Thursday, January 18, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: Farewell to Lorien (FOTR 2, 8)

At the beginning of this chapter, they decide to leave. It takes them eleven pages in my copy to actually do so. Lothlorien must be a very charming place indeed!

I always feel so very sad for Sam here, because he missed out on learning how the Elves make rope. A completely missed opportunity, one he's obviously not going to have again, and one he didn't even have the chance of either accepting or rejecting. It's just, "Oh, you like making rope? Too bad we didn't know." Makes me kind of depressed on his behalf.

Random thing that makes me happy: Boromir says, "I have myself been at whiles in Rohan" (p. 365). I love that he's been hanging out there -- he's such a staunch defender of the Rohirrim too, whenever anyone starts in on the whole "I think the Rohirrim have been sending horses to Sauron" nonsense. You know Boromir is my most beloved character in these books, but I'm not sure I've mentioned that I love Rohan more than the other cultures. Even above the Shire, for the most part. So I'm very pleased that my favorite character has spent lots of time where I myself would like to be. In fact, he borrowed a horse from the Rohirrim, possibly the one he says here that he lost when he forded the Greyflood. He doesn't say here that he borrowed a horse, but Eomer later mentions that they loaned him one, and that it returned riderless (p. 423).

And so everyone has one last Elvish feast, gets presents, and heads off down the river. Back on track, after yet another lengthy stay with new friends.

Last year, I read a book called The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power by Jane Chance, in which I learned that not only did Tolkien follow the classic myth structure (which I'm endlessly fascinated by) for LOTR as a whole (which I could see), but he actually used it within each of the six books as well. I learned from Jane Chance is that each of the two books within each volume (so books 1 and 2 in FOTR, books 3 and 4 in TTT, and books 5 and 6 in ROTK) mirror each other. This kind of blew my mind, because once I read it, I could see it. So the lengthy sojourn here in Lothlorien after the long, dark journey in Moria... mirrors the hobbits hanging out at Tom Bombadil's house for a long time after their long, dark journey in the Old Forest.

Like I said, blew my mind. There are people who can write interesting stories.  I can do that.  And there are people who can write deep, layered, complex books that are Important, like Tolkien. I stand in awe of him.

Favorite Lines:

"Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them" (p. 359).

"...we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make" (p. 361).

"Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror, be it clear as Kheled-zaram" (p. 369).

Discussion Questions:

Gimli said that when he set out on the quest, he knew there would probably be torment and peril, and the thought of those did not hold him back. But that he "would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy" (p. 369). How can light and joy be more dangerous, or more terrible, or harder to deal with, than torment and peril?


  1. Wow, that's so interesting about the books mirroring each other within each volume. I definitely will have to read these books again, probably many times, in order to notice that and more. I also think that Tolkien was a most skilled writer. I can totally see it now, even if it took quite a while to get into his writing. It makes rather sad now that he's so often overlooked because he "only" wrote fantasy.

    Perhaps light and joy can be more dangerous because they are tempting and lead us blindly to fall, whereas we would always try to fight any peril. Dunno.

    1. Irene, I KNOW! I find that so fascinating. And now that it's been pointed out to me, I can totally see so many places where they mirror each other. Shelob's Lair echoing the Barrow-Wights and so on. Just totally amazing.

      Tolkien basically started a whole genre by himself, which is a testament in itself to the power of his writing. His storytelling powers are just staggering, aren't they?

      That's a cool interpretation of Gimli's words. I also think maybe light and joy can be so wonderful that we just want to dwell on/in them and ignore the dark and badness we're supposed to be fighting?

  2. WOAH. That is so cool! I never realized that! The classic myth structure is very interesting (and it fascinates me even though I know very little about it). XD
    I think that light and joy can be dangerous because we will always want them and desire to have them even at the cost of other things. And maybe Gimli also meant they can hurt more when you leave them. (I mean, I don't think anyone really wants to stay in torment and peril. XD)

    1. MEM, I KNOW, RIGHT? Wow. Just amazing.

      Myth structure is awesome. The more I learn about it, the more I see it in story after story.

      Hmm, that's a good point that leaving joy and light is hard and painful.


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