Monday, December 16, 2013

LOTR Read-Along: Lothlorien (FOTR Ch. 18)

Another refreshingly short chapter!  Though one of those in-between chapters, where we spend all our time traveling from one event to the next.

As you know, I love Rivendell.  I think it sounds restful and quiet and calm -- like a library crossed with a spa.  But I don't love Lothlorien.  It's a little too otherworldly for me, I think.  Frodo thinks that "[i]n Rivendell there was memory of ancient things; in Lorien the ancient things still lived on in the waking world" (p. 340).  To be honest, that kind of creeps me out.  My brain says that it'd be cool to be able to interact with ancient things and people, but my instincts want nothing to do with it.  So I don't blame Boromir and Gimli for hesitating to go there.

But anyway, there's one bit here that makes me laugh every time.  When Haldir and his brothers encountered the fellowship, Legolas told Sam that "they say that you breathe so loud that they could shoot you in the dark," which seems really rude, but I just have to laugh because "Sam hastily put his hand over his mouth" when Legolas said that, and then when Legolas, Frodo, and Sam get invited up onto one of the elves' flets, it says "behind came Sam trying not to breathe loudly" (p. 333).  And that amuses me to no end, the image of Sam climbing a rope ladder and spending more energy on breathing quietly than on climbing.

Also, I love the Elvish word for orcs:  yrch.  It sounds like someone saying 'yuck,' which is probably exactly what I'd say if I saw an orc.  After I quit screaming and running away, anyway.

Favorite Lines:

 "We must do without hope," he said.  "At least we may yet be avenged" (p. 324).

"Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him" (p. 339).

"We live now upon an island amid many perils, and our hands are more often upon the bowstring than upon the harp" (p. 339).

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater" (p. 339).

On the land of Lorien there was no stain (p. 341).

Possible Discussion Questions:

There's a poignant moment where Merry tells Haldir, "I have never been out of my own land before.  And if I had known what the world outside was like, I don't think I should have had the heart to leave it" (p. 339).  I'm reminded of what Elrond told Pippin when he and Merry didn't want to be left behind.  Elrond said they wanted to go along "because you do not understand and cannot imagine what lies ahead" (p. 269).  However, later on, Aragorn will disagree with Elrond's statement when he says of Merry, "[h]e knows not to what end he rides; yet if he knew, he still would go on" (p. 762).  Who do you think understood the hobbits better, Elrond or Aragorn?  Or does this reflect a change in Merry and Pippin, part of their character arcs?


  1. You know, Lothlorien was one of the big disappointments in the movie. I sooooooooooo wanted to see the golden Mallorn leaves. The description in the book is so beautiful, and instead of golden Mallorns, we got... blue. Blues/whites/silvers. Where's all the gold and yellow and the green towers? The movie version matches what you say, otherworldly, but the book describes a place I desperately want to visit. Ah well. I think they really needed to contrast Rivendell with Lothlorien in the movie, and all the golds of the book would make it look more like how they depicted Rivendell, so I understand it, at least. But I want to visit the timelessness and beauty of Lothlorien! I'd be much happier there than in Rivendell. :-D

    I love when Sam says, "They're Elves, can't you hear their voices?"

    One of my favorite parts of this chapter is the beginning, when Gimli takes Frodo to look in the lake. I absolutely love that they take the time to go see it, orcs in pursuit or no. This is something I understand, that deep need to see rare things of beauty, even in a harsh and hostile world. I'd have done the same thing. And I love how Sam is deep in thought afterwards and doesn't answer Pippin. Dig that whole part, and also the end of the chapter where Haldir takes them up Cerin Amroth, how Haldir has him look South first, etc.

    Also, the very last line of the chapter where Aragorn says his heart dwells here ever... and then he never came there again as a living man... oh, that breaks my heart. I feel that intensely.

    1. I've always kind of assumed that in the movie, we mostly see Lothlorien at night. It feels like night when we get there, and then night when they have their little discussion about Gandalf and Gondor before going to sleep. And night when Frodo sees Galadriel's Mirror. And then when they leave, isn't it all sunny and golden? Been two years since I watched it, so I might be wrong.

      That last line is very sad. Though the snark in me pops up and asks if he went there as a vampire, then. Or on a funeral tour? As a ghost?

    2. If I recall, it's briefly golden when they arrive (gave me great hope!), until they start going up the stairs. Then it goes blue until I think Galadriel gives Frodo the vial, and it might briefly be colorful again there when she farewells them. Although I think when they're in the boats it's still blue. I only know the short version, though. The extended might be quite different.

    3. The extended just has more of her giving gifts to everyone, and that's the more golden part as I recall. So that's what I'm remembering -- the ratio of blue to golden is greater in the theatrical, as a result.

  2. I agree with what you say about Lothlorien. Rivendell would be a place you could go on holiday, enjoy yourself and laugh. In Lothlorien I would be afraid to laugh, I think, like you walked in a museum full of precious artifacts and if you laughed or moved to wildly, something could break.

    1. Clearly, there's a reason Rivendell is called The Last Homely House, but almost everyone's all scared of Lothlorien.


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