Friday, April 25, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: The Passing of the Grey Company (ROTK Ch. 2)

I love when Halbarad and the other Dunedain Rangers arrive -- it's such a bright spot of joy for Aragorn amidst all this Very Important Stuff that's been going on.  And it's so cool that Elrond's sons, Elladan and Elrohir, come too.  They're quiet, but intriguing.  And have grey eyes.  You knew I was going to mention that, of course.  And I did.

Interestingly, Aragorn says that the Men of the Mountains "had worshipped Sauron in the Dark Years" (p. 765).  As far as I can remember, that's the only time the word "worship" gets used in this whole trilogy.  They talk about power, they talk about Sauron having control of places and people, but I do not recall any other place where someone is said to have worshiped him.  Hmm.

Poor Eowyn.  She yearns for Aragorn so much, and he keeps trying to tell her that his heart is not available.  He even tells her, "Were I go to where my heart dwells, far in the North I would now be wandering in the fair valley of Rivendell" (p. 766).  And yet, she still keeps hoping.  She really makes me so very sad -- I'm glad a happy ending awaits her!  Still, maybe Aragorn could have been a little more direct and said, "I'm in love with someone else."  Stopped paying her compliments like, "I walked in this land ere you were born to grace it" (p. 766).

But moving right along, there's one thing about the whole Paths of the Dead section that has always bugged me.  Legolas says he will go with Aragorn because he "[does] not fear the Dead" (p. 764).  And when they reach the Dark Door, it says "there was not a heart among them that did not quail, unless it were the heart of Legolas of the Elves, for whom the ghosts of Men have no terror" (p. 769).  But what about Elladan and Elrohir?  They're Elves too!  Has Tolkien totally forgotten about them for a while?  I kind of feel like he has, because a few paragraphs later, Gimli says, "Here is a thing unheard of... An Elf will go underground and a Dwarf dare not!" (p. 769).  Shouldn't he say, "Three elves will go underground" instead?  And then at the end of the chapter, it says, "No other mortal Men could have endured it, none but the Dunedain of the North, and with them Gimli the Dwarf and Legolas of the Elves" (p. 772).  AND Elrohir and Elladan!  (I actually have that written in my copy.)  Is he just lumping them in with the Dunedain?  I know Elrond is Half-Elven, but wasn't his wife Elvish?  So then his kids are... three-quarters Elven?  Legolas does remark earlier that "they are fair and gallant as Elven-lords" (p. 759) -- does that mean they're not Elven-lords?  I am so confused.  That's our Possible Discussion Question for this chapter:  what is going on here????

One last thing:  I so sympathize with Gimli.  As they walk the Paths of the Dead, "he was ever hindmost, pursued by a groping horror that seemed always just about to seize him" (p. 770).  That is exactly what chases me up the stairs if I have to be the last one going to bed at night.

Favorite Lines:

"He was tall, a dark standing shadow" (p. 757).

More than ever he missed the unquenchable cheerfulness of Pippin (p. 762).

And she answered:  "All your words are but to say:  you are a woman, and your part is in the house.  But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more.  But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman.  I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death" (p. 767).


  1. Re Elladan and Elrohir: that's always bugged me, too. I don't think I'd noticed it just at this spot before, but they seem altogether so grave and lordly and powerful...and it's just like we never hear enough about them. Oh, well. It's just tantalizing. :-) Maybe if we'd gotten closer though, some of the awe and mystery wrapped around them would vanish.

    And I love the arrival of the Dunedain! The deep ties and brotherhood...and the amazing glimpse into Aragorn. :-) A tingly moment. :-)

    1. I agree, they could do with more page-time. I want to at least get more dialog from them!

  2. You keep showing me new things about this trilogy! Apparently two reads was not enough for me to pick up on this detail, that Elrohir and Elladan were there at the Paths of the Death. Apparently I have the movie too much in my head, because if you would've asked me, I would say only Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli walked the Paths. Bad Tolkien-fan....

    1. Oh, not only were Elrohir and Elladan there, so were Halbarad and the other 29 Rangers he brought with him! Who all get left out of the movies, and it's like Strider is the only Ranger ever.

      And yeah, I'm on my sixth read and learning so much still! Such complex stories.

    2. *facepalm* How could I not have remembered that? (Apparently our memory is highly visual, so you will sooner remember things from a movie then from a book, but still)

      About Rangers, do you know about the movie Born of Hope? It's a fan-made prequel to Lord of the Rings about the parents of Aragorn aka about the Rangers of the North. I have not watched it, so I don't know how good it is, as it is obviously low budget. But you can watch it on YouTube in total.

    3. Nope, never heard of "Born of Hope." I've seen another fanmade movie, though, "The Hunt for Gollum," and it was rather good. Also available on YouTube.

    4. Pity you don't live a little bit closer, then we could watch it together!

  3. Finally starting to read again. The days are long enough that I can slip in some reading after 5 pm when the sun is still up. I'm finding that these days, I really need to read outside in daylight. There is simply no light bright enough in my house, otherwise. But anyway, I really like this chapter, for two reasons, because I love the Paths of the Dead and Oathbreakers being summoned. It should be on my sweetspot map, people held to something forever. I also really like this chapter cuz (and this will sound a bit mean), but finally Aragorn tells Eowyn "No" in no uncertain terms, and I always finally relax at that point.

    Favorite line in this chapter, and ranks up with my favorites in the whole book:

    Eowyn says "...may I not now spend my life as I will?"
    "Few may do that with honour," he answered.

    I just want to say that to all kinds of people at various times, when they want to throw aside duty or responsibility.

    1. No, I don't think that's mean at all! Eowyn needs to know, and I wish Aragorn had been more direct in the first place.

      Good line! Definitely needs to be said to some people.

    2. I totally relate to Aragorn with Eowyn, how he's too polite to say outright, sorry, I'm not available. How it is actually only her need for action he can deny. She wants to go with him, and he can say no to that, where he still can't figure a good way to say no to her feelings. I so get that!

    3. Yeah, I get it, I just don't like it.


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