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Posts Tagged ‘Elrond’

This ends now.

Home again.

Home again.

Sam, Merry, and Pippin ride home in silence. Merry and Pippin ride on ahead once they arrive back in the Shire, and Sam returns to Bag End. Rosie is waiting for him with dinner and his daughter. All is well.

That’s the end.

Admittedly, I find this post more difficult than what I have planned for tomorrow, because I’ve been thinking about those thoughts for quite a while. Today is, after all, just another normal post. Like the end of many chapters, it’s not even a full page, and the action is rather simple. If it weren’t the end of the book, there wouldn’t be much more to say. However, because it is the end, there’s more meaning.

I find the style of the narrative at the end very interesting. “And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within,” it goes. There’s a lot of “and” this, “and” that, and it feels like someone rambling on about unimportant events. It’s the start of Sam’s new life – the happy life he’s always wanted at home in the Shire. Things aren’t dramatic or epic. He can settle down to live happily.

This is part of the reason why Frodo had to leave. Frodo (like Bilbo) had a flair for adventure. Once dragged into the journey, he let it consume him. He learned an immeasurable amount about himself, but he was never able to shake the restless nerves that he grew to live with over the course of the tale. Frodo accepted that he must take the ring, and even volunteered to do so at the Council of Elrond. Sam, on the other hand, never really did that. He got lumped in with Frodo when Gandalf discovered him listening in, and Sam’s thoughts to keep him in good spirits on the road were almost always of home. He has an easier time slipping back to his good life at peace.

And so, the end isn’t a big deal. It’s the beginning of a new tale, but not one that will keep us gripped with excitement. We leave our heroes here.

...is the beginning.

…is the beginning.

Of course, this isn’t quite my end. I have a retrospective conclusion planned for tomorrow. What have I learned? What was it like? What are some cool/fun facts? What’s next? I’m going to post a big long bunch of thoughts tomorrow to say a lot about this experience.

Just over two and a half years ago, I sat down to write a blog. It went by incredibly fast. I regret to announce that – though, as I said, two and a half years is far too short a time to to write among you – this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!

No one dies today.

“‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”

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I started to feel the first pangs of emotion when reading/typing today’s page. This probably won’t be startlingly hard for me, but something feels so final about this. Two more.

Frodo, Sam, Bilbo, and the elves ride up to the Grey Havens, where Círdan, the shipwright, greets them. Standing by a white boat is Gandalf, dressed in white and with his ring showing. Merry and Pippin ride up quickly behind the group, having been summoned by Gandalf. He doesn’t want Sam to ride back alone.

Friends are good!

Friends are good!

The time comes for those leaving to sail away. The ship dwindles into the horizon, and Frodo sees the white shores approach sometime in the night through the rain clearing into a sunrise. Sam stands back at the Grey Havens with Merry and Pippin long into the night.

First Mentions:

-the Far Downs: Hills far to the west of the Shire. Downs are all over the place.

-Narya: Gandalf’s ring of the Three, the Ring of Fire. “Wielder of the Flame of Anor!”

I’m a little struck by the timeline here, but I think it’s purposefully contracted. The narrative makes it seem like Frodo’s journey across the sea takes but one night. I don’t think that can be possible, but it could be true…with some magic. All things are well in the word, after all, and the winds and waves should be with them.

And one line has always stood with me from this page: “…he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.” For some reason, I had always thought that those were the last lines of the book. They’re not; I learned that some time ago, but it always feels more final than what the end truly is. In truth, there’s somewhat of a short “epilogue” to follow with Sam returning to the Shire, but I guess I feel like the story ends with Frodo’s departure.

Some people argue that Sam is the real main character in this huge story of many. I don’t disagree, but I just like that line so much. It does feel like the end to me, and it’s what made me just a touch emotional today.

Feels.

Feels.

Okay, okay, I wasn’t crying or anything, but it felt…weird.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Narya

How cool is it, on the second to last page, that we’re still finding new things? Novel from beginning to end, this…um, novel.

We end tomorrow. (Conclusion to follow that.)

No one dies today.

“Beside him stood Merry and Pippin, and they were silent.”

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Yes, one more journey. No, we won’t be following it closely. Frodo’s leaving.

Appropriate James Van Der Beek moment.

Appropriate James Van Der Beek moment.

Having never found true happiness back in the Shire, Frodo intends to leave Middle-earth on a ship with the elves and Bilbo. As ring-bearers, they are allowed to join. Frodo wishes for Sam to ride with them, at least to the Grey Havens, before returning home. He has so much more to live for back in the Shire, and Frodo wants him to go live his life to its fullest.

And so, they ride, passing through the Shire hardly noticeably.

First Mentions:

-Frodo: A future child of Sam’s, when he finally does have a boy.

-Rosie: Another future Gamgee, named for her mother.

-Merry: Sensing a pattern?

-Goldilocks: What?! That’s not someone we know.

-Pippin: Okay, Sam does eventually name his children after all his friends.

So…no one can see them? I see this one way: Galadriel’s ring still has some of its power. We learned earlier (MUCH earlier) that her ring, Nenya, has the power of hiding things its owner wishes to keep hidden. Is she using it now? Unfortunately, the power is leaving the Three as the One Ring has been destroyed, but perhaps there’s enough left in there to help the band along their way. I actually totally see the value in going about unnoticed. This wouldn’t be a good time for random hobbits to be running up to Elrond and Galadriel, wanting to hang out with some elves.

OHMYGOD I NEED A PICTURE WITH THIS PERSON.

OHMYGOD I NEED A PICTURE WITH THIS PERSON.

Anyway, just like Bilbo planned his departure from the Shire, it looks like Frodo has been thinking about this for quite a while. He doesn’t have the things keeping him there like Sam does. Frodo even takes a theoretical glimpse into Sam’s future, seeing more children and Sam being elected Mayor. All of these things eventually come true.

(Sam and Rosie end up have 13 children in total, in case you were curious.)

No one dies today.

“And when they passed from the Shire, going about the south skirts of the White Downs, they came to the…”

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So, when I thought we had our last song, and a nice bit of symmetry, I was wrong. Frodo sings softly to himself, followed by a response from elves in the forest. Sam watches a whole band, led by Elrond and Galadriel, emerge out of the trees. Bilbo rides just behind the lead. They greet Frodo and Sam, and Lady Galadriel remarks that Sam has used her gift (the soil and mallorn seed) well.

These hands are too clean.

These hands are too clean.

First Mentions:

-Vilya: Elrond’s ring of the Three. Gold with a blue stone.

I’m not sure what Vilya’s power is, but it’s known also as the Ring of Air. Wind power? Nah, too Captain Planet.

And we have one last song…

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

This is an interesting one. Technically, it’s two songs, but I figured it would make more sense to be combined into one. And…well, let’s look at it.

Frodo sings the beginning:

“Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate;

And though I oft have passed them by,

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

Look familiar? I’ll get to it. Frodo is answered by the following from the elves:

“A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!

silivren penna míriel

o menel aglar elenath,

Gilthoniel, A! Elbereth!

We still remember, we who dwell

In this far land beneath the trees

The starlight on the Western Seas.”

Finally, I present:

And In The End

(Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire, Clocks – Coldplay, Mykonos – Fleet Foxes)

In semi-Beatles Abbey Road medley fashion, it’s the last track, one would assume. I thought that it made sense, considering that all three “sections” of lyrics are heavily taken from earlier songs, but with minor changes. Frodo’s stanza calls back to “Keep the Walk Going”, all the way back on pages 77 and 78. The first bit of elven singing comes from “Elrocks” on page 238, and the second is from “Valinos”, page 79.

I found it fun to combine the last two songs, and they worked pretty well together. I felt that made some sense. Gildor (the elf who Frodo, Sam, and Pippin met in the Shire) rides with Elrond and Galadriel, and, though not implicitly stated, I could see his group singing the “Valinos” lines while Elrond’s house sings “Elrocks”. And it worked!

Get it.

Get it.

With that, I’m running out of steam for the night. I definitely didn’t see this song coming, so I had to spend some time this afternoon getting everything put together. Thank goodness I didn’t have to adapt the songs from total scratch. I’m okay with some repeating.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Vilya

I keep combining Gandalf’s ring (Narya) with Vilya in my mind, creating Varya, the Russian Chekhov ring of sadness.

No one dies today.

“‘So that’s settled. And now…'”

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Sam’s going off to go grab his father and bring him to safety. Our hobbits are splitting up!

Mitosis of hobbits.

Mitosis of hobbits.

That leaves Frodo and Merry, who listen to Farmer Cotton’s story of how Lotho Sackville-Baggins took control of the Shire.

It began shortly after Frodo and his friends left the Shire, with Lotho now entrenched as the owner of Bag End. He had quite a bit of money inherited from his father’s (Otho Sackville-Baggins) holdings of land in the Southfarthing. Lotho began to buy more property across the Shire, and Hobbiton in particular. He also started shipping goods out of the Shire, notably the pipe-weed. Hobbits started to be bothered by this, but that was when Lotho’s cavalry arrived in the form of the ruffians. They set about making rules and shutting the locals down. When the Mayor of the Shire, Will Whitfoot, had seen too much, he made up his mind to go to Hobbiton and have a talk with Lotho, but he was taken and locked up before he had the chance. Others soon followed him. Things got worse from then on, with Lotho ruling the Shire unchecked.

The structure of today’s page brings back something we haven’t seen in some time: storytelling! In the beginning, this was all over. Gandalf told stories of the earlier ages, and he, Elrond, and others told tales at the Council of Elrond. We got used to hearing stories of previous events in long form. It hasn’t happened so much lately, with little time to sit down and listen.

I got a little tired of the long tales early on, but now I welcome Cotton’s story. Storytelling is the root of all this, of course. Hey, don’t forget that the framing device of the entire novel is that it’s really being written down as Frodo’s memoir. It’s all just one big story-tell!

Did someone say framing device?

Did someone say framing device?

Finally, I want to have a little talk about political-economic themes. Yeah, let’s do that.

Lotho takes over the Shire with a simple act of capitalism. In a sense, he’s an old-money hobbit. He has lands to profit off of from his father, and it sounds like some of those must be some of the most profitable lands a hobbit could have: pipe-weed fields in the Southfarthing. When Saruman comes to power at Isengard, he needs an ally to supply his growing forces. He purchases pipe-weed, among other things, from Lotho, which makes Lotho a lot of money. Lotho then buys more land and goods. Saruman can then buy those goods from Lotho. The cycle continues until Lotho owns most of the Shire, and Saruman has himself a strong foothold there. He can send men to support Lotho when they no longer fit his needs at Isengard.

And so, Lotho buys the Shire. It’s all in the economics.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Thank’ee

Yeah, the very first word of this page betrays us all.

No one dies today.

“‘There wasn’t no smoke left, save for the Men; and the Chief didn’t hold with beer, save for his Men, and closed all the inns; and everything except Rules got shorter and shorter, unless one could hide a bit of one’s own when the ruffians went round gathering stuff…'”

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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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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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