~ 27 September 2022 ~
Welcome to another Tolkien Tuesday. The weather is getting cooler and damper here as we move towards the darker half of the year in the northern hemisphere. And I must admit, on the whole, I prefer the colder, darker months. I like being cosy. I like reading underneath a blanket. I like sitting in the dark surrounded by candles. I also like autumn walks. I like to see the changing colours and to kick up leaves…
So grab a cup of something nice – like always, I’m drinking tea – and let’s discuss this week’s reading.
And just a thought, if anyone has any ideas for guest posts, or questions, or areas they want covered in future discussions, suggestions are always welcome. One of my favourite aspects of this group read-along is the community feel of it.
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we finished Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlorien.
Legolas offers to climb one of the trees to see if the rest could follow him up so they can sleep more safely off the woodland floor. However, just as he takes hold of the first branch, a voice from overhead causes him to start.
It is a group of three elven watchers. They heard the company earlier and have been tracking them and listening to Legolas singing. Having been made aware of their journey by Elrond, who sent out messengers as far across the land as he could, they befriend the company, even Gimli, if Legolas and Aragorn will guard him.
That night, the hobbits sleep on a flet in one tree with the elven guards, while the rest of the company sleeps in the next one. Sometime in the night, Frodo is woken by the sound of many feet moving through the forest and he is told it is a company of orcs.
Alone and the only one awake, Frodo thinks he can hear movement at the base of the tree. He spots a shadowy figure, but it quickly disappears. This time another sees it, Haldir the elf, but he could not risk shooting whoever or whatever it was.
The next day they walk further into Lothlorien, until they must cross the Silverlode, which the elves call Celebrant. Once on the other side they are in the Naith of Lorien and strangers must go blindfolded. Gimli, being a dwarf, is the only one who is required to do so, but he refuses. He says it is unfair and is as unlikely to betray the elves as Legolas. However, Haldir has no choice in the matter. It is the law. So Aragorn says for them all to go blindfolded.
All that day they walk blindfolded. At midday the next day, they meet a company of elves heading north to strengthen the northern defences. They also bring with them news. The orcs that entered woodland have almost been destroyed, and the rest are being pursued. Lady Galadriel has also sent word that all of the company should walk without blindfolds. Haldir apologises to Gimli.
They have now reached Cerin Amroth and must wait until dusk before going on. Haldir, on noticing they can feel the power of Lady Galadriel on the woodland, offers to take Frodo and Sam up the hill. Frodo “felt he was in a timeless land that did not fade or change or fall into forgetfulness.” At the top of the hill they climb up to the platform and look out over the forest. Where Lady Galadriel’s power reaches all is bright and golden, but beyond the borders of her country, the world seems dark and full of shadow.
When they return to the bottom of the hill, Frodo finds Aragorn lost in a living memory. He looks younger, is wearing other clothes, and is speaking to someone Frodo cannot see. He utters the name “Arwen”. Once the memory is over, Aragorn, smiling, explains, “Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth…and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I.”
Next week we will start Book 2, Chapter 7: The Mirror of Galadriel
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
My musings this week were very brief and pretty random:
The first was that we have entered a magical place, with lots of water, which has the power to heal. This is indeed needed after the darkness and grief of Moria.
The perception of Lothlorien from without is of a dangerous place from where men don’t return, which worries Boromir (this is not the first time Boromir has worried over their choice of road). There is an element here of a magical place, an ancient place, a powerful place which means it must be a dangerous one. I might writer further on this in the next post, but I’ll stop here for fear of spoilers 😉
Stepping in to Lothlorien feels like stepping into a dream. You feel the magic. You can sense the magic. What you see is remarkable and yet you know, without that magic it would not be as you see it.
There are parallels between Lorien and the world of the fae in folklore, not only because elves dwell here – note how different Rivendell feels compared to Lorien – but this is very much a magic world existing in and between another place. Also, there is an aspect of if you cross over the border to this place, it will change you.
Nothing to add here this week…except that at some point soon, I will be adding an index page for these posts to make it easier to for those who maybe miss a week or two to find previous posts…
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
What are your thoughts on how the elves treated Gimli?
I always feel affronted and insulted on Gimli’s behalf, because he is being treated with age-old prejudice. Another point that doesn’t sit well with me is that no-one has thought to tell Gimli the terms of the agreement which concern him. However, Haldir isn’t particularly happy himself when it comes to the blindfolding, but there is little he can do about it, and he does apologise at the earliest opportunity.
I can understand the anger Gimli feels, and the need he has to stand up for himself and call into question how unfairly he is being treated.
I am also always a little surprised when Legolas complains when it is first suggested that he should where a blindfold. Yet he does drop his argument quickly.
That being said, I also understand the elves wanting to protect their home and their people. After all, the world they live in is an increasingly dangerous one.