A Tolkien Virgin: The Fellowship of the Ring - Book II - Chapter 8 - The Journey Continues
"Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar.
Nai elyë hiruva. Namárië!"
Farewell to Lorien
This is a chapter of preparation. It goes in stages.
First, they decide to fully leave their journey up to fate--postponing the hardest decision to the last moment, when probably, events beyond their control will force them in one direction like the brush and trees in the Old Forest. They get boats from Celeborn so they can ride the river as low as possible before choosing their path.
The next stage, the fellowship's counsel, was particularly interesting. Aragorn, the heir of Elendil? Striving with Sauron "for the mastery?" Mastery of what? And then there's Boromir who's obviously after the ring--or Tolkien is misleading us with his foreshadowing. Boromir at least desires the One Ring and its imagined helpfulness. Why didn't Galadriel say anything? Surely she must have perceived something of Boromir's lust when
she tested his heart.
In addition to the boats, that won't sink (!), the party then receives a ton of other stuff. Lembas, a miraculous little bread that will undoubtedly prove invaluable. I wonder if the party will have to worry about food at all after this. Elven cloaks, with a major bonus to stealth and camouflage, and elven ropes made of "hithlain," whatever that is. Every adventurer should always have some rope, and this is probably the best kind of rope a hobbit could dream of getting his hands on.
Next we have Galadriel's sweet, sad song about Laurelin (I suppose the Mallorn trees kinda resemble Laurelin, huh?) and her innevitable return to Eldamar. Having read the Silmarillion doesn't really help or detract here, her song is bittersweet enough on its own.
Celeborn tells them to beware of Fangorn forest. Boromir replies that he doubts Fangorn could be more treacherous than what he's already faced. So they'll probably end up in Fangorn and in some serious trouble later, from the sound of it.
As if what they've already received for their journey wasn't enough, the fellowship members get even more stuff at the parting feast.
Lots of stuff sticks out here. Aragorn receives a blessed sheath and a silver brooch from Galadriel--there's a story of lost or unrequieted love hiding in there somewhere (we get that much from his brief moment on Cerin Amroth a few chapters back). Then she renames him Elessar, the Elfstone. Man, there's definitely something brewing for Aragorn. This guy's a far cry from the rascally looking Ranger at the Inn in Bree.
Boromir, Merry, and Pippin get belts. Hmmm. Great. A belt.
Sam gets some magic dirt.
Gimli manages the unthinkable and recieves three hairs from Galadriel.
And finally, Frodo gets a magic light. Now that's actually quite practicle. First the mitril coat and the enchanted sword, now the boats, the cloaks, the lembas, the hithlain rope, and finally this phial, I'd say Frodo is ready for just about anything...I mean if I was still roleplaying I'd be majorly stoked if I were him. The only other thing would be a bag of holding, but that would probably be asking too much.
As they finally depart, the image of Lorien sailing away from them as they sat motionless upon the water is a great one. Galadriel shining like crystal, her song drifting over the water to them till finally they were taken away. Nice.
They couldn't be better prepared for whatever comes next--at least that's my opinion for now. Inspite of his obvious foreshadowing, you can never be sure what Tolkien will conjure up. I'm sure there's stuff that will make me "ah-hah!" later. For now, the clarificaton of Varda as Elbereth was helpful for me. I'm not sure that would mean anything to those who hadn't read the Silmarillion, though.
And as they drift off into some kind of plot complication I'm sitting here wondering if there will be any more safe havens on their journey? You know what I mean, don't you? After each treacherous leg of their journey there's been a place for our characters to rest: Tom Bombadil's, Rivendell, and Lothlorien.
The last thing pricking my brain as I move on is--strangely--Sam's little box of enchanted dirt. Will he indeed keep it long enough to return to the Shire? And if he does, what will he find when he gets there?
till next time, keep thinking,