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Raven

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

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For those following the thread, the next chapters will start this Saturday.

 

I also need to post about the last four chapters as well!

 

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I've been reading this thread a little enviously so I've decided to join in, a little late I'm afraid! I borrowed this last Friday and I've read the first 6 chapters plus preamble - so I'm about to start In the House of Tom Bombadil. I'll keep any comments short and sweet until I've caught up with the rest of you.

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8 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

 

I've been reading this thread a little enviously so I've decided to join in, a little late I'm afraid! I borrowed this last Friday and I've read the first 6 chapters plus preamble - so I'm about to start In the House of Tom Bombadil. I'll keep any comments short and sweet until I've caught up with the rest of you.

 

 

We've stalled a little, so you will probably catch up quite easily!

 

Feel free to post comments of any length, the more discussion the better!

 

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19 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

I've been reading this thread a little enviously so I've decided to join in

:yahoo:
 

 

11 hours ago, Raven said:

 

Feel free to post comments of any length, the more discussion the better!

 

Definitely agree, would love to hear your thoughts as you go, it doesn’t matter if we’ve posted on that part already :) 

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And the next chapters are...

 

12. Flight to the Ford

 

Book 2

 

1. Many Meetings

 

2. The Council of Elrond

 

3. The Ring goes South

 

(For anyone who is confused by the above numbering, chapter numbers reset at the beginning of each book!)

 

I will go back and comment on the chapters I haven't commented on so far at a later point, but for now...

 

- Frodo's plight after being stabbed on Weathertop, though grave, doesn't seem as immediately perilous as it does in the films, but even given that I was surprised at the rather rambling journey Strider took the group on to reach Rivendell (I'd honestly forgotten most of it from the first time I read the book, with the exception of the party finding the trolls Bilbo encountered in The Hobbit).  I think the thing about this chapter that works the best for me is the lack of the Black Riders.  After their appearance at the end of the last chapter you are expecting them to attack again at any moment, but then... nothing.  And then... more nothing!  They just keep failing to turn up and and I think that works in favour of the story as it actually that increases the tension (though I'm not entirely certain that was Tolkien's aim, I think he just wanted the group to have a bit more of an adventure before reaching Rivendell).

 

- I personally think Glorfindel works better in this chapter than Arwen does in the film (although I understand why they gave her character more to do and why they introduced her earlier in the story in the film).  I was surprised when he just packed Frodo off on the horse alone, however, relying on the horse being sure footed and - presumably - the Black Riders either not having bows and arrows or on their being as accurate as Imperial Stormtroopers.

 

- Biblo's back, hurrah! (Looooooooooooooooong song warning!)

 

- I found the exposition over the two chapters Many Meetings and The Council of Elrond to sometimes be a little flabby, repetitive and a little tedious, but thankfully it is broken up by the odd song or two!*  Whilst there is some very interesting content covered in these chapters, I couldn't help thinking they could have been a little tighter, with people getting to the point a bit more quickly (especially during the Council of Elrond).  I'm left wondering if this is what meetings were like in academia at the time Tolkien was writing (either that, or there are no time management training courses on offer in the Elven Realm...).

 

- The Ring goes South is a bit of a false start, as it takes a while for them to actually get going and then there is a lot of them just walking!  One thing I do like about LotR, however, and it is in evidence in this chapter, is that it does take time to get somewhere.  Days and weeks are counted off, and Tolkien also makes a note of the changing of the seasons as the journey progresses.  To often, in stories today, the journey is often glossed over in preference of action scenes, but I think this passage of time helps to build the world of Middle Earth and to help make the story feel more epic overall.
 

* I'm actually not thankful about that.

 

Public Notice: As with this week, from next week I will be posting the call for thoughts on the next chapters on a Sunday, as I'm finding Saturdays just to busy to fit them in!

 

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Thank you Hayley and Raven :smile: I will hopefully have some thoughts posted on Tuesday. Meanwhile :readingtwo:

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On 13/02/2022 at 9:16 PM, Raven said:

(For anyone who is confused by the above numbering, chapter numbers reset at the beginning of each book!)

I honestly didn't even notice that! But, anyway, thoughts :) :

 

- The Black Riders just hanging around in the shadows, waiting for Frodo to become controllable, feels much freakier than their actual appearance/ attack. 

 

- I really like the references to Bilbo's past adventures in these chapters. Finding out about the dwarves Bilbo travelled with was a nice touch, as was the moment of humour with the trolls. On the other hand, I think Sam's song about the trolls might be my least favourite of the whole book. I thought it was interesting that Frodo feels better in the presence of joy in that part though and did have thoughts about the potential symbolism of resisting the 'darkness' (and why hobbits, in particular, seem to be good at it)

 

-Agree with Raven about Glorfindel. I think that moment in the book actually makes the elves feel a lot more special than they ever seem to be in the films. After seeing Glorfindel's true form, he almost seems to be a mythical figure and it makes sense that others should be so in awe of them. I do also see why they wanted Arwen to appear at that moment of the film, taking a more action-filled roll than she does in the book but I also think that changes the way we see her as a character completely. When she's introduced in the book she feels very mysterious and perhaps a little ethereal; like a figure who's entered directly from a mythical song (especially when she's literally compared to one of those figures!). In the film version she feels a bit like she's crossed with Eowyn. 

 

- I love Rivendell. Frodo waking to Gandalf, after the building tension about where he was, then meeting back up with everyone including Bilbo, and the whole 'safety' of Rivendell just has a lovely feel to it. Can see why Bilbo decided to retire there. 

 

On 13/02/2022 at 9:16 PM, Raven said:

I was surprised when he just packed Frodo off on the horse alone, however, relying on the horse being sure footed and - presumably - the Black Riders either not having bows and arrows or on their being as accurate as Imperial Stormtroopers.

:giggle2:. I think Glorfindel's horse is another of the 'special' horses (can't remember what they're actually called), like Shadowfax isn't he? They almost feel a bit magical. Actually these horses are another example of Tolkien being particularly attentive to the animals of the world. Not something I ever thought about before this!

 

On 13/02/2022 at 9:16 PM, Raven said:

it does take time to get somewhere.  Days and weeks are counted off, and Tolkien also makes a note of the changing of the seasons as the journey progresses. 

I really love that about the books as well. The natural world feels like an important part of the adventure too and, because of that, the world feels more real. I actually came across an amazing thing this week - did you know there's step-counter app where your challenge is to do enough steps to reach Mordor? I'm very tempted to install it...

 

On 13/02/2022 at 9:16 PM, Raven said:

Public Notice: As with this week, from next week I will be posting the call for thoughts on the next chapters on a Sunday, as I'm finding Saturdays just to busy to fit them in!

Sunday is good for me!

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OK - so I'm currently on chapter 10 (Strider) so it's about time I posted some comments.

 

This is my first reading of LOTR although I've seen the films many times and read the Hobbit many years ago. My first thoughts are that Frodo in the book is (certainly in the earlier chapters anyway) much jollier and therefore more hobbit-like than the Frodo in the films where he seems very serious and barely cracks a smile.

 

Secondly, this is my first encounter with Tom Bombadil as he appears nowhere in the films. He is certainly a strange character, and Goldberry too. They seem to me to have something divine or semi-divine about them, or to represent nature or the providence of nature in some way. They are fearless and joyful, have power over dark forces and, well Tom at least, is very old, older than the races of the elves and the dwarves, so there is certainly something very mystical about them. I understand that Tom doesn't have much to do with any of the rest of the plot, but I'm still curious to see whether there will be any further references or allusions to him.

 

Thirdly I had assumed I would have no interest in the poems and songs and would skip or skim them, however I've actually been enjoying them which has come as a pleasant surprise. 

 

Finally I had always built up in my mind that LOTR was a very heavy going book that I'd struggle with (probably because my dad attempted to read it to me when I was young, and I told him to stop because it was boring :lol: - I guess I was a bit too young) whereas it's actually a very easy and pacy read. Mind you the opening chapters and preamble don't help I suppose as the action doesn't get going straight away. Anyway I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

 

EDIT: PS Once I've caught up I'll engage more with other comments but for now I'm reluctant to read comments on parts I haven't yet read.

 

Edited by ~Andrea~

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10 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

My first thoughts are that Frodo in the book is (certainly in the earlier chapters anyway) much jollier and therefore more hobbit-like than the Frodo in the films where he seems very serious and barely cracks a smile.

Yes, totally agree, book-Frodo is very different to film-Frodo! I was also really shocked when I found out how old Frodo is meant to be in the books. Choosing a teenager to play a man who's meant to be 50 was an interesting decision. I like book-Frodo better. 

 

10 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

Secondly, this is my first encounter with Tom Bombadil as he appears nowhere in the films. He is certainly a strange character, and Goldberry too. They seem to me to have something divine or semi-divine about them, or to represent nature or the providence of nature in some way.

Agree on this too. It definitely seems as though Tom Bombadil has some sort of special connection to the land/nature and I think semi-divine is a good way to describe him and Goldberry. 

 

10 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

Finally I had always built up in my mind that LOTR was a very heavy going book that I'd struggle with (probably because my dad attempted to read it to me when I was young, and I told him to stop because it was boring :lol: - I guess I was a bit too young) whereas it's actually a very easy and pacy read.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how easy it felt to read when I got the audiobook! I had tried to read it after I read the Hobbit as a kid but when I got to the part with Tom Bombadil I just got utterly lost - had no idea what was meant to be going on and gave up. That gave me the impression that it would be a difficult read for quite some time!

 

 

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21 hours ago, Hayley said:

 

Yes, totally agree, book-Frodo is very different to film-Frodo! I was also really shocked when I found out how old Frodo is meant to be in the books. Choosing a teenager to play a man who's meant to be 50 was an interesting decision. I like book-Frodo better. 

 

 

Doesn't it say somewhere that at 50 he is considered a young Hobbit?

 

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Useless fact for anyone interested in trivia: the chapter ' The Council of Elrond ' is the longest chapter in the book. In the audiobook version narrated by Rob Inglis it runs at just over two hours! But as has been pointed out already, there is a lot of exposition and filling in of details in that chapter, so it has to be that length to fill in the background story.

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21 hours ago, Raven said:

 

Doesn't it say somewhere that at 50 he is considered a young Hobbit?

 

 

I'm sure I remember that, perhaps from The Hobbit rather than Fellowship.

 

- Frodo's injury sounds like it will get worse but because I knew it doesn't get him it didn't feel like a big deal.

 

- The ambush is really well written and this did feel really dangerous to me, unlike Frodo's injury. You do start to wonder how they will manage to get to their destination because the members from The Shire appear to be a bit of an easy target. None of the attacks have been successful but surely it's only a matter of time?

 

- If the splinter from Frodo's wound had reached his heart he would have become a wraith. I wonder if he would have been a comedy wraith, a Carry On style black rider perhaps?

 

- Yay, Bilbo is back.

 

- I completely understand why The Council of Elrond is needed as a chapter but I found it a bit of a slog.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Brian. said:

 

I'm sure I remember that, perhaps from The Hobbit rather than Fellowship.

 

 

I think it's from either Concerning Hobbits, or a Long-expected Party, but I'm not sure.

 

Quote

 

- If the splinter from Frodo's wound had reached his heart he would have become a wraith. I wonder if he would have been a comedy wraith, a Carry On style black rider perhaps?

 

 

Great, now I'm going to be seeing Jim Dale as Frodo and Sid James as Sam for the rest of the story...  (Golem is obviously played by Charles Hawtrey).

 

Quote

 

- I completely understand why The Council of Elrond is needed as a chapter but I found it a bit of a slog.

 

 

Everyone has their turn, and everyone is giving a f****** lecture.  Where was Chris Whitty with his PowerPoint presentation? 

 

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10 hours ago, Raven said:

Great, now I'm going to be seeing Jim Dale as Frodo and Sid James as Sam for the rest of the story...  (Golem is obviously played by Charles Hawtrey).

 

 

I could imagine Hawtrey as Gollum, he definitely had the facial dexterity to pull it off.

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On 16/02/2022 at 6:41 PM, Raven said:

Doesn't it say somewhere that at 50 he is considered a young Hobbit?

I remember that but I’m not sure where it is either. I also like that 33 is the hobbit ‘coming of age’ and the years before that considered the ‘irresponsible years’ :lol:

 

On 17/02/2022 at 9:08 AM, timebug said:

In the audiobook version narrated by Rob Inglis it runs at just over two hours!

That’s the version I have and I’ve never actually paid attention to how long that chapter was!! 
 

23 hours ago, Raven said:

Everyone has their turn, and everyone is giving a f****** lecture.  Where was Chris Whitty with his PowerPoint presentation? 

:giggle2: Only good people were allowed at the council of Elrond. 
 

On 17/02/2022 at 4:18 PM, Brian. said:

I wonder if he would have been a comedy wraith

I encourage you all to search ‘Frodo as a wraith meme’ :D

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12 hours ago, Hayley said:

I encourage you all to search ‘Frodo as a wraith meme’ :D

 

The first google image result is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind but I pictured him on a small horse, Shetland Pony size. :D

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On 2/2/2022 at 10:43 PM, Hayley said:

 

Also... Fatty Lumpkin is my favourite pony name :lol:

 

Mine too. It's what I've started calling my cat ever since I read it :lol:

Edited by ~Andrea~

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This week's chapters are:

 

4. A Journey in the Dark
 

5. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
 

6. Lothlórien
 

7. The Mirror of Galadriel

 

Who wants to go first?
 

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I'll have a crack.

 

- One of the things that stood out for me in the first chapter was the fact that despite Gandalf being very powerful it is only of limited value when the problem being faced required mental dextierity.

 

- Although there are battles with wolves and a weird octopus kind of creature, the main problem they face is finding their way through the caves.

 

- I was also amused by the fact that Frodo is unknowingly wearing something which is worth more than the shire and doesn't realise it until the history of the dwarves is revealed.

 

- More threats and attacks, this time from the Orcs. The drums are really menacing in this section and put in mind a huge monster which in turn is revealed to be a big cave troll. I wonder where the troll comes from and why the he is in the league with the Orcs, it seems like a bit of an odd mix to me.

 

- Frodo's billionaires shirt saves his life.

 

- Lothlorien feels like the last semi safe place and it must have been very tempting for some of them to want to stay put instead of pressing on.

 

- Is this the last of Gandalf? My vauge knowledge of the movies doesn't help me here.

 

- Despite the previous bad blood between the Elves and the Dwarves the greater good prevails, albeit with some concessions and diplomacy being required.

 

- I want to know what Galadriel offered Boromir. It feels like a test to weed out those who are not thoroughly commited to the cause.

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Sorry I'm a bit late with mine!

 

- I think that things start to feel more seriously perilous in 'A Journey in the Dark'. The suggestion that Rivendell would fall if they turned back with the ring (especially after experiencing Rivendell) makes the threat feel much bigger and their position so much more... adrift? (can't think of the word I mean here).

 

- Sam being told that he has to leave Bill behind is heart-breaking. But Gandalf's spell of guarding does show the importance of animals again!

 

- The 'speak, friend, and enter' puzzle is clever. 

 

- The Bridge of Khazad-Dum is my least favourite because I hate reading the fate of Balin. The whole 'we cannot get out. We cannot get out' makes me feel very claustrophobic and it's sad that these dwarves came to such a horrible end.

 

-Also... Gandalf and the desperate attempt Aragorn and Boromir make to stand with him against the Balrog :(

 

- Love the idea of Lothlorien (although it does seem more hostile than Rivendell) and the nice quote from Haldir 'The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater'. 

 

- Galadriel seems a lot more magical and mysterious - maybe even more powerful - than any of the other elves encountered.

 

- I feel really bad for Sam (again!) when he wants to see elf magic and sees the possible destruction of the Shire.

 

On 21/02/2022 at 1:08 PM, Brian. said:

- I was also amused by the fact that Frodo is unknowingly wearing something which is worth more than the shire and doesn't realise it until the history of the dwarves is revealed.

Agree, it is amusing! Feels like a bit of light-hearted relief after the mines. 

 

On 21/02/2022 at 1:08 PM, Brian. said:

- Is this the last of Gandalf? My vauge knowledge of the movies doesn't help me here

That would be spoilers :D

 

On 21/02/2022 at 1:08 PM, Brian. said:

- I want to know what Galadriel offered Boromir. It feels like a test to weed out those who are not thoroughly commited to the cause.

I think this is hinted at later but I can't really say what I think it is without spoilers again - but yes agree she is definitely testing them. Sam is pretty close to failing his. 

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- I really like the journey through Moria, and going back to what I was saying last week, the scale of the place makes it feel truly epic (although the tombs do feel a bit like they are rootling around in someone's attic...) 

 

- I also like the history that is conveyed first by Gimli and then in journal they find.

 

- The Battle of Balin's Tomb - which I will henceforth refer to as The Battle in the Attic - is built up very well and, again, by the lack of any foes right up until the point when they rock up.  It's almost like Tolkien was saying "You thought they were going to get away with it, didn't you?"

 

- RE: Gandalf, and I will spoiler this bit for Brian:

 

Spoiler

 

 

Before I first started reading the book, the first time around, I knew what happened to Gandalf because my older sister spoiled it for me when I was younger. Her comment "well, he comes back" just spoiled it further.

 

Sisters...

 

 

 

- I like the way Gollum is introduced to the story, as a lurking, mysterious menace that follows the Fellowship, but what I don't understand is why he decides to follow them.  Curiosity could be a reason initially, when he first picks up their trail in Moria, but how does he work out who they are and what they are carrying?  It can't be some general awareness of the ring, or he would have been able to follow Bilbo when he originally took the ring, so how does he know and why does he follow?

 

- The Elves of Lothlórien are a lot less camp than they are in the films.

 

- Another Person of Power passes up the chance to take The Ring!  For something that is supposed to be so alluring and seductive, an awful lot of people seem quite happy to say "Nah, I'm fine mate!"

 

And so we move to the last three chapters of Fellowship, and the first of The Two Towers.

 

I had intended to stop at the end of Fellowship, but the first chapter of The Two Towers always feels to me as though it is in the wrong book.

 

So, your thoughts, please, on:

 

8. Farewell to Lórien

 

9. The Great River

 

10. The Breaking of the Fellowship

 

The Two Towers

 

1. The Departure of Boromir

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm still a week behind! So far I've enjoyed the journey up to Rivendell more than the journey afterwards, perhaps because it felt a bit fresher and less familiar than the journey afterwards (because of the film) although it was interesting to see the journey through the mountain didn't quite match the narrative in the film, even though the gist was the same.

 

Going back to the council of Elrond, it was disappointing that there was no female representation there, so I was glad to see the figure of Galadriel playing a prominent and powerful part in Lothlorian.

 

Edited by ~Andrea~

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Posted (edited)
On 2/15/2022 at 10:04 AM, ~Andrea~ said:

Thirdly I had assumed I would have no interest in the poems and songs and would skip or skim them, however I've actually been enjoying them which has come as a pleasant surprise. 

 

I would like to retract this statement :lol: There are too many poems and songs and I'm finding myself skipping them.

 

On 2/23/2022 at 9:44 PM, Hayley said:

 

- Galadriel seems a lot more magical and mysterious - maybe even more powerful - than any of the other elves encountered.

 

Is that because she possesses one of the rings?

 

On 2/27/2022 at 8:38 PM, Raven said:

 

- I like the way Gollum is introduced to the story, as a lurking, mysterious menace that follows the Fellowship, but what I don't understand is why he decides to follow them.  Curiosity could be a reason initially, when he first picks up their trail in Moria, but how does he work out who they are and what they are carrying?  It can't be some general awareness of the ring, or he would have been able to follow Bilbo when he originally took the ring, so how does he know and why does he follow?

 

 

Since the ring is changeable, and changes in this story (i.e. it now wants to be found by Sauron) perhaps then it is also more visible to others like Gollum.

 

Edited by ~Andrea~
Withdrawing a mistake in my reading of The Hobbit.

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On 27/02/2022 at 8:38 PM, Raven said:

how does he work out who they are and what they are carrying?  It can't be some general awareness of the ring, or he would have been able to follow Bilbo when he originally took the ring, so how does he know and why does he follow?

That’s a good point. I was about to say maybe he just thought that Frodo looked like Bilbo but he’s also met Gandalf before this hasn’t he? And Gandalf questioned him about the ring - so could that be why he thinks they have it? I suppose when they get out of Moria and Frodo removes his shirt so Aragorn can check his wounds, the ring would have been visible on the chain around his neck - so if Gollum is still watching them that would have confirmed it? 
 

On 27/02/2022 at 8:38 PM, Raven said:

Another Person of Power passes up the chance to take The Ring!  For something that is supposed to be so alluring and seductive, an awful lot of people seem quite happy to say "Nah, I'm fine mate!"

Galadriel being tempted by the ring is a LOT more dramatic in the film. She’s actually very chilled about it in the book! 
 

On 02/03/2022 at 11:16 AM, ~Andrea~ said:

Is that because she possesses one of the rings?

Probably but Elrond has a ring of power too and even though he is powerful it doesn’t seem quite the same. 
 

On 02/03/2022 at 11:16 AM, ~Andrea~ said:

I would like to retract this statement :lol:

:giggle2: Yeah some of the longer ones get a bit… tiring. 

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- The decision on what way to go when they reach the end of Anduin feels really important and it's telling that Frodo doesn't say anything. At this point it really feels as if they weight of responsibility has fallen on Frodo and he knows that the decisions will have to be his going forward.

 

- Gimli wanting some of Galadriel's hair - I'm not sure how to feel about this. It feels a bit creepy to me but I know it's meant to symbolise a thawing of the tension between the Elves and Dwarves.

 

- The negative influence of the ring is really starting to tell with the behaviour of Boromir.

 

- The closer we get to Mordor, the more evil seems to be ever present. The Orcs are back and unseen things always seem to be lurking in the shadows.

 

- Boromir finally cracks and tries to get the ring from Frodo. I didn't see this coming despite the suggestions that the ring was starting to get the better of him. Once the ring is removed we can see how bad Boromir feels about what he has attempted to do.

 

- The scene where Frodo can see war and destruction all around him and the eye looking for him is really powerful. The same goes for his realisation that he doesn't want to drag those he loves into this, especially after seeing what it did to Boromir.

 

- It was really nice to see that Frodo will have at least Sam with him as company when Frodo tries to sneak off in a boat.

 

- Boromir's departure is very definitely a departure.

 

- Yay. The others are sticking together to try and find Frodo.

 

Please for the love of god. No more songs!

 

 

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