Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog – Lord of the Rings (Book II, Chapters 6-10)

What a terrible place to leave off with that last section, amirite?  All the anguish and suspense with “ZOMG, HE KILLED GANDALF!  YOU BASTARD BALROG!”

Thank goodness we have Aragorn to tell us that without Gandalf around THERE IS NO HOPE!  Jeez, Aragorn, calm it a bit, yeah?  No one wants to hear that things are up the creek, at least pretend everything’s going to be okay for two seconds.

Am I the only one who laughed at Gimli shaking his fist at the mountains?  Like, actually shaking his fist.  Hee!

Anyway, because they’re worried the Orcs will follow, they set out immediately.  Sam and Frodo fall behind (of course they do), and Aragorn washes Sam’s soon-to-be-infected cut and discovers Frodo’s mithril coat.  AH HA!  So, he really SHOULD be dead, but luckily he was saved by this precious gift that prior to this was just sitting in a museum with the rest of the mathoms in Michel Delving.

Here we have YET ANOTHER (and sadly not the last) argument about where to go and what to do.  They’re at the edge of Lothlórien, but Boromir doesn’t want to tarry, STRAIGHT ON TO MINAS TIRITH!  Look, I know he hasn’t even technically done anything yet, but I still want to punch Boromir in the junk every time he talks.  Am I the only one?

May ’77 Tolkien Calendar

So, Boromir’s shot down and they head into the Golden Forest, cross the stream (Nimrodel) – which washes away their weariness.  Can I get a Nimrodel in my backyard?  No?  Oh.  Bummer.  Legolas sings a song and they’re talking about climbing trees to sleep in for the night (which, btw, the hobbits are TOTALLY AGAINST – hobbits don’t even sleep on second stories, they are NOT ABOUT TO SLEEP IN TREES), when they’re hailed by Haldir from one of the VERY TREES THEY’RE ABOUT TO CLIMB.  Whoa.  There are no coincidences in Middle-Earth, are there?

Now, Haldir the Silvan Elf is one of the only elves of Lórien that speaks Westron, so it’s PRETTY DAMN LUCKY he was in that tree.  Of course, there is IMMEDIATE prejudice against Gimli (remember our Silmarillion history lessons, folks), but everyone sleeps in the trees for the night, and hears some scary sounds below – don’t worry, though, that’s just the sounds of Orcs being slain in the night.

Sidenote:  I am fighting VERY HARD against a movie rant, because Haldir has such a teeny tiny role in the book, but in THE MOVIES, he leads this charge of elves to where elves have no business being.  I will save that rant for the drinkalongs, though – you got lucky this time.

MOVING ON!  The elves insist on blindfolding Gimli cos no dwarf shall see the Naith of Lórien, but Aragorn says that as a show of solidarity, they’ll ALL be blindfolded.  Aw, Aragorn.  Maybe I’ll take back the douchey comments I made about you.  Maybe not, though – we’ll see.

So, they get to Cerin Amroth (the heart of the forest) and the Lady of Lothlórien has decided they can all remove their blindfolds.  Haldir points out the stronghold of the Necromancer (Dol Guldur) in far-off Mirkwood, which has become dark again, and they go back down to find Aragorn smiling over a leaf as he thinks of Arwen.  [sigh]  That’s not a good sigh.  I’m really glad the romance-y crap was relegated to the Appendices because I don’t like it in my story, but I’m kind of anti-romance in Quests, so that’s just me.

Our company arrives at Caras Galadhon, the great tree house city, just as the sun is setting.

Here we meet Celeborn and Galadriel, the lord and lady of Lórien.  There’s much discussion of the events we’ve already read – Celeborn TOTALLY blames the Dwarves for unearthing the Balrog and Galadriel essentially tells him to STSU.

Meg is worried no one else will think this is funny, but I’m still giggling.

There is a lot of nothing happening for many days – except for elves singing songs and Boromir being a jerk, oh and we find out that Galadriel is Elrond’s mother-in-law and therefore Arwen’s grandmother.  Then, one day, Galadriel asks Sam and Frodo if they want to see something cool.  She takes them to see her “mirror,” which is really just a bowl full of water.  Sam looks first and sees the Shire being destroyed and his da homeless.  He jumps up to head home RIGHT THEN, but Galadriel tells him “Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their paths to prevent them.”  He calms down – slightly.  BUT THEN FRODO LOOKS and sees what he thinks is Gandalf (but he’s all in white and isn’t he dead?), Bilbo pacing and a dark ship, a white fortress with seven towers – oh, and the vagina Eye of Sauron.

THEN Frodo notices the Ring on Galadriel’s finger and offers her HIS Ring.  She’s tempted and grows a bit ugly in that moment, but passes the test she has set for herself by refusing and muses that she will go into the West and remain herself.  It’s pretty important to keep in mind that at this point, she’s still considered one of the traitors by the Valar, so it would be kind of a big deal for her to be admitted to the Undying Lands.

Everyone prepares to leave, the elves give them boats, cloaks and Lembas bread.  Oh, and rope, so Sam’s happy.  As they’re floating down the river, they come across a giant swan boat which is carrying our lord and lady.  The company stops to share one last meal and everyone gets gifts!

Aragorn gets a jeweled sheath for his sword; Boromir, Merry and Pippin get belts; Legolas gets a bow and quiver of arrows; Sam gets a box of magic dirt; Frodo is given a small crystal that glitters with the light of Eärendil (which Kate has referred to as a Silmarilcrum and that makes me laugh).  Oh, but nothing for Gimli?  LET’S ASK HIM WHAT HE WANTS!  Well, Gimli has become quite taken with our lady during his time with the elves, so he asks for a single strand of her hair.  She does him two better, though, and gives him three.

The request to Meg for this picture said: “We need Gimli clutching the hairs Galadriel gave him to his dwarvish bosom!” She totally captured that, right?

Gimli weeps, knowing he will never see Lothlórien again and he and Legolas mourn this together.

Moving on down the river, Sam sees some black swans.  This does nothing but put this song in my head for the rest of this section.

Many days spent on the river.  Many, many days.  The biggest thing that happens here is Sam noticing they have a follower – on a log.  Sam and Frodo decide to keep this secret from everyone for some reason, but it turns out that Aragorn knew about it all along.  It’s obviously Gollum, who has somehow managed to keep up with them the entire time.

Moving faster to try to lose Gollum, they come upon the rapids of Sarn Gebir much sooner than Aragorn had thought and almost get dashed apart on the rocks in the middle of the night.  Smooth.  BUT THEN!  Arrows start flying at them and everyone thinks maybe Gollum has been ratting on them.  Really?  You’re surprised at this, why?  [sigh]

They manage to get to the other bank of the river and make their way downstream a bit in the morning, to pass through the Argonath (the Pillars of the King).  At this point, people start to notice that Aragorn isn’t so much Strider the Ranger anymore, but instead Aragorn, son of Arathorn, returning home from exile at last.  Aw, such a shame I’m about to ruin that touching moment with this picture.

They moor their boats beneath Amon Hen and spend the night at Parth Galen.  In the morning, Aragorn calls a meeting.  He thinks it’s time they decide what direction they’re going to take.  Most of the party is all for heading to Minas Tirith before they strike out for Mordor, but Frodo hasn’t made his decision yet.  He begs for some time alone to think on it, but in the middle of thinking Boromir shows up.

Frodo has a majorly bad feeling about this, which is only made worse when Boromir starts talking about what a pity it would be to destroy the Ring instead of using it for good.  He tries to get Frodo to show it to him and then makes as if to jump him after saying “well, you know the others would totally believe I overpowered you, HEY MAYBE I WILL!”

Frodo slips the Ring on and runs away.

Everyone else notices (finally) that Boromir is gone and that Frodo hasn’t returned.  Pippin, Merry and Sam all take off to find Frodo.  Aragorn catches up to Sam and tells him to follow him, but Sam has realized that Frodo probably decided to take off on his own.  “NOT WITHOUT ME!” he thinks, and heads back down to the boats to try to intercept him.  Frodo still has the Ring on, and is in the process of floating away.  Sam runs into the water and starts to drown, forcing Frodo to turn back and save him.

They go back ashore for just long enough to grab their packs, and then head back on down the river – alone.  Two hobbits on a very dangerous mission.

Brave little hobbits.

No discussion topics this time, guys.  Just post your thoughts on this section in the comments, yeah?

45 thoughts on “Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog – Lord of the Rings (Book II, Chapters 6-10)

  1. 1. Meg, the Celeborn & Kanye pic is BRILLIANT.
    2. SJ, I agree with your to-be-delayed rant about Haldir showing up where he ought not to in that later bit. [REST OF COMMENT REDACTED]
    3. What I love about the journeys in this part, and Frodo and Sam’s later, is just how much the former kingdoms have vanished. They are walking through the ruins of the Second Age, and it makes the story so much richer, IMHO. Now I have the Police’s “Walking in Your Footsteps” in my head.

  2. Pingback: Of barrow-wights and the balrog: Tolkien brings horror to Middle-earth | As You Were

  3. “Hair? Hair, Gimli? Seriously, dude, keep it together. You know they’ve got some AWESOME axes here. They’re probably all light, and never get dull, and sing you to sleep. No, not the hair! No the – awwwwww!!”

    • I need an axe that sings me to sleep. Remusly. I have the worst insomnia. And I’m sleeping in a BED and haven’t just fallen in love with an immortal GILF. But I have expressed my own filthy theories about Gimli’s plans for the hair over on my blog and yes I am ashamed of them but I can’t unthink them.

  4. The pictures are seriously awesome!!
    I was realizing that of the two: I much preferred Rivendel to Lothlorien. They’re both very cool and fantastical from the descriptions so it seems more a matter of preference for tree houses or waterfall views at that point.
    Oh, Frodo and Sam just make me happy, so brave and you’ve got to love the comraderie there. And Boromir gets on the irritating side pretty early on – pushy and sulky, nobody likes that.
    Another great synopsis, sj! The commentary always makes me laugh!

  5. This post made me laugh quite a bit. I just rewatched the movies recently (the extended versions where some parts are actually explained).

    BTW: You SHOULD do a movie rant. So many little things were changed between the books and the movies (like Merry being prepared for the journey, and sort of figuring out the “speak ‘friend’” door riddle) that it is rant-worthy.

    • Hi, thanks for stopping by! We’re doing a group watch/drinkalong of the movies in sections every Friday…until we’re done, I guess? So, I’m getting pretty ranty on twitter while we’re watching. I kind of tend to lose friends when I get SUPER WORKED UP about them, so I try not to do that too much in public. :)

  6. Aw, such a shame I’m about to ruin that touching moment with this picture.

    ZOMG I laughed so hard! I love Celeborn and Kanye, Golum on the log flume, and Aragorn on the pillars (even if with his facial hair and pose, he looks a little more scruffy third reich than third age).

  7. I hate to be the Boromir at this party, but that picture of Gimli looks more like a homeless person clutching a bottle of rotgut in a plastic shopping bag… or maybe an airline barf bag…
    (I am just kidding… please do not send me hate comments)…
    I will never forget the first time I read about Gandalf dying. I was in shock. Only later did I learn that he was written out of the books at his own request so that he could take a teaching position at Hogwarts… (Once again, just a bad joke)… Obviously he became one of the very first judges on American Idol, and… what?… that wasn’t him?… Oh, never mind…

  8. Y U showing Aragorn so much hate? Must you hate on the things I love?

    Gimli requesting a single golden hair was about the most romantic thing I have read. And also the most disturbing. Because he’s a dwarf. I don’t want to get all mushy over someone who isn’t human and who prefers hanging out in mines.

    I looked for Lembas bread at the grocery store. I was hoping I could incorporate it into my weight-loss program.

  9. Kanyedriel is gonna haunt my dreams, y’all. The awesomeness is equalled (just possibly surpassed) by the Viggonath. MEG <3<3<3

    And no, SJ, you are not the only one who pretty much wants to punch Boromir (Oh, Boromir) in the junk every time he speaks. He's the most two-dimensional character in the company anyway, and his last name might as well be Iscariot, and even re-reading for the ???th time and knowing full well that he is redeemed at the end, yeah, crotchpunch.

    • Yeah, he’s a total wet blanket. “ZOMG WTF THERE ARE ELVES IN LOTHLORIEN? That creeps me out more than orcs cuz we tell stories about them built on our debased knowledge of such things! Also, like, my DAD has a PALANTIR. I’m not supposed to know about that but I’m just sayin’.”

  10. There can never be enough “Imma let you finish.” I think I will be 95 in a nursing home and giggling over that. I have an odd sense of humor.

    Wait, we’re hating on Aragorn? He’s kind of my loverboy, too. He’s a little dreamy. But I’ll let Heather have him, because I’ll take Sam. (Although he’s kind of too short for me. Eh, I’ll make it work somehow. MY LOVE IS JUST THAT STRONG!!!)

    • No, not necessarily hate for Aragorn, but he’s kind of being a jerk here, isn’t he? He’s all OH WOE IS US SINCE WE HAVE NO GANDALF, THERE IS NO HOPE!

      Honestly, the hardest part of the movies for me is that now I have Sean Astin in my head when I think of Sam. :(

      • I like Sean Astin! I’m curious what he does with the role. I’m worried about the slapsticky-ness you warned me about, though. Sam is not a clown, Peter Jackson.

        Yeah, Aragorn got a little “OH NO OH NO” here. I kind of rolled my eyes. :)

  11. Are you kidding? Meg was worried we WOULDN’T THINK THAT WAS FUNNY?!?!?11/ Well she can stop worrying, because I was laughing so hard I nearly spilled beer on my keyboard and totally disabled my ability to explain that I thought it was awesome. Also the others. Especially the Aragorn heads.

    I love Lothlorien, but only because ZOMG TREEHOUSES.

  12. I am laughing so hard at the silly pictures–the Kanye one is definitely hilarious. Hahaha! Also, I didn’t seem to be overly upset about Gandalf, but I might have gotten teary-eyed over Bill the pony. WHY DO ANIMALS ALWAYS GET THE SHAFT? I’m not ok with this.

  13. Gimli’s appreciation of Galdriel is… awkward. I’m sure the whole party felt weird about it and decided not to bring it up, ever. xD

  14. “Thank goodness we have Aragorn to tell us that without Gandalf around THERE IS NO HOPE! Jeez, Aragorn, calm it a bit, yeah? No one wants to hear that things are up the creek, at least pretend everything’s going to be okay for two seconds.” = so, so funny, because … well, boats.

    Boromir totally makes me junk-punchy.

    I loved Lothlorien. Maybe its juxtaposition with the darkness and hostility of Moria makes it more than what it really is, but I so enjoyed reading that part. It rang truer to me? As though Tolkien invested more of *himself* in the descriptions and characters. Also, so little of it is in the movie (THANK YOU LAWD!), my images weren’t as polluted.

    I didn’t get weirded out by Gimli asking for Galadriel’s hair. It actually struck me as sweet (particularly in light of the history of dwarves/elves), and it occurred to me that it should have some significance that was never really developed.

    Meg’s picture = hysterical. But, my two favorite comments on this post have to be: “I looked for Lembas bread at the grocery store. I was hoping I could incorporate it into my weight-loss program” and Heather’s “Then let them be vegetarians.” The books are great, but my favorite part about this whole read-along is the collective sense of humor going on here. <3

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