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The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
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Archived 2011 Group Reads > Lord of the Rings 05: The Fellowship of the Ring - Book Two, Chapters I-II

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Loretta (lorettalucia) We're already halfway through Fellowship everyone! It's the longest of the books, so feel accomplished. :)

Post your thoughts for this week below.


Loretta (lorettalucia) I'm almost done with this section... will finish it tonight probably.

I don't have my notes in front of me, so I'll write a lengthier post later, but I have to say that the excitement is increasing, especially in the "Elrond's Council" chapter. There was a lot of exposition, but some of it (especially Gandalf's tale) was really, really interesting. Now we know what he was up to all that time he wasn't around.


Loretta (lorettalucia) My brief thoughts below:

- These two chapters contained a lot of exposition, which would normally bother me, but I think worked here because we, the readers, were supposed to be as in the dark as Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry. So here, we leanred how the rising darkness has affected the men, the elves, and the dwarves. I found Gandalf's tale especially interesting.

- I found it interesting that Gandalf said that, if Sauron did prevail, Bombadil would be the last to fall, after all the men, hobbits, elves, dwarves, etc. Why do you all thing that is?

- I found the following line very interesting. Gandalf, observing Frodo after he has recovered from his piercing by one of the swords of the ringwraiths:

He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.

What does everyone think that means?


How is everyone keeping up with the reading? I notice I'm the only person who has posted so far this week. I'd appreciate knowing all of your thoughts, if you're all up to date on the reading.


Melissa Loretta wrote: How is everyone keeping up with the reading? I notice I'm the only person who has posted so far this week. I'd appreciate knowing all of your thoughts, if you're all up to date on the reading.

I caught up, Friday night. After catching up, I settled in to finish The Woman in White. I am sick right now and will wait to comment further until I am fully coherent.


Loretta (lorettalucia) Sorry to hear you're not feeling well, Melissa.

Thanks again for all your great comments. I look forward to what you have to say on these two chapters.

Feel better!


message 6: by Melissa (last edited Feb 15, 2011 09:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melissa Loretta wrote: "My brief thoughts below:

I found it interesting that Gandalf said that, if Sauron did prevail, Bombadil would be the last to fall, after all the men, hobbits, elves, dwarves, etc. Why do you all thing that is?"


Bombadil has always bugged me. There seems to be a moral ambiguity around him. I know some people adore him so I've tried to give it some more thought. I think he is morally ambiguous.

If pressed, he would probably say he is for right and truth. But his actions betray a person or entity that is more interested in things 'as they are.'

Sure he helps the hobbits when Old Man Willow captures Merry and Pippin but he does it because Old Man Willow has stepped out of his place so to speak more than out of a sense of outrage at OMW's evilness. I feel that way about nearly all of Bombadil's actions.

Here is a quote from Finding God in LOTR

"It's no accident that the real heroes of Tolkien's dangerous, epic-proportioned world are hobbits, "halflings" to men of Rohan and Gondor, creatures who walk among larger-than-life-sized elves and warriors and wizards of Middle-earth like toddlers through a crowd of adults. Hobbits for all their subtleties, are folk of trusting and dependent nature, of plain and simple tastes. Hobbits are easily enchanted and carried away. Under the spell of Tom's boisterous cheerfulness and Goldberry's fairness and grace, they quickly put anxiety aside.

And so it was that, under the roof of Tom Bombadil, in the living, leaping presence of the goodness of all things made, under the influence of love and grace poured out in the shape of bread and meat and ale and downy soft beds, Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry forgot their fears and found new strength of their journey. In that house they did indeed succeed in "shutting out the night." For no night, no matter how dark, could ever eclipse the ancient, primeval light, the solid, unshakable joy that received them there."


I don't buy it. People whose simplicity is too obviously pronounced aren't usually what they seem and usually they aren't simple or good. Harold Skimpole from Bleak House and Ordu, Orgoch and Orwen from the Prydain Chronicles come to mind.


Loretta (lorettalucia) Thanks for the great comment, Melissa.

Tom's morality is interesting. It's not as if he's immoral, or even amoral precisely, but as if, as you said, he is primeval, and existed before such a concept even existed.

If you look at it that way, you can see how he might be the last to fall--nothing would tempt him either way, because such concepts don't necessarily even exist in his own mind.


Melissa Loretta,

Good point and it actually dovetails with the thought I had after I left my last comment to go get some more sleep.

I realized that while Skimpole and the Ordu, Orgoch, and Orwen might be similar to Bombadil in their professed simplicity. Skimpole doesn't fit the type properly because his professed simplicity hides a conniving mind that always seeks gain for himself (a little bit like Fosco).

However, Ordu, Orgoch, and Orwen who are similar to the Three Fates made me give the whole idea of primeval morality or lack thereof further consideration. In the Prydain Chronicles, the hags profess to be disinterested in good and evil. Fate is not dictated, it is something created by each person's decisions.

It seems that a lot of fairy tales and mythos have morally ambiguous characters who are appealed to by the heroes and heroines of the story and so in that respect it is not surprising that Tolkien would have such a character in book.

However, in a story where the primary thrust is that of good versus evil written by a man who was a devout Catholic, the moral ambiguity of Bombadil seems strange; especially in light of what Tolkien writes about the purpose of fairy stories.

According to Tolkien in his essay "On Fairy Stories" the key to a fairy story is "the Consolation of the Happy Ending." He refers to this event or form as the eucatastrophic tale. He says that "The eucatastrophic tale is the true form of a fairy-tale and its highest function. The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous "turn."....In its fairy-tale or otherworld setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscastastrphe, of sorrow and failure" the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence if you will) universal final defeat."

However, if Bombadil is primeval but not a creative being (as in the creator of what is good (not named in LOTR) or what is evil (Sauron)) his disinterest is not bad as much as it is a form of ignorance because as you said "such concepts don't necessarily even exist in his own mind." In fact, he is not able provide the moment of "miraculous grace" because he is outside that part of the story. He belongs in the frame so to speak, which is why he can provide a place of safety but he cannot contribute to the action.


Gwenyth Love (everythinggwenny) I really enjoyed reading this section. I loved hearing all the stories from the different characters, especially Gandalf. I kind of felt heartbroken for Frodo when he realized he wasn't going to be able to sit back and relax after all and that his journey was really just beginning.


Loretta (lorettalucia) Gwenyth! So glad you've caught up with us! :) (I haven't read the current week, Week 6, yet either.)

Yes, Frodo feels that he has been journeying for a very long time already. Does anyone actually remember how long his journey from the Shire to Rivendell took? I'm under the impression that it's at least a few months (3-4), but I'm not positive.


Gwenyth Love (everythinggwenny) Yeah it's tax season for me (work in an accounting office) so that plus school, plus family plus my newfound inner Gleek is cutting back on my reading time...lol.


Loretta (lorettalucia) Yeah, December was crazy for me at work too, though things have currently settled down. I'm sure it'll pick up again in no time though.

I really enjoyed Glee for the first half of season 1.... then it went to hell. It's finally getting somewhat better again, but it's just a very inconsistent series.


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