FOTR, Book 2, Chapters 9&10,Great River,Breaking..Fellowship

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FOTR, Book 2, Chapters 9&10,Great River,Breaking..Fellow

Postby ~WyrtWif~ » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:44 am

Hello and welcome to the discussion thread of chapters 9 and 10 of Book 2 of The Fellowship of the Ring! If you are new to this forum, please check in at the LOTR OOC thread before posting.

SUMMARY: LOTR Book 2, Chp 9, The Great River

The morning arrives with the party off-river, and they soon set back on to the river to again drift southwards. They allow the river to carry them at its pace, but rise early and staying afloat as many hours of the day as possible. Days pass and the landscape transistions from bare to bleak. Sam catches sight of Gollum in the river, and Aragorn mentions he has been aware of their follower since Moria. Aragorn tells Frodo and Sam he will watch for the remainder of that night.

Another day passes and the party comes upon rapids at night, and they quickly turn the boats aside to escape the danger. However, their turning takes them to the eastern shore, and they are assaulted by a rain of orc-arrows. After some struggle, they manage to turn the boats and land on the western shore, only to hear an evil cry in the night sky above. Legolas' bow proves a great boon, as he manages to shoot the thing out of the sky, much to the dismay of the orcs on the opposite shore.

The morning brings debate about which way the party should travel, and again it is seen that Boromir is intent upon returning to his homeland, but rescinds to support the fellowship in their travels as far as he can go, to the Tindrock. The boats are carried over land past the rapids and the party again takes to the water. After a brief journey through rain and fog, the party is awed by the sight of the Argonath, the fearsome carvings of the kings of old, seemingly warning away anyone who would venture in between. Sam's fear is put to rest by Strider, who in a brief moment of awakening, reveals his kingly stature as Aragorn.

The boats shoot past the chasm of the stone sentinels which opens onto a long lake flanked by tall hills at the far end. The falls of Rauros are audible just beyond sight past the hills, where the fellowship must decide their final path.

SUMMARY: LOTR Book 2, Chp 10, The Breaking of the Fellowship

For rest and shelter, Strider directs the landing on the west bank. Frodo is wary, and his sword Sting reveals faint orc-sign. The dawn is red with black clouds in the east. The party gathers to discuss the final path, but no one volunteers a decision, and so, given the task of choosing, Frodo asks for an hour alone to consider. Boromir quietly leaves the group and follows Frodo, feigning to guard him, but instead pleading and cajoling insistingly with Frodo for the cause of taking the ring to use in force against Sauron. Frodo steps away in fear of Boromir's apparent anxiety, and as Boromir lunges at him, enraged, Frodo uses the ring to escape. Boromir yells at Frodo, accusing him of plotting to take the ring to Sauron. However, Boromir trips and falls in the pursuit of Frodo, and crying, he comes to himself in the realization of his grievous error.

Frodo runs away to the hill top, where he looks across the land. He perceives the searching of the eye, and manages to remove the ring before he is caught. He comes to terms with the fact that he must leave the fellowship and continue on alone. His decision made, he heads down the hill, placing the ring back on his hand for concealment.

The party wonders what his decision will be, and notices the time has passed, and just then Boromir walks up and confesses what he has done. In fear for his safety, the search for Frodo commences. Sam quickly catches on and runs to the boats, and jumps into the water to follow the apparently empty boat that is leaving without him, calling to Mr. Frodo. Frodo pulls him into the boat, and the two land on the far shore, and begin making their way to the east and into the Emyn Muil.
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Postby ~WyrtWif~ » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:45 am

(Chp 9)
1. Why hasn't Aragorn mentioned Gollum following prior to overhearing Frodo and Sam's conversation here?

2. Does the appearance of the Nazgul have any special significance?

3. What feelings are invoked by the Argonath and have we heard any tales of them previously in these books?

(Chp 10)
4. If the party knows the ring must travel east to be destroyed, why does Strider land the group on the west bank?

5. What do we learn about Boromir here?

6. Frodo removes the ring to avoid detection by the eye, but after he leaves the hill top, he puts the ring back on. Does he feel safe from the eye at this time?


Please add further questions and comments for discussion!
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Postby Mahima » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:27 pm

Why hasn't Aragorn mentioned Gollum following prior to overhearing Frodo and Sam's conversation here?


Whoo. Never thought of this. Well, I think this is another indication of Aragorn's "Kingly" descent. He has seen Gollum, chooses not to bother his "cares" about it, but instead always keeps a watch on Gollum. The way a King would take care of his people, whether they knew about dangers or not

One thing which I have always wondered is how did Gollum manage to catch up with the Fellowship once again after they Lothlorien?
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Postby Arvegil » Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:32 am

4. If the party knows the ring must travel east to be destroyed, why does Strider land the group on the west bank?


Because opposite lies Emin Muil, the difficult hills. If they were going to portage around the falls, the west side would be easier.
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Postby rowanberry » Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:32 am

~WyrtWif~ wrote:4. If the party knows the ring must travel east to be destroyed, why does Strider land the group on the west bank?


If I remember correctly, Aragorn explained somewhere (I'll have to find the reference) that his plan was that, not all of the company would have gone to Mordor - it was to be Frodo, Sam?, Aragorn, and Gimli. The others would have most probably gone to Minas Tirith with Boromir. It would have been easier to cross the river stealthily with just a few people than with the whole company and their gear. It was also possible that, he didn't even mean to cross until from Osgiliath, or wherever the Rangers of Ithilien crossed the river - he might well have been aware that Gondor fared guerrilla war on the east bank.
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Postby Boromir the Great » Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:51 am

Yes, Sam, Aragorn and Gimli would have gone together. "Sam would not have it otherwise," I believe was the words Aragorn used when he explained why Sam would go to Mordor too.

2. Does the appearance of the Nazgul have any special significance?


They weren't sure if it were the Nazgul or not. But, it does make the company have to change a few details in thier plan, including breaking it up.

5. What do we learn about Boromir here?


He wants to do right, but, he can't control himself from his desire. He has brilliant plans to, but he can't complete them on his own.


6. Frodo removes the ring to avoid detection by the eye, but after he leaves the hill top, he puts the ring back on. Does he feel safe from the eye at this time?


That was the only sure way that he could have bypassed Boromir and the fellowship and be able to go alone to Mordor. The only reason Sam catches him is he guesses Frodo's intentions.
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Postby Nadreck_of_Palain7 » Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:39 pm

4. If the party knows the ring must travel east to be destroyed, why does Strider land the group on the west bank?


Several of the members of the Fellowship wanted to go to Minas Tirith first. Boromir had already declared that he was going to Minas Tirith whether anyone else went with him or not. Gimli, Legolas, Merry and Pippin later said they prefered to to go to Minas Tirith first. Frodo and Sam never expressed any preference. Aragorn must have been aware of this. During the trip from Lorien, Aragorn had consistently tried to postpone the choice of direction. Landing on the east side would have made a choice that was probably irrevocable. Also Aragorn believed that Faramir's and Boromir's dream was a summons to come to Minas Tirith. He probably originally expected Gandalf to go with Frodo to Mordor while he went to Gondor. After Gandalf's fall Aragorn was in a very serious dilemna.

I think that the reason the Fellowship did not go to the east was simply the perception of the hopelessness of such a trip. None of them could imagine how they were to sneak into Mordor and travel to Barad Dur undetected. So most of them rationalized reasons to postpone that despair. Of course, all of them (except Boromir) would have been willing to go to Mordor with Frodo if Frodo decided to go east immediately. In that case their loyalty and sense of duty would have overcome their fear, even of very likely death.

Of course Frodo overcame his own fear after Boromir tried to take the Ring. His fear of the evil consequences of the presence of the Ring among others became greater than his fear of Mordor.
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Postby Lillassea » Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:35 pm

Frodo is definitely still afraid – of both The Eye and the Nazgul.

He felt the evil of The Eye and thereby realized that he must journey to Mordor alone to rid The Company of the Ring before more damage was done to its members. It was the warning of Gandalf, after all, that helped him to remove the Ring, before The Eye found Frodo on Amon Hen.

Also, the appearance of the Nazgul is further cause for Frodo to fear. Judging by his reaction to it, the Nazgul was probably none other than the Witchking, who stabbed Frodo at Amon Sul.

:)
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Postby Mahima » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:05 pm

~WyrtWif~ wrote:6. Frodo removes the ring to avoid detection by the eye, but after he leaves the hill top, he puts the ring back on. Does he feel safe from the eye at this time?


One weird theory I had here, was that simply being on top of Amon Hen, in that chair made Frodo more susceptible to the roving-searching eye. I do not think the eye was really hindered by geographical and physical obstacles, but recall that chair also had special, historical significance in terms of being able to collect thoughts, reach decisions etc. Once Frodo was off that chair, maybe it was easier for him to delude the eye.
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Postby rowanberry » Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:04 am

I think Mahima has got something there. :) It is when Frodo is sitting on the seat on the top when he sees things from afar, in a way he couldn't see otherwise, even with the Ring on. That may bring him "closer" to Sauron, especially after he turns his gaze toward Mordor. After he leaves the hilltop, he goes out of Sauron's detecting range again.
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Postby Mahima » Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:34 pm

I tried to get some more "proof" to build this hypothesis, but came up with nothing - except that the chair in which Frodo was sitting was called the "Seat of Seeing" - which gives an indication of its power.
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Postby Arvegil » Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:12 am

The thing with Boromir is that he falls prey to what is, in Tolkien's World, one of the biggest and most insidious traps: the willingness to use ethically questionable means to accomplish good ends.

Tolkien is the opposite of Machiavelli on this point: he believes that use of questionable means taints otherwise good ends. Sauron himself is a cautionary tale in this regard. He did not begin evil, just a little too obsessed with order and efficiency (see "Myths Transformed"). However, his willingness to see Melkor as a means to accomplishing his ends led him down the path to evil.
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Postby Morwenna » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:35 pm

Arvegil wrote:The thing with Boromir is that he falls prey to what is, in Tolkien's World, one of the biggest and most insidious traps: the willingness to use ethically questionable means to accomplish good ends.

Tolkien is the opposite of Machiavelli on this point: he believes that use of questionable means taints otherwise good ends. Sauron himself is a cautionary tale in this regard. He did not begin evil, just a little too obsessed with order and efficiency (see "Myths Transformed"). However, his willingness to see Melkor as a means to accomplishing his ends led him down the path to evil.


Gandalf makes the same point about Saruman at the Council of Elrond.
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Postby Mahima » Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:42 am

That's a good insight, Arvegil. I didn't particularly notice the means-ends theme, and the similarities between various characters' in ME as, Morwenna also pointed out.

In fact, Tolkien's exalted characters - Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, Faramir - to name four never seem to struggle with this.
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Postby Arvegil » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:19 pm

If you ever get a chance to read "Letters," Tolkien's contempt for the mechanization of war (as personified by WWII, in which Christopher served in the RAF) leads him to call it "Sarumanism" and make negative comments about "using the enemy's tools against him."

In the end, what is the Ruling Ring but a device that symbolizes absolute power obtained from an illegitimate source?
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Postby Roccondil » Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:31 am

rowanberry wrote:I think Mahima has got something there. :) It is when Frodo is sitting on the seat on the top when he sees things from afar, in a way he couldn't see otherwise, even with the Ring on. That may bring him "closer" to Sauron, especially after he turns his gaze toward Mordor. After he leaves the hilltop, he goes out of Sauron's detecting range again.


Both Mahima’s point and rowanberries response are good points. The whole significance of Amon Hen has been little discussed and I would like to bring together some thoughts on this topic.

What do we know about Amon Hen? Tolkien’s notes (manuscript index entry for North Stair quoted in Reader’s Companion and HOME 8, p. 72) make it clear that the site and the seat were built by the Númenorians, which we must take to mean late in the Second Age after the arrival of Elendil, Isildur and Anarion.

These notes also link it’s fundamental properties with those of a palantir, which means that it’s importance was high. Why then, was it placed there? Clearly this has to do with the War of the Last Alliance as the armies of Elves and Men attacked the Gates of Mordor and then later besieged Barad-dûr. Amon Hen would have been where the armies commanders could watch over all the events happening there.

In this context we should note that Aragorn knows about Amon Hen and has sat there himself (I: 406), presumably when he served in the Gondorian army, and he expects Boromir to know about it as well.

So what happened when Frodo sat on the Seat? Frodo experiences the power of the Seat but probably enhanced by the power of the ring (if we compare with the visions seen by Aragorn in the drafts (HOME 7 p 371-3 and 380-1). From this combination of powers I believe we can deduce two related effects, which are caused by the power of his gaze being sensed by others who were also wearing Rings of Power.

Firstly, when Frodo turned towards the north his gaze was detected by Gandalf. How else we might suppose might Gandalf be suddenly aware of the events occurring on that hill? Secondly, when Frodo then turned his gaze upon Mordor, he was detected by Sauron.

Sauron’s first thought, of course was to search out the location of the person who had donned the Ring and sent his gaze into Mordor. Gandalf’s thought was simply to try and counteract that Power and to warn Frodo to take the Ring off, which he is just able to do.

Since the removal of the Ring breaks the contact and since Frodo shortly puts the Ring on again without this effect it is clear that both the Ring and the Seat of Seeing together were required to make the contact with Sauron’s Eye.

Christopher Tolkien says as much himself in his notes on Tolkien’s drafts to this Chapter, where he says that a comparison of all the texts

“may suggest a more complex relationship between the power of Amon Hen and the power of the Ring, a relation which is not uncovered.” (HOME 7 p381)
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Re: FOTR, Book 2, Chapters 9&10,Great River,Breaking..Fellow

Postby Chubb » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:58 am

4. If the party knows the ring must travel east to be destroyed, why does Strider land the group on the west bank?


As per all the other replies on this. Also, if I remember rightly, the Company were aware that there were orcs on the eastern shore; the company had already come under an arrow attack from the enemy on that side, and the 'fell beast', i.e. the Nazgul, had crashed down on the east of the river after it was struck by Legolas. It would have been wholly unsafe to land on the east bank - Aragorn assumed (hoped) that the enemy had not yet landed on the western shore (first page of Chapt 10).
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Re: FOTR, Book 2, Chapters 9&10,Great River,Breaking..Fellow

Postby Chubb » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:28 am

3. What feelings are invoked by the Argonath and have we heard any tales of them previously in these books?


I found this part in the chapter fascinating. The Argonath seem to evoke quite different feelings among the group. For Aragorn it inspires strength, pride, and validation. He is coming home to his city after long exile, a moment of triumph in spite of their wider plight; moreover the sight of his ancestors steels his sense of purpose and duty.

But even so, these feelings are soon restrained and clouded by Aragorn's doubt over the direction he should take - Gandalf's loss and the burden of leadership weighs heavily on Aragorn's shoulders at that moment.

As for Frodo, we are told that 'Awe and fear fell upon' him, and 'he cowered down, shutting his eyes and not daring to look up'. From his physical reaction it would seem the fear is great. The Argonath are sentinels of warning after all, so this is not strange and is testament to the enduring power of the old kingdom. But to me it also seems to reflect the gloom and dread that has set in among the company by this stage, particularly with Frodo as the decision to part from the group and turn East draws nearer.
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Re: FOTR, Book 2, Chapters 9&10,Great River,Breaking..Fellow

Postby Peremensoe » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:38 am

Arvegil wrote:The thing with Boromir is that he falls prey to what is, in Tolkien's World, one of the biggest and most insidious traps: the willingness to use ethically questionable means to accomplish good ends.

Tolkien is the opposite of Machiavelli on this point: he believes that use of questionable means taints otherwise good ends.


I agree with him.
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