Week 10: The Lord of the Rings, Book II (The Fellowship of the Rings)

fellowship-cover

Write about ONE theme in Book II, demonstrating how it occurs with three pieces of literary evidence. Write TWO  questions on your assigned chapter. You must write the questions on your assigned chapter. Make comments in response to TWO questions.

Chapter 1: Carolyn, Eric
Chapter 2: Jessica, Diana
Chapter 3: Kristen, Tarah, Sonja
Chapter 4: Carmen, Jaime
Chapter 5: Emily, Heather S.

Chapter 6: Jason, Heather G.
Chapter 7: Sierra, Lexi
Chapter 8: Miranda, Mysti
Chapter 9: Nuha, Chris
Chapter 10: Katelyn, Meredith

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57 thoughts on “Week 10: The Lord of the Rings, Book II (The Fellowship of the Rings)”

  1. A major theme present in Book II of Fellowship of the Ring is selflessness vs selfishness with ties to Tolkien’s Catholic faith. The evils in Lord of the Rings are caused by selfishness. The Balrog is awakened in the Mines of Moria because the Dwarves were looking too deep for Mithril. Sauron created the Ring with the intent of seizing all power with it. Selflessness is displayed in the heroes on multiple accounts. Frodo accepting his role as Ring-Bearer despite knowing how dangerous it will be is what makes him a hero well beyond his lacking size and strength. The Elves establishing the Fellowship is significant because Elrond realizes that in the destruction of the Ring, it’s likely that their own Rings may be destroyed as a result, but Elrond is able to put aside the power of his people for the greater good of destroying the evil that plagues all people.

    Perhaps the most significant instance of selflessness is in Gandalf’s sacrifice at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm to fight the Balrog. Though he is killed by the Balrog, his self-sacrifice to save the Fellowship allows him to be reborn as Gandalf the White, pushing Gandalf as a Christ-like figure and being a personification on how selflessness, even if it leads to self-destruction, ultimately makes you a mightier being than the selfish. A hero that contrasts Gandalf is Boromir, who throughout the novel questions destroying the Ring, instead thinking of using it for good to destroy Sauron. His thinking echoes Isuldur, whose rationale to keep the Ring leads to untold destruction and another War of the Ring years later, the events of the entire Lord of the Rings saga. Boromir sees the Ring as “a gift to the foes of Mordor” to be used to destroy them, but in that same paragraph, morphs into saying he would become a great commanding King with it. Boromir, who started with good intentions, is twisted by selfishness caused by the Ring, and because of this, he ultimately pays the price in death. Yet, according to Tolkien’s faith, Boromir is able to be redeemed, as he dies trying to protect Merry and Pippin from Uruk-hai and what remains of the Fellowship give him a proper sendoff. Tolkien created a world of dichotomy between the pure selflessness and the corrosive selfishness and gives clear examples of his own heroes reflecting both sides while showing that acts of selfless good strengthen your soul for another life.

    Questions on Chapter II
    1. Why does Tolkien re-introduce so many characters from The Hobbit in Chapter II (Elrond, Gloin, and Gloin’s historical report on post-story events of The Hobbit)?
    2. What significance, if any, does the song about Earendil and the Silmaril have on Frodo and his quest?

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    1. Tolkien includes many characters from The Hobbit because it reminds readers that the LOTR is a sequel to the events of The Hobbit, and that those characters, along with Bilbo himself had an integral part to play in the shaping of events that led Frodo to have the Ring, and his journey to Rivendell. As Gandalf tells Frodo in Book I, the Ring was picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable-Bilbo. So it was NOT meant to be found by its master, and therefore it was MEANT to come to Frodo and he was meant to carry it on a quest to destroy it. None of that would’ve come into play had Bilbo not gone a quest with the Dwarves to reclaim Erebor. So, it’s really circles within circles, a chain reaction of events.

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  2. A theme in LOTR is Fate. Tolkien writes that the Ring has travelled to different keepers by a greater power, but not the power of the maker of the Ring. When the Ring lands in the water to be found by Deagol for Smeagol to take, fate was at play. When Bilbo found the Ring in the dark, fate was the force behind the “coincidence”. Frodo being orphaned and adopted at Bilbo’s heir and inheriting the Ring was also the work of fate. In book II, fate helped to heal Frodo from the poison that was in him as his journey was far from over. I also believe fate blocked the path in the Caradhras as the company was not following the path that fate desired them to take. Every decision made can be seen as fate pushing or pulling the Company along their journey toward the end that “is meant to be”.

    “Many Meetings”
    Question One: Who is the most important character Frodo meets in this chapter and why? Who is the character that Frodo is most happy to meet in this chapter?

    Question Two: There are some major changes in Bilbo when Frodo meets him again as well as many changes to Frodo. What is the significance of each of their reactions when Bilbo requests to see the ring? Why would Bilbo want to see the ring again after the time that has passed and the knowledge he now has about it?

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    1. Frodo’s reaction when Bilbo requests to see the Ring is important, as he has experienced true trauma and fear in connection to the Ring–he was wounded in an attempt by Sauron’s servants to take it from him. So, his reluctance is as much out of trepidation as it is caution and foreknowledge of the effect of the Ring’s power. I believe Bilbo wanted to see the Ring as a last chance to experience what he felt when it was in his possession. Even though he has more knowledge about it, he can’t resist–just one of the many undesirable and evil qualities about the Ring. It provokes jealousy and the desire for power, at all costs. Even the most seemingly innocuous desire to view the Ring is still a dangerous (almost addictive) sort of attachment. And Bilbo can’t help but feel some small part of him react to the Ring in this way as a former owner of it.

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    2. The most important character that Frodo meets at the Council of Elrond, in my opinion and in relation to his journey, is Boromir. Boromir’s betrayal of the Fellowship is what causes it to break at the end, and this effectively shapes the rest of the series to come with the group all split up, and Boromir’s fate has significant effects on Gondor in later books.

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    3. I believe the most important person he meets is Elrond, as Elrond can provide the backstory/history to everything that Frodo has endured, and can answer all of his questions. The character Frodo is happiest to see is Aragorn, and I believe it’s more relief than joy.

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    4. To answer number one, I think the answer to both would have to be Garadiel. He seems to be rather enthralled by her that he even offers her the ring because it is the one thing that matters the most to him. I feel that she is important because she can almost influence him in a way to prove that he doesn’t need a ring in order to be powerful, it can be accomplished on your own. He also seems to be the happiest to meet her because she seems to be different from anyone else in the story that he had come across.

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    5. The reactions to ring show how far the power of the ring reaches. Bilbo longs for the ring in a comfort kind of way. I think a good thing to compare it to is like addiction. The ring is the drug and Bilbo has been clean for years, but when he is near it again, he joneses for it. I think that Frodo sees this reaction and is scared. He is scared of the bony creature that he sees when they discuss the ring. He does not want to harm his uncle. But he is also almost afraid to lose it. I would not yet say that Frodo has the same connection to the ring that Bilbo does. But you see a glimpse into the future that may await Frodo.

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  3. A theme of Tolkien is Loss and Farewell. The onslaught of evil and the passage of time causes beauty and joy to fade. This is why lands like Rivendell a.k.a. Imladris and Lothlórien are seen as places unspoiled by time or evil. Not only do their respective rulers (Elrond and Galadriel) have a Ring of Power (one of the Three Elven Rings) to help preserve and protect their lands, but they themselves have the qualities of timelessness, beauty, and purity. Therefore, Sauron cannot overtake and corrupt them.

    In Chapter 7 of Book II, I found the following passages poignant to the theme of Loss and Farewell, in particular the feelings of Galadriel as she contends with the will of Sauron and his attempts to assault her lands and perceive her power. She is highly aware that the outcome of the Quest determines the fate of Middle Earth, and that many things that are beautiful and unchanged will surely be lost to the evil that has spread to other lands. She is loving and generous to Gimli in light of his experiences with loss, and she is open and honest to Frodo and Sam about the Elves and their time waning in Middle Earth, and what will be lost due to their travels to the West.

    Tolkien writes:

    ‘Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dûm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone.’ She looked upon Gimli, who sat glowering and sad, and she smiled. And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer.

    One evening Frodo and Sam were walking together in the cool twilight. Both of them felt restless again. On Frodo suddenly the shadow of parting had fallen: he knew somehow that the time was very near when he must leave Lothlórien.

    She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.
    `Yes,’ she said, divining his thought, `it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lórien upon the finger of Galadriel that one of the Three remains. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper.
    `He suspects, but he does not know – not yet. Do you not see now wherefore your coming is to us as the footstep of Doom? For if you fail, then we are laid bare to the Enemy. Yet if you succeed, then our power is diminished, and Lothlórien will fade, and the tides of Time will sweep it away. We must depart into the West, or dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and cave, slowly to forget and to be forgotten.’
    Frodo bent his head. `And what do you wish? ‘ he said at last.
    `That what should be shall be,’ she answered. `The love of the Elves for their land and their works is deeper than the deeps of the Sea, and their regret is undying and cannot ever wholly be assuaged. Yet they will cast all away rather than submit to Sauron: for they know him now. For the fate of Lothlórien you are not answerable but only for the doing of your own task. Yet I could wish, were it of any avail, that the One Ring had never been wrought, or had remained for ever lost.’
    ‘You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,’ said Frodo. `I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.’
    Galadriel laughed with a sudden clear laugh. `Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,’ she said, `yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?
    `And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair! ‘
    She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
    ‘I pass the test,’ she said. `I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.’

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
    1. Why is it significant that Galadriel does not fall under the influence of the Ring?
    2. How does Galadriel’s inner examination of the characters allowing them to choose to either leave the Quest (pursuing their own desires), or stay–reveal their strength and ability to withstand the power of the Ring?

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    1. Galadriel’s refusal of the Ring shows how great of a ruler she is. Though she acknowledges the temptation of the Ring, she tells Frodo that she will not take it because it would jeopardize herself and her people, saying she would be made “terrible.” Knowing what we know from Silmarillion, Galadriel’s self-exile from Valinor shows her self-discipline, and she does not want any more sins on her record so that she can feel right going back to Valinor after the One Ring is destroyed.

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    2. The most important factor of any epic tale, I think, is the power of choice. Once a person has had their revelation or perhaps previous unknowns have been revealed to them, they can then make an informed choice. This is akin to Dumbledore giving Harry Potter the choice of remaining with him in The Beyond, and leaving the wizarding world to the mercies of Voldemort, or of returning to the wizarding world armed with knowledge and resolve. There is always a choice, and making that choice would only reveal to the character more about themselves.

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    3. I feel that it is significant that Galadriel does not fall under the influence of the ring because it shows that not EVERYONE gets sucked in by the ring and it’s power. Some characters do have a mind of their own and they are powerful enough alone to use it. I actually have some respect for her because she doesn’t care about the power, she just wants to do her own good on her own, without the help of something else’s power.

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    4. I loved the point in Chapter 7 when Galadriel is tempted by the ring, and overcomes that temptation. I believe it lends to the idea of the power that Galadriel has. While she is undoubtedly powerful, she is not completely immune to the Ring’s power. She must allow herself to be tempted in order to have the strength and willpower to overcome it. Even though she is powerful before being tempted by the ring, she is viewed as being even more powerful after she is able to resist being consumed by the RIng’s corruptible power.

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  4. Chapter 3 Questions:

    In “The Ring Goes South,” Gandalf responds to Merry, when the latter claims he thought the Wraiths were dead: “You cannot destroy Ringwraiths like that…the power of their master is in them, and they rise or fall by him.” Might Tolkien have attributed this to the real-world conflict of war, where one cannot destroy the disease (dictator) by killing the symptom (soldier)?

    Boromir argues that the harsh weather is a weapon of the enemy, and dares anyone to disagree with him. Aragorn answers, “I do call it [wind] the wind, but that does not make what you say untrue. There are many evil and unfriendly things in this world…and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have purposes of their own. Some have been in this world longer than he.” Does this statement support the notion that evil in man need not a leader, but rather a purpose? Or perhaps another way to put it is, do we assign evil to things that are simply inconvenient or challenging?

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    1. The notion of good versus evil is all in perspective. I think Tolkien would disagree with me, but I don’t care. Evil is something immoral or malevolent. Morals, however, are relative. What one person says is right another will say is wrong. Defining “good” has been a debate among philosophers since people were able to sit around and think. Plato said good is like the sun, you can not see it directly but you see the effects of it and know it. Aristotle defines moral virtue as behaving the way one should and avoiding extremes and excess (which he considered vices). Aristotle believed we learn moral virtue primarily through habit and practice rather than through reasoning and instruction. Augustine proposed that evil is a by-product of God’s creativity. He rejected the notion that evil exists in itself, proposing instead that it is a falling away from good, and a corruption of nature. (I think Tolkien would agree with Augustine). My favorite philosopher, Epictetus, said goodness means understanding the true nature of one’s being and keeping one’s prohairesis (moral character) in the right condition. These great thinkers can not agree on good and since evil is the absence of goodness, how can we agree on what evil is? I think we assign evil to anything that does not work within each of our own philosophies and experiences or that thwarts our plans in our individual pursuits of “goodness”.

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  5. Fate is a major theme in this story. When it comes to fate, fate is on goods side and hopes to overrule evil throughout the story. What I have come to notice is that every event occurring there are unintended actions and outcomes, but they usually seem to be for the best. Oddly enough, it seems to work out in the persons favor, most of the time. It seemed to be fate that Bilbo found the ring, it seems to have brought out his inner adventurer. It showed him that he is capable of much more than he thought. This also ties to the fact that Bilbo and Frodo let Gollum go and because of that he was able to destroy the ring, even if it was not intended. That is definitely fate in my opinion. As a result, people that had been controlled by the ring are then saved.

    Questions for Chapter 7:
    1. Does Galadriel seem to act as an angelic figure considering that she feels she doesn’t need the ring to do good thing/be powerful?
    2. Does Sauron feel intimidated/threatened by Galadriel?

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    1. Galadriel is scary powerful. I am not exactly sure if angelic is the correct word. I suppose I can see how that image is possible because of how she is described. The company sees her in a saviour like role absolutely, but I do not see her as angelic. I think that Galadriel is aware of the power and corruption that surround the one ring. I would almost go so far to say that she sees herself as above the one ring. She is aware of her own power and her own strength and does not wish to bother herself with something that is tainted with the darkness from Mordor. However, she is fascinated by those who are affected by it, but sees them as beneath her.

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    2. The power that Galadriel has is unlike what we have been seeing, it is more significant than the power of others. Although this is the case, I don’t see her as being a sort of angel or something of biblical power, just a character who trusts her capabilities and takes on leadership roles.

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  6. Like Sierra, I feel that Fate is a major theme in Book II. Or, rather, forced Fate. This might be a contradiction but I feel that outside factors have taken over the notion of free will. If we examine this tale from the beginning, it WAS Bilbo’s choice to take the Ring from Gollum. And it was his choice to hand it down to Frodo. And Frodo made the choice to take the Ring to Mordor. But the smaller details are important: the malevolent birds determined one path; harsh weather determined the other; and the Balrog determined that Gandalf must fall. Gandalf muses that Bilbo was meant to have the ring, and that Frodo was meant to have it. Is this true? Do we ignore the details? Do these details go all the way back to Sméagol and Deagol? Was it fate that Deagol should find the Ring? We could drive ourselves crazy trying to figure it out. But a good starting point, in my opinion, would be at the moment Bilbo leaves the Ring at Bag End. That action, I believe, is what propels the subject of Fate forward.

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  7. Book Two of “The Fellowship of the Rings” showcases the thematic ideal that power is corruption. The One Ring is symbolic of total power over all and you see Tolkien’s opinion of power and how those who have it and those to crave it, are easily corrupted. You also see how he believes that power is not meant for a single person. I think that the Council of Elrond about the One Ring highlights this theme. In Chapter Two, Elrond discusses how the Ring and its power would affect those who carry it. Continuing on to discuss the affects it would have on The Wise Ones if they so chose to wield the ring along with the power they already have. If the Wise Ones (Sauroman the white, Gandalf the Grey, and Radagast the Brown) were to take the power of the Ruling Ring in combination with their own, their light would not be able to overcome the darkness. They would just hold to much power, and instead of defeating the darkness of Sauron, they would just replace him on his throne of darkness. I think this speaks to the idea of power being corrupt because no one, not even the most revered of the Wise One, would have enough strength to overcome the corruption of the power of the ring. Sauroman the White (the title alluding to his purity, light, goodness, etc.) was corrupted by the mere thought of power. The allure and temptation of power is just as dangerous as the power itself.

    Question One: What is the significance of Sauroman the White’s robes being “woven with all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered” and no longer white? What does the interweaving of every colour say about power? about corruptibility?

    Question two: How do Boramir’s actions (as a Man) during the Council of Elrond differ from those of Aragorn? What does the difference tell us about the race of Men? Do you think this speaks to the weakness or strength of men?

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    1. Your first question interested me as I was reading. I believed that the colors in Sauroman’s robes indicated how his thirst for power had corrupted him, and he was showing his true nature outwardly. The interweaving of colors shows how easily something white and pure could become tainted.

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  8. One major theme in this novel would be the importance of the responsibility of the individual and wisdom. Although fate takes on a huge role in Tolkien’s work, he also stresses the importance of the individual and the power they have to make their own decisions or be responsible for their own actions. This may largely be because he wrote for his children and wanted them to understand the importance of individual responsibility as well. One example of individual responsibility from the novel would be when Frodo makes the decision to take the ring off of his finger. This is an important and big decision since the ring carries so much power to the individual who wears it. Another example of individual responsibility would be when Gandalf gives warning at the Council of Elrond to not just toss the ring into the sea because there is a chance that someone else will find it. This is worthy of mentioning because such careless actions could lead to the ring ending up in the wrong hands. As mentioned earlier, Tolkien moves away from the theme of fate to individual responsibility and action because Gandalf does not want the ring to be tossed into the ocean and let fate decide who winds up with the ring. Gandalf argues they should take responsibility of how the ring should be dealt woth in order to keep others out of danger.

    Chapter 7 Questions:
    1) How does the Elves’ ability to remember and their instinct for elegy and nostalgia link to Tolkien himself?
    2) How are the Ring and Galadriels mirror similar?

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    1. This is an interesting question. The Elves’ ability to remember or their ability to not forget could link to Tolkien’s past in the war. The Elves’ remember every war and every time of peace. They remember the beginning and the plan for the world. I think that this is Tolkien’s way of saying that without the ability to remember the past we can never have peace and happiness in this world. That it is very easy to start a war and forget about what it means to have to fight that war. War always seems like a good idea when you are not in it and do not have to see all of the destruction and death that a war brings. The Elves have this knowledge of what the world should have been like and what the world was like before the coming of man. Tolkien like the Elves has this instinct towards elegy because he remembers seeing all of the death around him. He was getting all of the news before the men in the trenches and was having to see the numbers of the dead. He also was not there at the end of the war and regrets that he could not help with the end of the war. The elegy is for his dead friends, for all of the soldiers lost and for all of the people who will have to die in the future because of the folly of men.

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  9. Jason C. Warren

    THEME: POWER

    I wish to discuss three different types of power in Book 2 of LOTR

    1) The first instance I wish to discuss regarding power in Book 2 of LOTR is during Ch. 1 “Many Meetings.” Everyone is discussing the trajectory of the ring until it was brought to light that Frodo, and Bilbo before him had been in possession of Sauron’s ring for a great length of time, yet seemed to resist the ring’s power to corrupt the wearer: Gandalf states, “It seems that Hobbits fade very reluctantly. I have known strong warriors of the Big People who would quickly have been overcome by that splinter, which you bore for seventeen days” (Book 2, Ch. 1). So not only do Hobbits such as Bilbo and Smeagol seem to resist the ring’s power to consume and destroy its wearer, Hobbits also seem to resist the weapons of the Nazgul to cause the victim to fade and become a wraith (Frodo). As far as I can tell, this power to resist the corrupting force of the dark lord must have something to do with the “purity” of Hobbits. I believe it has to do with something similar to Tom Bombadil’s resistance to the ring, in that he is completely ignorant to acts of evil and is therefore shielded from it, but also has no power against it.

    2) The second example of power happens in Ch. 5 “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum.” The fellowship are trapped in a room and are being assaulted by outside invaders, namely a Balrog and/or troll. “Boromir leaped forward and hewed at the arm with all his might but his sword rang, glanced aside, and fell from his shaken hand. The blade was notched” (Book 2, Ch. 5). This confused me because when the fellowship set out, it said that Boromir carried a long sword that rivaled the reforged Narsil, so what creature caused his great sword of power to chip? This is the 2nd type of power in LOTR that has something to do with evil. Some types of evil it seems are too old and too powerful to be harmed by physical violence. The only thing I can think is that these creatures are so purely evil that weapons of violence just ADD to their wrath and therefore are harmless to them.

    3) The last bit of power I wish to discuss is that of the elders. In Book 2, Ch. 6 “Lothlorien,” Frodo is wandering within the borders of Lorien “It seemed to him that he had stepped over a bridge of time into a corner of the Elder Days, and was now walking in a world that was no more. In Rivendell there was memory of ancient things; in Lorien the ancient things still lived on in the waking world. Evil had been seen and heard there, sorrow had been known; the Elves feared and distrusted the world outside: wolves were howling on the wood’s borders: but on the land of Lorien no shadow lay” (Book 2, Ch. 6). Galadriel possesses an ancient power and an object of power that safeguards her realm from the taint of Sauron and/or Saruman. It is the memory of powerful strength that lives on in Galadriel, the eldest of the Eldar. This element of power is just as abstract as the others however.

    So in review:
    1) Power of the heart (Hobbits, purity)
    2) Power of the flesh (Sauron/Balrogs, pure evil/corruption)
    3) Power of the soul (Galadriel/Ancient ones, will power)

    QUESTIONS (CH.6 “LOTHLORIEN”)

    1) What type of thing is the “Mirrormere” of which Durin looked upon before founding the halls of Moria? Could it be compared to Galadriel’s mirror that she stares into to foretell the future? (After Sam looks into it he is unable to speak he is so deeply lost in thought. What power does this place/thing have to cause this and how does it still possess such power?)

    2) Haldir says “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater” (363). Do you think this is Tolkien’s own feelings revealing themselves about the real world? If so, what could have caused him to feel this way?

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  10. I’m chapter nine, book two, the theme of anxiety amongst travelers is revealed. The source of anxiety is Gollum, a mysterious creature who taunts the Company. Although it is never confirmed that the species with bright pale eyes, floating in the water, is Gollum, the group is convinced it is him even though they don’t prove so. Because the travelers are so fearful of their stalker, they quickly paddle through the river, anxious that their stalker will tell their enemy where they Company is in their adventure. This chapter truly shows just how paranoid the travelers have become; it is never confirmed that they were seeing Gollum, Frodo and the others were so convinced that they could not take any risks and must leave at once.

    Questions:
    1. Travelers anxiety is a real thing and very obvious in book 2, do you think Tolkien uses this theme in his book to bring reality into the fairytale or merely to tell the story as vividly as possible?
    2. Do you really think the “beast” was Gollum?

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    1. Anxiety and paranoia I think are very essential in the story because it creates suspense for the reader. I think it does make it easier to relate to in the way that we can sympathize to the idea of us being followed in our daily lives, not specifically by someone but it could be by tasks or duties we need to do. Most of us are always thinking of things we still have to do not being able to fully focus on the task at hand for fear of the looming things that will catch up to us. I think Tolkien succeeded in intertwining both for they go hand in hand, telling the story vividly and bringing in some reality of the readers’.

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    2. I think that the travelers anxiety that Tolkien recreates in his novel is partly a byproduct of telling a story about a dangerous quest, and also a representation of real life struggles. I think that without his attention to detail and his dedication to making his fairy stories as real as possible readers would not relate to them as much as they have. The anxieties that the group face during book two fit into the situations that they are facing, and also are realistic to challenges readers may face.

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    3. I think that the difficulties that the characters face on their journey brings reality to the fairytale and works to make the story emotionally vivid and powerful. All of the strengths and virtues that the characters possess would mean little if they weren’t constantly challenged. Tolkien seems to have been very fascinated with tests, which we see in many of the stories that he translated like Sir Orfeo and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Tests and trials do not only make for a good story, but for the emotional consolation in the end that Tolkien so deeply valued.

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    4. I think that traveler’s anxiety is so prevalent throughout book 2 in order to make the fairytale more real in the sense that there is plenty of danger throughout despite the fact that it is a fairytale and is supposed to have a happy ending. Without this anxiety and fear throughout the book, the happy ending would not be as great. If the travelers encounter many close calls and struggle throughout the book, the victories are more enjoyable for the travelers as well as the readers who are feeling the same anxieties as the travelers are. I also think that Tolkien has experienced some of these anxieties in his own life as well and wants to include it in his work as he does with many other aspects of his life.
      And for the second question, I believe Gollum is the “beast” but this “beast” could also stand for the anxieties felt throughout the journey or the fear they experience while travelling.

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  11. The theme I found in Book II that was prominant was loss and the necessity of persevering despite that loss. The company in these chapters endure many losses, and instead of simply allowing their grief to consume them, they keep moving forward. For instance, when the company discovers the tomb of Balin at the end of chapter four, they cannot help but mourn the loss of the great dwarf. However, they do not let their grief consume them as they try to find out what happened to Balin and his men. Gandalf states, “Now, I fear, we must say farewell to Balin son of Fundin. Here he must lie in the halls of his fathers. We will take this book, the Book of Mazerbul, and look at it more closely later…Come, let us go! The morning is passing” (323). Gandalf realizes the importance of allowing the company to grieve, but pushes them to think toward the future, and how they will think back on Balin fondly. He urges them to keep moving so they do not lose sight of the bigger picture. The loss of Gandalf in Shadow is a great loss that is felt throughout the rest of Book II. After the company escapes Moria, Aragorn keeps his friends together by stating, “We must do without hope…At least we may yet be avenged. Let us gird ourselves and weep no more! Come! We have a long road, and much to do” (333). Aragorn realizes that they are all forlorn at the loss of their friend and guide. He knows they must feel hopeless, but does not allow them to let that grief consume them. He urges them to keep moving. In Chapter 7, the theme of loss continues as the company recuperates in Lothlorien. Their grief over the loss of their friend is shared by the Elves. Frodo hears the Elves songs of mourning and wants to create his own to pay his respects. This song remembers Gandalf fondly in life and describes his fall into Shadow . This song allows Frodo to grieve, but not be consumed by it. In fact, Sam joins in with creating his own verse, and they are able to continue talking about Gandalf without becoming overwhelmed by grief. The togetherness of the Company and Elves all mourning for Gandalf allows them to grieve without being overwhelmed.

    Questions from Chapter 6:
    1) What is the significance of Gimli being allowed to cross over into the Celebrant? Why is there hesitation with allowing him to pass?
    2) The Company spends most of their time in chapter 6 in Lothlorien. How is this beneficial for them when they still have a long journey ahead?

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    1. Elves and Dwarves have been at odds for a very long time at this point, so much so that Elven LAW dictates that no dwarves are allowed to enter the realm of Lorien, however, Gimli is a member of the “Fellowship of the Ring” and is in essence fighting to protect ALL peoples of Middle-earth, Elves included. Galadriel understands this and sees welcoming Gimli as an opportunity to make peace between Elves and Dwarves, which she succeeds in doing as Gimli becomes smitten with her and intends to enshrine her hair (creeper!) and pass it down as a treasured heirloom of his house.

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  12. Courage is an important theme in Book II. Courage is demonstrated through Frodo’s offering to take the ring to Mordor at the council of Elrond, and it is emphasized as coming from an external force, “At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice” (303). Elrond acknowledges that no one could have bestowed the burden of the ring on Frodo, he had to willingly decide to face fear and possible death on his own, and the “other will” that speaks through Frodo is one that even the wise could not have predicted, which suggests that there is another force guiding Frodo and his fate. And because Frodo accepts to destroy the ring courageously, he is better suited than anyone to resist its power.

    The mithril that Frodo wears under his clothes may also be a representation of courage. The inner strength that Frodo possesses cannot be seen on the surface, and Tolkien emphasizes its value through the mithril that was once mined in Moria, and that is now worth more than the whole Shire. Similarly, Frodo’s courage is now worth more than the safety and comfort of the Shire. Frodo’s mithril is a gift from Bilbo, which suggests that he pulls some of his courage from his uncle’s experience and character, but Gimli also states that mithril is “a kingly gift” which implies that courage may ultimately be a gift from Christ. Tolkien is taking elements from his faith and the bible to emphasize the moral goodness of courage as a virtue against fear and the unknown.

    Frodo’s courage stems from both inner strength and an external force, but it also stems from the guidance and support that the company shares with one another through the mines of Moria. Each member of the company shows courage as they work together to discover a path through the darkness and confusion of the mines. Gandalf’s courage is mediated through guidance and prudence as he suggests that the company rests on difficult circumstances rather than making rash decisions in the face of fear and the unknown. Aragorn tells the company, “Do not be afraid!…He will not go astray–if there is any path to find. He has led us here against our fears, but he will lead us out again, at whatever cost to himself” (349). Gandalf’s courage inspires the others to face danger and to not give up hope, and it presents him as a sacrificial figure that will accept death if necessary for the lives of others.

    Questions for Chapter 4 “A Journey in the Dark”
    1. What is the conflict between Gimli and Legolas? How does Gandalf mediate?
    2. Why doesn’t Frodo tell the others that he is wearing mithril under his clothes?

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    1. There are two reasons that I think that Frodo does not tell the others that he is wearing mithril under his clothes. The first being that he is starting to show signs of being taken over by the ring. He is getting secretive and privet about what he does even with matters that do not seem of consequence. He is becoming less trusting of the people around him and does not think that anyone should know about the mithril because if they turn on him and try to kill him for the ring they will not know that he is wearing armor. The second being that it was a present from Bilbo and is something that Frodo would hold dear to him. Mithril is very valuable and Frodo would not want anyone to take it from him because of the value. It is also from Bilbo’s journey to the Misty Mountains and something that Frodo might think will bring him luck on his travails like it did for Bilbo.

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    2. In my opinion, Frodo’s character is becoming far less trustworthy than he was in the beginning. He doesn’t want tell the others that he wears Mithril under his clothes because the metal is very valuable and provides a protection he does not want to lose.

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    3. I think that Frodo doesn’t tell the others about his Mithril armor because he doesn’t want than to think that he has an edge over them. They’re all on this dangerous journey together, but he is the only one with armor. I also think he doesn’t want to let the party know that he thinks he’ll need the extra protection.

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  13. The over all theme of book two of The Fellowship of the Ring is having to choose what is right. The counsel of Elron they had to decided how they should deal with the ring. They looked into many options one of which being that they give the ring to Tom Bombadil since the ring has no affect on him, but in the end the counsel knew that there was only one thing that could be done with the one ring and that was to destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom. The next choice that had to be made was who was going to go on this quest to destroy the ring. They needed a representative from each race as to make it fair to all. This also creates an alliance between the races which had not been done in many years. The races do not trust each other. This creates problems. How can you go on a quest that determines the fate of the world when you can not truest the person that you are traveling with? They then have to choose when to leave and paths to take that will get them to Mount Doom. The chooses that they make through out this journey lead to the “death” of Gandalf and the dark tidings of the company. The company has to choose how to go on without Gandalf and if this means that their quest is now doomed. This leads to the last and most important choice, should Frodo go on alone to Mount Doom? These choices that the company makes could lead to the destruction of Middle Earth and they are left up to four hobbits, two men (one of which has already fallen to the corruption of the ring), and elf and a dwarf. These are sad tidings for the fate of Middle Earth. Every choice that the company makes can make or break the success of the mission and at the end of this book the side of good does not seem to be winning.

    Questions for Ch. 10:
    1. Do you think that Frodo make the right decision to leaving the company to go to destroy the ring on his own with Sam?

    2. Do you think that Boromir would have fallen completely to corruption and taken the ring be force from Frodo if Frodo had not put the ring on and escaped Boromir?

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    1. I have mixed feelings about Frodo leaving the fellowship, I think he did what he thought was best for his journey and the success of destroying the ring but I think it a little unwise in the way that he doesn’t have all the knowledge of the land and needs some sort of protection and basically all the help he can get. I thought it wise for him to have taken time to ponder his decision on whether to leave or not, that showed his ability to put his task over his needs or wants. I’m sure he didn’t want to go alone but he saw the corruption that the ring was stirring up within the fellowship brought Boromir and probably figured it wasn’t worth the risk of endangering others or the mission. I think he started to believe in his abilities to co time the journey on his own and his courage continues to grow.

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    2. I think that Frodo’s decision to leave on his own is the right decision because it is his decision. And Sam’s choice to go with him as well. In many of the Tolkien stories we have read, the decision to face danger and possible death has been made by the characters on their own, rather than forced on them by others. Sir Gawain decides to play the beheading game knowing that he might die, and Beren agrees to retrieve the Silmarillion knowing that it is virtually impossible. The decision to face seemingly impossible odds alone reoccurs throughout Tolkien’s stories, and it centralizes the story around a one character’s personal difficulties and development, which allows the reader to relate but also to be more emotionally invested through admiration. In Frodo’s case, he never has to face difficulty purely alone because his friends are as strong and virtuous as he is, and are always willing to choose to remain by his side.

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  14. Death features prominently in the second book of LOTR, whether it’s the death of a main character, discussion of undead beings, or Frodo’s brush with death. In the second book, Frodo and Co. find out that the ring wraiths are the original kings that held the power of the rings of power now undead to seek the ring that remains. These creatures are chasing after the lively fellowship to turn Frodo into one of them, and they nearly succeed. Frodo comes very close to death several times in the series, but one of the biggest moments is when he is stabbed by the ring wraiths. His wound is more than physical, the ring wraith’s blade moves within him, nearing his heart. It acts as a metaphor for the corruption the ring causes, but also is reminiscent of the way that death moves closer and closer to one as they live. In addition to Frodo’s near death experience in book two, Gandalf seemingly dies while protecting the fellowship from a Bolrog. While his death is temporary, and is really more of a rebirth, it is symbolic of the transformation that the fellowship undergoes throughout their journey.

    Chapter 5: The Bridge of Khazad-Dum

    Tolkien weaves Borin’s death into the fabric into LOTR to carry over from the Hobbit, is it absolute necessary for the continuity of the series?

    What is the significance of Aragorn stepping forward to be the leader in Gandalf’s absence?

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    1. Tolkien was trying to create a “mythology” for England, and in order to do so, he must have multiple sources of information that, when brought together, form a clear picture of the enormous puzzle he is creating. By incorporating characters from The Hobbit, and stories/lore from The Silmarillion, he is creating such a mythology in which one must STUDY and RESEARCH his works, not merely read each one in isolation. Also, The first time I read this I did not care about Balin or his tomb, however, this time I was much better acquainted with Balin thanks to my reading of The Hobbit, and therefore was struck with grief upon learning that the Dwarf Lord who had been so kind and understanding to Bilbo had fallen.

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  15. The Breaking of The Fellowship
    One of the themes found in chapter 10 is trusting your intuition. This can be found multiple times throughout the chapter. It starts when Aragorn awakens during Frodo’s watch: “’a shadow and a threat has been growing in my sleep. It would be well to draw your sword’ [ . . . ] To his dismay the edges gleamed dimly in the night. ‘Orcs!’” (395). Aragorn’s premonition forces the Fellowship to make a choice; do they split up? The next few instances of following intuition are by Frodo. The first being when confronted by Boromir and he decides not to give him the ring, even though Boromir makes the offer tempting, “Why not get free of all your doubt and fear? You can lay the blame on me” (399). The next is when Frodo wears the ring atop Amon Hen and struggles between the pull of the ring and the voice telling him to take it off as the Eye almost finds him, “The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he was aware of himself again, Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so. He took the Ring off his finger” (401). The most important part in that passage is Frodo’s ability to make the choice, “free to choose”. Frodo has not been corrupted by the Ring and it is then he decides, ‘”I will do not what I must,’ he said. ‘This as least is plain: the evil of the Ring is already at work even in the Company, and the Ring must leave them before it does more harm. I will go alone. Some I cannot trust, and those I can trust are too dear to me [ . . . ]’” (401). After Frodo decides to leave on his own, Sam has a hunch that Frodo will depart and finds him at the boats. He almost drowns trying to get in the boat and Frodo saves him, happy to have Sam with him. Here Sam also trusts his intuition and is able to accompany Frodo.

    Questions:
    Do you believe other forces are at work aiding in the characters intuitive hunches or is it just luck?

    Do you see any changes in Frodo because of the Ring?

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    1. He is less trustworthy than he was at the beginning of the book. He did not tell the others that he was wearing the mithril underneath his close, just as Bilbo did not tell the others that he had the ring, or even, how he got the ring.

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  16. A theme that is present although the book is power and selfishness. the drafws wanted power and grew selfish thus digging deeper in the mines and unleashes the Balrog. Sauron wants power and creates rings that he knows the elves, drawfs, and men cannot resist and makes a master ring to command them all. Also, Boromir wants the power of the ring to destroy Mordor, but his actions have some trace of selfishness thus corrupting his idea of power used for the greater good.

    Chapter 8 Questions:
    1. Was Gandalf arrival luck? or are there greater forces at work?

    2. Where did the ents take the orc bodies?

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  17. One theme that is reoccurring in the second book in the Fellowship of the Rings is that of loss. Throughout the book, it is made clear that the events taking place in Middle-earth are going to lead to a great change in that world. It is stated in the prologue “Concerning Hobbits”, that humans lost contact with hobbits, and that hobbits avoid humans “with dismay.” Additionally, the story is told with a sense of tension, as it is clear that things will never be the same again after the darkness has started to take over, including the beautiful mythology surrounding the time of the Age of Elves. Middle-earth is portrayed in the same way that many myths and legends are portrayed, describing a more glorious and perfect past that has somehow been lost to time.
    On a more personal level, the travelers must deal with the loss of their companions and of individuals important to them and their personal world. They all suffer after they discover the loss of Balin, and they have to continue to persevere despite the suffering they have endured. Additionally, they suffer the loss of their former lives. They know nothing will be the same after they have completed this journey.
    So interestingly, there is loss on more than one level: the loss that Middle-earth is experiencing, the losses that are foreshadowed throughout the story, and the loss that Frodo and the travelers must experience on a more personal level.
    Questions for Chapter 4: (A Journey in the Dark)
    1. What power do you think the ring has over Frodo at this point in the book?
    2. Do you think Frodo wearing the mithril is somehow symbolic? Does his secretive behavior regarding the mithril indicate being corrupted by the ring?

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  18. Theme: Friendship / Bonds
    “…in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom.” Gandalf tells this to Elrond, explaining that the friendship/bond between the hobbits would prove more useful in their task. This hints at wisdom also being a possible problem, as ignorance is bliss seems to account for their willingness to stick their necks out for each other. Not only is friendship shown through one’s willingness to join the party, but also with Bilbo giving Frodo Sting and the Dwarf-mail. While Bilbo cannot go with them, he still tries to support and help Frodo. A third testament to the theme of friendship/bonds, is the fact the that party is made up of different races. They join up for a common goal, not unlike friendship. If a person wishes to accomplish something, their friends generally would assist. If not their friends, people with similar goals may join and become friends through this endevor. The bonds between the different races is maintained through the party having representivies from the races.

    1. Why emphasize the telling of Beren and Luthien being told in full? Why is it important to the party?

    2. What is the importance/significance of Bilbo giving Frodo Sting and the Dwarf-mail? Is there more to it than safety? {How does this support Tolkien’s emphasis of helping each other?}

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    1. Emphasizing the story of Beren and Luthien is important to show how people can come together for something more than simplistic gains and accomplish what they set out for. Love is strong and having strength in companionship between a “company” or group of people that are set out for the same goal, can be greatly beneficial. This story being told can help the party get the hope and drive to work together even in the darkest of times. The story also shows that even with the possibility of death, great good can come from it if all is done for the right reasons.

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  19. In chapter 9, within book 2, we come across the themes of losing hope and nature vs evil. Everyone is feeling the stresses and anxieties brought upon by their travels. Nature, as peaceful as it may be, has taken its toll and yet they manage to make use of the environment around them to constantly escape through rivers and between mountains. With the heavy toll and anxieties being stronger than ever, especially with the looming presence of Gollum, their sense of hope dwindles and their characters continue to test their hope and survivability to push forward.

    1) What is the relevance of nature throughout Tolkiens writing? How does he view nature?

    2) Why does Frodo refuse to tell the others what he saw in the flying shape? How does this reflect on his mindset?

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    1. I think he views nature as a power, and depending on how you treat it, it can either work against you or with you. Nature is a big theme in this book, with nature always being one of the biggest opponents or biggest ally.

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  20. One of the defining themes that is evident throughout FOTR especially this second part of it is courage and strength. The hobbits are smallest but have the most courageous spirits. Frodo continuously exhibits courage in everything he does for the mere fact that he did not ask for any part of the adventure and journey he finds himself in. He continues to move forward and chooses to do what is right and what is best for all despite his fear and his meek hobbit nature. The acceptance of responsibility despite feeling inadequate proves his bravery, “I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.” (2.2.303)
    Once Frodo accepts the perilous task of destroying the Ring he does what it takes to succeed even if it means doing so alone. His decision to leave the fellowship proves his strength and courage in how he chooses to be without aid because the Ring has already shown signs of corruption within the fellowship, Boromir. He assumed sole responsibility and demonstrated this with his decision to leave. Sam’s loyalty to Frodo demonstrates great courage because he too continues with the journey and accompanies Frodo despite his fear and the future dangers of his travels.

    Chapter 2: The Council of Elrond
    1. Frodo’s physical weakness makes him the ideal Ring bearer, however his inner strength (his willingness to sacrifice himself for the good of humanity) over powers the physical. What makes Frodo have the strongest inner strength, what gives him this quality?

    2. At the council, had Frodo chosen to not rise up to the task of the Ring who would be the next best fit for such responsibility and why?

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  21. One of the themes that stood out to me was nature. We have talked about Tolkien’s fondness of nature in class multiple times, and it really show through his works. Nature in LOTR is, in a way, given human-like characteristics. In fact, it is either an enemy or a friend. Starting in chapter 3 of book 2, nature is their biggest adversary. The cold winter and snow delays their progress. In chapter 4, nature is still working against them, allowing the wargs to surround them, leading them to get trapped in the mine. It is not until chapter 6 that we see anything good come out of nature. The elves tend to the natural world around them, living in harmony. Lothlorien is a sacred sanctuary to the elves, and the beauty of it is like a mystery to all others.

    Chapter 3 questions
    1. Why would Tolkien have the weather act as an enemy?
    2. Just before Frodo leaves, Bilbo says “I don’t suppose you’ll be able to keep a diary Frodo, my lad, but I shall expect a full account when you get back”. Obviously Frodo would manage to retell his adventure to Bilbo when he returned, but why would Bilbo go out of his way to make a point of it? Is this for Bilbo’s sake or for Frodo’s sake?

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