In the eighth chapter of the second book of The Fellowship of the Ring, the Company bids goodbye to the Elves as they head into the uncertainty of the future. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.
CHAPTER EIGHT: FAREWELL TO LÃ“RIEN
This chapter provides a strange sensation that I can’t say I’ve experienced before: I feel like the journey is just beginning.
We’re nearing the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, and despite all that’s happened, it’s as if this book has been born anew, that there’s a second chance for everything, and that I should have long ago just admitted that it’s impossible to be prepared for any of this. No, seriously, there are hundreds of pages left, a million things have happened, and I still have no clue what’s going on. Okay, yes, I’m exaggerating. But there are so many details to keep track of, new motivations to account for, and the sheer unfamiliarity of the journey ahead to think about.
The loss of Gandalf is so immense at this point because Tolkien has stripped away what he represents literally and metaphorically: knowledge. That’s not to say that Boromir, Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli aren’t knowledgeable, that they don’t possess information that will help them on their quest to destroy the Ring. I think we’ll get the chance to see all four of them help out the Company in the future. However, what I picked up pretty quickly is that pretty much no one knows what it is they should do after leaving LothlÃ³rien. They’re given choices and the most minimal of counsel, but it’s all a mystery to them. That’s not the most ideal of situations, of course, but you’ll have to allow me to be really selfish right now: this excites me to no end. I mean, if the characters aren’t even prepared for this shit, that means I am on another astral plane of unpreparedness.
The time comes for the Company to leave LÃ³rien, and I wasn’t surprised that all eight surviving members agreed to press on. Despite whatever it was that Galadriel “showed” them, they chose to stay with Frodo as long as they could. MY BABIES. Wait, aren’t all these characters older than me? Whatever, I’m treating them like they’re my children now. My children go through a long and touching ceremony as Galadriel and Celebron bid them goodbye. Actually…okay, I’m trying to think of a good example and I’m coming up empty, but have you ever seen a movie that “ended” like fifteen times? That’s what the bulk of chapter eight is: Galadriel and Celeborn say goodbye to the Company, and then do it again two pages later, then do it again, then when we think they’re just out of range that the Elves are gone forever, there’s a feast. I know it’s not supposed to be funny, but I laughed. Still, there’s a lot of important information given in this chapter that really isn’t that funny.
- It seems Boromir is leading the way for a bit, as they’ve chosen to follow the west side to head to Minas Tirith. As much as I understand it, they’ll head there to gather an army of sorts before heading to face the Dark Lord. Also, Boromir is acting strange about the Ring? I can’t really tell what Tolkien is hinting at, honestly.
- The Company genuinely doesn’t know what to do without Gandalf. I know I said that already, but it’s stressed so heavily in this chapter in a way that’s not just sad, but in order to cast a sense of doubt and fear over the future. It’s a brilliant choice that couldn’t have been easy to write because it gives this book such a fascinating dynamic, especially as we move into the next volume. These characters DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. They aren’t even sure they know what to do with the Ring. For all the talk of destroying it, it’s still never explicitly stated as a certain thing.
- I really want to eat waybread.
- I want one of those cloaks made by the Elves.
- I want too many fictional things. Meh.
- This isn’t really information that’s “learned” so much as something I want to point out because I enjoyed it so much: I adore the image of the land that stretches before them after they pass through the green wall on the opposite side of the city. IT’S SO PRETTY.
- I don’t know what hithlain is, but it seems cool? Also, I love that the Elves are constantly like WHAT IS MAGIC WE HAVE NEVER HEARD THIS WORD WHATEVER ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. Especially since it’s not at all ironic or weird! They genuinely don’t have that word in their vocabulary!
- Okay, I’m only putting this down so that it’s easier to remember how the Company is split up, because I imagine I’m going to need to know this later. Boat #1, aka Excellent Party Time Adventure: Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam. Boat #2, aka MOST SERIOUS OF ALL SERIOUSNESS: Boromir, Merry, and Pippin. Boat #3, aka EPIC BROMANCE BFF: Legolas and Boromir.
- Again, I can’t help but laugh that all were bid farewell, and then the come upon a boat that looks exactly like a giant swan, and then Celeborn and Galadriel are like JUST KIDDING ONE MORE GOODBYE LEFT. This is my favorite thing ever, I swear.
- I don’t need to repeat it here, but I know that if somehow, I was in this book, if Galadriel tried to give me directions for how to steer down the River to head the correct way to Minas Tirith, I would get lost. WRITE THAT SHIT DOWN. To be fair, I’m sure Boromir and Aragorn understood her. I DON’T. It’s actually something I’ve been meaning to point out that’s kind of fascinating to me. Tolkien does not bother to explain names. Almost ever. It’s hard for me to keep track of them, and I always wonder if I’m referring to things correctly. (My great tragedy, though, is that I cannot Google anything to determine if my name-usage is correct because of SPOILERS.) While it can be confusing and overwhelming, there’s a part of me that loves it. He drops us into his world, and in that world, characters would rarely stop to explain what they mean when referring to places. I like that.
- I refuse to let this go: after drinking the cup of parting, Lady Galadriel still won’t let them leave. SERIOUSLY WHY IS THIS SO FUNNY TO ME
Before they finally do leave, though, Lady Galadriel continues to win my heart and make me her #1 stan of all time. I am just enamored with the idea of her character, how complex she is, and how she has these two distinct sides to her. I’VE KNOWN HER FOR TWO CHAPTERS. Oh, but was I prepared for her to get even more complicated? Of course not. She makes quite a gorgeous spectacle out of giving the members of the Company parting gifts from the Elves. Aragorn is gifted a BeDazzled sheath, and it’s wonderful, and is asked if there’s anything else he might need:
‘Lady, you know all my desire, and long held in keeping the only treasure that I seek. Yet it is not yours to give me, even if you would; and only through darkness shall I come to it.’
Oooh, how mysterious of him! I love a man that’s coy.
‘For the gifts that you have given me I thank you,’ he said, ‘O Lady of LÃ³rien of whom were sprung CelebrÃan and Arwen Evenstar.’
WAIT. WHAT? ARWEN? THE ARWEN? DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT ARWEN IS GALADRIEL’S GRANDDAUGHTER? WHAT THE HELL. WHAT THE FUCK. oh my god MY BRAIN. THIS CHANGES GALADRIEL’S AND ARAGORN’S RELATIONSHIP INSTANTLY. Why can’t he just be with Arwen? I AM SO LOST I DON’T GET THIS AT ALL. what alsdkjfa;lskd ah ahh dh a;sdjf
i am so in love so in love
Also Aragorn gets a brooch? This is perfect. Actually, Sam’s gift might be the most perfect thing ever. I love that his gift is given with the understanding of hope, that he might be able to use once he returns home to the Shire. Can I just predict that I think Sam will survive by the end of the novel? Unless Tolkien put this here specifically to break my heart….oh great. TOO MUCH I NEED TO DEAL WITH ALREADY.
Then Gimliâ€“that sly little romantic!â€“first denies his gift and then eloquently asks for….hair? I mean, ultimately, the idea of setting her hair in stone to act as a “pledge of good will between the Mountain and the Wood until the end of days” is spectacular, but I admit to feeling really weird about taking someone’s hair. Of course, that’s because I didn’t know what an honor this would be for Lady Galadriel. Also it’s because I would seriously be the worst character in a fantasy novel ever. In a way, it’s why I ultimately like Tyrion from A Song of Ice and Fire, despite that he’s gross, because he’s the closest representation to what I might be like in a world like this: the dude who talks his way out of everything. I can do that! I can’t fight worth a damn or suggest romantic things to do with an Elves’s hair.
What I can do, however, is talk about how much I love the dual nature of Galadriel:
Frodo took the phial, and for a moment as it shone between then, he saw her again standing like a queen, great and beautiful, but no longer terrible.
So Frodo can see a side of her no one else can, and it’s because he is the owner of the Ring. I am curious if Celeborn himself knows of this other side, or how much he knows about the conditions of LÃ³rien. I’m intrigued by this idea that Galadriel has only chosen to trust Frodo out of necessity at first, since he can see her plainly for who she is, and how that’s developed into something else. Of course, the rapidity of it all is impressive. No other character has gotten as much depth as she has!
So it’s with great sadness that I also had to accept that I might not see Galadriel ever again. The Company is also full of the same grief because the wonder of LÃ³rien is now behind them. Their future holds total uncertainty, and that city represents hope and dependability. It’s why the imagery that Tolkien provides as the characters drift along the River is so haunting to me. The silence, the ghostly trees, the setting sun, and the lack of stars all give their journey a sense of vacancy.
They’re not longer safe.