~ 18 October 2022 ~
Once again, I am behind with comments – and other things – sigh. It just goes to show, I can be as prepared as is humanly possible, but if I fall behind with one thing, I fall behind with everything! I will endeavour to catch-up this week, which I expect to manage because I intend to be here on the blog a little more than usual for the 13 days of Samhain posts… This really is my favourite time of year 🙂
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we begin Book 2, Chapter 8: Farewell to Lorien.
The evening of the day Sam and Frodo looked into the Mirror of Galadriel, the company as a whole, is summoned to speak with Celeborn and his wife about the road ahead.
Those who do not wish to go on with the quest are granted leave to remain in Lothlorien, though they will be asked to fight alongside the elves when the battle reaches their land. Galadriel answers for them, knowing their hearts, and proclaims they all wish to continue on for the time being.
When it comes to the route they will take from now on, Aragorn is undecided what it should be. If Gandalf had planned this far ahead, he had yet to share his thoughts with Aragorn. But their choices are simple: take the eastern shore to Mordor or the western shore to Minas Tirith.
Celeborn, in the spirit of elves, does not tell them which course they should choose. However, he does spare them making any immediate decision by giving them boats and encouraging them to use the Great River to their advantage.
Celeborn and Galadriel bid the company goodnight and say they will send elves to help them get ready for the journey in the morning. They will supply them with as much as they can.
The company do not go straight to sleep but have a small council of their own. Naturally, the majority wish to go to Minas Tirith rather than straight into enemy territory. Aragorn thought his path was to go there but if Frodo is to choose the eastern shore rather than the western one, he knows he cannot abandon him. Frodo notices that Boromir is acting strangely but no-one else seems to register it.
The next morning the Elves help the company ready for the journey. They give them food in the form of elvish waybread, lembas, and cloaks which mirror the colours of the natural world to help camouflage them. Then Haldir returns from the northern borders to guide them to their boats and makes a comment on the disturbances and smoke which have been coming from the Dimrill Dale.
Heading south and east, they leave the woodland city behind them, eventually stopping on the banks of the Silverlode. Here, the boats are loaded, and they have a short practice in watercraft, ensuring they are capable of handling them. Sam is delighted that to find 3 coils of elven rope have been placed in each boat.
Celeborn and Galadriel arrive in an elven boat shaped like a swan and invite the company to share a meal with them before they depart.
I was struck by the many mentions of elven craft and industry in this half chapter, something that although I was aware of before, didn’t make as great an impression on me as it did this time. Woven cloaks, ropemaking, boat building, a boat in the form of perfect swan, if on a larger scale, leaf-like brooches…
Aragorn hits his first challenge as leader of the company, and interestingly I don’t remember him being so withdrawn and lost in his own thoughts…
Next week we will finish Book 2, Chapter 8: Farewell to Lorien.
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
I thought it interesting the options Celeborn gives the company. He says they can continue on with the quest, and either head to Mordor or Minas Tirith, or they can remain in Lothlorien with them, though they will be expected to fight should it come to it. But only after can they return home or move on to the next life, should they fall in battle.
He doesn’t say that they can return home now. Boromir says his home is to be found going forward not heading away, which, of course is in contrast with the others. Though neither Celeborn nor Galadriel expand on this further, and though we do come to learn from Haldir of the disturbances in the Dimrill Dale, it makes me think that it is now too late for them to attempt to return home by any road. We have reached a point of no point return…
One of my favourite quotes is to be found in this chapter, and it’s perfect for every type of creative. So I guess all of us who make, whether it’s paintings, photos, stories, drawings, quilts, knitted jumpers or poetry, we are all a little elvish 🙂
I paired this quote with one of my favourite river views close to where I live…it seems perfectly fitting…
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
Three important items, not including the boats, are given to the company in readiness for their departure (note, I’m not talking about the gifts as that will be covered next week). Waybread, cloaks and rope. If you could only take one for the journey, which would it be?
I’ve always wanted one of those elven cloaks as I’ve always thought they sounded smashing. So, off the cuff, that would be my answer because I really, really want one.
However, thinking about it, I wonder if the waybread would be more useful. After all, you won’t get very far if you don’t eat, quite literally but also hunger can impair judgement. The closer you get to the pointy end of the quest, the sharper you’re going to need to be…