Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Chapter 6

In the sixth chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, it takes all of ten pages for the group to face danger in the Old Forest. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.


Truthfully, this is entertaining. I keep having to stop and remind myself that this was published in 1954. Tolkien’s grasp of world-building, tension, and character development is really unbelievable to me in the very best way. To be fair, a lot of my favorite novels (The Stranger, The Plague, Crime and Punishment, etc) aren’t exactly new novels, but I love finding books that distinctly go against the idea that only recent literature is worth reading. Again, this is a dense novel for sure, but it’s not at all in the way that I expected.

I just love chapter six, okay? I really do. The tension and the terror of the Old Forest permeates well throughout the pages, another sign of how much better written this book is. The joy and happiness of the last five chapters is almost universally gone, and Tolkien trades this with a foreboding and daunting tone. What this does here is not only give me an expectation of disaster, but I can feel what the forest does to these four characters.

That’s what I want writing to do, in whatever way that the author tries to pull it off. I want to have all the feelings. I want immersion. I want to feel like I’m hovering just over the action and watching it unfold, and Tolkien delivers exactly what I want. It’s not even that his diction or vocabulary is particularly complex either:

The leaves of trees were glistening, and every twig was dripping; the grass was grey with cold dew. Everything was still, and far-away noises seemed near and clear: fowls chattering in a yard, someone closing a door of a distant house.

In two sentences, I’m sure a lot of you know exactly what time in the early morning this is. Most of us live somewhere where this happens, just before the sun comes up and the city wakes. This is what I’m talking about. It takes talent to be able to communicate something like this.

This sort of poetic diction is all throughout chapter six, and I was already pretty excited to head into the Old Forest even without being satisfied by Tolkien’s writing. The characters set the scene well, and once they exit the tunnel underneath the hedge, they begin to discuss all the rumors and stories associated with the mysterious place. Out of all of them, Merry’s the most experienced with the forest, and he’s quick to assure them that while it is weird and creepy, it’s nowhere near as bad as it’s supposed to be. The thing is, that doesn’t mean Merry says it isn’t creepy at all. In fact, he then tells a pretty horrifying story about the trees coming to life and attacking the Hedge, only backing down after a bunch of hobbits BURNED A BUNCH OF THEIR TREE BRETHREN IN A BONFIRE. what the hell.

It does take a while for the true horror to show up, and Tolkien brilliantly builds up the tension with a slow burn. If you know me, you know I love this technique, and after Merry tells the story about the tree bonfire, Tolkien begins to start to drop in details about the unsettling nature of the Old Forest:

For the moment there was no whispering or movement among the branches; but they all got an uncomfortable feeling that they were being watched with disapproval, deepening to dislike and even enmity. The feeling steadily grew, until they found themselves looking up quickly, or glancing back over their shoulders, as if they expected a sudden blow.

I love this. I genuinely think this is done well because it’s meant to disarm our senses, to unsettle us and leave us feeling vulnerable and exposed. The truth is that at this point, virtually anything can come out of the forest, and that sense of doom fills every sentence. Even worse, we’ve already been introduced to the idea that the trees themselves are actually alive, making their journey all the more perilous. Just how alive are they? Can they fully move on their in full visibility, or is it something that occurs when you turn away from them? Is it really true that they can hear the hobbits? I mean, Frodo sings that song about the trees falling, and it feels like the end of the whole world, doesn’t it?

They thankfully make it out of that particular part of the forest without anything eating them alive, and Merry continues to lead them in the direction he thinks is best. This involves avoiding a place called Withywindle, which:

‘The Withywindle valley is said to be the queerest part of the whole wood–the centre from which all queerness comes, as it were.’

SO THAT’S WHERE I’M FROM, AMIRITE. oh god. You know, I am genuinely not the slightest bit bothered by seeing the word “queer” so much in this book, and it actually gives me a burst of joy to see it every few pages? I just felt the need to say that out loud.  THIS IS WONDERFUL.

Anyway, the group continues on through the forest, the sight of the Downs in the distance giving them hope that they’ll be able to get out of this place sooner than they hoped. Hope? Oh, what a futile thing to have at this point! That visual reference is essentially rendered moot not much longer after this because they get lost. I wasn’t surprised by this development at all, honestly, because it seemed inevitable: the group couldn’t take the most obvious path through the forest in fear of getting caught. Still, this ends up being far more disorienting than I thought it would be, and it’s the same case for our band of hobbits. Merry’s choice to find the Road turns into a disaster, as the band of trees he thought looked less dense and thinner and all around a good idea are hardly anything but that. What Tolkien conveys through this is that sense of being hopelessly lost, of this group not only losing their way, but losing that sense of adventure they set out with. I mean, I know that all four of these characters have acknowledged that this is NOT a there-and-back journey, as Frodo so wonderfully put it. Still, it’s exciting to each of them in their own way, and now? Well, it’s not so exciting at all, and that’s painfully realistic to me.

It’s only barely assuring that Merry realizes they’re following the River Withywindle, in the sense that it’s something recognizable, but…well, I suppose it’s kind of awful for the group. But is it totally fine for me to be a tad excited for them to head to Withywindle just because I want to see what’s so queer about that place? I FEEL LIKE THIS IS TOTALLY AN OKAY THING, RIGHT?

I did sort of regret feeling that because the footpath along the River is what they come upon next, which means….seriously, this is so pervasively creepy to me. Are the trees able to cast spells? Part of why this is so fucked up is that Tolkien doesn’t bother to explain how this part of the Forest is able to make the hobbits fall asleep. It just comes upon them so suddenly and with such a dramatic force that I first thought something else was responsible for it. Frodo describes some sort of “soft fluttering” heard in the trees, but we don’t know what that is. Unfortunately for him, though, he also succumbs to whatever spell they’re all put under.

I love that out of all of them, though, Sam is the one who is least susceptible to the effects of the tree that pulls them all down to the ground to fall asleep near it. In fact, he’s able to resist it enough to wake Frodo, who he discovers was pulled into the River by the tree. What the HELL is going on? Oh, right, the tree is basically CONSUMING MERRY AND PIPPIN. This will never not be one of the freakiest, weirdest things imaginable, and as someone who has mild claustrophobia, this would send me completely over the edge. HOW CAN A TREE DO THAT? WHY WOULD A TREE DO THAT?

I admit to laughing just a bit when Sam and Frodo try to figure out how on earth to get their friends from out of a tree, realizing how absurd the whole thing is. I mean, they can’t burn the tree down unless they like roasted Pippin. Then I stopped laughing at this part:

A loud scream came from Merry, and from far inside the tree they heard Pippin give a muffled yell.

‘Put it out! Put it out!’ cried Merry. ‘He’ll squeeze me in two, if you don’t. He says so!’

OKAY, THIS IS NOT FUNNY ANYMORE. First of all, HOW CAN THIS TREE EVEN TALK. Well, wait…I’m not questioning the logistics of this. Obviously, this is a fantasy and I just accept that this is a thing that can happen. But how can Merry hear the three, but no one else can?

It’s in this moment of terror that Tolkien introduces us to the delightfully weird Tom Bombadil. Do I trust him just yet? I really don’t know, to be honest with you. It’s perfectly possible that he’s just eccentric and rather enjoys traipsing through the woods and rescuing people from Old Man Willow, but he could also have an ulterior motive. I genuinely don’t know! I mean, what if he’s inviting them over for yellow cream and honeycomb and white bread and butter so he can bake hobbits for tomorrow’s dinner? LOOK I DON’T KNOW, IT COULD HAPPEN. Still, I reserve the right to enjoy Tom Bombadil as much as I want, and I really like how nonplussed he is by Old Man Willow trying to capture creatures inside its trunk.

But then I started worrying when Tom leads them to his home, and along the way, he gets really far ahead of the four hobbits, so much so that they can’t even hear him singing anymore. Oh god, it’s a trap, isn’t it? But his house is real, and it’s precisely where Tom leads them to. What Tom does not share with them is a small revelation in the last line of a song sung by someone else in the clearing that leads to his home:

Old Tom Bombadil and the River-daughter

Okay. Okay, who the hell is the River-daughter? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Please let it be nice, I don’t want bad things to happen to the hobbits. 🙁

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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259 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Chapter 6

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    A tree named "Old Man Willow" ingested Merry and Pippin, and then a large, singing, laughing man sang them back out.

    Your argument is invalid.

    Also, seriously, Tolkien, now even your trees talk… if we don't get a talking pony/horse in this story, I'm calling you out on your pony discrimination.

  2. flootzavut says:

    YAY! I was hoping for a review today but thought it was unlikely. Cool 😀

  3. @MeagenImage says:

    I've always hated the outdoors and this chapter only served to reinforce it. Why would I want to go hiking in the forest? The forest is full of bloody *trees* who hate anything that walks on two legs!

  4. Ryan Lohner says:

    There was a ton of rot13 snickering about you having to face this chapter so soon after sharing your tree-related nightmares over at the Buffy reviews.

    It's pretty interesting that a guy who loved nature as much as Tolkien would create this super creepy forest where the trees can actually murder you. It seems the popular view has become that it's a warning about nature fighting back after all we were doing to it.

  5. pennylane27 says:

    I love this chapter. I think I've been saying that about every chapter so far, but I don't care. I'm really enjoying this reread. I usually breeze through them in few days, but forcing myself to read one chapter a day is a whole new LOTR experience and I'm loving it.

    Anyway, knowing what's going to happen didn't diminish the tension or the dread of this chapter, although I did read it with a knowing smile on my face.

    I feel like I must express my love for Sam again. I don't like this great big tree. I don't trust it. Hark at it singing about sleep now! This won't do at all! BLESS YOUR HAIRY HOBBIT FEET, SAM.

    Also: nu, jnyxvat gerrf. V PNA'G SHPXVAT JNVG HAGVY ZNEX TRGF GB GUR RAGF.

  6. flootzavut says:

    "That’s what I want writing to do, in whatever way that the author tries to pull it off. I want to have all the feelings. I want immersion. I want to feel like I’m hovering just over the action and watching it unfold, and Tolkien delivers exactly what I want."

    The first time I read through the books I shot through them. The second time, I took it at a much slower pace, maybe not as measured as one chapter a day, but much slower, and it was sooooo good to just be immersed in this wonderful world. Ahhhh I am so enjoying you enjoying this book, Mark.

    Re: the use of queer – doesn't it just show how fast language changes? My granddad used to say he felt queer, and meant nothing to do with homosexuality… and no one would have taken it to mean that.

    I have mild botanophobia, so being swallowed by a tree freaks me out for a totally different reason…

    V qba’g jnag onq guvatf gb unccra gb gur uboovgf.

    There's just no way of commenting in a non-spoilery way, but, FB UBCRYRFFYL HACERCNERQ VG'F FPNEL! 😮 🙁 :'( 😮

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Check out the TV Tropes page "having a gay old time" for a ton of these. My favorite is from War of the Worlds, where a woman runs into the narrator's room after an attack wearing her nightgown, and "her husband followed, ejaculating." By which of course Wells meant "shouting."

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        "Tom put his mouth to the crack and began singing into it in a low voice. They could not catch the words, but evidently Merry was aroused."

        • pennylane27 says:

          HAHAHAHA I had totally forgotten about that line, but I obviously have the same reaction every time I read it. First I stare at the word for a few seconds and then filthy thought processes kick in and I burst out laughing. This time was no different!

        • monkeybutter says:

          Damn, I forgot to mention that line! Best part of the chapter.

        • arctic_hare says:

          YEAH I read that, and was trying so hard not to laugh. xD I basically went "NOT GOING TO GO THERE" and moved on, but at the back of my mind I was giggling.

        • notemily says:

          My favorite is in Horatio Hornblower, where he's trying to get seamen (*snicker*) to crew his new ship, and it talks about how much he "yearned and hungered for men, more passionately than ever a miser desired gold, or a lover his mistress." I MEAN COME ON.

      • threerings13 says:

        Sherlock Holmes is full of these, too. Lots of ejaculating all over the place. Also being "knocked up", which means someone knocked on your door and woke you up early in the morning.

        • flootzavut says:

          That's still a common use of that expression in some parts of the UK. Makes for some creative misunderstandings:)

          • threerings13 says:

            I did not know that! I've learned something!

            • flootzavut says:

              😀 A friend of mine from church used to say it a lot (I say used to, I assume she still does but now she's doing voluntary work in India so I couldn't say for sure!), she was from up North, and it was a habit she never lost although it always sounded pretty unfortunate round here!

        • tardis_stowaway says:

          Yeah, Watson ejaculating frequently in response to Holmes really does nothing to reduce the slashy subtext, even when that's in no way what ACD meant.

      • flootzavut says:

        My favourite is a scene in a carriage in Austen's "Emma" where Emma finds "Mr Elton actually making violent love to her…"

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      "There's just no way of commenting in a non-spoilery way, but, FB UBCRYRFFYL HACERCNERQ VG'F FPNEL! "


      • flootzavut says:

        I'm caught between horror and glee…

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Haha. YES. That's the best way of describing it. Vg'f na bqq, nyzbfg creirefr, srryvat bs tyrr gb frr ubj hggreyl hacercnerq Znex vf sbe gur greevoyr riragf gb pbzr. Vg'f njshy orpnhfr bs jung raqf hc unccravat gb nyy bhe snibevgr punenpgref…ohg lrg V pna'g uryc ohg fzvyr rivyyl jura V frr uvf hacercnerqarff va uvf erivrjf.

    • notemily says:

      I love your four emoticons 😀

    • Dru says:

      re: queer, I cannot even imagine Mark going through old-timey children's books like The Wind in the Willows (which is also pretty nightmare fuel-ish in bits, though not on this scale) or Anne of Green Gables, where they used the word "gay" to mean happy or cheerful ALL THE TIME.

      tbqh as a child (i.e. before I was 9 or 10 and saw it in a news report) I didn't even know gay or queer meant anything besides cheery or strange respectively. Blame the children's books!

  7. TDM says:

    First time trying to use rot13 xD May not need it, but I'd rather err on the side of caution

    Ah, so you've met Tom Bombadil. I mentioned the other day that my dad was a huge Tolkien fan, right? Well, jura gur svyzf pnzr bhg (juvpu zl qnq ybirf, ol gur jnl) ur jnf thggrq gung gurl phg bhg Gbz Obzonqvy. "Ab! Ur'f zl snibhevgr punenpgre, ur'f gur orfg punenpgre, gur zbfg cbjreshy punenpgre. Naq gurl PHG UVZ BHG."

    Obviously he got over it, but it was still quite hilarious at the time.

    I'm a bit amused at how much you love this chapter Mark, because I'm fairly sure this chapter – or maybe the next – was where I gave up. It was definitely a forest chapter, I'm fairly sure there were descriptions of trees that went on for several pages. For someone who can't visualise things, Tolkien's constant description is rather cumbersome (even if it is well written, unfortunately).

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      And of course he didn't care that RIREL nqncgngvba phgf uvz bhg, orpnhfr ur'f cbvagyrff gb gur fgbel.

      • TDM says:

        Pregnvayl n ybtvpny phg gb znxr, but he was still really gutted lol.

      • V jnf npghnyyl gnyxvat nobhg guvf jvgu n sevraq ba Puevfgznf, naq ur cbvagrq bhg gung Gbz'f abg dhvgr cbvagyrff- ur chgf gur Evat naq Fnheba vagb crefcrpgvir nf orvat whfg fznyy vapvqragf va n ybat uvfgbel bs Zvqqyr-Rnegu, orpnhfr Gbz'f orra gurer gb frr vg nyy naq xabjf gung zber unf pbzr naq tbar sbe uvz guna gur uboovgf jvyy rire frr.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Gerrorneq naq gur Ragf pna or hfrq sbe gung checbfr whfg nf jryy. Naq va n jnl gurl ner – gurl qba'g jnag gb trg vaibyirq va gur jne ng gur ortvaavat, orpnhfr sebz gurve cbvag bs ivrj vg'f whfg n fznyy vafvtavsvpnag fxvezvfu.

          • Parmadil says:

            Vg nyfb qrcraqf ba jung lbh guvax gur cbvag bs gur obbx vf. Vs gur vzcbegnag guvat vf cybg, naq gung cybg vf gur wbhearl gb qrsrng Fnheba, gura lrf, Gbz Obzonqvy naq uvf zreel fbatf ner zreryl na haarprffnel olcynl. VS, ubjrire, gur vzcbegnag guvat vf gur gurzrf naq gur jbeyq bs YbgE- vagebqhpvat naq rkcbfvat gur ernqre gb gur jbeyq bs Zvqqyr-Rnegu, jvgu nyy bs vgf fgenatr perngherf naq dhrre qbvatf, rzcunfvmvat gur gurzrf bs cbjre, angher, naq gur qnatref bs pvivyvfngvbaf, nzbat gur vaahzrenoyr bgure gurzrf va gurfr nznmvatyl pbzcyrk obbxf- vs, gura, gur vzcbegnag guvat vf pbairlvat gur gurzrf naq rzcunfvmvat gur jbeyq, gura Gbz Obzonqvy vf abg bayl eryrinag, ur'f nofbyhgryl PEHPVNY gb gur sbejneqvat bs guvf fgbel! Ur, zber guna nal bgure punenpgre, rzobqvrf Zvqqyr-Rnegu. Ur, zber guna nalbar bgure guna creuncf Gerrorneq, rzobqvrf gur gurzr bs Angher'f cbjre naq gur arrq sbe erfcrpg sbe gur yvivat jbeyq nebhaq hf!

            V unir nyjnlf ybirq zreel Gbz naq uvf ybiryl Evire-Qnhtugre jvsr. Sbe zr, ur flzobyvfrf n zber vaabprag, unccvre ntr, gung vf dhvpxyl snqvat nf gur evfvat cbjre bs "pvivyvfngvba", rzobqvrq va Fnehzna, biregnxrf naq srrqf ba gur angheny Cbjref, bs juvpu Gbz vf gur ynfg fgnaqvat.

            V'yy cebonoyl unir zber gb fnl ba guvf fhowrpg jura jr trg vagb gur raq bs gur Oneebj-qbjaf, naq Znex unf zber vasbezngvba nobhg Gbz sebz gur arkg puncgre.

            *Fgrcf bss bs fbncobk*

      • Depths_of_Sea says:

        Ha ha, this.

        V jnf pbzcyrgryl bxnl jvgu gurz phggvat Gbz Obzonqvy. Uvf nccrnenapr nyjnlf sryg irel wneevat naq fvyyl gb zr. V pna'g gnxr gur thl frevbhfyl ng nyy. Nyfb, vg gnxrf njnl n ovg sebz gur zranpr bs gur Evat gung gurer'f fbzrbar jub pna whfg vtaber vgf vasyhrapr yvxr gung.

        • flootzavut says:

          RotK book/film spoilers:

          Lrf – gung'f nyfb gur engvbanyr sbe punatvat hc Snenzve'f fgbelyvar va EbgX. Nf Crgre Wnpxfba cbvagrq bhg, vs lbh unir fbzrbar fnlvat, (cnencuenfrq!) "V jbhyqa'g cvpx vg hc vs vg jnf ylvat ol gur fvqr bs gur ebnq" lbh gnxr nyy vgf cbgrapl njnl. V'z arvgure urer abe gurer nobhg vg (V xabj fbzr crbcyr ybngur ubj gurl unaqyrq Snenzve) ohg V pna GBGNYYL haqrefgnaq jul gurl qvq gung.

          • shortstuff says:

            V jnf bar bs gubfr crbcyr, naq gung jnf ernfba #2 sbe zl qvfyvxr bs GGG. Ohg bapr V urneq CW'f ernfbavat oruvaq vg, V jnf yvxr, nu, bx, gung qbrf znxr frafr. Sebqb pna'g or gelvat gb tvir gur Evat njnl gb rirelbar ur zrrgf ba uvf wbhearlf – Tnaqnys, Gbz, Tnynqevry, Nentbea(va gur zbivr), naq abj Snezve?

            V pna trg vg. Naq V yvxr gung gurl npghnyyl gubhtug gurfr guvatf guebhtu, vg znqr zr npprcg gurfr punatrf.

            • flootzavut says:

              "V pna trg vg. Naq V yvxr gung gurl npghnyyl gubhtug gurfr guvatf guebhtu, vg znqr zr npprcg gurfr punatrf."

              LRF! Jurgure V nterr pbzcyrgryl jvgu n cnegvphyne punatr be abg, gur erfcrpg gurl tnir gb gur fbhepr zngrevny naq gur jnl gurl cnvafgnxvatyl gubhtug guebhtu gurfr guvatf znxrf zr unccl.

              Nqqvgvbanyyl, V gel gb ybbx ng vg nf, guvf jnf fhccbfrq gb or n zlgubybtl. Ol vgf irel angher, zlgubybtl punatrf jvgu gur gryyvat naq ergryyvat. Fb va n frafr, vg znxrf n terng qrny bs frafr gung gur svyzf unir fhogyr naq abg-fb-fhogyr punatrf. Gung urycf jvgu fbzr bs gur guvatf V nz yrff sbaq bs!

          • Depths_of_Sea says:

            Lrnu, V jnf erzrzorevat gung jnf gurve ernfba sbe punatvat hc Snenzve'f fgbel nep gbb-gb xrrc pbafvfgrag jvgu gur jubyr Evat = rivy naq veerfvfgvoyr gurl'q nyernql rfgnoyvfurq. V zrna, va gur Sryybjfuvc svyz gurl'q rira unq Nentbea oevrsyl grzcgrq ol gur Evat. Vg jbhyqa'g znxr frafr gb unir n punenpgre oyvguryl erfvfg gur Evat'f vasyhrapr nsgre gung. V haqrefgnaq gur punatr.

    • pennylane27 says:

      There aren't descriptions of trees that went on for several pages! It's just a very nice and short description of the forest so you get that lovely feeling of claustrophobia and dread! 😉

      Sorry, I tend to get real defensive about the descriptive parts of the book, mainly because I'm a very visual person and I love being immersed in the landscape. It's just an argument that my sister and I have very often, because she's like you, and she usually skips these chapters until Nentbea nccrnef. I siriusly don't understand her.

      Also, good use of rot13, as Mark doesn't want to be spoiled on any aspect of the movies! 🙂

      • TDM says:

        In my defense I was about ten at the time, and that's what it felt like to me, haha. Tolkien describes well – I just don't get anything from it, because I can't picture it. It's kind of a shame as I like the story, but I get so bogged down in all the description that I start being unable to tell the story apart from it, I don't know. It's cool that other people love the description, though – it's just not really my thing, y'know?

        • pennylane27 says:

          Oh, I think that I'm probably in the minority here, as most people I've talked to about these books either hated the long descriptions or at least thought them annoying, whereas I downright adore them! And when I say stuff like that is usually when I'm called a freak or something. I REGRET NOTHING.

          • threerings13 says:

            You're certainly not alone. I love the descriptions. I think it really depends on how much and what kind of thing you're used to reading. I read a lot of Victorian literature and studied literature in college, so this doesn't feel dense or boring or overly descriptive to me at all.

            • flootzavut says:

              Compared with some literature (Charlie, imma lookin at chew) it's positively minimalist 🙂

              • stefb4 says:

                I'm assuming you mean Charles Dickens, who has paragraphs that are pages long–at least in Oliver Twist. But probably in everything else too (oh god there were quite a few doozies in OT and I literally wanted to weep).

                It came up during my English Literature from 1700-present class that he was paid per word (as the chapters were originally in newspapers or journals, I think), and so that's probably one of the reasons he's so damn lengthy.

                • flootzavut says:

                  Yup that's the culprit… I like to think I'll read most things but I struggle with Dickens… he's soooo verbose, so prolix, that I lose the storyline in amongst the words.

                • flootzavut says:

                  PS I meant to write Charlie D, I was not intending to be cryptic – oops!

          • Parmadil says:

            "I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people." -John Lennon

            I love the descriptions too, don't worry, you're not alone!!

          • MaggieCat says:

            I love the descriptions of the environment too, and I'm also one of those people who LOVES the Ragf. V jbhyq cebonoyl jngpu naq ybir gur qrgrpgvir fubj fgneevat Gerrorneq "Ur fbyirf pevzrf……..irel fybjyl" gung Wnpxfba wbxrq nobhg.

            I always figured it was a side effect of my reading habits — my mother once accused me of not really trusting any book that's less than 50 years old — that I not only enjoy that sort of thing but feel kind of cheated when it's missing.

            The songs, however, are boring as hell as far as I'm concerned.

            • pennylane27 says:

              OMG I'd totally read that too! BEST THING EVER.

              And here I go again, because I love the songs. All of them. Oh well. 😀

              • MaggieCat says:

                Ha! I've come across people who love the songs and hate the description, so perhaps you are simply destined to be in many camps. 🙂

                • pennylane27 says:

                  Seriously, there is nothing about LOTR that I don't like. Then again, there are few books that I seriously disliked, as I'm easily pleased and entertained, so I don't know.

                  • Parmadil says:

                    Nothing wrong with being nondiscriminating in your reading/viewing tastes! I'm the same way- I've only met a couple of books I didn't like.

                    TOTALLY with you on the songs! I love them! If you haven't already, you should look up the Tolkien Ensemble!

      • flootzavut says:

        I think it's a shame she skips them but V pna gbgnyyl haqrefgnaq ure jnagvat gb trg gb Nentbea <3 YBY :Q

  8. VoldieBeth says:

    You know, I am genuinely not the slightest bit bothered by seeing the word “queer” so much in this book, and it actually gives me a burst of joy to see it every few pages?

    I absolutely love when dated literature uses queer and gay in its true definitions, strange and happy. It makes me want to use them when I speak, but knowing me, I'll offend someone 🙁

    ‘The Withywindle valley is said to be the queerest part of the whole wood–the centre from which all queerness comes, as it were.’


    LOL Love this! So, you're Tom Bombadil!?!?!?!!! <3 <3

    I can't wait for more!

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      "Stop saying queer! That's our word for making fun of you!" – Homer Simpson.

      Even better when it's combined with the days when "making love" just meant flirting.

    • acityofdoors says:

      Hah, I have a sudden mental image of Mark dressed up as Tom Bombadil now and it is glorious!

    • Ellie says:

      lol when i was in middle school i saw a rotten tangerine on the sidewalk. i was like "look at that piece of fruit" and another girl thought i was pointing somewhere else and said "thats my friend!" i pointed out the tangerine, but everything felt awkward after that

      • notemily says:

        I was completely oblivious to a lot of slurs and slang words for the majority of my childhood, so when all the other kids called my English teacher a "fruitcake," I assumed they just meant he was weird. I even joined in the teasing, and then once I realized what they were talking about, I felt REALLY BAD about it :/

    • Rheinman says:

      Yes, it does take a while to wrap your mind around the mindset that if Tolkein mentions "a queer bunch of faggots," he means that something is wrong with the woodpile.

      • flootzavut says:

        I don't know if it's just an old fashioned mindset or because I read so much and so much of it is not so recent literature, but I would honestly go to the woodpile meaning first!

        My granddad used to say, "Oh, I do feel queer" when he felt a little ill.

    • Parmadil says:

      It took me until 7th grade, when one of my more socially-knowledgeable friends took it upon himself to educate me, to realise that the word "queer" had a meaning OTHER than "strange" or "odd".

      PS: I'm a junior in college now, so this was only like 2003, 2004. Yeah, for someone with my prolific vocabulary, I can be blindingly oblivious to alternate meanings.

  9. Marie the Bookwyrm says:


    Um, revenge for the hobbits chopping down and burning its tree brethren?

  10. knut_knut says:

    I’m glad that the trees in our world are a little less active. I love going for little hikes in the woods but I don’t think I could handle worrying about being mauled by a bear AND a tree! And getting lost. They’re all so calm when they’re lost! I guess it’s because Merry is super enthusiastic and confident, even when they’re heading in the wrong direction. At this point I would have just sat down and cried forever.

    Bless Sam for thinking of the ponies when they could have just wandered off to be eaten by TREES!

    Oenpvat zlfrys sbe Gbz Obzonqvy. V npghnyyl ernyyl yvxr uvz, ohg V jnfa’g fnq gb frr uvz phg sebz gur svyz. V nyjnlf gubhtug guvf ovg jnf jrveq naq qvqa’g dhvgr svg jvgu gur erfg bs gur fgbel. Naq vg tbrf ba sberire :/ WHFG TRG GB GUR SRYYBJFUVC, GBYXVRA! Jr pna nyjnlf ernq nobhg Gbz va n fubeg fgbel!

    • Jenny_M says:

      You just totally summed up my feelings on Gbz Obzonqvy. V nyjnlf gel gb rkcynva gb crbcyr gung V qba'g ungr uvz, V whfg ungr jurer ur vf va gur fgbel. Naq V qb abg zvaq bar ovg gung nyy nqncgngvbaf phg uvz bhg, bbcf.

      • knut_knut says:

        V guvax ur’f ernyyl vagrerfgvat naq V nyjnlf jnag gb xabj zber nobhg uvz, ohg jurarire V’z ernqvat SbGE V’z yvxr TNU! V QBA’G UNIR GVZR SBE LBH! JR’ER NYERNQL UNYSJNL GUEBHTU GUR OBBX NAQ SEBQB’F ONERYL YRSG GUR FUVER! V jvfu Gbyxvra phg uvz bhg bs YbGE ragveryl naq tnir uvz n obbx bs fubeg fgbevrf vafgrnq, ohg V thrff vs gung jrer gur pnfr V zvtug abg or vagrerfgrq va ernqvat gurz orpnhfr V’q unir ab vqrn jub ur vf.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I already loved Sam, but now he's saving ponies. It's like Tolkien wrote this character just for me to adore.<3

    • flootzavut says:

      Perfect summation of Gbz – I salute you!!

  11. This chapter scared the shit out of me when I first read it. I used to spend a lot of time climbing trees when I was younger, but after reading this, I found myself side-eying a lot of the trees I used to have so much fun with. Not fun at all.
    Anyway! I love this chapter. For all that Tolkien's renowned for his fantasy, I maintain that he can do a creepy atmosphere right up there with Poe and M.R. James and every other ghost story writer I've ever read. And ahaha, I just remembered the Oneebj-qbjaf are coming up. I'm looking forward to that.
    And more Sam love! Even Frodo can't resist this absolutely horrible tree. But Sam can. I want to start a Rory Williams-esque meme for Samwise now…

  12. Nomes says:

    Old Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo! One of my strongest childhood memories is my dad singing that part.

    • tardis_stowaway says:

      I remember my dad singing Tom Bombadil too! He did a huge number of character voices when reading LotR aloud.

      One of my few regrets about the movies is that now when I read the book I "hear" the characters speak in the actors' voices, not in my dad's voices of them. Gbz Obzonqvy fgvyy fbhaqf yvxr zl qnq'f ernqvat, gubhtu!

  13. monkeybutter says:


    Capillary action. Sheesh, you don't want the trees to get dehydrated and DIE, do you?

    Oh, Tom Bombadil. I think somebody's gotten into the glitter berries.

  14. Tauriel_ says:

    I am genuinely not the slightest bit bothered by seeing the word “queer” so much in this book, and it actually gives me a burst of joy to see it every few pages?

    Well, why should you be? 🙂 LOTR was written over 60 years ago, and even then it was meant to be "ancient history", so really the word "queer" simply means "strange" there, nothing more. 🙂 It takes a while to reorient your brain from the modern sense of the word, but after a while there's nothing queer about the word "queer" (lol pun 😀 ).

  15. Tauriel_ says:

    I genuinely don’t know! I mean, what if he’s inviting them over for yellow cream and honeycomb and white bread and butter so he can bake hobbits for tomorrow’s dinner? LOOK I DON’T KNOW, IT COULD HAPPEN.

    Bless you, Mark, for trying so valiantly to be prepared… 😀

  16. clodia_risa says:

    Oh, Tom Bombadil.

    V ernq na rffnl erpragyl ulcbgurfvmvat gung Gbz Obzonqvy jnf npghnyyl n qnex ybeq, zber srnefbzr naq cbjreshy guna Fnheba, hfvat bayl pnaba sebz gur obbx. V pnaabg sbe gur yvsr bs zr svaq vg. V oryvrir vg jnf ba YW jvguva gur cnfg srj zbaguf. Nalbar xabj jung V’z gnyxvat nobhg?

    • msnaddie says:

      I believe you're referring to this? (Edit: And yes, spoilers abound for future chapters!)

      I was going to link it once we get past these chapters in the Old Forest, because it's such an interesting perspective. Perhaps not what Tolkien intended, but something to think about nonetheless 😀

      • clodia_risa says:

        Vaqrrq! V jvyy yrg lbh cbfg vg, fvapr lbh nyernql unir vg ba lbhe svatregvcf. Vg’f fhpu sha (naq znxrf n sevtugravat nzbhag bs frafr).

        Vg jnf whfg qevivat zr penml gung V pbhyqa’g svaq vg, nf V xarj gung V unq chg vg fbzrjurer fb V pbhyq cbfg vg nsgre gurfr puncgref. Gunax lbh sbe urycvat zl fnavgl!

      • flootzavut says:

        Fantastic – I'm going to have a delve. Thanks!

      • notemily says:

        This is FASCINATING. I am so totally on board with this. Zl ebbzzngr gryyf zr vg'f abg dhvgr npphengr tvira gur bgure cbrzf Gbyxvra jebgr nobhg Obzonqvy, ohg V qba'g pner orpnhfr gur vqrn gung ur'f na rivy fcvevg vf fb zhpu zber va-xrrcvat jvgu gur qnex gurzrf bs Ybeq bs gur Evatf guna jungrire ur'f npghnyyl fhccbfrq gb or.

        • msnaddie says:

          Zl ebbzzngr gryyf zr vg'f abg dhvgr npphengr tvira gur bgure cbrzf Gbyxvra jebgr nobhg Obzonqvy, ohg V qba'g pner

          Unun guvf vf ubj V srry nobhg vg. V xabj gung fbzr bs gur snpgf naq nethzragf cerfragrq ner vainyvq bapr lbh fgneg pbzcnevat vg jvgu bgure Gbyxvra jbexf, ohg V nyfb guvax gur qnexre vzcyvpngvba bs jub ur vf svgf gur YBGE irefr cerggl jryy.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Googling, I found this (SPOILERS). Is this it?

    • vivelabagatel says:

      There is also the old classic
      SPOILERS, obviously.

      • Parmadil says:

        I WAS ABOUT TO POST THIS!!!!!! Thank you for sharing it!!

        Also, everyone should check out the rest of this site- it's fantastic!

    • notemily says:

      Vg npghnyyl ernyyl sehfgengrf zr gung Gbyxvra arire ernyyl qrpvqrq ubj Obzonqvy svg vagb Zvqqyr-rnegu naq jung rknpgyl ur jnf. Obzonqvy frrzf yvxr n ubyq-bire sebz uvf rneyvre fgbevrf naq V guvax ur'f ernyyl bhg-bs-cynpr urer va gur qnexre gnyr bs YBGE. V nz abg n Obzonqvy sna.

  17. Mauve_Avenger says:

    "Obviously, this is a fantasy and I just accept that this is a thing that can happen. But how can Merry hear the three, but no one else can?"

    I think it's implied that the soft voice they heard before falling asleep (saying something about water and sleep) and after they found Pippin and Merry ensnared (the faint laughter) was the voice of Old Man Willow. So the others can hear him, but Merry and Pippin can probably hear him better because they're actually inside the belly of the beast tree. I'm guessing that that particular line of communication might have been for Merry's ears only, or that Sam and Frodo were too intent on extricating the other two to have noticed the Willow talking.

  18. Tauriel_ says:

    Nyfb, V pna’g uryc ohg orvat nzhfrq ol Znex orvat fhfcvpvbhf bs Gbz Obzonqvy. 😀 Whfg vzntvar uvf ernpgvbaf gb Fgevqre, jub’f bhgevtug qrfpevorq nf fhfcvpvbhf naq zlfgrevbhf. 😀

  19. @redbeardjim says:

    "Bombadil is talking!"

    And when Bombadil talks….trees listen.

  20. settlingforhistory says:

    I never liked woods even though as a kid I lived and again live near a wood, not because I don't like nature, but because I'm scared of never finding my way out of it.
    Ah this chapter makes me relive a lot of childhood memories of getting utterly lost everywhere I went. 🙂
    Tolkien has a real talent of making scary situations even scarier. I mean it's not enough that they are lost and that the trees seem to move around without them noticing; no, the hobbits even get eaten and pushed into the river by trees! Wow, just wow. This is Grim's fairy tale horrors multiplied by 100.

    I'm just as suspicious of Tom Bombadil as Mark. Who or what is he?
    Isn't it rather convenient that he appeared in the middle of the wood and knew how to talk the tree out of eating hobbits for breakfast? Did he do something to Frodo and Co. to makes them sleepy or are the trees responsible for that?
    So many questions, I hope the next chapter answers at least some of them.

  21. Tim says:

    One doesn't bake a hobbit; they get all dry and crusty and the flavor doesn't come through. While there's a substantial school that advocates eating hobbits raw, most cultures prefer steaming, sous vide, or making into hobbit peasant stew.

  22. Rheinman says:

    I always wondered if the verse about being a willow in Heart's song "Crazy on You" was inspired by this chapter.

    Also, on a meta level, the rot13 spoiler encryption looks a lot like "Black Speech" to me.

    Bar evat gb ehyr gurz nyy, vaqrrq.

  23. hpfish13 says:

    We have an Alan Lee illustration for this chapter. I like how the forest in this one just looks very natural, but is still entirely creepy.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Love how the special features bring this one up as they discuss Old Man Willow, with that one woman's delivery of "Old Man Willow is a twisted and malevolent tree, who likes to trap unwary travelers, and wrap his roots around them."

    • arctic_hare says:

      That is so beautiful. <3 And… yet… so creepy. xD

    • tigerpetals says:

      They look so delicate and ready to lead you out of the world forever.

    • atheistsisters says:

      Wow, what a gorgeous picture! It would be nice to have something like that on my property…

  24. MidnightLurker says:

    N fvta gung lbh fubhyq znlor eha njnl sebz byq Gbz:

    URL QBY.

    zreel qby.

    URL QBY.

    zreel qby.

  25. threerings13 says:

    So at first I was thinking: well, trees aren't very scary. Who's afraid of trees? I mean, I live in a forest, my house surrounded on four sides by trees. I love trees.

    And then I remembered that when I was little, I was TERRIFIED of forests. My dad used to travel a lot for work and we would have to go pick him up from the airport a lot. Sometimes every week. And at the time there wasn't a freeway from where we lived to the airport, so we had to go on these back road where there was nothing but woods. And I would get so scared I would BEG my parents not to take me, or not to drive that road. I would have to hide my eyes and not look at the trees, Because I was terrified of getting lost in the woods by myself. I was convinced something was going to happen to my mom and I would be stuck in the woods by myself. Eventually I spent these trips coming up with strategies for taking care of myself in the woods and finding my way out of them.

    So obviously I grew out of that fear, considering where I live. But it's weird how Tolkien can tap into these childhood fears.

  26. lismk says:

    I just always assumed that cuz Pippin and Merry were like, INSIDE A TREE WTF OMG, the tree could *think* at them and they could hear it. My personal canon do not judge.

  27. @unefeeverte says:

    Mark, a question: Are you gonna be watching the theatrical version of the films, or the Extended Editions (which are about 40 minutes longer)? Or both?

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      I'd recommend the theatrical ones first, if only to give a better idea of what was added. Worth noting is that Peter Jackson was perfectly happy with the theatrical versions, which is why the extended editions are called that rather than director's cuts.

    • Genny_ says:

      I believe he's said he's watching the EE, which tbh I agree with? If he wants to compare he can always watch the theatrical ones afterwards and see what's missing, and this way all the material is consumed while it feels 'new'.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Totally. Just for the sake of seeing it ALL the first time and so that it's easier to sync, I'll watch the EE ones.

        And I'll schedule breaks during it, obviously.

        • wahlee says:

          Mark, I'm REALLY REALLY concerned that you plan on watching the movies as you finish the books. There are Spoilers Like Woah for the third book in the first movie. I will has a REALLY BIG SAD if I don't get to see your unspoiled reaction to certain things. BIG SAD.

          • unefeeverte says:

            Wait, what spoilers for the third book? (I watched the movie before starting the books, I have a hard time recognising them.)

            • wahlee says:

              The biggest one is Nentbea naq Nejra. Va gur obbxf, lbh zrrg ure oevrsyl, frr uvz fgnaqvat arkg gb ure, naq gurer ner frireny ernyyl, ernyyl, boyvdhr uvagf, ohg abguvat fcryyrq bhg hagvy fur fubjf hc ng Zvanf Gvevgu naq gurl trg zneevrq. Gur ohyx bs gurve fgbel vf gbyq va gur nccraqvprf. V jnf gbgnyyl oyvaqfvqrq ol vg, naq V hfhnyyl cvpx hc ba gur ebznagvp fghss. Va gur zbivrf, vg'f RIRELJURER, sebz gur zvahgr gurl trg gb Eviraqryy (jryy, arneyl. V thrff jr qb trg gb frr Ovyob svefg :C).

              Don't get me wrong, I love the way they portrayed the above in the movies, but it does spoil the books. Mark even put off watching the HBP movie because it hints (very subtly) at the whole Harry is a Horcrux thing, and I think this is even bigger than that. If he doesn't mind being spoiled on what I see as a major plot point, so be it. But all I ever see people warning about is the Two Towers issue, and not even thinking about this one.

              • unefeeverte says:

                Hm. It's not really that big of a deal to me, because… V jnf boivbhfyl fcbvyrq, ohg vf vg ernyyl gung zhpu bs n UBFUVG zbzrag va gur obbxf – rfcrpvnyyl fvapr vg'f ernyyl bayl bar fragrapr, VVEP, fbzrguvat nybat gur yvarf bs "naq guhf, Nentbea zneevrq Nejra"? Fvapr vg'f gnxra zbfgyl bhg bs gur nccraqvprf, V qba'g ernyyl frr n ceboyrz jvgu vg. V'z abg fher, ohg jnf vg npghnyyl vagraqrq nf n fhecevfr ol Gbyxvra, be jnf vg whfg n znggre bs abg orvat noyr gb svg gur jubyr fgbel va naljurer, naq guhf whfg zbivat gurz gb gur nccraqvprf naq abg znxvat n ovt qrny bhg bs vg?

                I still recommend watching the films as we go, with the exception of the moved chapter of TTT.

                • wahlee says:

                  That's kind of the point, though. It's emphasized in the movies. It's not hardly even mentioned in the books, until the last part of the last book. Knowing about that will change they way he views the character arc of a major character (I'm thinking especially of Nentbea'f vagrenpgvbaf jvgu Rbjla. Gung cybgyvar ernqf n ybg qvssrerag jura lbh nyernql xabj Nentbea'f va ybir jvgu fbzrbar ryfr). Not to mention that he's going to be looking for something in the books that simply isn't there.

                  If Mark wants to avoid ALL spoilers, which has been his stated policy since forever, he needs to avoid the movies until after he's read all the books. Period.

                • Mauve_Avenger says:

                  V ernq fbzrjurer gung Nentbea'f zneevntr jnf bevtvanyyl jevggra jvgu Rbjla va zvaq, naq gura yngre vg jnf cynaarq sbe Rbjla gb qvr naq Nentbea gb erznva hazneevrq sberire. V guvax vg jnf fnvq gung Gbyxvra bayl pbaprvirq bs Nentbea naq Nejra'f eryngvbafuvc irel arne gur svavfuvat cbvag bs gur abiry. V unira'g frra nalguvat pbasvezvat guvf, ohg V guvax znlor vg jnf rabhtu jbex tbvat onpx naq ebbgvat bhg nyy gur Rbjla/Nentbea ybir jvgubhg univat gb erjevgr rirelguvat gb vapyhqr nyy gur Nejra/Nentbea ybir, fb ur whfg fnvq "fperj vg" naq chg rirelguvat va gur nccraqvprf rkprcg sbe n srj boyvdhr ersreraprf.

                  Vs abguvat ryfr, jr pna nyy cergraq gung gur Nejra/Nentbea eryngvbafuvc unf ab onfvf va pnaba naq gung gur jevgref whfg vairagrq gubfr ovgf sbe nqqrq vagrerfg/gb tvir Nentbea zber zbgvingvba.

                  • wahlee says:

                    Look, I know that some people view this as a minor plot point, but it's still a spoiler. IT. IS. A. SPOILER. Mark doesn't want to be spoiled. If someone told Mark that Gilderoy Lockhart returns in OotP at the end of CoS, or that Luna and Neville never get together, he'd be mad, and rightfully so, because while both are minor plot points THEY ARE STILL SPOILERS.

                    So, Mark. Something that some people view as minor but I (and many others) view as fairly significant WILL BE SPOILED FOR YOU if you watch any of the movies before reading all of the books. I am not talking about the thing people keep mentioning with the last bit of FotR/beginning of Two Towers. It is a different plot point entirely. You can maybe start watching the movies when you have four or five chapters left of Return of the King. But not before then. You will read a major character's story arc differently if you know this information going in to the last two books. You may decide that you don't care. It may not ruin anything for you (although I think it will). But YOU WILL BE SPOILED.

                    I really just want Mark to have fair warning about this issue, but I haven't seen any indication that he has been warned. So I'm going to keep posting until I get a definite "I understand that I may be spoiled but I'll watch the movies anyway" or a "Thank you for telling me, I'll think about it" or a "I won't watch the movies till I'm finished" response. Because IT IS STILL A SPOILER.

                    • Mauve_Avenger says:

                      Am I correct in assuming that you meant to reply to the person below me? Because I was kinda having a mini freak-out at how you could formulate this response based on what I'd written.

                    • wahlee says:

                      Yeah, sorry. I started with a reply to how I don't think we should unir gb yvr gb Znex orpnhfr ur'f orra fcbvyrq jura vg jnf rnfvyl ceriragnoyr, got sidetracked while at work, saw the comment below, and forgot who I was replying to. 😛

              • Katherine says:

                Yeah, that's really small in the books, so it doesn't count as a spoiler that much, just something that would confuse Mark a bit.

                My main concern is that there's a bit of overlap between the first movie and second book – Mark, I'd recommend you read the first chapter – just the first chapter – of The Two Towers before watching the Fellowship of the Ring movie (the previous comment makes me think you may have already heard that piece of advice).

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            I'm not going to. I have a set schedule a friend made me that outlines when it is safe to watch the movies. So don't worry!

            • wahlee says:

              I'm afraid I'm still a bit worried. Does the schedule have you watching the first movie shortly after beginning The Two Towers? Because that's too early. Not just for the thing I've been talking about above, but Parmadil below reminded me of something else that's even more important, that doesn't get mentioned until the very end of Two Towers but is shown within the first half hour of the FotR movie. In fact, a major storyline of the second book is spoiled all to pieces in the first movie (of which the thing I just mentioned is only a small part).

              The fact of the matter is that the movies are spoilery for pretty much the whole series because Peter Jackson tells the same story but in a different order than Tolkien. I can't think of a time (except for MAYBE when you've only got about a week left of Return of the King) when it would be safe for you to watch them without getting spoiled on things major and minor.

            • Genny_ says:

              I'm gonna agree with wahlee here, tbh. The only non-spoilery schedule I can imagine is to wait until afterwards. Which isn't really a schedule, so…

              There's one thing in particular that seems, by your standards, really big? Which is introduced in the first film, but which happens so much further along in the books. I can't think of a way around it, and I know by a lot of people's standards, it isn't a spoiler, and wouldn't necessarily register as one?

            • Colleen says:

              I’m a few chapters behind, but I still wanted to jump in and agree that you should wait to watch the films. It’s not just plot points (major and minor) that are moved around, but dialogue is moved and even given to different characters. The LOTR films are far less “self-contained” than the HP ones.

        • monkeybutter says:

          Good, because I have the EE. 🙂

        • Parmadil says:

          I add my agreement that you should wait until you've finished the books. There are SO MANY things, little things even, that have been moved around because the movies are a different entity than the books, that you will be spoiled if you watch them. There are things that are little plot points in the movies, that are HUGE deals in the books! And there is just too much for everyone to catch and warn you!

          This goes double if you're planning on watching the EE (which I totally support, they are SO AWESOME!)

          Uryyb, rirelbar- gur CNYNAGVE!!! Zragvbarq va SbgE va gur zbivrf, abg oebhtug va hagvy EbgX va gur obbxf!!!

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Oh, yeah that's right, I forgot about the cnynagve. I've also been coming to the conclusion lately that there's a few too many ~small details~ that could be rather spoilery for upcoming events, and can be found even in the first movie. I saw the movies first, so I think there's a lot of changes/additions I don't notice right away that might be considered spoilery. There's quite a few things that are taken straight from the Appendices, and Mark's obviously not going to read that until he's done with RotK. While I really want to see Mark's reaction to the movies, and think it would be great for him to experience each of the movies, without further knowledge about the next part of the story, I also think it could be overly spoilery in some parts. I'm so torn 🙁

          • wahlee says:

            Ooh, I forgot about that one.

            (Thanks for agreeing with me; I was starting to feel like a lone wolf. :P)

            • Parmadil says:

              (I got your back. 😉 No worries.)
              I would hate for Mark to miss the experience in ANY way! I just think that, even if there is a schedule, small spoilers will be missed!

        • notemily says:


    • bookworm67 says:

      Watching the EE is fine, I think, though there's always that one bit in the third film I liked in the theatrical cut – specifically, abg xabjvat jurgure gur tubfgf npprcg hagvy Nentbea naq pb. whzc bhg bs gur fuvcf yvxr onqnffrf jvgu gung rabezbhf nezl oruvaq gurz. Va gur RR V guvax gurl qverpgyl fnl gurl npprcg, naq gurer'f n fprar jurer gurl uvwnpx gur fuvcf (naq fubbg Crgre Wnpxfba nf na bep/cvengr/jungrire!). But that's just a personal preference.

      I've totally been meaning to have a LoTR movie day. I was going to the other day, and ended up watching the Indiana Jones movies back to back on TV 😛

      I really do think the movies should wait until after all the books though, as hard as it might be. There's just so many little details you can catch in the films if you know what happens (as well as the spoiler issues).

  28. @unefeeverte says:

    V org ur jvyy bapr Cbal Ovyy vf cneg bs gur Sryybjfuvc 😀

  29. arctic_hare says:

    Can they fully move on their in full visibility, or is it something that occurs when you turn away from them?


    xD Oh, Mark, your valiant efforts to be prepared (re: Bombadil) are so adorable. You must learn that you are never prepared, though. Never ever.

    Maybe it's because I live in a stinking desert *grumble* and thus have little experience with forests, that they don't creep me out. I've been in some, though, and found them beautiful. I like trees. I don't know that I would like THESE trees, though, since Tolkien makes them deeply creepy. I had forgotten how spooky the Old Forest really was. o_o This is so nice to go through this book slowly and rediscover it, I'm having so much fun! Methinks that after this, I'll do a chapter by chapter read of The Silmarillion on my own, since I've never made it very far in that book before.

    As for queer, yes, it amuses the heck out of me too. It was written so long ago that it's obvious that language has changed since then. I pretty much feel the same way you do about it, Mark.

    V unir gb fnl, phggvat bhg Gbz Obzonqvy jnf bar bs gur orfg qrpvfvbaf Crgre Wnpxfba znqr, orpnhfr gur hcpbzvat cbegvba jvgu uvz fgnyyf gur npgvba. Va snpg, vg'f evtug hc gurer jvgu "phggvat gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver" naq "fubjvat hf gur Ragf genfuvat Vfratneq" nf bar bs zl snibevgr punatrf znqr.

    • Hey! Don't insult Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver! Gung'f bar bs gur orfg cnegf, fvapr vg ernyyl unzzref ubzr gur snpg gung rirelguvat unf orra punatrq ol Sebqb'f wbhearl, abg whfg gur jbeyq bhgfvqr! Vg unf dhvgr n ybg bs eryrinapr gb gur erfg bs gur fgbel naq V xabj vg jbhyq unir unir orra qvssvphyg ohg vg fubhyq abg unir orra phg! Rfcrpvnyyl fvapr vg fubjf ubj zhpu gur uboovgf terj bire gur pbhefr bs gur wbhearl!

      /nerdrage 😉

      Though I do agree with you about phggvat Gbz.

      • Depths_of_Sea says:

        Lrnu ohg frr… jr nyernql unq nobhg svsgrra, gjragl zvahgrf bs jenc-hc. Crbcyr jrer nyernql pbzcynvavat nobhg ubj ybat gur raqvat jnf. Nqqvat nabgure zvavngher pyvznk nsgre gur terng ovt pyvznk, ng yrnfg va svyz, whfg znxrf guvatf <v>qent</v>. V guvax phggvat gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver naq fxvccvat evtug gb gur snerjryy ng gur Tenl Uniraf fgevxrf n avpr pbzcebzvfr orgjrra gur obbx snaf jub jnagrq gb frr RIRELGUVAT naq gur erthyne nhqvraprf jub jrer nyy yvxr, "Bu zl tbfu whfg RAQ nyernql." Vg'f n ybfr-ybfr fvghngvba-naljnl lbh qb vg lbh'q or znxvat fbzrbar haunccl-ohg V guvax Crgre naq Sena naq Cuvyyvcn qvq cerggl bxnl tvira gur bcgvbaf gurl unq.

        Naq ba n crggvre abgr V yvxr gung gur Fuver trgf gb or fnsr naq hafcbvyrq jura gur uboovgf erghea ubzr. (V unir n ybir/ungr eryngvbafuvc jvgu gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver. Ba gur bar unaq V ybir trggvat gb frr gur uboovgf nf n jubyr enpr trggvat gb or njrfbzr, ba gur bgure GUR FUVER ZNA, V qba'g yvxr onq guvatf unccravat gb gur Fuver.)

        • arctic_hare says:

          Guvf vf rknpgyl ubj V srry, cresrpgyl fhzzrq hc! V nyfb gubhtug vg jnf cbvtanag va vgf bja jnl gung gurl pnzr onpx ubzr naq crbcyr gurer fgvyy qvqa'g xabj be haqrefgnaq jung gurl unq orra guebhtu. Vg vfbyngrf gur sbhe, fher, ohg vg nyfb havgrf gurz – vg rzcunfvmrf gur irel fcrpvny obaq gurl'ir qrirybcrq bire gur pbhefr bs gurve wbhearl. Naq vg nyfb vf avpr gung vg tvirf Sebqb naq Tnaqnys jung gurl jnagrq nyy nybat: gb cebgrpg gur Fuver naq vafhyngr vg sebz gur qnatref bs gur erfg bs gur jbeyq.

          • ladililn says:

            Or instead of posting my comment below, I could have just said: this. XD

          • Parmadil says:

            V obgu nterr naq qvfnterr… Bar gur bar unaq, V gbgnyyl nterr jvgu lbhe nffrffzrag: gung vg rzcunfvmrf gur vfbyngvba bs gur sbhe bs gurz, juvyr oevatvat gurz gbtrgure.

            Ba gur bgure unaq, V guvax vg jbhyq unir gbgnyyl jbexrq vs jr unqa'g orra fhowrpgrq gb GBC GJRAGL SNQR-BHGF BS GUR PRAGHEL orsber jr tbg gurer.

        • Qba'g trg zr jebat, V ungr gung gur Fuver unf nyy gubfr ubeevoyr guvatf unccra jvguva vg! Ohg V yvxrq jung vg fubjrq- gung gur rivyf bs Zvqqyr-Rnegu ernyyl jrer sne-ernpuvat naq jvgu qrinfgngvat pbafrdhraprf. Vg jnf fhpu n ubeevoyr erzvaqre gung rira gur zbfg vaabprag guvatf pna or oebxra naq unir gb or erohvyg, naq er-yrnearq, fb gb fcrnx. Va gur raq, abguvat pna tb hapunatrq; fbbare be yngre lbh unir gb znxr pbagnpg jvgu naq evfr hc sebz gur guvatf gung pbzr gb fgevxr lbh qbja, naq purrfl nf vg znl fbhaq, gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver ernyyl oebhtug gung ubzr.
          Ohg V qb ernyvmr gung vg jbhyq unir orra ernyyl qvssvphyg gb svyz naq jbex vagb gur fpevcg. Ohg V srry yvxr vg pbhyq unir orra qbar vs gurl'q fgnegrq cynagvat gur frrqf sbe vg onpx va gur Gjb Gbjref, rfcrpvnyyl guebhtu fubjvat gung Fnehzna jnf fgvyy n sbepr gb or erpxbarq jvgu. V xabj vg jbhyq unir orra ernyyl qvssvphyg gb qb, ohg V fgvyy guvax vg jnf cbffvoyr naq lrnu… V whfg unir znal zvkrq srryvatf nobhg gur zbivrf va trareny. V'yy fgbc gnyxvat evtug nobhg abj…

          • arctic_hare says:

            Bu, V trg nyy gung, gehfg zr. Vg'f whfg gung V qba'g guvax gung vg jbhyq unir jbexrq bafperra fgehpgher-jvfr. Cyhf, V vagrecerg gur jnl gur zbivr jrag nobhg gurve erghea gb gur Fuver nf pbzzragnel ba ubj qvfgnag jnef pna bsgra or sebz fbzr crbcyr, naq ubj gubfr ng ubzr pna'g ernyyl haqrefgnaq gur fbeg bs CGFQ gung fbyqvref pbzr onpx jvgu, be gur obaqf gurl sbez jvgu rnpu bgure, naq vg haqrefpberf gur gurzr bs Sebqb abg ernyyl orvat noyr gb ernqwhfg gb abezny yvsr nsgre jung ur jrag guebhtu. V guvax gurer'f vagrerfgvat guvatf obgu jnlf.

            • knut_knut says:

              V ybir gung fprar ng gur irel raq jura gurl 4 bs gurz ner ng Gur Terra Qentba naq vg’f whfg fb njxjneq- gurl frrz fb bhg bs cynpr. Gung fprar va cnegvphyne ernyyl qevirf ubzr gur snpg gung gurl’ir punatrq n terng qrny, juvyr nyfb frggvat hc Sebqb’f qrcnegher fb gung vg qbrfa’g frrz fb fhqqra naq bhg bs gur oyhr.

              • arctic_hare says:

                LRF, gung'f bar bs gur znva guvatf V'z guvaxvat bs! V ybir gung fprar gbb. Gurl qba'g rira unir gb FNL nalguvat nobhg vg, lbh pna whfg gryy sebz gur ybbxf ba gurve snprf naq jung'f tbvat ba nebhaq gurz. Naq gur zhfvp vf, nf hfhny, furre cresrpgvba. Vg'f n irel zbivat zbzrag gb zr.

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                THIS. V ybir gung cneg va gur zbivr! V svaq vg vaperqvoyl zbivat jura gurl ybbx nebhaq ng gurve fheebhaqvatf naq ernyvmr gung rirelguvat vf cerggl zhpu gur fnzr nf gurl yrsg vg. Naq gurl ybbx ng rnpu bgure naq frr ubj zhpu gurl'ir nyy punatrq, gbtrgure. Va n jnl, gung fprar vgfrys qrzbafgengrf gur checbfr bs Gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver puncgre, va n irel ornhgvshy jnl; gurl unir nyy punatrq naq tebja sebz gur uboovgf jr'er vagebqhprq gb ng gur fgneg bs YbgE. <3

                • Parmadil says:

                  Nyfb, qenzngvpnyyl, gur pbagenfg jvgu gung fprar va EbgX naq gur fprar va gur RR bs SbgE vf FB CBVTANAG!!! Vg oernxf zl urneg rirel gvzr jura gurl fzvyr ng rnpu bgure naq gbnfg rnpu bgure!!! *ohefgf vagb grnef*

                  • AmandaNekesa says:

                    YES. THIS SO MUCH. V ybir gur pbagenfg orgjrra gubfr fprarf fb fb irel zhpu!! Nyfb: V svaq vg fb vaperqvoyl fnq gung, va gur obbx, vg qrfpevorf ubj Sebqb jnf zhpu yrff erabjarq va gur Fuver, nsgre vgf erfgbengvba. Urer'f gur cneg V'z guvaxvat bs:

                    "Sebqb qebccrq dhvrgyl bhg bs nyy gur qbvatf bs gur Fuver, naq Fnz jnf cnvarq gb abgvpr ubj yvggyr ubabhe ur unq va uvf bja pbhagel. Srj crbcyr xarj be jnagrq gb xabj nobhg uvf qrrqf naq nqiragherf; gurve nqzvengvba naq erfcrpg jrer tvira zbfgyl gb Ze. Zrevnqbp naq Ze. Crerteva naq (vs Fnz unq xabja vg) gb uvzfrys." 🙁

                    • Parmadil says:

                      V XABJ EVTUG???

                      V ybirq ubj zhpu vg fubjrq Fnz'f punenpgre, gubhtu- gung ur qbrfa'g abgvpr uvf bja snzr, gung nyy ur pnerf nobhg vf Sebqb'f jryyorvat. Naq gung vg rzcunfvmrf gur vfbyngvba bs gur Fuver sebz gur erfg bs gur jbeyq- jung qb gurl xabj bs Evatf naq Qnex Ybeqf?

                      Tnu, V pna'g jnvg hagvy jr trg gurer!!!

                    • AmandaNekesa says:

                      Bu lrnu, V ybir ubj Fnz, rira gubhtu ur'f *snzbhf* vf fgvyy whfg pbaprearq nobhg Sebqb, naq vf rfcrpvnyyl pbaprearq nobhg gur fvqr-rssrpgf bs Sebqb'f cbffrffvba bs gur evat, nf jryy nf gur rssrpgf bs uvf byq jbhaqf. Bu, Fnz…arire. punatr.

                      Aghh…I could keep going on and on – there are so many things I love about these books, and I'm so excited to get to share my thoughts (and nerdiness) with others on here, as Mark reads LotR. I have friends that like LotR, but they aren't nearly as into it as I am, which makes discussions like these, well…never happen. <3

            • V YBIR gur cbvag lbh znqr nobhg gur fbyqvref. Naq vg'f pregnvayl gehr gung gung cbvag vf oebhtug ubzr irel ornhgvshyyl ol gur svyz, naq V ybir gung fbzrjurer gur Fuver qvqa'g trg gbgnyyl genfurq. Ohg lrnu, V thrff V trg fb nany nobhg guvf orpnhfr V nz n obbx chevfg naq juvyr V npghnyyl qb trg gung fbzr guvatf jbhyqa'g unir genafyngrq, V trg naablrq orpnhfr V qb npghnyyl guvax gung bar pbhyq unir orra… naq vg jnfa'g. Fb… nterr gb qvfnterr? 🙂

              Naq pyrneyl V pna'g fuhg hc nobhg guvf gbcvp. Fb zhpu sbe jung V fnvq rneyvre -.-'

            • Parmadil says:

              Jryy-fnvq, er: gur CGFQ rg ny

        • flootzavut says:

          THIS to your entire post. Gubhtu V qb zvff xabjvat gung Fnz tebjf n znyybea gerr va gur Cnegl Svryq.

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Yeah I was just reading that part – vg'f fhpu n ornhgvshy guvat gung Fnz, n tneqrare, vf gur bar gb uryc erfgber gur Fuver'f angheny ornhgl, guebhtu Tnynqevry'f tvsg. Rfcrpvnyyl nsgre uvf grneshy ernpgvba gb gur oneeraarff bs gur Fuver, nsgre gurve erghea, vg znxrf uvf wbo va vgf erfgbengvba rira fjrrgre.

            • flootzavut says:


              I just skipped forwards temporarily because I was trying to figure out the differences to the book, and ended up reading through to the end… Gbyxvra qvq n ornhgvshy wbo bs raqvatf. Vg'f fb fnq naq lrg fb evtug nyy ng gur fnzr gvzr. Bar bs zl snibhevgr ovgf (naq abg pbvapvqragnyyl gb zl erzrzorevat vg, gur ovg whfg orsber zl Xvaqyr guerj n jbooyre naq erfgnegrq vgfrys…) vf jura gurl ner nyy evqvat ubzr gbtrgure naq ur fnlf, jryy V sbetrg gur rknpg jbeqf, ohg onfvpnyyl Fnz unf whfg jnirq bss Sebqb vagb gur Jrfg, Zreel naq Cvccva fhecevfrq gurz ol orvat gurer gbb, naq gurl evqr ubzr, naq vg fnlf gurl qba'g fcrnx gb rnpu bgure ohg qrevirq terng pbzsbeg sebz bar nabgure'f pbzcnal. *nyy zl perlf* V sbetbg ubj zbivat gur raq vf…

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                OH MY…I just read that part, naq huuu…gung cneg vf fb irel fnq naq gbhpuvat. V YBIR gur raqvat va gur obbx, naq rfcrpvnyyl gung gurl xrcg Fnz'f yvar "Jryy, V'z onpx" ng gur raq bs gur EbgX zbivr. Znex fgnegrq ba YbgE whfg orsber V pbhyq svavfu zl er-ernq bs EbgX, naq V'ir orra cerbpphcvrq jvgu uvf erivrjf yngryl, fb V whfg svavfurq vg ynfg avtug. V pna'g uryc ohg guvax ubj, rira nsgre gur *npgvba* bs gur znva pyvznk vf bire, V pna'g uryc ohg guvax nobhg ubj hacercnerq Znex jvyy or nyy gur jnl hagvy gur raq. V qba'g guvax ur'f tbvat gb frr vg pbzvat jura Sebqb tbrf bss gb gur Terl Uniraf, naq vg'f gur irel ynfg puncgre. Fb zhpu gb ybbx sbejneq gb. 🙂

            • Parmadil says:

              bzt, V sbetbg nobhg gur Cnegl Gerr….
              Fnz'f ernpgvba… "Gurl phg qbja gur Cnegl Gerr!" nyzbfg va grnef…

              TNNUU gurfr obbxf!

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                I know – I just read that part last night and was thinking: "ABBBBB, ABG GUR CNEGL GERR?!?!" Lrnu V pbzcyrgryl sbetbg nobhg gung cneg, naq cerggl zhpu zbfg bs gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver.

        • notemily says:

          GI Gebcrf yvfgf vg ng GJRAGL-SVIR zvahgrf bs jenc-hc.

    • ladililn says:

      Bar uhaqerq creprag nterr. Rfcrpvnyyl jvgu gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver–V nyjnlf ungrq gung cneg. V haqrefgnaq JUL Gbyxvra chg vg va, ohg nf n xvq vg whfg znqr zr NATEL, naq abj vg whfg naablf zr sbe orvat fgenatryl nagvpyvzngvp. Naq ertneqyrff bs zl srryvatf nobhg vg va obbx sbez, V qba'g guvax gurer'f nal jnl vg jbhyq unir jbexrq va gur zbivr irefvba. (Ernyyl, V guvax gur jnl gurl cbegenlrq whfg gur bccbfvgr–nofbyhgryl ABGUVAT univat punatrq juvyr gurl jrer tbar–jbexf whfg nf jryy vs abg orggre gb uvtuyvtug ubj zhpu yvsr unf punatrq sbe gur sbhe uboovgf va gur gvzr gurl'ir orra njnl.)

    • notemily says:

      V guvax vg jnf GUR orfg qrpvfvba ur znqr, nf sne nf punatrf gb gur fgbel.

      I love forests too. I always lived in a city, and though there are plenty of forests in Wisconsin, they're not exactly close to where I live. So when I moved to Massachusetts for college, in the middle of the Berkshires with no cities for many miles, it was great to have the wildness of the forest all around and to know that I really COULD get lost there if I wanted. (Not that I wanted to, because that would be awful.) And the smell of the decaying leaves and underbrush in the fall is just delightful. At first I was weirded out by the lack of Lake Michigan to orient myself, but I later came to love the forest and now I miss it.

  30. ravenclaw42 says:




    Ahem. Well, I didn't have time between being eaten by ice wolves to write up any involved comments, so for now, please share in the hilarity of early versions of the hobbits' names.

    Personalities swapped around a lot, and often a name would be retained but its personality swapped for another. The essential characters of Protagonist (Eldest), Servant/Grounded in Reality, Young and Impetuous, and Young but Slightly More Level-Headed were all there more or less from the beginning. But the names switched out constantly. So any of these names, more or less, could have been used for any character at one point or another in the writing.

    In something approximating chronological order:
    Frodo was originally named Bingo Bolger-Baggins. Bingo Bolger-Baggins. Yes.
    Odo Took, then Boffin, then Took-Bolger (the longer he hangs around, the more Pippin-ish he seems)
    Frodo Took (?)
    Frodo Brandybuck (?)
    Hamilcar (?)
    Marmaduke Brandybuck (lasted 2 versions, finally changed to Meriadoc/Merry)
    Lanorac/Bercilak Brandybuck (eventually Fredegar Bolger)
    Interestingly, Samwise was always Samwise. Gaffer Gamgee had been established for much longer than the MCs.
    Folco Took (replaces Odo during a rewrite, definitely Pippin)
    Around this point Bingo becomes Frodo Baggins (with a note in the margins to the effect of "Bingo Bolger-Baggins is an awful name what was I thinking")
    Finally, just proto-Pippin is left with some more silly names: Faramond Took, and, very briefly, Flambard Took

    You know you want to read about the adventures of Bingo Bolger-Baggins, Marmaduke Brandybuck and Flambard Took. You know you want to.

    • MidnightLurker says:

      V abj jnag gb frr Rbjla qbjavat gur Sryy Ornfg ol fubhgvat abafrafr flyynoyrf ng vg. Oneq naq Fznht, fnzr qrny.

    • arctic_hare says:

      LMAO those are hilarious. xD I do indeed! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

    • ChloeKEvil says:

      They sound like they'd be hanging around with Bertie Wooster.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      SKYRIM IS A LIFE-RUINER. I want to play it every waking moment of my life.

    • Andrew says:




    • Katarina says:

      I cannot stop laughing at Bingo Bolger-Baggins!

      And Faramond Took isn't that much worse than Snenzve Gbbx, juvpu vf jung Cvccva'f fba raqrq hc orvat pnyyrq. (Gung nyjnlf unf zr tbvat "Njjj!")

    • flootzavut says:


      It's funny how the names they now have seem so inevitable 😀

    • Parmadil says:

      V guvax vg'f uvynevbhf ubj znal bs gurfr anzrf pnzr onpx nf anzrf bs zvabe, cnffvat punenpgref.

      Rk: V'z cerggl fher Sbypb vf bar bs rvgure Sebqb'f naprfgbef be Cvccva'f naprfgbef… Bqb vf gurer fbzrjurer va gur uboovg trarbybtl.

      Also, Samwise stayed the same, because "samwise" translates to "half-wise" or 'half-wit"- Tolkien's wordplay intended since the character's inception.

      • notemily says:

        Also, I remember before I ever read the Lord of the Rings, when I was a wee Baby-Sitters Club fan, and in one of the books a family has a hamster named Frodo, and it talks about the name being from LOTR. I was like "what a ridiculous name." Bingo is worse, but I still thought Frodo was pretty silly.

  31. Smurphy says:

    Tom Bombadil. 🙂

    That's all for today.

  32. Hotaru_hime says:

    Old Man Willow! I didn't appreciate him or Tom Bombadil the first time I read these books, but I've gained appreciation since then. Basically Old Man Willow is a really vindictive tree, solidifying my "sentient plants are terrible" belief. I do wonder why Willow chose to drown Frodo instead of eat him. Was there only enough room for Merry and Pippin?

  33. ChloeKEvil says:


    I had a bad dream that you hated Tom Bombadil, Mark. I have been VERY CONCERNED about it this weekend

  34. LjrTR says:

    So glad you liked the chapter,Mark. I was afraid you wouldn’t cause not much happens, comparatively speaking. Iove your first timers point of view. I am rediscovering my love of LOTR & it is makIng me so happy .

  35. Majc says:

    Travels in this chapter, summarized in The Atlas of Middle-Earth: from Crickhollow all the way to Tom Bombadill's house, even with all the detours and being paralyzed by Old Man Willow for a bit, the hobbits made it 25 miles on September 26th, helped greatly by the ponies(!).

  36. tigerpetals says:

    Tom reminds me of Hagrid. And Old Man Willow= Whomping Willow. The willows also reminded me of The Willows by Algernon Blackwood:
    He's one of the early recognized fantasists/horror writers. I didn't think willows had such a bad reputation?

    It's noted in the first part of the forest that there's no undergrowth, so they do move. That's probably how they made an area look thinner to trick Merry.

    Well, Tom does mention the River-daughter in his first song. She sounds like his housewife.

    I love that this review came right after the Buffy one with your tree nightmare.

  37. Chris Durston says:

    HO! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
    That's all I wanted to say.

  38. platoapproved says:

    I hadn't realized just how much I'd forgotten from these books! Before I re-read this yesterday, I vaguely remembered something about an evil tree attacking them, but this chapter is so ominous, so pervasively creepy. Tree roots that hold you underwater?

    <img src=""&gt;

    Thanks for the nightmare fuel, Tolkien.

  39. Sebastian says:

    Oh my lord, you've know idea how excited I am right now. I followed your Harry Potter reviews, and I loved them to bits and pieces. Then I read through all of the hunger games reviews. Now that you are reading the fellowship of the ring? I am so indescribably excited I can't even ajkdbjasdbjfbdj. Also, I mispelled indescribably, I think.

  40. Idapida says:

    I generally read the songs in these books more like poems, but I have a very distinct melody for Tom Bombadil songs in my head. I don't know why this is.

    Also, that tree is seriously creepy.

  41. Andrew says:

    Jura V urneq gur fgbel bs gur Ragjvirf, V vzzrqvngryl gubhtug onpx gb guvf puncgre naq gurbevfrq gung gung'f jung gurl jrer. Nccneragyl guvf unf orra qrohaxrq ohg V jnf fb cebhq bs zlfrys jura V jnf ernqvat sbe gur svefg gvzr. 😛

  42. MidnightLurker says:

    Old Man Willow/Whomping Willow OTP!

    • Tauriel_ says:

      That's eerily accurate, especially since I always pictured the Whomping Willow being a female (I guess it's because "willow" in Slovak language is of feminine gender). 😀

  43. thesimplyuninspired says:

    Allow me to say:
    I love how Frodo is basically running around all "THIS IS ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE THE TREE IS EATING MERRY AND PIPPING WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS" while Sam is actually trying to think up ways to get Merry and Pippin out of the tree. Bless.
    (To be fair, I'd probably be Frodo in this situation…)

  44. tardis_stowaway says:

    ‘The Withywindle valley is said to be the queerest part of the whole wood–the centre from which all queerness comes, as it were.’


    Hee! Now I'm imagining the Withywindle Valley all bedecked with rainbow flags. Tom Bombadil's taste for bright clothing would certainly fit in with a pride parade.

    I know a lot of people find this section a bit pointless and dull, but I love it. I enjoy the beauty and intense creepiness of the Old Forest. I love Tom Bombadil. V nterr jvgu gur qrpvfvba gb phg uvz sebz gur zbivr, orpnhfr gur obbx vf fb ybat naq Obzonqvy qbrfa'g unir gung zhpu gb qb jvgu gur erfg bs gur cybg, ohg ur'f fgvyy bar bs zl snibevgrf. Ur'f n gerruhttvat uvccvr glcr yvxr zr.

  45. Tauriel_ says:

    All this talk about the words like "queer" and "gay" and "faggots" having different meaning in LOTR than they have now reminded me of this genius sketch by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie:

    [youtube HtaPaQwSQPA youtube]

  46. Stephen says:

    Just in case no one has mentioned this already, Mark, do NOT watch Fellowship until you've read the first chapter or two of Two Towers. The end of the movie and the beginning of the book overlap a bit, and if you watch before you read, part of the book will be spoiled.

  47. teaspooncapacity says:

    I'm not the best of swimmers and going pretty much anywhere at night gives me the goosebumps, so yeah, this chapter freaked me out a little.

    <img src=""&gt;

    But I'm glad that Tolkien can so masterfully weave fear and fantasy and all these other feelings into one epic story. To the next chapter we go!

  48. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Can I just say that I'm a leetle bit sad that queer now refers to non-hetronormative gender and sexual identities? Its not that I don't love LBGTQ- but its such a brilliant word. As a writer I wish I could use it in description and dialogue without people sprouting hundreds of usually offensive gay-jokes.

    *sadness at the way meanings change*

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I think you can still use it! I mean, I love what it refers to now, but I ALSO love what it used to mean, too.

    • Tavyan says:

      I think the problem is with the people making the 'hundreds of usually offensive gay-jokes' and less with the word in question.

      As I consider myself a queer person, I may be a bit biased, but I do love the redefining of previously slur words to mean something greater. I think in time with the power of the Queer Theory movement, the word itself will start to lose the 'offensive gay-joke' connotation and evolve to be a combined meaning of theory and the 'strange' of yore.

  49. xpanasonicyouthx says:



  50. Dreamflower says:

    I agree with everything Mark says! AND


    So far.

  51. @stephen_g says:

    The funny part about this chapter is that I remember falling asleep while reading it (not out of boredom! I happen to fall asleep a lot when I read) exactly when the Hobbits started feeling sleepy. Rather surreal.

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