Thursday, January 23, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: The Riders of Rohan (TTT Ch. 2)

The title of this chapter has a smiley face beside it in my copy.  It's another of my favorites, as you'll see by how many favorite lines I list below.

I'm always so glad that, immediately after taking away my Boromir, Tolkien introduces another of my favorite characters.  I am, of course, referring to Eothain, that paragon of charm and tact and good cheer.  Open-hearted, kindly, friendly Eothain.

You're right, I'm totally not referring to Eothain.  I mean Eomer, of course!  Wonderful Eomer, taller than the others, "in manner and tone like to the speech of Boromir, Man of Gondor" (p. 421).  Hmm, no wonder he's one of my favorites!  Also, Eomer seems to have met Boromir, as he talks about seeing him, calls him "a worthy man" (p. 425), and laments his death.

Side note -- I love so much how every time someone learns about Boromir's death, they loudly mourn his loss.  Here, Eomer says such lovely things that I can't resist quoting them:
"Your news is all of woe!" cried Eomer in dismay.  "Great harm is this death to Minas Tirith, and to us all.  That was a worthy man!  All spoke his praise.  he came seldom to the Mark, for he was ever in the wars on the East-borders; but I have seen him.  More like to the swift sons of Eorl than to the grave Men of Gondor he seemed to me, and likely to prove a great captain of his people when his time came" (p. 425).
(And here you thought that once Boromir had died, I would shut up about him.  Nope!  Not gonna happen.)

Interestingly, it doesn't say here yet what color Eomer's eyes are.  They're described as clear, bright, blazing, and proud, but no eye color is mentioned.  I'm pretty sure they're grey too, though.  Must be mentioned in another chapter.  We shall see eventually!



Know who else is wonderful in this chapter?  Aragorn.  Isn't he cool, listening to the ground to hear how far away the orcs are?  And when they've been hunting for simply days, he's described the same way here as he was back in Moria.  It says here that "Aragorn walked behind [Gimli], grim and silent" (p. 418), and back in "A Journey in the Dark" it says, "In the dark at the rear, grim and silent, walked Aragorn" (p. 302).  It seems I really love Aragorn when he's being grim and silent, as I both that chapter and this are some of my favorite sections.

And I love Legolas in this chapter, don't you?  Seeing such impossible details of things very far away.  I always laugh when Aragorn spots the Riders of Rohan, and Legolas says, "there are one hundred and five.  Yellow is their hair, and bright are their spears.  Their leader is very tall" (p. 420).  Such detail, and so casual about it!

And I love Gimli here too.  He's so sweet!  First he says, "The thought of those merry young folk driven like cattle burns my heart" (p. 414).  And then he's so sad over the fact that Merry and Pippin are probably dead that he says, "My legs must forget the miles.  They would be more willing, if my heart were less heavy" (p. 418).  This, from the stoic Dwarf, is a lot of emotion.  

I think one of the reasons that the Rohirrim are my favorite culture in Middle Earth is pretty well summed up by Eomer here:  "we desire only to be free, and to live as we have lived, keeping our own, and serving no foreign lord, good or evil" (p. 423).  That's a pretty good description of how I want to live my own life.

And we find out here once and for all that the Rohirrim are not giving or sending horses to Sauron.  The Orcs have stolen some, but that is all.  Finally we can put that evil rumor to rest.  Whew.

Favorite Lines:

"Ah! the green smell!" he said.  "It is better than much sleep.  Let us run!" (p. 414)

"Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall" (p. 414).

...Legolas was standing, gazing northwards into the darkness, thoughtful and silent as a young tree in a windless night (p. 416).

"What news from the North, Riders of Rohan?" (p. 421).

"Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?" (p. 424).

"Return with what speed you may, and let our swords hereafter shine together!" (p. 429).

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark" (p. 430).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Eomer says that "the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived" (p. 424).  Do you think that makes sense?  Or would someone practiced at lying be better at spotting other people's deceit?

8 comments:

  1. I wish I could have found this Read-Along earlier! I love The Lord of the Rings; I've read it at least 8 times and my husband reads it almost every summer! This scene is my favourite from the movie.

    Sigh! We'll even if I didn't make it in time, this time, I'm certainly enjoying reading your posts!

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    1. Hello, and welcome!

      You know, I've got a couple readers who just started it this month, and are working their way toward catching up. You're very welcome to do the same. Or just read the posts and comment, that's fine too! Or come back a year or more from now and do it at your own pace -- I'll always be happy to reply to comments and discuss things :-)

      I see from your blog that we're participating in some of the same challenges, and both in the Classics Club. Very cool!

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    2. Thank you!

      I am completely overloaded for January and probably February too; after that I may have some time. You are reading LOTR so slowly and have time to make such wonderful comments; I really envy that. I don't want to rush through it just too read it. I'll see what my reading schedule looks like for March when we get close ….. Since I'm reasonably familiar with it, I will probably make some comments even if I don't get to it. I can hardly resist! :-)

      Is so encouraging to find like-minded people. Yes, we have similar challenges, are in the Classics Club AND we both homeschool!

      BTW, I'm impressed that you already have books completed for all your challenges. I'm doing quite well but I still have some challenges that are looking a little bleak. They are whispering over my shoulder ……. I must get to them soon!

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    3. Well, it's probably going to take me until at least this summer to finish this, so you've got some time :-)

      And you homeschool too? Shiny! How old are your kids? Mine are 2, 4, and 6, so this is our first real year of homeschooling, though we've of course been teaching them ever since they were born :-)

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    4. My daughter just turned 15, so she'd be equivalent to grade 9. We've been homeschooling since half way through grade 1, when I pulled her out of public school. We've never looked back and I'm so glad I made the decision. She was back in school for the first time the first semester of this year (well, technically it was for sports academy, but she had classroom work on the body, muscles, nutrition, etc.) and on the academic side she was WAY ahead. She also could concentrate and was much more responsible than her classmates. However, the experience made me realize that I do NOT want her back in school (for about every reason you could think of ……. academic, social, etc.) so we'll have a few more years before I can go out and get a full-time job.

      I envy you that you're just starting out! Have a wonderful time teaching them; you'll all learn so much. And don't worry about having to get too academic early on. Read to them LOTS! That was the #1 best thing that I did with my daughter!

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    5. Very cool. I was homeschooled K-12 and absolutely loved it. My husband was homeschooled for high school and liked it so much better than the private school he'd been in.

      We are having so much fun, to be honest. Like, yesterday my son asked me if I knew what Impressionist paintings were because he read about them in a Boxcar Children book, so today I hauled out the art books and postcards, we looked at Impressionist pictures of flowers, and then we did some watercolor paintings of flowers too. Love it!

      I read to the kids every day, and now that he's reading on his own, he devours books. It's wonderful!

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  2. I caught up with the read-through, yay! And there are so many nice quotes in this chapter, I never noticed it before! I like the Rohirrim too, mostly because I'm a horse person and can totally relate to how they value their horses over everything else. And I always admired Éomer because he has such a strong sense of right and wrong (as opposed to legal and illegal, as they sometimes are) and saw what Wormtongue was really doing to Théoden and was one of the few who took any action against him, even risking the law.

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    1. You're caught up! Awesome!

      Eomer is just... wonderful. A better person, really, than any of the other men except Faramir, I think.

      And I'm a horse person too, so that's definitely part of their appeal for me too.

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