chapter, allowing us to leave the comfort of Rivendell for the unknown. A wonderful group they are and of COURSE Merry and Pippin would sign up. I love that all have the option to leave, should they choose. Reason enough for them to stick around, I say.

    That phrase struck me as well. You can accomplish so much more when β€œβ€¦it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom.”

    I think conscription means you will do all to survive for yourself whereas, joinng willingly, you are part of a team.

    Wonderful, as always!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great find with the puzzle, what fun. And I totally agree on quote and friendship.
    A very intriguing question this week, Sammi. At first glance I’d say it is fair. On second thought thoug, no, I don’t think it’s fair. Frodo doesn’t really want this task but he takes it upon himself because he has experienced the power of the ring. He knows what’s at stake and has no honourable or even safe way out. But the others know what’s at stake as well. I think it would be just as honourable for them to pledge to stay with Frodo as long as he wants them. And who decided that Legolas and Gimly had to go along? It’s less clear in the book than in the film if I remember correctly. In the film Gloin isn’t there either, or is he? I can imagine Gimly deciding with his father that he’ll go and represent the dwarves, and Legolas going because he’s certain that this is what his father would want. Any of Elrond’s household could have represented the elves though, but it is Legolas who does… The Rivendell elves must be a really powerful group if their activities immediately cause suspicion…
    There’s the symbolism of the nine, of the weak, the hidden, the ones with low profiles… I’m sure in the Tolkien literature there’s some mention of this, do you know?

    And about the conscripted army… what do you do when your very existence, that of your country, of your people is at stake because someone attacks you? You defend or you give up. Defending needs structure. An army can’t have generals only, someone must be the grunts. I’m sure in case of such an attack, many would volunteer but they may not be enough.
    Also the hierarchy is necessary for effective strategy and action. There is no hierarchy among the fellowship. Gandalf is somewhat recognized as leader, but not in a military way, I think. So I don’t think you can really compare the fellowship to an army, more to undercover agents. I think the military ways can be discussed in much more detail later. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Interesting, Gabi. I think it is in everyone’s interest that this ring be disposed of so while they are free to stay or go, there should be a certain obligation to see it through with Frodo.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah. I mean, while the Hobbits, Gandalf and Aragorn will stick because of love and friendship, Legolas, Gimly and Boromir don’t really know Frodo. Boromir has reasons. What about Gimly and Legolas? (I know they are wonderful, but we don’t know that yet at this point. The wood elves weren’t all that friendly in ‘The Hobbit’, the dwarves had their moments as well…) Or maybe that’s overanalyzing. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s hard not to overanalyze when we know what’s coming but, as you say, they don’t know Frodo from a whole in the wall so, kinda hard to force them to stay.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Great discussion here, Gabi. It is interesting that none of the Rivendell Elves go. I understand why Glorfindel can’t, but he is exceptional and would attract attention. But there are others.

      I will keep an eye out for the symbolism of the nine. I feel like there is some mention of it, but where and what, I can’t recall…

      And as for your answer, I agree with you πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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