Sunday, December 31, 2017

Another LOTR Read-Along: The Council of Elrond (FOTR 2, 2)

Man, this is a long chapter -- good thing I hadn't planned to do more than one or two posts over the holidays. Where to start?

With Boromir, of course. Here he is at last, my beloved Boromir, this "tall man with a fair and noble face, dark-haired and grey-eyed, proud and stern of glance" (p. 234). There's a little smiley heart in the margins of my book here. To get here, he traveled for a hundred and ten days, all alone, making his way from Minas Tirith to Rivendell. I wish I knew what sorts of adventures he had on the way. That's a long time to be out in the wilderness.  Maybe one day I'll have time to write a long fanfic novel about his journey.

Also, it sounds in this like it was Boromir's idea that he come to Rivendell instead of Farmir. He says "since the way was full of doubt and danger, I took the journey upon myself" (p. 240), which sounds very nice of him. And full of pride, which is his besetting sin, but still, nice of him to spare Faramir all that doubt and danger.

I find it interesting that Bilbo, who was hired by Thorin to be a burglar (in The Hobbit), ends up being called a thief. Here, Sauron's messenger is quoted as calling Bilbo a thief while talking to Dain, and he later says "I only wished to claim the treasure as my very own in those days, and to be rid of the name of thief that was put on me" (p. 243). I assume he's referring to Gollum there, who accused him of stealing the ring. In the end, he was hired to be a burglar, and he did kind of do a bit of burgling here and there.

I'm always amazed by just how old Elrond is. His memory "reaches back even to the Elder Days" (p. 237). Holy cow.

Saruman reminds me mightily of Hitler. His voice is his greatest weapon.  Here, Gandalf says he was "lulled by the words of Saruman the Wise" (p. 244), and later on he'll tell his companions to beware of Saruman's voice. Also, Saruman says that his "high and ultimate purpose" is "Knowledge, Rule, Order" (p. 253). Doesn't that sound kind of Nazi-esque?

Okay, I'll say one last thing about Boromir. I love how he stands up for Rohan here. Gandalf and Aragorn discuss whether Rohan might be sending a tribute of horses to Sauron. Boromir says, "It is a lie that comes from the Enemy. I know the Men of Rohan, true and valiant, our allies" (p. 255-56). I love him especially much there. You'll see in the next book that I'm a big fan of Rohan.

Favorite Lines:

"'The time of my thought is my own to spend,' answered Dain" (p. 235).

"The might of Elrond is in wisdom not in weapons, it is said" (p. 239).

"If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be secret to keep them so" (p. 242).

"And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom" (p. 252).

"May your beer be laid under an enchantment of surpassing excellence for seven years!" (p. 257). (I've always wanted an opportunity to say this to someone, but nobody I know brews their own beer.)

"...only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero (p. 263).

"This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great" (p. 264).

Discussion Questions:

I'm always struck by the fact that Aragorn attends Elrond's council "clad in his old travel-worn clothes again" (p.233). Why do you suppose he does that? Is he trying to keep a low profile and not draw attention to himself? Trying to impress on people the fact that he's good at the whole wandering-around-and-being-brave thing? Boromir "looked again at Aragorn, and doubt was in his eyes" (p. 241), so clearly he didn't think Aragorn looks particularly kingly. But why does he make a point of this?

Elrond says that "The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it" (p. 262). Do you think this is a foreshadowing of what will happen with Boromir (strong) and Gandalf (wise) -- that they (embodying strength and wisdom) will not finish the journey with Frodo?


  1. I think Aragorn partially disguises himself in hopes of being less noticed by the Council. In light of Saruman's recent betrayal, to me it makes sense that they might have decided to keep the fact that he's Elendil's heir under wraps a little while longer. Ultimately, of course, that fails. Furthermore, with Boromir coming from Gondor, it's unsure what his reaction will be to the Heir of Elendil coming forth.

    Ooh, I like the foreshadowing theory you posit in the second question. I'd never thought of it that way, but I suppose it could be the case.

    Similarly, I'd never thought about Saruman being similar to Hitler with regard to his speeches and obsession with power, but it's an interesting parallel.

    1. RM, that's a good thought. I hadn't really considered that Aragorn might still be trying to disguise himself to fool Sauron even in Rivendell.

  2. Well, now that I have finished Fellowship of the Ring, there is a connection of Elrond's words [in reference to] Gandalf and Boromir. I'm still in shock with how well Tolkien portrayed the temptation of Boromir. Wow! I can still feel it. How weak pride makes us.

    1. Ruth, Boromir's story is one of the most beautiful representations I've ever seen of temptation, fall, repentance, atonement, and absolution. Glorious writing.

    2. Then there is more to come? Nice. No wonder you are enamored of his character.

    3. Ruth, yeah, most of what I mentioned is in the next book. I tend to forget where FOTR ends and TTT begins. But yeah, he has a great arc <3

  3. I would think that Aragorn might have been trying to keep things casual with Boromir around and not knowing how he'll react. Or perhaps because he already expected his cold welcome and suspicious stares.

    That's a very interesting theory about Boromir and Gandalf and it totally makes sense to me. I think that later in that chapter or the next there's yet another reference to Gandalf as being the wise one in the company but I don't remember it exactly. And I think that Boromir's fall is also alluded to in the same terms later in Lothlórien, though to be honest, I should read those chapters closer to be sure about it.

    Also, funny that you mention Sauron reminding you of that certain German dictator. I actually found many similarities between him and HP's Lord Voldemort. Some people also refer to him as he who we do not name and it is also said that 'he is taking shape and power again' (p. 326). And while Sauron hasn't brought the Führer to my mind, Lord Voldemort certainly did and I found the last two Harry Potter books to be full allusions to the Nazi regime. Anyway, I am nevertheless amazed by how much inspiration (acknowledged or not) J.K. Rowling has drawn from The Lord of the Rings because also later when the hobbits are looking at Galadriel's mirror it totally reminded me of Dumbledore's pensive mixed with the mirror of Erised :)

    1. Irene, I apologize for getting a WHOLE WEEK behind on answering your comments. All three of my kids are down with The Flu, and between repeated doctor visits and coddling them, I've gotten waaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on answering blog comments. But I'm working on catching up at last!

      I agree that Aragorn must have known Boromir was there, and who he was, and was probably trying to just not be confrontational.

      There are a LOT of similarities between Voldemort and Sauron. And between the Death Eaters and the Ringwraiths. And between Sauron's power (and life-force) being bound up in The One Ring and Voldy's Horcruxes. And on and on and on. Rowling definitely drew from LOTR.

    2. No worries, I can totally understand ;) I spend my days running around with two toddlers, so I know how it can be to find just ten minutes to do something for yourself. And even harder to be able to focus when you finally have those ten minutes for yourself!

    3. Thanks for understanding, Irene! I had three kids ages 0-4 at one point in my life, and I know just how hard it is to even read a whole email in one chunk, much less a blog post or a book. It still is, and my youngest is now 6!

  4. I do like Boromir's personality and character a lot. :-) I LOVE this chapter; all the history and stories and meeting all the Fellowship. <3 I think Aragorn did want to keep a low profile. (I also tend to think he wasn't very comfortable in fancy clothes. XP) That is a cool theory about the foreshadowing! Maybe Tolkien did do that on purpose. Interesting thought. :-D Also, that would be awesome if you could say that to someone who brews their own beer. We know someone who used to, but they don't anymore. XD

    1. MEM, oh good! We can still be friends :-)

      I like the idea that Aragorn is now more comfy in the garb of a Ranger than that of a noble/king.

  5. I like this chapter, particularly hearing Gloin's story. I have the sentence "For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice" marked in my book as a sentence I particularly loved.


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)