~ 20 September 2022 ~
The weather has turned more autumnal here. The leaves have started to change their leaves and the temperatures are getting cooler. It’s my favourite time of year, and is perfectly paired with a big cup of tea, a lovely scented candle (in this case, bergamot and cedarwood) and of course, a good book…though to be honest, I think I say this about every season…
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we started Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlorien.
Aragorn leads the company away from the mountains, but not before he expresses his feelings of hopelessness at Gandalf’s passing, and Gimli shakes his fist at the cruelty of Caradhras for forcing them to take the path through the mines.
Gimli spots the Mirrormere but they cannot stop. A little while later he spots Durin’s Stone and begs a brief moment to turn aside and see it. Frodo and Sam accompany him, and each look into the Mirrormere.
Heading south, they go on. Aragorn says he plans follow the way Gandalf had chosen. They will follow the Silverlode, through the forest of Lothlorien, and on to The Great River, the Anduin. Legolas is looking forward to seeing Lothlorien, but he wishes it had been spring.
Sam and Frodo, injured by the battle in the chamber, begin to fall behind. Aragorn and Boromir carry them until they can find somewhere safe to rest. When they stop, Aragorn tends first Sam, then Frodo. While tending to the latter the secret of the mithril coat is revealed, and Merry announces he loves Bilbo even more for giving it to Frodo.
Now rested, they push on once more until night falls, going in silence. Frodo walking with Gimli, thinks he can hear someone or something following, then possibly catches sight of two eyes. But when he mentions it to Gimli, he listens but cannot hear anything.
They eventually reach the border of Lothlorien. Boromir is a little uneasy about the woods, for there are strange tales said about it in Gondor, but he agrees to enter it with the others. They enter the woods, travelling a mile into the forest, before they turn aside and find a resting place. They cross the Nimrodel and feel rested.
Once they are camped, Legolas sings a song of Nimrodel and her lover Amroth, of whom neither were heard from again. Legolas then tells them of his Elven kin who live in the treetops of the forest, and Gimli recommends that for that night, they do likewise.
In this section, I found I was most drawn to Gimli, and that here he felt a little more like a main character than he has so far. I suppose this goes back further, to just before they entered Moria. He is walking amongst his own people’s history and the joy of that is severely tempered by the events of their journey. He says one of my favourite lines from this half-chapter, “I hear nothing but the night-speech of plant and stone.” I can’t help but wonder, what are they saying?
And as these past few chapters have spoken of Gimli and the history and legacy of the dwarves, you can feel the focus transitioning to Legolas, his people, and the history and legacy of the elves.
Next week we will finish Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlorien.
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
This week my thoughts wandered over the differences in how the events of this half-chapter were portrayed in the film compared with the book, most notably on who the focus lay.
In the film, in the immediate aftermath of their flight from Moria, it is the hobbits who are predominantly shown as overcome with grief and crying. And, I’ve always found it to be one of the most poignant moments in the film. Every time I have watched the film, I have felt their grief and understood their pain.
However, in the book, we are given little insight into what the hobbits are feeling or how they are reacting to the loss of Gandalf. It’s not until they have started once more on their journey that it is said of Frodo, “…drawn by the still blue water in spite of hurt and weariness…”
It’s interesting that as younger reader, I would have felt a stronger reaction to the one portrayed in the film. Yet now it is Gimli’s impotent, grief-stricken angry fist shaking at Caradhras that moves me more today. That, and Aragorn’s despondency.
Don’t forget that 22nd September is Hobbit Day! Falling on 22nd September, it celebrates both Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday.
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
Which of the geographical water features would you chose from those we have read about this half-chapter? The Mirrormere, the Silverlode, or the Nimrodel?
To be honest, I would like to visit all three, but if I had to choose, I think there is something quite magical about the Mirrormere. A meeting of water and stars, and reflections that alter the real world, the lake was said to be a place of prophecy and vision (Tolkien The Illustrated Encyclopedia, David Day, pg 64). Durin was said to have looked into the water and seen a crown of stars above his head, even though it was daylight.
Yet I love woodland rivers and streams, especially at this time of year. I love the intersection between earth and water, and that in itself is really quite magical too.