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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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BOOK II, CHAPTERS 6-10

The band enjoys an interlude in the beautiful forest of
Lothlorien. They then continue south, where disaster awaits
them.

The company enters the forest of Lothlorien, the home of
elves. Boromir has heard rumors that this is a perilous place
and doesn't want to enter. But Aragorn and Legolas know
of Lothlorien as a place of power that thwarts evil. Like
Rivendell, it is a refuge from the darkness in the land. At
first the travelers are met with suspicion by the elves. In
such dangerous times the elves can trust no strangers.

In Lothlorien (also called Lorien), Frodo feels as though he
has entered the world of the Elder days, where the ancient
past is still alive. Lothlorien seems to him to be a timeless
land that will neither fade nor change. In the wind he hears
the sounds of waves and seabirds from the distant past.

The company meets Galadriel and Celeborn, the rulers of
Lothlorien. Galadriel describes how she and her husband
have struggled against evil through the ages. She speaks of
the struggle as the long defeat. She tests the members of the
fellowship in turn, silently offering them the choice of
going on into danger or turning aside and having the one
thing they most desire. As they talk of it later, Boromir
holds that Galadriel was tempting them and warns that she
is a danger. Of all the company, he alone fails to recognize
the goodness in Lorien.



NOTE: TOLKIEN AND WOMEN
Tolkien has often been criticized for generally ignoring
women in his books. There may be merit in this argument.
Think back to The Hobbit: The only female character was
Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, a ridiculous and unpleasant
hobbit. In The Lord of the Rings thus far, you have met only
Lobelia, Goldberry, Arwen (Elrond's daughter), and now
Galadriel. Galadriel is a figure of great power. She seems
wiser than her husband, Celeborn, and wins over Gimli the
dwarf with her kindness. She is the one who first called
together the White Council that originally drove Sauron
from Mirkwood. She's also the possessor of one of the three
elven rings. Equal even to Sauron's power, she can read his
thoughts, yet he can't find her.

Galadriel, however, represents an idealized woman, as do
Arwen and Goldberry. Later in the trilogy, you will meet a
contrast in the character of Eowyn.

In Lothlorien you can clearly see the way Tolkien equates
nature with beneficent power. Lothlorien is a place of great
natural beauty. The elves, who make their houses in the
trees, are in close contact with nature, leading a simple life-
style without technology. Sam says that he can't tell if the
elves made the land or the land made them, proving that he
can be surprisingly perceptive at times. The magic in
Lothlorien is well hidden, yet it is pervasive and powerful.

Galadriel offers Sam and Frodo a look in her "mirror," a
basin of water. In it, Sam sees visions of him and Frodo,
then of the Shire. He sees trees being cut down and ugly
buildings with smoking chimneys being built. He wants to
return to the Shire at once, but Galadriel warns that the
mirror can be deceptive.

Frodo sees in the mirror the great red eye of Sauron, which
he feels is seeking him. Galadriel tells him not to fear while
he's in Lothlorien, for Sauron's eye cannot find him there,
although she herself can read Sauron's thoughts. This
echoes what another elf had said in a previous chapter:
though the light pierces the very heart of darkness, the
light's own secret has not yet been discovered. Galadriel
reveals to Frodo that secret: she possesses one of the elven
rings. It appears as a star upon her hand. If you have any
doubts about Galadriel's motives, this should answer them,
for stars, as you know by now, are Tolkien's symbol for
good.

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