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)
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
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
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 Lúthien. 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.
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?
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