LOTR Read-Along! Fellowship Chapters 9-15

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy
Part Two of FOTR went much smoother for me than the first section. I think I may have just been in the wrong mood last week.

Discussion questions are below, but first, an anecdote.

The first time I read Lord of the Rings, I was probably in my early teens. I was already passably familiar with the Rankin-Bass animated versions of both The Hobbit and ROTK at this point; I literally don't remember not knowing the basics of this story. I took all three books out of the library one summer afternoon, and started in on Fellowship around dinnertime. At 5am, I closed the book after the last page of FOTR and went to sleep. I did nothing but eat, sleep and read (and the former two grudgingly) until I finished Return of the King in the middle of the third day.


With all that in mind, I'll move on to the Discussion Topics, provided by Geeky Daddy (Clarifications/edits added by me)

1. What was were your initial thoughts of Strider/Aragorn when the Hobbits met up with him in The Prancing Pony? Did you think that he was linked with the Riders Ringwraiths?

I love Aragorn in this part of the book. He's got a nice balance of competence and caution, friendly but capable of being deadly serious. You can feel the tension between the need to get Frodo and company to trust him, and the impulse to just grab him and haul him bodily to safety. The second half of this question is fairly N/A, for the reasons above.

2. What was the biggest surprised to surprise for you during this section of the Fellowship of the Ring?

The song that Frodo sings in the Prancing Pony to distract the crowd from asking too many questions. I would like to direct to this passage anyone who has ever argued with me whether LOTR can be read as a prehistory of Earth. Admittedly, I always remember that point because it's stressed at the end of the Rankin-Bass ROTK, but this passage makes it explicit. Frodo's song is a linguistic ancestor of the nursery rhyme "Hey, Diddle Diddle." This amuses me intensely. "Here it is in full. Only a few words of it are now, as a rule, remembered." -FOTR, page 170

3. Do you like that Tolkien goes in depth and tells the readers of the history events of the war that is upon the Fellowship? Do you like that Tolkien goes in depth and tells the readers so much of the history?

As the richness of the world is what sets these books apart from much of what came before and after, I certainly like it. It does give a sense of depth to the world, and grounds the characters in a sense of time. Also the historical asides often do double duty. One of the best examples of this so far is Aragorn singing part of the Lay of Beren and LĂșthien. It gives you a flavor of elven culture, a hint about how long they have been fighting Melkor and Sauron, and foreshadows Aragorn's own story.

4. How far do you think you would have lasted if you were Frodo and nearly becoming a Rider?

Well, first of all, Frodo rides Glorfindel's horse perfectly well, although I don't think that's quite what the questioner intended to ask. Second, Frodo was on his way to becoming a wraith, not a Ringwraith. Important difference there. To answer the intended question: hold on, I'll make a Constitution Check.

5. As dangerous quest unfold to become, the other hobbits want to stick by Frodo til the end. Would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo til the end? Even as the quest becomes more dangerous, the other hobbits want to stick by Frodo 'til the end. Would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo until the end?

I think we all, especially those of us who read fantasy, hope a secret hope that if we were put in a situation where it was really important, that we would rise to the occasion. How would we know for sure, though, unless it was really a life or death scenario?


Previous Read-Along Posts:

3 comments:

Elena said...

I'm in rather the same boat as you - I can't remember not knowing the story to the Lord of the Rings anymore. It does make answering these questions interesting sometimes.

I love those moments like with Hey Diddle Diddle too. That's the kind of thing and detail that makes the story for me.

Carl V. said...

I enjoyed Frodo's song as well and the way it tied into that nursery rhyme that I imagine most of us remember from our own childhood. Tolkien did so many things to tie his history and language into the real, nearly forgotten history and language that he so enjoyed and it adds such a depth and richness to these stories. Like you I agree it sets them apart in a place all their own.

I didn't think Strider was one of the Black Riders, although I might have been more suspicious if I had read the story first and not seen the films. I think Tolkien did a nice job of trying to make Strider a little suspicious at the beginning.

I would like to hope that I would stick through that kind of trial with my friends. I think I would, but I'm not sure I would be able to maintain the same attitude that say, Sam, does throughout.

littleredreviewer said...

I love how everyone is having a different experience with this. Some of us (like me) are reading this for the first time, so everything is a surprise. Others are reading it again, or for the 5th or 10th times, so they are finding new and different things to discuss.

Reading everyone's comments has me thinking more and more about the "would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo" question.

I've never been on a quest or an adventure with a friend. But I have been through friends while they went through abusive relationships, divorces, deaths of parents, things that happen. and it was something i had to choose to stick with them through, or ditch them on. It's really hard to stick with your friend when they insist on staying in abusive relationship . . . but because it's your friend, and you love them, you stay with them through it, and help them afterwards too.

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