Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 2, Chapter 6

The mourning of Gandalf's loss is both theatrical and minimalist.  Theatrical for lines such as:
"Farewell, Gandalf!"  he cried.  Did I not say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware?  Alas that I spoke true!"
Or even Gimli shaking his fist at the mountain.  Minamilist since at this point that's about the extent of their expression.

In many ways, this chapter is a setting piece.  The grandeur of this dwarven homeland, the ethereal beauty of Lothlorien.  Even the details of the river supersede any grief.  The emotions we do get are relief and wonder at the discovery of the mithril mail (as to the rarity of mithril - the dwarf has never beheld it), love of the land, and wariness at the fair and strange elven forest.

I find it interesting that in Gondor fear and uncertainty of the elves has started growing.  That Boromir espouses the belief that "few come out who once go in; and of that few none have escaped unscathed," indicates that this isn't just rumors and fear among the populace but a living concern among the governing class.  This may not just be the influence of Saron, but an issue of isolation and tribalism.  The elves are different, and as their age wanes they withdraw more and more from the world at large.  Aragorn nails it with "Say not unscathed, but if you say unchanged, then maybe you speak the truth."  Rivendell is a elfhame, but is more of a sanctuary at large, "the Last Homely House."  Lothlorien is singularly a elfhame and the Lady Galadriel makes Elrond look like a common youth.  This is a place that reminds men how different they are from elves.

But then it's not just the men who are wary, but the elves of Lothlorien closely guard their home and secrets, and have long memory of past enmity.  It's not quite xenophobia, lacking rancor and hatred, but a very stringent caution and distrust of outsiders.  They may insist on a blindfold for Gimli, but they aren't rude about it.  Just very, very emphatic on the rules.  Aragorn plays the diplomat, insisting that the entire company, Legolas included, wear a blindfold, which is probably the most even way to handle the situation.

The heart of Lothlorien is like nothing else our travelers have encountered.  Frodo remarks that "I thought Elves were all for moon and stars: but this more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of.  I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning."  I feel that is a really wonderful description, especially with the musicality of elves.


In the film the pain of loss is much more dramatically displayed, as is the antagonism between dwarfs and elves.  The mystical otherness of Lady Galadriel is heightened, with the dwarf speaking of a great witch and her speaking directly in Frodo's thoughts.  There is little warmth or friendliness in the greeting of the native elves, with even Legolas drawing his bow in defense.  All in all, the chapter is translated into a very short passage, slicing through the focused admiration on the surrounding environment and the majority of fears.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Queerbrarian

ONCE BROKEN FAITH - Q&A with Seanan McGuire + Giveaway!

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 5, Chapter 10