Week 9: Chap 1-6 and 7-12, Book I of the Fellowship of the Ring / The Lord of the Rings

fellowship-cover

Read about major themes in The Fellowship of the Ring here:

One Wiki to Rule Them All:
Themes in the Lord of the Rings

Write a reflection on 1-2 themes in Book I of the FOTR / LOTR. Then write two questions on your assigned chapter. Make sure to respond to 2 questions posted by your peers as well.

Chapter 1: Carolyn, Sonja
Chapter 2: Jessica, Chris
Chapter 3: Kristen, Mysti
Chapter 4: Carmen, Lexi
Chapter 5: Emily, Heather
Chapter 6: Eric, Jaime

Chapter 7: Jason
Chapter 8: Sierra
Chapter 9: Miranda
Chapter 10: Nuha
Chapter 11: Katelyn
Chapter 12: Meredith

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48 thoughts on “Week 9: Chap 1-6 and 7-12, Book I of the Fellowship of the Ring / The Lord of the Rings”

  1. Chapter Two Questions:

    What is the significance of the story of Smeagol? Why do you think Gandalf chose to tell this story to Frodo so long after Bilbo had left Bag End?

    Why is it important that Gandalf reacted like he did when Frodo offered him the ring? What is the importance of the line “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” in regards to Gandalf the Grey as a character?

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    1. My interpretation is that Gandalf recognizes the Ring for what it is: a source of corruptible power that shouldn’t belong to anyone, nor should it have ever been created. In today’s world, we might assign that to nuclear/atomic power, or dictatorship, or eugenics and the like. I believe that not even magic and/or wizardry can protect someone from what seems to a virus of corruption. Gandalf shows incredible restraint in recognizing that even though he may think he possesses the power of the Ring, the Ring actually possesses power over whomever wears it.

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      1. Yes, I agree that is exactly why I believe that the ring posses control. The ring itself is control because, it controls all those around it. This control is what gives the ring power. However, it doesn’t posses control and power in a positive way and that is something that I agree to Gandalf sees in this ring and what it means that everyone.

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    2. Gandalf’s reaction to the offer of the ring shows a great power in the ring. For the Great Gandalf to be weary of a magical item tells you that the danger in that item is very real. When Gandalf talks about the power of the ring being more power than he should possess, we see that there needs to be a balance in power. His fear that the power of the ring could overtake him and shift the power the other way makes it clear that even the wisest character we have met to this point believes himself unable to wield the power of the ring without corruption. Most are not wise enough to realize the limit to the power they should have and always seek more, but Gandalf knows the need for balance and turns away from the perils of obtaining “power too great and terrible”.

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      1. Reading this actually made me realize that there was a whole other theme that I could’ve concentrated on which is danger. Danger is very present in the ring. Overall the theme of control and power goes hand and hand with danger because, this brings in danger and that is something that Gandalf sees as well in my opinion.

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    3. Smeagol’s story is important in understanding the mysterious ways in which the ring changes hands, and it is crucial in emphasizing how Frodo has come upon the ring through chance and fate. Smeagol’s story also shows Frodo, and the reader, the power that the ring has on its bearer over time. Gandalf always does things at the right time, and it took him a long time to uncover Smeagol’s story, which is expressed through his many absences and reappearances in The Hobbit and in FOTR. He is always out doing detective work and attempting to be many steps ahead of the enemy and other characters in the story. For this reason, he is a prophetic figure, and an adequate source of guidance and foresight. But he is also limited in what he can know at any specific time, which humanizes and levels his character in a way. Yes, he has power, but he is also just as prone to error and corruption as other characters in the story. Gandalf’s potential fallibility also heightens his character in that what makes him truly powerful and superior is not his magic, but his virtues, wisdom, and faith.

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    4. It was important to tell Frodo about Gollum’s story because Gandalf knew that Bilbo had already been corrupted by the ring’s power, and there would be no story that could change his mind or bring Bilbo back. The story of Gollum is supposed to act as a cautionary tale for Frodo, and also give readers insight to the dilapidating effects that the ring can have on different creatures and not just men. I viewed it as more of a cautionary tale for Frodo because he has just come into possession of the ring and has not yet been corrupted. Gandalf hopes that by making Frodo consciously aware of the affects the ring has had, he will be more cautious when handling the ring.

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    5. Simply, I think Gandalf realizes that the ring is a source of evil and corruption. For someone in his position, having an item like that, he would become far too powerful.

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  2. Themes: Friendship is one of the most important themes within the Fellowship of the Ring, and we’ve seen that ever since The Hobbit. Within the first chapter, we see the friendship between characters, and it continues throughout the rest of the novel. The loyalty between Sam and Frodo is especially strong, as Sam proves that he will do anything for Frodo. The Fellowship also becomes strong as they learn to trust each other, albeit some prejudices thrown in mix. Bilbo and Frodo too, although also related, have one of the strongest bonds. Bilbo leaves all of his possessions to Frodo, rather than keeping them or spreading them out to everyone in the Shire. The book also shows a lack of friendship, or a bond, with the hobbits when it comes to Bilbo, only caring for him when it comes to riches and what they get when he leaves.
    Power also becomes a huge part of the story. The Ring is portrayed to be this ultimate power that everyone is after, and it needs to be destroyed so that Sauron doesn’t get it. Sauron, being the ultimate villain of LOTR, is of course after his ring and will stop at nothing to get it, and when learns that it has resurfaced, he’ll go to any length to get it back. The Ring itself also wants to get back to its master, as Gandalf explains in chapter 2, that the Ring has a mind of its own, and will control whoever is currently in possession of it. The rest of the villains within the story prove to be similar to Sauron in that they will stop at nothing to get the Ring, whether for him or for their own selfishness. Whereas the “good guys,” though can also be corrupted, are trying to get rid of/destroy the power that everyone else wants. Rather than be selfish and use it for themselves, the Fellowship understands that such a power shouldn’t belong in Middle-earth.
    Chapter Three Questions:
    1. What is the purpose of telling the town that Frodo is merely moving? Is it really necessary?
    2. Do you think Frodo was just looking for an excuse to leave and find Bilbo? Why is he so desperate to find Bilbo?

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    1. I believe that Frodo telling the town that he’s moving was for the town’s protection. If any dark traveler were to inquire whereabouts of Frodo, it’s better if they have a place to point to, thereby not making a complete ransack of the town necessary.

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    2. I think it is not quite necessary to tell the town that Frodo is moving, in my opinion. I understand that they want to inform others on what is going on, but at the same time it give Frodo no sense of privacy in his life if everyone needs to be apart of it/informed about it.

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    3. By telling the town that Frodo is simply moving, they are not allowed to wander much of where he will be heading and what he is doing. It also protects them from trying to find out more, but at the same time, it also hurts them because they do not know the dangers that are around them that may be coming. I think it is necessary because if they were not told, they may find out what is going on or try to look for Frodo.

      Bilbo is a comfort for Frodo. He is family. Not just any family, but family that has experienced a great deal that now Frodo must also do. I almost feel that because of everything that is going on, Frodo can only look towards Bilbo as he can trust him with everything.

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    4. I think that making the excuse of moving makes things safer for Bag End and the Shire. Since Frodo and the ring are already being watching by the eye, it is safer to tell e eryo e that he has moved so that the ring wraiths and all the other negative entities do not poison the Hobbits. As Gandalf had said, Hobbits are very simple creatures, but they are true of heart. So having the rumor spread that Frodo is just moving is significant because the darkness will just follow frodo, the eye will just follow frodo.

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  3. 1. If the Ring gives power according to one’s stature, such as the case with Sméagol and Bilbo, what type of power might it have given Gandalf, or Sam, or even an Elf? If the Ring senses its wearer, then how would it influence any other creature?

    2. In Chapter 1, the Old Gaffer states that “If that’s (going away from home, having visitors, wealth+health) is queer, then we (The Shire) could do with a bit more queerness in these parts.” Might Tolkien have believed such traits would have been beneficial to his own place and time?

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    1. In a time period (WW1) when there were so many lines being drawn in order to divide people, Tolkien would certainly have supported bringing more people of diverse backgrounds together rather than forcing them apart. It is the act of distrusting “others” or “outsiders” that causes most wars in the first place, so it makes sense that this is a bit of Tolkien’s voice coming through the story.

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    2. Gandalf, being a Maiar like Sauron, feared to become another Sauron. No one is safe from the Ring save Tom Bombadill, and we have o idea who or what he is.

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    3. I don’t really know if it actually gives power aside from invisibility? It more so uses the wearer’s power for its own gain and to get back to Sauron. So on Gandalf, because he’s a wizard, the Ring would have much more power compared to being on someone like Bilbo or Frodo.

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  4. Death and Immortality are topics that most people consider at some point in their lives. Death is a concept I have thought a lot about over the years (probably because I work in a field where I help people plan for their death). Earthly death is not something to be feared or avoid, but a natural part of life. Earthly immortality would be unnatural and in my opinion devastating. Living long enough to watch everyone you love die and to witness uncountable sufferings would be a fate worse than death to me. Although I do not want to die today, I do not want to live forever. I think Tolkien had a similar view (which he probably thought a lot about death after witnessing the fatalities in war). He talks about death being a blessing and a curse, which seems to imply that immortality is also a type of curse for him. In chapter one of Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo leaves in such a way that it is similar to death. After over a century, Bilbo is done with the life he has and the comforts he has attained. He is ready to move on, but Frodo is not ready to say goodbye. This is very reminiscent of the passing of an older loved one in that although it is sad, it also feels normal and right in other ways. Bilbo taking off for one last adventure is easily perceived as the right move for him.

    Questions for A Long-Expected Party
    1. What is the significance of the title of chapter one in FOTR’s similarity to chapter one in the Hobbit?
    2. Why did Bilbo decide to “disappear” during his party rather than leave quietly with just a small goodbye to his nephew?

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      1. … (continued) Ch.1 of LOTR is “A Long Expected Party!” How did I never notice that?!!! So this just serves to demonstrate what a contrast of character Bilbo at the beginning of The Hobbit (parallel with Frodo) and who Bilbo is at beginning of LOTR: he is no longer afraid of uncomfortable things and in fact LONGS for them. He is no longer bothered by a few unexpected guests, but rather, invites hundreds to his home! Bilbo is no longer surprised by anything and this dramatic change of character is supposed to help demonstrate the passage of time, as well as the parallels between the beginning of Bilbo’s journey (the hobbit) and the beginning of Frodo’s journey (LOTR). It makes so much sense but it never occurred to me. Brilliant question/observation Carolyn!

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    1. I think Bilbo wanted to leave with a bang. He’s essentially the crazy old man of the Shire, so leaving quietly wouldn’t fit the person that he has become. Saying goodbye to Frodo may have also convinced him to stay, and so being unemotional about the situation of leaving might have just been his way of being able to do it.

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    2. The titles show a connection between the Hobbit and LOTR. I think it always show the changes in Bilbo. In a sense, aside from the wizardry, I feel like he is a Gandalf Jr. He is the talk of the town, the subject of these legends. In the Hobbit, Gandalf threw the party, but now Bilbo is.

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  5. Chapter 5-A Conspiracy Unmasked.
    The main theme that I saw throughout this chapter was friendship. The loyalty that Sam, Pippin, and Merry have shown in this chapter alone is astonishing. Repeatedly, Frodo tells his friends that he must take the ring away from the Shire on his own. His friends will not accept that. They insist on risking their lives in order to help their friend with this incredible task. Merry even states, “You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin-to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours-closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word” (105). This moment of the story is what defines the values of friendship that Tolkien would have seen as valuable. In demonstrating the true meaning of friendship this early in his novel, he is asserting the importance of friendship both in Middle Earth and in the real world.

    Questions to consider for chapter 5:
    1) What do you think the significance is of naming this chapter “A Conspiracy Unmasked”? What exactly is being “unmasked” or revealed?
    2) What is significant about Frodo’s dream at the end of the chapter? Could it be Tolkien’s way of foreshadowing upcoming dangers for Frodo and his friends? If so, how?

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    1. The conspiracy being unmasked is Frodo’s plan to leave the shire. He has been planning his departure carefully with Gandalf so that no one would know that he is leaving because Frodo does not want to say goodbye to his friends and also because no one is to know that he is leaving. If people know that he is leaving the shire then they can tell the people that are looking for Frodo. The people who are looking for Frodo will not try to get the information in a nice way and in the end they would torture it out of one of the hobbits.

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  6. Reflection on Themes:

    Surprisingly, the theme I found throughout the 7 chapters was not just of friendship, but also a philosophy of giving and receiving. I counted at least 5 mentions of something that “isn’t natural,” according to common Hobbit habits. These ranged from eternal youth, to extreme wealth (or a combo of the two), to being bothered with boats, to hosting unknown visitors. According to Hobbit custom, these are not normal behaviors. Yet, Gaffer believes that Hobbiton might benefit from a bit more “queer” behavior, and resents any criticism of his neighbors, the Bagginses. Granted, his loyalty is one of employment and fair treatment from his employer, Bilbo, but he also sees that even the Shire must be more flexible with their rigidness. I think the theme of friendship IS valuable, but I also find that Hobbits take responsibility, accountability, and consideration much more valuable than anything else, save a heavy supper table. If possible, Hobbits can serve the rest of the world much more than any other race or species could teach them. Maybe this isn’t much of a theme, but it’s what I gleaned from the first 7 chapters. There is more to Hobbits than food and comfort.

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  7. A big theme that I noticed in The Fellowship of the Ring would have to be good versus evil. Evil seems to be everywhere in this novel and for only one reason, the ring. The ring has the ability to change people into being something that they are not, and that is to be evil. When the ring is not around, then everything is good and seems to be the way that it should be. The ring has holds so much power that even the most self respected characters will do something that is completely out of their norm. Luckily, not every character gets sucked into the power of the ring, almost, but not quite. Tom Bombadil seems to be the only character in the novel that is immune to the ring and its powers. He is so unimpressed by being better than someone else with power that he could care less about the ring, that is why I respect him. He just goes with the flow of things. Unfortunately, there seems to be more evil than good in this story, even if it is not intentional. Other than doing what is right and good, characters want nothing to do with what is good if it means not having the power over someone else, which seems a tad pathetic if you ask me. It seems as if good tries to take over evil so many times throughout this novel, but the power of evil is just too strong in this story.
    Questions: 1. What does the Barrow-wright tell us about Tolkien’s idea of evil?
    2. Does the Shire itself also relate to the theme of good versus evil?

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  8. Jason C Warren
    Chapter 7- “In the House of Tom Bombadil”

    Firstly, I am not a fan of Tom Bombadil. He is far too happy, and silly for LOTR. He belongs in a child’s book of silly nursery rhymes (which he does in “Tales of a Perilous Realm”) but seems a bit misplaced in LOTR. The only redeeming quality of his is his seemingly immense power that stems from him being an ancient creature of Middle Earth. However, the unanswered questions regarding his origin also frustrate me as it seems a bit too convenient to have some made up character with no feasible origin and immense powers. The only thing I can gather about good ‘ol Tom is that he is some kind of manifestation of a nature spirit, or perhaps a Mayair who never left Middle-Earth (what else could explain his fearlessness, his claim of “eldest”, his love and “mastery” of all things to do with nature, and his betrothal to a river spirit)?

    One of the themes here is power, the power that Tom exerts over “Old Man Willow” to release the hobbits after a few whispered words. Tom obviously possesses immense power, but refrains from using it unless absolutely necessary, and even then, he does not concern himself with the fate of the world outside his realm of mastery; this humility seems to be essential to those who Tolkien considers “good” but also powerful. Power without humility and restraint is evil in Tolkien’s world, and perhaps Tom is merely a hint that beings of immense power and mystery await the hobbits along their journey.

    Another theme represented in this chapter is “Nature vs Technology” or in this case, Nature vs any “things that go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning: destroyers and usurpers” (141). Here we get a taste of the many things in Tolkien’s world that are personified. The trees talk to one another and have secret abilities to defend themselves, which makes it easier for the reader to accept that a ring is somehow speaking to Frodo or a sword has a will or mind of its own. After the hobbits’ near-death encounter with the trees, they begin to think of themselves as the intruders upon the Old Forest, which gives them a reverence for all things in nature after that.

    Lastly, the theme of “fate” is briefly addressed here when Frodo exclaims that they were “lucky” Tom happened to be nearby, to which Tom replies, “Just chance brought me then, if chance you call it” (137). This is one of the first hints in LOTR that there are powers greater than mere luck in Tolkien’s world.

    QUESTIONS

    1) Who the heck is Tom Bombadil, or rather, WHAT is he??? How does he possess such power? (Mastery over nature, immortality, betrothal to the daughter of a river spirit, etc.)

    2) If Tom is so ridiculously powerful (and old) why does he isolate himself in the Old Forest? Why don’t he and Goldberg offer to assist the hobbits in their quest to destroy the ring?

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    1. No one knows who or what Tom Bombadill is, and Tolkien deliberately never gave a solid answer beyond “he’s old.” I have tow personal theories, though ultimately it does not matter, as Bombadill simply “is.” Anyways, my 2 ideas are
      1) He’s some sort of servant to Yavanna, being the Valar of nature
      2) He’s Eru Illuvatar himself
      Both would explain how he’s completely impervious to the Ring, how he’s lived so long, and how little he cares about anything, as if he were so holy, everyone else would be like ants

      Either way, Tom Bombadill is above the trifles of Middle-Earth. All the man is concerned with is loving his wife and living peacefully in the forest. Why should he care about some measly Ring when he has the greatest wife in all of Middle-Earth?

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    2. Tom is powerful I agree, but there are numerous reasons for his own isolation. He isolates himself in the forest because that is where he truly feels at one with nature. He also isolates himself because the Old Forest is where he can maintain his power unlike in the outside world that is full of corruption and other dangers. He would rather be isolated and turn a blind eye on the cruelty of middle Earth, and focus on the beauty and joy that he has seen in his time in the Old Forest. My last reason for his isolation also answers the second part to this question as to why Tom and Goldberg do not offer to join them in their quest. They have been in isolation for so long, and coming out and facing the perils of the outside world would have been too much for Tom and Goldberg to bear.

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  9. In Book 1 of Lord of the Rings many themes are introduced that thread throughout the whole saga, and which reappear in Tolkien’s other works. The themes of love and friendship, growing up, or coming of age, fate, and myth and storytelling all appear throughout the first chapters. I agree with the LOTR Wiki that Christ figures are also an important theme in the text. If Frodo is a Christ figure then his friends are essential to his Via Dolorosa, or “way of sorrows” in that they carry and share is journey with him, and provide strength and emotional healing along the way.
    Frodo’s crossing the threshold of the shire signifies his coming of age, which is represented in his visit to Mr. Maggot’s farm and his recollection of stealing mushrooms from him as a child. What was once terrifying and traumatic for Frodo pales in comparison to what is before him. Frodo is fated to go on his journey into Mordor because he has inherited the ring from the Bilbo who came upon it by chance. And because Frodo is the fated ring-bearer, he is conflicted on whether to take his friends with him on his journey. His duty to carry the ring further emphasizes his coming of age, and his acceptance of a task that his larger than himself.
    Myth and storytelling appears continuously in Book 1 as Bilbo’s history is recounted, and through the telling of the history of the ring. The hospitality that Pippin, Frodo, and Sam receive at Maggot’s farm also resembles the hospitality that is received at Beorn’s house in The Hobbit. Maggot is at first reluctant to let the hobbits in until he recognizes Pippin and looks forward to storytelling over dinner.

    Questions for Chapter 4 “A Short Cut to Mushrooms”:

    What does the tone of this chapter signify considering what comes next? How is Frodo’s childhood memory of stealing mushrooms from Maggot’s farm significant to his journey? To his character development?
    In this chapter, Frodo agrees to let Sam go with him on his journey. What convinces him?

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  10. Chapter 10:
    In this chapter, the hobbits are still skeptic about whether or not Strider is someone they can trust (regardless of what he knows about the Black Riders). As the section goes on, Butterbur arrives with a letter to Frodo from Gandalf, however, the letter was meant to be read three months prior to the time Butterbur actually delivers it. In the letter Gandalf explains that danger was near and they should immediately leave Hobbiton. This worries the hobbits because they now have very little time to escape. In the letter, Gandalf also expresses that Struder deserves the complete trust of the hobbits and should be their guide towards escapism.

    “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.”

    Question 1: Do you think there is a reason Butterbur waited so long to deliver the letter? Or did he simply forget to do so? Can he be trusted after this action?

    Question 2: Why did the hobbits not trust Strider from the start?

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  11. Friendship is a very obvious core to the story early on. Sam is only able to join Frodo because he is his friend, and as a friend, he was curious about what Frodo and Gandalf were speaking of. Sam being there for Frodo is what helps Frodo make it as far as he ultimately does. Had Sam not been with his best friend, the Ring may never have been destroyed. Similarly, this is expressed through an otherwise forgotten character, Fatty Bolger. It’s clear Tolkien cut him out of the journey, as the Hobbits set out with five horses, but the fifth is never mentioned after they leave the Shire proper. However, Fatty is still an important character, arguably one of the most important. He delays the Ringwraiths from finding Frodo and company, and if he had not been there to do that, it’s likely they would have been caught. Everyone that was ever close to Frodo helps in some way, shape, or form, which is not common for epics as they traditionally focus on one hero, and nearly everyone is a hero in some way.

    Another important theme that makes Lord of the Rings unique is its depiction of power as all-consuming, so much so that even the ultimate Good are defenseless. Despite how powerful and godlike Gandalf may be, he is still afraid of the Ring and knows he can very easily be turned evil by it. If someone as mighty as Gandalf can’t even look at the ring, it sets a massive precedent for no one in Middle Earth being able to even bear it (save for Tom Bombadill, but he is beyond such things as the dichotomy of Middle Earth), and this makes Frodo such an important figure as, despite everything, he chooses to go on this perilous journey.

    Questions:

    1) What is Tom Bombadill and what is his role in the story this early on?
    2) If Tolkien loves nature so much, why do the trees attack the Hobbits?

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  12. One of the most prominent themes in Fellowship of the Ring, in my opinion, is Christ figures. Maybe it is because I am taking Dr. Beal’s Literature of the Bible class right now, and that is why this theme was so “in your face” while I was reading. In the first chapter of LOTR, Bilbo Baggins is described in an almost god-like nature. He hasn’t aged in 60 years and has become seemingly immortal. Everyone has heard stories of the great things and adventures that he has done, but not all have seen him. He’s planning a party, and providing all of his guests with party favors, what I equated to blessings. With that in mind, it is only natural that his heir, which was not technically born to him, would be Frodo, the Christ figure of the story. Frodo receives the ring, the source of temptation and evil, which is similar to Christ receiving the burden of sin.

    A theme that I found to be closely related was friendship. Frodo takes on the burden of the ring in order to save the rest of Middle-Earth from its evil, particularly those closest to him. Friendship is all about sacrifice, and as we see as we are reading LOTR, Frodo is constantly making sacrifices for the well-being of those around him. Bringing in Tolkien’s personal history, he had a group of friends that he literally fought a war with. Going through Hell and back is something that is sure to provide depth to any relationship, which we see with Frodo and his friends.
    1.) In chapter 1, Bilbo tells Gandalf that he is going to go through with his plan, though we don’t know what it is yet. Gandalf agrees, but does not pressure him in terms of going through with it or not, which is the exactly opposite of what we saw in the first chapter of the Hobbit. What does this say about the relationship between Bilbo and Gandalf? How has it changed since The Hobbit?
    2.) Everyone seems so fascinated to learn that there will be fireworks at Bilbo’s party. Other than the fact that fireworks have not been seen in a long time, why are fireworks so important to the people of Middle Earth? What could they symbolize?

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  13. Friendship is an important theme in LOTR/FOTR, as it is emphasized in the “fellowship” part of the title. The success of their mission is dependent on the foundation of friendships and relationships with others that include the wizards, elves, dwarves, man kind, and other hobbits as well. Each has something to contribute to the journey whether it be a form of healing, weapons, housing, safety, or guidance and knowledge, all support is helpful on Frodo’s quest to Mordor. Friendship is a fascinating and brilliant concept in the way that it creates a camaraderie among all against the evil forces of Sauron, it let’s Frodo know he is not alone even though the burden of the Ring is solely his for only he is strong enough to resist the temptations it brings. This strengthens Frodo to keep going despite the troubles and dangers he encounters and to maintain his faith in the power of good against evil.

    1. How does friendship help to make the long struggle of the Ring quest better for Frodo?

    Another theme that is very apparent in the FOTR is power, the good vs. the evil. The forces of evil do not rest, it seems that even the most well-intentioned characters can be turned to the dark side by the power of the Ring. The power of the Ring transformed the Black Riders, once human kings into Ringwraiths. Gollum, once named Sméagol, killed his friend Déagol for the Ring and then became a creature whose only desire is to retrieve the Ring for himself. Another corrupt character that becomes susceptible to the Ring’s power is Boromir who grows increasingly corrupted by the proximity of the Ring. There is strictly two sides, either for destroying the ring or for the evil forces to take over middle earth and destroy the existence of good. We are given a good idea of the power the Ring holds for Sauron forged it and he himself is of great power but still the Ring symbolizes a power without limits which is what makes it so desirable.

    2. What makes Tom Bombadil exempt from Middle-earth’s wars between good and evil? What would be the reason for Tom Bombadil’s neutrality?

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    1. In terms of friendship, Frodo feels he has to bear the weight of the Ring alone–that no one else can understand what he has experienced. However, the friendships of the Fellowship and his cousins in addition to Sam prove that their unwavering support shows him that he can rely on their strength when the corruption of the Ring causes him to only see death and darkness and despair. In particular, the close relationship between himself and Sam shows that it is indeed possible to see the light and that love conquers all. It is Sam who never leaves Frodo’s side and believes in courage and the overcoming of evil by good. His steadfastness directly fights against the influence of the Ring and allows Frodo to continue the Quest regardless of hardship.

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  14. Chapter 2 Theme:

    Fate is something that comes up a lot in this chapter. Gandalf tells Frodo that no one really has control over their lives or the actions they take because everything was meant to happen. The Ring was meant to be found by Bilbo after Smeagol had killed for it. Ultimately, it was meant to be given to Frodo. Bilbo and Gollum didn’t give up the Ring, the Ring chose to go as it was meant to be. Fate then is to “blame” for everything, good or bad, that happens, at least according to Gandalf. In a way, The Ring and its inception is its own Manifest Destiny plaguing Middle-earth.

    Chapter 2 Questions:

    1) With fate in mind, Frodo brings up an interesting question, why did the Ring choose to go with the hobbits rather than try to make its way to the Orcs. The orcs were near the Ring after killing Isildur so they could have had the chance to possess it as well.

    2) The Shire seems to be a motif in this chapter as it is a constant geographical point of interest for Gandalf and the dark forces that have figured out its name and its whereabouts. Why is the Shire a key geographical point of interest aside from the Ring being hidden there? What is it about the Shire that makes it a hidden gem?

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    1. What makes the Shire a hidden gem is that of all the lands in Middle Earth, it is untouched by corruption, evil, death, devastation, and loss. It remains a beautiful place of peace, comfort, and the simple delights in everyday living, and a surprising source of resilience of those who live there. The Shire is shown to be a reflection of Tolkien’s view of England, and what it was before the advent of technology and industrial development. The land was untouched and left to its natural state of being–which the population enjoyed immensely.

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    2. I don’t think that the Ring originally intended to go with Bilbo in The Hobbit. The ring was trying to get away from Gollum and in the process was found by Bilbo. The ring knew that it had to get away from Gollum or it would never be seen by anyone again. I think that Bilbo finding it was unexpected and the ring just did not object to being taken by Bilbo. The ring had to create a new plan and Bilbo seemed to be the best option at the time.

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  15. Power is a major theme in the Lord of The Rings. The one ring holds the power for great evil and the power to rule over all else. The power of the rings corrupts men more quickly than it corrupts Saruman or the hobbits. This probably has to do with the way that men were created by Iluvatar and the free will that was given to men alone. The hobbits being slow to corruption is an interesting point because they are not talked about in the creation story in The Silmarillion, the reader has no idea if they were created by Iluvatar or by one of the other Valar like the dwarves were. The theme of power is absolute power, one ring to rule them all, one person (Sauron) who can properly rule with the ring. The ring also carries the idea that the only person who can ever use the devil’s powers is the devil himself and everyone who tries will just fall to evil and death in the proses. The power of the ring does not just corrupt and cause death, it morphs the wearer over time. The physical, emotions, and spiritual self is changed or lost all together. For example, the Nazgul only have solid form when they are seen by the wearer of the one ring.
    Friendship is a huge theme in all of the Lord of The Rings books. The hobbits have a strong bond of friendship that causes them to go on this big adventure together. Sam is loyal to Frodo because he is friends with Frodo and has a family obligation to Frodo. The Friendships between the four hobbits are family bonds with each other and because of that they are strong. Sam and Frodo are almost like brothers, they are so close. Sam was raised next to Frodo and Bilbo and would listen to all of Bilbo’s stories. Merry is Frodo’s cousin and good friend, because of the strong bond of family and being raised together after Frodo’s parents died. The Shire does not seem to be a big plan, the four friends are all the same age and played together as children and stayed friends into adulthood. This strong bond would cause them to want to stay with each other and protect each other on this journey. They would not want anything to happen to one another. Being on this journey together is going to help them build a stronger friendship because they are going to have to rely on each other to survive.

    Chapter 12 Questions:
    1. What is the significance of Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and Strider taking the same road that the 13 from the Hobbit took and finding the stone trolls still there?

    2. If the party had not met with Glorfindel when they did do you think that Frodo would have survived his wounds?

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  16. In regards to Fate, it is truly remarkable that Gandalf tells Frodo that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, just as Frodo was meant to have it. I believe this reflects Gandalf’s words to Bilbo in The Hobbit when he tells him it was not only luck or chance that brought about the outcomes of the adventures. Bilbo had a part to play in bringing them about. Just as evil exists in the world, Gandalf makes the poignant observation that there were other forces at work when Bilbo found the Ring, implying a greater purpose at hand even though such a ‘random’ event seemed insignificant at the time. In essence, what is meant for evil can be turned for good.

    In regards to Forgiveness, it is vital to note that Bilbo’s pity towards Gollum allows for a chain of events leading to the fate of Middle Earth. In turn, Frodo’s understanding of Gollum’s life as a ‘sad story’ allows him the choice to turn aside anger and also spare Gollum’s life. Gandalf tells him he feels Gollum has a part to play, whether for good or ill.

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS CHAPTER 1 🙂

    In what ways is Bilbo’s feelings of possession of the Ring directly reflect his encounter with Gollum in ‘The Hobbit’?

    Why does Gandalf insist that Frodo keep the Ring secret, and to keep it safe? Why is it significant that it seems that Gandalf bears a great weight, as Frodo observes when the wizard leaves?

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    1. During his encounter with Gollum in “The Hobbit”, Bilbo comes to a realization of just how important the ring is to Gollum. Aside from it being just a materialistic item, it contains great power. Bilbo becomes aware of just how powerful the ring is and the amount of power it brings to whoever wears it. Overall, Bilbo knows the ring is a big deal and that it must always remain in the right hands.
      Gandalf insists that Frodo keeps and ring safe and secret for similar reasons. Gandalf is fully aware of the power that the ring contains. He is also aware of what conflict comes about when it becomes known that one individual is in possession of the ring- everyone else becomes jealous and outraged that they do not have the ring, or that it has been kept secret from them. Gandalf seems to bear a great weight when leaving because of what he knows of the ring. He knows the great power and corruption it brings to the beholders. He is also aware of the importance of keeping the ring in the right hands, which is why he wants Frodo to be safe with it.

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    2. Bilbo’s feelings of possession of the ring in LOTR are reminiscent of the way that Gollum acted towards the ring when Bilbo first took it from him. It shows that Bilbo has been corrupted just like Gollum had been.

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  17. One major theme would be the influence that power has on an individual and how it can corrupt whoever is in possession of power. The ring tends to corrupt the mind of whoever is in possession of it, much like how people in positions of high power tend to take advantage of it or go on “power trips”. Readers do not know the full capacity of power the ring holds, but we do know that it seems to contain a sort of limitless power. The characters have a pretty good idea of this as well, which makes the corruption even more strong.

    CHAPTER 2 DISCUSSION Q’s
    1) Which characters appear to be good and which ones are evil? Provide explanations.
    2) what is the purpose of including Frodo’s memory of stealing the mushrooms in the story?

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  18. One of the themes in the series is power, specifically who has it, and who is tempted by it. The ring gives it’s owner unimaginable powers, and the whole world seeks to have it. The power of the ring is corrupting, and it tempts people to join Sauron to receive more power. In “The Hobbit” Bilbo stumbled on the rings power on accident, and was tempted to seek more. By the time Frodo gets the ring, others have found out about the ring and seek its power for themselves. I’m reminded of the various political situations that Tolkien lived through and was influenced by. The World Wars were fought over power, and were the direct result of too much power falling into the wrong hands.
    Another theme in LOTR is forgiveness. When Gandalf first retells the story of how Bilbo got the ring from Gollum, Frodo asks why Bilbo did not kill him when he had the chance. Gandalf says “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life.” He also tells Frodo that the ring didn’t corrupt Bilbo as quickly as it would someone else if Bilbo hadn’t spared Gollum. Frodo eventually spares Gollum as well, even though he told Sauron where to find the ring. Forgiveness after war is important for soldiers, to help them heal, and once again Tolkien projects his own learned lessons into his story.

    Chapter 5 Questions:
    We had talked before in class about how Merry, Pippin, and Sam represent the three friends that Tolkien enlisted with during WW1. Why would Tolkien make Merry and Pippin Frodo’s cousins?

    Does Frodo’s dream at the end of the chapter foreshadow what lies ahead on their journey?

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  19. Death and Unexpectedness are themes that seem to appear in the Lord of the Rings book. Through the book, death is a common conversation because these characters do not know whether they will die in this moment or the next. Unexpectedness is another theme that seems to have carried over from the Hobbit book. Frodo and the hobbits find themselves thrown into situations that they would have never expected.

    Chapter 9 Question:
    What was the point of having Frodo “accidentally” slip on the ring?
    Why are there so many forms of foreshadowing in this chapter?

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    1. Frodo accidentally slipped the ring on to show how it was tempting him along the journey. We knew from the beginning that Frodo was not as incorruptible as Bilbo, this moment of weakness was just there to highlight Frodo’s fallibility.

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  20. Two of the major themes in the fellowship of the ring is control and temptation. Control is one of them because of how much control the ring has over everyone throughout the book. Everyone’s main concern is the ring and how to get a hold of it or keep it. It’s interesting how one object can control all the characters and how all events throughout the book revolve around the ring.
    Then there is the second theme which is temptation. I say temptation because, it’s tempting everyone to do or act certain ways that they shouldn’t. I would say that both of these go hand in hand. First there is temptation then there is countries after temptation. I feel like the whole story revolves around the ring and the emotions that the ring is bringing out in everyone. Whether it brings power, loyalty greed temptation envy or control. Out of all these emotions and themes it was control and temptation that see more present than the other ones.
    Chapter
    1. Why is Frodo so sure that he is keeping a secret?
    2. Why does merry reveal last minute that she knew all along about the secret ?
    3. Why does she lead them to crickhollow specifically

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    1. Heather, Merry is a male character, not a female one); he goes ahead to Crickhollow – he does not lead the other hobbits there – Frodo had previously chosen a home there, so he is the “leader” in that decision, if you will.

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