Archive for the ‘3 – Three is Company’ Category

Our end to Chapter 3 is, well…underwhelming.


Gildor promises to tell other elves about Frodo’s journey. He likes Frodo, especially since he speaks some Elvish. Frodo starts to fall asleep, so Gildor takes him to a bed near Pippin where he sleeps well, without dreams.

Yep, that’s it.

Gildor officially names Frodo an “Elf-friend”. That’s cool. Congratulations to Frodo on this new…title, or whatever. Tomorrow he’ll be leaving the company of elves, so that becomes useless pretty darn quick.

Okay, but wait, WHAT HAPPENED TO SAM? Last we saw him, he had curled up and gone to sleep right next to Frodo as he talked to Gildor. There isn’t any mention of Sam being brought to a bed. He gets left there? Does no one care at all? Frodo knows Sam is sleeping there. He nods to him at one point while he’s talking to Gildor. So he just gets up and goes to bed, leaving Sam there to sleep on the ground? Class system much?

Look at how bad sleeping on the ground can be on your neck!

Poor Sam. Poor, poor Sam.

“‘I will sleep now,’ he said; and the Elf led him to a bower beside Pippin, and he threw himself upon a bed and fell at once into a dreamless slumber.”

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Wizards, hobbits, and elves, oh my!

The conversation between Frodo and Gildor continues, and Frodo admits that he has been expecting Gandalf, to no avail, for quite some time. This troubles Gildor, though he says that usually it is not best to question wizards. The choice of when to leave is Frodo’s alone. Frodo quips that it is usually not best to ask elves for advice, as they do not give a strong opinion either way. Gildor laughs, and agrees to give Frodo stronger advice, though it is not usually his custom. Leave as soon as possible, he says, and take trustworthy friends along. Elves do not care much for matters of the world, Gildor adds, he doesn’t understand what Frodo is up to, but he can help as best as he can. Frodo is grateful, but badly wants to know more about the black riders. Gildor still will not give him any more information, though he urges Frodo to fear them, and that he will find his courage.

As noted above.

First Mentions:

-the Wandering Companies: Traveling elven bands like Gildor’s. Apparently they communicate somehow. Can phones?

Is it supposed to make Frodo feel better when Gildor admits that elves don’t care a whole lot about the outside world’s issues? It sounds so elitist. If the elves don’t really care, then how is his advice supposed to mean anything? He could just be saying things to get rid of Frodo. Kind of like: “Yeah, sure, run away. The faster you leave the Shire, the faster you GET AWAY FROM ME.” Sage advice, sir. Thanks…

Grumpy advice is the best.

Of course, Gildor gets one thing right. Frodo will eventually know more about the black riders than he does? Yes. Why Gandalf didn’t warn Frodo that the Ringwraiths would take these disguises and pursue him immediately, I have no clue, because it sure would have been helpful during all this questioning of what those things are. We all know, but Frodo really should have a good idea by now.

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Again, “forbodes”? That is such a word. Computer, you silly.

Join us tomorrow for the conclusion of Chapter 3!

“‘In the morning we shall have gone; but we will send our messages through the lands. The Wandering Companies…'”

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Well, that’s a title.

After writing it, I said that phrase in my best Alan Rickman voice.

This page isn’t really at all that depressing. Frodo asks Gildor if he’s seen Bilbo. They’ve crossed ways twice, but Gildor says no more. He wants to know what is bothering Frodo. He can tell that Frodo is leaving the Shire, but he doesn’t understand why. After Frodo remarks that his leaving was meant to be a secret, Gildor replies that it will be kept as secret as possible from Sauron. Gildor doesn’t know why the black riders are pursuing Frodo, but he can tell that Sauron has interest in Frodo’s travel. Frodo is surprised at how much Gildor has figured out, and asks Gildor for more information about the black riders. Gildor refuses, on the grounds that if Gandalf did not give Frodo that information, it isn’t his place to do so. He tells Frodo that the Shire is no longer safe. He must leave as soon as possible. Frodo tells him his intention to make for Rivendell, and Gildor agrees that this is probably best.

Hey, Gandalf! Frodo hasn’t been as worried about him for the last few pages. Frodo brings him up for the first time (that we know of) to the elves here in this conversation. I would assume that Gildor can’t be too surprised that Frodo is associated with the wizard. He obviously knows Bilbo, and must certainly know of Bilbo’s journey and friendship with Gandalf. Strange happenings with Bagginses? Probably Gandalf’s doing.

They are like metal in his hands.

Gildor brings up an interesting point here about how hobbits feel so arbitrarily safe and secure within the Shire. “The wide world is all about you,” he says: “you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.” The false sense of security that hobbits feel can be ridiculous. Really, the Shire doesn’t have guarded borders, to my knowledge, so there isn’t anything keeping the outside world out. Why do hobbits feel like the Shire is such a safe haven? It’s this “not here, in my home” mentality. It’s horribly unhelpful for the situation Frodo finds himself in. Regardless of how “safe” he feels at home in the Shire. He isn’t safe anymore. Not anywhere close to it. Time to learn that lesson the hard way.

We’re nearing the end of the third chapter, which will likely be when this stay with the elves ends in the morning. Is this going to be an awkward morning-after?

“‘I think you should still follow that plan,’ said Gildor. ‘I do not…'”

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Welcome to party o’clock, elven style.

You can't see his ears, but they're totally pointy.

So the elves get their party going. A fire goes up, and they wake up Pippin to join in the fun. Food and drink are served, though the elves insist that they are poor in comparison to a true feast not had while traveling. Pippin doesn’t remember much of the night, except that he was happy beyond belief. Sam doesn’t seem to be able to even make sense of anything. He’s apparently muttering random sentences trying to make conversation. Frodo, of course, is the most astute, and is making conversation as he can in Elvish. The elves like that quite a bit. After a while, Pippin does fall asleep, and is brought to a comfortable bower. Sam curls up next to Frodo, not wanting to sleep, but does succumb eventually. Frodo stays up, talking with Gildor.

These elves party so hard that Sam and Pippin can’t keep up. Not that I really expected Pippin to, as he’s been complaining about how tired he is for this entire journey. How does he ever make it all the way, even just to Rivendell? He’s one lazy, sleepy, good-for-nothing hobbit! And when I said that Sam was talking to elves like a preteen boy talks to girls, I really wasn’t kidding. This guy has NO social skills with people out of his league. Let’s pretend that it’s endearing.

Just like this puppy in a blanket.

Once again, Frodo is winning. Obviously, the conversation with Gildor is forthcoming. Sam and Pippin are being relegated to hardcore “sidekick” roles. Frodo just has more tact, and considerably more intelligence, than either of them. He’s that cultured one among the gorillas. If they were three of the Seven Dwarves, Frodo is Doc while Pippin is Sleepy and Sam is Dopey, or maybe Happy if we’re feeling generous.

Side note: One of the things that I was maybe hoping would happen as a side-effect of me doing all this close reading of Lord of the Rings was that I would gain a better understanding of storytelling, both for my own writing, and just in general. I think I might be seeing some progress. Last night, I made up a story on the fly. It was about Bill, a monkey. The moral? Don’t poison your friends. I’m getting somewhere!

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WHAT?! Since when is “wildberries” not a word? That doesn’t make any sense at all.

“They spoke of many things, old and new, and Frodo questioned Gildor much about happenings in the wide world outside the Shire.”

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Hanging out with elves is like hanging out with those hippie kids at school who you want to think you’re cool, for no apparent reason.

We're going to judge you for being a part of the man, man.

So, after Frodo sweet talks Gildor with some Elvish, our three hobbits set off with the elves. Their plan is to walk to a hill above Woodhall tonight, which is still quite some way. They do make it eventually, Pippin with some help, and find a clearing surrounded by the trees on three sides and an overlook of Woodhall on the fourth. Everyone sits on the grass, where Pippin falls fast asleep. The elves watch the stars, and break into song.

First Mentions:

-Remmirath: Constellation, also known as the Netted Stars. Roughly corresponds to the Pleiades in our universe, a star cluster.

-Borgil: A red object in the stars. Thought to correspond to Aldebaran, a red giant that follows the Pleiades.

-Menelvagor: The “Swordsman of the Sky”. Constellation symbolizing the warrior meant to defeat evil in a “second coming”, “end of days” sort of sense. Not surprisingly, corresponds to Orion.

I really enjoy the Middle-earth cosmology at work here. Especially in the way that it can be mapped out into our own universe. When you think about it, that isn’t horribly surprising, as part of the Middle-earth legend was that it was supposed to be our world in an earlier time. If that were to be true, the stars in the sky would stay the same, but be named differently according to cultures. And the elves are an especially star-conscious culture.

This is the Mufasa Nebula.

Also, Frodo speaks some Elvish! Good for him! It does seem to actually impress Gildor and the rest of the elves, so I’m assuming his tactic worked. Elvish is an amazing language, and I wish that I was able to study it. Tolkien himself was a linguist, and literally created Elvish and other languages as a part of writing his novels. Really, the novels are histories for the languages. You can study them in depth, and there are even classes on them. That guy knew what he was doing.

Once again, for those of you following along on the map, the hobbits have reached Woodhall. You can find it in the Eastfarthing just north of the label for Woody End. They’re easily around 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to Crickhollow, with over a full day of travel under their belts. Assuming nothing goes horribly wrong, they’re on pace to arrive right on schedule.

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That’s literally the full sentence of the Elvish, “Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo.” It means: “A star shines on the hour of our meeting.” I’m assuming you knew that.

“Suddenly under the trees a fire sprang up with a red light.”

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Elves! Real live elves!

Sadly, no cookies.

The elves begin to march past Frodo, Sam, and Pippin. The very last one stops, recognizes Frodo, and calls out to him. The elves turn back around to see the trio of hobbits, and ask them why they are out at this time of the night. Frodo asks to travel along with the elves, subtly. They continue to ask about his business. Frodo insists on knowing how they know his name, and the leader, Gildor, answers that he has seen Frodo in his travels walking through the Shire with Bilbo. Gildor notices the fear surrounding Frodo, and Pippin butts in to ask about the black riders. Things get awkward. The elves murmur in their own language, and Gildor agrees to let the hobbits travel and spend the night with them, even though it is not what they would traditionally allow.

First Mentions:

-Gildor Inglorion: Leader of this band of elves. Has seen Frodo in the past, and totally thinks it’s not awkward that he just calls out his name in the middle of the woods.

-House of Finrod: Place where these elves come from. A house of elves is presided over by a lord, in this case…

-Finrod: Elven lord. One of the first to ever come in contact with men. Possibly Gildor’s father.

So, how would you feel if an elf just walked up to you, who you had never seen before, and called you by your name? Yeah, it would be weird. Somehow, Frodo isn’t that weirded out by it. He does ask how Gildor knows him. Apparently, when Frodo would walk in the Shire with Bilbo, elves would watch them? That’s not creepy at all.

They wear these shirts, too.

And smooth move of the day goes to Peregrin Took, with the terribly awkward mention of the black riders. You can tell that Frodo did NOT want them to be brought up, yet Pippin bursts in and asks the elves about them. The elves are clearly put off by it. There’s no better way to creep out your hosts than to bring up the horrendously evil figure that’s been following you all day. Strangely enough, it works, and the hobbits get to spend the night with their elven friends.

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Sam in all this? Speechless.


Better luck tomorrow, Sam!

“‘I thank you indeed, Gildor Inglorion,’ said…”

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Although I’m sick today, I must carry on!

Yeah, sick sucks, but you know what really would suck? Being found by a Ringwraith. Our heroes, Frodo, Sam, and Pippin, nearly were, but an approaching group of elves has scared the rider off. As expected, Sam nearly runs out to meet them, clueless of the black rider. Frodo holds him back, and tells him what he saw. Sam, still pointlessly excited, wants to see the elves, ASAP! However, Frodo knows that they’re headed in their direction, so he makes Sam wait.

Ladies and gentlemen, Sam Gamgee.

The elves’ singing draws nearer, and the hobbits can make out the words. Frodo is the only one of the three that knows anything about the elvish language, though Sam and Pippin take pleasure in listening anyway. Frodo recognizes the name Elbereth, and realizes that these must be high elves, rarely seen in the Shire.

First Mentions:

-the Tower Hills: Hills west of the Shire. Elven lands, possibly where these elves come from.

-Varda: Called by the elves on this page Elbereth Gilthoniel and Snow-white, Varda is known by many names. Very powerful Vala, and could be considered a god of Middle-earth. Created the stars. Worshiped by the elves.

-the Sunless Year: Something the elves mention in their song. Possibly a time before the stars? It makes it seem as though the stars were created during the Sunless Year. Yay guessing!

Interestingly, we are told that, even though Pippin and Sam cannot understand the language of the song, the words form (or something like that) in their minds. Now that is magical! Imagine if the language that you spoke had the power to make sense to anyone, even if they didn’t know the language itself. I could only imagine this (non-magically) being able to happen through intense body language association. With Elvish, it apparently just happens.

Your translation headset is INVALID.

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

One more here! Finishing up our three straight days of music, we have our elven-song:

“Snow-white! Snow-white! O Lady clear!

O Queen beyond the Western Seas!

O Light to us that wander here

Amid the world of woven trees!

Gilthoniel! O Elbereth!

Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath!

Snow-white! Snow-white! We sing to thee

In a far land beyond the Sea.

O stars that in the Sunless Year

With shining hand by her were sown,

In windy fields now bright and clear

We see your silver blossom blown!

O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!

We still remember, we who dwell

In this far land beneath the trees,

Thy starlight on the Western Seas.”

With a tricky title change to make things work, I present:


(Mykonos – Fleet Foxes)

There can be no better band to set elvish music to than Fleet Foxes. I was so pleasantly happy when that worked out. Of course, the title is a mix of “Mykonos” and “Valinor”. It’s especially hard to combine these things when the song title I’m pulling from is only one word.

Honestly, I try extremely hard to not only fit the lyrics we’re given by Tolkien into a popular song, but finding the right tone is important too. “Mykonos” is about traveling, at least the way I see it, and these elves are traveling themselves, on their way to the Grey Havens. How fitting.

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I WILL feel better by tomorrow!

“‘This is indeed a strange chance!'”

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Today is a special day!

Why, oh why, you ask? It’s Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday!


Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dearBilboandFrodo, Happy Birthday to you!

With the help of our frenemy, mathematics, we can say that, assuming Bilbo’s party (the start of the book) is the “year” that Lord of the Rings was published (1954), then Bilbo turns 168 and Frodo turns 90 today! They’re getting up there a bit.

Anyway, back to the story. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin finish singing (Pippin with a loud flourish about bedtime), and suddenly hear the sound of approaching hooves again. They scurry to the side of the road to hide, yet still be able to watch whatever comes near. Frodo sees a shadow in the dark, leading a horse, come to a stop. The figure looks around at the point where the hobbits left the road, and gets on the ground, crawling in Frodo’s direction.

The crawling just makes it even creepier.

Before Frodo can put on the ring, as he is yearning to do, the sounds of song and laughter cut through the woods. The figure vanishes, and Sam exclaims that he hears elves.

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

Before we move on to anything else, the conclusion of yesterday’s song. This is the final verse of Bilbo’s walking-song, and you might recognize some of the lyrics.

“Home is behind, the world ahead,

And there are many paths to tread

Through shadows to the edge of night,

Until the stars are all alight.

Then world behind and home ahead,

We’ll wander back to home and bed.

Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,

Away shall fade! Away shall fade!

Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,

And then to bed! And then to bed!”

Yes? I present:

Keep the Walk Going pt.2

(Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire)

In case you don’t know, that’s basically the song that Pippin sings to Denethor in the movie version of Return of the King. My best guess would be that Peter Jackson and the team needed a song to fill that space, and this was as good as any. There are a few changes: The fifth and sixth lines are cut, along with the ninth and tenth. The seventh line is changed to “Mist and shadow, cloud and shade,” and the final line (the eighth here) is “All shall fade! All shall fade!”. It certainly fits the tone of the moment in the movie. Here, you can see the song is really about adventuring until nightfall, then coming home to a warm meal and bed.

So, over the rest of this page, we get the absolute creepiest thing the black rider can do, and Sam freaking out about elves. For a second, I thought that maybe the figure that Frodo sees isn’t a Ringwraith, and he’s just assuming it is. However, that doesn’t seem right. When it vanishes as the elves approach, you can probably figure that it’s up to no good. And the crawling? Yeah, that freaks me out.

And I’m pretty sure Sam is going to go ballistic for as long as it takes during their interaction with the elves. Remember how bad he was earlier? Well, now he’s actually meeting elves. Here we go.

“‘Elves, sir!’ He would…”

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Busy day today! A lot to do blog-related, and there isn’t even that much that happens on this page!

You’ll understand…

Frodo, Sam, and Pippin find a hollowed-out tree. Literally, hollow. They climb inside.


The tree blocks any view from the road, so they are able to rest and eat there without worrying. When it’s time to go, it’s officially nighttime, but that doesn’t seem to bother our heroes too much. In fact, they begin to hum. Hobbits have songs for dinnertime and bedtime, but this is a song that Bilbo made up, a walking-song.


Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

Our second installment! I really hope you don’t hate this because, well, you’ll be seeing a fair bit of it over the next few days. (Sometimes, I glance ahead when I turn to the next day’s page…)

If you’ve forgotten, this is all about taking the lyrics that Tolkien wrote and putting them to today’s popular music!

Again, this is Bilbo’s walking-song, sung by Frodo, Sam, and Pippin as they walk during the night.

We’re given:

“Upon the hearth the fire is red,

Beneath the roof there is a bed;

But not yet weary are our feet,

Still round the corner we may meet

A sudden tree or standing stone

That none have seen but we alone.

Tree and flower and leaf and grass,

Let them pass! Let them pass!

Hill and water under sky,

Pass them by! Pass them by!

Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate,

And though we pass them by today,

Tomorrow we may come this way

And take the hidden paths that run

Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,

Let them go! Let them go!

Sand and stone and pool and dell,

Fare you well! Fare you well!”

Much longer than our first song! Nevertheless, I present:

Keep the Walk Going pt.1

(Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire)

That’s right, pt.1. This song doesn’t end at the bottom of today’s page. We have more tomorrow!

And it’s so fitting that this song, about walking, scans well with a popular song called “Keep the Car Running”. Modes of transportation for the win!

Now, really, this song thing is hard, but it’s so rewarding when it ends up coming together. It’s also really silly, but I hope that someone gets something useful out of it. Laughs, if nothing else. Who knows? Maybe I’m the next Beethoven or something.

Nah, too serious.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, there really isn’t much else to say about this page. The hobbits find a tree to hide in! Oh, goody. And why are they still traveling, even now that it’s dark? I don’t know.

They’re hobbits. Hobbits are stubborn like that.

Fare you well! Fare you well!

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Discussion is had about the black rider. Why didn’t Sam say anything earlier? Why didn’t Frodo, since he overheard this conversation between the rider and the Gaffer? And Pippin, confused, wonders why Frodo is so afraid of being spotted, especially by this rider. There is, however, one thing Pippin knows:

Me want food!

Yes, Pippin is hungry and tired…AGAIN. Luckily for us, the black rider gave him enough of a scare that he’s willing to move on, at least for a little while. Frodo feels like this is the best course of action too. They continue, but now a ways to the left of the road. They follow it straight for a while, until they run into the road when it branches into two directions. According to Frodo, the right branch is their way.

First Mentions:

-the Yale: Lowland in the direction of the left branch of the road.In a fierce rivalry with the Harvard, on the other branch. Er…no, just a lowland.

Once again, for those of you following along at home, you can spot where our intrepid journey-hobbits are on the map of the Shire! On the map (provided on the post for Page 71), find where the road (in red) forks just east of the “ng” in “Eastfarthing”. The north branch goes through the Yale, and the south branch goes to Woodhall. That’s where we find our heroes! They’ll be taking the south branch.

Frodo’s dismissal of the Gaffer’s conversation with the black rider is surprising here. “The Gaffer can’t be blamed,” Frodo says. What? He told him where you were going! Doesn’t that make things pretty bad? This clearly isn’t just a tax collector or something. This is Sauron’s Repo Man of Evil!

Just give them the ring and everything will be fine.

Whatever happens later, at least Frodo has the sense to stay off the road a little bit. Of course, now the sun has officially gone down, and who knows what’s going to happen overnight?

Action! Adventure! More traveling!

Have you figured out why this chapter is called “Three is Company” yet? Frodo. Sam. Pippin. BOOM.

“Not far from the road-meeting they came on the huge hulk of a…”

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