Land of Lorien

Paisid Map Aramphongphan '07, English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2003

In The Fellowship of the Ring, after a dreadful experience in the Mines of Moria and a narrow escape from a Balrog, Frodo and his company continue their journey to Lothlorien, the fairest of all the lands where Elves live. Along the way, they meet Haldir and his brothers who lead Frodo and his company to their homeland. Because of the law of Lothlorien and a dispute with Gimli the dwarf, the guides blindfold all of their visitors.

Being deprived of sight, Frodo found his hearing and other senses sharpened. He could smell the trees and the trodden grass. He could hear many different notes in the rustle of the leaves overhead, the river murmuring away on his right, and the thin clear voices of birds in the sky. He felt the sun upon his face and hands when they passed through an open glade.

As soon as he set foot upon the far bank of Silverlod a strange feeling had come upon him, and it deepened as he walked on into the Naith: it seemed to him that he had stepped over a bridge of time into a corner of the Elder Days, and was now walking in a world that was no more. [p. 340]

Eventually Frodo and his company get to see Lothlorien. Frodo and Sam reflect upon their sights.

"It's sunlight and bright day, right enough," [Sam] said. "I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.". . .

Though he walked and breathed, and about him living leaves and flowers were stirred by the same cool wind as fanned his face, Frodo felt that he was in a timeless land that did not fade or change or fall into forgetfulness. When he had gone and passed again into the outer world, still Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would walk there. [p. 342]

Discussion Questions

1. In the quoted passage, even though Tolkien does not explicitly describe Lothlorien, he still manages to make the readers feel as if they are there, witnessing, not just in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense also. How does he accomplish this?

2. Sam says, "This is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song." What does this quotation tell the reader about the culture in which the speaker lives? Can one draw a parallel between this culture and that of Pern in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong?

3., the main characters were led to Lothlorien, where Frodo felt that he was "in a timeless land that did fade or change or fall into forgetfulness," the land where "in winter no heart could mourn for summer or for spring" (p. 341). Comment on the contrast between Mines of Moria and Lothlorien. Is there any significance in Tolkien's juxtaposition of the two?

References

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring. Houghton Mifflin, Boston: 1966.


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Last modified 25 February 2004