of the Rings : Book 1, Chapter 12
Flight to the Ford
A Discussion Led by Annael
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- Chapter XII, Part 1: The hands of
the king - Annael
After Frodo is wounded, Strider finds some athelas. He also sings a
song over the hilt of the Morgul-knife. It is Glorfindel's touch, however,
that makes Frodo's arm feel better. Is this consistent with the power of
healing Aragorn later shows in Minas Tirith?
- The Athelas... - Strife
I beleive that it was more the Athelas than Aragorn at this point that
helped to keep Frodo alive. Although Aragorn has the emense power of the
King, he wasn't in his own.
When the Athelas is used in the House of healing, it made those who were
in the room feel reborn. It gave them an energy which they couldn't
explain. So I think that the Athelas was what kept Frodo alive until
Glorfindel and Elrond finally cured him.
- I think it is... - leo
we just don't know the link between the hands of the healer are the
hands of the King, because this link isn't made yet, that happens in
- I like the idea that Aragorn's - Kimi
healing powers become stronger as he "comes into his own".
wonder if part of it is that Frodo's wound is so very dangerous; either
more dangerous than the later wounds of the Pelennor Fields or dangerous
in a different way. He has, after all, got a fragment of a deadly blade
within him, working its way towards his heart. Only the removal of this
fragment can save him.
I don't want to jump ahead too much, but Aragorn's healing of the
Pelennor Fields survivors seemed more spiritual (I don't mean that in a
"religious" sense) than physical, particularly with Eowyn and Faramir.
The healers could treat her broken arm, but they couldn't do anything
for her despair and longing for death.
- Also, Glorfindel ... - Idril
Glorfindel demonstrates some of the power of Elvish healing in reducing
Frodo's pain. Elves are more in touch with the transcendent, spiritual
world than humans are, and Glorfindel's healing touch works on Frodo's
spirit as well as his body.
Morgoth's Ring contains
an interesting essay on Elvish customs. One point of discussion is the
Elvish ability to heal. Apparently, killing other beings (whether while
hunting or in battle) lessen an Elf's ability to heal others. We see
this in contrasting Glorfindel with Elrond. Elrond's days of combat are
thousands of years past, when he served as Gil-Galad's standard bearer
during the battles of the Last Alliance. He's since been able to purge
himself of the taint of killing and bring his powers of healing to a
higher level. Although we admittedly see him healing Frodo under awful
conditions, the warrior Glorfindel (for all his innate power as an Elf
lord) can't match Elrond's ability. It is Elrond, not Glorfindel, who
finally cures Frodo of the wound of the Morgul knife.
- The hands of a healer - Blue
The efforts of Aragorn to heal Frodo prepare us for the later scene at
the Houses of Healing, and contrast with it as well. Aragorns's efforts
in the wilderness are pallative if ineffectual, much as the Rangers
themselves - kings in exile in their own land, able to keep watch on and
protect in some measure the innocent and simple, like those of Bree and
the Shire, but unable to establish their own kingdom. In the morgul
knife, he faces an opponent beyond his own measure. Only with the
assistance of Glorfindel, and then ultimately from Elrond himself, is
Frodo saved. But, Aragorn has not yet come into his own, as he will have
by the episode of the Houses of Healing. The sword is still broken; he
is in the wild; he has not yet declared himself. The efficacy of his
healing efforts in the Return of the King, especially as constrasted
with his less successful treatments here, are symbolic of the
fulfillment of his destiny.
I think that, beyond this, there is
another interesting element to the healing efforts here. Aragorn chants
over the hilt of the knife before adminstering the "medicine". Prayer?
Incantation? Also, we get a feeling for the depth of not only Strider's
woodcraft here, but also history: knowing how to find medicinal herbs in
the wild, and how to use them is one thing one might expect of a
character that so far reminds us more of Natty Bumpo than a King - but
these herbs are special. They are not wild.
- Agreed. - Eledhwen
Who's Natty Bumpo??
I think you have it there, Blue - Aragorn
hasn't come into his own therefore his healing has slightly less
- He is the hero - Blue
Return to Book I Discussion Index
- Chapter XII, Part 2: Geography - Annael
Just for fun, draw a map of the hobbits' trail between Bree and
Rivendell. How many times do they cross the Road, and what is the farthest
point away they get from it?
Bonus question: write an essay proving that
Strider is actually trying to delay their arrival at Rivendell until the
Morgul-knife fragment overcomes Frodo's will.
- I double checked this last night - Blue
After leaving Bree by the main road, Aragorn leads them north by a
narrow path, toward Archet, but passing to its East. They then head
East, through the Chetwood and the Midgewater Marshes. This is a slower,
but more direct route, as the road curves to the South to avoid the
Near to the Weather Hills and Weathertop itself, they pick up
a more established, but hidden. trail again, leading South toward
Weathertop itself. After the attack on Weathertop, they cross the Road,
and now head to the Southeast. Again, they avoid a loop in the road,
which is now toward the north.
They then have to return to the Road to cross the River Hoarwell at
the Bridge. After crossing the bridge, they cross the road for the
second time, now heading north again. Here they apparently get the
furthest from the Road, as Aragorn decides that they have gone too far
North and must head back again, because he is in an area with which he
They then head back southward to the Road, where they meet Glorfindel.
The rest of the journey is along the road itself to the Ford.
Return to Book I Discussion Index
Chapter XII, Part 3: Another
glimpse of Aragorn - Annael
Pippin asks Strider how come he knows so much about the history of
the empty lands they are traveling through, and he replies "The heirs of
Elendil do not forget all things past." The hobbits do not react to this
very large hint about who Strider really is, even though Frodo at least has
heard of Elendil. Why not? How much do you think the hobbits know about, or
care about, the history and kings of Men?
- Indeed.... - Strife
I highly doubt any of the hobbits would have thought (or even cared
much) that "Strider" a dirty ranger held some noble blood. At this point
they all had thought that Rivendell was there final destination and
beyond going back to their comfy little hobbit holes, nothing mattered.
On several occations hobbits were quick to ignore the surrounding world.
1)only the Tooks and Bilbo were known to travel, and the others saw them
as "queer folk" 2)The hobbits in the Shire were quick to say that the
four had died, not thinking they went to save the Middle-Earth.
- Different reactions from each hobbit. - Eledhwen
Merry and Pippin are more interested in finding somewhere warm and dry
to rest and a food supply, which they see Rivendell providing; Sam, had
he not been so worried about Frodo, would have reacted with interest, I
guess, wanting more history; and Frodo might have guessed what Strider
meant had he not been wounded. The comment seems more aimed at the
reader than the hobbits.
- I think that they do react - Blue
But, the hobbits do not realize that Strider is speaking of himself.
They want to know how it is that he knows so much of the history of a
place long since abandoned - and he replies that the heirs of Elendil
have not forgetten. Almost immediately afterward, they ask him if he has
been to Rivendell.
I think that the hobbits assume that the heirs of
Elendil have a connection with Rivendell. They know from Bilbo,
presumably, that it is a great repository of history and lore, and that
folks other than elves live there. I suspect that they think that when
Aragorn says that the Heirs of Elendil have not forgotten, that he has
learned this history from them, in Rivendell perhaps. They do not
imagine that he is himself Elendil's heir.
Of course (as we find out next chapter) Frodo is reasonably familiar
with the history of the North-Kingdom, but he thought (as does almost
everyone) that the old kings are all long dead, and does not associate
the Rangers or Strider with them. He clearly did not "get" what Strider
was saying, although he may perhaps be forgiven, in light of his wound.
- Not much. - septembrist
I think the hobbits are pretty much ignorant of the history of men or of
any other race until they arrive at Rivendell. Even then, Frodo and Sam
are the only ones at the Council and I do not know how much information
they told Merry and Pippin the history of the Ring and those who had it.
Frodo may have heard of Elendil, but he was no condition to analyze
historical information, considering he has a Nazgul blade eating away at
Another consideration is that Strider is their friend, not some high
king on a throne. The Fellowhip is repeatedly surprised when Aragorn
shows any kingly attributes.
- The Hobbits have led a very insular life. - Nenya
Bilbo was an exceptional hobbit regarding his travel experiences and
knowledge of lore not hobbit based. Frodo, through association with
Bilbo and with Gandalf, would have known of Elendil, but that does not
necessarily mean that the phrase "heir of Elendil" would have
necessarily meant anything special, other than the fact that
Strider/Aragorn could trace his ancestry back at least indirectly to
As for the other hobbits in the company, I'm willing to
believe that the significance of Elendil was completely lost on them.
- The Hobbits completely overlooked
... - Idril
... the hint Tom Bombadil dropped to them about Aragorn, so I'm not
surprised that this one also went over their heads.
I agree with
everyone who has noted that Frodo would have probably picked up on
it except for his wound. Frodo has learned enough of the history of
the North Kingdom through Bilbo that, if he'd been well, he'd have
jumped to the right conclusion.
- About Frodo jumping to the
right conclusion... - Nenya
Even with all the hints dropped, Frodo may not have made the
intuitive leap required to recognize Aragon's "true identity".
Let's face it - the true King of the land had been gone for
quite some time (26 generations). While the rulers of Gondor
may have still kept in the forefront of their minds that they
were Stewards only, and not the rightful kings, even they
despaired of the eventual return of the King. Why then should
the hobbits have realized who they had "stumbled across" at a
common Inn? Forgive the comparison, but it would be very much
like the return of Christ - many believe Christ will return, but
how many would actually recognize him if they met him at an out
of town restaurant?
Return to Book I Discussion Index
- Chapter XII, Part 4: The Nazguls'
Plan? - Annael
After Frodo is stabbed, the Nazgul withdraw and seem to disappear.
Strider is sure they are just waiting for the knife to do its work. Was that
their entire plan, do you think? Why not just overpower the mortals and take
the Ring? What do you think the Nazgul would have done if the Witch King had
not managed to stab Frodo that night? Do the hobbits and Strider actually
elude the Nazgul for a while, or are they being tracked all the time?
- HERE'S AN IDEA - Strife
I hope I'm not to late to through an idea in here, but I think that with
the sliver of the Morgol knife and the ring so close than either Sauron
and/or the Nazgul had some sort of connection with Frodo. I mean, the
Nazgul knew to wait for them near the Ford and the Witch-King also could
control Frodo's will.
I think that they were just underestimating the Grey Company and thought
that they could just wait and easily take Frodo while unconscious or
dead. They couldn't hold the ring themselves because it is said that any
man who holds the ring will claim it as their own, and They served
Sauron with there wraith souls and didn't want to gain power over him.
This is just an idea.
- That IS an idea! - Annael
So you're saying the Ringwraiths couldn't take the Ring to Sauron
themselves, they had to somehow get Frodo to deliver it in person?
That makes sense.
Makes me shiver.
- I definitely like this idea! - Blue
It's also consistent with the comment in the discussion between
Shagrat and Gorbag about how its no picnic working in Minas
Morgul, as the Nazgul would just as soon freeze the flesh off of
you and leave you on the "other side", as well as the Witch
King's threat to Eowyn that she would be left naked to the
lidless eye. Sounds like they got a lot of practice at doing
exactly what they had in store for Frodo - and that they enjoyed
their work to boot.
- I think the Ringwraiths wanted Frodo - leo
to fall under their power, if they wanted to overtake the 'mortals' and
take the ring for themselves they could have done that easily. Maybe
they couldnt take the ring for their own, or maybe they scared off after
seeing Strider with the fire....
- The Nazgul have limited options - Blue
The Basksi characterization of them as twisted, hobbled cripples may be
going a bit far, but they are traveling on horseback, and without the
horses, Gandalf said they would be "crippled". As Aragorn pointed out,
he wasn't overly concerned about losing the ponies in Bree, because the
paths he was planning to take would be easier traveled on foot than on
horseback. So, they Nazgul are pretty much limited to traveling along
the East-West Road, and would not be able to track Aragorn and the
Hobbits in the wild. Hence, the attack on Weathertop, which is along the
road; the confrontation with Glorfindel at the bridge, when he drove
them off; and the final attack at the Fords.
The plan was obviously
exactly as Aragorn described - once the morgul knife had pierced Frodo's
heart, he would be a wraith under their command. All they had to do is
wait - at spots along the road to Rivendell where the hobbits would have
no choice but to cross. Had the attack at Weathertop not succeeded, I
assume that they would have simply tried again at those particular
- An element of fear? - Eledhwen
The fear of fire seems to have driven them off after stabbing Frodo, and
I expect that Aragorn, even at this stage, was probably pretty scary
angry. They probably stayed behind, gathering their strength and the
other four Riders who had not been at Weathertop, ready to swoop in and
collect Frodo when he became a wraith, when his companions would be
stricken with grief. Perhaps they were also hoping that the walkers
would lead them to Rivendell, and thus disclose the place where Imladris
hid, so that Sauron's armies could eventually attack.
- Oops, Eledhwen, I posted before I read your
response... - Patty
as you can see from my post I agree about the fire!
- Remember that hobbits/Frodo� are an unknown quantity
to the Ringwraiths. - Nenya
The Nazgul were facing an enemy in possession of the One Ring. The
Nazgul had no good idea of how powerful Frodo was with the Ring, how
much command he had over it, how much he understood. It rather makes
sense in that context that they'd make a hit and run attack, and then
wait to see what happened next. The subsequent actions of the Company
would reveal strengths and weaknesses.
Simply overpowering the mortals
and wresting control of the Ring would have been a great idea - if they
could have been guaranteed success. The Nazgul didn't really know how
powerful the Company was with the Ring in its possession though, and I
suspect they were content at that early juncture to study their enemy's
I suspect that, had the Witch King not managed to stab Frodo, they
would have continued to heckle and make tentative strikes, looking for
signs of weakness, until they got a good reading on the abilities of the
Company. I further suspect that the Company was being closely followed,
and though the Nazgul didn't have the Company in their sights the entire
time, they certainly knew to within close proximity where the Company
- don't forget ... - Ron
That they didn't know when Arwen would jump out and kick their sorry
buts all the way back to Mordor!
(Sorry I just couldn't resist a
hook like that) :-)
- Excellent points, Nenya. - Kimi
I think they would have just kept on trying to way-lay the Company
and wound Frodo; as Blue says, at points where they could get at
them from the road.
- Good points well taken. - septembrist
Forgot about the little fact that Frodo had the Ring and the Wraiths
would not know how much command he had of it. Also, Frodo's lunge
at the Witch King and Aragorn's wrath probably terrified them into
thinking that the Ring was working against them. They were also
probably surprised and concerned that Frodo was not easily
succumbing the the Morgul knife shard and enforcing the idea that
the Ring was empowering him.
Hence, they decided to attack all together at the Ford.
- Those mysterious Nazguls. - septembrist
I've always wondered why they did not attack again after Weathertop. It
should not have been difficult to overpower three hobbits and a man.
As Nenlote suggests, I guess they were waiting for the knife shard to do
its work and their job would be done. Another case of underestimating
the strength of hobbits.
- I think that the plan was.... - Nenlote
My reading of this incident was that if the tip of the knife worked its
way to Frodo's heart it would kill him and because it was a Morgul knife
the enchantment would still be on him and he would become a wraith
forever in the service of Sauron.
The Riders seem to back off, but I
think that they're tracking Aragorn and the hobbits all the time and
that had it not been for Glorfindel and Asfaloth getting Frodo over the
Fords of Bruinen then the outcome might have been very different.
Utilien'aure aiya eldalie ar atanatari, utilien'aure!
- Yes, I agree, Nenlote. I think if
Strider hadn't been there, though,.. - Patty
wielding all that fire, things would have turned out differently.
Return to Book I Discussion Index
Return to Book I Discussion Index
- Chapter XII, Part 6: Glorfindel - Annael
This question comes to us from the College of Revisionist History
(note their bonus question in the "Geography" section below):
Is this the
same Glorfindel as in the Silmarillion, and if so, how'd he get out of the
Halls of Mandos? If he's an Elf-lord, what's he lord of? How come he has to
use a saddle and bridle when all the other Elves ride horses without them?
- The Name could be an homage to a great
Elf Hero - Ron
This Glorfindel could be a relative or heir of the deceased Glorfindel.
- Re the bridle - Kimi
In the first edition it was worse: Glorfindel was described as riding
with bridle and bit.
In a letter of 1958 to an attentive reader, Tolkien said:
"I could, I suppose, answer: 'a trick-cyclist can ride a bicycle with
handle-bars!' But actually bridle was
causally and carelessly used for what I suppose should have been called
aheadstall. Or rather, since bit was
added long ago (Chapter XII was written very early) I had not considered
the natural ways of elves with animals. Glorfindel's horse would have an
carrying a plume, and with the straps studded with jewels and small
bells; but Glor. would certainly not us a bit.
I will change bridle and
bit to headstall."
It was changed thus in later printings.
No explanation is given for the saddle; I recall someone suggesting
some time ago that perhaps Glorfindel was planning ahead, in case he
might need to lend his horse to a hobbit.
I find Tolkien's attitude interesting in the letter quoted above;
he's somewhat defensive about having been caught out. Understandable, of
course, when he'd spent so long writing LOTR then editing it, and
thought he had found all the discrepancies. But it does make me wonder
how often he explained away discrepancies by inventing something new to
include them in the mythology; I read somewhere that he invented the
notion of Elvish reincarnation when the re-use of Glorfindel's name was
pointed out to him.
- I think Tolkien wrote somewhere in his letters - Draupne
that the saddle and bridle was a mistake, he should have written
Dar ni mac denne mak andremo
helfan vora demo muspille.
- There is a definitive answer to this question - Blue
In the Encyclopedia
of Arda entry for
Glorfindel. Apparently, Tolkien stated in his notes that the Glorfindel
of the Silmarillion was not the Glorfindel of LOTR, but that he had used
the same names inadvertently, and didn't pick up the error in editing.
Later, however, he decided to reconcile the error by positing that
Glorfindel was re-embodied by the Valar sometime during the Second Age
and returned from Middle Earth.
The article also suggests an answer to
the "Lord of What" issue - that his golden hair color implies a tie to
the royal house of Fingolfin and Finarfin.
As for the third question, I would suggest like many unemployed
scions of royal blood approaching, if not well into, middle age with no
immediate prospect of assuming a throne, he devoted an immoderate
measure of attention to the favorite game of the idle rich - polo, and
thus began riding with bridle, bit, saddle and stirrups, quite contrary
to normal elf practice.
- Name duplication in ME. - septembrist
Don't suppose he could have used the Glorfindel the Younger approach
and thus have avoided the re-embodiment argument.
Are there any names that are duplicated in ME? I think dwarves used
same names for different generations but did anybody else?
- Lots of name duplication. - Inferno
Most of the Stewards of Gondor (and I believe several of the
kings) had names like Turin, Turgon, Beren, etc-- they were
named after heroes of the First Age. Boromir, had he lived to
take the Rod, would have been Boromir II. Denethor was also a
II. His father was Ecthelion, named after the elf of Gondolin
who slew Gothmog. Come to think of it, Gothmog is also a
repeated name, as it was that of the Lord of the Balrogs, and
one of the leaders of Mordor's forces during the War of the
- Denethor - GaladrielTX
There were two Stewards of Gondor named Denethor, but there
was also a lord of the Nandorin elves in the First Age named
Denethor (in The Silmarillion).
- But not among Elves I think? - Annael
They don't seem to have the habit of naming their children
after deceased ancestors or heroes. Probably because to them
the person still exists - their spirit is just temporarily
without a body in the Halls of Mandos.
- True. - Inferno
Glorfindel is the only example I could cite of duplicate
Elven names. But there are many examples of Men and
hobbits (and to some degree, Dwarves) where names are
duplicated for one reason or another. Perhaps another
reason for this lack among elves is their smaller
population and lower reproduction rate. Perhaps they
simply haven't run out of names yet, and don't have a
need to start repeating them.
- Legolas...... - Dubhdarra
2, Legolas is the name of the elf who led the escape
party at Gondolin (see Greenbooks Q&A for April)
where Glorfindel fell. But this may not count as a
duplication since Tolkien didn't include it in the Sil and
therefor caught his "mistake"(?) before publication.
It's up for grabs as a question but I think it
wouldn't count for the above mentioned reasons.
Return to Book I Discussion Index
- Chapter XII, Part 7: At the Ford - Annael
The elf-horse passes right before the nose of the Nazgul trying to
cut Frodo off from the Ford. Everyone is at full gallop. Yet the elf-horse
appears to cross the Ford well ahead of the Nazgul. Is there a power in the
river that delays the Nazgul? Is that why the elf-horse stops on the far
bank instead of going on?
- Asfaloth obeyed Glorfindel - Kimi
by outriding the Nazgul steeds; he might be waiting for further
I think you're right about the power in the Bruinen, and
Asfaloth sensing that the immediate peril has passed.
- The River and the Whole Valley of Rivendil ... - Ron
Is under the protection of Elrond. Much the same as Lorien ( influence
of Elrond's ring ?) it takes an effort for the Nazgul to even try to
enter Rivendil. The Nazgul attempt to influence Frodo to come out of
Rivendil and only try to enter when Frodo collapses and can't return.
- Also when they saw Arwen in armor ... - Ron
They fell down laughing ,oops I meant they held back in terror.
- Was she wearing samurai armor? - Idril
Because that makes all the difference, you know. :-)
- Apart from any power in the river ... - Idril
The Nazgul don't like water. Asfaloth's speed and the Nazgul's
reluctance to pursue Frodo into the Ford of Bruinen bought him a modest
lead. If Frodo had not been influenced to rein in Asfaloth and stop on
the far side of the ford, he would have been able to get pretty far up
the trail to Rivendell before he collapsed.
The Nazgul's dislike of
running water may be taken from old tales in which evil spirits are
forbidden to cross free-flowing water. And it provides a reason for
outfitting them with flying steeds. However, it's a bit difficult to
imagine how the Ringwraiths could have traveled on horseback from Mordor
to the Shire without having to ford any rivers. They crossed the Anduin
at the great bridge of Osgiliath before it was destroyed, but they also
had to cross several unbridged rivers along their way to the Shire (most
notably, the Greyflood).
Tolkien himself did state that the Nazgul's fear of water was a
difficult idea to sustain. :-)
- Noro lim, noro lim Asfaloth!..... - Patty
I agree with Blue and Eledhwen; Asfaloth was just a steed of surpassing
excellent and knew he had outrun the others and could pause to see what
needed to be done next. Sorry to be a whiner, but I really wish I could
have seen Glorfindel standing there yelling noro lim, to his horse.
Arwen doing it wouldn't have the same effect (smiles). oh the suspense
about how this all will be done is killing me! Unlike Gorel's post on
the other board I find myself getting more pumped about the movies every
- I agree with Eledhwen - Blue
Asfaloth is faster than the swiftest steeds of the Nazgul. I suspect
that Shadowfax is the only horse on earth that could outrun him.
Frodo reins in his horse after he crosses the Ford, succumbing to the
commands of the Nazgul. The horse merely obeys him. Perhaps Asfaloth
knows that it is safe to stop, because Elrond will not permit servants
of Sauron to cross the Bruinen.
- Neigh! - Eledhwen
Tolkien does say that 'even their [the Nazgul's] great steeds were no
match for the white elf-horse of Glorfindel'. So presumably it simply
outpaced the Riders. As for pausing, well, maybe it was neighing to
Glorfindel ('Come along! Hurry up!'). Or maybe it guessed what might
happen in the Ford, and wanted to watch?! Seriously, I don't know why
the horse paused, it makes very little sense.
Return to Book I Discussion Index
- Chapter XII, Part 8: Frodo - Annael
Frodo has now borne the shard of the Morgul knife for 14 days. He has
been in pain and unable to walk but it is not until they near the Ford that
he begins to have trouble seeing and seems to be truly "fading." Is that
just the passage of time, because the shard is nearing his heart, or because
of the proximity of the Nazgul?
- Frodo's burden at the Ford. - Maggot
Besides the excellent reasons already covered, does anyone think the
ring itself may be playing a role here as well in its attempts to return
to its master? Perhaps making the Nazgul more bold and potent. For
although Strider has hinted he has had dealings with them before and
they seem justly leary of engaging him unnecessarily, they are now
willing to confront both him and an elf lord in wrath in apparent
confidence they can attain their ends. The previous point about the
Nazgul not being able to personally handle the ring seems borne out by
their words to Frodo at the Ford. They say "...to Mordor we will take
you" NOT 'give us the ring.'. The malice they serve wants not only the
ring but its "theif" as well.
It says a lot about the spirit and strength of Frodo, that he is able to
resist them even so-called hollowly at such a point and just doesn't
just attempt to throw them the ring and be rid of them and the terror of
But it also says in the text that Frodo did have trouble seeing his
friends clearly during the race to the Ford and he actually liked the
coming of night when things would seem less dim. So the shard's effect
was working strongly from the begining. More points?
Thanks Annael for keeping us on track and focused.
- I think it's mainly - Kimi
the passage of time while enduring that dreadful pain wearing him down.
The progress of the shard and the proximimity of the Nazgul are probably
- all of those... - leo
but, like Gandalf said, the shard was probably the worst. All along the
journey they knew the Nazgul were following them (closely), also the
passing of time and the closing in of the shard are linked to each
- I think that it is mostly the shard - Blue
Gandalf says later that it had worked very deeply and had nearly pierced
his heart, and that he was brought to Rivendell to be cured by Elrond
only in the nick of time. But, having all Nine of the Nazgul present at
once, after him, would certainly weaken him further at this critical
- Proximity of Nazgul - Eledhwen
That's my guess, anyhow. Added to the time factor. Also, at the Ford, he
makes an effort to resist which probably draws on more strength than he
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very good story so far... - leo
- Chapter XII, Part 9: The end of
Book One. - Annael
Comments on the story thus far?
- Great story. - septembrist
Book one has a great build up of action and suspense and ends with a
cliff hanger. Only the most unaffected person would not want to see
what happens next.
Like Leo said it is apparent that Tolkien started
off writing another hobbit story as sequel to "The Hobbit" what with the
party and Tom. However, as noted above, the whole character of the
story is changed drastically at Bree and with the appearance of Strider.
- Tolkien has built up to - Kimi
a breathless climax, with all nine Black Riders attacking at once, and
Frodo obviously dangerously ill.
I think we're all ready for a nice
rest in a safe haven.
- My thoughts at this point. - Inferno
My comments are going to be rather general, as I'm not actually
re-reading with y'all. But here are some things I've noticed about the
story to this point.
We as readers actually know very little about
what is going on in the wider world at this point. The perspective of
the book is given to us through Frodo. Even readers of the Hobbit, would
know little more than what is presented. We'd know the events
surrounding Bilbo's finding of the Ring and some about Rivendell and
Elrond. This is, presumably, information that Frodo would know as well
as the reader anyway. The true nature of the Black Riders is still
hidden (yes, we all know they're the Nazgul, but that's because we've
read it so much) from Frodo and the readers. We know that the Ring is
the Master Ring, and that it is evil. We don't know what will happen to
it. Frodo's sole objective was to take the Ring to Rivendell to keep the
Shire out of danger. We know very little about the greater history of
the Ring. We know little more about Strider, the Ranger of the Wild. We
have no clue where Gandalf is, only that he was possibly at Weathertop 3
nights before the attack where Frodo was wounded. Given the nature of
myths and legends (even ones like Star Wars), we could expect that
Frodo, who isn't a typical hero, would be more peripheral to the rest of
the story. Some great hero like Strider or Boromir (who we soon meet) is
much more likely to take the Ring, and either use it or destroy it. This
concept fits in much better to standard mythical archetypes. We're not
presented with Frodo as the unexpected hero yet.
Tolkien does an excellent job of keeping the readers at the same
knowledge level as Frodo. This helps the reader to identify with Frodo,
and relate more to his feelings. It also makes the scene where Frodo
offers to take the Ring all the more poignant. Only after the council
presents all the information in full, can we as readers understand the
great task Frodo takes upon himself. And we gain the information at the
same time he does. This is the best way to present that information. All
that has happened before, while essential to the plot, is prologue. The
true Quest starts when Frodo agrees to take the Ring to the Fire. In
this first book, we are given glimpses of the wider world, we are shown
the powers of the Enemy, and we see the beginnings of the great hero,
Aragorn. Tolkien has set us up marvellously for the remainder of his
tale: The Quest of Frodo, and the Heroic Tale of Aragorn-- as seen from
the perspective of the hobbits. The unlikely hero is about to step
forward to take his place among the great of his time.
- Nice summary, Inferno! - Idril
This is the sort of thing that the 57% of us who have read LOTR so
many times that we've lost count tend to miss. It's great that
you've retained the perspective of a new reader.
- Inferno...I didn't know you weren't reading... - Patty
with us right now, as you've bought up many interesting points in
this chapter, and so, I was going to ask if you might be interested
in prompting one of the remaining chapters on Gorel's list....????
If you can't, it's ok, hope you'll still get the chance to post your
- Well... (Gorel, I guess you need to see this
too) - Inferno
I've been doing research for my own writing over the past few
months. Since I'm on my last book for research purposes, I can
take one of the later chapters. If y'all don't mind, I'll take
Book II Chapter 4: A Journey in the Dark. I like the section
dealing with Moria, and I know I'll actually be around that
I finished rereading LotR and the Silmarillion around January,
so I've still got it fairly recently in mind. The years of
English classes for my degree help a lot with the analysis stuff
too. =) Thanks for thinking my opinion matters.
- I signed up for that on
already... - Aelric
But you can take it if you like, Inferno. I would rather
give everyone a chance before I do my thrid chapter. : ) I
- Really? - Inferno
It's not on the listing on Gorel's site. If you don't
mind, that would be preferable for me, simply because
I'm supposed to be on several road trips during July and
August, but I know I'll be around the week of the 3rd of
July, and can actually get online. =) I haven't really
wanted to get involved in heading a discussion, since
I'm not reading the books right now, but since Patty
asked, I figured why not? =) I appreciate your
willingness to surrender the chapter as well.
- No prob, Inferno! - Aelric
Although Moria is one of my favorite parts of the
story -- just the sheer scope and magnitude of that
city blows my mind. THREE DAYS IN DARKNESS, GOING
IN ONE DIRECTION ONLY!!! Holy smokes!
digress, I'll just be active in your discussion.
- Herm - Gorel
I've listed Inferno for that chapter now, and
it's true no one was listed before. Sorry,
Aerlic, if I missed something. I guess it
worked out in the end.
- No sweat,
Gorel... - Aelric
...I get to do another one soon enough, I'm
sure. : )~
- Will e-mail this to Gorel. Thanks a
lot! - Patty
- *moment of stunned silence* - Wow! - Annael
What a marvelous analysis, Inferno.
I think it is still kinda obvious that Tolkien planned on writing a
sequel to the Hobbit, ie. a childrensbook, first. You could see this
best in the chapters with Tom Bombadil I think.
A lot of chapters in
the first book are very good, I personally liked 'A shadow from the
past' best, it gives good background information for the rest of the
book, and kinda gives reason to keep reading.
Tolkien has done a very good job thus far... - Patty
of laying out the basic story line ending with a cliff
hanger,introducing the main characters whose weaknesses or faults will
be overcome to make them stronger beings at the end (with the exception
of the elves, who basically will be leaving) creating in the reader a
desire not only to know what happens to the end of the story but also
what took place before the story begins, and lining us up on the side of
the heros (good vs. evil). The mark of a great storyteller!
Return to Book I Discussion Index
Chapter XII: Summing
Up - Annael
The Nazgul threat has been fulfilled: Frodo has been stabbed with a
Morgul-knife. The Nazgul have withdrawn for the moment. Strife theorizes
that they can't actually TAKE the Ring from Frodo and deliver it themselves;
they have to get Frodo to hand-deliver it, as it were, by making him subject
to their will. We don't know whether this is because Sauron wants to torment
Frodo in revenge or because the Nazgul can't or are forbidden to handle the
Another facet of Strider is revealed when he finds athelas and tends
Frodo's wound. The athelas helps a little for a while, but the wound is
beyond Strider's skill at this point to heal.
The hobbits and their guide flee Weathertop and head towards Rivendell
once more. They stay off the Road as much as possible, avoiding contact with
the Nazgul, who are sticking to the Road in anticipation that they must
eventually return to it and that when they do, Frodo will succumb to their
We have a moment of comic relief when Pippin and Merry see three trolls
standing in their path - the same three trolls that Bilbo and the dwarves
encountered 50 years ago. We get a new look at Sam here when he recites a
poem he made up on the spot. Sun and laughter have a healing effect on Frodo
who feels better for a while.
After nearly getting the company lost, Strider manages to find the road
again, just in time to meet up with Glorfindel who has been sent out by
Elrond to look for them. With his help and goading, they march double-time
to the Ford. But the enemy is there before them. Frodo, who is fading fast
now, is powerless to resist them, but he is now under the protection of the
Elves. The Elf-horse Asfaloth outruns the Nazgul horses to the Ford, and
Elrond raises the river just in time. Frodo swoons as the waves rise higher
and higher. Tolkien leaves us wondering: What next?
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