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

"They tried to pierce your heart with a Morgul-knife which remains in the wound. If they had succeeded, you would have become a wraith under the dominion of the Dark Lord..."
Chapter 1
Many Meetings

It comes as no surprise that everyone is just fine. How else to start the next leg of the quest? Gandalf reappears at long last. Frodo is practically healed. No one was injured during the "Flight to the Ford" except the bad guys and their horses. That's nice. It's also comforting that Bilbo is there in Rivendell and that he's okay.

Though mostly dialogue, this chapter did hold a few interesting moments for me, a couple things were even surprising. First of all, I can add "Ringwraith" to my vocabulary. Before, I didn't really know what to call them, even though I knew what they were. And of course they weren't killed by the flood, just incapacitated. I wonder when they will show up next. Second, I found it particularly interesting that Strider (Aragorn) and all the "Rangers" are Númenorians. I mean that's pretty surprising. The last thing I read in the "Simarillion" was the Fall of Númenor, so the last thing I knew, a small remnant of Númenorians had escaped to Middle-earth. I didn't have a clue as to what their role would be in Middle-earth in later generations. Finally, as ridiculous as it is, and it is ridiculous, the most surprising thing in this chapter was learning that Sauron is "the Lord of the Rings"! I know! I know! the rest of you knew that from the very begining, and it is incredibly obvious since he did create them or have them made, and made the One Ring to control them all etc. etc. It's just that "the Lord of the Rings" as a phrase always had a positive tone to it, whenever I heard it. And I always had it in my mind that the true Lord of the Rings would be Manwë or even Illúvatar, while Sauron was just trying to control them all for his own evil purposes. I guess "the One Ring" always sounded like a good thing to me, too... till it turned out to be evil.

Man, I wonder if anyone else has ever been surprised by that last little bit of information.

Two last noteworthy points.

A: It's good to see Gloin. It's nice to have a character from the Hobbit step into the story again. It helps with the connectivity between the stories, if you know what I mean.

B: Is it just me or does Bilbo seem like he's totally lost it? Not that he's a raving lunatic, but that there's something serious wrong with his mind. He doesn't grasp the gravity of the situation, the danger of the Ring. Clearly the moment of shadow when Frodo reluctantly lets Bilbo look at the Ring reveals that his posession of the One Ring has had some very serious negative side effects. He's definitely not the same hobbit that rescued his Dwarf conmpanions from the Spiders of Mirkwood in the Hobbit. What will become of Frodo when it's all said and done, I wonder? And Bilbo, too. If the power of the Ring has given him such longevity, will he die if the ring is destroyed?

till next time, keep thinking,

Mark-Edmond Howell
Kanazawa, Japan

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