Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: Homeward Bound (ROTK 6, 7)

Poor Frodo and his afterpains on the anniversary of his Weathertop stabbing :-( I'm so glad they didn't last long. But they're such a great reminder that even after a war is over, the warriors who go home don't leave the pain and sorrows behind them. None of the heroes here seems to have PTSD exactly, but Frodo is certainly more troubled by his experiences than the others. I'm sure this section resonates with any returning soldier, and it reminds me especially of one of my favorite movies, The Best Years of Our Lives (1945).

When Frodo asks Gandalf, "Where shall I find rest?" (p. 967), Gandalf doesn't answer. I think he knows Frodo really won't find rest in the Shire, and I suspect Frodo at this point is beginning to accept that fact. And I find this so miserably unfair, that a person who gave so much of himself to save the whole world -- including the Shire -- is now unable to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Very true-to-life and all that, but still, grrrrrrrr.

And we end the chapter knowing we've got one last adventure ahead before the story ends. The hobbits have been trained to be stern and hardy warriors and good leaders, and that's going to be verrrrrry useful.

Favorite Lines:

...Gandalf with his white beard, and the light that seemed to gleam from him, as if his blue mantle was only a cloud over sunshine (p. 973).

Discussion Questions:

Frodo says that coming home to the Shire "feels like falling asleep again," while Merry says everything they've seen and done seems like a dream (p. 974). Do you think that's because of a difference in their experiences, their personalities, or both?

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