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Archive for the ‘6 – Many Partings’ Category

What does Bilbo do when he’s done singing? Fall asleep, of course! That’s what Bilbo does now.

Sam offers some quiet criticism of Bilbo while he sleeps, and that perks the old hobbit up to prove that he isn’t asleep quite yet. In fact, he has one last gift: he gives Frodo some notes and his diary, in hopes that he might be able to organize them all together. When next they meet, Frodo can give Bilbo the completed documents.

A glamorous end for Frodo.

A glamorous end for Frodo.

The hobbits and Gandalf set out the next morning. Elrond pulls Frodo aside alone, telling him to look for him and Bilbo in the Shire come fall. This conversation is secret from everyone else.

Why secret? Well, I don’t rightly know. I don’t go around pretending to understand Elrond’s motives. I don’t think I’ve ever tried.

And that’s the end of the chapter! It began in Minas Tirith, brought us to Edoras, Isengard, and Rivendell, and now finally comes to a close. I’m pretty sure that’s the most physical ground we’ve covered in a single chapter so far. Right?

Of course, I guess calling it “physical” ground is sort of a stretch. Fiction…physicality…you know what I mean.

This came up with my search results, so here you go.

This came up with my search results, so here you go.

I think we also learn that Bilbo still isn’t as daft as we might think. I don’t quite think all that sleeping has been fake, but I think he’s taking some tactical naps when he needs to.

Well, maybe I’m giving him too much credit. Perhaps the phrase “tactical naps” is a bit too academic for this discussion. I like the concept of tactical naps, though.

No one dies today.

“These words no one else heard, and Frodo kept them to himself.”

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So, this is as full circle as it gets. It’s not a big deal on the page, which is still pretty mundane, but Bilbo sings a song in farewell to the four hobbits, and it’s a turn on what he sang at the beginning as our first song of all. More on that to come.

As the hobbits are leaving Rivendell, Bilbo goes around giving gifts to all. He gives his mithril and Sting to Frodo (though he forgets that he already did that) along with some books he wrote, Sam gets the last of Smaug’s gold that Bilbo still kept, and Merry and Pippin get some good old-fashioned advice not to get too tall.

Oops.

Oops.

They also get some pipes, because of course they do.

Bilbo also remarks that he’d like to see his ring one last time. He can’t (of course), but at least he remembers that that was the whole reason for the journey in the first place. Movie Bilbo forgets that. It seems odd. Then Bilbo sings that song that will bring us all back.

Let’s get to it.

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

If you’ve been following along, this should look familiar.

“The Road goes ever on and on

Out from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

Let others follow it who can!

Let them a journey new begin,

But I at last with weary feet

Will turn towards the lighted inn,

My evening-rest and sleep to meet.”

In probable finale, I present:

Little Hobbit Man (Reprise)

(Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons)

When I saw this song coming, I knew immediately what to do. Honestly, I don’t know if this is the last song in the book, but it sure would be a fitting end, wouldn’t it? Bilbo sings this song as he walks out from Bag End, and now he sings it as Frodo sets out for a last time, knowing full well that he has no more journeys left in him. The subtle changes in the lyrics bear this out. “And I must follow, if I can,” becomes “Let others follow it who can,” “Pursuing it with eager feet,” becomes “Let them a journey new begin,” and so on and so forth. This is Bilbo’s farewell. He’s finally not as young anymore.

For myself, this isn’t getting me emotional, but it’s certainly feeling like a retrospective on all that I’ve done here. The most interesting fact has to be going back to listen to my first version of this song. (Do it if you want! Page 35!) Originally, I was just learning to play ukulele. In fact, this feature was partially meant to get me playing regularly to get some practice in. Well, it’s gone pretty well.

This is what I look like when I record now.

This is what I look like when I record now.

You can also hear back and see how bad my recording equipment was back in the day. I have a much better setup now, though sometimes I can’t use it when I have to record late at night. Thankfully, this got the good treatment. On a side note, though I’ve occasionally used my (still relatively new) mandolin, I’m just not very good at it. I need another project to get me working on that.

And this is becoming a long post! I’m only talking about the songs, really, so I can’t imagine how long this is going to get when I go back and look at the whole thing. Gulp. I’m almost there. And I already have so many things to say.

No one dies today.

“‘My evening-rest and sleep to meet.‘”

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And so it is March. And so it will end.

We sit at page 986, some 24 pages from the end. There will be no blog in April.

Who knows that feel? This guy.

Who knows that feel? This guy.

Today’s page relays the stay of the four hobbits in Rivendell. Yes, by the end, they’re already thinking about leaving. And they stay for a few weeks!

First off, they celebrate Bilbo’s birthday (and also Frodo’s), which happens to be the day following their arrival. They spend the following days and nights telling Bilbo of their journeys, keeping track of where they leave off every time he falls asleep. After some time of this, Frodo begins to realize that it’s time to go home. He consults with Elrond, who agrees. Gandalf also has the itch to leave, and will travel with them.

And as far as I can see, there is only one leg of the journey left. The Shire is all that awaits.

Gandalf, meanwhile, has other reasons for leaving. He wants to see Butterbur in Bree, and I’m looking forward to the moment that I’ve heard quoted often where he makes a note of Tom Bombadil. The hobbits just want to go home, as anyone would after so long away. Events are always centered around Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday, and this year makes it 18 since the very beginning of our tale. (Bilbo has turned 129.) Eighteen! Indeed, though many of those years were spent while Frodo lived peacefully in the Shire, time has gone by very quickly.

CA-CAW.

CA-CAW.

And what will they find in the Shire when they return? Peace and happiness, right? Right? RIGHT?!

No one dies today.

“Then he gave Frodo his mithril-coat and Sting, forgetting…”

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Some more goodbyes to come, but at least one hello.

That, and weird statuesque mind-reading thought conversations.

Learn from me.

Learn from me.

Now passing into the land just near the gate of Moria, it is time for Galadriel and Celeborn to cut off east and take the road over the mountains to Lothlórien. Before that, however, they sit with Elrond and Gandalf for another week and talk at night. They sit in the darkness and talk without speaking about the ages that have gone by. Remember, they’ve seen quite a lot.

After this week passes, and Galadriel and Celeborn make their farewells, the group journeys on to Rivendell. The four hobbits immediately set out to find Bilbo, and meet him in his little room, looking older and older.

So, what is it that Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, and Celeborn are doing? Well, there’s no doubt that they have a lot to talk about, and I would guess that they’ve reached some other plane in their time on this earth that allows them to commune together like this. The knowledge of all is unfathomable, and rumors have it that Elrond and Galadriel have some powers of the mind that few can grasp. The way I see it, it’s another way in which magic is nondescript in this world. We can’t understand it, and we’re not meant to.

It's not even an illusion.

It’s not even an illusion.

In the best ways, some things are meant to be unexplainable. Argue about that all you want with Tom Bombadil, but I think the mystery of the magic in Lord of the Rings adds an air of true magic, at least as it exists to me.

I’m getting a little weirdly philosophical in my endtimes. Maybe that’s the tired and loopy me at this hour, but what else can I do with conceptual ideas on pages like this? These are my feelings.

No one dies today.

“‘Do you know, I shall be one hundred and…'”

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It just wouldn’t be Saruman without some never-ending quips and threats, which he delivers when he passes by the four hobbits. He asks, somewhat, for some of their pipe-weed, which Merry obliges him, since, after all, it did come from his ruined stores. Saruman takes it, but continues to chide them for stealing his possessions.

So much for Saruman the White.

So much for Saruman the White.

Merry tries to swipe his pouch back (since it wasn’t Saruman’s to begin with), but Saruman just laughs and takes it. He then offers some vague threat about the harvest being poor in the Shire.

This sets the hobbits off, and they wish to head home. Not so, says Frodo, who wants to head to Rivendell and see Bilbo.

First Mentions:

-the Swanfleet: I’m amazed that there’s still a river we haven’t met yet in this region, since it feels like that’s all we talked about the first time through. Well, here’s a river, and swans live on it!

The argument here is that, though Merry and Pippin did in fact “steal” that pipe-weed from Isengard, it was Saruman who had them captured and slogged across the countryside for a few days. Up to that point, Merry and Pippin hadn’t done anything to wrong Saruman, so why should he feel so injured? He started it!

Always a wise defense.

Always a wise defense.

And there’s no doubt that Saruman intends to screw with these hobbits for as long as he can. I don’t know why he directly places so much hate on them. After all, it’s not like they were really driving events against him. Frodo had the ultimate victory, to be sure, but it was never in opposition to Saruman. He really hardly knew of Saruman’s treachery at all. Why so angry, buddy?

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Swanfleet

That would be a great name for an army of beautiful boats, or something…

No one dies today.

“Far to the west in a haze lay the meres and eyots through which it wound its way to the Greyflood: there countless swans housed in a land of reeds.”

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Don’t worry, there’s still some antagonism to be had!

Our heroes come across two beggars trotting along in the barren lands. Riding by them, Gandalf notices Saruman. Gandalf begins a conversation with him, and there’s no doubting that it goes poorly.

Those eyes don't look like they want a friendly chat.

Those eyes don’t look like they want a friendly chat.

Gandalf and Galadriel offer help to Saruman, now that he has no power to himself. He isn’t interested, and will actually change directions so that he isn’t traveling the same way as the people he despises. There’s bitterness there for being taken down a peg, but also still a streak of mockery that never goes away. He laughs at the elves for destroying their very own power by destroying that of others. He whips a weary Wormtongue into action to try and move on.

I actually don’t think that Saruman makes his point very clearly here, but he’s talking about the fact that the Rings of Power are weakened with the destruction of the One Ring. This hasn’t ever been a connection I’ve fully understood, but Saruman likes to laugh at those who throw away power, even though they destroyed something much greater and more threatening to their interests. Most people would be able to live with that tradeoff. Not Saruman.

Suffice it to say that Saruman remains selfish even to the end. He’s too proud to accept help of any kind or admit that he has been wrong. It’s not a good look for anyone, especially one so defeated.

Wormtongue seems to want to get away, but he’s a follower, not a leader. He’ll never be free to make his own decisions.

Step one: don't follow Saruman.

Step one: don’t follow Saruman.

Each day forward is another day closer to the end. Even if it ends with Wormtongue being a whiner.

No one dies today.

“But Wormtongue only shot a glance of his bleared eyes full of…”

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All our friends are leaving now.

At least not in that way.

At least not in that way.

With Legolas and Gimli off on their way yesterday, and Treebeard literally on the way out at the top of today’s page, Aragorn joins them in absence when the group reaches the Gap of Rohan. I’m still not sure why he came all this way, even after the business at Isengard, but whatever. He’s the king.

This leaves our group as the four hobbits, Gandalf, and the combined parties of Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn. Not gonna lie: that’s a strange group. They’re entering into mostly barren lands, too, so there isn’t much more to note.

I’m mostly lost time-wise, but we do get almost a full week of travel (six days) onward from the departure of Aragorn. And that’s just in the last half paragraph. We saw these lands ever so briefly when the Fellowship (Hey, look at that!) traveled this way long, long ago. It hasn’t gotten any more interesting, but at least the Gap of Rohan has become safe enough for travel. It’s the easiest way to go.

The Gap of Rohan also sells horse armor.

The Gap of Rohan also sells horse armor.

So, yeah. Not much to it. Is it safe to say that this, at least in terms of the journey, is the home stretch? Sadly, I feel like I’ve been looking for a “home stretch” for a while now. Basically, any “last” counts as the beginning of a possible home stretch. But it’s almost March, and that’s where we’re going to find our end.

No one dies today.

“As they came out…”

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