Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Book Two, Chapter 3

In the third chapter of the second book of The Fellowship of the Ring, the group of Nine depart south and it takes all of five pages for everything to be an utter disaster. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.


Oh, I’m in love. I am so in love. I love how real shit has gotten, and that’s admitting that shit has barely gotten real. I love the Nine, and I love that this suddenly feels like a fantasy road trip??? Please tell me I am not the only one! I love how hopeless this gets in very little time, and I love that we get to see another side to normally-brave and courageous characters. For instance, seeing Gandalf admit defeat is so much better than him telling us about it.

Well, I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. But I’m just so full of excite and I cannot help it.

Anyway, I immediately find out at the beginning of chapter three that Pippin and Merry weren’t being held prisoner by Barrow-wights or anything. They simply weren’t invited to the council. I’LL STICK TO MY CONSPIRACY THEORY. MY HEAD CANON. It is adorable to me that Pippin very quickly insults Elrond for not letting him and Merry come, and for “rewarding” Sam for spying on the whole thing.

‘Rewards!’ said Frodo. ‘I can’t imagine a more severe punishment. You are not thinking what you are saying: condemned to go on this hopeless journey, a reward?’

Touché, but I do understand that Pippin is not just going to abandon Frodo after all the traveling they’ve done together. He’s rather forceful about it, too, even when Gandalf and Bilbo show up. PIPPIN I LOVE YOU.

‘You were wrong,’ said Gandalf. ‘You were inattentive. I had already heard of it from Gwaihir. If you want to know, the only real eye-openers, as you put it, were you and Frodo; and I was the only one that was not surprised.’

Getting real sassy on us, are you Gandalf? Let Bilbo have his moment. 

Unfortunately, no one really finds out anything for quite some time; Elrond smartly sends Elves out as scouts before anyone leaves for Mordor. So they wait. It’s not long, and I certainly didn’t expect there to be any wait at all, but it’s what was decided by Elrond. Dude has a lot of control, doesn’t he? Is it because they’re in Rivendell that he’s making most, if not all, of the decisions? Is there any sort of hierarchy in a social sense for creatures who are different species? I know now that there’s an order for wizards, since Saruman is “above” Gandalf, but…there’s really no government of any form in Middle-earth. And that’s kind of fascinating to me! There don’t seem to be any laws or anything. It’s all just based on some sort of unspoken social contract of personal morality.

oh god i love world building did you know that DID YOU KNOW THAT EVERYONE

As it turns out, though, the group is waiting to hear back from Elrond’s scouts and Aragorn about what happened to the Ringwraiths. Were they truly swept from their horses, or are they hiding? Again, I’m fascinated by the fact that the way Middle-earth was created made it so that this even has to be a thing that happens. I commented before about how communication works in this world, and this is another example of something that we would never understand in this context: it takes months for this information to get back to Elrond. (Well, technically just short of two months, but still.) The time that passes during this novel is just unheard of to me. I actually kind of like it, to be honest, because it gives this a much more epic scope to the story. This is not a quick, one week adventure. Like The Hobbit, an extremely long period of time passes not only between plot events, but in the book as a whole. (I’m guessing? I mean, I still haven’t even gotten to books two and three and I imagine that’s not going to cover the span of a mere month.)

This chapter starts off with a whole lot of excitement. I honestly think it’s intentional because of how much sheer awful distress comes after it. It’s like Tolkien is specifically teasing us with the brilliance of the group that’s assembled for Mordor, and then he drops some heavy realism on us. So, remember the awesomeness of this:

‘In the meantime you should try and forget your troubles, Frodo. I do not know if I can do anything to help you; but I will whisper this in your ears. Someone said that intelligence would be needed in the party. He was right. I think I shall come with you.’

So great was Frodo’s delight at this announcement that Gandalf left the window-sill, where he had been sitting, and took off his hat and bowed. ‘I only said I think I shall come. Do not count on anything yet.’

HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE GANDALF AFTER THIS. But keeping this in mind, it’s totally intriguing to me how much this is contrasted with what ends chapter three. The scouts and Aragorn return with what is, at least temporarily, good news: it seems that the Black Riders have disappeared, which probably means they had to return back to Sauron. Obviously, I don’t believe they’re gone or that they’ll be gone for long, but it provides the impetus for the group to leave Rivendell. God, I just love the scene where Elrond gathers the hobbits before him to assemble the group that will accompany Frodo to dispose of the Ring.

‘The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil. With you and your faithful servant, Gandalf will go; for this shall be his great task, and maybe the end of his labours.’

It’s so brilliantly poetic: nine to go against the Nine. It’s also far larger than I thought Frodo’s party would be! I only expected perhaps his three hobbit friends and Aragorn. Instead, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir come along as well and THIS ALL MAKES ME SO EXCITED. Oh god, I get to spend time with these characters and I’ll get to grow to love them forever and it’s just going to be so wonderful! Of course, I was most ecstatic that Pippin not only stood up to Elrond, but that Gandalf supported him, stressing the importance of friendship over sheer practicality. I love friends THIS IS WONDERFUL.

They don’t leave immediately and many preparations are made before they do, including a whole lot of forging of swords just in case. I do enjoy that this is specifically not a battle. That doesn’t mean I don’t think there will be one, but it’s something I didn’t anticipate at all. In a way, it’s an interesting parallel to The Hobbit. It’s a journey with an uncertain destination beyond a place, and it’s entirely possible that no one will return alive. But there’s no greater callback to The Hobbit than the fact that Bilbo gives away his mail and Sting to Frodo as a form of goodbye. I did find it incredibly touching, but not nearly as gutting as the song he sings to his nephew. I mean, can I just put this part here?

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

I genuinely think this is one of the saddest things I have ever read. Bilbo is being left behind, and he’s certain that he is nearing the end of his life as well. But that last stanza references something else: he is still longing for one last adventure, and he’ll long for that until he dies. He wants to hear the stumbling dwarves at his doorstep, a huge wizard waiting to greet him with a smile and an idea.

Hold me. Just hold me.

Now I think we won’t see Bilbo again. I really should stop making predictions like this because I’m rarely right, but there is a distinct finality to his goodbye to Frodo. And it’s not just for Bilbo, either. Sam is well aware how the entire group isn’t joyously heading out into the wilderness. (Well, Bill the horse seems pretty content. Why can’t he talk?) It’s here and for the rest of the chapter that Tolkien chips away at any sense of hope or victory. It’s when I personally became aware of just how much I had left to read. It was like it all stretched out before me. This was not going to be an easy mission at all. In particular, I like that even the smallest detail for Sam (a bit of rope) causes him such despair. The idea of the walk to Mordor is just so inconceivable to him that he can only focus on what he knows. He can process rope. He can’t really cope with what he and his friends are walking into.

And so the group of Nine leave Rivendell with a somber attitude. So much for the joy we started off with. It’s essentially relentless at this point. I want to avoid doing any sort of play-by-play at this point because y’all know this way better than I do. It’s fascinating and depressing at the same time, but the journey from Rivendell is one horrible thing after another, and I kind of love Tolkien for this? It’s such a rad way to convey to us the difficulties these nine characters are going to face. There’s no respite, and there’s no simplicity, and this is right from the start.

There’s boredom and dreary weather. There are mountain ranges that loom in the distance, a constant reminder of what’s ahead of them. There is the eerie sensation of silence that Merry, Strider, and Gandalf experience, one that is so complete that it’s practically telling them all that something is wrong. Even worse, on a night where Sam and Aragorn are keeping watch over camp, the silence returns, and this time the two spot darkness. Something–it’s unexplained what it is at first–flies by in the South, like a black cloud. Aragorn then realizes it’s a gigantic flock of birds, and they soon come rushing over their heads. Are they messengers? Are they fleeing danger? ARE THEY CREEPY AS HELL?

They also can’t light a fire, despite the cold and lack of warm meals, because the risk of being spotted is far too high. Oh, and then shadows start passing over them, and they can feel them, and then WHY IS THIS HAPPENING I DON’T LIKE IT. Of course this isn’t enough for Tolkien! He must torture these characters even further than this. He adds the onset of winter. Yeah, they all have to walk up the Redhorn Gate in the winter. It’s interesting to me because Tolkien only gives his characters poor decisions. They can try to brave the winter through the Redhorn Gate, or they could turn back, or they could try a pass none of them really knows about, and it leaves them all with a buffet of terrible. At one point, Gandalf suggests a “secret” way that avoids the pass of Caradhras, and it frightens Aragorn. WHAT THE FUCK CAN FRIGHTEN ARAGORN??? Is there something up that pass that will force him to bathe?

I AM KIDDING I LOVE YOU ARAGORN. Whatever frightens the dude, we don’t find out. But before they try to ascend the mountain pass, Boromir is quick to remind them just how terrible this is going to be:

‘I was born under the shadow of the White Mountains and know something of journeys in the high places. We shall meet bitter cold, if no worse, before we come down on the other side. It will not help us to keep so secret that we are frozen to death.’

Good point. What should they do, Boromir?

‘When we leave here, where there are still a few trees and bushes, each of us should carry a faggot of wood, as large as he can bear.’

Good thing Gandalf’s with you. OH SICK BURN. Also, I just need to point out that both the words “faggot” and “bear” are in that sentence. GAY PROPGANDA, I SWEAR.

Okay, I’m back to being an adult again. I personally love snow, but I must admit that this chapter makes me….well, I still like it a whole bunch, but this makes me wary. I can’t imagine hiking up a mountain pass as the snow falls harder and harder, as the cold starts to permeate everything, and they all start to wonder aloud if this is the work of the Enemy. Shit, Sauron can control snow? Why doesn’t he just start an avalanche? Oh, right, there’s still hundreds of pages left.

The Company halted suddenly, as if they had come to an agreement without any words being spoken. They heard eerie noises in the darkness round them. It may have been only a trick of the wind in the cracks and gullies of the rocky wall, but the sounds were those of shrill cries, and wild howls of laughter. Stones began to fall from the mountain-side, whistling over their heads, or crashing on the path beside them.

!!!!!!!! WHAT IS GOING ON !!!!!!!!! Gimli thinks this is the work of Caradhras, and it’s never explained who this is??? Unless I missed it, which I fully admit may have happened. Are they some sort of demon who lives in the pass or something? A lesser god? Not really sure, but it’s possible it’s Sauron, Caradhras, both, or neither of them dropping so much snow and cold on the Company.

Seriously, this so quickly becomes an act of desperation, and I swear that I don’t survive off of evil feelings and depression, but I really do like that the first thing these characters do away from Rivendell is ultimately a failure. Gandalf’s flask of miruvor doesn’t keep them warm enough for long. The fire they build eventually fades away. Gimli finally suggests that they retreat, and they all agree. AND EVEN THAT IS A DISASTER! They try to organize a method for someone to create a path down in the snow, but that doesn’t work very well either. Well, that is until this:

Legolas watched them for a while with a smile upon his lips, and then he turned to the others. ‘The strongest must seek a way, say you? But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf, or over snow–an Elf.’

AND THEN THE DUDE JUST GLIDES OVER THE SNOW BY RUNNING SUPER FAST. Oh my god I NEED TO SEE THIS RE-CREATED ON FILM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It’s both the most amazing and the most hilarious thing in my own head. But it works! And Legolas’s surprise revelation about his skill as an Elf brings about the only truly good news in chapter three: he’s found a way back down, and the snow finally thins out below them. With some help of Boromir and Aragorn, WHO CARRY THE HOBBITS ON THEIR BACK AND THIS IS SO GODDAMN ADORABLE TO ME, the Company dejectedly makes their way back down the mountain.

Look, it blows my mind that this is how chapter three ends:

A cold wind flowed down behind them, as they turned their backs on the Redhorn Gate, and stumbled wearily down the slope. Caradhras had defeated them.

THEY. LOST. At the very beginning!!!! Oh god, if this can happen now, what the hell is going to happen afterwards??? I don’t think I’ve ever felt such sheer glee over being so goddamn unprepared, everyone. This is the best.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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362 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Book Two, Chapter 3

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    And so we have our Fellowship. So much love for the Fellowship!!! Here are a few of my favorite moments:

    "Then, Master Elrond, you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack," said Pippin. "For otherwise I shall follow the Company."
    <3 <3 <3 <3 All the hearts for Pippin!!! <3 <3 <3 <3

    "That animal can nearly talk," he said, "and would talk, if he stayed here much longer."
    COME ON TOLKIEN YOU ARE SO DAMN CLOSE. Just make the damn pony talk, just once!!!
    Bill swished his tail and said nothing.
    GAH WASTED OPPORTUNITIES HERE TOLKIEN. *throws hands up in the air in exasperation*

    There was no laughter, and no song or music.
    What a difference from The Hobbit, where the elves of Rivendell were so joyous and quick to laugh when they sent the dwarves and Bilbo on their way. Interestingggggg

    "Yes,and where then? "asked Merry. "To the end of the journey—in the end," said Gandalf.

    " I don't like this at all," panted Sam just behind. "Snow's all right on a fine morning, but I like to be in bed while it's falling."

    Aaaaaaand here is my favorite moment of the chapter……

    "If Gandalf would go before us with a bright flame, he might melt a path for you," said Legolas. "If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the sun to save us," answered Gandalf.
    I laughed for about five minutes over this line. Ohhh Gandalf, how quick your wit is, and how it slays me so…..

    • unefeeverte says:

      Gandalf truly has the best punchlines. SASSY OLD WIZARD.

    • cait0716 says:

      Because Colorado's awesome?

      I do share Sam's views of snow. I like watching it fall when I'm inside. I look short walks in it and playing in drifts and throwing snowballs and catching flakes on my tongue. But my favorite part of heavy snowfalls is the way they tend to hit pause on the world. Hiking up a mountain in snow higher than my head sounds like the opposite of fun.

    • Katie says:

      Previously, if someone had asked me which part in this chapter I was most excited about Mark reaching, I would have of course mentioned Gandalf and Aragorn joining the fellowship. Or the hobbits. Or what happens at Caradhras (which is another name for the Redhorn mountain itself. I also think it has a dwarfish name that was mentioned earlier in the chapter when they got their first glimpse).

      But after reading the Hobbit reviews, the most anticipated sentence is of course "The animal could nearly talk". :). This site enriches one's reading experience beyond wildest expectations…

    • tigerpetals says:

      AHH, COLORADO. I went there as a thirteen year old on a work trip with my mother, because I'd been begging to go. It was so great, even though it was summer and so I couldn't see snow. There was a chunk of it by the road when we were going to Aspen, but I wouldn't get out of the car to touch it. Because I was carsick or something. REGRET.

      I want to go during the winter and see snowfall.

      • cait0716 says:

        If you want to see snowfall, you should go in October or March. Those tend to be the heaviest snow months. Also, I've been snowed out of Memorial Day, Labor Day, and 4th of July BBQs. Snow isn't exactly confined to winter in Colorado. Or maybe winter just lasts a much longer time there…

        • rabidsamfan says:

          I went to junior college in Leadville, and we had our graduation in June. Snowed 18 inches the night before and the whole class showed up for the ceremony in robes and mukluks.

        • Becky_J_ says:

          Yes, this is a fact. My mom’s birthday is july 14th, and it has snowed on multiple occasions on her birthday. Gotta love Colorado winters! They like to hang out for a while. Except then it’ll be 70 on christmas day….

    • flootzavut says:



      "V trg gb fcraq gvzr jvgu gurfr punenpgref naq V’yy trg gb tebj gb ybir gurz sberire naq vg’f whfg tbvat gb or fb jbaqreshy!"

      Lrf, lrf, naq… bu Znex, ovgf bs vg jvyy or jbaqreshy, fher, ohg lbh ner FB ABG CERCNERQ!

      "WHAT THE FUCK CAN FRIGHTEN ARAGORN??? Is there something up that pass that will force him to bathe?"

      Not gonna lie, I CACKLED at this.


      I wants some I does.

      • hpfish13 says:

        Yes! I loved that line about Aragorn!!!

        • flootzavut says:

          SO FUNNY. And then I had to explain the laughter to my mum and she was like, *blankface*… which was even more amusing really. She's seen about 20 mins of Fellowship!

    • notemily says:

      Tolkien does SPECIFY that Bill "said nothing," though, implying that he COULD talk if he really wanted to. 😀

    • Dru says:

      YES JUST MAKE THE DAMN PONY TALK ALREADY! (and throw in some colours while you're at it)

      <img src="; />

  2. Jenny_M says:

    Legolas being a total asshole to everyone is my favorite part of the chapter. He's all "lol have fun digging through the snow guyz. See ya!"

  3. knut_knut says:

    There must be someone with intelligence in the party."
    "Then you certainly will not be chosen, Peregrin Took!" said Gandalf

    It’s official. Pippin and Gandalf are bffs. They’re like a cranky, yet adorable, old married couple.

    “’This is Sting,” he said, and thrust it with little effort deep into a wooden beam.”

    Finally!! A name for our valiant hero- BILL THE PONY!! The series should be really be called Bill of the Rings. With The Fellowship of Bill, Gur Gjb Ovyyf, and Gur Erghea bs Ovyy. We were so close to finally having a speaking pony, too! Couldn’t the fellowship have stayed at Rivendell just a little while longer? It’s not like the fate of Middle-earth depends on them or anything…

    "If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the Sun to save us,"

  4. "oh god i love world building did you know that DID YOU KNOW THAT EVERYONE "

    Then you will adore everything else of this entire series and that's really all I have to say about that.

    My favorite parts of this chapter- apart from the horribly bleak atmosphere that Tolkien does such a marvelous job of setting up for us, are probably Legolas oh-so-subtly mocking the rest of the company and Gandalf snarking right back, the really unnerving moment where Sam and Aragorn are watching and something passes overhead, and the poem that Bilbo sings. Yes, the last is not like the others, but I wholeheartedly agree with you, Mark. That poem is literally one of the most touching and heartwrenching verses ever written; I think that would be true even without the context of this chapter. Added to it, it becomes doubly heartbreaking.

    Best line, though? Goes to Sam: "Shelter? If this is shelter, then one wall and no roof make a house." I really really love you, Sam. I don't think I mention that enough.

    • Rheinman says:

      Yet another Genius Loci, and one without a good user interface for dealing with people.

    • VoldieBeth says:

      World building you say?! Please, please read all of the appendixes then!! So much more stuff is in there! Vapyhqvat zl snibevgr cneg bs gur jubyr obbx, Nentbea naq Nejra'f fgbel bs ubj gurl zrg naq sryy va ybir!!

    • shortstuff says:

      I'm pretty sure it was this chapter, but when Sam expresses how little these huge distances mean to him in the grand scheme of geography is cool too. He thinks the mountains near Rivendell contain Mt Doom, and it's so cute. Poor Sam!

    • etharei says:

      Yes, Tolkien's world-building feels so much like a "real history", it's like the Holy Grail for those who us who thrive on such thoroughness of detail and history. The first time I read through LOTR, I kind of powered through it because I just had to know what happened. It was only in subsequent rereads that I truly grasped how extensively Tolkien had planned out and conceptualized all the history, mythology, societies, etc. of Middle-Earth. SO AMAZING.

      • It's honestly amazing what he was able to do in terms of making his world so complete. I never really appreciated it until I tried reading other fantasy works and realized that most authors don't take that amount of time when setting up a world.

  5. Robin says:

    I can be wrong, but if I rember right Caradhras is the spirit of the mountain.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Yes. It could have been made clearer (one of the few times you can say that about Tolkien) but what I get is that he was a tyrant king whose spirit now possesses the mountain (he's called "Caradhras the Cruel" a couple times).

      • Robin says:

        True that.
        And of course jungrire gur Onyebt unq jvatf be abg=)

      • tigerpetals says:

        I had no idea!

        I thought it was a figure of speech, then I had doubts, and then I remembered that Legolas can hear rocks talk to him, so rock can be sentient. So I thought it was like, "get off my lawn!" But not that he used to be a man.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Caradhras is the Sindarin name of the mountain, Redhorn.

  6. unefeeverte says:

    Caradhras is Sindarin for Redhorn, IIRC, so it's the mountain itself (or, rather, the peak of the Misty Mountains they're trying to get over). But I think the way Gimli talks about it, it's also (believed to be) the spirit of the mountain, along the lines of a lesser god, yes, like the mountain has a mind of its own about who it will let pass.

    • Marie the Bookwyrm says:

      I LOLd earlier in the chapter, when the Fellowship is talking about the mountains in the distance. Gimli talks about 3 particular peaks (Redhorn is one) and gives their names in Dwarvish, Elvish, and the common tongue. Bless Tolkien and his multiple names. 🙂

    • Delta1212 says:


  7. Ryan Lohner says:

    Vg'f xvaq bs sbetbggra abj, ohg V erzrzore fbzr snaf nyfb envfrq n fgvax nobhg gur zbivrf cbegenlvat gur ninynapur nf fbzrguvat Fnehzna qvq, jvgubhg zragvba bs gur zbhagnva vgfrys orvat n sbepr ntnvafg gurz. V'z cresrpgyl svar jvgu vg, nf N. gurl unq n yvzvgrq nzbhag bs gvzr, rira jvgu ubj ybat gur svyzf ner, naq vagebqhpvat gur pbaprcg bs n yvivat zbhagnva gung arire nccrnef ntnva jbhyq or n cbbe hfr bs vg, naq O. vs lbh fcrnx Ryivfu, lbh xabj gung Fnehzna vf npghnyyl whfg ntvgngvat Pnenquenf, juvyr Tnaqnys vf gryyvat uvz gb tb onpx gb fyrrc.

    • unefeeverte says:

      Lbh qba'g rira unir gb fcrnx Ryivfu – jrera'g gurer fhogvgyrf sbe gur vapnagngvbaf bs obgu Fnehzna naq Tnaqnys? V qba'g xabj ubj ryfr V jbhyq erzrzore Fnehzna fnlvat fbzrguvat yvxr, Jnxr hc, pehry Erqubea, rgp.
      V'z nyfb bxnl jvgu vg. Nyfb, gung fubg bs Puevfgbcure Yrr ba gbc bs Begunap jvgu gur qnex pybhqf tngurevat ng Pnenquenf vf whfg FB SHPXVAT NZNMVAT.

    • Saphling says:

      Oh, I like that tidbit about jung Tnaqnys naq Fnehzna ner fnlvat.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      V ybir gung cneg va gur svyz. Cnegvphyneyl orpnhfr Fnehzna vf fcrnxvat va Dhraln, juvpu vf cerggl ener va gur svyzf – zbfg bs gur Ryivfu qvnybthrf va gur svyzf ner va Fvaqneva. Naq anghenyyl, Puevfgbcure Yrr'f cebahapvngvba vf cresrpg. <3 VYH FVE PUEVFGBCURE!!

    • redheadedgirl says:

      V frrz gb erpnyy va gur qverpgbe/jevgref pbzzragnel gung Crgre naq Sena naq Cuvyyvcn ner yvxr, "jryy…. jr jvfu jjr'q qbar guvf orggre, ohg ng gur gvzr guvf jnf gur orfg jr pbhyq pbzr hc jvgu" naq zber ba gur "V ungr hfvat zntvp va svyz orpnhfr vgf n purnc unaqjnir!" genpx.

  8. cait0716 says:

    Caradhras is the mountain itself. The mountain is pissed that people are trying to climb it. Just another example of magic freaking permeating this world. Mountains can attack you. Birds and beasts can spy. Everything is against the fellowship.

    So, if the pony had stayed at Rivendell a bit longer, he would have apparently learned to talk? This right here is Tolkien specifically trolling Mark. Yup.

  9. Saphling says:

    I love the sarcasm from the characters in tough situations. I totally didn't catch it all the first time I read this book.

    "If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the Sun to save us." SNARKY GANDALF IS THE BEST GANDALF.

    "Shelter? If this is shelter, then one wall and no roof make a house." SNARKY SAM IS… well, ALL SAMS ARE THE BEST SAM. <3 <3 <3

    I also love the idea that Middle Earth is a world where the birds and beasts can be spies, trees can hate people who walk through their woods, and mountains can defeat you with their cruelty. The world is alive in a way that appeals to me, no matter how dangerous it is to the characters experiencing it.

  10. Jenny_M says:

    Movie stuffs: V'z tynq gurl znqr Fnehzna gur nagntbavfg va guvf fprar. Vg frgf uvz hc nf n sbepr gb or erpxbarq jvgu sbe gur zbivr nhqvrapr, naq V guvax vg jbhyq unir gnxra gbb ybat gb rkcynva gung gur zbhagnva vgfrys jnf cvffrq bss ng gur Sryybjfuvc. V nyfb guvax guvf fprar jnf ernyyl jryy fubg, vapyhqvat Yrtbynf jnyxvat ba gur fabj! (Gubhtu V ybir gur bar fprar jurer gur Sryybjfuvc vf jnyxvat naq vg'f boivbhfyl fbzr ernyyl rkcrafvir uryvpbcgre fubg naq lbh frr Beynaqb Oybbz gevc naq arneyl snyy. Gurl boivbhfyl pbhyqa'g erfubbg vg, naq lbh xabj rirelbar jnf yvxr "PBZR BA, BEYNAQB. LBH'ER N SEVTTVA' RYS!!!")

    • arctic_hare says:

      V nterr, V guvax vg jbexf orggre sbe gur zbivr guvf jnl. V ybir gur onpxtebhaq jr trg ba vg va gur obbx, ohg gung whfg jbhyqa'g jbex jryy bafperra.

    • Nterrq fb irel zhpu. V ybir frrvat zber bs Fnehzna, naq nf bgure crbcyr shegure hc unir npghnyyl fnvq, nccneragyl va Ryivfu ur'f ntvgngvat gur zbhagnva, juvpu V svaq pbzcyrgryl njrfbzr.

    • shortstuff says:

      Jryy, gurl fnirq ba rkcrafvir uryvpbcgre evqrf n yvggyr jvgu Frna Orna. Nccneragyl ur jnf gbb nsenvq bs sylvat gb gnxr gur evqr hc gb gur zbhagnva, fb ur tbg ernql rneyl, naq fcrag 2 ubhef uvxvat hc gb gur ybpngvba, va shyy Obebzve trg hc.

  11. MsPrufrock says:

    "V ybir gung guvf fhqqrayl srryf yvxr n snagnfl ebnq gevc???"

    Hcba ernqvat guvf, V vzzrqvngryl sryg gur hetr gb ersre Znex gb Tvatre Unmr'f Oebfuvc bs gur evat naq, zber fcrpvsvpnyyl, guvf vzntr: uggc://gvalhey.pbz/7rzxzjs.

    V pna'g jnvg sbe jura gur Oebfuvc jba'g or fcbvyregbja, ohg vg'f tbvat gb or n irel ybat jnvg.

    • Saphling says:

      You weren't the only one to immediately think of that. ^_^

    • flootzavut says:

      LOL I love it, I've never even heard of this before!

    • notemily says:

      V cbfgrq fbzr Oebfuvc vzntrf va n pbzzrag ba guvf erivrj–ner gubfr fcbvyrel?

      • MsPrufrock says:

        V qrpvqrq gb ree ba gur fvqr bs pnhgvba jvgu gur Oebfuvc– V guvax fbzr vaqvivqhny qenjvatf ner serr bs fcbvyref, ohg V qvqa'g jnag gb chg hc gur cvpgher jvgubhg npxabjyrqtvat/yvaxvat gb Tvatreunmr. Fvapr fbzr qenjvatf ner qrsvavgryl fcbvyrel, V qrpvqrq gb ebg13 whfg gb or fnsr.

        Vg jnf cebonoyl birexvyy, ohg gung jnf zl gubhtug cebprff.

  12. BetB says:

    Let's have a list of what talks and what doesn't talk. In "The Hobbit" and so far in "FotR" the talkers are:
    The old ravens at Erebor
    Wargs talk in a fashion, since Gandalf could understand them.
    Elves (talk too much in too many languages with multiple names for everything).
    Trees (Bombadil can speak and understand them. They sing to Hobbits!)

    Don't talk:
    Beorn's animal friends (What kinds? I know Ponies are in this group)

    Please add anything I've missed up to this point in the story.

    I didn't think about it much before but I really think that there is something to this Pony discrimination and oppression! Why? Who disabled their vocal abilities? They can talk to each other (Fatty Lumpkin, anyone) but never talk to any Hobbits. They seem to be able to understand what is being said to them and Sam seems to understand Bill's body language.

    What is going on here?

  13. Ryan Lohner says:

    One nice little tidbit is how none of them really have any idea whether the "Crebain from Dunland" (hello Rifftrax meme!) are actually spying on them, or are just normal birds. Just another sign of how completely uncertain everything about this journey is.

  14. Kelsey says:

    Abj V guvax jr jba'g frr Ovyob ntnva

    jebat ntnva!

    I love how Legolas is trolling everyone in this chapter. Gandalf must have given him a few lessons 🙂

  15. Clamarnicale says:

    And here is Bilbo's Song, as performed by The Tolkien Ensemble:

    I agree with you, Mark, it is heartbreaking…

    • DavidZAarons says:

      I don't know that anyone will actually see this, since it's a few days after the fact, but I actually decided tonight to quickly compose and record my own very different version of Bilbo's Song. I wear a lot of hats, and among them is… whatever kind of hat an amateur musician might wear. Maybe a beret?

      My untrained voice never seems to want to cooperate with me when I want to record vocals, and my production values are, if I'm kind, decent at best, as I literally composed and recorded this in an hour in my livingroom with a Guitar Hero microphone:

      • Missy says:

        You should post this again to Mark's most recent post, so that more people will see it. I like your rendition so much better than the one by The Tolkien Ensemble, yours really evokes the wistful melancholy feeling that the words of the poem suggest. Lovely work!

  16. Dreamflower says:

    This chapter is wonderful, isn't it?

    Pippin is magnificent in this, standing up to Elrond on his behalf and Merry's. I don't think that the Lord of Rivendell would have found it easy to keep them from following if he hadn't allowed them to go. (In my personal "headcanon", I think that Merry and Pippin did not sneak into the Council precisely because they knew Sam would– after all, they'd used Sam to keep an eye on their cousin as we learned back in Chapter 5!)

    There's this lack of detail for about two months, and then for another couple of weeks as the Company makes its way as far as Caradhras (which, by the way is the name of the mountain and the pass– and which seems to have a "mind" of its own, as Gimli points out: "Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras; and beyond him are Silvertine and Cloudyhead: Celebdil the Whit, and Fanuidhol the Grey, that we call Zirakzigil and Bundushathur." Three mountains, each with three names, in common speech, one of the Elven tongues, and Dwarvish.) This little gap is totally beloved of fanfic writers, who love to fill it up with all kinds of adventures great and small (including me) and yet I think JRRT is wise in showing that during this time nothing much happens except preparation (until they leave) and trudging (once they do). Because, really, an adventure of this sort needs scope– and nothing shows scope more than the passage of time.

    You get a sense of teamwork here as they are caught in the storm, each person doing the best they could for the Company, to first get up the mountain and then to get down again.

    The part about Legolas and the snow is so hilarious; you can see how he's being all "see what I can do", and everyone else (especially Gandafl) is cranky at him about it.

    I am so glad you are still being in love with this story! It's so worthy of love!

  17. nanna says:

    I kind of love the scene where the Men make a way back through the snow, because I visualise Boromir flailing around wildly and the snow flying everywhere and it’s intensely funny to me.

    After I read about the Crebain I spent several years pretending to hide every time I saw a huge flock of birds drawing near. Which was ALL THE TIME, since I lived in a city known for being home to lots and lots of jackdaws. It was great fun 😛

    • Saphling says:

      I always see the Crebain as a large murmuration of starlings. Each evening I see them make huge, cloudlike flocks, circling and re-circling, flowing and shifting as the black birds settle down to roost.

  18. @redbeardjim says:

    ‘I need no map,’ said Gimli, who had come up with Legolas, and was gazing out before him with a strange light in his deep eyes. ‘There is the land where our fathers worked of old, and we have wrought the image of those mountains into many works of metal and of stone, and into many songs and tales. They stand tall in our dreams: Baraz, Zirak, Shathûr.’

    Gimli! I love his character, and the history and tales of the Dwarves, so much.

    Gur ovttrfg fvatyr pbzcynvag V unir nobhg gur zbivrf (naq V unir frireny) vf gung gurl gbbx guvf qvtavsvrq, fgbhgurnegrq, ubabenoyr punenpgre naq ghearq uvz vagb n pbzvp-eryvrs ohssbba. WNPXFBBBA!!! *funxrf svfg*

    Also, I loved that Sam initially thought that the Redhorn might be Mount Doom, because that was exactly what I thought when I first read (or heard, actually) the book back in fifth grade.

  19. Rheinman says:

    I like the attention paid to the details here. Walking through the foothills of the mountains in winter is no easy task, much less attempting a mountain pass in winter. They didn't bring rope, they can't make a fire to get warm, and they get tired wading through snow.

    Adventure is a story about someone, somewhere else having a miserable time and dealing with all manner of adversity.

  20. tanbarkie says:


    V npghnyyl ernyyl yvxr gung gur svyz qbrfa'g znxr n ovt qrny nobhg guvf. Va snpg, gur vapyhfvba bs Yrtbynf' rysl yvtugarff vf dhvgr fhogyr – lbh frr gur Sryybjfuvc znxvat gurve jnl guebhtu gur fabj, naq rirelbar vf qvttvat cbaqrebhfyl guebhtu vg… rkprcg Yrtbynf, jub'f pnfhnyyl jnyxvat ngbc vg.

  21. Zoli says:

    This chapter makes me wonder about the timeline of the books. There was a mention of late October sometime earlier, and it's obviously been several months traveling since then, plus the two month wait at Rivendell. So that would make this chapter happening in… January? February? A really terrible time for traveling, especially over deep mountain passes full of snow.

    • Danielle says:

      The 11th and 12th of January. You're right; terrible time to be traveling.

    • Geolojazz says:

      I believe one of the Appendices actually has one! 😀 But be careful surfing the Appendices if you haven't read all three books…spoilers abound!

      • @ljrTR says:

        yep – I have often used that handy timeline in the Appendices. But they are spoilery.

      • Zoli says:

        No worries, I've read the books multiple times, although it has been several years. These reviews have made me want to dive back in and read them again, but I haven't started them just yet; I have a few other books to get through first.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Leaving Rivendell: "It was a cold grey day near the end of December"

      Va gur nccraqvprf jr yrnea gung vg jnf Qrprzore 25.

  22. Danielle says:

    "V fgvyy unira’g rira tbggra gb obbxf gjb naq guerr naq V vzntvar gung’f abg tbvat gb pbire gur fcna bs n zrer zbagu."

    Hz, npghnyyl, VVEP, vg'f RKNPGYL n zbagu. Fb V qba'g xabj jung gung fnlf nobhg Znex'f cbjref bs cerqvpgvba…

  23. @redbeardjim says:

    Nppbeqvat gb gur Nccraqvprf, gurl yrsg Eviraqryy ba Qrprzore Gjragl-svsgu naq uvg gur Erqubea Cnff ba Wnahnel Ryriragu.

  24. Tauriel_ says:

    More pictures from Karina Chmiel! 🙂

    The Fellowship of the Ring
    (From left: Gimli, Pippin, Boromir, Merry, Legolas, Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, Sam)
    <img src="; width="1000">

    Supperbreakfast in Hollin
    <img src=""&gt;

    Frodo's Tale
    <img src="; width="600">

    <img src="; width="600">

    "Houston, we have a problem."
    <img src=",-we-have-a-problem.jpg&quot; width="600">

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Danielle says:

      Oh, these are excellent. The Hobbits are DARLING.

    • Robin says:

      very nice pictures=)

    • @ljrTR says:

      nice drawings. thanks for posting them

    • Saphling says:

      Those are wonderful! I love "Frodo's Tale," with everyone stealing a moment of happiness (though Strider is off being himself), especially with Merry(?) stealing from what looks to be Pippin's(?) store of pipe-weed. Or food. It could be food, but I prefer to think of it as pipe-weed. ^_^

      • Dreamflower says:

        I just love her art! The hobbits are so sweet! You can see that these people have become good friends!

        (Unir lbh rire frra ure nqbenoyr pnegbba frevrf nobhg yvggyr!Obebzve naq jrr!Snenzve naq gurve anaal? V whfg YBIR gurz gb cvrprf! )

        • Tauriel_ says:

          V YBIR gur Obebzve/Snenzve pbzvp! <3 <3 🙂 V guvax gur "Pnyiva naq Uboorf" fglyr ernyyl fhvgf vg. Yvy' Obebzve vf fhpu n gebyy! 😀 Zl snibhevgr cneg vf jura Xvat Guébqra ivfvgf naq Obebzve unf guvf ybat srhq jvgu Guébqerq ("Ebuveevz fpuzhpx va n qerff" vf gur orfg vafhyg rire :Q ).

          • hpfish13 says:

            This sounds fun! Do you have a link? Google has failed me.

            • Tauriel_ says:

              Clicky. 🙂 They're ordered a bit strangely – there are 9 story arcs that are in reverse order (newest first, oldest last), but the comic strips within each arc are in order. Just look at the file names under the thumbnails and you should be able to work out the system. 🙂

              There are a lot of references to the Silmarillion (mainly because Obebzve nyjnlf jnagf gb cynl fbzr napvrag ureb. 😀 ), but it's really funny.

              • hpfish13 says:

                Thanks!! I read the whole thing! That was awesome. I could totally see young Boromir acting just like this.

    • bookworm67 says:

      The first picture: The Fellowship, in their MOST BADASS-EST OF POSES.

    • notemily says:

      Aw, I like that Boromir and Pippin are buds in that first picture.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      These are wonderful! <3

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      These are so beautiful.

    • Hans says:

      I like the first picture most of all! I don't know, but it seems to me as Marks reading has reached a couple of happy chapters, in spite of all the hardships. Now the fellowship is united, and they are all are together.

  25. Tauriel_ says:

    Tauriel's Linguistic Corner

    No linguistic corner today, sorry folks. 🙁 Didn't have time to prepare one – my Grandma passed away last Thursday and the funeral was today.

    I will post the translations of today's Elvish lines and names with tomorrow's chapter, promise. 🙂

  26. Tauriel_ says:

    Why hello there, plot, welcome back! We missed you! 😀

    ‘That’s what I meant,’ said Pippin. ‘We hobbits ought to stick together, and we will. I shall go, unless they chain me up. There must be someone with intelligence in the party.’
    ‘Then you certainly will not be chosen, Peregrin Took!’

    OH, SNAP! 😀 Snarky Gandalf is snarky. But still, ILU PIPPIN! <3

    The hobbits had been nearly two months in the House of Elrond,

    TWO MONTHS, FOLKS. This is a pretty damn long holiday – but when one thinks of the long and perilous journey that lies ahead of him, Frodo really does deserve a holiday in such a pleasant place as Rivendell.

    And so at long last, after the scouts have reported back, and we know there are no Black Riders lurking in the vicinity, the Fellowship of the Ring is put together. There's Frodo and Sam, of course, and Gandalf – and then there are representatives of all Free Peoples of the World (nice touch there, Elrond!): Gimli son of Glóin for the Dwarves, Legolas Thranduilion for the Elves, and Aragorn and Boromir for the Men. There are two more places left, and Elrond wants some of his own household to fill them (possibly Elladan and Elrohir? I think this is what would've probably happened if there were no Merry and Pippin), but Pippin is like "NO wAI, YOU CAN'T LEAVE US HERE, WE WANTZ TO COME, TOO!" Elrond is against it, but Gandalf intervenes and speaks for the hobbits to be included, which is AWESOME. Listen to Gandalf, Elrond, he's a wizard after all…

    And then the Sword that was Broken is reforged – and I must say I prefer the new name Andúril to its former name, Narsil. And Bilbo gives Frodo Sting and his old Dwarven chainmail shirt, which is WONDERFUL. <3

    The unofficial tenth member of the Fellowship is the pony they acquired in Bree. It's pretty funny and ironic that Sam named him Bill, after his former (and abusive :@ ) master.

    ‘That animal can nearly talk,’ he said, ‘and would talk, if he stayed here much longer.

    THEN WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU STAY IN RIVENDELL A BIT LONGER, DAMMIT??? You could've had a talking pony! WE could've had a talking pony!! Bah!

    Bill swished his tail and said nothing.


    various small belongings of his master’s that Frodo had forgotten and Sam had stowed to bring them out in triumph when they were called for.

    Sam is totally a Boy Hobbit Scout. He's always prepared! 😀

    And so at last, the Fellowship is assembled and readied for the journey. I love Elrond's blessing that he gives them. <3 They set off, and follow the Misty Mountains southwards, until they reach the borders of Eregion, which should totally be called Hollywood and not Hollin. 😀 There Gimli gives a small info dump on the mountain peak names – in three languages, too, to ensure confusion. :p

    Then there's an almost Hitchcockian moment when the Fellowship are all asleep, but Aragorn and Sam witness a cloud of crebain from Dunland pass overhead. The atmosphere gets rather creepy, since we know that the Enemy uses beasts and birds as spies, and it's pretty obvious that these crebain (who were obviously outside their normal habitat) were sent to spy on the Fellowship.

    The Fellowship debate on which course should they take, and decide to go through the Pass of Caradhras. But things don't go well, there's a shitload of snow, and it's almost as if the mountain wants to halt their passage. Pretty creepy, I say.

    ‘We have passed no place on the way up that offered more shelter than this cliff-wall we are under now.’
    ‘Shelter!’ muttered Sam. ‘If this is shelter, then one wall and no roof make a house.’

    One wall and no roof? Luxury! We had to live in a rolled-up newspaper! :p (Sorry, couldn't help it, but I always think of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch at this point…)

    ‘Farewell!’ he said to Gandalf. ‘I go to find the Sun!’ Then swift as a runner over firm sand he shot away, and quickly overtaking the toiling men, with a wave of his hand he passed them, and sped into the distance, and vanished round the rocky turn.

    Oh, Legolas, you show-off! 😀

    But it's no use, there's just too much snow and the Fellowship is forced to turn back.

    I have a bad feeling about this…

    • @redbeardjim says:

      This is a pretty damn long holiday – but when one thinks of the long and perilous journey that lies ahead of him, Frodo really does deserve a holiday in such a pleasant place as Rivendell.

      Not to mention the fairly long and perilous journey *behind* him. R&R is a good thing to do when you can.

      Also? Bill *can* talk. He just chooses not to. 😉

    • @ljrTR says:

      I really liked Elrond's farewell blessing too.

    • sudden_eyes says:

      Consider as well that Frodo was gravely wounded, and no matter how energetic he was during the Council of Elrond, surely he needs more recovery time.


    • flootzavut says:

      Pippin <3

    • notemily says:

      I do LOVE that line about Sam keeping some of Frodo's stuff in his pack just so he can bring it out at just the right moment. 😀 Yet another reason why I ship them.

    • cheshire7 says:

      NO SPOILERS! Just a song to enjoy.

      Narsil by Rob Balder
      To the tune of Kenny Rogers’ “Lucille”
      Original Words and Music by Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum

      At a Middle Earth battle, they herded like cattle,
      Bet that’ll look good on the screen.
      The Second Age ending,
      The Dark Lord ascending,
      His deficit spending’s obscene.

      The foes numbered millions,
      Or possibly billions,
      It’s how Silmarillions get penned.
      Against trolls, orcs and giants,
      They stood in defiance,
      The last great alliance of elves and of men.

      Their hero Elendil,
      All tricked-out in mithril,
      He carried the sword called Narsil.
      With a warrior’s scowl on, he went to face Sauron,
      To the Foul One he raised up his steel.

      to be continued (#$%^*@ IntenseDebate posting limits!)

      • cheshire7 says:

        Narsil song continued:

        But Sauron just laughed,
        Smashed it off at the haft,
        And Elendil, he knew he was dead.
        This relic he trusted,
        Summarily busted.
        Disgusted, he looked at the pieces and said…

        “You picked a fine time to leave me, Narsil.
        400 legions of orcs in the field.
        Been through some good wars, and you’ve been a good sword,
        But Good Lord, your timing’s unreal!
        You picked a fine time to leave me, Narsil.”

        His final words spoken, Elendil got croakin’,
        But the broken sword still was employed.
        With one wicked flesh wound, his son nicked an heirloom,
        We all know he should have destroyed.

        This story may ramble,
        But it’s just a preamble
        To the shambles which later occurred.
        As down through the ages,
        And twelve hundred pages,
        Elendil’s resounding complaint can be heard.


  27. Juliana Moreli says:

    If I were at the moutain with them I would have asked the same thing…or maybe for Gandalf to ask to some of he's bird friends (eagles) to take them to mount doom..
    The thing is, when someone says that they are a wizard, you automatically thinks: he can do everything…but in LoTR is not like that lol…

    Also: Mark already read it, so it's not spoilery anymore…but tomorrow…man…and the day after tomorrow…the day after tomorrow…man…and the rest of the book…oh boy oh boy…

    Right now I'm reading The two towers…and I can say…things still get me every time…these books are amazing!

    • @ljrTR says:

      yep – not matter how often I read them, still amazing.
      re Eagles – Gawihir told Gandalf when he rescued him from Orthanc that he wasn't capable of long-distance people hauling.

    • Katarina says:

      I am looking forward to the next couple of days with unholy glee, that's for sure.

    • Atrus says:

      It took days for Gandalf to contact Gwaihir when he was at Orthanc, while the Hobbits wouldn't have lasted a few hours on Caradhras. Plus, I don't think even the giant eagles could fly very well in a blizzard, especially with cargo.

      He also couldn't ask the eagles to bring them all to Mount Doom because the free peoples ner fhccbfrq gb svtug rivy gurzfryirf, abg ol fhcreangheny qrhf rk znpuvan. Naq nyfb orpnhfr Zbeqbe unf sryy sylvat ornfgf naq onyyvfgnf naq bgure nag-nvepensg guvatf gung jbhyq znxr vg cerggl uneq gb ernpu Bebqehva hafpngurq naq haabgvprq.

  28. @ljrTR says:

    I love the uncertainty of the journey – it makes it seem so much more real. any soldiier in pre-industrial going out to battle didn't know how his or her own story would end, or what would happen, or what was happening to others.further away. Love how Tolkien re-creates this feeling.
    I'm with you, Mark – I love the world building. I like visiting Middle Earth.
    and I can't read or comment much today, but I have to say I truly love Bilbo's poem, and I'm so glad you like it too.
    This, esp, as I get older, but all of it, really –
    I sit beside the fire and think
    of people long ago,
    and people who will see a world
    that I shall never know.

    • flootzavut says:

      V ybir ivfvgvat Zvqqyr Rnegu gbb – bar bs gur guvatf V ybirq nobhg gur zbivrf jnf frrvat gubfr cynprf va fbzr xvaq bs ernyvgl. Tvira jung Znex unf ercrngrqyl fnvq nobhg uvf zvaq abg jbexvat va ivfhny jnlf, V guvax ur'yf tbvat gb ybir gung ovt gvzr.

  29. Tauriel_ says:

    Abj V guvax jr jba’g frr Ovyob ntnva.

    Ururururur, bu Znex, lbh'er fb abg cercnerq. 😀

    • flootzavut says:

      Lrnu, fb gehr! V whfg gubhtug, Bu Znex, lbh jvyy, naq vg jvyy znxr lbh JRRC!

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        I was thinking the same thing. Rfcrpvnyyl jura Znex jnf gnyxvat nobhg ubj ur'f rkpvgrq gb trg gb xabj nyy gur zrzoref bs gur Sryybjfuvc. V jnf yvxr, bu znnna, lbh ner fbbb hacercnerq sbe gur urneg-pehfuvat qrfcnve gung vf gb pbzr. Lrnu lbh trg gb xabj gurz, naq gura lbh trg gb jngpu gurz fhssre naq qvr. Naq gur ynfg fprar jvgu Sebqb, Ovyob naq Tnaqnys fnvyvat sebz gur Terl Uniraf…hu, zl cbbe urneg.

  30. Ryan Lohner says:

    One other movie issue: Gurl qba'g ersbetr gur fjbeq hagvy gur guveq svyz. Guvf bar lbh pna punyx hc gb gurve perngvat n punenpgre nep sbe Nentbea, jvgu uvz univat gb or pbaivaprq gung ur'f jbegul gb or gur xvat bs Tbaqbe. Cyhf, gurl gubhtug uvz chyyvat bhg n oebxra fjbeq ng gur Cenapvat Cbal jbhyq whfg ybbx fvyyl ba svyz.

    • flootzavut says:

      V'z tynq gurl jrag gung jnl – n oebxra fjbeq vf svar va cebfr, ohg vg jbhyq unir ybbxrq evqvphybhf ba svyz.

      • calimie says:

        Orfvqrf, gung jnl gur funeqf pna or cebcreyl qvfcynlrq ng Eviraqry vafgrnq bs orvat gnxra nebhaq nyy bire gur cynpr. V qrsvavgryl yvxr vg orggre.

        • flootzavut says:


        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Yeah I agree, gur rssrpg jbexf zhpu orggre, abg univat Nentbea pneel nebhaq gur funeqf, naq jnvgvat gb ersbetr gur fjbeq hagvy EbgX. V ybir gur qvfcynl gurl znqr sbe vg va Eviraqryy, jvgu gur zheny bs Vfvyqhe naq Fnheba.

        • Atrus says:

          N sevraq bs zvar gung xabjf nobhg fzvguvat jnf fb znq ng gur zbivr orpnhfr Anefvy jnf oebxra va n qbmra funeqf, naq abg rira na rys pbhyq ersbetr gung vagb fbzrguvat lbh pbhyq npghnyyl hfr va onggyr; lbh'q or orggre bss fgnegvat sebz fpengpu. Gur fjbeq gung jnf oebxra jbhyq unir unq gb or gjb, guerr cvrprf ng zbfg.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Lrnu, rknpgyl. Naq n fjbeq gung npghnyyl oebxr vagb fb znal cvrprf jnf pyrneyl abg gung tbbq va gur svefg cynpr… 😀 Vg fubhyq'ir orra gjb cvrprf, ernyyl, ohg gurl nqqrq zber funeqf gb znxr vg ybbx qenzngvp naq cerggl. Fhfcrafvba bs oryvrs, V fhccbfr…

    • rabidsamfan says:

      *waves One True Novel flag*

      Yes, there are so many ways that interleaving the book and the movies kind of does an injustice to both versions of the story. It just isn't like Harry Potter, where even the filmmakers didn't know what JKRowling had up her sleeve as they went along.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        I was thinking the same thing the other day. Unlike Harry Potter, the filmmakers of LotR knew the full story and could tweak things here and there to make the movies more fluid. The result, though, is a change in the sequence of reveals (which = spoilers) and the addition of extra scenes from the appendices. Mark waited to watch HBP because of possible spoilers, because that was the first HP movie in which the filmmakers knew the end game, and could adjust the story with that extra knowledge. The other HP movies were fine to watch right after the books because nobody at that point knew how the books were going to end. *TEAM ONE NOVEL*

    • shortstuff says:

      Nterr gbgnyyl ba gur oebxra fjbeq cbvag. Vg jnf qrsvavgryl fvyyl gb or jvgubhg n jrncba jura ur xarj gung rivy jnf fcernqvat nebhaq Zvqqyr Rnegu.

      V pna trg oruvaq gur punenpgre tebjgu nep sbe Nentbea, ohg V fgvyy guvax gurer pbhyq unir orra n tbbq nep jvgu gur pbasyvpg bs uvz *orpbzvat* gur Xvat. Gurer jrer fgvyy fbzr bofgnpyrf gb tb guebhtu, be gurl jnagrq na vagreany pbasyvpg, ur pbhyq unir pbzr hc jvgu fbzrguvat ryfr.

  31. hpfish13 says:

    Man, what a way to start out the journey of the Fellowship. I hate cold weather, so this whole chapter is incredibly daunting to me.

    The art for this chapter captures the immensity of the mountains so well.

    <img src=""&gt;

  32. Tauriel_ says:

    Also, I just need to point out that both the words “faggot” and “bear” are in that sentence. GAY PROPGANDA, I SWEAR.

    LOL, I knew we'd come back to the faggots! 😀 But sorry to crush your hopes, Mark. Repeat after me: "Original sense of the word. Original sense of the word. No modern connotations in Tolkien." :p

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      It's kind of amusing that the root of it is the Latin "fasces," referring to the bundle of sticks that was the symbol of the Roman Senate (since one stick can easily be broken, but not a bunch together). And it's also where we get the word "facism," a rather cruel irony.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Oh yeah, plenty of innocent symbols have been snatched and had their meaning perverted. Like the hakenkreuz used by the Nazis – if I remember correctly, it was originally a sign of good luck or prosperity (or something similarly positive) in Hinduism.

        • Rheinman says:

          It is a bit disconcerting to see these big honking swastikas on Hindu statuary and architecture. (My first reaction was "Goddam Nazi vandals." )

          IIRC, the original meaning of the symbol is a representation of the sun. Also, in more mystic lore, there is a difference if the arms are pointed clockwise or counter clockwise (deosil or widdershins) similar to the pentacle having the star pointed up or down changiing its aspect.

          Thus endeth the infodump… for now.

        • calimie says:

          And the Romans! It's very weird to go visit those Roman villas and finding it all over the place in the mosaics.

  33. Cereus says:

    Pictures of Caradhras:

    <img src=>
    The Company Attempts the Pass of Caradhras – Ted Nasmith

    <img src=>
    The Redhorn Gate – Ted Nasmith

    <img src=>
    Caradhras – Paul Gregory

    Some of my personal headcannon on what the mountain looks like:

    <img src=>
    (From National Geographic)
    More headcannon:

    And another view of Caradhras:
    <img src=>

    • Saphling says:

      "Gandalf, why do we have to attempt the grumpy mountain when there's a much nicer-looking one right there? It probably won't try to snow us out, and might even offer beautiful vistas of the surrounding countryside."

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Ooh, you can definitely see that gur frpbaq bar jnf n ovt vafcvengvba sbe gur zbivr.

      It's a shame Nasmith wasn't involved in the films; according to Wikipedia they asked him, but he was too busy.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Oh, man, the landscapes of Ted Nasmith. <3 <3 <3 I'm not a big fan of his portrayal of the characters, I don't think they're his strong point, but by God, his landscapes are STUNNING and GORGEOUS. <3 <3 <3

      • etharei says:

        Totally agree. His depictions of Rivendell and Luthien are my two of my absolute favorite illustrations ever. (At least, I'm fairly sure he's the one I'm thinking of.)

    • @ljrTR says:

      as I've said before, I love Naismith's LOTR art. I'm glad he was recognized and asked by Peter Jackson, even if he couldn't participate in the films

    • hpfish13 says:

      Ooooooo….these are all awesome!!! Though I particularly like that last one!

    • flootzavut says:

      That last one made me snort 😀 thanks for that!

    • arctic_hare says:

      Those are gorgeous! And LOL at the last one! xD

    • jaccairn says:

      Love that last one!

    • notemily says:

      LOL at the last one! And I like the one you linked, too–the red of the sun on the sides.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      I see you beat me to it! Love the Ted Nasmith landscapes! So stunning!

  34. rubyjoo says:

    This is Sod's Law, isn't it? Whatever they decide to do is the wrong choice, even Elrond's decision to keep them all waiting as the winter sets in so that the land can be checked for Nazgul first. If only they had set out earlier……

    It seems to me that this is Boromir's chapter, and he deserves his heroic moments. He warns the company of the bad weather ahead. He persuades them to carry wood which probably saves their lives He is the first to show real concern about the "halflings". He is at the front of the "snow-plough" team. He is the first to pick up a hobbit and carry him. I'm glad we get to see him like this.

    I love the references back to The Hobbit and to dwarven history. Gimli's eyes gleam when he talks about the plain called Azanalbizur – "Far over the Misty Mountains Cold", LOL – that he hopes to see. This is where Thorin's grandfather, Thror, was killed and mutilated by Azog the Goblin, an act that started the war between the goblins and the dwarves, a war that ended with the Battle of Azanulbizar, where Thorin's brother was killed and where he earned the title of Oakenshield. I'm assuming this isn't a spoiler since it happened years before the events in The Hobbit.

    • @ljrTR says:

      good points re Boromir.

    • tigerpetals says:

      I'm noticing that he seems the practical guy. Other than the hobbits, I mean.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Yeah, we see some really good points about Boromir here. He's not too impressive in the Council chapter what with his wanting to use the Ring against the enemy, but here he really steps up and is the guy who GETS SHIT DONE and is concerned about the hobbits. Always a point-winner with me, that. <3 Cause I loves me some hobbits. He's definitely a valuable member of the Fellowship.

  35. monkeybutter says:

    I love your Pippin and Merry conspiracy theory. I'm gonna pretend that they had a secret adventure, and Bill the Pony saved them from a cabal of barrow-wights and Black Riders who were out to separate the hobbits, all unbeknownst to everyone at the interminable Council of Elrond.

    I'm so excited that they're finally underway! And that Pippin and Merry are coming (friendship >> elven super powers)! And that Bill the Pony is officially named! I love the little tail swish he gives when Sam says that he might have had a good life if he stayed behind, and that he seems like the only happy one when they set out from Rivendell. Excellent choice, Sam. <3

    I love snow, but I also don't live in a place that regularly gets mounds of it, so my view is a bit skewed like the Shire hobbits might be. Watching it fall from inside (like yesterday!) is much better than being out in it, especially if you have to drive in a place where people forget how to drive en masse when it snows…or rains, or there's any sort of weather.

    Fun Fact: Stephen Colbert owns Sting and Andúril, because he's better than all of us.

  36. echinodermata says:

    <img src="; alt="XKCD comic 'snow tracking'" title="I suppose that's more accurately a hare dryer">


  37. Debbie says:

    I found myself waiting for things to go wrong this whole chapter. Things just seemed to be to calm, there had been no attack for months (the whole time they were at Rivendell). Tolkein has a way of writing where I am just constantly read for things to get worse without much hope of them getting better.

    Also, I really loved how Pippin insisted on going unless they locked him up or sent him back in a sack. That made me laugh.

    And I also had to laugh at the image of the Hobbits being buried. As bad as that would be, it just really put their size in my mind. They're so tiny that the snow drift buried them long before the others.

  38. tigerpetals says:

    I'm glad you like the song because : [youtube kQXS1dk7-6k youtube]

    Bilbo's almost completely depressing. Though I like Frodo's dream in which he's scolding him for a taciturn diary entry.

    It'd be nice if they could wait until spring, right? Well but then they'd have to deal with slush and stuff. Summer! But then they'd only have like two seasons before the next winter. Can it not have to happen at all? Moving on.

    Caradhras is the mountain. Gimli's saying the mountain is unfriendly. I'm not sure how sentient it's meant to be or if it's a figure of speech. Or if it just has unfriendly spirits like those giants in the Hobbit having a thunder battle.

    Legolas, you show-off. This is just a giant testosterone competition from my POV.


  39. Araniapriime says:

    Couple of quick drive-by comments because I'm running late:

    Please note the chapter is called "The Ring Goes South." Not FRODO goes south. The One Ring is the real anti-hero of this whole saga. It ain't called The Lord of the Rings for nothing: in my opinion (merely mine, as far as I know, but it's probably been talked about since before I was born) the title refers to the One Ring To Rule Them All, i.e., the Lord of rings.

    Also, my view of the politics of Middle Earth (again, just my view, I am not an expert on Middle Earth): Elves are an aristocracy; Dwarves are a kingdom; the wizards also have some kind of secret-society hierarchy. On the other hand, the hobbits have a pastoral anarcho-communitarian structure. Just another thing that makes hobbits BEST.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      The Lord of the Rings is Sauron, as he was referred to several times in the last couple chapters.

      • cait0716 says:

        No, Sauron is referred to as the "Lord of the Ring" singular. I really like Araniapriime's interpretation of the One Ring being the lord of all the other rings that were created.

        • Clamarnicale says:

          This debate is far from new, though most seem to hold the view that Sauron is the title character, The Lord of the Rings. That seems to be the most common view, according to what I could find through Google.

          As for what is in the books, there are very few references to the title. As far as I recall, it's these three, all occuring within the last two chapters:

          Pippin, who is ignorant of the title's history and meaning, uses the singular (in reference to Frodo), and is corrected by Gandalf (who also uses the singular, in this one instance). Earlier in the same chapter (Many Meetings), he says: " … for the Black Riders are the Ringwraiths, the Nine Servants of the Lord of the Rings." Though this last one might of course be read as referring to the One Ring as well as to Sauron, as the Ringwraiths are, due to their own Rings, bound to (servants of) the One. Though Sauron, as its Maker, is the Master of the One Ring, as well as the Maker (and the Master) of all other Rings except the Three.

          Glorfindel, who should know what he is talking about, calls Sauron by this title (plural), during the Council scene:

          "And even if we could [send the Ring to Bombadil], soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it." Here the One Ring is very clearly separated from the title, and refers only to Sauron.

          The Index use the title in singular "The Lord of the Ring – see Sauron". Though as far as I can find by going through different editions, this is only in 50th Anniversary Edition's index, which was not itself written by Tolkien, allthough based on his earlier versions.

          I do not have access to the Letters at the moment, nor to the History of Middle-Earth. But I am quite sure that Tolkien himself in one or several letters mention Sauron as the title characters. And I believe more references can be found in the HoME books.

          As can be seen here, the title "The Lord of the Rings" is very rarely used in the books themselves – these examples are the only ones I could find. However, none of them refer to the One Ring (unless you interpret the one about the Nine as being about the Ring). I myself consider the Glorfindel quote to be canonical proof that Sauron is the Lord of the Rings and the character referred to by the title of the book.

          • Saphling says:

            Also, I remember Puevfgbcure Yrr specifically mentioning that Sauron was the title character in the movie commentary.

    • tigerpetals says:

      Elves have different groups. The ones that lived in Eregion, the ones at Mirkwood have a King, Rivendell just has lords, there were princes and lords in the First and Second Ages…

      Yeah, dwarves have kingdoms. And so do men -King Bard. I'm stuck on hobbits.

      • etharei says:

        As I understand it, Elrond served under High King Gil-galad, and maybe technically could have taken up the Kingship (he's in the bloodline), but after the Last Alliance (and Gil-galad's death) he found Rivendell and became its Master, though I'm not sure where that stands in relation to, say, King Thranduil.

        • Tilly says:

          V guvax vg jnf Tvy-Tnynq jub frag Ryebaq bss gb sbhaq Eviraqryy cevbe gb gur Ynfg Nyyvnapr va gur svefg cynpr, fb vg jnf nyernql gurer sbe Ryebaq gb erghea gb nsgrejneqf. Gur gurbel V frr zbfg bsgra nobhg gur xvatfuvc (naq nterr jvgu zlfrys) vf gung gurer'f ab cbvag gurer orvat n Uvtu Xvat bs gur Abyqbe jura (bar jnl be gur bgure) gurer'f uneqyl nal Abyqbe yrsg va Zvqqyr Rnegu. Fb Tvy-Tnynq jnf pbhagrq gur ynfg.

          Guenaqhvy vf n ovg bs n qvssrerag pnfr, nf uvf (sngure'f) xvatqbz jnf zbqryyrq nsgre Guvatby'f sebz vgf sbhaqvat, juvyr Ryebaq'f frggyrzrag jnf bevtvanyyl zrnag nf n 'unira' engure guna fbzr xvaq bs pncvgny.

          • etharei says:

            Oh, that makes sense. Thank you for the clarification! DAMMIT I USED TO KNOW ALL THIS, NEED TO REREAD ALL THE THINGS.

            Abj V'z phevbhf nobhg jung guvf jbhyq znxr Ybguybevra? Vg'f n frggyrzrag, naq Tnynqevry vf bar bs gur Ryqne nf jryy nf gur fvfgre bs Xvatf. V srry yvxr gur Fvyina ryirf gurer pbafvqre gurzfryirf zber thneqvnaf bs gur gerrf, gubhtu. Tbfu, V'q sbetbggra ubj zhpu V ybirq gur uvfgbevrf bs Gbyxvra'f Ryirf.

            • Tilly says:

              Gurer'f n ybg gb ybir! V qba'g unir gvzr gb ybbx vg hc gbqnl, ohg gur onpxtebhaq ba Tnynqevry naq Pryrobea va gur Frpbaq Ntr naq Ybguybevra'f sbhaqvat vf va gur Hasvavfurq Gnyrf, V guvax.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Given that the hobbits have elected ruler (Mayor of the Shire), they have some form of democracy.

  40. threerings13 says:

    I had forgotten that Elrond says he wants to send Merry and Pippin back to the Shire to warn them of danger. Although I'm glad they went with Frodo, I'm a bit surprised that none of the Hobbits seem to be worried about the Shire. Naq V jbaqre vs Zreel naq Cvccva'f cerfrapr jbhyq unir qbar nalguvat gb cerirag gur Fpbhetvat bs gur Fuver.

    • flootzavut says:

      V guvax gurl ner fgvyy cerggl anvir ng guvf cbvag nobhg ubj vg'f tbvat gb nssrpg guvatf onpx ubzr. Nyfb, gurl arrq nyy gung punenpgre qrirybczrag fb gurl pna bhfg gur onqqvrf jura gurl trg onpx ubzr. V'z fher gurl obgu jbhyq unir gevrq gb qb fbzrguvat, ohg gurl ner irel qvssrerag uboovgf jura gurl erghea ubzj.

      • msw188 says:

        Lrf ba gur anvirgr. Erzrzore jura Fnz ybbxf va gur Zveebe, ur vf fbzrjung fubpxrq ng gur ivfvba bs frrvat fbzr bs gur fuvg gung pbhyq or tbvat qbja.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Juvyr gurl zvtug unir orra noyr gb tvir n jneavat, jub va gur Fuver jbhyq unir oryvrirq gurz ng guvf cbvag va gvzr? Nyfb, Zreel naq Cvccva unq tbar gb nyy gur gebhoyr bs univat Sebqb fcvrq ba, naq znqr gung crevybhf wbhearl whfg gb or jvgu gurve pbhfva. Ab jnl gurl'q nyybj gurzfryirf gb or ghearq onpx abj!

  41. Araniapriime says:

    I still like mine better. LOL

  42. @RadagastWiz says:

    I love that this suddenly feels like a fantasy road trip???

    Well, it IS a fantasy novel… :p

  43. SisterCoyote says:

    I love this book, and I love these characters, and I love reading Mark fall in love with them.

    No words, just awesome.

  44. Geolojazz says:

    For some stupid reason I was reading about the Donnor party a week ago and it gave me the shivers. Rereading this, I wanted to scream: "DON'T GO INTO SNOWY MOUNTAINS! SOMEONE'S GONNA GET EATEN!!"

    …yeah no, this ain't GRRM.

  45. arctic_hare says:

    rrrrrrrr gur gvgyr sbe guvf bar. BAR BS ZL SNIBEVGR FBATF BA GUR FBHAQGENPX. Abgnoyr sbe orvat gur svefg shyy eraqvgvba bs gur Sryybjfuvc gurzr; V ybir ubj Ubjneq Fuber grnfrf lbh jvgu uvagf bs vg fgnegvat sebz jura Sebqb naq Fnz ner yrnivat gur Fuver, ohvyqvat hc gb gung zntavsvprag shyy oynfg nf gur Sryybjfuvc fgnegf gurve wbhearl, svanyyl nyy gbtrgure.

    V ybir ybir ybir Ovyyl Oblq'f qryvirel bs gur yvar nobhg gur cnegl arrqvat fbzrbar bs vagryyvtrapr. Sbyybjrq ol Zreel gryyvat uvz gung gung ehyrf uvz bhg, naq gura gur abq naq gur ernyvmngvba. YBIR VG.

    Well, it's official: Gandalf is the anti-Mark. He is ALWAYS prepared, whereas Mark is NEVER prepared. 😀


    I always wonder that too, Sam. <3

    Yay! Aragorn and Gimli and Legolas! Boromir too! AND OMG PIPPIN ILU. <3

    AAAAAAH HE GAVE HIM STING. And the mithril mail! Memories~ <3

    That is the most depressing song yet. 🙁

    The pony from Bree! He can almost talk, omg.

    Sam is so practical. Love it.

    Gimli's first line is pure awesome. I already like him a lot. He's so right. V pna urne vg va Wbua Eulf-Qnivrf' ibvpr. Bu, ur jnf fb cresrpg! V whfg jvfu gur znxrhc unqa'g obgurerq uvz fb zhpu. V srry fb onq sbe uvz.

    V pna urne gur fbat va zl zvaq nf gurl yrnir. Fb terng.

    Oh, that's not creepy at all, that it's unnaturally silent when there should be noise. Not at all unnerving in the slightest that Aragorn has a sense of watchfulness and fear that he's never had there. Nope. Not one bit.

    seriously this is really unsettling.

    Ah, lying in bed on a snowy morning is indeed lovely. You and I are of like mind on this, Sam.


    I love how Legolas just walks OVER the snow, all "LOL YOU GUYS HAVE TO PUSH THROUGH IT, I CAN GO OVER lolbye I'm going to go find the sun!"

    Where will they go now?

    • flootzavut says:

      Cbbe Wbua! Ohg ur jnf snagnfgvp!

      Noq <3 Ovyyl <3 Oblq <3 V frevbhfyl nz tbvat gb ober rirelbar gb grnef jvgu zl Ovyyl/Cvccva ybir… :Q

    • wahlee says:

      Jr qba'g xabj lrg gung Ovyob'f pbng vf zvguevy, gung pbzrf yngre. Can a mod ROT13 that?

    • Zoli says:

      "Lbh arrq crbcyr bs vagryyvtrapr ba guvf fbeg bs zvffvba… dhrfg… guvat."

      V guvax Cvccva vf zl snibevgr uboovg, naq cbffvoyl zl snibevgr punenpgre bs gur ybg.

  46. atheistsisters says:

    “WHAT THE FUCK CAN FRIGHTEN ARAGORN??? Is there something up that pass that will force him to bathe?”

    I’m surprised no one else has quoted this, because BWAHAHA!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  47. @flourish says:


    (Meaning: Yo people! Do you have questions about Middle Earth history, etc? I will answer them to the best of my ability if you do! Only I'm too lazy to make like Tauriel and come up with a whole post about it ahead of time.)

  48. Leah-san says:

    V ubcr Znex jvyy cvpx hc ba Yrtbynf naq Tvzyvf navzbfvgl gbjneqf rnpubgure naq gura gurve ohqqvat sevraqfuvc yngre. Gung cneg jnf nyjnlf fb snfpvangvat gb zr, rfcrpvnyyl nf n xvq.

      • msw188 says:

        I think its coming. The best exchange vf va gur arkg puncgre, "Vg jnf abg gur snhyg bs gur Qjneirf…" "V unir abg urneq gung vg jnf gur snhyg bs gur Ryirf." ununun

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          haha yeah. That's just another part of this story that I love. Gbyxvra fubjf ubj gjb punenpgref jvgu gur yrnfg va pbzzba (naq n snve nzbhag bs navzbfvgl orgjrra gurve enprf) pna orpbzr fhpu pybfr, qrne sevraqf ol gur raq bs gurve wbhearlf gbtrgure (naq jryy orsber vg).

  49. notemily says:

    – Aw Elrond, why is your heart set against Pippin going along? Just because he's the youngest hobbit? WHY ARE YOU BEING AGEIST, ELROND. Just because you're five thousand years old doesn't mean you get to judge!
    'This is Sting,' he said, and thrust it with little effort deep into a wooden beam. And then Elrond came in and said BILBO STOP DESTROYING MY HOUSE OR I WILL MAKE YOU INTO HOBBIT STEW.
    in every wood in every spring / there is a different green. I like that.
    – Sam names the pony after its horrible master. For some reason.
    – They come to three peaks of a mountain-range, and Gimli informs them that each peak has at least THREE NAMES jesus christ
    – [V ybir gung Fnz guvaxf Pnenquenf vf Bebqehva. YBY ABG CERCNERQ, FNZ.]
    – I had to laugh at Legolas RUNNING across the snow like it's no big deal. He's like "LOL SEE YOU LATER PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ELVES."

    Fanart of the Fellowship on Caradhras:

    <img src="; width="519" height="1024" alt="Lord of the rings">

    I'm not sure whether the Man there is supposed to be Aragorn or Boromir, but the others are obviously Legolas, Gimli, Frodo, and Gandalf. I like the style of this–it's almost like a stained-glass window.

  50. Appachu says:

    More LotR Musical awesomeness! This particular bit depicts the Fellowship leaving Rivendell, but more importantly is just brilliant. I'll let the song speak for itself though.

    [youtube e7OEwk8imUo youtube]

  51. feminerdist says:

    I love this chapter, because here is where you really see how much Tolkien has influenced the fantasy genre as a whole. Of course you got that in The Hobbit with the long journey. But in this chapter particularly you get characters from multiple races coming together for a specific task journeying to a dungeon of sorts, in a very very broad sense of the term "dungeon." Hence the inspiration for Dungeons and Dragons, and a slew of other major fantasy stories and games. Which of course, being the super-nerd that I am, always makes me smile.

    • ljrTR says:

      what an influence this author had!

    • rabidsamfan says:

      He influenced us in more ways than that. Tom Bombadil is clearly that powerful NPC who gets you out of your first adventure intact and sends you off with magic weapons for the next challenge.

      • feminerdist says:

        AHAHAHAHA. Yes.

        The same powerful NPC who shows up whenever the DM make a math error and none of the characters will survive without help.

    • BetB says:


      Faster than a vorpal arrow from a +4 longbow! More powerful than a Dragon! Able to leap sentient mountains in a single bound! Super powers include the ability to defenestrate objects, the ability to design stupendous crenelations and the knowledge of correct usage of 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 sided die!

  52. msw188 says:

    Oh and I forgot to mention earlier:
    "THEY. LOST. At the very beginning!!!! Oh god, if this can happen now, what the hell is going to happen afterwards???"

    I've never really thought about this in this way before, but Mark's so right! Most often, an adventure progresses by having challenges along the way that the characters overcome, each somehow worse than the last. But here, the first challenge is already so serious that they can't even overcome it! They have to retreat! This whole section was essentially a WASTE OF THEIR TIME, STRENGTH, AND RESOURCES. But by no means is it a waste of the story's time. The desperation is growing, and the emotional state of the characters has progressed. Even if it's not a cliffhanger in the traditional sense, that final paragraph that Mark quotes really instills the "Oh Fuck, Now What?" feeling in the reader.

    To sum up, I love how these reviews and this style of reading are making me appreciate these books even more than before.

    • ljrTR says:

      agreeing with you – but this is exactly what makes the story feel "real'". The characters make mistakes, and those mistakes have consequences.
      I'm enjoying this re-read a lot – but I do jump ahead, and say to myself "can't wait til Mark reads this".

  53. stefb4 says:

    Lol I love Legolas trolling the Strong Men. He just watches them struggle for a bit in AMUSEMENT before revealing his awesome Elf powers.

    Do he and Gandalf have troll-offs?

    • Legolas was so my FotR boyfriend. One of the reasons I never warmed to Orlando Bloom in the movie was because he simply did not live up to the awesome gorgeous smug trollery of the Legolas in my head. But then, I'm not sure anyone could have done that.

      • stefb4 says:

        Haha I saw the movie first so I definitely picture some rendition of Orlando Bloom (I don't picture them exactly in my head, but they keep most of the characteristics and then morph slightly in my imagination idk). I will admit that a lot of my Legolas favoritism at first was because I was a twelve year old girl who thought OB was so hawt (he still is…) and so I went into this book liking him most already.

  54. arctic_hare says:

    Two points: 1) I am a mod myself. 2) Except we totally do, because it was explicitly mentioned in chapter thirteen of The Hobbit when Thorin gives it to Bilbo.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      You know, I totally forgot about it! 😀 First I typed in my review "mithril shirt", then I stopped and thought "hang on, mithril hasn't been mentioned yet!" and changed it to "Dwarven chainmail shirt". 😀 Thanks for the reminder.

    • calimie says:

      I was thinking that it'd be useful if there was an easy way to see who was a mod. Maybe a list could be added to the fabled "FAQ" section?

      • arctic_hare says:

        Our namebars show up as a different shade of blue for me, but maybe that's not the case for everyone else. Adding it to the FAQ is a good idea.

    • wahlee says:

      Ah, you are right. It's the significance of zvguevy (vgf inyhr, rgp.) that we have yet to learn. Just shows how easy it is to get these small details wrong!

  55. Tauriel_ says:

    Maybe they're rubbish in tight curves? 😀

  56. Plactus says:

    "V zrna, V fgvyy unira’g rira tbggra gb obbxf gjb naq guerr naq V vzntvar gung’f abg tbvat gb pbire gur fcna bs n zrer zbagu."

    V whfg unq gb purpx guvf, naq…

    Sebz gur raqvat bs Sryybjfuvc gb gur qrfgehpgvba bs gur Evat vf gjragl-avar qnlf. Bs pbhefr, vg'f frireny zbaguf orsber gur Uboovgf erghea ubzr, naq n pbhcyr lrnef sebz gura hagvy gur raq bs gur fgbel.

    • ljrTR says:

      Lbh'er evtug – Sro 26 gb Znepu 25 be fb. Jbj. Vg frrzf ybatre jura lbh'er ernqvat/yvivat vg.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Yeah, I never realized ubj sne gurl'ir geniryrq ol gur raq bs guvf obbx, naq ubj zhpu raqf hc unccravat va n (eryngviryl) fubeg nzbhag bs gvzr va gur ynfg gjb. Gurl'er npghnyyl snveyl pybfr gb Zbeqbe ol gur raq bs SbgE.

  57. calimie says:

    V guvax gung jura ur erghea va GGG ur zragvbaf fbzrguvat nobhg orvat nyybjrq zber cbjre naq ur vf orggre rdhvcrq gb qrny jvgu gur Anmtûy guna ur jnf.
    V fhccbfrq gur jvmneqf jrer bayl zrnag gb or nqivfbef naq nsgre Tnaqnys'f qrngu gur Inyne punatrq gurve zvaqf n ovg.

  58. stefb4 says:

    Alright folks, this art has nothing to do with this chapter, and I meant to post it last chapter when it was revealed Legolas is the son of the Elvenking (Thranduil) in The Hobbit, but I joined the comment party really late. I've been waiting to post this since then because of the spoiler of Legolas's character. Anyway, here's ilxwing's rendition of Thranduil. I swear to god when I first saw this I thought "DID SHE GO INTO MY HEAD AND STEAL THIS IMAGE THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I PICTURED HIM"

    <img src=""&gt;

    There are three other versions of this, all having to do with the seasons. I would've picked the winter one but Spring was my favorite:

    • arctic_hare says:


      • stefb4 says:

        YES IT IS ADORABLE TIMES INFINITY. There's this post I came across like a week ago on some old forum, and it just INFURIATED me. DID THEY ACTUALLY READ THE HOBBIT. Arghhh….I'll post it here lol:

        Be znlor Guenaqhvy frpergyl srnerq gung Yrtbynf jbhyq hfhec uvf guebar, naq fb frag uvz gb uvf yvxryl qrngu.

        Guvax nobhg jung jr xabj bs gur Zvexjbbq ernyz. Guenaqhvy jnf irel terrql. Ur jnagrq n ybg bs gur evpurf sebz gur Ybaryl Zbhagnva qrfcvgr univat ab qrprag pynvz ba vg. Ur jnf irel cercnerq gb fnpevsvpr n ybg bs uvf svtugref sbe n funer bs gur fcbvyf.

        Uvf ehyr jnf, gb or oyhag, n ovg snepvpny. Ur uryq Ovyob naq gur Qjneirf nf cevfbaref va uvf qbznva. Trr, avpr whqtr bs punenpgre, byq zna. Jung'f zber, ur jnf pneryrff jvgu gurz: nffvtavat gur gnfx bs fhcreivfvat gur cevfbaref gb n srj varoevngrq ynpxrlf. Gur ebyr bs tbireare unq boivbhfyl ghearq vagb n wbxr sbe gur Ryira-Xvat.

        Jung pbhyq pnhfr fhpu ninevpr, cnenabvn, pneryrffarff, naq vapbzcrgrapr? Gur nccrnenapr bs gur Arpebznapre? Be gur ceboyrz bs uvf oevyyvnag naq unaqfbzr fba, evcr sbe Xvatfuvc?

        Lbh qrpvqr.

        • arctic_hare says:

          <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

          What the FUCK did I just read??? :S o.0 People sure can come up with some bizarro theories…

        • monkeybutter says:

          lol part of me is bewildered, but the other part loves bizarre fan theories. V qrpvqr gung guvf bar vfa'g arneyl nf ragvpvat nf gur Obzonqvy vf rivy gurbel.

        • Tauriel_ says:



        • msw188 says:

          Wow, that is just amazingly awful. I kinda wish it was a joke, but it doesn't feel like it was written as a joke. YOU DECIDE

        • Dreamflower says:

          *sigh* There are lots of Thranduil-vilifiers who smear his character with as little to go on as those who go in the opposite direction. Truthfully, Thranduil as depicted in TH is one of JRRT's most "human" Elves, in which he has both good characteristics (for example, his kindness to the people of Laketown) as well as bad (such as his over-reaction to the Dwarves).

          But I most certainly can never imagine him wanting to get rid of his son, for goodness' sake! Elven princes, after all, had no expectations in the normal course of nature! How silly!

          • Kaylee Arafinwiel says:

            @ whoever originally wrote that (Not the poster on here) Ci ben-ind? Pe-channas! (No, that’s not rot13, I insulted them in Sindarin. I don’t think it should be considered a spoiler though, just me amusing myself.)


            *sticking up for Thranduil*

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Baby Legolas is SO CUTE! <3 <3 <3 And you can totally see a shade of Orlando in that corner of his mouth. 😀

    • That's an adorable picture- thanks so much for linking to her gallery; it's spectacular! I love Tolkien fanart…

    • notemily says:

      They do like their wine, those Mirkwood elves 😀

  59. rabidsamfan says:

    I adore this chapter — it's one of the best in the entire book. And Bilbo's song is the most singable (at least to me) of any of the poems. Mind you, I'm not sure if I know the same tune Tolkien was thinking of. I learned it from a friend.

  60. Tauriel_ says:

    Bu lrnu, gur "jurer qvq V pbzr sebz?" ovg jnf uvynevbhf. 😀 Rfcrpvnyyl gur nsgrezngu jurer Obebzve jnagf gb unir frira zber oebguref, fb gung gurl pna or yvxr gur Fbaf bs Sënabe, bayl avar vafgrnq bs frira, naq Qrargube fgnegf znxvat n zbir ba uvf jvsr, "Fb, jung qb lbh guvax, ubarl?" naq Svaqhvynf vf onfvpnyyl, "V QBA'G GUVAX FB." 😀 😀 😀

  61. Mauve_Avenger says:

    I'm pretty sure it's a reference to the Toyota recalls. Prius was one of the models affected.

  62. etharei says:

    They also can’t light a fire, despite the cold and lack of warm meals, because the risk of being spotted is far too high.

    Yeah, when I was reading this I couldn't help but think about how big a change this must be for the Hobbits. At least the others in the Company were used to this kind of adventuring – but apart from the journey between Bree and Rivendell, the Hobbits hadn't really had much experience with limited supplies and irregular meals. At least the journey to Rivendell had a clear destination. None of them had any idea how long it would take to get to Mordor, or even where Mordor was. And yet they still kept on, with minimal complaint. It's just really amazing to me. But then I kind of adore them 😀

  63. AmandaNekesa says:

    "Oh, I’m in love. I am so in love." —-Today's review had me seriously excited. I love how much Mark is enjoying LotR, and his excitement about the journey to come is so precious.

    "Oh god, I get to spend time with these characters and I’ll get to grow to love them forever and it’s just going to be so wonderful!" —- Bu zna, Znex vf tbvat gb or gbgnyyl qrfgeblrq gb frr jung unccraf gb gur zrzoref bs gur Sryybjfuvc. Lrnu, lbh trg gb xabj gurfr punenpgref…naq gura Gbyxvra evcf bhg nyy bhe urnegf guebhtu gur fhssrevat naq qrnguf (npghny be nffhzrq) bs bhe zbfg orybirq punenpgref. Abg gbb sne naq jr'yy or ng gur Oevqtr bs Xunmnq-qhz fprar. Fbbbbbbbb vaperqvoyl hacercnerq, Znex vf.

    "Ubyq zr. Whfg ubyq zr." —- Vs Ovyob'f fbat vf rabhtu gb trg guvf fbeg bs ernpgvba sebz Znex, V pna bayl vzntvar ubj ur'f tbvat gb ernpg gb Tnaqnys'f snyy, Obebzve'f qrngu, Zreel & Cvccva'f pncgvivgl jvgu gur bepf, naq fbb znal bgure riragf gb pbzr. Fb znal grnef naq urnq nfcybfvbaf gb pbzr…

    "Abj V guvax jr jba’g frr Ovyob ntnva. V ernyyl fubhyq fgbc znxvat cerqvpgvbaf yvxr guvf orpnhfr V’z eneryl evtug, ohg gurer vf n qvfgvapg svanyvgl gb uvf tbbqolr gb Sebqb." —-Pna lbh vzntvar jung Znex'f ernpgvba vf tbvat gb or va EbgX jura jr abg bayl trg gb frr Ovyob, ohg jura ur naq Sebqb tb gb gur Terl Uniraf naq fnvy bhg jvgu Tnaqnys naq gur Ryirf?

    Pippin: “There must be someone with intelligence in the party”
    Gandalf: “Then you certainly will not be chosen, Peregrin Took!”

    Hahaha… <3 Pippin <3 Gandalf! <3

    John Howe art of the journey to Caradhras:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  64. notemily says:

    I forgot, now that we have the Fellowship all together, I can post more of Gingerhaze's Broship of the Ring!

    This was the first Broship picture she ever did, re-imagining "Aragorn as a rugged outdoorsman, Legolas as a private school pretty boy, and Gimli as a truck driver":

    <img src=""&gt;

    Here are Pippin and Merry as hipster hobbits:

    <img src=""&gt;

    I love Pippin's french press.

    One more in replies –

    • notemily says:

      Here is the Broship in the snow:

      <img src=""&gt;

      It was supposed to be "Happy Holidays from the Broship" but it could just as easily serve as an illustration for this very chapter!

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Hahaha…I love Broship of the Ring! I've only seen a few here and there, but all the ones I've seen have been so hilarious. The last one there just adds to the hilarity of Legolas' ability to just walk on top of the snow. I love how his feet are so small and his legs are so thin. It kind of goes against the practicality of how he's able to just walk on the snow. I live in Wisconsin, and from my experience with snow, the wider and more evenly you can distribute your weight on the snow, the easier to walk or glide over it, hence snowshoes & skis.

  65. notemily says:

    I had a Tolkien calendar a couple of years ago that was twelve months of nothing but Nasmith landscapes. It was gorgeous.

  66. notemily says:

    Bu, V frr. Jryy, V znqr nyy zl cvpgherf yvaxf gb gur bevtvany ghzoye cbfgf–V nyjnlf nffhzr gung crbcyr pyvpx ng gurve bja evfx, ohg V'yy chg n jneavat va sebz abj ba.

  67. Harlock says:

    Hey Mark,
    I might be wrong, but it seems you don't have a physical copy of the book, so this might be of use to you (except someone else already posted it): The map of Middle-Earth

    • floppus says:

      There was some discussion yesterday about maps, and I noticed that some versions of the Middle-earth maps contain spoilers for Book IV. (Pvevgu Hatby naq gur cngu yrnqvat guebhtu vg ner pyrneyl znexrq ba gur znc bs Zbeqbe.)

      The version linked above appears to be spoiler-free (does anybody see anything else I've missed?) Of course, some places on the map will appear in future chapters, while others won't; the map, like many aspects of Tolkien's world, is fairly well fleshed out, even the parts that have no relevance to the story. And many of the place names are Sindarin, so they won't mean much of anything to Mark or other first-time readers.

      I think having the map enhances the reading experience, but it's certainly not required for understanding the story. Mark, if you prefer not to know anything at all about places where our characters might or might not be travelling in the future, it's up to you.

  68. Hotaru_hime says:

    Caradhras is probably the meanest mountain that has ever existed. I don't know if Mount Doom has a personality, but daaaaamn, Caradhras is like "GURL NO, STOP CLIMBING, GTFO NOW."
    The One Ring clearly means nothing to him/her/it.

  69. beshemoth says:

    Yay, I love 'Mark Reads', sadly this bit; "WHAT THE FUCK CAN FRIGHTEN ARAGORN??? Is there something up that pass that will force him to bathe?"

    made me laugh curry out of my nose and THE AGONY, IT BURNS. I just thought I'd share in case anyone finds my five minutes of total misery brightens their day.

  70. Smurphy says:

    I don't like snow… this chapter doesn't help.

  71. Victoria Leigh says:

    For some reason I read 'Caradhras' as 'Canadians' and for a moment was puzzled as to why Gimli would blame them for the storm/rocks/what have you…and then I learned to read.

    Though that would be the most hilarious thing ever.

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