2004-05-24 03:18:32 UTC
Book 2, Chapter 6: Lothlorien
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At the end of the last chapter, the remaining members of the Fellowship
had barely escaped alive from Moria, and: "Gandalf, in battle with a
dreadful spirit of the underworld, fell into a dark abyss. But Aragorn
[...] led the company on from the East Gate of Moria..." (Synopsis in
'The Two Towers')
Aragorn is now the leader of the Company. He holds up his sword in
farewell to Gandalf and briefly despairs at having lost Gandalf's
guidance: "What hope have we without you?" Nevertheless, Aragorn takes
on the role of leadership and says: "We must do without hope." The
Company make ready to leave.
Around them, they see the geography of Dimrill Dale, a deep valley
running nearly north-south between two arms of the Misty Mountains. At
the north end is the Dimrill Stair, down which a waterfall flows. This
is the path the Company would have taken if they had managed to travel
through the Pass of Caradhras. Dominating the valley is the lake of
Mirrormere (Kheled-zaram). To the south, the mountains recede into the
distance and far lands are seen to the south and east. This is
Wilderland, and they are now east of the Misty Mountains.
The Company follow the remains of an ancient road, passing broken ruins
of dwarven stone monuments and green mounds. The road takes them south,
passing near Mirrormere. Gimli and Frodo (and Sam) turn aside, and they
look in Mirrormere at the spot marked by Durin's Stone. They see
reflections of the encircling mountains mirrored in a profound blue,
appearing like a crown, and topped by stars glinting in the sky, even
though sunlight is still in the sky above. This, according to Gimli, is
the crown of Durin, a sight that leaves Sam deep in thought.
The Company carry on southwards, finding the spring that is the source
of the river Silverlode (Celebrant). They see, far off, the woods of
Lothlorien, and set off down the western bank of the Silverlode towards
that land. Aragorn leads them at a great pace, fearing the pursuit of
orcs from Moria as the swift sunset brings a near-moonless night. Frodo
and Sam, hurt in Moria, fall behind. When this is noticed, Aragorn
apologises and he and Boromir carry Sam and Frodo to a resting place.
Athelas is used to tend Sam and Frodo's wounds, and Frodo's coat of
mithril-mail is discovered, explaining his surviving the orc-attack in
Later, as the company journey onwards and night has fallen, Frodo hears
and sees something following them. However, Gimli hears nothing but the
night-speech of plant and stone. The night-wind blows chill up the
valley, and a shadow looms up before them as they arrive at Lothlorien.
We hear different stories and reactions from the members of the Company:
Legolas and Aragorn are glad to be here; Gimli doubts that any Elves
still dwell here; Legolas says that there are tales of a secret power in
Lorien and Elves still dwell deep in the woods; Aragorn confirms this;
while Boromir shows his uncertainty and relates tales of the peril of
the Golden Wood. Aragorn tells Boromir that there is no other way and
there is only peril for evil people.
A short way into the forest, they rest beside a waterfall where a
mountain-stream joins the Silverlode. This is the stream called
Nimrodel. The cold clean waters wash the weariness from Frodo's limbs.
As they rest here, he hears music in the running water. Legolas says it
is the voice of Nimrodel, and he sings a song of the Elf-maiden Nimrodel
who was named after the stream. He tells of the history of Lorien, and
the fate of Nimrodel and her lover Amroth.
The Company then move deeper into the forest, moving westwards away from
the Silverlode along the stream of Nimrodel. They discover mellyrn
(mallorn) trees and decide to climb them to hide from the orcs. As
Legolas starts to climb one of them, a voice speaks from the trees. They
have been challenged by elves of Lorien, guarding the borders of their
land. Frodo and Legolas are invited up to talk to them. They converse in
Elvish and then the Common Speech, and the Haldir, the leader of these
Elves agrees to lead the Company through their land. The Company climb
and sleep in the trees. During the night, Frodo hears orcs and the
The next day, the Company are told that an army of orcs has passed into
the woods of Lorien, but that Lorien is being roused and none of the
orcs will escape alive. Haldir leads them eastwards across the
Silverlode using ropes to build a walkway. There is then a dispute over
blindfolding Gimli the Dwarf, which is the law of their land. Gimli
protests this treatment. Aragorn proposes that all shall be blindfolded,
and Legolas laments this. As the blindfolded Company walk on into
Lorien, Haldir and Merry talk of Elf-havens near the Shire. Frodo is
overcome by a strange feeling as they walk deeper into the Naith, the
heart of Lorien:
"As soon as he set foot upon the far bank of the Silverlode 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. In Rivendell there was memory of ancient things; in Lorien the
ancient things still lived on in the waking world."
The Company march all day and sleep blindfolded. The next day, at noon,
an army of Elves report that the orcs have been destroyed, and the
strange creature had been spotted again. A message from the Lord and
Lady of the Galadhrim (the Elves of Lorien) declares that the Company
shall walk free. The blindfolds are removed from Gimli first. His pardon
is asked, and he is declared to be the first dwarf to see the Naith of
Lorien since Durin's Day.
There is a wonderful description of the beauty of Lorien, a beauty that
makes Frodo catch his breath. He sees a great mound with: "grass as
green as Spring-time in the Elder Days." Haldir declares that they are
come to Cerin Amroth, the ancient heart of the realm of Lorien and
onetime home of Amroth himself. Flowers of white/green and gold
(niphredil and elanor) cover the mound, which is topped with rings of
trees, including the immense mallorn trees. The Company spend the
afternoon here. Frodo is once again caught up in the beauty of Lorien:
"It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked
on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no
name." The shapes and colours are at once fresh and ancient and
mysterious. "On the land of Lorien there was no stain."
Sam, too, is taken aback by the beauty of Lorien: "I feel as if I was
_inside_ a song, if you take my meaning."
Haldir takes pleasure in their reaction, and invites them to climb Cerin
Amroth with him. Frodo experiences yet more wondrous feelings as he
climbs the fair hill:
"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,
upon the grass among elanor and niphredil in fair Lothlorien. [...] the
South wind blew upon Cerin Amroth and sighed among the branches. Frodo
stood still, hearing far off great seas upon beaches that had long ago
been washed away and sea-birds crying whose race had perished from the
Frodo eventually emerges on the lofty platform on top of the tallest
tree on top of the mound. From there, he is told by Haldir to look first
southwards at their destination, the tree-city of the Galadhrim. Then he
looks eastwards across the Great River, seeing the grey world outside
Lorien, and the heights of Southern Mirkwood, clad in dark fir trees.
As Frodo descends from Cerin Amroth, he discovers Aragorn standing, lost
in happy memory and holding a bloom of elanor. Frodo sees things as they
once were, and sees Aragorn clothed in white, a young lord tall and
fair. Aragorn speaks words in the Elvish tongue to an unseen person:
"Arwen vanimelda, namarie!" Aragorn returns out of memory and declares
to Frodo: "Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth, and here my heart
dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still
must tread, you and I. Come with me!" Aragorn and Frodo leave Cerin
Amroth, never to return.
Comments and thoughts
A) Comments referenced to text
 As the Fellowship recover in Dimrill Dale, Aragorn's words ('Alas
that I spoke true!') reveal that his prophecy of danger to Gandalf was
 Aragorn holds up his sword in farewell to Gandalf - a mark of
respect that is alien to a non-sword using culture, though there are
 The 'we must do without hope' comment by Aragorn is strange. Doesn't
that run counter to Tolkien/Gandalf's whole philosophy of trusting to a
Greater Power to help out as long as you do the 'right' thing?
 It is revealed that Dimrill Dale is an important part of the
dwarf-kingdom, and that the kingdom was not just restricted to Moria.
Doubtless wood was needed for fuel for forges, and food had to be grown.
 There are several references to ancient monuments in Dimrill Dale,
including the ancient road. There are also green mounds. Are these
burial mounds? And how old is Durin's Stone? It must be truly ancient if
it was erected in the time of Durin I.
 There is an extensive description of Mirrormere and what Frodo and
Gimli see in it. Can anyone explain the geology of Mirrormere, and how
the lake's surface can be so still? The description of the colour as
'profound blue' is just lovely.
 And how on Middle-earth can this star-effect happen when looking
into Mirrormere? It certainly leaves Sam lost for words, and explains
the description in Gimli's song in the halls of Moria. Also, was anyone
else reminded of Balin's death when Gimli and Frodo peer into
 The journey through Dimrill Dale and down the Silverlode to Lorien
has an added urgency due to swift onset of night (and pursuit by the
orcs): as the Sun sinks behind the Misty Mountains, Dimrill Dale (which
is already deep in these shadows) gets dark very quickly.
 This is the first of three references to Gollum, though he is not
named in this chapter.
 When Gimli and Frodo talk as they fall behind on the journey to
Lorien, there are references to the night-wind and to the night-speech
of plant and stone? What does this mean?
 What do you think of Legolas's song of Nimrodel? Both the story in
the song and the prose story that followed it? And what do you think of
the quality of the poetry?
 The difficulty in languages (between Frodo and Haldir) brings home
how insular and withdrawn the folk of Lorien are. Compare this to the
Dwarves who probably all spoke Westron and traded widely.
 The history of the Elves and Dwarves, and the ban of dwarves from
Lorien, is a major talking point in this chapter and the next. Plus
there is more interaction between Legolas and Gimli, foreshadowing their
 Haldir's comments on the various Elf-havens, the growing Shadow,
the talk of departing, and the sea, and a lack of reports of mallorns
growing beyond the Western Sea, are all interesting insights into Elvish
 Frodo's reactions to entering Lorien are recorded with some of the
most beautiful writing in LotR. I can do no better than quote Tolkien's
own words. I almost hesitate to bring up so mundane a point as the
blindfolding, which enhances Frodo's senses, but maybe there is some
effect of the Ring/Morgul wound also at work here?
 Yet more great writing. The 'great seas' and 'sea-birds' that Frodo
hears from the South Wind upon Cerin Amroth is exactly like the
description of the South Wind in the lament for Boromir.
 The contrast between the land of Lorien and the darkness of
Southern Mirkwood will be expanded upon and explained in the next
 What is the translation of Aragorn's comment when he is standing on
Cerin Amroth: 'Arwen vanimelda, namarie!"? As a final coda to this
chapter, this is the perfect point to read the relevant parts (in
Lorien) of 'The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen' (Appendix A - LotR). And then
the tales of Beren and Luthien ('The Silmarillion' and 'The Biography').
B) General comments
The geography and appearance of the land and trees is extensively
described in this chapter, and with some beautiful writing (though some
find it dull).
The character of Legolas is now being developed _much_ more. In a
similar way to how we learnt more of Gimli, and the Dwarvish culture in
Moria, we now begin to learn of the culture of the wood-dwelling Silvan
Elves, and more about the personality and character of Legolas.
Gimli's character is also being developed as well. His pride in his
heritage and his feelings of justice and fairness are clearly seen.
We see very little of the reactions of the others to their entry to the
land of Lorien. Only the reactions of Sam, Frodo and Aragorn are
recorded, though we do hear Boromir's misgivings.
There are deeper feeling of Faerie here than anywhere else in LotR. As
we crossed the Silverlode and entered deep into the Naith of Lorien,
arriving at the fair hill of Cerin Amroth, we truly entered the realm of
Faerie. Although this will be developed further in the following
chapters, this first encounter is truly magical.
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Sam's reaction to Lorien:
"It's sunlight and bright day, right enough. 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