Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

The Hall of Fire's extended chapter by chapter discussion of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
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Voronwë the Faithful
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Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

As this chapter begins, we (and Aragorn) bid farewell to Gandalf. As we trudge along with the company along the long road, we take a side trip with Gimli and Frodo (and Sam, of course) to Durin's stone, where the father of the dwarves first looked into the Mirrormere. When we look, we see the "the forms of the encircling mountains mirrored in a profound blue, and the peaks were like plumes of white flame above them; beyond there was a space of sky. There like jewels sunk in the deep shone glinting stars, though sunlight was in the sky above." But no shadow of our own forms can be seen, and later, when asked, we are too sunk in thought to speak of what we have seen.

We continue on towards the woods of Lothlórien, fairest of the dwellings of Legolas's people. Soon Frodo and Sam lag behind, and Aragorn stops to tend to their hurts. It is then that Frodo's "pretty hobbit-skin to wrap an elven-princeling in" is discovered. But Frodo soon also hears the quick patter of small feet and catches a glimpse of two tiny gleams of light like eyes in the dark.

As we approach the hidden wood, Boromir reveals himself to be a reflection of how much wisdom has waned in Gondor (as his brother would not have), balking at entering the "perilous land" of the Golden Wood. He is quickly rebuked and corrected by Aragorn, and as we hear the voice of Nimrodel, "the music of the waterfall running sweetly in the shadows," Legolas sings to us of the Elf-maiden for which it is named, and tells us something of her tale.

As we prepare to climb the trees on the border of the Wood to spend the night, we are waylaid by the Elven border guards, who note that we breath so loudly that they can hear our breaths. After some discussion, we spend the night on high flet in the tress with our hosts. Frodo again sees two pales eyes, and shadowy figure, which flees from Haldir the Elf.

We cross the Silverlode, and then are blindfolded, after both the Dwarf and the Elf show that stubbornness is an interspecies trait. But we can sense that we are entering some place that has known evil, but upon which no shadow lays. Messages are received from the Lord and Lady, and our blindfolds are removed, just as we reach Cerin Amroth, the heart of the ancient realm as it was long ago. In his inimitable way, Sam sums up what we feel: ‘It’s sunlight and bright day, right enough,’ he said. ‘I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.’ But Aragorn is wrapped in fair memory, and the grim years are wiped from his face, as he speaks Elvish words to someone that only he can see: 'Arwen vanimelda, namárië!'
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Post by kzer_za »

Not ready yet, but I will be posting some thoughts!
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Good.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Post by Smaug's voice »

Thoughts...

The whole chapter is extremely poetic and wonderful, the very best kind. All right, maybe Lothlórien seems more so because it is Lothlórien - but - maybe also after the long underground darkness - the images of lakes, mountains, rivers and trees under the sun and dark nightly skies described in this chapter are so vivid that I can almost feel being in there when reading this chapter. The chapter functions like a tranquilizer, absorbing the reader back into the story, making them comfortable in it after what the reader went through in, what is probably one of the most pulse-racing chapters in the book.

I cannot possibly stop at all things, I would have to quote the whole chapter to capture its beauty, and even that probably won't be possible. The focus on the beauty of the Mirrormere, mountains, first trees of Lothlórien, the falls of Nimrodel and the early morning on talan and the moment when the visitors' eyes can see Naith for the first time, and Cerin Amroth as described here. I would have to stop at the image of Nimrodel, as it seems to contain very strongly the trait many of Middle-Earth's rivers, or waters overall have - the ability to convey a message, and the magnetism of the water itself (Frodo does not want to leave), not to speak of its beauty. And here comes also the tale about Amroth and Nimrodel (which actually I read for the first time from UT a few months back only!!), which is a beautiful and sad tale, even though just outlined here, but by a song which is just so very beautiful and perfect.

I can't say much on many of the other things as I get so overwhelmed by the images of nature in Middle-earth every time I read it, as I said above. Though, adding a personal remark, I actually discovered that close to the end of the chapter, Frodo together with Haldir look at Dol Guldur. Till now, I had somehow completely missed out on the significance of that (a side effect of the hobbit film maybe?)

And the last thing. I also realised it on later readings that we probably learn about Uglúk's company already in this chapter. No, I don't mean the Orcs who pursue Fellowship into Lórien - if we are to trust Haldir's words, "neither of them will leave Lórien alive". But he mentions a squad of Orcs going to Moria several days ago. Now these clearly cannot be the Moria Orcs - they could also be the Uruks from Mordor mentioned in the previous chapter; however Uglúk's company also had some Orcs from Moria with them. The argument for these Orcs not being Mordor Orcs would be the direction from which they reputedly came - I would assume Mordor Orcs would come from the east; while these headed northwards across the rivers (?). So, who knows...
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Smaug's voice wrote:The whole chapter is extremely poetic and wonderful, the very best kind. All right, maybe Lothlórien seems more so because it is Lothlórien -
Or maybe Lothlórien seems more Lothlórienish because the chapter is so poetic and wonderful. ;)

Nice thoughts!
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Post by kzer_za »

Well, I'm going to talk about one particular part that I had completely forgotten about before my (now finished) re-read: Amroth and Nimrodel. I went back and re-read the relevant portion of Unfinished Tales too, and I will be including that as well; hope you don't mind. We don't really know much about it, but it's an interesting fragment of a story. One especially interesting bit from Unfinished Tales is that Nimrodel, as a Silvan, refuses to wed Amroth because she blames the Noldor for bringing evil to Middle-earth. She does eventually agree to marry him if they go to a land of peace in west, but then they get separated in Gondor (the details are hazy).

She falls into a "deep sleep of weariness" in the White Mountains, and eventually Amroth's fleet is forced to sail west without her. Amroth tries to swim back to shore when his ship sails off and presumably drowns.

It's an interesting and sad story, isn't it? The idea that Nimrodel may still be wandering the earth reminds me of Maglor.

There is obvious similarity to Aldarion and Erendis with the sea keeping them apart. Tolkien sure wrote a lot of troubled couples, especially for someone with a happy marriage. Some went beyond "troubled" to completely messed up and dysfunctional, like Eöl/Aredhel or Túrin/Nienor. Even the happy ones like Beren and Lúthien are often (though not always) tragic in some way. But there is a lot of variety in these romantic couples too. I'm sure Tolkien scholars have examined this in more detail.
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Morwenna »

One thing that struck me back then and still strikes me now is the line about the colors looking fresh as if newly created. It's a feeling I've had most of my life, that I could almost remember from my childhood scenes and colors that were so wonderfully sharp and clear. Talk about joy that pierces!
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

kzer_za wrote:Tolkien sure wrote a lot of troubled couples, especially for someone with a happy marriage.
While he certainly did have a happy marriage overall, there also were troubles in his relationship with Edith, as is the case in any long relationship.
Morwenna wrote:One thing that struck me back then and still strikes me now is the line about the colors looking fresh as if newly created. It's a feeling I've had most of my life, that I could almost remember from my childhood scenes and colors that were so wonderfully sharp and clear. Talk about joy that pierces!
That is the kind of observation that makes Tolkien such a wonderful author.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Morwenna »

There's a bit of Elven culture expressed here that one doesn't usually think of: gardening. Cerin Amroth is not wild, the way most of Lothlórien is; it's carefully planned out. The Elves were "building" with living trees.

No wonder Galadriel will show a soft spot for Sam in succeeding chapters!
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Morwenna »

Hello, is it time for a new chapter?
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I wish more people would participate consistently, but sure, I'll get a new chapter started and see if it generates any discussion. Or if you want to, that would be great!
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Primula Baggins »

I am still interested, and maybe the nearness of the holidays will lead me back to reading the chapters again.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Morwenna »

I haven't even been re-reading, just running off memory. I suppose I can wrench myself off the computer at night and actually read! :D Well, I read it last about a year ago, when I got my new "soft" hardcover, but that doesn't mean I remember details all the time!
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by WampusCat »

A personal thought as we rest in Lothlórien.

From the first time I read this chapter, it woke in me such a sense of wonder that for a long time any experience of great beauty or awe took me back to the Golden Wood. I clearly remember summer nights in bed under an open window, the attic fan pulling in a balmy breeze and making the pale cotton curtains billow. I would let the moonlit curtains blow past me, cutting me off from the dull everyday world and leaving me a clear sight-line to moon and stars. I would lie there in a place of lovely otherness and say to myself, "This is Lothlórien. This is what it is to be in that enchanted land."

What a hold Tolkien had on the mind and heart of an imaginative 10-year-old girl. What I remember most on those nightly trips to the heart of Elvendom in Middle-earth is the odd mixture of intense longing and perfect delight. And those are still the emotions I feel when I read this chapter.
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Pearly Di »

This is one of my very favourite chapters, and one I will reread, over and over again. :) The effect on me is spiritual: almost like a devotional exercise, such is the intense beauty and restorative, healing power of this sequence.

The creation of the Elves in The Silmarillion has the same effect on me (and other passages in Sil.)

:love:
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by ArathornJax »

Okay, I am home sick today and last day of school for two weeks is tomorrow. I will commit to catching up to where you all are and participating. I am up for a re-read and have the time for it. I'll catch up to you all by December 27th. Count me in.
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2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

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Wonderful thoughts from all.
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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Inanna »

I have been planning a re-read for a while. Will do that & stay connected here.


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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Beorhtnoth »

Lothlorian is a chapter that gives the reader time to breathe, if not the protagonists. There are some beautiful and subtle character developments, specifically Gimli and Legolas, that presage major thematic beats.

However...

I have one major criticism; Gollum. He is introduced too early and his behaviour out of character.

By too early, I mean the rapidity with which he tracked the Fellowhip, from Moria and in daylight (he precedes the Orcs by hours). The Bridge in Moria was no more, but Gollum never lost their trail.

By out of character I mean the ease with which Gollum scales the Mellyrn. The Fellowship were camped in the heart of Elvendom, some mile or more from the eaves, and yet no ill effects. Contrast with Elven rope!

A small grumble, I know. :D

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Re: Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlórien

Post by Frelga »

Beorhtnoth wrote:Lothlorian is a chapter that gives the reader time to breathe, if not the protagonists. There are some beautiful and subtle character developments, specifically Gimli and Legolas, that presage major thematic beats.
I think this is a really important point. Because Tolkien gives us this chapter in Lothlórien instead of just saying "they rested and moved on", we as readers get to travel at the pace of the characters. We rest when they do, trudge through boring terrain when they do, and rush into action with them, instead of taking our breaks away from the characters.
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