Literature Study GuidesThe Lord Of The RingsThe Fellowship Of The Ring Book 2 Chapter 6 Summary

The Lord of the Rings | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings | The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 2, Chapter 6) : Lothlórien | Summary

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Summary

Shocked and grieving, the Fellowship is at a loss for what to do next. Aragorn takes control, leading the Company toward the woods of Lothlórien, a dwelling of Elves that Legolas and Aragorn anticipate visiting with joy, despite their sadness. They stop briefly so Aragorn can attend to Frodo's injuries, discovering Frodo's mithril coat in the process, which mostly protected him from the Orc-chieftain's spear thrust.

As they walk, Frodo again thinks he hears soft footsteps following, and when he turns, he sees the gleam of eyes.

They arrive at the woods of Lothlórien. Not everyone is excited. Boromir is suspicious, and Gimli, as a Dwarf, also has worries. But Legolas tells them some of the history of Lothlórien, and they seem willing to keep going. When night falls, they prepare to sleep in the tree branches, but are interrupted by a company of Elves led by Haldir whose job is to watch Lothlórien's borders. The Elves agree to lead the Fellowship into Lothlórien in the morning.

In the middle of the night, a shadowy figure climbs up the tree Frodo is in, but is scared away by Elves. The next day the Company, led by Haldir and his elves, enter Lothlórien.

Analysis

Echoing the words of Elrond that they must resist evil "with hope or without it," Aragorn admonishes the Company, "We must do without hope," as they set out for Lothlórien. Aragorn seems grim and pitiless as he drives the Company on to the point of exhaustion, but softens as he realizes he has neglected Frodo's injuries. He seems to come back to himself and, as he did after Weathertop, he tends to the wounded with athelas. Tolkien foreshadows the eventual appearance of the creature Gollum when Frodo notices the gleaming eyes and hears footsteps. Gollum takes on a crucial role later in the story.

Aragorn's authority is challenged here by Boromir, who opposes going to Lothlórien. As Aragorn prepares to lead the Company to Lothlórien, Boromir "stood irresolute and did not follow." He questions Aragorn's decision, referring to his previous misgivings about entering Moria and the tragic result they would have avoided had they agreed with him. Because Aragorn is of the line of kings, it is ambitious of Boromir to challenge him.

Close reading yields several important details in this chapter: first, the Company is allowed to enter Lothlórien because word of the Fellowship has gone ahead of them; Haldir and his elves "have had some tidings" of Frodo and of the quest by way of Elrond's messengers. Aragorn is known to the Lady who rules Lothlórien and has her favor, and later, Frodo finds him lost in a memory in which he speaks the name of Arwen.

More so than in Rivendell, where Elrond has created a protected habitat for Elves and their friends, Lothlórien is the place in Middle-earth where the legacy of the Elves is most present. It has a timelessness and peace that is the essence of the Elves, and because of this, it is a place where the imminent separation of the Elves from Middle-earth is felt most. While, as Haldir says, "in all lands love is now mingled with grief," it is clear bittersweet sentiment is most true in Lothlórien.

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