Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chap. 6-10


Uni Kim – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 6 “Lothlórien”

1) Frodo says that Lorien is a world out of the past. Explain why you think he believes this. Does that make the Elves living in Lorien trustworthy?

2) Frodo says that when he walks through Naith, he feels that he has entered the lost world of the Elder days, even though he can not see anything. Why do you think he feels this way, and do you believe it is the world of the Elder days?

Christine Danielsson – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 7 “The Mirror of Galadriel”

1) What happened when Galadriel took Frodo and Sam to the basin? What did they see?

2) What did Frodo find on Galadriel’s hand? What does she tell him about that ring? How does Frodo handle the situation?

Iliana Hernandez – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 8 “Farewell to Lorien”

1. Galadriel presents gifts to each member of the company, all of which will aid them in their journey, except for the gifts of Sam and Gimli. Why are these gifts so different than the other gifts? What is the significance in the dust for Galadriel’s garden for Sam and the three golden hairs for Gimli?

2. What is the significance in Boromir’s behavior and his comment about throwing away the ring? What is his reasoning behind this? Is he an actual threat or is this just Frodo’s possessiveness over the ring taking over?

India Rangel – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 9 “The Great River”

1) In “Farewell to Lorien,” Galadriel’s ship is carved in the likeness of swan – a bird which is often associated with beauty and grace.  However, in the beginning of this chapter, large black swans fly over the fellowship, adding to the mournful appearance of their surroundings.  Why do you think Tolkien used swans in both of these instances, and what could they represent?

2) Throughout the story, many characters say the name “Elbereth Gilthoniel” in the presence of great evil. In this chapter, Legolas calls out the name before he shoots the “great winged creature” of the sky. Do you think Tolkien intended these words to be prayer-like or to have some other special meaning?

Dr. B – FOTR, Book II, Chap. 10 “The Breaking of the Fellowship”

1) What breaks the Fellowship?

2) When Frodo puts on the Ring, what does he see? What sees him?

3) Does Frodo succeed in going on alone? Toward Mordor? Why not?

Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chap. 1-5


Jaime Pincin – Book II, Chap. 1 “Many Meetings”

1) With the explanation from Gandalf that Frodo’s wound would have turned him into a wraith, what do you think the wound symbolizes? Why does Tolkien focus more on the internal activity of the blade instead of the external, physical wound?

2) What is the significance of Frodo seeing Bilbo as a “little wrinkled creature with a hungry face?”

Austin Chang – Book II, Chap. 2 “The Council of Elrond”

1) In this chapter, a lot of new characters are introduced, three of which will enter the Fellowship. Of these three, Tolkien takes great care to make sure one stands out. Pay close attention to how these three characters are introduced. Which one is he pointing out and why?

2) In many ways, Frodo’s decision to take on the ring can be seen as a “call to adventure” in the Hero’s Journey. How is this a typical “call to adventure”? How is it atypical?

Dr B – Book II, Chap. 3 “The Ring Goes South”

1) Who joins Frodo on his journey? Why does Elrond not bind the whole company by oath to go all the way to Mordor? What point might Tolkien be making about oaths and vows in this context?

2) What does Bilbo’s song “I sit beside the fire and think” tell us about the season of life he is in?

3) Have your plans for a journey ever been dramatically changed by … the weather? Is the stormy snowfall on Caradhras caused by malevolent influence? Why is Gandalf at pains to point out that there are more enemies in the world than just Sauron and Saruman? How does the Company survive the storm?

Devon Torres – Book II, Chap. 4 “A Journey in the Dark”

1. Why does the group choose to go through the Mines of Moria? What are their other alternatives?

2. What is the password Gandalf uses to get the door to open? What is the significance of this elvish word?

Elliot White – Book II, Chap. 5 “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum”

1. When Frodo is stabbed by an orc’s spear, he’s unharmed because of the mithril mail Bilbo gifted him. The party doesn’t think too much about it, but why does Frodo continue to keep his armor a secret?

2. What is the Balrog, and what could it symbolize? Why was Gandalf unable to stop the Balrog without sacrificing himself? What does Gandalf’s absence mean for the group’s quest going forward, and (if you had no knowledge of the story) does it seem like Gandalf may return?

Fellowship of the Ring, Chap. 6-12


Allison Dorantes – Chapter 6 & 7

Chapter 6:

1) The trees are described as being alive, and do seem to act accordingly, trapping the hobbits and behaving mischievously. Tolkien seems to be very fascinated by this idea of forests being more sentient than simple plants. Why is this such an important theme in Tolkien’s works?

2) What is the relationship between the Shire and the Old Forest? What does it say about hobbits and their reactions toward outsiders (if you were to consider the trees as outsiders)?

Chapter 7:

1) What does Tom Bombadil represent? Why is he unaffected by the Ring? Why doesn’t Tom complete the rest of the Quest?

2) Tom seems to be almost mythical and elusive within the Forest, yet he is familiar with Farmer Maggot. Does this oppose anything we’ve learned about hobbits and strangers, or can it simply be attributed to how strange Bucklanders are compared to the rest of the Shire?

Nic Rago – Chapters 8 & 9

Chapter 8:

1) What is Tom Bombadil? Is he a hobbit? A Man? An angel-like person like Gandalf?

2) Why is Tom nice to them? Why does he save them? Is he simply a nice person? Or is there more to it?

Chapter 9:

1) Is the Prancing Pony too good to be true? What secrets do you think the guests are hiding?

2) Even though the hobbits know they are on a quest of dire importance and secrecy they still tell possibly incriminating stories, such as Bilbo’s miraculous disappearance, to complete strangers – why?

Will Richardson – Chapters 10 & 11

Chapter 10:

1) Based on the information the hobbits have heard about Rangers and given the fact that Strider admits to spying on them, are they wise in trusting him to lead them? Why or why not?

2) Do the Black Riders have any ulterior motive in simply forcing Merry to faint and then return to the other hobbits, as opposed to capturing or harming him?

Chapter 11:

1) Why would the Hobbits and Strider simply walk away from Bree without trying to cover their tracks or keep their departure quiet?

2) What do you think the “wide ring of ancient stonework, now crumbling” at the top of Amon Sul represents? Likewise, does the history of the watchtower carry any significance to the story?

Cristobal Lopez – Chapter 12

1) What comparison or contrast is Tolkien making by having Strider and the hobbits come across the same road and the same trolls that Bilbo and his companions encountered?

2) As fellowship and friendship are major themes in this book, why is it necessary that Frodo leave his friends behind in the flight to the ford?

3) Why was Frodo feeling the urge to halt?


Fellowship of the Ring, Chap. 1-5


Fellowship of the Ring, Chaps. 1-5

Shira Baskind – Chap. 1

1) Why is it so important that Bilbo leave the ring behind? Furthermore, why must he leave it to Frodo instead of leaving it to Gandalf, or even burying it in his beautiful garden?

2) How does Bilbo’s personality differ from that of the other hobbits that live in the Shire? What advantages/disadvantages has this brought him (i.e. fortune, fame, restlessness, longing)?

3) What role does Gandalf play in Bilbo’s (and now Frodo’s) life? Father? Friend? Protector/Guardian?

Nicholas Rago – Chap. 2

1) When Gandalf mentions the little hope for Gollum, is he foreshadowing a possible eucatastrophic turn of events for Gollum or has Gandalf’s positive nature blinded him to the fact that the Ring has brought Gollum past a point of no return?

2) Why do most Hobbits enjoy living a life that is mostly disconnected from the Men, Elves, and other races that live on Middle Earth?

3) Why is leaving the Shire seen as an unthinkable and almost dishonorable act to most Hobbits?

Patrick Pagenhart – Chap. 3

1) Why does Tolkien make Frodo’s departure from Bag End so prolonged? Especially after Frodo hears of the great danger that faces him?

2) Who are the “Wandering Companies” that Gildor speaks of watching over Frodo and the end of the chapter?

3) What are the parallels between Bilbo’s leaving Bag End in The Hobbit and Frodo’s leaving Bag End in chapter 3, and what are the differences?  

Dr. B – Chap. 4

1) Do “short cuts make long delays” (at least in the case of these four hobbits) as Pippin argues?

2) Who is pursuing the travelers and why? Who unexpectedly helps them? Why are unexpected allies significant, and why do you think Tolkien emphasizes their role?

3) If mushrooms are a symbol in this chapter, what might they symbolize?

Anna Torres – Chap. 5

1) How is the tone of this chapter different, particularly in regards to Buckland in comparison to the Shire? Is this shift significant for the story as a whole?

2) In chapter 3, Gildor advises Frodo to find companions for his journey. In this chapter, Frodo’s friends insist on joining him despite the potential dangers ahead. What might Tolkien be trying to convey about friendship?


Week 11: “Leaf by Niggle”


Read Tolkien’s story, “Leaf by Niggle,” in Tales from the Perilous Realm. Then choose one question (or more) from below and answer it. If it has already been answered, you must choose another question. It is best to know the answers to all the questions for class discussion on Monday, but you only have to write out the answer to one.

1) What does the word (here, name) “Niggle” mean?

2) How does Niggle see his life and his artwork? What does he wish for? Do you think JRRT saw himself similarly and wished for the same things? What does the character of Niggle suggest about JRRT as artist and/or writer?

3) Is the description of the tree an allegory? If so, of what? Is the tree a symbol? From your reading of The Lord of the Rings, to JRRT, what do trees seem to symbolize?

4) What is a “parish”? What may Mr. Parish, Niggle’s neighbor, stand for? (Think of the commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”)

5) How does Mr. Parish’s lack of appreciation and affirmation of Niggle’s artistic endeavors affect Niggle? How does this compare to Niggle’s lack of attention to gardening?

6) What does the Inspector of Houses seem to represent, socially speaking?

7) As the story goes on, what do we realize “the journey” really is? Who is the “Driver”? The “Porter”?

8) Think of the traditional Catholic conception of hell, purgatory, and heaven. What might the “Work-house Infirmary” be?

9) What seems to be the role of the Medical Board / Court of Inquiry? What are readers to understand when the narrator says that Niggle “was becoming master of his time” vs. when the Voice that says his heart did not function properly, he wasted his time (“not even amusing himself!”), he never got ready for his journey, and he arrived almost destitute (as the Porter observed, “no luggage?”)?

10) What does the Second Voice’s proposal for “Gentle Treatment” make Niggle feel?

11) What is the “next stage” like? (Think of the world of Platonic forms!) Why does Niggle fall off his bicycle when he first arrives there? What does he say when he sees it?

12) What does it mean that each leaf was “dated”? and “produced in collaboration with Mr. Parish”? What about the birds? Think of the Parable of the Mustard Seed! Is this whole story an allegory … or a parable?

13) How do Niggle’s and Parish’s role change here? Why is that significant?

14) Notice the tonics drawn from the Fountain. What is their effect?

15) When the tree is in full-blossom, a shepherd comes down from the Mountains. He asks, “Do you want a guide? Do you want to go on?” He reveals the name of the place. What is it?

16) “He turned and looked back for a minute. The blossom on the Great Tree was shining like flame. All the birds were flying in the air and singing.” Then he climbs the mountains. What do you think of this moment?

17) What is Councillor Tompkins’ opinion of Niggle? Remember the Inspector of Houses! Why is he sharing his opinion with Atkins, the schoolmaster, do you suppose? What did Tompkins want that belonged to Niggle? … But what is the Second Voice’s opinion of Niggle’s work?

18) What happens to Niggle’s painting on earth? What happens to it in eternity?

19) What is the painting’s new name? What is the significance of this name?

20) What does this story say about the importance of art and artists and their relationship to this world and the next?

Week 10: Creative Project

Princess Mee

Post your reflection paragraph first.

Visual artists, post one clear photograph of your artwork.

Poets, writers, and lyricists, post your original writing if you wish or state after your paragraph that you will email the project to me —

and then, of course, don’t forget to email it!