Chapter of the Week, BK 2, Ch. 3, The Ring Goes South

33 views
Skip to first unread message

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
May 5, 2004, 8:44:19 PM5/5/04
to
This is rather dashed together quickly, and hopefully Maxie's
offering is better, but here it is, so we can get going.

The Ring Goes South

This chapter begins shortly after the end of the Council, with Merry
and Pippin kvetching that not only was Sam allowed into the Council
where he didn't belong, he was chosen as a companion -- indeed, the
only companion currently -- for Frodo's journey. Gandalf tries to
tone them down by commenting about how dangerous the journey is (and
by making rude remarks about Pippin's intelligence), which only makes
them more indignant in the name of Hobbit honor and of their own
companionship with Frodo.

Gandalf then points out it will likely be some time before they go
anywhere, since they have to wait for the scouts to come back, and
they've only just begun leaving. Bilbo laments they'll likely leave
just as winter gets going, and adds a side dig about Frodo letting
the S.B.'s into Bag End on his birthday.

They segue into a discussion about the Ringwraiths, and how they
can't be destroyed by such mundane things as huge flash floods with
imaginary horses and big rolling boulders. It's at this point
Gandalf drops his bomb about coming along on the adventure, at which
Frodo is predictably delighted. I know -I- would be, in his shoes.

We have's Bilbo comment about how he can't count days in Rivendell.
Does time work a bit differently here, as it seems to in Lorien, or
is it just Bilbo's comfort and complacency? We then have the meta-
commentary about Frodo helping Bilbo with his book, and starting on
the sequel. In the discussions of endings, Sam has the most
interesting comment, "And where will they live? That's what I often
wonder." Interesting foreshadowing there, I think.

Two months later, the scouts begin to return. No sign of the Riders,
except for the bodies of eight of their horses and a tattered cloak.
No sign of Gollum. The wild wolves are gathering and hunting along
the Anduin. It's decided they need to take advantage of the slight
time respite, and they pack up to go.

Elrond reaffirms Frodo's oath to go, and Sam's to go with him, then
makes a speech about how he can't offer much help. The companions
are then chosen, set at the number nine. This always seemed pretty
arbitrary to me. While I understand the "one for one" symbolism, it
seems like limiting it to nine only was also kinda pointless. Ten
people wouldn't have made any more of a fuss, and then you could send
along an elf-lord with the might of Glorfindel as well as the two
silly hobbits, but I suppose that would that be unwieldy, story-
external. Story-internal, it doesn't make a ton of sense, but there
you go.

Frodo and Sam decided already. Gandalf is going. Legolas and Gimli
to represent Elves and Dwarves, they they'll go at least as far as
the Mountains. I always thought, "Well, THAT'S not very far, is
it?" Aragorn and Boromir are going to Minas Tirith, so will journey
with the Fellowship along the way. This always seems rather
incidental for Boromir, although Aragorn was more deeply and
emotionally involved. Elrond decides to think about who else to send
in the last two slots, at which point Pippin and Merry clamor to go,
of course. Elrond is very worried, and expresses concern for the
Shire's safety. His heart is most against Pippin's going, while
Gandalf's heart counsel's otherwise. Interesting conflict of
prophetic characters, there. Was Elrond Foreseeing the trouble from
Pippin and the Palantir? Was Gandalf's Foresight poking him about the
bloodshed the two hobbits would prevent? On balance, it seems a good
thing that Gandalf prevailed.

Narsil is reforged, and the new sword, named Anduril, is given a
wonderful description:
"The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by elvish smiths and on its
blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent
Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them were written many runes....
Very bright was made the sword when it was made whole again; the
light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone
cold, and its edge was hard and keen."

Frodo spends as much time as possible with Bilbo before he goes,
perhaps worried he might not have any more time later. Bilbo
presents Frodo with Sting and the mithril mail the day before the
Fellowship leaves. Bilbo sings a mournful song that is very
reminiscent of the end of life with much loneliness in it.

The Company sets out. Boromir and Aragorn carry no other weapons but
their swords, which I always thought was a little odd. You'd think
two such accomplished campaigners would at least carry along bows, in
case they needed to shot a deer for food, or something. Gimli has
ring-mail and his axe, Legolas a bow and knife, the hobbits all have
their swords, Gandalf has Glamdring and his staff, and Bill the Pony
insists he has to go, too, to carry extra burdens. Aragorn is
emotionally strained by the good-bye; Sam laments the lack of rope;
Boromir blows his horn before leaving; Frodo is the only member of
the company to take any oath, despite Gimli's protests.

The Company starts out by going south, for two weeks, mostly doing
their marches at night and with bleak weather. They finally see a
little sunshine when they enter Eregion, or Hollin. Gimli gives the
Hobbits a Dwarvish geography lesson, complete with the names of the
mountains in three languages; Gandalf and Legolas lament the loss of
the Elves that have left for the West. After breakfast, Aragorn is
concerned about the silence and watchfulness in the area. During the
watches that day the first flight of crebain fly over, spying out the
land. The collective noun for crows is "a murder of crows", and "a
murder of crebain" would certainly seem appropriate in this case.
Several murders pass over during the day.

The next night, as they begin to move again along the road from
Hollin to the mountain pass, we get a glimpse of a more ominous
hunter:
"Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for
a moment they faded then flashed out again. He shivered."
Gandalf and Aragorn don't see it, but they do both feel it. Is this
our first hint that the Riders are remounted on their Fell Beasts,
and again hunting the Company? But later they aren't supposed to
cross the river yet. I'm getting ahead of myself, but it's an
interesting foreshadowing. (I seem to be saying that a lot.)

Three night later, they finally see Caradhas, the mountain they must
climb over. It's starts out with a nasty description; "...but with
sheer naked sides, dull red as if stained with blood." Evil portent
of things to come, and stained red with the blood of unwary
travelers, no doubt. Gandalf is extremely anxious about the weather
and the fact that they're being watched, and he and Aragorn have a
private debate (overheard by Frodo) about whether or not they should
try the mountain, or pass through Moria, seemingly a discussion
they've had several times before. It's decided to go over the
mountain, but Boromir wisely suggests everyone carry some wood, in
case they get caught in the snow, so they don't all die of
hypothermia.

Off they go, but the road is extremely difficult -- broken and
blocked with boulders -- and Gandalf's fears come to fruition when it
starts snowing heavily. We have a throwaway reference to the delight
the Hobbits in the Shire take in snow, and also a reference to the
dangers the Shire hobbits live in unaware, since Bilbo is the only
one alive remembering invasion by wolves during the Fell Winter.
There is speculation about whether or not Sauron could have caused
the storm to frustrate them, but Gandalf's answer, "His arm has grown
long." is really quite ambiguous on the subject.

The Company is forced to stop by a full-on blizzard, not to mention
what sound like voices on the air and stones crashing into the
mountains near them and boulders rumbling down nearby. Are these the
same mountain giants Bilbo saw during a thunderstorm in The Hobbit?
So, maybe not such a fanciful tale after all? Gimli pipes up that
the mountain has had an evil reputation of it's own for a very long
time. "When rumor of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.", in
fact. How far back does it put that? The First Age?

They huddle against the cliff together, and the hobbits do indeed
begin to succumb to hypothermia. They are first treated with shots
of miravor, which helps but doesn't last long enough, and then it's
decided fire is necessary. No one can make a fire by mundane means,
so Gandalf is forced to do it, grumbling all the while:
"I have written _Gandalf is here_ in signs that can be read from
Rivendell to the Mouths of Anduin."

The snow, the night, and the wood end all at about the same time, and
it's decided retreat off the mountain is the better part of valor at
this time. Legolas comments with light-hearted Elvish teasing, "If
Gandalf would go before us with a bright flame, he might melt a path
for you." Gandalf responds with his delightfully crusty snarking,
"If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the sun to save
us, but I must have something to work on. I cannot burn snow." Hee!
Great exchange.

Boromir and Aragorn go off to beat a path through the snow. Legolas
runs on top of the snow to see what's what.[1] It takes an hour for
all of them to come back, where they learn that The Mother of All
Snowdrifts is not far off, but directly after that it tapers off
considerably and becomes nothing more than a slight nuisance down the
slope. Gimli glumly sets the blame on the bad temper of Caradhras.
So, is it really a sentient mountain, or just Dwarvish superstition?
Surely we don't have a snippy Maia out there disguised as a mountain?

As all of them are finally through the path, an avalanche rumbles
down and cuts it off. Gandalf decides they will not stay even on the
low slopes for the night, and the Company staggers off the mountain,
exhausted and defeated, only to be greeted by more crebain spies.
Cheery!

[1] A detail -- Legolas walking on top of the snow -- I was quite
delighted to see in the movie. Although it was subtle enough that
apparently a lot of people missed it entirely.


Michelle
Flutist
--
Drift on a river, That flows through my arms
Drift as I'm singing to you
I see you smiling, So peaceful and calm
And holding you, I'm smiling, too
Here in my arms, Safe from all harm
Holding you, I'm smiling, too
-- For Xander [9/22/98 - 2/23/99]

Stuart Chapman

unread,
May 6, 2004, 5:08:25 AM5/6/04
to

"Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b03384c3...@news.Qwest.net...


No one can make a fire by mundane means,
> so Gandalf is forced to do it, grumbling all the while:
> "I have written _Gandalf is here_ in signs that can be read from
> Rivendell to the Mouths of Anduin."
>


For some reason I recall this phrase being cited regarding Gandalf's account
of his fight with the Nazgul at Amon Sul, at The Council of Elrond........

Not having the book at hand, can anybody confirm or deny this? Maybe I'm
just misremembering things ;).

Anyway, I always thought it was a great example of Gandalf's dry humour.

Stupot


Michelle J. Haines

unread,
May 6, 2004, 9:27:06 AM5/6/04
to
In article <dgnmc.23853$TT....@news-server.bigpond.net.au>,
stuart.ch...@bigpond.com says...

>
> "Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message
> news:MPG.1b03384c3...@news.Qwest.net...
>
>
> No one can make a fire by mundane means,
> > so Gandalf is forced to do it, grumbling all the while:
> > "I have written _Gandalf is here_ in signs that can be read from
> > Rivendell to the Mouths of Anduin."
>
>
> For some reason I recall this phrase being cited regarding Gandalf's account
> of his fight with the Nazgul at Amon Sul, at The Council of Elrond........
>
> Not having the book at hand, can anybody confirm or deny this? Maybe I'm
> just misremembering things ;).

I think you're misremembering. It's from this chapter. I had to
read it several times to do the recap.

Henriette

unread,
May 6, 2004, 1:12:22 PM5/6/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message news:<MPG.1b03384c3...@news.Qwest.net>...
> This is rather dashed together quickly, and hopefully Maxie's
> offering is better, but here it is, so we can get going.

Good initiative, Michelle!

> Bilbo laments they'll likely leave
> just as winter gets going, and adds a side dig about Frodo letting
> the S.B.'s into Bag End on his birthday.

'the S.-Bs.', it says in my edition. Is this a pun, or an accidental
combination of letters?

Bilbo also says: 'nothing was decided beyond choosing poor Frodo and
Sam. I was afraid all the time that it might come to that, if I was
let off'. I quote this, to stubbornly draw attention to the fact that
Bilbo wanted to take the Ring mainly to protect Frodo (instead of to
be once more in posession of the Ring).

(snip)


> Was Elrond Foreseeing the trouble from Pippin and the Palantir?

Yes, and Pippin attracting attention to the Company in Moria. That's
what I always understood, but you are right about the point how that
fits in with Gandalf's ESP abilities.

> Boromir blows his horn before leaving

He remains his proud self in every detail, as shows this horn blowing
and accompanying words.

> Legolas comments with light-hearted Elvish teasing, "If
> Gandalf would go before us with a bright flame, he might melt a path
> for you." Gandalf responds with his delightfully crusty snarking,
> "If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the sun to save
> us, but I must have something to work on. I cannot burn snow." Hee!
> Great exchange.

My favorite exchange in this chapter is the one between Gimli and
Elrond from "You do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you
cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road" up till "Or break
it". Especially these sentences:
"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens" and
"Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall".

Henriette

AC

unread,
May 6, 2004, 2:09:53 PM5/6/04
to
On Wed, 5 May 2004 18:44:19 -0600,
Michelle J Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
> This is rather dashed together quickly, and hopefully Maxie's
> offering is better, but here it is, so we can get going.

Thx Michelle!

>
> The Ring Goes South

<snip>

>
> Off they go, but the road is extremely difficult -- broken and
> blocked with boulders -- and Gandalf's fears come to fruition when it
> starts snowing heavily. We have a throwaway reference to the delight
> the Hobbits in the Shire take in snow, and also a reference to the
> dangers the Shire hobbits live in unaware, since Bilbo is the only
> one alive remembering invasion by wolves during the Fell Winter.
> There is speculation about whether or not Sauron could have caused
> the storm to frustrate them, but Gandalf's answer, "His arm has grown
> long." is really quite ambiguous on the subject.

Yes, we are never quite sure what precisely it was that drove the Fellowship
away. Was it Sauron? Was it some evil will in Caradhras itself?

>
> The Company is forced to stop by a full-on blizzard, not to mention
> what sound like voices on the air and stones crashing into the
> mountains near them and boulders rumbling down nearby. Are these the
> same mountain giants Bilbo saw during a thunderstorm in The Hobbit?
> So, maybe not such a fanciful tale after all? Gimli pipes up that
> the mountain has had an evil reputation of it's own for a very long
> time. "When rumor of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.", in
> fact. How far back does it put that? The First Age?

Well, as I recall, Khazad-dum was actually founded in the First Age (Durin
was the eldest of the Fathers of the Dwarves). It was also Melkor who first
raised the Misty Mountains, so maybe he put something there.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

AC

unread,
May 6, 2004, 2:11:18 PM5/6/04
to
On 6 May 2004 10:12:22 -0700,
Henriette <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> My favorite exchange in this chapter is the one between Gimli and
> Elrond from "You do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you
> cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road" up till "Or break
> it". Especially these sentences:
> "Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens" and
> "Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall".

I always found it a little annoying. I think Gimli should have delivered a
sharp blow to Elrond's head with a "I'm right, you half-Elven pansy!" :-)

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 6, 2004, 4:15:42 PM5/6/04
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Michelle J Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

[about Caradhras]

>> Gimli pipes up that
>> the mountain has had an evil reputation of it's own for a very long
>> time. "When rumor of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.", in
>> fact. How far back does it put that? The First Age?
>
> Well, as I recall, Khazad-dum was actually founded in the First Age
> (Durin was the eldest of the Fathers of the Dwarves). It was also
> Melkor who first raised the Misty Mountains, so maybe he put
> something there.

Oh phoeey! I was going to say that!! To get over my disappointment I'll
quote huge chunks of text instead....

I think the first rumour of Sauron in Eriador and Wilderland would have
been as Annatar, Lord of Gifts, as he appeared to the Elves of Eregion
and Lindon during the Second Age. But I couldn't find definite dates for
Khazad-dum's founding, one of those mysteries, but definitely in the
First Age, after the awakening of the Elves, and presumably after their
march West.

And it is in that march West that we find the reference to the raising
of the Misty Mountains:

"...the Eldar took their course through a forest [Greenwood the Great -
later Mirkwood], and they came to a great river, wider than any they had
yet seen [it was later called Anduin the Great]; and beyond it were
mountains whose sharp horns seemed to pierce the realm of the stars.
[...] the mountains were the Hithaeglir, the Towers of Mist upon the
borders of Eriador; yet they were taller and more terrible in those
days, and were reared by Melkor to hinder the riding of Orome." [Silm,
III]

I like the idea that Melkor put something there. But it is not
impossible to say that Sauron could alter the weather. I believe Angmar
had a similar effect in Eriador, so it could have been Sauron's
influence causing the generally unseasonable weather. It will probably
remain forever ambiguous. As to whether such localised storms are
possible, I wouldn't know.

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 6, 2004, 4:23:45 PM5/6/04
to
Henriette <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message
> news:<MPG.1b03384c3...@news.Qwest.net>...
>> This is rather dashed together quickly, and hopefully Maxie's
>> offering is better, but here it is, so we can get going.
>
> Good initiative, Michelle!

Yes. And a very good summary as well.

>> Bilbo laments they'll likely leave
>> just as winter gets going, and adds a side dig about Frodo letting
>> the S.B.'s into Bag End on his birthday.
>
> 'the S.-Bs.', it says in my edition. Is this a pun, or an accidental
> combination of letters?

It stands for the Sackville-Bagginses, Lobelia and Otho. Maybe the names
were translated into something different in your edition, and they
forgot to change the initials. Or are you talking about the English
edition?

> Bilbo also says: 'nothing was decided beyond choosing poor Frodo and
> Sam. I was afraid all the time that it might come to that, if I was
> let off'. I quote this, to stubbornly draw attention to the fact that
> Bilbo wanted to take the Ring mainly to protect Frodo (instead of to
> be once more in posession of the Ring).

OK! <concedes point> :-)

>> Legolas comments with light-hearted Elvish teasing, "If
>> Gandalf would go before us with a bright flame, he might melt a path
>> for you." Gandalf responds with his delightfully crusty snarking,
>> "If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the sun to save
>> us, but I must have something to work on. I cannot burn snow." Hee!
>> Great exchange.

LOL!

> My favorite exchange in this chapter is the one between Gimli and
> Elrond from "You do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you
> cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road" up till "Or break
> it". Especially these sentences:
> "Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens" and
> "Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall".

Ooh! Oooh! I've just been discussing that in another thread. It has
'ringbearer' in the subject line. That exchange is a great foreshadowing
of the great changes that _all_ the members of the Fellowship will go
through. I will just point out Gimli's 'crunch' point: when he meets
Galadriel in Lorien. It is an interesting exercise to consider the
defining moments of change and/or challenge for each of the other
members of the Fellowship + Gollum (who I forgot to consider).

Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
May 6, 2004, 4:24:00 PM5/6/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message news:<MPG.1b03384c3...@news.Qwest.net>...
> This is rather dashed together quickly, and hopefully Maxie's
> offering is better, but here it is, so we can get going.

Well done.

> We have's Bilbo comment about how he can't count days in Rivendell.
> Does time work a bit differently here, as it seems to in Lorien, or
> is it just Bilbo's comfort and complacency? We then have the meta-
> commentary about Frodo helping Bilbo with his book, and starting on
> the sequel. In the discussions of endings, Sam has the most
> interesting comment, "And where will they live? That's what I often
> wonder." Interesting foreshadowing there, I think.

And a subtle underlining of Sams nature: That *is* what he thinks
important. Not the big stuff.

> Two months later, the scouts begin to return. No sign of the Riders,
> except for the bodies of eight of their horses and a tattered cloak.
> No sign of Gollum. The wild wolves are gathering and hunting along
> the Anduin.

I'd forgotten that. Makes a good reason not to cross the mountains
right away and travel along the Anduin.

> Elrond reaffirms Frodo's oath to go, and Sam's to go with him, then
> makes a speech about how he can't offer much help. The companions
> are then chosen, set at the number nine. This always seemed pretty
> arbitrary to me. While I understand the "one for one" symbolism, it
> seems like limiting it to nine only was also kinda pointless. Ten
> people wouldn't have made any more of a fuss, and then you could send
> along an elf-lord with the might of Glorfindel as well as the two
> silly hobbits, but I suppose that would that be unwieldy, story-
> external. Story-internal, it doesn't make a ton of sense, but there
> you go.

From a modern point of view you are correct. Any number between (say)
six and twelve would do. But just as words are important (as stressed
in another thread) symbolism is important in Middle-earth. That is to
me the story-internal explanation: symbolism *is* important.

> Frodo and Sam decided already. Gandalf is going. Legolas and Gimli
> to represent Elves and Dwarves, they they'll go at least as far as
> the Mountains. I always thought, "Well, THAT'S not very far, is
> it?"

Especially not if they are expecting to take the shortest route to the
mountains. Why they should go only that far I've never understood. If
they are to maybe drop out and return to their homes, then why are
they beginning the journey home with a 150 mile trek to the south,
away from home.

> The Company sets out. <snip> Aragorn is

> emotionally strained by the good-bye;

Rather a stretch in interpretation, I would say. The text says:
"Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully
what this our meant to him."

> Three night later, they finally see Caradhas, the mountain they must
> climb over. It's starts out with a nasty description; "...but with
> sheer naked sides, dull red as if stained with blood." Evil portent
> of things to come, and stained red with the blood of unwary
> travelers, no doubt.

Unwary travellers blood would have been washed away years ago. I think
it's simply that the stone is reddish, and this may have been enhanced
by the early morning light (note that they are approaching from the
east, and getting ready to go through a pass on the southern side of
Redhorn).

> The Company is forced to stop by a full-on blizzard, not to mention
> what sound like voices on the air and stones crashing into the
> mountains near them and boulders rumbling down nearby. Are these the
> same mountain giants Bilbo saw during a thunderstorm in The Hobbit?

Doubtful. That was 150 miles to the north.

> So, maybe not such a fanciful tale after all? Gimli pipes up that
> the mountain has had an evil reputation of it's own for a very long
> time. "When rumor of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.", in
> fact. How far back does it put that? The First Age?

At least. No later than the beginning of the Second Age would refuges
from Beleriand have settled in these parts, carrying with them all the
tales of the ruin of Beleriand, including tales of Sauron.

Regards,
Kristian

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
May 6, 2004, 5:14:40 PM5/6/04
to
In article <2c9e2992.04050...@posting.google.com>,
da...@ofir.dk says...

>
> > The Company sets out. <snip> Aragorn is
> > emotionally strained by the good-bye;
>
> Rather a stretch in interpretation, I would say. The text says:
> "Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully
> what this our meant to him."

I always understood that to mean there was emotional strain, but no
that he was incapacitated, of course. The described posture
indicates feeling troubled, to me.

> Unwary travellers blood would have been washed away years ago.

I was speaking metaphorically. :)

> > The Company is forced to stop by a full-on blizzard, not to mention
> > what sound like voices on the air and stones crashing into the
> > mountains near them and boulders rumbling down nearby. Are these the
> > same mountain giants Bilbo saw during a thunderstorm in The Hobbit?
>
> Doubtful. That was 150 miles to the north.

I should say, the same species/type/kind of critter. Not necessarily
those specific giants.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 6, 2004, 6:42:27 PM5/6/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

> The Ring Goes South

[...]

> Gandalf drops his bomb about coming along on the adventure, at which

> Frodo is predictably delighted. I know _I_ would be, in his shoes.

I find it strange that Gandalf initially says "I think I shall come with
you." What was the alternative? Was Gandalf considering running
interference (as he actually ends up doing as Gandalf the White)?

> Two months later, the scouts begin to return. No sign of the Riders,
> except for the bodies of eight of their horses and a tattered cloak.

What happened to the ninth horse? Was one of the Nazgul still horsed?

The scouts also report that Radagast is not at home? Where is he? Hiding
under his bed? Hugging a tree somewhere?

I also like the descriptions of the long journeys taken by the scouts.
This is one of those moments where you need to look at the maps to work
out what is going on.

Also, during the two months in Rivendell, there is a lovely description
of the passing of the seasons from autumn into winter: "slowly the
golden light faded to pale silver". Frodo describes how "The Hunter's
Moon waxed round in the night sky...but low in the South one star shone
red. Every night as the Moon waned again, it shone brighter and
brighter." And it is described like a watchful eye...

What is 'The Hunter's Moon', is that like the large Moon you can have in
the autumn? (Don't ask me why the Moon can appear different sizes at
different times, that will take pages and pages to explain...)

And is this red star named elsewhere? I think there was a list of stars
in Tolkien and the Real World equivalents, posted here a few months
ago...

> Elrond reaffirms Frodo's oath to go, and Sam's to go with him, then
> makes a speech about how he can't offer much help.

I like the way Elrond makes Frodo confirm he will take the Ring, and
only _then_ says "oh, well, I'm afraid I can't really help you very
much, but good luck!" :-)

> The companions
> are then chosen, set at the number nine.

I found the fact that they were _chosen_ to be more strange. I know
Elrond does not lay any bond or oath upon them, but he still says that
he _chose_ the others. Would it not be more correct to say he asked them
and they agreed to go with Frodo?

> This always seemed pretty
> arbitrary to me. While I understand the "one for one" symbolism, it
> seems like limiting it to nine only was also kinda pointless. Ten
> people wouldn't have made any more of a fuss, and then you could send
> along an elf-lord with the might of Glorfindel

Even Glorfindel "could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to
the Fire by the power that is in him." I feel that Glorfindel might
attract unwanted attention if Sauron heard that a mighty Noldo was
heading towards Mordor with the Ring. But then I suppose you could say
the same about Gandalf...

> Frodo and Sam decided already. Gandalf is going. Legolas and Gimli
> to represent Elves and Dwarves, they they'll go at least as far as
> the Mountains. I always thought, "Well, THAT'S not very far, is
> it?"

Elrond doesn't say which mountains. Maybe he meant to the passes of the
Mountains of Mordor? Unlikely though... :-)

> Aragorn and Boromir are going to Minas Tirith, so will journey
> with the Fellowship along the way.

Aragorn and Boromir appear to have developed a respect for each other. I
notice that no-one rose to my bait at the Council of Elrond, where I
depicted Aragorn and Boromir as steadfast opponents. I still think there
was some initial tension there between the two of them.

> This always seems rather
> incidental for Boromir, although Aragorn was more deeply and
> emotionally involved.

Hence the "bowed head to knees" bit later.

> Elrond decides to think about who else to send
> in the last two slots, at which point Pippin and Merry clamor to go,
> of course. Elrond is very worried, and expresses concern for the
> Shire's safety. His heart is most against Pippin's going, while
> Gandalf's heart counsel's otherwise. Interesting conflict of
> prophetic characters, there. Was Elrond Foreseeing the trouble from
> Pippin and the Palantir?

I think he was foreseeing the Scouring of the Shire.

> Was Gandalf's Foresight poking him about the
> bloodshed the two hobbits would prevent? On balance, it seems a good
> thing that Gandalf prevailed.

Doh! :-)

And with the selection of Merry and Pippin: "...the tale of Nine is
filled."

This is a nice archaic use of the word 'tale' to mean a count of things.
I believe the name of the vote-counter at an election: a teller (of the
tale), is the same use of the word. Does anyone know the history of this
meaning of the word 'tale'?

> Frodo spends as much time as possible with Bilbo before he goes,
> perhaps worried he might not have any more time later. Bilbo
> presents Frodo with Sting and the mithril mail the day before the
> Fellowship leaves. Bilbo sings a mournful song that is very
> reminiscent of the end of life with much loneliness in it.

An absolutely wonderful song. Heartbreaking, but also very affirming as
well. Thinking of the ages yet to be, and people yet to be. Echoes of
eternity <shiver>, but then returning to homely things by listening for
"returning feet, and voices at the door". Something and Recovery. It was
in some essay somewhere... :-)

> The Company sets out.

We are told that Aragorn and Gandalf talked long together, and, later in
the chapter, we hear some of what they talked about. What else would
they have discussed? I also noticed that Gandalf and Elrond had one last
discussion moments before the departure. What would they have been
discussing?

> Aragorn is emotionally strained by the good-bye

"Only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him."

An obvious reference to Arwen, I presume.

> Boromir blows his horn before leaving

Elrond shows remarkable foresight when he admonishes Boromir's blowing
of his horn: "Slow should you be to wind that horn again, Boromir, until
you stand once more upon the borders of your land, and dire need is on
you."

I've always been dumbfounded by this. Did Elrond really know what was
going to happen at Parth Galen? Sounds like it!

[Brief archaic linguistic aside: Is 'wind' here pronounced as in 'I wind
up this reel of cotton' or as in 'a cold wind blew from the North'? I've
always thought it should be the former wind (like wined) as in winding
up your lungs with a deep breath to blow the horn, but not winding the
horn itself, as you would wind a crossbow.]

> Frodo is the only member of the company to take any oath

In Elrond's command to Frodo regarding the Ring, by 'Council' does
Elrond mean the White Council or the Council of Elrond? If the White
Council, who are they? I think Glorfindel is also a member of the White
Council...

I also liked the contrast between Elrond's (stirring and noble) farewell
and Bilbo's (homely and human) farewell: "don't be too long!" :-)

<phew, we've only just left Rivendell. I thought this chapter was all
about a journey South or something... :-) >

> The Company starts out by going south, for two weeks, mostly doing
> their marches at night and with bleak weather.

Ah! Journeying South... Nice to see Tolkien can do 'fast-forward' over
boring bits as well as any other author!

> They finally see a little sunshine when they enter Eregion, or Hollin.

I liked the description of the old holly trees here. How old can holly
trees be? These ones must be pretty old! I make it about 4500 years
since the Wars in Eregion. Compare with the holly trees outside the
Gates of Moria in the next chapter.

> Gimli gives the
> Hobbits a Dwarvish geography lesson, complete with the names of the

> mountains in three languages. Legolas laments the loss of the Elves


that
> have left for the West.

It is nice to see the characters of Legolas and Gimli being used in this
way, and it develops them a bit as well.

> Several murders [of crebain] pass over during the day.

Do you think the crebain spotted them then, or later on as they
descended from Caradhras?

> "Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for
> a moment they faded then flashed out again. He shivered."
> Gandalf and Aragorn don't see it, but they do both feel it. Is this
> our first hint that the Riders are remounted on their Fell Beasts,
> and again hunting the Company?

Undoubtedly.

> But later they aren't supposed to
> cross the river yet.

I think that was a mistake by Tolkien.

<snip>

> The Company is forced to stop by a full-on blizzard, not to mention
> what sound like voices on the air and stones crashing into the
> mountains near them and boulders rumbling down nearby. Are these the
> same mountain giants Bilbo saw during a thunderstorm in The Hobbit?

I think so.

> They huddle against the cliff together, and the hobbits do indeed
> begin to succumb to hypothermia.

Tolkien's description is wonderful. It makes me quite sleepy reading
about the dreamy bit with Bilbo's comments on Frodo's diary entries
about snowstorms.

> No one can make a fire by mundane means,
> so Gandalf is forced to do it, grumbling all the while:
> "I have written _Gandalf is here_ in signs that can be read from
> Rivendell to the Mouths of Anduin."

Can anyone translate Gandalf's incantation?

'Naur an edraith ammen!'

> The snow, the night, and the wood end all at about the same time

A nice description of the end of the storm, especially the attention to
detail about the snowflakes becoming larger just before the end of the
storm.

> As all of them are finally through the path, an avalanche rumbles
> down and cuts it off. Gandalf decides they will not stay even on the
> low slopes for the night, and the Company staggers off the mountain,
> exhausted and defeated, only to be greeted by more crebain spies.
> Cheery!

I think it is only here that the crebain see the Fellowship (not the
earlier encounter), and this leads to the attack in the next chapter. I
do like the way Frodo sees the dell they are retreating to "far below",
and how "his head was dizzy as he thought of the long and painful march
downhill. Black specks swam before his eyes... [the crebain]. Caradhras
had defeated them."

Anyone up for a 'what if' they had managed to go over Caradhras?

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
May 6, 2004, 7:09:07 PM5/6/04
to
In article <nbzmc.3921$4i6.38...@news-text.cableinet.net>,
spam...@blueyonder.co.uk says...

>
> > Two months later, the scouts begin to return. No sign of the Riders,
> > except for the bodies of eight of their horses and a tattered cloak.
>
> What happened to the ninth horse? Was one of the Nazgul still horsed?

I always got the feeling that maybe one of the bodies washed further
down in the flood, but it could easily go either way.

> I like the way Elrond makes Frodo confirm he will take the Ring, and
> only _then_ says "oh, well, I'm afraid I can't really help you very
> much, but good luck!" :-)

Yeah. Nice.

> Even Glorfindel "could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to
> the Fire by the power that is in him." I feel that Glorfindel might
> attract unwanted attention if Sauron heard that a mighty Noldo was
> heading towards Mordor with the Ring. But then I suppose you could say
> the same about Gandalf...

Even if he couldn't storm the Dark Tower, he'd probably be handy in a
few other situations, like Warg fights, Balrog fights, and Orc
attacks.

> Aragorn and Boromir appear to have developed a respect for each other. I
> notice that no-one rose to my bait at the Council of Elrond, where I
> depicted Aragorn and Boromir as steadfast opponents. I still think there
> was some initial tension there between the two of them.

I think there was always tension between them. I found PJ's
interpretation of this to be pretty interesting, in fact, in the EE,
even if it can't be found directly in the text.

> Elrond shows remarkable foresight when he admonishes Boromir's blowing
> of his horn:

That always felt less like foresight, and more like scolding him for
getting everyone riled up for no reason, and as a caution that he
needs to be more quiet on the journey.

> <phew, we've only just left Rivendell. I thought this chapter was all
> about a journey South or something... :-) >

Yeah, that's how I felt recapping the thing. The next one, too. We
don't get to the actual Dark part of the journey until about halfway
through the chapter.

> > Several murders [of crebain] pass over during the day.
>
> Do you think the crebain spotted them then, or later on as they
> descended from Caradhras?

It's open to interpretation. I kind of like your's.

> I think it is only here that the crebain see the Fellowship (not the
> earlier encounter), and this leads to the attack in the next chapter.

I never made the connection before, but it's a good one.

> Anyone up for a 'what if' they had managed to go over Caradhras?

Where they planning to go through Lorien anyway? I imagine so.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 6, 2004, 7:43:38 PM5/6/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

>> Even Glorfindel "could not storm the Dark Tower...


>
> Even if he couldn't storm the Dark Tower, he'd probably be handy in a
> few other situations, like Warg fights, Balrog fights, and Orc
> attacks.

Balrog fights! He'd fall off, just like Gandalf. ROTFL!

>> Aragorn and Boromir appear to have developed a respect for each
>> other. I notice that no-one rose to my bait at the Council of
>> Elrond, where I depicted Aragorn and Boromir as steadfast opponents.
>> I still think there was some initial tension there between the two
>> of them.
>
> I think there was always tension between them. I found PJ's
> interpretation of this to be pretty interesting, in fact, in the EE,
> even if it can't be found directly in the text.

Oh, I think it is there in the text. You just need to read between the
lines at the Council of Elrond. I think after that though, things are
all hunky-dory. I think PJ is wrong to show the tension continuing
during the journey. I read recently a review of TTT:EE that says that
Boromir's conversation with Denethor makes Boromir's motives for joining
the Fellowship highly suspect.

Denethor: "The Elves have that Ring. Go and get it back." (roughly)
Boromir: "Yes, father."

Sorry. Talking about the film again. Must do better next time....

>> Elrond shows remarkable foresight when he admonishes Boromir's
>> blowing of his horn:
>
> That always felt less like foresight, and more like scolding him for
> getting everyone riled up for no reason, and as a caution that he
> needs to be more quiet on the journey.

No. No. The bit where he says "you will be in dire need on the borders
of your land and will blow your horn". The Argonath (just north of Parth
Galen) is the ancient border of Gondor. Boromir is attacked by orcs near
Parth Galen, blows his horn, and dies in battle on the borders of his
land. Totally prophetic by Elrond.

>> <phew, we've only just left Rivendell. I thought this chapter was all
>> about a journey South or something... :-) >
>
> Yeah, that's how I felt recapping the thing. The next one, too. We
> don't get to the actual Dark part of the journey until about halfway
> through the chapter.

Same thing happens in the 'Lothlorien' chapter...

>> Anyone up for a 'what if' they had managed to go over Caradhras?
>

> Were they planning to go through Lorien anyway? I imagine so.

Yes, they were. Gandalf says this to Gimli in this very chapter! When he
talks about the "secret woods" in response to Gimli's bit about Dimrill
Dale during the 'dwarven geography lesson'.

But after that, Gandalf had not revealed his plans, if indeed he had
any. That is stealing a quote from Aragorn, of course.

I am thinking more about whether the Caradhras route would have been
safe (they might have run into orcs in Dimrill Dale if they were still
travelling by night), and what good came of the diversion through Moria,
thought that should really wait until the later chapters.

Raven

unread,
May 6, 2004, 7:52:23 PM5/6/04
to
"Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> skrev i en meddelelse
news:be50318e.04050...@posting.google.com...

> 'the S.-Bs.', it says in my edition. Is this a pun, or an accidental
> combination of letters?

If you're referring to the fact that "S-B is a valid enough abbreviation
for "sonofabitch" (though "SOB" is more common), then I suppose it is
accidental. I have a feeling that Tolkien would not purposedly choose the
name "Sackville-Baggins" so that it would abbreviate to "sonsofbitches". He
disliked swearing too much for that.

Raafje.


Glenn Holliday

unread,
May 6, 2004, 9:38:07 PM5/6/04
to
"Michelle J. Haines" wrote:
>
> This is rather dashed together quickly, and hopefully Maxie's
> offering is better, but here it is, so we can get going.

It's certainly welcome!

> Gandalf drops his bomb about coming along on the adventure, at which
> Frodo is predictably delighted. I know -I- would be, in his shoes.

Given what we know by the end of LOTR (and of later works)
about Gandalf's purpose and mission, I can't imagine him
missing this mission. Of course, Frodo doesn't know that.

> The companions
> are then chosen, set at the number nine. This always seemed pretty
> arbitrary to me.

Yes. It serves Tolkien's literary purposes, and of course
each one of the nine serves important roles later in the
book. But it does nothing for the needs of the Fellowship
at this point in the story. Why not five? Or twelve?

> and then you could send
> along an elf-lord with the might of Glorfindel

The only reason I can think of not to include Glorfindel is
that Gandalf is already in the Fellowship. Perhaps Elrond
insisted on having his best lieutenant on hand in case
Rivendell were attacked. A wise precaution, after we
learn about events around Lothlorien during the War.
I have to wonder if Tolkien considered writing the Moria
sequence with Glorfindel there.

> Narsil is reforged, and the new sword, named Anduril, is given a
> wonderful description:
> "The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by elvish smiths and on its
> blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent
> Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them were written many runes....
> Very bright was made the sword when it was made whole again; the
> light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone
> cold, and its edge was hard and keen."

Yes. This sounds like a quality of the Sword, not just a
description of it reflecting sunlight and moonlight. That
would be a sign of its Elvish background.

> Boromir and Aragorn carry no other weapons but
> their swords, which I always thought was a little odd. You'd think
> two such accomplished campaigners would at least carry along bows, in
> case they needed to shot a deer for food, or something.

On the one hand, they are travelling fast and light, so they
are counting on eating what's on their backs. Aragorn commented
on the way from Bree to Rivendell that hunting takes time and
would slow them down. On the other hand, they are also going
into war, and you would think they would want to have more than
one option. On the third hand, they are taking a pack horse,
so they're already slowed down and have the ability to carry
the most important extras.

> "Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for
> a moment they faded then flashed out again. He shivered."
> Gandalf and Aragorn don't see it, but they do both feel it. Is this
> our first hint that the Riders are remounted on their Fell Beasts,
> and again hunting the Company?

That's the only think I can think of.

> But later they aren't supposed to
> cross the river yet.

I wonder if that's a detail that Tolkien overlooked.

> I'm getting ahead of myself, but it's an
> interesting foreshadowing. (I seem to be saying that a lot.)

Well, Tolkien does a lot of foreshadowing :-)

> The Company is forced to stop by a full-on blizzard, not to mention
> what sound like voices on the air and stones crashing into the
> mountains near them and boulders rumbling down nearby. Are these the
> same mountain giants Bilbo saw during a thunderstorm in The Hobbit?

I've always thought this is an intentional reference to
The Hobbit.

> Gimli pipes up that
> the mountain has had an evil reputation of it's own for a very long
> time. "When rumor of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.", in
> fact. How far back does it put that? The First Age?

They are pretty far south of the places we know Sauron was in
during the First Age. I thought it meant the stories of
Caradhras go back into the First Age, before Sauron moved south
during the Second Age.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org


TeaLady (Mari C.)

unread,
May 6, 2004, 11:17:43 PM5/6/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in
news:l9xmc.3750$9U4.36...@news-text.cableinet.net:

>> 'the S.-Bs.', it says in my edition. Is this a pun, or an
>> accidental combination of letters?
>
> It stands for the Sackville-Bagginses, Lobelia and Otho.
> Maybe the names were translated into something different in
> your edition, and they forgot to change the initials. Or are
> you talking about the English edition?
>

Sons of b...

S-Bs.

Could have been a pun. Perhaps even a reason to have such a
name as Sackville-Baggins. Wonder if it was deliberate, or a
wee bit of a subconcious slip ?

--
mc

TeaLady (Mari C.)

unread,
May 6, 2004, 11:25:06 PM5/6/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in
news:O1xmc.3746$aX4.36...@news-text.cableinet.net:

> I like the idea that Melkor put something there. But it is
> not impossible to say that Sauron could alter the weather. I
> believe Angmar had a similar effect in Eriador, so it could
> have been Sauron's influence causing the generally
> unseasonable weather. It will probably remain forever
> ambiguous. As to whether such localised storms are possible,
> I wouldn't know.
>

The world of weather is wild and wierd, and I wouldn't doubt
that a storm could suddenly erupt on a section of mountains,
or even a single great mountain, and just as suddenly stop.
I'm sure that with seasonal winds, convection currents,
location of bodies of water and etc. a workable model could be
created, but i'm not well versed enough to even start.

A personal cite - My mom lives 1.5 miles from me (as the crow
flies). She'll get 6-8 inches of snow while I get none, and
10-12 inches while I get a dusting with a few drifts. When i
get hit with a big storm and groan about 8 inches of snow, she
laughs and says she has an inch or three.

--
mc

Rich Carreiro

unread,
May 6, 2004, 11:18:00 PM5/6/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes:

> [Brief archaic linguistic aside: Is 'wind' here pronounced as in 'I wind
> up this reel of cotton' or as in 'a cold wind blew from the North'? I've
> always thought it should be the former wind (like wined) as in winding
> up your lungs with a deep breath to blow the horn, but not winding the
> horn itself, as you would wind a crossbow.]

The latter, as in sending wind through the horn.

From the OED, wind v.2 from wind n.1 (and wind n.1 is

II. From WIND n.1 II. (my note -- WIND n.1 is the noun wind, as
in the movement of air)

[snip]

3. a. trans. To sound by forcing the breath through, to blow (a
wind-instrument, esp. a horn).
In this sense often with pa. tense and pple. wound, by confusion
with WIND v.1, perh. due to vague suggestion from the curved form of a
horn or bugle.

b. To blow (a blast, call, or note) on a horn, etc.


--
Rich Carreiro rlc...@animato.arlington.ma.us

the softrat

unread,
May 7, 2004, 1:33:30 AM5/7/04
to
On Thu, 06 May 2004 20:23:45 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>It stands for the Sackville-Bagginses, Lobelia and Otho. Maybe the names
>were translated into something different in your edition, and they
>forgot to change the initials. Or are you talking about the English
>edition?

Harriette has an overactive and vile mind.

the softrat
"I feel like I'm beating my head against a dead horse."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
"Tracers work both ways." - U.S. Army Ordnance Corps memo.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
May 7, 2004, 1:36:41 AM5/7/04
to
in <MPG.1b03384c3...@news.Qwest.net>,
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> enriched us with:

>
> This is rather dashed together quickly, and hopefully Maxie's
> offering is better, but here it is, so we can get going.

Thanks Michelle.
Feel free to dash things together whenever the mood catches you ;-)

> The Ring Goes South
>
> This chapter begins shortly after the end of the Council, with Merry
> and Pippin kvetching

^^^^^^^^^

There was a new word for me - thanks :-)

<snip>

> Bilbo laments they'll likely leave just as winter gets going, and
> adds a side dig about Frodo letting the S.B.'s into Bag End on his
> birthday.

That one always causes me to smile in sympathy with the old Hobbit.

> They segue into a discussion about the Ringwraiths, and how they
> can't be destroyed by such mundane things as huge flash floods with
> imaginary horses and big rolling boulders.

Which of course begs the question of what exactly Gandalf meant when he
said that they hoped "that the Ringwraiths were scattered, and have been
obliged to return as best they could to their Master in Mordor, empty and
shapeless." In particular in the light of his later statement to Legolas
that shooting the flying mount out under one of them wouldn't kill him.

I have been wavering back and forth on the question of what happened in
detail to the Ringwraiths after they were swept away by the flood, and I
still am ;-)

> It's at this point Gandalf drops his bomb about coming along on the
> adventure, at which Frodo is predictably delighted. I know -I-
> would be, in his shoes.

Me too!
It is, I suspect, no surprise for the reader - Gandalf involvement in
this was disclosed (almost) in full in the preceding chapter, and we
know that he intended to go with Frodo from Bag End (before the
unfortunate side trip to Isengard).

> We have's Bilbo comment about how he can't count days in Rivendell.
> Does time work a bit differently here, as it seems to in Lorien, or
> is it just Bilbo's comfort and complacency?

I don't think it was just Bilbo, though the effect also seems different
from that in Lothlórien. "The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but
ceased to have any power over the present." Rivendell was a place of
/lore/ - a place where the memory of the Elder Days were kept alive, and
much wisdom was gathered. In Lothlórien the Elder Days lived still - a
quite different effect.

In Lothlórien the time "flowed swiftly for [the fellowship], as for the
Elves", but the effect seems quite different in Rivendell. This loss of
count might be akin to that loss of time-sense felt when deeply absorbed
in a study.

> We then have the meta- commentary about Frodo helping Bilbo with his
> book, and starting on the sequel. In the discussions of endings,
> Sam has the most interesting comment, "And where will they live?
> That's what I often wonder." Interesting foreshadowing there, I think.

Sam has a wonderful approach to stories as evidenced also by the dialogue
between him and Frodo on the stairs of Cirith Ungol.

Another question that arose when I reread this chapter is that of the
red star:
"... The Hunter's Moon waxed round in the night sky, and put
to flight all the lesser stars. But low in the South one
star shone red. Every night, as the Moon waned again, it
shone brighter and brighter. Frodo could see it from his
window, deep in the heavens burning like a watchful eye that
glared above the trees on the brink of the valley."

This sounds very much like an evil omen - a portent of war or a reminder
of the Enemy. Is it supposed to be Mars - of old considered an omen of
war and strife? (This goes back to the Babylonians, at the very least.)

I remember that something is said about the constellations and planets in
one of the HoMe volumes, but I don't have them with me. Is there anything
about Mars in that - especially if it was associated with War in
Middle-earth too (Mars, or perhaps one of the red stars - Aldebaran and
Betelgeuze in particular)?

<snip>

> Elrond reaffirms Frodo's oath to go, and Sam's to go with him, then
> makes a speech about how he can't offer much help.

;-)

> The companions are then chosen, set at the number nine. This always
> seemed pretty arbitrary to me. While I understand the "one for one"
> symbolism, it seems like limiting it to nine only was also kinda
> pointless.

It is, I believe, often seen in fairy-stories that symbols count - they
are extremely important.

I suspect that nine is one of the magic numbers in Middle-earth, and that
this influenced the decision.

> Ten people wouldn't have made any more of a fuss, and then you could
> send along an elf-lord with the might of Glorfindel as well as the
> two silly hobbits,

Merry and Pippin ought only count for one together - being 'halflings'
;-)

> but I suppose that would that be unwieldy, story- external.

I don't suppose it would have been much more unwieldy having ten
companions than nine from a story-telling point of view.

> Story-internal, it doesn't make a ton of sense, but there you go.

The symbolism does, I think, make some sense. They did have to limit the
number of people in the party, and settling for the symbolism of the nine
would be at least as good a number as any other.

> Frodo and Sam decided already.

Indeed as the only ones elected at the council.

> Gandalf is going.

Predictably ;-)

> Legolas and Gimli to represent Elves and Dwarves,

I can see the sense in choosing Gimli - Glóin was getting on in years,
but why Legolas and not Glorfindel or one of the other members of
Elrond's household he was considering? What spoke in favour of choosing a
Sindarin prince from a Sylvan realm as the representative of the Elves
instead of e.g. a Noldorin lord?

> they they'll go at least as far as the Mountains. I always thought,
> "Well, THAT'S not very far, is it?"

I thought something similar - going to "the passes of the Mountains"
wasn't much of a commitment considering the need and obligation of the
Ring-bearer.

Gimli does, I think, reveal a commitment to continue further than that
when they are leaving; "Faithless is he that says farewell when the road
darkens."

> Aragorn and Boromir are going to Minas Tirith, so will journey
> with the Fellowship along the way. This always seems rather
> incidental for Boromir,

Yes, there is a feeling of 'he's going in that general direction anyway,
so let's use him ...' over the choice of Boromir. On the other hand it
does seem that Elrond was determined that no-one should be allowed to
just tag along - either they would be on of the Nine Walkers, or they
wouldn't be allowed to go that way.

> although Aragorn was more deeply and emotionally involved.

And as he had promised to go with Boromir ...

> Elrond decides to think about who else to send in the last two slots,
> at which point Pippin and Merry clamor to go, of course.

I very much like Merry's comment earlier that they (Merry and Pippin)
were not envying Frodo, but Sam, that being left behind if Frodo /had/ to
go would be a punishment.


> Elrond is very worried, and expresses concern for the Shire's safety.
> His heart is most against Pippin's going, while Gandalf's heart
> counsel's otherwise. Interesting conflict of prophetic characters,
> there. Was Elrond Foreseeing the trouble from Pippin and the
> Palantir?

It is of course impossible to say with certainty, but I am willing to
accept the reasons he gives: that Pippin is the youngest and that he is
foreseeing trouble in the Shire.

Elrond also says that he could 'foresee very little of the road' - in
particular that all beyond the feet of the Mountains and 'the borders of
Greyflood' was under the Shadow and therefore dark to him. This would
certainly include Isengard.

> Was Gandalf's Foresight poking him about the bloodshed the two
> hobbits would prevent?

At a guess, I'd say that Gandalf was acting upon a hunch, an intuition or
premonition. Something akin to the situation when he was trying to
convince Thorin and company to accept Bilbo - "And suddenly I felt that I
was indeed in hot earnest. This queer notion of mine was not a joke, it
was /right/. It was desparately important that it should be carried out."

I think that Gandalf's nature has something to do with this. As long as
he stayed true to his mission he retained a dim memory of Valinor, and a
great longing for it. A part of this was, I believe, an ability to
recognise beyond doubt the right path, even if he had no other arguments
than that it /felt/ right to him.

> On balance, it seems a good thing that Gandalf prevailed.

"It was not in vain that the young hobbits came with us, if only for
Boromir's sake." Gandalf in III,5 'The White Rider'

And that was, of course, not the only role they played. They the stone
that set the avalanche of Ents in motion, and their achievements during
the Siege of Minas Tirith and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields were
truly glorious.

<sip>

> Gandalf and Legolas lament the loss of the Elves that have left for
> the West.

I have always been oddly moved by Legolas' words: "Only I hear the stones
lament them: /deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they
builded us; but they are gone." This union - or symbiosis even - of the
Elves with the land they occupy has always spoken deeply to me.

<snip>

> "Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for
> a moment they faded then flashed out again. He shivered."
> Gandalf and Aragorn don't see it, but they do both feel it. Is this
> our first hint that the Riders are remounted on their Fell Beasts,
> and again hunting the Company?

It is a curious incident. Is there any indication of what Tolkien
intended with this anywhere?

> But later they aren't supposed to cross the river yet.

Technically this is related by an Orc, who might not know everything (the
restraint might e.g. only apply further south - where the land beyond the
river is inhabited or at least regularly patrolled).

<snip>

> There is speculation about whether or not Sauron could have caused
> the storm to frustrate them, but Gandalf's answer, "His arm has grown
> long." is really quite ambiguous on the subject.

Especially in the light of the discussion a few paragraphs further down
of evil creatures older than Sauron (or rather: 'who have been in this
world longer than he') and not in league with him.

> The Company is forced to stop by a full-on blizzard, not to mention
> what sound like voices on the air and stones crashing into the
> mountains near them and boulders rumbling down nearby. Are these the
> same mountain giants Bilbo saw during a thunderstorm in The Hobbit?

"... hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them,
and tossing them down into the darkness where they smashed among
the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang."

Interesting idea.

> So, maybe not such a fanciful tale after all? Gimli pipes up that
> the mountain has had an evil reputation of it's own for a very long
> time. "When rumor of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.", in
> fact. How far back does it put that? The First Age?

Or the first years of the second age.
Moria was, IIRC, founded in the First Age (the Tale of Years [ToY] has
Dwarves from Ered Luin going to Moria about year 40, Second Age [SA]),
and ToY puts c. 500 SA as the date when "Sauron begins to stir again in
Middle-earth" and c. 1000 SA for the commencement of Barad-dûr.

An interesting thing that occurs to me is that the Balrog must have been
hiding under Moria when it was already inhabited, but probably before it
became that great mansion and kingdom of Durin's people that we hear of
in e.g. Gimli's song.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk

Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond
them is more than memory, Farewell!
- Aragorn Son of Arathorn, 'LotR' (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Michael Cole

unread,
May 7, 2004, 1:42:17 AM5/7/04
to
"Raven" <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote in
message news:PpBmc.2141$qk7...@news.get2net.dk

I would also feel that it is a far more American epithet than a British one,
particularly for that day and age. When Jardine was in town for the
Bodyline series, there were newsstories around that he was getting upset by
the Aussies casting aspersions as to his parent's marital status.

[An explanation for the previous sentence can be provided on request for
non-Commonwealth readers...]

--
Regards,

Michael Cole


John Elliott

unread,
May 7, 2004, 5:26:50 AM5/7/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<nbzmc.3921$4i6.38...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

> Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
> > "Suddenly he saw or felt a shadow pass over the high stars, as if for
> > a moment they faded then flashed out again. He shivered."
> > Gandalf and Aragorn don't see it, but they do both feel it. Is this
> > our first hint that the Riders are remounted on their Fell Beasts,
> > and again hunting the Company?
>
> Undoubtedly.

Could have been a flying Balrog :-)

--
John Elliott

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
May 7, 2004, 9:16:48 AM5/7/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> enriched us with:

> Another question that arose when I reread this chapter is that of the
> red star:
[...]


> I remember that something is said about the constellations and planets in
> one of the HoMe volumes, but I don't have them with me. Is there anything

> about Mars in that [...] ?

I didn't check HoME, but when we were discussing the moon phases
some time ago I dug out an open source astronomy program (Debian
is nice -- lots of things are just there, if you need them :-)
Besides the correct moon phases, you can also see that Mars is
"low in the South" at this time. So it's very likely Mars, whatever it
is called in ME.

- Dirk

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
May 7, 2004, 9:35:54 AM5/7/04
to
In article <JfFmc.15719$k4.3...@news1.nokia.com>,
Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid says...

>
> Thanks Michelle.
> Feel free to dash things together whenever the mood catches you ;-)

:) You're welcome. And, you know, someone had to do it, might as
well be me.

> > and Pippin kvetching
> ^^^^^^^^^
>
> There was a new word for me - thanks :-)

I think a fair amount of Yiddish words and expressions have passed
into regular American English. That's one.

> I have been wavering back and forth on the question of what happened in
> detail to the Ringwraiths after they were swept away by the flood, and I
> still am ;-)

They obviously had SOME form of physical body, which was perhaps
injured and had to be reconstructed? I thought when I was younger
that maybe the robes somehow contained their bodies.

> Another question that arose when I reread this chapter is that of the
> red star:

Several people mentioned this. I confess I entirely missed it in
this read.

> Merry and Pippin ought only count for one together - being 'halflings'
> ;-)

But then Sam and Frodo would only count as one, as well, and you'd
need two more members. :)

> I can see the sense in choosing Gimli - Glóin was getting on in years,
> but why Legolas and not Glorfindel or one of the other members of
> Elrond's household he was considering? What spoke in favour of choosing a
> Sindarin prince from a Sylvan realm as the representative of the Elves
> instead of e.g. a Noldorin lord?

Presumably because Legolas was returning home anyway, like Boromir.
That's also probably why the "at least as far as the Mountains" bit,
because after they crossed them, Legolas would have to take a
different path to get home.

Henriette

unread,
May 7, 2004, 2:51:01 PM5/7/04
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<slrnc9kvu6.264....@alder.alberni.net>...

IMO that would also have been the appropriate reaction for Boromir.

Henriette

Henriette

unread,
May 7, 2004, 3:04:16 PM5/7/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<l9xmc.3750$9U4.36...@news-text.cableinet.net>...
> Henriette <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > 'the S.-Bs.', it says in my edition. Is this a pun, or an accidental
> > combination of letters?
>
> It stands for the Sackville-Bagginses, Lobelia and Otho. Maybe the names
> were translated into something different in your edition, and they
> forgot to change the initials. Or are you talking about the English
> edition?

Thank you and everyone for helping out. I see now that in my attempts
to write ladylike posts, I have been too vague. I was not referring to
SB (which abbreviation I did not know, though I knew SOB), but to BS.
But as you native speakers don't see that, it must be my 'overactive
and vile mind'(thank you softrat, always so eager to help explain).


>
> > My favorite exchange in this chapter is the one between Gimli and
> > Elrond from "You do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you
> > cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road" up till "Or break
> > it". Especially these sentences:
> > "Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens" and
> > "Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall".
>
> Ooh! Oooh! I've just been discussing that in another thread. It has
> 'ringbearer' in the subject line.

(snip explanation of how this discussion throws shadows of the
changes-to-come).

I looked it up and it is a nice post with indeed exactly the same
great quote (synchonicity? telepathy?)which somewhat annoys AC!

Henriette

Neil Anderson

unread,
May 7, 2004, 3:30:27 PM5/7/04
to

"Dirk Thierbach" <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote in message
news:0resm1-...@ID-7776.user.uni-berlin.de...
There is reference in the Silm (I think?) to Carnil, which is obviously mean
to mean "Red Star".

Then in a couple of places in HoMe (apologies, books stored away), there is
an excursus by CJRT on the names of the stars, brough about by a reader
pointing out the possible connections between the star-name "Lumbar" (from
the root "lumbe" - shadow) that connects the name of this star with Saturn
(Saturn is connected with those of a melancholic ie "shadowy" disposition -
hence "saturnine"). This short piece of writing by CJRT may also shed some
light on whether Mars was equivalent to Carnil.

OK, I have dug out the most easily accessible volume of HoME. In the
foreword of WotJ, towards the end, is the mention of the Lumbar/Saturn
connection, and the reference to the longer star-name excursus is to
Morgoth's Ring p. 434-5).

Neil Anderson

Raven

unread,
May 6, 2004, 9:37:41 PM5/6/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i en meddelelse
news:nbzmc.3921$4i6.38...@news-text.cableinet.net...

> Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

> This is a nice archaic use of the word 'tale' to mean a count of things.
> I believe the name of the vote-counter at an election: a teller (of the
> tale), is the same use of the word. Does anyone know the history of this
> meaning of the word 'tale'?

I can tell you that the word "tall" in Scand ("Zahl" in German) means
"number". "Telle" is the verb form, "count". The Scand word "tall" is
pronounced with a short vowel and long following consonant, like the English
word "tell" and unlike the English word "tall".

[Nazgūl on the wing]

> > But later they aren't supposed to
> > cross the river yet.

> I think that was a mistake by Tolkien.

Not necessarily. The thing that passed overhead could have been some
other servant of Sauron entirely. It could also have been a Fell Beast
without a rider yet.

> Can anyone translate Gandalf's incantation?

> 'Naur an edraith ammen!'

He uses the same as part of his fire-raising against the wolves later. I
don't remember the precise translation, but it can be found on the
Ardalambion web site ( http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf ). I can give you
this from memory: "naur" means "fire", as in "Sammath Naur". I *think* it
means "fire be for the saving of us", but I won't bet my head on my memory
being accurate here.

> Anyone up for a 'what if' they had managed to go over Caradhras?

Gandalf would have remained Gandalf the Grey. But otherwise the story
might have winded up not much differently from the actual one.

Corb.


Glenn Holliday

unread,
May 7, 2004, 5:10:41 PM5/7/04