FoTR - Strider: Bk I, Chapter X

A chapter by chapter as well as general discussion of Tolkien's masterpiece
Philipa
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FoTR - Strider: Bk I, Chapter X

Post by Philipa » Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:44 am

Strider


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© Anke-Katrin Eiszmann




All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


We learn Gandalf may be in grave danger and has left the care of the Hobbits to Aragorn son of Arathorn II. However, without the forgotten letter in the care of Barliman Butterbur Aragorn may have had a difficult time gaining the trust of Frodo and his companions. The Black Riders and their spies are to close for comfort and the hunted have to leave Bree in the morning.

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Post by bruce rerek » Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:26 am

Of all the mistakes that keep occuring to me is that of procrastination. Frodo long delayed his leaving the Shire and made the groundwork that Gandalf and Aragron made much less effective. Butterbur's lack of conviction to give Frodo the letter makes things even more anxiety ridden. Now, they must trust to hope that luck and stealth, which was seriously compromised when he slipped with the One Ring.
Aragorn does seem foul and a bit shady but does feel fair, much to Sam's credit for reading people.
Stratigically, Sauron's hand was forced when he released the Nine from Minas Morgal. His deadliest servants left no doubt that his war was soon to be fought. Again, we see a sign in the heavens warning against such foes in the Sickle. Peril is great and speed is necessary.
The Aragorn we know now is a skilled tracker and hunter, but a king? He has much to be tested as was his forebares. He knows the lays of the long defeat and it is not without reason does he doubt that his heart and skills might not be enough against the long machinations of the most powerful of all evil minions -Sauron.
The dread that Frodo must have felt would be more than most could bear, but like all ring bearers, his task was appointed to him. He knows in his heart that the black riders and he will eventually cross paths. And of the black breath? Fear is the worst enemy, far more powerful than any fell creature.
Bruce
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Mornie alantie
a promise lives within you now

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Post by Riv Res » Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:28 pm

As we all know, Tolkien created Aragorn in the most round about and convoluted fashion...but the character turned out to be incredibly complex and thoroughly noble. It is, however, somehow fitting that our first glimpse of 'Strider' is very mysterious. I always have to remind myself (especially in this chapter) that Strider was working hard even at this point to remain hidden from Sauron.

When we get to the climax chapters of LOTR, and we read of the heroism of all the hobbits, I always like to go back to this chapter where as Kocher puts it...

"This is the ambitious [?], weary, and apprehensive prince who impatiently watches the foolish antics of the hobbits under the suspicious eyes of the crowd at the inn. To his mind the hobbits badly need taking in hand, as children who are playing games with the fate of Middle-earth."


Hmmm...a King who is not afraid to get his hands dirty.

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Post by Marilyn » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:46 pm

Riv Res wrote: It is, however, somehow fitting that our first glimpse of 'Strider' is very mysterious. I always have to remind myself (especially in this chapter) that Strider was working hard even at this point to remain hidden from Sauron.


Whenever I read LOTR again, I confess :oops: starting at the "Prancing Pony" not only because of the introduction of Strider but we seem to be coming out of a mere "fairy story" and into something much darker amd mysterious.

"Strider's" chapter made me sit up and think about how we treat people who don't fit into the box we make for them. Not only did the hobbits mistrust Strider for his looks but Strider equally mistrusted the hobbits for their childlike behaviour. The hobbits, in their naivety, could so easily betray him, as he says,

"The Enemy has set traps for me before now".

Strider has worked long and hard to conceal his identity, he had to make sure of them before he revealed who he really was.

Equally, in Frodo's words, Strider

"frightened me several times ..... I think one of his spies would - well, seem fairer and feel fouler..."

This chapter also shows the more human side of Aragorn, he is quick to anger over remarks by Barliman and is genuinely hurt that because of his looks he is not accepted truly by the hobbits until Gandalf's letter is read out, he says

"...But I must admit that I hoped you would take to me for my own sake. A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship..."

How many of us look at someone or read something about them and judge them accordingly?

From this chapter on I was completely hooked on LOTR.

Marilyn
"I have wished thee joy ever since first I saw thee"

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Post by Estel » Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:03 pm

Marilyn wrote:"...But I must admit that I hoped you would take to me for my own sake. A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship..."

How many of us look at someone or read something about them and judge them accordingly?

From this chapter on I was completely hooked on LOTR.

That may be THE quote from LOTR that has "hit" me the most. Whenever I read it, I fall deeper and deeper in love with Aragorn. :oops: So strong and yet so vulnerable... =P~ Think I should stop writing before I make a fool of myself. :oops:
I agree that LOTR was a fairytale before Strider showed up, but a horrible one, with Black Riders, Old Forest, Tom Bombadil (weird :? ) and Barrow-Downs. :nervous: Also it made little sense to me, it was just a series of horrible, unexplicable events in a setting that felt strange and still too familiar to me to feel at ease. I have read too many fairytales and seen too many old forests and ancient stone monuments to like the combination.
I read on just not to be stuck in the middle, getting nightmares from it. I knew that there must be some kind of lucky end, so I just read on for a while longer. I had no intention of reading the whole book, since reading so far had by no means been pleasant, thought I would leave the hobbits in Bree, where they seemed to be pretty safe, but then I met Strider. :P
Then comes the funny thing, I thought the man with the broken sword was Sigurd the Dragonslayer, that this book actually was some kind of sequel :lol: to a Viking saga and when I, after a while, realized that this guy actually was called Aragorn and definitely wasn't Sigurd :shock: , I naturally got angry with Tolkien :evil: and very upset :roll: , but was so hooked on this new man with a broken sword, that I read all three books, just waiting for the end, for him to become king, as promised in the title of the third volume. I had read the rhyme, you know. 8)
So Tolkien got me interested, pretending to write about a character I already knew. :lol: I think it's a rather rare experience. 8) Sometimes I wonder if it's an in-joke aimed at his fellow scholars, unintentionally working on some Scandinavian children as well. :lol:
From the moment Strider showed up, he also made me feel safe somehow. I knew he was a hero. :P OK, he's mysterious, has a hidden agenda, you might say :whistle: and isn't exactly cheerful :wink: , but I trusted him, just like the hobbits did. It didn't matter what happened, as long as Strider was there to protect both me and the rest of the fellowship.
( :-k Reading makes you part of the fellowship, doesn't it? :? )
Many years would pass, before I could read the non-Aragorn parts of LOTR without feeling this unrest, just waiting for the next chapter including my hero. :worship:
:-k You might say Aragorn is my security blanket. :lol:
Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day's rising
he rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
Hope he rekindled, and in hope ended;
over death, over dread, over doom lifted
out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.

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Post by marbretherese » Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:55 pm

Whenever I read LOTR again, I confess :oops: starting at the "Prancing Pony" not only because of the introduction of Strider but we seem to be coming out of a mere "fairy story" and into something much darker amd mysterious.

I've been tempted to skip the beginning myself in the past, Marilyn, because like you I think that the story doesn't really get into it's stride ( :!: uninentional joke there) until this point, does it?
"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back.
But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."


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Post by Philipa » Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:46 pm

I find what the three of you said interesting. I've never thought as the beginning of this story as a faery tale and not becoming an adult's story till after Strider is introduced. I am wondering if it is because you are women and the idea of a manly, mysterous unassuming hero was the cause of fascination to you. Although I'm a woman as well, I did not have the same feelings and like how this story begins....Hobbit history and all.
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Post by hope » Wed Nov 30, 2005 11:00 pm

I can appreciate well the comments made and I too feel that the introduction of Stridor was a turning point in the books. I feel the significance of Stridor would be minimised if the foolishness and happy go lucky attitude of the hobbits was not explored prior. To the hobbits the talk of kings, swords and Rangers are fairy stories to them and I feel their mistrust of Stridor is not based on knowledge of "foul and evil" things but on simple things like appearance.

With Aragorn Tolkien allows us a glimpse of the history behind the presenting story of Frodo anf the Ring (to those who have not read The Sil, Hobbit etc) so therefore it seems to me that the plot deepens from this part onwards. :)


and I do love Aragorn :oops:
What have I got in my pocket?

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Post by Riv Res » Wed Nov 30, 2005 11:57 pm

Very interesting discussion. I will have to admit that it was the Black Riders that sunk the hook for me...also, from the onset, when Pippin and Frodo and Sam have their very first encounter with the Black Rider...there is where the tone changed to adult content for me. Tolkien's literary style was superb in making that transition at that point...IMHO. No more silly Hobbits. Things got dark and serious in a hurry.

'I wonder if that is Gandalf coming after us,' said Frodo; but even as he said it, he had a feeling that it was not so, and a sudden desire to hide from view of the rider came over him.


That was when the distinct shiver went up my spine, and by the time I got to...

They stopped short suddenly and Frodo sprang to his feet.A long-drawn wail came down the wind, like the sry of some evil and lonely creature. It rose and fell, and ended on a high piercing note. Even as they sat and stood, as if suddenly frozen, it was answered by another cry, fainter and gurther off, but no less chilling to the blood.


I was a GONER!! :roll:

But, back to Strider. :oops:

This is the point of the book where I felt that Tolkien made an almost imperceptible move from the myths of the past, to the historical reality of the present. He introduced a very powerful and significant Man into the mix.

Similar to what all of you have been saying...this is where I almost quit wondering and worrying about Hobbits, and Wizards, and Elves. What was going to happen to this mysterious, and enigmatic Man? Then...then...then...we get...

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not whither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadow shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


King?

King!

King! King! King! King! King!

I was convinced that Tolkien had some noble purpose for Strider, and felt surely that he had given him a kingly name for a reason. 'His true name is Aragorn.'

It was at this point that I literally ceased caring so much about Frodo and the Ring...only so much as they could further the story about Aragorn. I must admit that I then cheated and flipped to the last chapters to see if there was mention of Aragorn's name, and being satisfied that he was there at 'the end of all things', I truly settled in to devour the book. :D

Merry
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Post by Merry » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:40 am

Oh, RR, that was cheating!

By my remote calculations, I must have read LOTR the first time around 1965, give or take. The "all that is gold does not glitter" and the "seem fairer, feel fouler" distinction were pretty relevant during the '60s, when we were just learning how to avoid judging people by their appearances. (My parents still think that men with long hair are evil!) The thought that the unkempt, wild, and booted Ranger with the rascally look might be King was right up our alley!
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

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Post by Iolanthe » Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:23 pm

Philipa wrote:I find what the three of you said interesting. I've never thought as the beginning of this story as a faery tale and not becoming an adult's story till after Strider is introduced. I am wondering if it is because you are women and the idea of a manly, mysterous unassuming hero was the cause of fascination to you. Although I'm a woman as well, I did not have the same feelings and like how this story begins....Hobbit history and all.

I don't know about the other three, but my interest well and truly picked up at this point :lol: . The story has some pretty scary, adult stuff before Strider arrives, as Riv has pointed out, but there is a shift away from fairy story with the arrival of Strider, I feel. We suddenly have a human dimension and things seem less fantastical and less strange (although really they still are, of course...). He's not necessarily someone we can identify with - I've never been an exiled King - but he is human and gives us an anchor where we need it.

I admit that the mystery of who he really is and it's unfolding as we are given clues, was one of the great excitements of the book for me when I first read it!
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

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Post by marbretherese » Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:59 pm

Iolanthe wrote: I admit that the mystery of who he really is and it's unfolding as we are given clues, was one of the great excitements of the book for me when I first read it!


Yes, Iolanthe, that's pretty much how it was for me, reading the book for the first time as a romantic and over-impressionable teenager - I love the hobbits (especially Pippin and Merry) and their history, but the arrival of Strider takes the tale into a new dimension . Of course the arrival of other characters later in the book takes it even further, but we are "with Aragorn" by then. I must own up to rushing through the Frodo/Sam/Mordor bits originally to get back to Aragorn, and to Merry and Pippin (and Legolas and Gimli). I think the whole Fellowship thing had me hooked . . . :oops:

I managed to avoid looking at the end of the book before I read it through though, Riv . . . :wink:

(PS hope my attempt to quote works better than in my earlier post on this thread. I am such a technical numbskull! :roll: )
"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back.
But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."


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Post by Iolanthe » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:59 pm

Don't worry, you've got the hang of it now!

You're right, we are 'with Aragorn' by the time the rest of the main characters appear at Rivendell, Rohan and Gondor. He is established as the Hobbits main protector (and somehow ours) from this meeting at The Prancing Pony. Along with Gandalf he is the most reassuring presence in the book, but I was still very suspicious of him for at least part of this chapter when I first read LOTR. Maybe I was looking for too many plot twists :lol: .
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

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Post by Chrissiejane » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:58 pm

Marbretherese wrote
I must own up to rushing through the Frodo/Sam/Mordor bits originally to get back to Aragorn


Yup, same here. I read LOTR first during the sixties and was not captivated by it until I had some Aragorn backstory as a hook for all the fantastical and myth-like hobbit/wizard stuff. I really think it was a stroke of pure genius by Tolkien to introduce the mysterious human and I think it opened up the LOTR books to the universal audience which has now read and enjoyed them. Otherwise LOTR may have remained in the domain of fans of myth/fairytale.
Like many of you who have commented so far in this thread, the Barrow-downs chapter had almost seen me off, it was far too uncomfortable to keep reading about these blundering hobbits who have to be recued from their own foolishness and ignorance by any convenient passer-by that happens along. Strider is essential in order to "steady the ship", as well as picking up the pace of the story. It is so interesting to study the process by which Tolkien arrived at his character and his introduction.
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Post by Merry » Sun Dec 04, 2005 11:25 pm

I'm with you, Iolanthe: I don't think I trusted Strider fully until they got to Rivendell. So at what point did each of you begin to trust him and why?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

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