Tuesday, February 18, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: Flotsam and Jetsam (TTT Ch. 9)

Ahh, a happy interlude.  I really like this chapter, with the remnants of the Fellowship eating and smoking and exchanging stories and information.  That bit where Pippin produces a spare pipe and Gimli calls him a "most noble hobbit" always makes me grin.  Same goes for when Pippin tells what Gandalf's reappearance was like -- that time, he got called a "tom-fool of a Took" instead, but it still makes me grin.

And aren't the Huorns nifty?  Especially how they can "wrap themselves in shadow" (p. 551) -- that would be such a useful power!  They're also a bit scary, and of all the not-evil creatures in Middle Earth, I think I'd want to meet them the least.

Favorite Lines:

"One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters" (p. 550).

"It is difficult with these evil folk to know when they are in league, and when they are cheating one another" (p. 552).

"A punch from an Ent-fist crumples up iron like thin tin" (p. 553).

"'Wherever I have been, I am back,' he answered in the genuine Gandalf manner" (p. 556).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Pippin says that "nobody, not even Elves, will say much about Gandalf's movements when he is not there" (p. 556).  Why do you suppose that is?

Aragorn says of Saruman that "[t]here are not many in Middle-earth that I should say were safe, if they were left alone to talk with him, even now when he has suffered a defeat.  Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel, perhaps, now that his wickedness has been laid bare, but very few others" (p. 553).  Do you think that's because they possess the three Elvish rings of power?


  1. Interesting idea on the elvish rings. To me, it's always seemed as if a huge theme of Tolkien's is in how different people relate to power and control...and the sheer desire for it. So would those three (Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel) be able to handle the danger because they had the rings...or had they been entrusted with the rings in the first place because they were already trustworthy and were granted additional authority?

    1. Well, the elvish rings weren't linked to the One Ring like the rings for the dwarves and men, so they weren't as dangerous because of that. Sauron could not control them and their users from afar, though of course they did contain great power and would have been terrible if Sauron had gotten ahold of them.

      So what I was wondering was, did the possession of those rings give those three people the power to withstand Saruman's voice? Or did they contain it themselves, without the ring? At this point in the story, I think the only one that has revealed they have a ring is Galadriel, so I feel like this might be a little clue that the other two have them as well.

    2. I guess that's what I was trying to get at, too (whether they were already a certain way and were thus granted additional power-wielding authority or whether their strength was primarily bound up in the power inherent in the rings). I guess it could be some of both. Thinking about it, the rings must have a big part in it, as there are lots of other good, strong characters who don't possess one (Aragorn himself being one, Legolas, etc.) who would have been in serious danger speaking with him, so perhaps Tolkien was dropping a hint about the rings there (by tying the three names together).

    3. Right! The exclusion of Aragorn particularly makes it seem like a little hint. Because he can wrestle the Palantir to his will, but Gandalf is loathe to try it, which means Aragorn is plenty powerful, but not against Saruman's voice.


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)