Monday, January 15, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: The Mirror of Galadriel (FOTR 2, 7)

So here we are at Lothlorien, hanging out, resting, learning about elves, mourning Gandalf, and seeing a bit of magic. Sam explains a little of why I probably wouldn't want to hang out at this particular Middle Earth location: "Nothing seems to be going on, and nobody seems to want it to" (p. 351). That's supposed to sound restful and contemplative, I think. To me, it sounds boring and wearisome. I actually like having things to do and getting them done.

Celeborn gets a lot more to say here than in the movie, doesn't he? Galadriel says that he "is accounted the wisest of the Elves of Middle-earth, and a giver of gifts beyond the power of kings" (p. 347). Totally not the impression the movie gives! Which is why, yet again, the books are just better.

Galadriel tells Frodo, "For the fate of Lothlorien you are not answerable, but only for the doing of your own task" (p. 356). What a major theme that is, the fact that each person is only responsible for their own task, their own life. Way back at the beginning of the book, Gandalf told Frodo, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" (p. 50). I feel like this is supposed to be comforting, that we don't have to try to do everything or be everywhere. At the same time, it's very sobering, because if we fail to do the task we have in the time we're given, we're failing those who come after us and are depending on us.

Favorite Lines:

The air was cool and soft, as if it were early spring, yet they felt about them the deep and thoughtful quiet of winter (p. 349).

Discussion Questions:

Would you look into the Mirror of Galadriel if you had the chance?

I find it interesting that Celeborn says that "though the world is now dark better days are at hand" (p. 346). I feel like that's one of the first times someone has spoken cheerfully of the future for a long time in this book. He says it about the renewal of friendship between elves and dwarves, and then pretty soon, Legolas and Gimli start hanging out together a lot. Do you think that's a sign that things are actually getting better already as a result of Frodo's determination to destroy the One Ring? Or am I reading too much into that?


  1. I don't think I would look into the Mirror if I had the chance, though I might suffer from asking myself "what if" for years afterward. It's a common theme in books that little good comes from trying to discern the future, and I would hate to waste my life trying to figure out or prevent what I had seen.

    I don't know that things are getting better on account of Frodo's quest per se, but I do think it's further developing the idea that even though the world is a dark place, there's a good side to things, too. For me, that's one of the most encouraging themes of the book, all the more so with Tolkien's experience serving in WWI and the perspective that knowledge lends to the novels.

    1. RM, I never can make up my mind whether I'd want to look in it or not. I'm fairly curious by nature, but also very cautious. I just don't know.

      "May it be a light for you in dark times, when all other lights go out" -- that line always reminds me that even when it appears that everything is dark and bad and nothing good can happen in this story, there's still a light somewhere. Whether it's hidden or forgotten or ignored, it's still there.

  2. I don't think I would look into Galadriel's mirror. I have always been very wary of fortunetellers and the like. I know several people who've had their fortune told and they said that the teller was spot on - I don't think I could live with that knowledge.

    It is weird but I think that the three chapters that take place in Lórien have been my favourite part of the book. Which is funny because in the films I found this part, and particularly Galadriel, creepy and eerie. But I liked it how peaceful everything in there is. Plus those 'flets' and cities on the trees sound like very interesting architecture.

    1. Yeah, I often wish I would be able to know what was going to happen in the immediate future -- like, am I going to catch the flu with my kids? I'd like to know so I can plan ahead for whether or not I'm going to be able to teach Sunday school in a couple days, and so on. But I think foreknowledge of the distant future can often be harmful.

      Lorien has a very special sort of stillness, doesn't it? I do like that about it -- it somehow reminds me of that line from the Old Testament: "Be still, and know that I am God." It's a place to stop doing things and just... be still.

      Flets are awfully cool. I have half-formed plans for building a sort of low flet for my kids to use as a treehouse of sorts. We'll see if it ever comes about -- I need to get permission from our HOA first before I can build it.

  3. I would totally want to look in the Mirror of Galadriel, but my good sense would probably convince me otherwise. XD I love that line where it says that Legolas started taking Gimli with him when he would go out and "the others wondered at this change." They are definitely one of my favorite bromances. :-D
    I echo RM's answer to the second question; I don't necessarily think the world is already starting to get better but I think Tolkien is showing that "there is still some good in this world Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for,". :-D

    1. MEM, intriguing! I think I'm better off just not encountering it at all.

      Maybe it's a sign that the world CAN be better, if it's saved?


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)