A quick house-keeping note: Starting today, I will be bumping our pace up to at least 3 chapters a week. I got very busy AND very lazy over the holidays, but I'm back into the swing of real life now, so we will not be meandering through these books anymore, but marching steadily along. (I hope.)
Every time I read this chapter, I decide I should thereafter sign everything as "one stray wanderer from the South" (p. 288). Totally my favorite description of Boromir. Just so you know.
This chapter has lots of exciting parts, with the wolves, and then the watcher in the water, and then all the wandering around in Moria. And once again, I don't have lots to say. Hmm. And yet, this and the previous chapter are one of my favorite sections of the book.
Gandalf says that he "once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves or Men or Orcs" (p. 299) that were used to open enchanted doors. So... there must have been a lot of enchanted doors around at one time, and they've just fallen into disuse? Why? I mean, if I had an enchanted door that you could only open with the right password, I think I'd keep using it. Sounds very handy in case of a siege, for instance. Or for stockpiling Christmas presents where the kids couldn't get at them.
Once Gandalf figures out how to open the Doors of Durin, he says, "Of course, of course! Absurdly simple" (p. 300). This makes me laugh, not for a LOTR-related reason, but because there's a moment in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Dancing Men" where Holmes doesn't want to explain to Watson how he deduced something because he says that once he explains, Watson will say, "How absurdly simple!" Watson insists that he won't, Holmes explains, and then Watson cries, "How absurdly simple!" It's a funny moment in the story, and particularly funny in the Jeremy Brett TV show version. So just thought I'd share :-)
Also, the welcome mat by our front door says "Speak friend and enter." Because we're cool like that.
"However it may prove, one must tread the path that need chooses!" (p. 289)
"The wolf that one hears is worse than the orc that one fears" (p. 290).
"That was an eye-opener, and no mistake!" (p. 291)
In the dark at the rear, grim and silent, walked Aragorn (p. 302).
Aragorn is almost always at the rear of their procession. Why? What does that tell us about him?
How does Tolkien use Sam's devotion to Bill the pony to deepen him as a character and help us get to know him? And to know what to expect of him later in the story?