~ 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.
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…