Tolkien Tuesday #41

~ 8 November 2022 ~

This past weekend I made the conscious decision not to turn my PC on, so if you are wondering why comments have gone unanswered, it is because once again, I’m playing catch-up. Yet, after concluding my latest Damon the Demon story last week and beginning my NaNoWriMo project(s), I decided a break was well-needed.

During this break, I’ve been pondering on how to proceed once we conclude The Fellowship of the Ring in a couple of weeks time. And I think I shall do as last year and wait for the new year to begin The Two Towers. How does that sound? That gives a little break between reading over what is for most people, the busiest time of year. Also, there are parts of The Fellowship of the Ring that I would like to re-read and revisit before we move on. If this is something you might enjoy, please let me know!

For now, here is this week’s Tolkien Tuesday…

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we finished Book 2, Chapter 9: The Great River.

With a great effort, the three boats battle the current and move away from the rapids. But their relief is short. There are orcs on the eastern shore, loosing arrows in their direction. There are a couple of near misses, but the cloaks and boats of Lorien seemed to help in concealing them.

They head towards the western bank, and when they reach it, Legolas jumps ashore and checks it is safe. Yet not long after, a dark, menacing shape is seen in the sky above them. Legolas looses an arrow at it. There is a scream, and it disappears somewhere on the eastern shore, but this is met with wailing from the orcs.

Heading back upstream, they search for somewhere safe to spend the night. When they find a small bay, they pull into it, but they do not get out of the boats. That night, the company tries to work out how long they had spent in Lothlorien, with Legolas explaining how time is perceived by the Elves.

In the morning they wake to fog and mist. Boromir and Aragorn argue once again over the road ahead. Aragorn and Legolas go off in search the path that will allow them to skirt the rapids. They find it, and the rest of the day is spent moving the boats and gear downstream. The task is laborious but when complete, they spend what is left of the day resting.

The next day, they return to the boats and the river, and head downstream once more. They enter a ravine, and up ahead see two giant men carved out of stone. It’s the Argonath. Awe and fear are felt by Frodo, Sam and Boromir, but Aragorn, in the presence of the likeness of his forebears, takes on a kingly countenance.

Photo by Sebastian Palomino on Pexels.com

The sound of the Falls of Rauros can be heard, and not long after, they clear the ravine. A rocky island outcrop, Tol Brandir, can be seen ahead, between two rocky pinnacles on either side of the falls: Amon Lhaw and Amon Hen, the Hills of Hearing and Sight.

They let the current carry them towards the falls, but they know they must soon stop, and pick which shore, and which direction, east or west, to continue their journey.

In this part of the chapter, as well as the first, Boromir’s state of mind, and his intentions, really become apparent, and he isn’t shy in letting his opinions be heard. I found the geography of the area fascinating, and it really captured my imagination, especially where it intersects with Middle Earth history.

Next week we will begin the final chapter of Book 2, Chapter 10: The Breaking of the Fellowship.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My mindful musings this week retraced some familiar ground from earlier in the year…

In earlier chapters, we often spoke of the role the weather played in the story. Of how bad weather often accompanied a bad turn of events (such as the Fog On The Barrow-downs, Book 1, Chapter 8) or reflected the low mood of the travellers (such as the weariness felt as the rain falls upon the hobbits and Strider as they are trying to traverse the wildlands on the way to the ford, Book 1, Chapter 12). Yet good weather naturally meant a good day’s travelling and an uplifting of the spirits.

Yet here, I think for the first time, we see bad weather, the fog and the mist over the river and eastern bank, help the company in keeping hidden from the enemy on the eastern shore, yet it lifts enough for Aragorn and Legolas to find the path they seek. The bad weather is seen as a blessing.

Elsewhere

If you’re interested in reading how Tolkien’s work – both his academic work and his fictional writing – influences subjects today, I came across a couple of interesting articles from BBC Future. There were a number of Tolkien-related articles on there, apart from the following ones, but I have yet to read them.

The first is “Eucatastrophe: Tolkien’s word for the anti-doomsday”. This was a thoroughly interesting read.

The second is “The surprising ancient roots of The Lord of the Rings”, which is interesting, but probably not completely surprising, at least in part, if you’ve been reading any of the literature that’s been written around Middle Earth over that past few decades. But definitely worth a read!

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

So, we are at the point where a decision must be made on the direction the company are to take next. East or west? Which would you pick?

Hmm…suffering with anxiety, I have learnt that I cope better with difficult things if I get them over with, as quickly as possible. The longer I leave things, and the more I put them off, the higher the levels of procrastination rise, and my anxiety with it. I’m a terrible over-thinker. So, from this viewpoint, I would be very much in the “voting to go east” camp, because it’s more direct and it’s the direction you need to go in to get the job done.

Yet, I do see why heading west, towards Gondor, would be seen as more favourable, and potentially less dangerous. After all, we already know there are orcs on the eastern shore. And who wouldn’t feel better heading towards a land full of men who are well-used to fighting. Men like Aragorn and Boromir, strong and capable, who can handle themselves and protect those who can’t protect themselves. There is comfort and security in that path, even if we cannot categorically say there is no danger there.

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13 thoughts on “Tolkien Tuesday #41

  1. I would have gone east, though not out of preference, but need. The whole point of the quest is to destroy the Ring and the best way to do that is go directly to Mordor. Not a great place to go, but there are also perils in going the other way. If you go to Mordor via Gondor there is the danger you might get trapped in Minas Tirith. If Denethor, the Steward of Gondor and father of Boromir, knew the Ring was in his city there is no way he would let you leave, and once the city becomes besieged you are effectively trapped there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the link. I’ve already read the second book: as you know, my interests are similar to those of Tolkien and so that book intrigued me.
    But which way to go, east or west, head-on into trouble, or in hope of a rest and replenishment. I’ll go west.
    Also, I think it a good idea to take a Christmas break. I’m enjoying this enormously

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Without the threat of Orcs, I would have loved to have the current take me where it will (just not over any falls, thank you very much!) I’m so sad that we are entering the last chapter but thrilled that we will continue onto the next in the new year. Yay!
    As for which direction… ‘Tis a difficult choice and our people are tired and do need to replenish their strength. Then again, the sooner the better. Every time they have tried to take the “easy” way, they’ve been thwarted. Might as well skip having to work twice as hard and go right in.

    Liked by 1 person

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