Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog – Lord of the Rings (Book III, Chapters 1-5)

Woo!  We’ve read A LOT together so far, and if you count it as 4 books that we’re reading (instead of really just two), we’re half done!  Lots and lots of awesome posts on everything related to what we’ve read so far – make sure you give a visit to the people who are participating, you can find as comprehensive a list as I’ve been able to gather here.

When we left our little group, they’d started to fracture.  Boromir tried to steal the Ring from Frodo, so Frodo and Sam took off for Mordor by themselves.  Boromir came back and gave a fictional recounting of what had happened atop the hill and Aragorn sent him to follow Pippin and Merry to keep them safe.

Here, we find out that Boromir TRIED to keep them safe, but the halflings were taken by orcs and Boromir was killed.  But not before he admits to Aragorn that he tried to take the Ring and that he feels WAY BAD about it.  The song Aragorn and Legolas sing for Boromir makes me cry, but Gimli’s comment that they’ve left the East Wind for him ALWAYS makes me sob.

Aragorn decides to keep this information to himself.  He, Gimli and Legolas decide it will be easier/quicker to give him a burial at sea river with all of his weapons than to try to light a pyre or build a cairn.

They then take off RUNNING after the group of orcs that absconded with Merry and Pippin.

Summary of the next thirty pages:

runrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrun

Much running, then talking about whether to keep running, then MORE running, then MORE talking about running – am I the only one imagining the conversation happening while they’re jogging in place? [shrug]

So, they find hobbit prints and one of the little brooches given to them in Lothlorien. What does this mean? Are they safe, or were they killed. Only one way to find out. MOAR RUNNING!

Before they actually catch up with the band of orcs and Uruk-hai (bearing the mark of Saruman, no less), they meet a bunch of Rohirrim. ROHAAAAAN!

We meet Éomer [sigh] who tells them.

  1. The Rohirrim have already killed all the orcs.
  2. There were no little people among them.
  3. They shouldn’t go bandying around Gandalf’s name, cos he’s kind of persona non grata after taking off with Shadowfax.

There’s some palavering, and Éomer gives them two horses (because Gimli doesn’t like to ride anymore than Samwise likes boats), which our three ride to the pile of burnt orc carcasses.

BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO PIPPIN AND MERRY?!

Well!  They were forced to run and drink Orcish energy drinks to keep running and they were almost eaten several times AND they witnessed several orc fights, but!  The Rohirrim show up and pen them all in and there’s a mighty fight.  Pip and Merry only just escape because an orc that was trying to take off with them made the mistake of pulling out his knife (not a euphemism) and was killed by one of Éomer’s men.

Their awesome cloaks allow them to escape detection, and they go crawling off into Fangorn EVEN THOUGH Elrond told them way back in Rivendell that it was a stupid idea.

This is where they meet….

TREEBEARD!

(Yes, I know we’ve used this picture before, shut up – it makes us happy.)

So, Treebeard is an Ent.  What’s an Ent?

Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each. The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping grey beard, bushy, almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating.

Not to be confused with Huorns, which Treebeard doesn’t like to talk about, but they appear to have been Ents that became more treeish?  It’s all very confusing.

Anyway, Treebeard comes across a little Dread Pirate Roberts-y at first.

Good night, Pippin and Merry.  Good work.  Sleep well.  I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

Okay, so maybe he didn’t say that, but this whole first section here is mostly just set up for the stuff that’s coming later, so you can’t blame me for trying to make it a little funnier, can you?

Treebeard takes Pippin and Merry back to his Enthouse, gives them a drink of something that will come into play later on and has them tell him all about everything that’s happened so far.  Ents take a long time to do anything, but Treebeard is quick to anger when he learns of Saruman’s dastardly deeds, so he calls an Entmoot.  Before people started misusing ‘mute’ for ‘moot,’ it actually meant a meeting, so it’s exactly what it sounds like.  An Ent Meeting.

All the Ents meet and talk for three or four days and the hobbits are entertained by the youngest Ent, whose mind is already made up.  AND THEN!  DECISION MADE!  The ents go to war!  YAY!

Back with our running trio, they’ve found Pippin and Merry’s footprints heading into Fangorn, and decide to also ignore Elrond’s advice because they go into the forest after them.

This turns out to not be such a bad idea, though, because guess who they meet?

GANDALF, YAY!  Only, he is no longer Gandalf the Grey, he’s all in white now and makes a comment about how he’s there to replace Saruman.

I am Saruman, or rather Saruman as he should have been.

But wait, Gandalf!  We totally saw the Balrog take you down?  What happened there?

Well, there was a huge fight with the Balrog that lasted a VERY long time (eight days, I think?).  The Balrog DID die (and destroyed the side of the mountain when he fell), but Gandalf died as well.  He spent an undetermined time wandering the void before he was resurrected as Gandalf the White.

Then there’s a bit of an argument with Aragorn about going to Minas Tirith or ROHAAAAAAN!  Gandalf wins, obvs, and calls to Shadowfax to bring some other horses with them so they can ride.

Discussion Topics

  • Who’s actually caught up with the reading?  Does the pace need to be slowed?  I realize we’re running like Gimolas and Aragorn – should we move to a jog so that everyone can catch up?
  • What do you think happened to the Entwives?  Are they still out there somewhere, or were they destroyed?
  • Hrm, hoom.  I got nothing.
  • I wrote some of this after the drinkalong last night.  Can you guess which parts?
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21 thoughts on “Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog – Lord of the Rings (Book III, Chapters 1-5)

  1. I am behind on the reading, but it’s because I’m loaded down with freelance work at the mo. When it’s done I’m sure I’ll catch up. Taking all summer to read LOTR at this pace is actually kinda nice!

  2. I really wished we would meet some Entwives. Must be the zookeeper in me who doesn’t want a species (especially a sentient one) to go extinct.

    I will be totally out of pocket this week, but I’ve read it so many times that I may participate in discussions later.

  3. I’m up to date on the reading, but this is because I really have no life, so if others would like the pace slowed, I’m fine with that.

    I love Treebeard and the Ents. I hope their wives are out there somewhere. Maybe the Lorax is keeping them safe.

  4. I’m behind on the reading but in a happy way — I read SO FAR AHEAD and had to take a break and now I am excited to be behind because I don’t have to stop as quickly. It is SO HARD to pace myself. Especially with the Ents! I love the Ents. I was just writing yesterday about one of my favorite books from my childhood and how it very weirdly reminds me of LoTR, and now I’m actually pretty sure it’s because Treebeard is kind of like one of the Animal People.

  5. OH GOD, I can’t stop laughing at the Running Men. Cannot. Stop. Also Shadowfax. SHOW US THE MEANING OF HASTE. Ow, my face!

    Yes, I’ve always been a big Ent fan, but this time around I find I’m tired of talking about them because Old Forest Huorniness. This time around I’m all about Pippin’s interior journey. He’s awfully hard on himself when he comes to. It’s okay, Pip! Your hero time is coming soon! The Witch King awaits…

  6. I just caught up an hour ago! Woot! I should be fine with keeping up now that I have caught up.

    Love the jogging Aragorn and Legolas…did that chapter wear you down as much as it did me? I’m beat!

    I hope the Entwives are out there! I loved that story.

  7. I’m actually caught up with the reading, for once. But this is because I put down Fellowship to give myself a fresh start now. But I had a derecho that sort of gave me a bad start and I skimmed Treebeard’s hmm hooms. But yeah, slowing down would be nice, but if I’m the only one, don’t do it on my account.

    Love Aragorn’s abs and Legolas’s pink running shorts.

    I like how in these chapters we see Pippin do some smart things. The movies make him out to be such a buffoon.

  8. Run run abs! run run runnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

    I am caught up! But will soon get behind if my stupid library doesn’t give me the stupid third book. Stupid stupid.

    I want to see the Entwives so badly! I’m holding out hope.

  9. Another completely random thought: Aragorn putting his ear to the ground to hear the orcs’ footsteps reminds me of a story I heard in college about Thomas De Quincey saying that his favorite part of the Arabian Nights was when the magician put his ear to the ground to hear the footsteps of the one who can help him find the lamp (Aladdin). De Quincey may have been on opium when he read the books because, as far as I know, there is no version of the Aladdin story where the magician does this.

    (This had nothing to do with anything. I apologize.)

  10. The pace is brisk, but I can keep up with the reading. The blogging is the tough part. :) Run Shadowfax, we must catch that car! xD

  11. The skinny Legolas in the pink running shorts may be the funniest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.
    Boromir trying to steal the ring is such a huge part of the story. He just wants to save his kingdom. His motives are not bad. And the ring is exerting some kind of evil power to pull him towards it. The two just work together. It shows the fallibility of the human race. But he does lay down his life in the end. I love the fact, once again, that Tolkien doesn’t make black and white characters. They all have inner demons and weaknesses.
    I always loved getting to the Ent part. Ents rock.
    The Ent wives will be along shortly… they had to brush their leaves…

  12. I love the Princess Bride meme creeping in here and over at Kate of Mind. (Aragorn and Humperdinck DO have an uncanny tracking ability…) And if you want to modify the drinkalong, swap out the Sam/Frodo man-love moments for every line of Sean Astin’s where he might as well be saying “As you wish.” Can’t you just hear him saying that, with a “Mr. Frodo” tacked on? No? It’s just me? All right then.

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