A Tolkien Virgin: The Fellowship of the Ring - Book 1 - Chapter 11 - The Journey Continues

"At that moment Frodo threw himself forward on the ground, and he heard himself crying aloud: O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! At the same time he struck at the feet of his enemy..."
Chapter 11
A Knife in the Dark

mmm...good chapter...

First of all, it's nice to know that Fatty Bolger has survived his inevitable run-in with the Black Riders at Crickhallow.

The chapter slows down in the middle, but an image I particularly liked was the "lightning that leaps up from the hilltops" that Frodo and Strider saw early one morning. It's a potent image because I knew it was a battle a ways off... or suspected as much. Learning later that it was most likely Gandalf fighting off the forces of the Enemy at Weathertop drives home the potency of the image of the flashing light at such a distance.

Having read the Silmarillion first and reading all the comments of people who disapprove of that, I'm surprised at how many references to ancient histroy I know nothing about. Apparently there is a whole heck of a lot of major happenings between the fall of Numenor and the Lord of the Rings.

Naturally, I have read the entire story of Beren and Luthien and although I was not very fond of it in the Silmarillion (see my review of that chapter in the Silmarillion), I must say that Strider does a terrible job of telling it, and it is far less enchanting here. Tolkien (or Strider) tries to cram too much into too small a space and it comes across as confusing more than interesting.

At the end of the chapter, the attack of the Black Riders was deliciously terrifying. Frodo is superbly pathetic, and the Ring or the Enemy via the ring, overcomes him and he puts it on allowing them to attack him openly. But what did Frodo exclaim and what did it mean?

The closing image of Strider leaping forward with firebrands in hand from the eyes of a swooning Frodo is fabulous.

till next time, keep thinking,

Kanazawa Japan


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