Welcome to Week 3 of the Readalong!
It’s not too late to grab a copy and join us!
In these chapters, we see our hobbits continue to travel further from the Shire and the home they’ve known all their lives.
They’ve just made it to the Prancing Pony, where they hope to meet up with Gandalf. Gandalf is not present, and the hobbits draw some unwelcome attention from a Ranger named Strider, who knows exactly what Frodo carries. Strider is better known as Aragorn, who warns Frodo against trusting strangers. Gandalf’s letter to Frodo, kept mistakenly by the busy innkeeper, urges them to trust Aragorn. Black Riders are in the area and the hobbits stay with Aragorn for the night. Their unoccupied room is ransacked when they wake.
The next morning, they leave the Pony and travel with Aragorn, who relates elven history to them. Black Riders attack and Frodo uses the Ring, thinking to escape them. Instead, they are able to see better and stab him. They continue to travel and Frodo gets progressively sicker from the evil magic of the stab wound. They meet the elf Glorfindel, Frodo is pursued by Riders and rescued by the river, before seeing a shining figure and fainting.
1. For all the urgency in their quest, the narrative is written in a fairly relaxed manner. Do you think the hobbits really understand how much danger they’re in?
Good question, I think on the large part they do have an idea but they are such a simple folk that I don’t think they truly understand just how dark the world outside The Shire really is. I’m looking forward to seeing how that changes as the enormity of the task presents itself as time goes on.
I think they forget at times about the bigger picture of their journey. Right now they’re focused on getting to Rivendell but none of them have thought about what will happen there or where they will move onto afterwards. I also think that at times they forget that they are on this journey because of the ring. For example, in chapter twelve Glorfindel tells Frodo to ride his elf-horse and escape if they are in trouble but Frodo responds by claiming that he won’t leave his friends in danger. Glorfindel reminds him that it is because of Frodo and the ring that his friends are in danger and Frodo has no response to this. While the hobbits have agreed to be in this together it is Frodo who the Riders seek and not his companions.
2. Throughout the book, there have been many references to The Shire, and anyone not from the Shire being an Outsider, even hobbits! How do you think this perception will change among our four hobbits as they encounter more non-Shire folks?
Again because they are so sheltered, as the journey progresses I think the Hobbits will see just how different life is without second breakfast and elevenses and cozy nights in the pub and the same with the people they meet. Because the Hobbits have been so hidden away and apart from the major events and strife that have been encountered by Men, Elves, Dwarves etc, the perception the outsiders have of the Hobbits will be more compelling to me than the other way around.
Because they are so familiar with the Shire it’s really the only place they can compare any other location to, and that includes the different types of folk and customs they encounter too. It’ll be interesting to see if and how they adapt themselves in a new place that’s different to the Shire.
3. Between the songs and Aragorn’s explanation of history and battles, we’re getting a sense of how very full Tolkien made this world. Do you think these things will have any bearing on their quest as it goes forward?
The more I read, the more stunned I am at how immense the detail is in these books. Apart from Harry Potter, this is the only series that I feel you could walk into no questions asked and yet there’d be an answer for everything whether you wanted it or not lol. Given that the Hobbits are essentially the outsiders the deeper they travel through Middle Earth I think it will definitely have a bearing on their quest and really help to open their eyes to the danger and adventure that lies before them!
I love how full the world-building is in the LOTR books and the added history and songs makes it seem more real to the reader. There is so much information about everything and I also love how the hobbits and Aragorn stumble across the troll statues that Gandalf changed in The Hobbit. Right now I think the hobbits like to hear Aragorn tell stories of older times and they imagine them as stories to entertain them, but the further they’ll go on the journey the more they will start to remember just how real these stories of wars are.
Leave your own answers in comments!
This concludes “Book 1″ of The Fellowship of the Ring. Next week we will begin Book 2 over at Ciara’s blog.
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