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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 08: The Fellowship of the Ring - Book Two, Chapters VIII-X (End of Volume One: The Fellowship of the Ring)

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Loretta (lorettalucia) Please discuss the ending of this volume (and the entire volume) here.


message 2: by Kristina (new)

Kristina (kristina3880) Spoilers

So, we are left off with Frodo and his devoted friend Sam alone. I have never seen the movie and I do not know the premise of the story. All I know is that there is danger lurking in every corner, very few can be trusted, and I for one would not want to be holding that ring. So, we shall see what happens in the second installment to the trilogy.


Loretta (lorettalucia) I finished last night as well.

I always find myself saddened at the breaking of the Fellowship. Sam and Frodo remain together, but Merry and Pippin, who were both so devoted to Frodo, are left behind.

Boromir is sorely tempted by the ring but, like many, his temptation starts as a desire to help his people.

I also love the blooming friendship between Gimli and legolas. These are two whose races have traditionally hated each other, but with Galadriel's approval of Gimli, both Gimli and Legolas start to let go of some old prejudices.

I have seen the movies, so I know the general story, but it has been a LONG time since I've watched any of them (despite owning them... LOL). I think the last time was maybe 2004. So, the details have gone otu of my head, which is making me enjoy the books so much more. I gave this first volume a 5* rating.

I can't wait to get going on the next book in a week.

Kristina, do you think you will be more likely to watch the movies now that you've read the books?


Melissa I haven't read this yet. I am totally stuck in a book that I really need to finish in the next day or two. I can read this in an evening when I get to it. I am sorry for falling behind.


message 5: by Kristina (new)

Kristina (kristina3880) I think I would watch the movies. To be honest. I am not a fantasy book/movie lover to begin with. My sisters made me read the Harry Potter books last year so that we all could go see the last movie together. I guess I can say I am slowly enjoying the fantasy genre. I do have a respect for author that can be so creative. I will not watch the movies till after I finish the books for sure.


Melissa Loretta wrote: "I also love the blooming friendship between Gimli and legolas. These are two whose races have traditionally hated each other, but with Galadriel's approval of Gimli, both Gimli and Legolas start to let go of some old prejudices."

Me too!!

It is amazing what some focused reading can do. Finished my problem book and caught up here!!


Melissa I love this quote every time I read it:

'Then I need say no more,' said Celeborn. 'But do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful only for the wise to know.'


Melissa Throughout The Fellowship, we are forced to consider the element of free will. The ability to choose. One of the books I read last year Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in The Lord of the Rings by Matthew Dickerson addresses this issue.

Dickerson opens his discussion of free will by mentioning one of his favorite moments in the LOTR, which is the first meeting between Gimli and Galadriel and the breaking down of the "centuries-old enmity" between their people.

When Gimli despairs over leaving Lothlorien, Legolas replies "I count you blessed, Gimli son of Gloin: for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen otherwise."

Dickerson's most pointed argument is his discussion of Frodo's time on the top of Amon Hen "There Sauron becomes aware of him, and the Eye begins to seek him out, only narrowly being drawn away at the last moment by some other power-which we later learn is Gandalf. It is as Frodo sits "perfectly balanced" between the "piercing points" of these two powers that "suddenly he was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so" Here we see again the emphasis that Frodo "is free to choose." There is even more than that. It is not only that he is free to choose, but that the essence of his existence as Frodo-what he remembers when he becomes 'aware of himself"-is this freedom to choose. He is neither the Voice nor the Eye; he is not compelled to do Good or to do Evil, but must choose on his own which he will do. And yet, under the strain of those powers, he almost forgets that. Or, put another way, he almost forgets himself. It is his awareness of himself that makes him aware of his freedom to choose. Why? Because the freedom to choose is fundamental to what it means to be a self."

Dickerson contrasts Tolkien's world-view to that to a man who Tolkien would have been familiar with Bertrand Russel.

Russel writes: Whatever may be thought about is it as a matter of ultimate metaphysics, it is quite clear that nobody believes in [free will] anymore...When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behavior is a result of antecedent clauses which, if you follow them long enough, will take you beyond the moment of his birth and therefore to events for which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch for the imagination."

I find the most reassuring aspect of this discussion and of the story of LOTR is that the little decisions made by individuals using their conscience and exercising their own free will can change the course of an entire world for good or for ill.


message 9: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (michelle8731) I have to say, I've read this entire novel before, and I'm a huge fan of the movies. I actually took a class in college comparing aspects of LotR to the Bible. Interesting stuff. I have been dying to reread it, so all I needed was a little motivation.

I snagged this part right out of one of my old papers, which were based on the film versions. The question I was supposed to answer was about who I believed the three main characters are in the story:

"The three main characters in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring are Frodo, Aragorn, and the ring itself. Frodo represents innocence. When he is first introduced to the ring, he knows nothing about it. He just finds it on the floor and picks it up, so it has no real power over him. Gandalf tries to maintain some of that innocence by not telling him what it is at first and simply telling him not to put it on and keep it out of sight. Then as Frodo begins to learn the powers of the ring, he becomes a bit more consumed by it. When he first puts it on and becomes invisible, he is less innocent, and becomes more possessed by the ring and its power. He begins to hold onto it more carefully and use the invisibility to his advantage. After the private council in Rivendell, he is even more aware of the power that the ring possesses. As a result near the end of the movie when Aragorn tries to come near to talk to him after Boromir has tried to take the ring, Frodo is panicky and tells him he cannot have it. The more his innocence is destroyed, the more power the ring has over him.

Aragorn represents willpower. He is an ancestor of Isildur, who when given the chance did not destroy the ring. Aragorn seems burdened by this mistake. Though men are the weakest at resisting the power of the ring, he resists with no problem it appears. Aragorn does not want to carry on the same mistake that his ancestor made. He wants to be a part of destroying the evil that follows the ring wherever it goes. At the council Boromir makes a move to take the ring, but Aragorn never moves. He seems completely unaffected by it, when really he is working hard not to give into the evil. Another example is when Frodo is running from Boromir, and Aragorn finds him alone. Frodo thinks that Aragorn is reaching to take the ring from him as he talks, but Aragorn just clenches Frodo’s had tight around the ring, as though he were telling Frodo to keep it safe. He shows enormous willpower in this way because while the ring does tempt him, he does not allow himself to give into it.

The last main character is the ring itself. The ring represents greed. The characters can feel the power that it holds, and it makes them want it for themselves. Isildur refuses to destroy it when he cuts the Dark Lord’s finger off. Smeagol is so completely consumed by it that he follows the fellowship wherever it goes to try and steal the ring back. Bilbo, even after being separated from it for some time, turns into a monster-like creature and tries to snatch it when he sees it on the chain around Frodo’s neck. Boromir is tempted by the power and tries to attack Frodo and take it away. The spirit of the Dark Lord within it makes the characters want it. Anyone who has the ring seems to feel the constant need to see it and touch it, taking comfort in the fact that they have it. The ring even tries to put itself on Frodo’s finger when he, Sam, Pippin, and Merry are hiding from the Black Rider. It has its own mind and its own story, which is what the opening of the films shows. It tells the journey of the ring and establishes it as a character, not just an important object."

I still feel like this is mostly true, although I'm not necessarily sure that the ring has quite as strong a "personality" in the book.

I also feel in reading Fellowship again that it has to end the way that it does, even though it feels abrupt. It shows that the ring bearer, Frodo, is the only one who can destroy the ring. The rest of the fellowship may help him with the fighting and give him moral support, but in the end, Frodo is the one who will have to make that choice and let go of the ring.

Again, I really love this book, though the second volume tends to be my favorite. :)


Loretta (lorettalucia) Michelle: Hurrah! Awesome that you caught up with us.

I find it interesting that you did not choose Gandalf as a main character. I would tend to agree with you on that respect, but it's sort of odd to think that someone who guides so much of the story (though rarely directly influencing the main characters you mention, namely Frodo and Aragorn--he leaves them to make their own decisions though he does nudge them in certain directions sometimes) really only pops in and out of the action, depending on the circumstances.

I haven't watched ANY of the movies in years... probably about 7 at least, so I have forgotten most of the details, though I know the general plot. I'm actually really glad about that, as I'm reading the books with relatively fresh eyes now. I've mentioned this in the past, but I think I first read Fellowship in about 2003 or 2004, and did not enjoy it, the movies being fresh in my mind, so gave up and never continued the series (well, I did get a few chapters into Two Towers...).

So now, I'm looking forward to finishing the books, and am planning a movie marathon in May, when we're done.


message 11: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (michelle8731) Gandalf always has the dues ex machina quality in the stories, but never quite feels at the front of the action. I do love his character, though.

I'm also a fan of Sam, who seems weak at the forefront, but always pulls strength from nowhere at just the right moment to save Frodo or tell him what he needs to hear.

I am a forever fan of LotR, but I used to be totally opposed to the concept altogether. In high school and before, I was never into sci-fi or fantasy works. The only reason I took the class in college (and consequently fell in love with Tolkien) was because it was a class that started before the regular semester, So I got to escape my parents early!

Now, I own all the extended editions of the movies and watch them probably 3 to 4 times a year!


Loretta (lorettalucia) It's funny, I also own all the extended versions... but have just not watched them in a long time. I have no idea why.

Yes, I guess the reason I sometiems think of Gandalf as being so prominent is because Ian McKellan's performance in the films was so arresting. You forget how little time he spends on screen because you're captivated during the times that he's there. But now, reading the novels, it's much more apparent that he's a behind the scenes player. For example, in Fellowship, his confrontation with Saruman, a hugely important point, is related as a story, after the fact. IIRC, that's how it was done in the films as well, but we got the flashback showing us how it all went down. So he's doing very, very important things, but he's not necessarily always with our main group of characters.

Sam is incredibly endearing. It's hard not to like him.


Melissa I will come back and address this later but I gotta run - but I've heard some people argue that the hero of the novel is really Sam.

Also I find it interesting that you don't find the ring to be as much of a character in the books. My husband was pleased that Jackson spent so much effort making it a character in the movies because that is a very hard thing to do. He must have achieved it incredibly well for you to perceive the opposite.


Loretta (lorettalucia) Melissa, I had a similar thought about Sam, but I think I should wait until the end of the novels before expanding on the idea, as his character trajectory is still in pretty early stages.


message 15: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (michelle8731) Oooh, Melissa, I like your thought about Sam! That's definitely something we'll have to come back to.

And I think Jackson had sound and visual effects working in his favor in making the ring a character for the movies. It also might help that I actually saw the movies first, but I don't know. I may end up changing my mind as I read through the other two volumes. I haven't read them in about 5 years.


Melissa Good point about waiting to discuss Sam as the hero.

Michelle,

You are have a point - order of exposure could easily make a difference.


Melissa Oh. I do think I can share this though without spoiling our ability to view Sam's character growth. In a letter, Tolkien wrote that Sam was “the chief hero.” “My ‘Sam Gamgee’ is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself.”


message 18: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (michelle8731) That reminds me: does anyone know of a good book on Tolkien himself?


Melissa I'm reading the Official Biography by Humphrey Carter it is well written and easy to read.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 456 comments When I got to the end of this, I had forgotten that a large part of the movie ending actually came from the first chapter of The Two Towers: I had forgotten how open-ended and cliffhanging the book actually was (view spoiler). It definitely makes me want to jump into the next volume!


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