Monday, February 12, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: The Road to Isengard (TTT 3, 8)

This is one of those in-between chapters where I don't have a lot to say. Legolas and Gimli's reunion is quite funny, and I love their plan to show each other Fangorn and the Helm's Deep caverns when the war is over. And the reunion of Merry and Pippin with their would-be rescuers is always amusing.

Theoden says of the Ents that "the songs have come down among us out of strange places, and walk visible under the Sun" (p. 537). This seems to be a theme with the Rohirrim, that characters in songs or stories can come alive. A guard at Meduseld (was it Hama?) told Aragorn, "It seems that you are come on the wings of song out of the forgotten days" (p. 500), and Eomer started this whole theme by saying, "Dreams and legends spring to life out of the grass" (p. 423), while good old Eothain the Ever-Courteous scoffed, "Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?" (p. 424) when Gimli said they were searching for Halflings. I wonder why this is such a repeated theme while we're in Rohan, but not with the Elves or in Gondor?

Okay, that's the first discussion question for this chapter.

Favorite Lines:

"These hobbits will sit on the edge of ruin and discuss the pleasures of the table, or the small doings of their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, and remoter cousins to the ninth degree, if you encourage them with undue patience" (p. 545).

"For however the fortune of war shall go, may it not so end that much that was fair and wonderful shall pass for ever out of Middle-earth?" (p. 537)

Another Discussion Question:

As they approach Isengard, Gandalf and company pass a great pillar of the white hand (symbol of Saruman) that has had its nails painted red. Any theories on why they've been painted red, or by whom? I feel like this is supposed to symbolize something, or be significant, but I'm not sure what it's about.


  1. I've often wondered how long Saruman has used the white hand as his symbol. I mean, if he used it while he was still a noble character, (much like his robes are white), perhaps this painting of the nails symbolizes the blood he now has on his hands. As for who might have painted it, I don't have any solid theories.

    Regarding the first question, I think the Rohirrim are much more like "normal" people. They don't have much contact with the legends of old, or the storied history of Gondor. Nor do they have the long lives of the elves, where they might have been present for the rise and fall of Sauron. I think it's one reason I love Rohan so much; I feel like I could show up there and live a fairly normal life. The people are very practical and down to earth.

    1. RM, OH WOW! I LOVE that idea, that the red nails symbolize the blood he has on his hands now. That is brilliant. I think you nailed that one. I hadn't even considered that.

      And yes, I love the people of Rohan for their normality, as it were. It's where I would like to live too!

    2. Haha..."Nailed"it. (Sorry; I can't resist a good pun.)

    3. I'm married to a punster, so I will just smile and roll my eyes in a friendly way :-)


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