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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Reading Group meeting 24/9/05

On this day....

'After the celebration of Bilbo's birthday the four hobbits stayed in Rivendell for some days,......'
The Return of the King, Many Partings

....and the year before...

"In front of then they saw the lower lands dotted with small clumps of trees.....They were looking across the Woody End towards the Brandywine River...'
The Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company

.....and 17 years before that.....

''If only that dratted wizard will leave young Frodo alone, perhaps he'll settle down and grow some hobbit-sense......'
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Shadow of the Past


Blogger Rymenhild said...

This report is for 24th September:
We were somewhat late starting this meeting as 2 of us got distracted by the presence of Imperial stormtroopers in West Quay shopping centre. Not only did we arrive a little late, but we just had to share our experience of being interrogated. It’s not every day an Imperial stormtrooper demands to see the picture you have just taken on your mobile phone!
Following this gleeful digression into Star Wars and our encounter with the forces of the Dark Lord of the Empire, we had other things to catch up with.
Congratulations to Ian, our blogmeister, on his successful participation in the Great North Run.
Thanks to Laura for information about some Tolkien-related art.
On to our topic for the meeting: ‘The Ring Goes South’.
The relationship between Gandalf and Pippin was the matter first debated. It was not something I had taken on board, but we did realise that there is an interesting relationship between the two very different characters as Gandalf supports Pippin’s demand to be included in the fellowship, but ticks him off more than once when he does silly and ill-advised things. The relationship was likened to that between a gruff but affectionate grandfather and a spirited lad. It is a relationship worthy of further examination.
We then got into a long discussion about whether hobbits wear boots. Of course we know hobbits don’t generally wear anything on their feet, but it seemed unlikely that even their leathery soles and curly-haired insteps would cope with the harsh terrain and bitter temperatures of Caradhras. I remarked on Sam’s inclusion of woollen hose in his pack and wondered why he would take thick socks if he wasn’t wearing boots. It was discovered by (michel) delving into the Introduction and other places that hobbits do wear boots under certain circumstances. Legolas, on the other hand, never wears anything but light shoes, but then he skims over rather than trudging through the snow, and can do this on all sorts of ground.
Following this, the question was put ‘Is Boromir sulking in Rivendell while Aragorn and his Rangers, various Elves, and Elladan and Elrohir, are all off scouting the land for Ringwraiths and doing other useful preliminary things?’ Some of us were surprised at the question, but upon further consideration it did not seem so strange. Boromir had been used to being heir to the Stewardship of Gondor; suddenly being confronted with the Heir of Isildur and the Sword that was Broken must have been a shock. However, this was not the only suggestion made to explain his absence from the scouting parties, when he would have been a natural choice. I wondered if he was just resting after his exhausting journey, but this was a rather lame idea in comparison to the suggestion that he may have been already brooding over the Ring, what it meant, and what he believed it could do as a weapon, and the fact that everyone else was intent on leaving it in the hands of this obscure little halfling and throwing it away. We also noted that Boromir was the last member of the fellowship to be chosen, and its is Aragorn, rather than Elrond, who announces his inclusion. This was a very revealing topic to take on. It may not be resolvable but it maed us think.
Finally, it was pointed out that in the chapter under discussion red seems to be a significant colour. The Fellowship journey through a mostly monochrome environment, rocks, earth, mountains, black crebain, and a wintry climate – grey and dreary. Occasionally they come across the shining, but dark green, holly trees, and sometimes these provide the splash of red berries. The mountains too are sometimes suffused with red in the alpenglow of dawn or twilight. Suddenly, and quite briefly, however, as they try to leave Caradhras, Legolas tells them that the sun is away in the south walking among blue fields. The sudden impact of this mention of brilliant blue southern skies is quite startling in the story –the shock of the blue – and might repay more detailed consideration.
We agreed to continue reading the next chapter – A Journey in the Dark – not much blue sky in this one either, but what colours will we come across?
That ended our discussion but that was not the end of our being together on Saturday because we met up again at 7pm for a very convivial and hobbit-like Birthday Dinner in a little restaurant on the Waterside, close to the Forest. The date was chosen as the closest convenient date to The Birthday, and when we had reached the stage of ‘filling up the corners’ we raised our glasses and toasted ‘The Professor’. Thanks to our own Galadriel (Laura), for providing the Light of Earendil’s Star in small phials for those of us who had to brave the dark places of Hythe car park.

2:30 AM  

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