the Little Red Reviewer

The Fellowship of the Ring discussion, part the second

Posted on: September 17, 2011

Hi Everyone, it’s an autumnal feeling Saturday, which means it’s time for a Lord of the Rings discussion! This weeks discussion covered the middle part of The Fellowship of the Ring. This week’s questions were supplied by Geeky Daddy.

Join in anytime by expressing interesting in the comments of this post, or tweeting myself or Geeky Daddy.

Our story so far: Frodo knows what he has, his friends won’t leave his side, they travel to Rivendell to meet with Elrond. Along the way, they meet a mysterious man named Strider, who tells them that he is a friend of Gandalf.

At Rivendell, it’s decided the only way to stop the power of the ring is to destroy it. The only fires hot enough to melt it are those in which it was forged. The ring-bearer must travel to Mount Doom, behind the eyes of the enemy, to destroy the single ring of power.

And on to the discussion questions!

1. What was your initial thoughts of Strider/Aragorn when Hobbits met up with him in The Prancing Pony? Did you think that he was linked with the Riders?
2.What was the biggest surprised to you during this section of the Fellowship of the Ring?
3.Do you like that Tolkien goes in depth and tells the readers of the history events of the war that is upon the Fellowship?
4. How far do you think you would have lasted if you were Frodo and nearly becoming a Rider?
5. As dangerous quest unfold to become, the other hobbits want to stick by Frodo til the end. Would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo til the end?

Read everyone else’s discussions:
Geeky Daddy
Stainless Steel Droppings
The Written World
All Booked Up
My Rammblings
The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Mithril Wisdom

New discussions:
Lynn’s Book Blog

(leave your link in the comments, or tweet it to me and I’ll add you)

my answers after the jump!

1. What was your initial thoughts of Strider/Aragorn when Hobbits met up with him in The Prancing Pony? Did you think that he was linked with the Riders?

I didn’t think he was a bad guy, but I wasn’t quite sure if he was a good guy either. This is where I wish I had read these before seeing the movies, because in the movies you find out about 5 seconds later that he’s a good guy.  I appreciated in the book that it’s drawn out a bit, that the Hobbits, especially Sam, don’t trust him. He’s got to work for their trust.

2.What was the biggest surprised to you during this section of the Fellowship of the Ring?

That everyone at the Council in Rivendell seems to have their own agenda.  I wasn’t quite sure why Elrond had invited so many people beyond Gandalf and the Ring bearer, other than that he wanted to represented all the different races of Middle Earth. but Borimir seems ready to take the ring right now, and Gimli is questing to find one of the dwarvish rings of power.  IT’s not like they all showed up and said “Hi Elrond, how may we assist you?”. they’re mostly doing this because there is something in it for them too. Well played Tolkien, well played!

3.Do you like that Tolkien goes in depth and tells the readers of the history events of the war that is upon the Fellowship?

Yes and no.  it was some wonderful world building, and you know I always appreciate that.  And I did like that when everyone takes their turn talking at the council more information comes out (Elrond might be nearly immortal, but he doesn’t know everything!).  Near the end of that section though, I was ready to move on.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of this book, and I know and understand why it’s as famous as it is, but Tolkien’s writing style just isn’t doing much for me.

4. How far do you think you would have lasted if you were Frodo and nearly becoming a Rider?

lol, like a minute!  I’ve got like zero tolerance for pain. good thing he’s a zillion times stronger than me!

5. As dangerous quest unfold to become, the other hobbits want to stick by Frodo til the end. Would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo til the end?

isn’t that what friends are for? And i’m not sure yet if they are “sacrificing themselves”. Sure, they are leaving home, going someplace scary that they don’t know anything about, and walking right into danger, but no one yet has said “let me die so you can go on”.  they just don’t want their friend to be all by himself. and secretly I wonder if Pippin and Merry have been itching for some grown up adventure away from the Shire.  when someone is your best friend, you stick with them through thick and thin.

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11 Responses to "The Fellowship of the Ring discussion, part the second"

I didn’t really look at it as them ‘sacrificing themselves’ either. It was more like a grand adventure and they wouldn’t want to miss out on that.

Some things do go on and on in this book. You can tell the editing process is not nearly the same then as it was now. I imagine if he was writing now the books would be shorter… There is a bit too much detail sometimes that could easily be taken out.

My post is here: http://myreadingbooks.blogspot.com/2011/09/fellowship-of-ring-read-along-part-2.html

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I like the level of detail in the books and wouldn’t have wanted to see it any shorter.

My response: http://allbookedup-elena.blogspot.com/2011/09/lord-of-rings-read-along-part-two.html

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I’ve been at work most of the day, but I posted my responses this morning: http://bluefairysbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/09/lotr-read-along-fellowship-chapters-9.html

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Oh, and this was bothering me when I wrote up my article. I know the hobbits call them “Black Riders,” but that’s because they can’t be bothered to figure out the truth before Gandalf explains. When he was injured, Frodo was in danger of becoming a wraith (not dissimilar to those met under the Barrow-Downs) and so easily under the control of the Ringwraiths, and through them, of Sauron. He could not have become a Ringwraith, (despite currently being a Ringbearer, one of only three living to have borne the One Ring at this point in the story) because the Ringwraiths are the nine bearers of the Rings of Men. “Nine Rings for mortal men doomed to die” and all that. Sorry to be a bit pedantic, just wanted to clarify that for anyone playing along at home. ;)

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Thanks for that, LIndsay. Otherwise I would have had to ‘splain it, and I wouldn’t have done it as well as you! The Ringwraiths were the ancient kings of men.

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Well, it’s hard for me to add comments, as this is a re-reading for me, so the surprises are all personal: the difference between my memory and my first experience, and my later self.

1) Of course, the first time I read this, it seemed to me that Strider was perhaps one of these black riders himself, and I think that was Tolkien’s intention, weaving a web of fear and suspicion.

2) Surprised? No, can’t say I was surprised. But here was another great scene that was left out of the movie: the barrow wight. It’s interesting to see how a successful movie narrative must be crafted and scripted.

3) The history of the ring is essential to grasping its importance, and what is at stake for the fellowship. Tolkien, of course, is going for a slightly archaic tone, a golden world of honor and valor that is already past, and threatening to devolve into something really horrible (erm, resembling our own world, I think.) I dare say that if you don’t enjoy Tolkien’s effort to evoke the glories and dangers of his beautiful world, then you’re not really getting the big Middle Earth picture. That the historical narrative seems dull is probably due to several reasons, including our own modern forgetfulness of our own history, our desire for entertainments that don’t cost much effort, and perhaps Tolkien’s failure as a writer to accomplish all that he intended.

I’d ask the reader: do you feel that Frodo is really saving the world? Why do you care about his mission?

4) I would rather ask: would YOU have volunteered for this mission, having as much knowledge of the dangers as Frodo did, at that moment, in Elrond’s council? Would you try to do what seems nearly impossible, having to resist temptation, and accepting the great likelihood of dying, quite soon? It occurred to me that this is in fact what we ask soldiers to do. This is what it means to be a warrior. I don’t believe I have “the right stuff” — heh, just watched that last night on TV, fantastic movie. But by the way, one only discovers what one is capable of when one is faced with extreme situations. People who you think are brave may crack and cower when truly exposed to danger, and people who you think are timid and helpless may gather their forces and discover courage and resolution. You don’t know ahead of time who is who.

5) Am I a dedicated friend? I’m a terrible friend — what a horrible thing to be reminded of on a Sunday morning. People irritate me. I’m a curmudgeon. Do I understand devotion? Dedication? Again, the sorts of things we ask of our soldiers. Again, the nature of the warrior. When I was a child, reading these books, I was filled with the certainty that YES, I will do it, give me something GREAT that must be done, something to take me beyond the paltry limits of my petty small life! I want to do something of value in this world! Now, I see courage as a small bird who carries a beak full of water to and fro, to put out the raging fire that covers the earth.

Bestest question evah: if you had the ring, would you use it? What’s your relationship to the temptations in your life, the seductions that make you feel potent? Do you believe there is a price to indulging? Do you think that there are true risks of enslavement in your life? But indeed, those are very private and intense questions about the fiber of your being, and I wouldn’t expect reviewers to spill their guts unless they had courage and perhaps a good dose of exhibitionism. Like writers.

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now I don’t feel so bad, I’m a total curmudgeon too! I love my friends, but I suck at remembering to call people back, send cards, stuff like that. I’m an awful friend!

yikes, them is some exhibitionist / intervention questions! and I likes ‘em. but maybe something I don’t want or need to be screaming from the rooftops of the blogosphere.

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LOL, I think both you and Kailana are underestimating the situation the Hobbits were in. I don’t think they had a good idea of what they were getting into, but at that point at the Council where they decided to travel on, they had been through sleepless nights of seemingly endless watching, missed and subpar meals, no comfort, terrifying battles with the Black Riders, and their friend Frodo’s near death. I do think they were definitely sacrificing themselves in the sense of giving up all that they were used to and were no longer doing it for ‘adventure’ but because of their dedication to one another. “Sacrificing yourself” doesn’t mean just giving up your life. In fact that is the easier path to sacrificing yourself, as once its done its done. True self-sacrifice is the setting aside of your own desires, etc. in service of others. And I think the Hobbits had already seen by this point that “adventure” is largely in the eye of the beholder and is much more interesting when being recounted later.

I also enjoyed that Tolkien draws out the “who is this Strider” moment longer. The movie has to rush some things by for the sake of time. I also like that Sam was hard to convince and how important it was for Strider to get them to put their trust in him.

I believe Elrond makes some statement to the effect that the evil touched all the free peoples of Middle-earth and that it was important that they all decide its fate. I’m sure he realized that at least at the beginning they would need to all be in agreement or Frodo and company would have even more enemies to contend with on the road to Mordor.

Sorry you are not enjoying Tolkien’s writing style as much. The Council of Elrond is, in one chapter, exactly what thrills me about Tolkien’s work. It is why I like The Silmarillion so very much. The detailed history is just so fascinating to me.

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I think that you are right about question 5. You find out who your true friends are in the tough times. In a time like this Frodo does find out that his fellow hobbits are with him to the end of the journey.

It is something how the winds have shifted in the section of the book. I do think that you would last a bit longer in question 4 than you give yourself credit for in the quest.

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Hi, good comments on here – really make you think. Finally posted my answers. I am enjoying the reread and I still love Tolkien’s writing. It’s a shame you’re not quite into the style but maybe it will win you over!

http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/lord-of-the-rings-tolkien-group-read-part-2-book-1-chapter-9-to-book-2-chapter-3/

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