FOTR Book 2, Chapter 1: Many Meetings

Come here to join in a structured study of Tolkien's Works. Please read the guidelines before posting. New and veteran readers welcome.

FOTR Book 2, Chapter 1: Many Meetings

Postby rowanberry » Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:30 am

So, welcome to the June discussion of the VTSG! If you're new here, please check also the The Lord of the Rings OOC thread for the timetable and other practical matters.

And, what would be a better way to celebrate the makeover than to start discussing Book 2 of the LOTR. :)


Chapter 1: Many Meetings

Frodo awakes in Rivendell, and finds Gandalf sitting next to his bed. The wizard tells him that he has been unconscious for four days, and that his survival had been a matter of hours. His companions are safe and sound. And, to Frodo’s amazement, Gandalf reveals that he himself had been held captive.

Gandalf also tells that Aragorn is not just any man, but a descendant of an ancient folk of great kings that came over the sea long ago. Frodo learns more about the nature of the Ringwraiths, and finally, the wizard tells him what had happened at the Ford.

Later on that day, after a good rest, Frodo feels strong enough to get up and meet his companions again. And, in the evening, there’s a feast where Frodo for the first time sees Elrond, the lord of the house, and his daughter Arwen; his sons, Elladan and Elrohir, get also mentioned. And, next to Frodo at the table sits Glóin, one of the dwarves from Thorin Oakenshield’s company who had been on the quest of Erebor with Bilbo. Finally, after the feast at a social evening in the Hall of Fire, Frodo meets someone he has truly missed: Bilbo, who has settled in Rivendell after travelling to Dale to meet his dwarf friends.

When Bilbo asks to see the Ring once more and puts out his hand to touch it, Frodo feels something strange; it’s like a shadow had fallen between them, and the Ring makes him see the old hobbit as something he is not.

It appears that Bilbo knows Aragorn as well, although the nickname “Strider” is new to him. The old hobbit has been writing a song, with which he wishes the man to help him a little, and the two withdraw to a corner to finish it. Frodo dozes for a while listening to the elvish music, but wakes up when Bilbo begins his song about Eärendil. The hobbits go to Bilbo’s room to have a good chat together, but before they leave the hall, Frodo catches a sight of Aragorn speaking with the Lady Arwen.
User avatar
rowanberry
+++Out Of Cheese Error+++


 
Posts: 20480
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:26 am
Location: Back row of the chorus in a silly Bollywood movie
Top

Postby rowanberry » Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:34 am

Some ideas to discuss:

1. We learn that Elrond is a powerful healer, but nothing is told about the methods that he used to save Frodo. How do you think Elrond removed the splinter of the Morgul knife? By surgery or spiritual powers?

2. Sam’s description of the elves: “Some like kings, terrible and splendid; and some as merry as children.” Also, think of Gandalf’s description of Glorfindel as “one of the mighty Firstborn”. Calaquendi and Úmanyar? Or, just a difference of temperament?

3. Bilbo’s notion about that time doesn’t seem to pass in Rivendell.

4. From Bilbo’s question about Aragorn not attending the feast although Arwen was there, and later the short glimpse of those two together, do you get a feeling that there’s something going on between them? Do you think that Frodo understands it at this point?

5. Bilbo’s song about Eärendil: does it give any idea of the story behind it to someone who doesn’t know it?

6. Lindir’s comment about how all mortals seem similar, and that the elves have other business than to study them: what kind of picture does this give about the general attitude of the elves toward the rest of the world?

7. This chapter as a bridge between LOTR and The Hobbit.

And, as always, you're welcome to add any questions that you can come up with.
User avatar
rowanberry
+++Out Of Cheese Error+++


 
Posts: 20480
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:26 am
Location: Back row of the chorus in a silly Bollywood movie
Top

Postby Maegnas » Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:15 pm

Great going rowanberry! One of my favorite chapters. Here's my two cents on #1 (I'll get back another day for others in your list)

I think Elrond used a slight "combination" of both; spiritual power to enhance his ability as a healer and plain old surgery to remove the splinter. We are told that "the splinter was deep and going deeper" (my 'translation') by Gandalf so open surgery had to be practiced. another reason is that Gandalf clearly states that the splinter was "removed", like physically found and was moved outside Frodo's body. Ther is no depiction, to my knowledge, in Tolkien's world of any such capability of the Elves as to locate and remove something material from one's body by spiritual power alone. And there's the wound matter. It's healing "now" but will never fully heal, because of the nature of the blade. Surgery surely helped in that matter as it removed the factor of 'contamination'. Frodo feels a lot better one day after the splinter was removed. If only spiritual power needed be implemented he should feel better right after he reached the House of Elrond, no?
User avatar
Maegnas
Ranger of the North
 
Posts: 4008
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 2:41 pm
Location: Greece
Top

Postby Nadreck_of_Palain7 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:52 pm

4. From Bilbo’s question about Aragorn not attending the feast although Arwen was there, and later the short glimpse of those two together, do you get a feeling that there’s something going on between them? Do you think that Frodo understands it at this point?


Even though the mentions are brief it is obvious that something is going on between them. I do not know if Frodo figured that out completely, but I think that Frodo had so much to think about that he did not spend a lot of time speculating on other people's relationships. Much later in Minas Tirith Frodo does not know that Aragorn is waiting for Arwen to come to marry him. But he is not tremendously surprised when she does arrive.
User avatar
Nadreck_of_Palain7
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 11:36 pm
Top

Postby IamMoose » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:52 am

Good question about Elrond's healing skills and I don't think i'd ever really thought about it before. The fact that the splinter was found and removed does suggest to me that there was some sort of surgical procedure going on but I would suspect that there are other kinds of powers needed against such a wound.

I love the bit where Glordindel is described as "one of the mighty of the Firstborn". I've never known how to interpret the question 'was that Glordindel then?" Does it mean, was that Glorfindel at that moment in time or is it just a general question, ie 'was that Glorfindel?'.
User avatar
IamMoose
Mariner

 
Posts: 5573
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:04 am
Top

Postby Maegnas » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:06 am

Moose, I believe the answer to your question is the latter. Frodo saw a form glowing in white light when he wore the Ring, a form that was none of the nazgul as he had seen them in Amon Sul. Naturally he had to ask "who was that?" but he phrased the question in a different way as Glorfindel was the only one, known to Frodo, that could be that "flashing white figure" on the 'other side'.
User avatar
Maegnas
Ranger of the North
 
Posts: 4008
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 2:41 pm
Location: Greece
Top

Postby starlin » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:41 pm

Several observations after re-reading the first 6 pages or so. First, something that is connected to Glorfindel, since he has come into the discussion already. I found this quote very interesting:

JRRT wrote:...those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.


The "worlds" in question are, roughly, that of the "living" and that of the "wraiths". But somehow I can't place the statement that the Exiles live in both worlds into the inner system of Middle-earth. Could it be because of fading? But then, I believe fading was not restricted to the Exiles? Another early idea that Tolkien later abandoned but forgot to change in the manuscript?

Ok, coming back to the beginning of the chapter, there is another interesting moment.

JRRT wrote:...the ceiling looked strange; it was flat, and it had dark beams richly carved.


Nothing particular, I simply liked the reference to different hobbittish and elvish architecture...

Yet another thought:

JRRT wrote:...so far my only thought has been to get here; and I hope I shan't have to go any further. It is very pleasant just to rest. I have had a month of exile and adventure, and I find that has been as much as I want.


Yep, that's Frodo speaking. Let's keep this quote and observe how Frodo's motives change later...

I am also curious about Gandalf's reference to what Frodo could become:

JRRT wrote:He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.


Wraith or no wraith? How do you understand that statement?

And finally, some quotes relevant to the 'luck' theme:

JRRT wrote:...you are lucky to be here, too, after all the absurd things you have done since you left home.


JRRT wrote:[Frodo]It is a marvel that I escaped!
'Yes, fortune or fate have helped you,' said Gandalf, 'not to mention courage.
User avatar
starlin
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2333
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 8:43 am
Location: LT (Vilnius) - UK (London)
Top

Postby IamMoose » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:15 pm

Maegnas, I think you are probably right although I used to interpret it the first way and the second did not occur to me for a while. I love that sentence .. one of the mighty of the firstborn :)
User avatar
IamMoose
Mariner

 
Posts: 5573
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:04 am
Top

Postby Arvegil » Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:14 pm

"3. Bilbo’s notion about that time doesn’t seem to pass in Rivendell."

That is very consistent with how The Three work. They were originally designed to slow the changefulness of mortal lands. It is consistent that a mortal would view the effects that way.
User avatar
Arvegil
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1439
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2003 3:37 pm
Top

Postby rowanberry » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:21 am

I guess that I should finally say something myself... :roll:

7. This chapter as a bridge between LOTR and The Hobbit

In my opinion, this chapter very clearly ties these two stories together. In both, Rivendell is the place to rest and reflect. We meet Elrond again; there's a reference in Sam's description of the Elves to the merry joker kind that Thorin's company meets; and furthermore, one of Thorin's companions from the quest of Erebor has been sent there to consult Elrond. From Glóin we hear what has happened in the lands around the Lonely Mountain since the Battle of the Five Armies was fought.
User avatar
rowanberry
+++Out Of Cheese Error+++


 
Posts: 20480
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:26 am
Location: Back row of the chorus in a silly Bollywood movie
Top

Postby Arvegil » Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:30 am

I am actually quite interested by the inquiry:

"6. Lindir’s comment about how all mortals seem similar, and that the elves have other business than to study them: what kind of picture does this give about the general attitude of the elves toward the rest of the world? "

To me, this might be a comment on how the Elves are wearying of the effects of living in mortal lands and are already starting to "check out" and get accustomed to the idea that their remaining time in Middle-Earth is quite short, indeed.

Of interest is how this idea contradicts what Finrod says in Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth. Although that work takes place 6,500 years before the Council of Elrond, it was written after LOTR, when Tolkien was trying to revise The Silmarillion. In that work, the Elves were quite fascinated with human mortality. In the most extreme case of "the grass is greener on the other side" syndrome, some of the Elves envy human mortality as much as the humans envy (apparent) Elf immortality.
User avatar
Arvegil
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1439
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2003 3:37 pm
Top

Postby MithLuin » Fri Jul 07, 2006 8:52 am

starlin wrote:He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can. Gandalf about Frodo


Not a wraith. I think he is suggesting what will happen to Frodo's 'spirit', and therefore 'eyes to see' are people who can catch a glimpse of his spirit shining through his body.

Sam has 'eyes to see' as he demonstrates in Ithilien - he remembers Frodo in Rivendell being like that, and suggests that it's even stronger by the time they get to Ithilien. So, Gandalf is right - that is what Frodo is becoming, in a way. I am not sure what Gollum can (or can't) see on the Stairs, but there is something that is drawing him to Frodo, and it's not the Ring, for once.

He was reminded suddenly of Frodo as he had lain, asleep in the house of Elrond, after his deadly wound. Then as he had kept watch Sam had noticed that at times a light seemed to be shining faintly within; but now the light was even clearer and stronger. Frodo's face was peaceful, the marks of fear and care had left it; but it looked old, old and beautiful, as if the chiselling of the shaping years was now revealed in many fine lines that had before been hidden, though the identity of the face was not changed. Not that Sam Gamgee put it that way to himself. He shook his head, as if finding words useless, and murmured: 'I love him. He's like that, and sometimes it shines through somehow. But I love him, whether or no.' Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit


An intresting comparison, Arvegil. But wouldn't it be true that that jealousy would intensify over the years, as immortality became more wearisome (or to look at it another way, as the final end loomed nearer)? The indifference or lack of interest seems to be more of the fading, and disconnecting from mortal lands.
User avatar
MithLuin
Mariner

 
Posts: 8527
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 1999 12:00 pm
Top

Postby ~WyrtWif~ » Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:48 pm

Further on MithLuin's thought that Frodo's spirit may begin to shine from his body, think back to the description of the Elves first spotted by Sam in the Shire (Book I, Chapter 3), as they walk in the night they almost shimmer with light:

...the starlight glimmering on their hair and in their eyes. They bore no lights, yet as they walked a shimmer, like the light of the moon above the rim of the hills before it rises, seemed to fall about their feet.


Frodo may begin fading, but it will not be a 'dark-wraith-fading,' now that the evil point was removed and his spirit has conquered the darkness.

Arvegil, I do not have passages to back this up, but it is my opinion that the wording "Elves were quite fascinated with human mortality" conveys not an interest in humans themselves, but only in their mortality. How it works - how this gift of Eru performs, how humans may have a finite task. More a jealousy or scientific interest than a benevolent interest. This would be more in keeping with the Elves disinterest in mortal affairs.

5. Bilbo’s song about Eärendil: does it give any idea of the story behind it to someone who doesn’t know it?


Bilbo's song sounds a grand adventure of someone long ago and far away, with a love story thrown in for good measure, but as to the identity of the hero and his heroine, the story so far has given little hint. I believe it is here more to provide a sense of the grandeur and splendid tales that are offered routinely in the halls of Elrond, and to also expand on that sense of an expansive history in the background.
User avatar
~WyrtWif~
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Wed May 19, 2004 8:51 pm
Location: USA
Top

Postby Morwenna » Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:30 pm

The wound: I suspect that spiritual means were used to augment the physical surgery, perhaps something like drawing the splinter closer to the surgeon, or closing the wound behind the retreating splinter, and perhaps even locating the splinter.

Elvish attitude toward mortals: very much like many people's attitude toward people of a different ethnic group in our world! A nice bit of satire, this.

Bilbo on Elvish time: The company will notice this same thing themselves once they've passed a month in Lothlorien; Frodo remarks on it after they leave.
Morwenna
Ranger of the North


 
Posts: 4425
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: New Haven CT
Top


Return to Virtual Tolkien Study Group

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests