Monday, January 22, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: The Breaking of the Fellowship (FOTR 2, 10)

This is such a sad chapter. Boromir falls under the ring's power entirely, and Frodo spends most of the chapter being afraid to do what he must. Gloom and doom, doom and gloom.

I was rather surprised that, when everyone is giving Frodo some thinking time, Legolas not only announces he wants the decision to go to a vote, but declares that he would vote for going to Minas Tirith! I had completely forgotten that, and it just... I don't know. It feels somehow out of character, to me. Legolas is usually sort of aloof from the whole affair, just going along to help however he can, and now he's calling for votes and getting almost bossy. Maybe this another instance of "the evil of the Ring [being] already at work even in the Company" (p. 392), as Frodo put it?  Changing people's behavior, even an elf's?

But I love Sam at the end of the chapter, when he explains to everyone just what Frodo's struggle really is, and then figures out Frodo's plan to leave alone and thwarts it. Dear, dogged Sam. I especially love this part: "I'm coming too, or neither of us isn't going. I'll knock holes in all the boats first" (p. 397). I so want to hug him there.

The authors of Finding God in the Lord of the Rings, Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware, point out that people "were not made to bear the burden and experience the joys of life's journey alone. That's why God has given us the gift of companionship. The Scriptures talk of a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Such was Sam to Frodo" (p. 48). God gives us all companions to help us through life -- people obviously think about husbands and wives when they hear the whole "it is not good for man to be alone" thing in the Bible, but I don't think that refers only to finding a spouse. Into our lives come many companions. Parents, siblings, friends, spouses, co-workers, teachers, and so on. Yes, God gave Adam a wife, but he also gave Moses a brother. He gave David a best friend. He gave Elisha a mentor. He gave Naomi a daughter-in-law. All of those were companions who helped them on life's journey.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up." We'll see many instances of this verse's wisdom in the coming books, and not just relating to Frodo and Sam, but regarding other companionships too. Something to keep your eye out for.

And hey, check it out! We finished The Fellowship of the Ring!

Favorite Lines:

"Is it not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing?" (p. 388)

"It would be faithless now to say farewell" (p. 393).

Discussion Questions:

Which two towers do you think the title of the next book refers to? There's this whole section in this chapter, where Frodo is seeing the world from Amon Hen, and he sees Minas Tirith, "beautiful: white-walled, many-towered, proud and fair upon its mountain seat" (p. 391). And then it says that "against Minas Tirith was set another fortress, greater and more strong" (p. 391), which turns out to be Barad-dur, Fortress of Sauron. And I kind of feel like those are the two towers. What do you think?

This book doesn't end in the same place that the movie ends. Why do you think Peter Jackson and the other writers chose to go a bit farther with their story?


  1. I think the movie makes sense where it ends. It marks the setting out on a new journey. To me, where the book ends doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It still feels...incomplete, almost like a cliffhanger.

    I totally forgot the way the Ring makes the world look in the book. I think the surveyance of the land is rather cool as portrayed in this chapter.

    Sorry for the late comments! Desperately trying to get caught up here.

    1. RM, I agree -- the placing of the end of the movie makes so much more sense to me. Boromir's story is completed, the two new stories are set on their way, and it ends with such a good sense of "let's see what happens next."

      Not a problem!

  2. As a first time reader, I wasn't really bothered about the end and it didn't really feel like a cliffhanger. It is true that, having watched the films, I was already expecting Boromir's death by the end of this book but I also think that without any prior knowledge this end works just fine: Frodo finally making his choice and leaving with Sam and not many clues about what'll happen next to the rest of the Fellowship. Maybe, once I'm done with the next two volumes and if I ever reread (which quite possibly I might) I will feel cheated at the edge of a cliff.

    I really like your comments on companionship in this post. Very thoughtful and true!

    I have really enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring and your posts and the conversations going on in here :) I will take a break before starting with The Two Towers, as I have many other books I want to read as well and I like to pace my series when I'm enjoying them. But I will catch up with your read along once I'm started :)

    1. Irene, I agree that FOTR doesn't really end on a cliffhanger, not like TTT. More of a "this is the end of this journey and the beginning of the next" sort of feel.

      Thanks! The various interpersonal relationships in this book fascinate me, and I think they're where its true emphasis lies -- deeds of derring-do are all very well, but they're meaningless without having people we care about and who care about us.

      Enjoy your break! I actually finished the whole trilogy last week, as my niece and I started reading it together for school back in September. But I'll continue dipping back into the books as I finish out the read-along. I'm actually going to be reading some more companion works about Tolkien and Middle-earth now, so may bring some of that to bear as well.

    I love Sam in this chapter. He's so sweet. :-)
    I think you're right; it's Minas Tirith and Barad-Dur. That makes the most sense; I think. :-D

    1. MC, he is!

      A lot of combos make sense, but I like that the best.


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