FotR, Chapter III: Three is Company

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FotR, Chapter III: Three is Company

Postby rowanberry » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:38 am

Welcome to the July discussion about The Lord of the Rings. If you're new to this forum, please see this thread for more information.

Here's the summary for starters; I'll post the questions tomorrow because of surprise guests - sorry for the delay.

Chapter III: Three is Company

Gandalf urges Frodo to leave as soon as he can make it without drawing too much attention. Frodo has already made up his mind about leaving right after his fiftieth birthday in September, and Gandalf accepts it; but, in his opinion, that’s definitely the latest moment to depart. He advises Frodo to head for Rivendell.

Frodo starts to set up a believable departure. He sells Bag End – to the Sackville-Bagginses, of all people – and buys a smaller house at Crickhollow in Buckland, where he pretends to move. Sam will be going with him, “to do for Mr. Frodo and look after his bit of garden”.

In June, Gandalf announces that he has to leave again; he has heard something that has made him anxious, and that he wants to investigate. He promises to return by Frodo’s farewell party. But, he doesn’t come.

On his birthday, Frodo gives a small feast for a few close friends who have been helping him with the move: Fredegar “Fatty” Bolger, Folco Boffin, Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck and Peregrin “Pippin” Took. On the following day, Folco goes home, Merry and Fatty drive the cart with the last of the luggage to Crickhollow, and in the evening, Frodo together with Sam and Pippin sets off on foot. Just before they leave, Frodo takes a short walk down the Hill Road, and hears someone with a strange and unpleasant voice inquire about him from Gaffer Gamgee who lives just around the corner. The three hobbits walk until they get too tired, and camp over the night in the woods, puzzling a fox that happens to pass them by on its nightly business.

Next day, on their way toward Woody End, Sam hears a horse or a pony approaching. Frodo gets a feeling that he has to hide from the rider, and urges his companions off the road. From their hiding place, Frodo spies on the rider, and sees that it’s a large man, all robed in black, upon a black horse, and his behaviour is somewhat strange – he seems as if he were sniffing on something. Frodo feels a sudden urge to put the Ring on, but the rider departs before he can do it. It seems to Frodo that the rider turns aside and hides among the trees some distance away, and when the hobbits continue their journey, they keep off the road on the opposite side. Sam tells the others that, the stranger who had been talking to his father the night before had been a similar man clad in black.

In the evening they hear hoofs again and go into hiding. It is indeed another Black Rider, and now, it starts approaching them; again, Frodo feels a desire to slip on the Ring, this time even stronger. But, the rider is scared away by a company of wandering elves, led by one Gildor Inglorion. Gildor knows Bilbo, and also knows who Frodo is, because he has seen him many times with Bilbo. The hobbits ask if they can travel with the elves; the elves seem reluctant, until Pippin mentions the Black Riders. Then, the elves offer to let the hobbits walk with them to the woods above Woodhall where they were going to stop for the night, and spend the night in their company.

At the camp, Pippin and Sam soon fall asleep after having some food and drink with the elves, but Frodo stays long awake discussing with Gildor. The elf knows that Frodo is leaving the Shire, but not exactly why he is pursued by the Enemy. He doesn’t want to tell anything more about the Black Riders, just that they are deadly, and that Frodo should by all means avoid them. But, although elves are reluctant to give advice to others, he says that Frodo indeed has to go now at once, and not to go alone; even the Shire isn’t safe any longer. He also promises to inform all the Wandering Companies and other forces of good about Frodo, and assures the hobbit that courage can be found in unlikely places. Finally, sleep overtakes Frodo as well, and he passes the night in dreamless slumber.
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Postby pippinsqueak » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:37 pm

Excellent summary, Rowanberry! Though I would like to point out that Sam doesn't really fall asleep while Frodo is talking to the Elves, he pretends to be asleep at Frodo's feet (by snoring), but is really eavesdropping. That's how he knows, as revealed in A Conspiracy Unmasked that Gildor told Frodo to take friends with him that he could trust, and that's why Frodo tells Sam he will never believe he is sleeping whether he is snoring or not. (And in fact, after Frodo went to sleep Sam then had a conversation with the Elves, and they urged Sam not to leave Frodo).

details . . . details. . . details.

:D
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Postby rowanberry » Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:51 am

Thanks for your contribution, pippinsqueak - but, although we don't have to be afraid of spoilers, maybe we better leave further discussion about Sam's revelations to the "Conspiracy" chapter; at this point, the reader isn't supposed to know about his doings yet. :wink:

I'm lousy at coming up with good questions :( but anyway, here are a few - feel free to present more if you come up with something.


1. Frodo’s growing to the idea of leaving the Shire. If there hadn’t been Bilbo’s example as his motivation, would he have been even more reluctant to go? Is it a coincidence that Bilbo was 50 when he set off to his journey to the Lonely Mountain, and Frodo decides to leave at or just after his 50th birthday?

2. This has recently been discussed on the Books forum, but the question goes here as well: What do you think Gandalf heard that made him anxious, and where could he have got that information from?

3. How does Gandalf’s inability to keep his promise to return by Frodo’s departure affect Frodo?

4. The fox. How does it fit in the story? Why do you think this detail was put in it?

5. In this chapter, we encounter the Black Riders for the first time. Compared to their later appearances, and in the light of what we know of them, how do they come across here?

6. We also meet elves for the first time in this story. If we think of the elves from the Silmarillion and The Hobbit, and the elves we encounter later in the LotR, where do Gildor and company stand compared to them? As for the story, are they just a loose plot device used to save the hobbits, a deus ex machina? Or, does their arrival just on time indicate the work of a higher power in the background, which is one of the basic themes of the LotR?

7. Despite the serious tones, the style of this chapter is still rather close to the style of The Hobbit; from which scenes does this especially appear?

8. What do you make of the songs and rhymes in this chapter?
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Postby pippinsqueak » Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:33 pm

Thanks for your contribution, pippinsqueak - but, although we don't have to be afraid of spoilers, maybe we better leave further discussion about Sam's revelations to the "Conspiracy" chapter; at this point, the reader isn't supposed to know about his doings yet.


Point taken, rowanberry. I guess I'm just a stickler for detail and would have been happier if you'd said Sam was snoring at Frodo's feet, (which is how Tolkien describes him), rather than that he fell asleep (which is what Tolkien wants us to think from that description).

Excellent questions, btw, which I will need more time to fashion a response to!
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Postby starlin » Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:24 am

Great summary and questions right to the point, rowanberry, thanks!

As a devout admirer of The Fox (we should have a fanclub somewhere, LOL), I have to tackle question number 4 first.

rowanberry wrote:4. The fox. How does it fit in the story? Why do you think this detail was put in it?


Actually I don't have anything else to say than what I've already said before in various discussions. I regard The Fox episode as the turning point in both the style of narration and the journey of the hobbits. Actually there is no dramatic change in style or whatever, but this episode nicely closes the hobbittish episodes in the Shire (Innocence, if we continue with this word from the previous discussions) as the hobbits enter a different world. I don't have my book near at hand and cannot check whether the FotR film phrase about taking one more step and being the furthest from home was actually in the book, but this episode resembles the fox episode, too. Talking animals (talking to those who are not supposed to understand their speech; hobbits, for instance, or us, for another, but not the Istari) are the feature of The Hobbit. As the story turns darker and more complex, talking animals too have to exit the stage.
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Postby pippinsqueak » Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:39 am

I don't have my book near at hand and cannot check whether the FotR film phrase about taking one more step and being the furthest from home was actually in the book,


No, it wasn't in the book, this is the closest to it, from Three is Company:

'The road goes on for ever,' said Pippin; 'but I can't without a rest. It is high time for lunch.' He sat down on the bank at the side of the road and looked away east into the haze, beyond which lay the River, and the end of the Shire in which he had spent all his life. Sam stood by him. His round eyes were wide open - for he was looking across lands he had never seen to a new horizon.


Right after that Frodo recites a version of Bilbo's walking song and then says of Bilbo:

He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even further and to worse places?" He used to say that on the path outside the front door at Bag End, especially after he had been out for a long walk.'


The fox scene is a strange little one - is this the only occasion where the thoughts of an animal are revealed? I was also surprised that it was an unusual thing for hobbits to sleep out of doors, being so rustic. But I suppose their love of comfort always carried them back to their beds at the end of the day.
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Postby Prince_of_the_Halflings » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:20 pm

rowanberry wrote:
1. Frodo’s growing to the idea of leaving the Shire. If there hadn’t been Bilbo’s example as his motivation, would he have been even more reluctant to go? Is it a coincidence that Bilbo was 50 when he set off to his journey to the Lonely Mountain, and Frodo decides to leave at or just after his 50th birthday?


Good questions, rowanberry! I think it's more than coincidence that Frodo is the same age as Bilbo was when he went 'there and back again'. Frodo really is a middle-aged hobbit now and so his reluctance to leave his comfortable life is not hard to understand. Also, I'm sure that Frodo thinks that he is safer in the Shire than on the Road! He has no real inkling of the dangers facing him, and certainly no expectation that servants of Sauron will show up at his front door (despite that the fact that he is aware that the name of Baggins is known to Sauron). Frodo's decision to sell Bag End proves to be something of a lifesaver when the Black Riders show up in Hobbiton (on the very day he is to move). The only thing that stops them from showing up at Frodo's door is the news that he has sold his house and moved to Buckland...

Frodo's age also presents a contrast to the other three hobbits. He is far older. If Tolkien was drawing on his experience in WWI then the age and social status of each hobbit may have some significance. In taking on the burden of the quest Frodo (and the others) could be compared to British boys going off to 'do their duty' in WWI. Frodo is not only richer than Sam (note that Sam has a job and Frodo doesn't need to have one) but also from a 'better' family. Merry and Pippin have considerable social status too as the sons of the Master of Buckland and the Thain. None of this is emphasised at this point but it is consistently presented.

I note also Sam's enthusiam for the journey (Elves!) compared to Frodo's reluctance. Contrast this to how Sam feels after the encounter with Elves in the next chapter (he is much more serious and now knows that he has a destiny of some kind and a job that needs to be done).

5. In this chapter, we encounter the Black Riders for the first time. Compared to their later appearances, and in the light of what we know of them, how do they come across here?


At this stage their mission is merely to locate the Ringbearer and bring him and It to Sauron, so it makes sense that they operate in a manner that is more low-key than later on in the story. Although there are few that can oppose them there is no reason for the Nazgul to stir up too much trouble at this point as this will draw the attention of those who can oppose them - eg, Elrond/Glorfindel, the Dunedain of the North. Ultimately we know what happens to the Nazgul when they encounter the power of Elrond, so this is NOT an irrelevant point: the Nazgul are not invulnerable.

Some readers might think it implausible that Sauron could not have found the Ring prior to this time, but bear in mind that we are talking about finding one small golden ring in a landscape as large as Western Europe. And even though the Ring is trying to get back to its Master, Sauron isn't budging from Barad-dur! Sauron has been counting on some powerful person using the Ring and therefore announcing his (or her) presence, but this hasn't happened, so Sauron is really in the dark until he hears the name of Baggins...

My favourite moment in this chapter is when Frodo calls for Sam and Sam has been saying farewell to the beer-barrel in the cellar!
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Postby rowanberry » Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:35 am

Thank you for your contributions, everyone! :)

Starlin, your notion about the fox marking a turning point in the story, the transfer from the lighthearted adventure style of The Hobbit to a more serious tone, is a very well-thought one.

Yet myself, I still see something Hobbit-like after that point in the Elves. Gildor and company come across as more serious as the "tra-la-la" singing and joking Rivendell elves, or even the "more dangerous" Wood Elves, of The Hobbit; but still, they're a far cry from the Noldorin exiles (to which they themselves apparently belong) as portrayed in the Silmarillion, or even the few named elves we meet in Rivendell and Lothlórien later in the story.

FYI, I'll be offline until next Wednesday or Thursday; hopefully you will keep the discussion up while I'm away - and, as usual, you're free to present questions you come up yourselves. :)
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Postby gwynhvar » Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:34 pm

Good questions! I will only address two right now; have to think about some of the others.

rowanberry wrote:5. In this chapter, we encounter the Black Riders for the first time. Compared to their later appearances, and in the light of what we know of them, how do they come across here?


Even now, so many years later, I can still remember that the appearance of the Black Riders made me almost shiver physically when I first read this chapter. Since they don't actually do much of anything in this chapter I credit this to the power of Chapter Two for it's sense of the weight of the past and of very deep and dangerous matters unfolding. We don't know exactly what the Riders are or what they can do, but they are quite plainly "the enemy."

I also credit it to Tolkien's brilliance at using language to set a tone - his use of the word "hissing" which makes us think of snakes and other fearsome creatures, his having the Riders ask for "Baggins" as if they wern't sure what sort of creature a "baggins" is...it makes them seem alien, and therefore fearsome, immediately.

rowanberry wrote:4. The fox. How does it fit in the story? Why do you think this detail was put in it?


Not having read The Hobbit at my first reading of LOTR, the fox struck me as an anomaly. I like starlin's ideas on this.
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Postby starlin » Sat Jul 09, 2005 1:47 am

Quick notes on The Fox before I leave (good discusion to everyone who stays :)): I've just read it in Carpenter's "Biography" that Tolkien made little later revision in the first Book which in many parts was written in light-hearted hobbittish style. And he himself admitted that the first volume "differed from the rest". So even if The Fox was not a deliberate turning in style it may have been one of those elements of the early drafts which have not been edited too carefully (check HoME who has read it). But I guess it could very likely be a nice closing statement for one stage of the hobbits' journey as Tolkien viewed it (next day they see the Rider so it may well have been a deliberate stage-conclusion, because Tolkien found the Riders to be one of those elements of the new story which "stepped out of nowhere" and had to be dealt with subsequently, a turning point, actually, in the sequel's journey to the adult world)
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Postby Prince_of_the_Halflings » Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:43 am

rowanberry wrote:6. We also meet elves for the first time in this story. If we think of the elves from the Silmarillion and The Hobbit, and the elves we encounter later in the LotR, where do Gildor and company stand compared to them? As for the story, are they just a loose plot device used to save the hobbits, a deus ex machina? Or, does their arrival just on time indicate the work of a higher power in the background, which is one of the basic themes of the LotR?


Something that occurs to me is that in the original draft Gildor tells the story of Gollum and the Ring as well as saving the hobbits from the Black Rider. So at that point the Elves were a definite narrative necessity. There are several moments like this in the early part of "Fellowship of the Ring" where Tolkien retained story elements (through successive rewrites) even though their function had changed. Certainly I think that the implausibility of Gandalf not realising that Bilbo's ring was The One is because in Tolkien's original conception there was no One ruling ring.

I think the Elves signal a slight change in tone. Sam in particular wanted to see the Elves. Well, now he has seen the Elves and he hasn't even left the Shire yet! Other than the Riders they are one of the first intrusions of the "outside world" into the story. I think Tolkien felt it necessary to counter the dangers facing the hobbits with rescuers/guides and refuges/places of safety. The Elves are the first of these (Bombadil is the next). This pattern: build up of danger and tension followed by comfort and safety, may not be something you see much in modern fiction but it does make for an interesting narrative. Certainly the various people who come to the aid of the hobbits at fortuitous moments can be seen as evidence of some kind of higher power. Providence, as Tolkien would call it.
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Postby Roccondil » Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:27 am

Excellent, concise post Prince_of_the_Halflings. I would like to add some comments of my own on Gildor Inglorion and the company of Elves.

Firstly, although I’m sure many people will know these facts already, it should be noted that in spite of Frodo’s comment about Elves who wander into the Shire from “their own lands away beyond the Tower Hills”, this is not where Gildor lived.

JRRT states explicitly in “The Road Goes Ever On” that Gildor and his companions were Elves living in or near Rivendell who had been to visit the Tower Hills, where a palantir was kept. This palantir would look only west over the Sea and the High Elves from Rivendell would at intervals journey there to look at Eressëa and the Shores of Valinor.

When they met Frodo they were returning from this visit back to Rivendell.

Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod (=Finarfin) would have almost certainly lived in Nargothrond and known Túrin Turambar. After the sack of Nargothrond he was probably one of those who came to King Thingol of Doriath, seeking refuge.

Inglorion means, I believe, “son of Inglor” and Inglor was an early name for Finrod Felagund himself. Although JRRT later decided that Finrod had no children, it seems probable that at the time of writing this, this relationship was intended and that Gildor was of royal Elvish blood.

I have talked about Gandalf and “messages” in the recent post in the books forum. Here I will just mention a similar calculation concerning Gildor and his messages. Gildor says on the night of the 24th September that he will send out messages “through the lands.” Glorfindel leaves Rivendell in response to this on 9th October. We may assume then that the message took some 14 days to travel the 470 miles (approx) to Rivendell.

Since this gives an average speed of 34 miles each day, we can rule out, I think, communication by thought. It might even be that an Elf, being the hardy nature that they are, could have run across country in that time. I wonder what others think of this?
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Postby Prince_of_the_Halflings » Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:39 pm

Thanks, Roccondil!

Roccondil wrote:Since this gives an average speed of 34 miles each day, we can rule out, I think, communication by thought. It might even be that an Elf, being the hardy nature that they are, could have run across country in that time. I wonder what others think of this?


Assuming a constant 5 miles per hour for 7 hours a day, I don't see why not. If you travel along the road then it shouldn't be that arduous. I dare say Aragorn could have managed it with some effort. Certainly an Elf should be able to. I know 34 miles sounds like a lot compared even to a marathon (26 and a bit miles) but if you have all day to do it then it's not so bad.

As a comparison, think of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli's great trek in "The Two Towers" across a trackless countryside. I think (and correct me if I'm wrong) that they cover 45 leagues in 4 days - the last days of February. That's 135 miles which works out to be just under 34 miles a day. Admittedly that is regarded as a tremendous feat, but at least it evidently is possible. Keeping the same pace up for 14 days is more of a task, but then the going would be easier on an actual road.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not volunteering! I'd consider the feat to be just on the edge of possibility for a human - I've looked at some real life walkers and I note that, for example, the record for walking across Wales (45 miles) is 8 hours (and most walkers can do it in 14 or less). There's an annual event held around this time of year where walkers walk from Schleswig (Northern Germany) to Viborg, Denmark in a week. That's 200 miles. If a human can just about manage it, then a well prepared Elf should be able to take it in their stride, if you'll pardon the pun.
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Postby gwynhvar » Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:56 am

Roccondil wrote:Since this gives an average speed of 34 miles each day, we can rule out, I think, communication by thought. It might even be that an Elf, being the hardy nature that they are, could have run across country in that time. I wonder what others think of this?


Thank you for the background on Gildor.

I had always taken it that one of the messages that Gildor sent out reached Rivendell, but not necessarly via an Elf from that Company.

The messages, if I remember correctly and as I think was cited here, were to be sent not just to Elves who might be wandering about but to all creatures who were "good" to look out for and provide whatever aid in their power to Frodo. He did not say that he would send to Rivendell for Elves to find and escort Frodo, though that does not totally preclude the possibility that he did so.

I simply took it that traveling creature to creature the message reached Rivendell. I had never calculated the actual distance, which is considerable for a message to travel by "word of mouth," but perhaps not impossible if some of the messengers were birds?
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Postby Arvegil » Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:51 pm

I'm with Starlin. The fox is representative of the light storytelling style we see in The Hobbit and the first few chapters, before "Fellowship" makes its right turn into a much scarier, adult world.
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Postby Nadreck_of_Palain7 » Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:59 pm

The earlier in the story, the more the hobbits get assistance from others. They are not veteran adventurers or wilderness travellers yet. As the story goes on the hobbits do more and more on their own inititative, until Gandalf tells them at the end of the story that they have to save the Shire themselves.

The visits to the Elves and later to Bombadil are part of their training that they need so much. They are able to gradually get more capable.
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Postby starlin » Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:10 pm

Prince_of_the_Halflings wrote:Certainly I think that the implausibility of Gandalf not realising that Bilbo's ring was The One is because in Tolkien's original conception there was no One ruling ring.


Very likely...

gwynhvar wrote:I simply took it that traveling creature to creature the message reached Rivendell. I had never calculated the actual distance, which is considerable for a message to travel by "word of mouth," but perhaps not impossible if some of the messengers were birds?


Also very likely. It needn't have been one messenger. It could've been several messengers passing the message... you know, how it was done with the post stations and horses previously, but in this case it's the birds, for example. I'm not used to thinking in miles, but 35 miles a day is indeed a distance for fit travellers, especially if they carry something heavy. And they do have to carry something - would they feed on roots only for two weeks? Of course, an elf may do that, but I rather imagine him carrying at least a bow with him.

rowanberry wrote:1. Frodo’s growing to the idea of leaving the Shire. If there hadn’t been Bilbo’s example as his motivation, would he have been even more reluctant to go? Is it a coincidence that Bilbo was 50 when he set off to his journey to the Lonely Mountain, and Frodo decides to leave at or just after his 50th birthday?


To quote from the book, Following Bilbo was uppermost in his mind, and the one thing that made the thought of leaving bearable. It seems that Frodo regards the journey as a duty. He is someone who fulfils his duties, but not necessarily with big pleasure. He thought as little as possible about the Ring, and where it might lead him in the end. Frodo is, of course, a bit afraid of what lies ahead: Bilbo went to find a treasure, there and back again; but I go to lose one, and not return, as far as I can see. What he fails to notice is that when Bilbo was leaving for his adventure, he also knew very little. Yes, definitely, he knew there was a mountain somewhere in the Wild, there was a dragon and a big treasure. But what was all this to a simple hobbit? Did he realise where he was going and what was he going to find it? Did he think about his adventure as "there and back again" at the beginning of it? It became so only when it ended and Bilbo finally could reflect on it sitting by his fireplace. What is in front of Frodo, is not known to anyone, this quest and this adventure still has to be experienced, this Road still has to be walked upon. And that's a curious thing about any path of life: you never know what lies ahead and you are scared therefore... Gandalf says that to Frodo: But you cannot see very far .... Neither can I.

As for whether or not it was a coincidence that Frodo decided to leave on his 50th birthday, I think it was. At least 'inside the book'. We may of course interpret it somehow and the parallel of the two hobbits leaving for an adventure is obvious, but 'inside' it was simply a coincidence to which Frodo himself maybe gave some significance, but that's how it always is with coincidences: you notice them and then you think that it's some kind of omen...
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Postby starlin » Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:11 am

So, thoughts about our main characters...

Frodo

I have discussed Frodo's reluctance to start above. It is curious to note that throughout the chapter, Frodo shows it clearly that he doubts he will ever return to Bag End, to the Shire, to his home. He is going to take a Road which may sweep him only there, but never back.

JRRT wrote:...his last summer in the Shire...
...a last look on the Shire...
...'I wonder if I shall ever look down nto that valley again'...


On the other hand, he longs for otherness, wishes to change his environment and, in a way, have an adventure of his own.

JRRT wrote:...his heart was moved suddenly with a desire to see the house of Elrond Halfelven, and breathe the air of that deep valley where many of the Fair Folk still dwelt in peace.


So the Elves in the story partly represent another world, both for Sam and for Frodo.

Now, we also see that Frodo is a prudent and cautious hobbit. He plans in advance, and the whole Crickhollow business shows that he tries to arrange things as secretely as possible.

The last party and the last meal in Bag End are reflected in Frodo's mood. Tolkien nicely describes the mood by describing Bag End:

JRRT wrote:Bag End seemed sad and gloomy and dishevelled. Frodo wandered round the familiar rooms, and saw the light of the sunset fade on the walls, and shadows creep out of the corners. It grew slowly dark indoors.


Frodo realizes that Bag End is not his home anymore. His home, so to say, is now the Road: "I am going to start, and Gandalf must follow me."

On the other hand, there is always the Shire. Notice how Frodo fears nothing in the Shire and cannot believe his eyes when he has to admit that evil has crept even there. Gildor's words are too significant to not be mentioned:

JRRT wrote:'I knew that danger lay ahead, of course; but I did not expect to meet it in our own Shire. Can't a hobbit walk from the Water to the River in peace?
'But it is not your own Shire,' said Gildor. 'Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.'


Thus Gildor shows the main flaw of the hobbit character.

Frodo feels the growing danger and the menace, but it is still unshaped and not too frightening. He is still not ready to meet the danger: he would rather not guess what the riders are. And he asks Gildor where shall I find courage?

Frodo is named Elf-friend in this chapter. And, strangely enough, he does act as an Elf-friend. We can feel this in the way he talks to Gildor, as his equal, less wise perhaps, but equally individual and with his own concerns and worries, different from those of an ordinary hobbit. ...his mind was chiefly on the words spoken, not on food and drink, for example.

----

Sam

He appears as a rather comical character. Let's remember the 'saying farewell to the beer-barrel' or how he looks when he comes with all the things on his back. He is also pictured as a servant - this 'class distinction' is an interesting thing, by the way. Note how Pippin asks whether the bath is ready, and Sam answers, no sir...

Sam is also quite childish - at least judgind from how open he is to new things and experiences. He remembers the meeting with the Elves as one of the chief events of his life...

In this chapter Sam begin to appear as a faithful friend (servant?) of his master, more of this will be shown in Chapter 4.

---

Pippin

Is he spoilt or what? And, definitely, he belongs to 'the upper class'. He is the one who commands, not the one who does the job... Also, quite careless and childish. Which is strange, because we know he should also realize that the Riders are dangerous (Conspiracy knowledge). Is his carelessness perhaps an act?

---

Images of Evil

It is also interesting to track the ways Evil is presented in the books. The Riders are black, do not show their face, therefore formless. Hissing and smelling show they are not humane, even more like beasts than people.

---

Chance and luck

"This is indeed a strange chance" - yes, indeed. To meet the Elves, even more, the High Elves, exactly on the moment when you need help! Could even seem too incredible for a quest like this. That's what Gildor has to say: "In this meeting there may be more than chance; but the purpose is not clear to me, and I fear to say too much."
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Postby pippinsqueak » Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:24 pm

Lovely post, Starlin!

Just a couple of comments about the hobbits setting out, and echoes of Bilbo.

This is the description of Bilbo leaving with the dwarves:

He jumped over a low place in the hedge at the bottom, and took to the meadows, passing into the night like a rustle of wind in the grass.


And this is Frodo (and Pippin) leaving:

They jumped over the low place in the hedge at the bottom and took to the fields, passing into the darkness like a rustle in the grasses.


The similarities must be purposeful.

I always thought that Sam's comical appearance, including the funny hat was so that Tolkien could further the analogy to Bilbo's leaving since '. In the gloom he [Sam] looked very much like a dwarf.'

Starlin, I think I'd prefer to call Sam 'childlike' rather than 'childish'. He takes a child's pleasure in what is new to him. His remembering the meeting with the Elves as one of the chief events of his life (over and above all the many terrible adventures he has) suggests to me that Sam, despite his tendency to make gloomy predictions, prefers to dwell on happy events, and to continuously derive pleasure from them. We see this when he almost joyfully describes his meeting with Galadriel to Faramir.

I don't think we yet see Sam as a 'friend' to Frodo, and certainly he will never leave his role as servant behind.

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Postby Morwenna » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:09 pm

Thoughts on Pippin:

According to the Appendices (which he himself confirms in a later volume) he's not yet "come of age." He's the youngest of the companions. Also, a glance at the genealogy shows that he's the youngest child, with three older sisters. If that doesn't spoil a kid, what would? Obviously, he has a lot to learn, like Sam though from a different perspective.
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