Faithless is He Who Says Farewell When the Road Darkens

After a stay of two months at Elrond’s Homely House, Frodo, Sam, Pippen, Merry, Aragorn, Gandalf and a whole slew of new characters set off from Rivendell with the mission to take the Ring to Mordor.

Thoughts on the Passage – Book II, Chapter 3 (p281, 50th Anniv. Ed.)
Though I’ll be dipping back into the Rivendell material soon enough, I’d like to take the first day of their journey from Elrond’s to talk a bit about their mission.

When Frodo set off from Hobbiton, he was under the impression (more or less) that he was taking the Ring to Rivendell, where the Elves would then figure out what to do with it. During the stay, however, it became clear that he was the Ring-bearer, and it was only he who could destroy the Ring.

At the council, the Fellowship was solidified. We’ll get into that in more detail at a later date, but stepping off on this day, December 25 in the year 3018 of the Third Age, was not only the cast we already knew but Legolas, the son of the Elf-king, Thranduil, from The Hobbit. There was also Gimli the dwarf, son of Glóin, also from The Hobbit. Lastly, there was Boromir, a Man, and the oldest son of Denethor II, steward of Gondor. Oh, and of course, we can’t forget Bill the pony, who was apparently named after his abusive previous owner.

In another sense, there was one more new character – that of Aragorn. Sure, we had been traveling with Strider since Bree. But that was Strider. Neither the reader nor the hobbits knew him as anything more than a Ranger. But as we learned in these past few chapters, he was much more than “just” a pretty handy guy to have around when things got rough.

As they were about to part, Elrond saw them off, giving the Fellowship a bit of advice.

“The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On him alone is any charge laid: neither to cast away the Ring, nor to deliver it to any servant of the Enemy nor indeed to let any handle it, save members of the Company and the Council, and only then in the gravest need. The others go with him as free companions, to help him on his way. You may tarry, or come back, or turn aside into other paths, as chance allows. The further you go, the less easy will it be to withdraw; yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road.”

A Few Notes

  • They would travel mostly at night, through the dark. By the dawn of the next day, December 26th, they would have traveled twenty-two miles, following the Bruinen south.
  • Here’s a map. Shhhh.
  • Tomorrow, we’ll start in with Frodo’s arrival (well, awakening) in Rivendell.
Camera: Imperial Savoy || Film: Fuji NPS 160 (expired 10/1999)

Camera: Imperial Savoy || Film: Fuji NPS 160 (expired 10/1999)

About the Photo
Okay, clearly this is Seattle. But the arches have a very Elvish quality to them. I could have given you another bridge!


  • Day 94
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 463
  • 457 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,315 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place: Book II, Chapter 1. Leaving Rivendell! (map)

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2 thoughts on “Faithless is He Who Says Farewell When the Road Darkens

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