~ 22 November 2022 ~
This is the last post in our The Fellowship of the Ring read along! What an amazing journey it’s been since January. It’s been wonderful to read along with everyone and hear your thoughts and views, as well as offering alternative perspectives on the story.
I’m already looking forward to January 2023 when we will begin The Two Towers. Hope to see you all again in the New Year!
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we finished Book 2, Chapter 10: The Breaking of the Fellowship, and so finished The Fellowship of the Ring 😦
Frodo flees from Boromir, not hearing his apology. He runs to the top of Amon Hen and sits upon the ruined stone seat. At first, he sees little but mist, for his still wearing the Ring, but soon he is offered views over great distances. Both east and west he looks, but wherever he casts his gaze he sees the marks of war. It is inescapable, except for a moment when he looks upon Minas Tirith and sees it gleaming, hope stirs in his heart but it is quickly dashed.
Then he knows the eye in the Dark Tower is aware of his presence and is looking for him, looking for the Ring. It is almost upon him when he throws himself to the ground and takes it off, and the danger, for the moment, has passed. Not only that but this almost encounter steels his will to go on from here alone. He slips on the Ring and plans for his immediate departure.
Back by the river, the others have been puzzling over Frodo’s decision. The consensus is to go to Minas Tirith, but none wish to abandon Frodo should he choose to go east. It is as they are having this discussion that they realise Boromir is missing. Just as they set out to look for Frodo, noticing he’s been gone longer than he should have been, Boromir reappears, and confesses to some of what passed between them.
In panic the majority of the company run off in search of Frodo. Boromir is tasked with guarding Merry and Pippin. Aragorn goes with Sam, but Sam has a hard time keeping up with him. Sam knows he has to use his head to find Frodo and anticipates he will need a boat to cross the river, as well as collect supplies for his journey.
When he gets to the boats, he can see no-one there, but one of the boats enters the river, and Sam knows Frodo is in it, and goes to follow. However, the water is deep and swift, and Sam is pulled under. Frodo, fearing for his friend, rescues him. They argue about Frodo continuing the last part of the quest on his own, and Sam wins by threatening to put hole in all the boats if he is not allowed to go with him.
Together, Frodo and Sam cross the river and hide their boat, before searching for a path that will lead them to Mordor.
The biggest takeaway from this half chapter, and from The Fellowship of the Ring as a whole, is the message of friendship, I think. Frodo wants to save those he cares about, even if that means going on from here on his own, whilst the others would rather risk the danger, and even their own lives, if it means Frodo does not face the burden of destroying the ring on his own.
And that’s it for this part of the read along. But we will be back in the New Year and so begin our read of The Two Towers. Don’t forget – all are welcome to read along and join in the discussion.
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
As this book came to an end, my thoughts, as a reader, are immediately focused on looking ahead. Although practicality has dictated that it is best to wait until the New Year to begin reading The Two Towers, the reader in me is eager to begin. Some of my favourite parts of The Lord of the Rings occur in this book, and I am so excited to read them and discuss them here, with you.
In the meantime, I have been thinking about how Tolkien inspires me as a writer. Specifically, what lessons I’ve learned as part of this re-reading. Here are four of those lessons:
If you are going to write a fantasy story, you have to know your world inside out. You may not need to know the minutiae of how everything works in your world, but you do need to have an understanding of its people, its geography, its history, its languages and the rules governing magic systems (if there are any).
It’s the little things that add depth to your tale and help to create a well-rounded world with an authentic feel to it. These things could be suggestions of what is happening off-page in another part of the world. They could be references to events that happened in your world’s history. They could be pretty much anything, but what they do is allow the reader to know that there is more to your story than what they are reading.
Descriptions add dimension and richness, so learn how to write them well. This can be simply meant as giving the reader enough description to allow them to “see” the story, but equally the more a reader knows about a character or a place, the more immersed they can become in the storytelling. Add to this the way the descriptions are offered: not overly long, but beautifully evocative, perhaps on occasion more akin to poetry than prose…
Possibly most important of all, enjoy your writing and make time for it.
As a writer of fiction or non-fiction, or of poetry, what lessons have you learned from Tolkien?
For those only just joining us, you can find all the links to the Tolkien Tuesday posts on the index page. Feel free to catch up over the coming weeks, in preparation for when we start reading The Two Towers in January 2023.
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week
What has been your favourite part of, or place in, the story so far, and why?
This is a tough question, and I imagine if I was asked this question every day, I would give a different answer on each of them. Any of the ruins we’ve seen or passed have pulled at me, as has much of the geography. Then there was the awe-inspiring architecture of Moria, the different pubs, Rivendell, the Barrow-Downs…
However, at this moment, I am torn between answering Lothlorien, because on this re-reading I felt the parallels with the land of Faery more keenly than I have before, or The Old Forest, because the magic of the woodland really speaks to me. Yes, I think this is my answer for today…