Archive for the ‘6 – Lothlórien’ Category

Somehow we’d gotten into the pattern of ending each chapter with a paragraph-long page where almost nothing of worth happened. Thankfully, that’s done with. Look, stuff!

But not this much stuff.

Haldir explains that Frodo can see out into Mirkwood, the part of it where Sauron established his hidden stronghold. He remarks that the distinction between the light and dark parts of the land is very strong when viewed from this hilltop. Symbolism!

Coming down off the hill, Frodo sees Aragorn in a frozen state of memory. It has something to do with his lady love Arwen. Smiling, Aragorn takes Frodo down the rest of the way.

Happiness! We can still have it, even if the world is tearing itself apart.

You’re tearing me apart, Lisauron!

Fellowship of the LATE: 77 pages

Now, yesterday I was joking around about the fact that I thought the text took a giant leap forward to the end of Frodo’s life. Today, IT ACTUALLY DOES TAKE A GIANT LEAP FORWARD. As Frodo and Aragorn walk off the hill, we hear that Aragorn will never return here as a living man. NEVER.

Okay, I don’t know if I actually needed to know that, but it’s interesting. Especially when you consider that fact that Aragorn returns as the king. (It’s kind of a big deal). Oh right, spoiler alert.

So if Aragorn’s the king, and he reunites the northern and southern kingdoms, wouldn’t he stop off in Lothlórien again at some point? Maybe with the elves gone, there’s no point, but I would assume that this land would still be beautiful, certainly so if it remembers all things like we’ve been told. But there’s no guarantee.

But now we know, Aragorn will never be back here. So don’t get setting up for a welcome back party.

But it does say, “as a living man,” so maybe Aragorn returns as a zombie. Maybe.

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“Elvendom”, because every group of people needs an epic collective proper noun.

“And taking Frodo’s hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as a living man.”

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Earth-shattering truth: this land is stupidly gorgeous.

Haldir takes Frodo and Sam up Cerin Amroth, and they look upon the lands all around them. The world continually feels old and wondrous.

So the trees are golden, but still.

The tallest of the green trees mark where the city of Lothlórien lies. Frodo feels as if the light and life of the area emanate from there. Beyond it, he can see the Great River, and the lands across it seem shapeless and boring in comparison to the wood.

Fellowship of the LATE: 76 pages

Frodo can feel the LIFE in a TREE. Before you know it, he’ll be a tree-hugging flower child. But that’s the power of this place.

In fact, at first I thought that this page had a brief jump forward in time, to Frodo’s death. “When he had gone and passed again into the outer world, still Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would walk there,” the text reads. Like I said, at first I thought that this meant that Frodo would “live” in this land after he passed on. However, I see that it’s more about the wood remembering him long after he’s left. He’s already noted how it feels full of memory. He can feel the life forces of things long dead or long gone. When he is as well, Lothlórien will still remember his presence.

Like how kids feel about Christmas.

Looking out from hilltops among the forest: it’s a common theme. Remember the Old Forest? What’s a good way to increase the epic grandeur of the story? Oh right, let everyone look out over a vast expanse of landscape. Easy as Easy-Bake Oven pie.

Tomorrow’s the last page of this chapter! Progress!

“The sun that lay on Lothlórien had no power to enlighten the shadow of that distant height.”

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Bad news: that mysterious creature is still following along, and the elves don’t have the heart to shoot it. Good news: word has come from higher powers that the Fellowship can walk freely!

I dig it.

Frodo looks around. EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL. That’s basically the gist of this page. They hang out in this clearing for a bit, and plan to make it to the inner city by nightfall.

First Mentions:

-Cerin Amroth: A great hill crowned with trees where Amroth (you’ve heard of him) once lived. No matter what season, winter flowers bloom here. Because reasons.

Flowers. Lots of flowers. There are two to note: elanor and niphredil. Elanor is golden and shaped like stars. Very elven. Niphredil is pale white with a slight green. What kind of flowers are these supposed to mirror in our world? I don’t know!

I’m no botanist.

Suffice it to say that the combination of the flowers on the green, green hillside is powerfully gorgeous. Frodo could tell it was pretty just from the feeling he got while blindfolded, and the visuals don’t disappoint. By trying to explain it, I probably shame myself.

Fellowship of the LATE: 75 pages

But somehow, word has reached Lothlórien that it’s okay to trust these folks. What a novel idea! The easy explanation is that a new message has come from Rivendell. While that’s possible, and I totally don’t want to discount that possibility, there’s also the chance that a certain elf-queen is creepily psychic. Foresight is a handy thing.

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My question is whether or not the computer would flip out if I capitalized “elanor”. It’s a name! Even computers these days tend to recognize these things. Get with the program.


“No blemish or sickness…”

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Times is bad, but we knew that. Haldir just tells us from another perspective.

Perspective is everything.

Throughout the day, Haldir leads the Fellowship along. Frodo can’t see anything (obviously), but he can feel the ground beneath his toes and the sun on his face. The land of Lothlórien feels old to him, as if from another time.

The day passes, and they sleep easily. They stop the next day at midday, and find that a group of elves has surrounded them. They are traveling to the borders to stand guard, and pass the news that the band of orcs has been destroyed. Success!

Fellowship of the LATE: 74 pages

So, is Lothlórien old? Yes, but everything in Middle-earth is. The difference here is that it’s significantly older than most things that Frodo has come into contact with. The Shire is vastly younger by comparison.

Think of it this way – what is old to you, in terms of a locale? I live in Chicago, so Boston seems old to me. Now, think older. Primordial.

And I don’t mean soup.

It makes me think of jungles. Gnarled roots and vines and lichen. Yeah. While Lothlórien isn’t exactly a jungle, I think of it in the same way. Perhaps if you’re familiar with the Forest of Dean in England. I’ve heard that Tolkien was inspired by its old-ness. It’s also the best place to find dinosaurs arriving out of shimmering rips in time.

It sounds like a cool place to me, if nothing else.

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And there’s a word that really sums it all up.

Oh right, and the elves slaughtered those orcs, because of course they did. But we don’t see it or hear about the carnage, because these are good guys. Their carnage is delicate and offstage.

“The marauding orcs had been waylaid and almost all destroyed; the remnant had fled westward towards the mountains, and were being pursued. A…”

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Arguments, arguments. If there’s one thing you can count on right now, it’s arguing between our elven and dwarven friends. Even though Aragorn proposed that everyone will go blindfolded, Gimli argues that he will be just fine if Legolas alone joins him in walking blind. This, of course, doesn’t sit well with the elf, and he’s just as stubborn as Gimli.

Monkey see, monkey do.

However, Aragorn remains the voice of reason, and insists that everyone will be blindfolded. No questions. So Haldir does as he says, and chats about how no one trusts anyone else anymore. He worries that the elves of Lothlórien have hemmed themselves in, and the only escape out of Middle-earth is too far away. Merry muses that he would never have left home if he had known the outside world was this grim.

Fellowship of the LATE: 73 pages

It’s true – the growing evil in Middle-earth has made long alliances grow thin, and strangers are more likely to mistrust one another at first sight. I actually think this is an underrated power at Sauron’s disposal. Just the mere thought of his power increasing makes the free peoples suspicious of just about everything.

It’s like this.

If everyone is scattered and solitary, world domination will be easier for the forces of evil. It makes a lot of sense, even though there’s very little proof that Sauron is doing anything to actively promote this.

Aside from that billboard he bought. That’s pretty active promoting.


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I’m curious to see how the next leg of the journey is treated. We’re generally shown the world through the perspective of Frodo, but with him and everyone else blindfolded, there won’t be much to see.

I’m guessing we’ll either get a lot of talking, or a brief summary of walking around in the dark. Hopefully someone stumbles and we can laugh at that.

“‘The world is indeed…'”

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Being singled out is hard.


But that’s exactly what happens today. Once everyone is across, Haldir explains that they are nearing the heart of Lothlórien, where few outsiders are permitted. At this point, Gimli must be blindfolded.

Woah, woah, woah there! Gimil doesn’t like that. He strongly protests, threatening violence. He says that he will not be treated this way, and if it must be so, he would rather turn back. BUT HE CAN’T. You see, once you’re this far into Lothlórien, there’s no turning back. He must continue on to be judged…or something. There’s no escape.

But, because this is a FAMILY, Aragorn decrees that they all will be blindfolded, so that Gimli isn’t under so much pressure. That’s very sacrificial of him, I guess. Blindfolds for all!

First Mentions:

-Andy: Sam’s uncle. Yep, his name is Andy. That’s that.

-the Naith of Lórien/the Gore: The beginning of the secret part of Lothlórien between the Silverlode and Anduin. So it’s like a triangle of land between the two rivers. Like Pittsburgh.

-Egladil: The heart of Lothlórien. Haldir insists that no one will go without a blindfold here. Good thing we’re getting that out of the way now! So I guess it’s really important.

Pittsburgh. For reference.

So many secrets! Unnecessary, in my opinion. We’ve already been over a little bit that Lothlórien is protected from evil. So…why would they be so worried? And at this point, it’s pretty clear that no one in the Fellowship is a spy. Especially Gimli, even though his stubborn nature is only making matters worse.

Fellowship of the LATE: 72 pages

It’s the great clash: dwarven obstinacy versus elven bureaucracy. When you think about it, if you were to combine the two peoples they would probably make a very well-rounded race. I guess every story needs its opposites, and you’d be hard pressed to say otherwise in this case. Elves mistrust dwarves because they are dwarves. It’s dumb, but it’s one of those in-universe truths that we can change and learn from in the course of the story.

Yay learning!

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Conversely, an egladil is a really good sale on eggs. Think about it.

“‘That will be best, though it will make the journey slow and dull.'”

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Those orcs will die. DIE.

Do you see that disdain?

Haldir has sent Orophin to mobilize the elven troops. I would guess that they’re going to obliterate some orc later on.

The next morning, Haldir rouses the Fellowship, and guides them off. They follow the path for the most part. However, approaching the Silverlode, Haldir leads them aside and calls across the water to another elf. Haldir throws a rope over, and bounds across. He means for the others to do the same. Legolas points out, however, that none but him have the agility to walk a tightrope across the river. Knowing this, Haldir sets up two more ropes that they can hang onto. Pippin makes it across quite easily!

Fellowship of the LATE: 71 pages

Good for Pippin. I guess he’s nimble like that. At least now he has something going for him.

This type of stuff really makes me grumble about elves. Must they show off all the time? Look, it’s a rope, we get it. You can run across it without thinking twice, and everybody looks on in awe. It must be nice. Personally, I’m not that agile. I could never do that. WHY MUST YOU TORMENT ME?!

We all have to come to terms with our own inadequacy eventually.

Elves are also the best guerilla warriors around, but I don’t take offense to that. That’s just awesome. Those orcs are going to find out what that means pretty soon.

WHY MUST YOU SPELLCHECK “GUERILLA”, COMPUTER?! Haven’t you taken a history class on Vietnam?

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Granted, I figured it was spelled “skillfully”. I think that’s just how we spell it on this side of the pond.

You guys, I saw Prometheus today with blog-friend Dan. It was good. Confusing, but in that expected sort of way. Expansive universes like that make me drool.

“Sam shuffled along, clutching…”

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You know that feeling when scads of enemies are hunting for you nearby?

Most pets prefer hiding under furniture!

Well, Frodo’s awake in the tree, and he can hear numerous creatures passing underneath him. The orcs move off, but he can still hear something creeping near. It sniffs around the base of the tree, and starts to climb up. Frodo can see those two glowing eyes again…

But it runs away! Haldir returns, curious as to what this thing was. He tells Frodo that a large band of orcs has passed, probably near a hundred of them. The three elves led them away from the area.

Fellowship of the LATE: 70 pages

So apparently orcs are really great hunters, but it doesn’t take too much effort for them to be led astray by three elves. Seriously? They pick up a scent around the area where the Fellowship rested briefly, so they clearly have a good handle on what they’re tracking. But just as easily as anything else, they’re led away by voices. VOICES. That’s it. It’s further proof that orcs are pretty stupid.

“Oh! They’re totally over here. Come on, guys!”

Meanwhile, there’s this creepy following thing again! And this creepy following thing is smart enough not to fall for Haldir’s tricks. He remarks that it sort of resembled a hobbit, and knew how to climb a tree. But it can’t be a hobbit…they don’t really like climbing trees.


Who could that mean?

Yep, Gollum’s getting bolder.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 30 – “I’m intrigued – you’re sketchy – but what’s your endgame?”

He keeps getting closer and closer, only to run off again. It’s only a matter of time before something happens here…

“‘The three of us could not challenge a hundred, so we went ahead and spoke with feigned voices, leading them on into the wood.'”

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Presumably on a recreational camping trip?

“Find the halfling!”

Since orcs are about, Haldir insists that the Fellowship sleep in the treetops tonight. The four hobbits will stay in this tree, while Legolas will supervise everyone else in another. Legolas jumps down to deliver the news, and Merry and Pippin climb up shortly thereafter. They haul up four blankets, though Haldir offers them all some more clothing, and food to warm them as well. Sleeping this high up is difficult, though Sam manages to doze off, even while Pippin chatters away. Frodo drops off as well, but wakes up alone at some point in the middle of the night.

Fellowship of the LATE: 69 pages

As a custom, hobbits don’t sleep on upper floors. So, a tree? Not so comfortable. Fact: hobbits are afraid of heights. It makes sense if you think about it. They’re short. They also live underground, much like dwarves. Neither really like being high up. Call it a close connection to the ground, if you will.

This baby elephant feels the same way.

But that doesn’t stop Sam. Sam sleeps through anything. Wind, rain, the end of all things, it doesn’t matter. That guy will sleep. But that’s a handy skill sometimes.

Unfortunately, Frodo doesn’t have that skill. He wakes up in the middle of the night more often than any other hobbit I know. And I know hobbits. Granted, we’re more or less following his perspective, but he still wakes up a lot more often than I think he should. After a while, it’s going to become a pattern, and then it becomes insomnia. And before you know it, Frodo’s staying up late playing Xbox way too often.

That’s when you turn into this.

Thankfully, the elves are on watch during all of this. Apparently, they don’t care about sleep at all. They’re the winners of this page.

“The sickle Moon was gleaming dimly among the…”

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I’ve been waiting for page 343.

Although I don’t think most people would understand why.

The elves in the tree chat with Frodo, speaking in his own language and not their own. They knew nothing of hobbits, but have noticed that the folk don’t seem to be very threatening. As such, they are willing to let the Fellowship pass through their woods, as long as they have a bit more description of the members from Legolas. They approve of most of the Fellowship, especially Aragorn, but once Legolas gets to Gimli, they jump. No dwarves are allowed in Lothlórien! However, with a little prodding, they agree to let him go. Blindfolded, but still.

First Mentions:

-Haldir: Lead elf of these three. He speaks the Common Tongue, so we can like him.

-Rúmil: One of Haldir’s brothers. Not as cool.

-Orophin: Another of Haldir’s brothers. Prince of France. Almost.

And it’s not Gimli who breathes so loud they could have shot him in the dark. It’s Sam. Good to know.

Also, this kid.

Fellowship of the LATE: 68 pages

And man, these elves don’t like dwarves! We’ve joked about it before, but these elves REALLY DON’T LIKE DWARVES. Elrond allowed Gimli and Glóin into Rivendell, but apparently that doesn’t fly in Lothlórien. And it’s Elrond’s trust that gets Gimli into these woods. That’s the angle that Legolas uses to persuade Haldir to let him pass.

And yes, Haldir says, “I cannot allow him to pass.” Sorry, but you’re not as good as somebody that we used to know…


But, wow. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

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Neil Patrick Harris is the best Tony host of all time. OF ALL TIME.

“‘We have been keeping watch on the rivers, ever since…'”

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