It’s time to fly.
Quoting obscurely bad songs aside, this is the “flight” portion of the title of this chapter, “Flight to the Ford”. Glorfindel pushes the hobbits and Aragorn to leave again in the morning after only five hours’ rest, and they cover twenty miles the next day. They are exhausted by nightfall, and Frodo is in more pain, but they set out early the next morning as the road runs downhill. They enter into a cutting, with walls of stone on either side of them, and emerge after a time in view of the Ford of Bruinen. They can hear the echoes of something coming up behind them, and Glorfindel orders them to flee. His horse, bearing Frodo, breaks into a gallop, and they all run down the valley towards the river.
Excitement! Apparently we’re about a mile from the river-crossing, but it’s in view and a straight shot from here to there. Can you say home stretch? The action should pick up here. This is a natural point for a chase.
You know what isn’t a natural point for a chase? The movie version! Think about it: Arwen (not Glorfindel) meets Aragorn not long after the attack on Weathertop, which, remember, is something like a fortnight’s distance away. In the book, it’s been about two weeks since that attack happened. The movie then takes you on a journey where Arwen is carrying Frodo, and Frodo alone, on her horse, riding directly to Rivendell. They are pursued seemingly instantly. Taking the distance we know from the book (because they sure don’t mention that distance in the movie), she’s being chased for two weeks? What? Her horse would keel over and die of exhaustion before that would happen.
And all this brings us to our official flight to the ford. However, I couldn’t resist reading lines like “‘other danger may be waiting by the Ford,'” without chuckling about Abraham Lincoln. If only he had thought the same…
Too soon? Abe Lincoln. RIP.
“Glorfindel and Strider followed as rear-guard. They were only half…”