Since, in our reading, the Fellowship has just bumped into Haldir of Lothlorien on their way from the Mines of Moria, it might be tempting to do a whole post about just who this Haldir fellow was. The thing is, there’s really nothing much to say about him.
He seemed like a nice enough guy (if you weren’t a dwarf), and barely spoke the Common Speach (though Aragorn could understand him just fine).
Anyway, they didn’t so much stumble upon Haldir as they were discovered by him as he creeped around in the trees above. While the Fellowship was busy discussing the pros and cons of climbing trees vs. digging holes, they heard a voice command: “Daro!” – a Sindarin word for “halt”. There was a bit of panic among some of the Fellowship, but soon there came laughter and voices from above. Oh joy!
These were Elves, and Frodo could understand a bit of it. Those living in Lothlorien spoke the Sindarin tongue, though did so with an accent because they were mostly Silvan and had adopted the language. It was the accent, and not the language itself, that tripped up Frodo. But Legolas understood it.
The Elves had been tracking them for some time. They had heard Legolas singing and knew he was from Mirkwood. They had heard of Frodo from Elrond’s messengers, and wanted Legolas to accompany him up into the trees.
All were welcome, especially Aragorn, who “has the favour of the Lady,” except Gimli the Dwarf because he was a Dwarf. They quickly figured this out after both Aragorn and Legolas not only vouched for him, but vowed to guard him (who was to be blindfolded).
Orcs had been seen going to Moria a few days back, and the Elves concluded that they would soon be coming after the Fellowship. Haldir was accompanied by his brothers Rumil and Orophin.
Then, everyone except the Elves went to sleep, even Frodo. But something woke Frodo, and that something was Yrch, which is Sindarin for Orcs. Bad news. As the Elves went off to track the Orcs, and as the Orcs marched on, Frodo heard something else – Gollum. And then saw him as he had before. Haldir chased him away and had no idea what he was. Nobody else had, either, but this marks the first time in the story where someone other than Frodo saw Gollum.
The Orcs had marched on, but they went farther into Lorien. They might have been new and not known to stay out of the woods. You’d have to think that every Orc in Moria would have been wise to that. To drive the point home, Haldir told Frodo that Orophin was on his way back to the dwellings to alert their comrades. “None of the Orcs will ever return out of Lorien. And there will be many Evles hidden on the northern border before another night falls.”
After crossing the Silverlode, Haldir told them that they had “entered the Naith of Lorien, or the Gore, as you would say.” Both “naith” and “gore” mean a sort triangle of land between the Silverlode and the Anduin. This was the most secret land. “Few indeed are permitted even to set food here.”
This was where Gimli was blindfolded under so much protestation. In his defense, he said that “I am no more likely to betray you than Legolas….” This might not have been the best example of loyalty, but Haldir got what he was saying, though would not change his mind as this was the law.
“This,” I assume, is that dwarves must be blindfolded before being allowed into Lorien proper. Seems like an incredibly specific law. If it was actually the law, it must have been an old one. Dwarves, apart from Balin’s party, hadn’t lived in Moria in over 1,000 years (they escaped from it in 1981 of the Third Age).
The law, it seems, wasn’t that all strangers had to be blindfolded, as the others in the party – even Boromir – were fine with eyes wide open. This was specifically leveled against Gimli. It’s possible that though Balin didn’t have any contact with the Elves while he was in Moria (about 30 years before), the Elves knew they were there and enacted the law just in case. Though for woodland Elves who communicated by bird whistles, that seems weirdly legalistic.
Before things could get too heated (Haldir threatened to kill Gimli if he didn’t cooperate), Aragorn’s passive-aggressiveness saves the day: “It is hard upon the Dwarf to be thus singled out. We will all be blindfold, even Legolas. That will be best, though it will make the journey slow and dull.”
I realize that things were tense at this point, but everybody got really whiny and petty – and by “everybody,” I mean Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn, especially the latter two. In fact, the only ones who seem to conduct themselves with any sort of dignity were the Hobbits (Pippin was the best with the rope) and Boromir, who basically kept his mouth shut. The three eldest personalities were making it miserable for everyone.
A Few Notes
- After the Orcs splashed their way through the Nimrodel, Haldir said “Curse their dirty foul feet in its clean water!” Adorable.
- Sam had an uncle named Andy. I wonder if it was short for Andrew. Weird. (A quick flip to Appendix C tells us that Hobson “Roper” Gamgee had two sons – Hamfast “The Gaffer” and Andwise Roper of Tighfield, also known as Andy. So there you go. No information about Haldir, but we know Sam’s uncle’s full name. Thank Eru!)
- I’m a bit behind. Today I wrote about stuff that happened around mile 405ish from Rivendell, when really I should have been at 415. Thanks to a montage, I’ll catch up soon enough with miles to spare.
About the Photo
As I’ve said before, I don’t have a ton of river photos – especially photos with trees in them. I had to dip way back to when I still used a Hogla. Crazy days. This is Deception Pass, northwest of Seattle.
- Day 176
- Miles today: 5
- Miles thus far: 869 (415 from Rivendell)
- 23 miles to Lothlórien
- 910 miles to Mt. Doom
Book II, Chapter 6, Lothlorien. Entering Lothlorien. January 16, 3019 TA. (map)