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.
"'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).
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?