As a sort of New Years Resolution, I’ve decided to elliptical my way from Hobbiton to Mordor, following Frodo and Sam’s path from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Each day, I do a few miles and then read about the same miles the hobbits covered, before writing about the whole thing in the blog. Here’s today’s entry:
Another four miles brings us to only the second camp our hobbits have made since setting out. They have been on the road for two days, but it has taken me ten to get to Woody End. Of course, they’re traveled 18 and 28 miles the first two days. Today’s four miles were covered quickly, Frodo, Sam, and Pippin walking with Gildor and the other High Elves. When they got to Woody End – a clearing overlooking the town of Woodhall, nearing the Brandywine River – the Elves quickly built or made appear a sort of hall. Hewn tree trunks were their seats and the bows of trees their roof. It seems quite similar to how the Elves in Mirkwood held their outdoor parties. Gildor and Frodo stayed up talking.
Thoughts on the Passage – p 81-83 (of the 50th Anniversary Edition)
The walk itself is covered in only a single, beautifully-written paragraph, while the rest of the chapter is the conversation between Gildor and Frodo. Here is where two of the most famous Lord of the Rings quotes are spoken.
First, Frodo explains that Gandalf is late, and that gave Gildor pause: “‘I do not like this news,’ he said at last. ‘That Gandalf should be late, does not bode well. But it is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.'”
Second, Frodo counters the advice with a much-needed bit of sass: “‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo, ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'”
Gildor had never heard that one before (so he implied), but agreed nevertheless. He then went on to be an exemplar of the idea. After warning Frodo that he should not travel alone, Frodo asked him to explain the Black Riders. “‘Is it not enough to know that they are servants of the Enemy?’ answered Gildor. ‘Flee them! Speak no words to them! They are deadly. Ask no more of me!'” It’s a lovely part of the narrative that the reader doesn’t know anything more about the Nazgul than Frodo.
Two other things caught my eye. The first thing that Frodo asked Gildor was whether he had seen Bilbo (he had – twice). I love that he brought that up first. The Elves rescued them from the Black Rider, and by that time Frodo pretty well understood that it was about the Ring. But still, he longed most to see Bilbo.
The other thing was the second use of Elf-friend. This time, Gildor subtly hints at its weight: “The Wandering companies shall know of your journey, and those that have power for good shall be on the watch. I name you Elf-friend’ and may the stars shine upon the end of your road!” Still, it seems more of an honorary title given out of a sort of friendliness, but this time it’s like Gildor is knighting Frodo (in a way).
Yesterday, I called Gildor (and most Elves) dickish. This was deserved, but in the end, Gildor redeems himself: “Seldom have we had such delight in strangers, and it is fair to hear words of the Ancient Speech from the lips of other wanderers in the world.” That last sentence packs so much.
Whereas the Elves at first called the hobbits “boring,” here, Gildor telling Frodo that they were delighted to have met them. Also, when they first met and Frodo spoke a greeting to them in Quenyan, Gildor actually made fun of him. Now, however, he told Frodo how much it was appreciated.
Why can’t Elves just be nice from the start? First impressions seem incredibly difficult for them. Take this line from the Children of Hurin: ‘And Mablung [an Elf] hailed him, crying: “Turin! Well met at last. I seek you, and glad I am to see you living, though the years have been heavy on you.”‘
You couldn’t just stop with “Glad I am to see you living,” could you, Mabby? Just had to be a dick about it.
“Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.” (of course)
Thoughts on the Exercising
No DailyBurn ads today! Thank you! Now I feel quite a bit better about my flabby self. Again with the four miles, but hey, even I deserve a break. Besides, it brought me squarely to Woody End.
So after ten days of exercising, I feel quite a bit better (except where I have legs), but I’ve gained five pounds. Is that weird? I’m not really sure. But since I’m not really in it to lose weight (just to get into better shape), I suppose I’m okay with it. I’d much rather see it go the other way, however. All in all, I’m pretty happy. And I hope you are, too!
- Miles today: 4
- Miles thus far: 46
- 17 miles to Farmer Maggot’s
- 89 miles to Bree
- 194 miles to Weathertop
- 412 miles to Rivendell
- 1,733 miles to Mt. Doom
Today’s stopping place: Finally to Woody End – the second encampment of our hobbits! (Map)