Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Another LOTR Read-Along: Three is Company (FOTR 1, 3)

Now we hit the place where the book begins to be substantially different than the movie. (Or, really, where the movie began to trim things, though the extended edition does have Frodo and Sam seeing elves at one point.)

And so the adventure really begins! Frodo says goodbye to Bag End (sniffle sniffle), and he sets off for Crickhollow. Is that not the coolest name for a house? I would love to have a house some day near a creek and a hollow so I could name it that.

But I digress. Not only do Frodo, Sam, and Pippin begin their journey, but we get introduced to the Black Riders too! I prefer to call them 'Nazgul,' but 'Ringwraiths' sounds cool too. They are ultra creepy, and I can see why they kind of get copied in other fantasy novels. It amuses me how Pippin fixates on the way the Black Riders sniff after Frodo -- when he says, "But don't forget the sniffing!" (p. 77), I always laugh aloud. Dear, dear Pippin.

And we meet our first elves! I have to admit that the Elves are not my favorite Middle Earth race. They're a little too cold or remote or reserved or something. Yes, too reserved for me to be friends with. But they fascinate me, nonetheless. And I do like their way of speaking. Not so much Elvish itself, though it's cool, but just their almost oratorical style.

There's a lot of poetry in this book, as you'll have discovered now. I will tell you a dreadful secret: I read the short poems and skim the long ones. I'm fine with you doing the same if you don't want to read the really long ones (which we haven't gotten to yet, these were all short).

One thing to keep in mind as we read is that Tolkien basically made up what we think of as "fantasy" today. There were fairy tales and "fairy stories" for kids back then (like The Hobbit), but the fantasy genre of today is rooted in The Lord of the Rings. It was pretty much the first fantasy book for adults to be at all successful or taken seriously.

Favorite Lines:

The road wound away before them like a piece of string (p. 72).

They passed slowly, and the hobbits could see the starlight glimmering on their hair and in their eyes (p. 78). "A star shines on the hour of our meeting" (p. 79).

Sam walked along at Frodo's side, as if in a dream, with an expression on his face half of fear and half of astonished joy (p. 80).

"The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out" (p. 82).

"But it is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
"And it is also said," answered Frodo: "Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes" (p. 82-83).

"Courage is found in unlikely places" (p. 83).

"...may the stars shine upon the end of your road!" (p. 83).

Discussion Questions:

What do you think of the elves?

Who do you like better so far: Frodo, Sam, or Pippin?


  1. *cough*


    1. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees. Now that it's confirmed they're not remaking LOTR and are gonna focus on other parts of Middle-earth's history, I'm feeling fairly positive about this!

      More good links here: https://atolkienistperspective.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/confirmed-amazon-greenlights-lord-of-the-rings-series/

  2. I feel awful saying this, but I haven't even gotten through the first chapter of FOTR...I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do this read a long after all. :(

    Honestly, for some reason I just haven't felt inspired to read LOTR right now. If I do gain the inspiration, I may try to catch up to where you're at, but for now I'm going to have to drop out. I'm sorry!

    1. Natalie, that is okay! It shouldn't be real hard to catch up if you feel like picking it up again in like January -- we're going really slowly through the busy holiday season, so we probably won't even be done with FOTR by then.

  3. Wait, what!? They clipped this chapter!? How dare they! I honestly don't remember, it has been so many years since I saw the movies.

    Nazgul, Ringwraths, whatever you call them I cannot read it without shivering. They are the scariest things in the book. Well, maybe Shalob (is that how it's spelled?) is scarier.

    I love elves, I do agree that they are rather cold. I am like Legolas, friendly, but still an elf!!! :D

    Sam is my favorite forever, but that is thinking of the ending, so I will go with Pippin because he hasn't touched things he wasn't supposed to yet.

    1. MC, I agree that Nazgul are super scary! Not sure I'd say they're scarier than the Balrog, but the Balrog only hangs out in Moria, so if you avoid those mines, you don't have to face him. But the Nazgul go everywhere.

      Shelob, though, is just the creepiest. Sooooo creeeeeeeeeepy.

      I like friendly elves :-) The ones in Rivendell seem to be the most friendly?

      Haha! Poor Pippin, too curious for his own good. He's such a sweetie, though. Sam is already my favorite here, but I love the others too.

  4. I LOVE THE ELVES!!! I'm a lot like an Elf in real life, so that could be the reason (although the people of Middle Earth I'm most like are the wizards\Istari). So far I like Pippin the best. <3 Reading the food descriptions in this chapter make me hungry. :-Z

    1. MEM, that's cool that you feel a kinship to the elves :-) I do like them, I just don't quite... love them.

      Pippin, huh? He's sweet ;-)

  5. Ohhh, I'm gonna have to go and watch the movies again (preferably the extended versions) to check on everything they chopped and changed from the books ... though I'll probably wait till I've finished reading.

    I first tried to read The Hobbit at thirteen but I didn't make it past the first chapter and one of the things that put me off was indeed the many poems on it. I found it tedious. However, when I finally read it many years later I actually enjoyed it those bits as well. That said, the first time I was reading a Spanish translation my best friend had lent me and the second one I already dared to read the English original and the language made a huge difference to me.

    I have always liked the elves and I must say they seem rather smart in this chapter. 'Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift.' (p. 110) How wise is that?
    And as for hobbits, I like Sam. I have always had the impression that he's the real hero in this adventure. He always sticks by Frodo and carries him through, even when he despises Sam and thinks that everything is lost.

    1. Irene, watching all 3 movies sounds like the perfect way to cap a re-read!

      The elves are definitely wise :-) But so guarded with their wisdom! Sometimes that frustrates me, hee.

      I also think Sam is the "chief hero" of the story, as Tolkien put it once.

  6. This chapter stresses me out a little, cuz Frodo just takes so long in going. That plus the black riders closing in and I get anxious to get past this. However, I love the elves and how they take the Hobbits under their wing and protect them for the night. I'm kind of the opposite. I could be friends with any of these elves, but not the average Hobbit.

    As to which is my favorite Hobbit so far? Frodo, of course. If I don't love the main character, the book is just never going to work for me, and I do love Frodo very much. I think I like him more with each re-read, too.

    1. Yes, I spend a lot of time yelling at Frodo in my head to get a move on. I like him better with every reread too, but he's still not a favorite for me.


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