This summer will be our first ever Tea with Tolkien read-along and book club for Tolkien's The Silmarillion! I'm so thrilled to be joined by over 100 of you in our Facebook group where we'll journey through this beloved text together. Below is the schedule we'll be sticking to as we read this summer. We'll be taking 12 weeks to do our read-along, allowing us to work through it at a good pace and discuss it in depth as we go!Read More
In the morning, Frodo and Sam prepare to leave Faramir’s company, following Gollum toward the Cross-Roads and the Stairs of Cirith Ungol. As they leave, Faramir gifts them with walking sticks and food, bidding them “go with the good will of all men!”
Frodo remarks to Faramir, “It was said to me by Elrond Halfelven that I should find friendship upon the way, secret and unlooked for. Certainly I looked for no such friendship as you have shown. To have found it turns evil to great good.”
From there, they journey for days into sickening darkness towards the Cross-Roads. Gollum urges them to make haste, saying, “We’re not in decent places. Time’s running short, yes, running fast. No time to lose. We must go.”
At last, they draw near to the Cross-Roads where Frodo is filled with dread. However, despite all fear, the hobbits experience a few glimmers of hope amidst the darkness. The setting of the sun reveals to them a head of carven stone, toppled from a statue of a king. Upon its head, “a trailing plant with flowers like small white stars had bound itself across the brows as if in reverence for the fallen king.”
“The king has got a crown again… They cannot conquer for ever!” - Frodo
Together, they near the base of the stair where they are horrified to see the city of Ringwraiths, Minas Morgul. They watch as a great army marches from the gates, and Frodo finds his hand moving toward the ring against his will. They are deadly tired, but begin to climb the Stairs of Cirith Ungol.
As they come to a place of rest, they begin to wonder about what sort of tale they’ve fallen into, thinking back to the tale of Beren and Luthien.
“Why, to think of it, we’re in the same tale still! It’s going on.
Don’t the great tales never end?’
‘No, they never end as tales,’ said Frodo.
‘But the people in them come, and go when
their part’s ended. Our part will end later—or sooner.’”
In the last moments of this chapter, we encounter a glimpse of the humanity of Smeagol. Perhaps his last. “For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, and old starved pitiable thing.”
As Gollum guides Frodo and Sam to the Black Gate of Mordor, Frodo agonizes over what path to take from there. He is determined to carry on his quest and can see no other option than to march up to the Black Gate itself, yet he knows this is hopeless. At this moment, Gollum reveals a more dangerous, secret path that could lead them into Mordor. Frodo agrees to follow him, warning him of his promise to the Precious...Read More
After leaving the broken Fellowship, Frodo and Sam scramble towards Mordor, where the come face-to-face with Gollum for the first time. Instead of attacking or hiding, they approach him and take him as their guide. Gollum leads them through the Dead Marshes, toward the Black Gate of Mordor.Read More
Every Monday, our Facebook group has been discussing one or two chapters from The Lord of the Rings, and so I'm happy to be sharing a little bit of our conversation and reflections as we go! If you'd like to read along with us, join our Facebook group! Otherwise, leave your comments below and we can continue the discussion! We're currently reading through The Two Towers, the second part of The Lord of the Rings. Want to journal through The Two Towers with us? Grab your journal here!
The Turn of the Tide
This summary is an excerpt taken from our Two Towers companion journal. Grab yours here!
Book Three of The Lord of the Rings brings about many changes for the members of the broken Fellowship. Boromir confesses that he tried to take the Ring from Frodo and defends the hobbits against the Orcs, costing him his life. Frodo and Sam escape but Pippin and Merry are captured by Orc soldiers. After being held captive for days, Pippin and Merry escape into Fangorn Forest and are brought to safety by Treebeard. In their search, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are met by an unexpected friend: Gandalf the White, risen from the dead. They journey to Rohan where Gandalf frees King Théoden from the influence of Saruman through Wormtongue, and they ride to battle at Helm’s Deep.
After battle and unexpected victory, Théoden journeys with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli to Isengard. There, the men are surprised to see Pippin and Merry sitting at the gate! They come to learn that Treebeard has ‘taken over management of Isengard’ and Saruman is being held prisoner in Orthanc.
Gandalf offers counsel and mercy to Saruman. However, his efforts are fruitless and Gandalf is forced to assert his authority over Saruman — breaking his staff and leaving him safe but powerless in Orthanc. As they are speaking with Saruman, Wormtongue throws a mysterious stone down towards Gandalf. He quickly wraps it in his cloak, but not before Pippin takes notice of it.
Overwhelmed with curiosity, Pippin takes the stone (which is revealed to be one of the Palantíri) while Gandalf is sleeping. As Pippin looks into it, he suddenly finds himself in the presence of Sauron who now believes he is the bearer of the Ring. Soon, one of the Nazgûl is seen flying above them, and Gandalf quickly rides with Pippin towards Minas Tirith.
"Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!" - Aragorn to Boromir as he lay dying
"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern then, as much as in the Golden Wood as in his own house." - Aragorn, Chapter Two: The Riders of Rohan
'Do not be hasty, that is my motto." - Treebeard
"For behold! The storm comes, and now all friends should gather together, lest each singly be destroyed." - Gandalf to Theoden, Chapter Six: King of the Golden Hall
"None knows what the new day shall bring him." - Aragorn, Chapter Seven: Helm's Deep
"I do not wish for mastery." - Gandalf, Chapter Ten: The Voice of Saruman
"Often does hatred hurt itself!" - Gandalf, Chapter Ten: The Voice of Saruman
“But at this time we have been strangely fortunate.
Maybe, I have been saved by this hobbit from a grave blunder.”
bOOK cLUB mUSINGS
- Reflect on some of the major themes from Book III: discernment, vigilance, control versus cooperation (seen in the differences between Saruman and Gandalf), the power of nature over the machine... Which stood out to you as most important or influential? What other themes would you add to this list?
- Which characters did you identify most with throughout this book?
- In what ways can you seek to grow in 'hobbitness and holiness' inspired by these chapters?
What would you add to this discussion?
Want to dig deeper into these chapters?
Order your Two Towers companion journal here!
The majority of this week's first chapter, Flotsam and Jetsam, is spent amongst old friends as they eat, drink, smoke, and recount their stories to one another. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli stay behind with Merry and Pippin as the others leave to consult with Treebeard. As the chapter comes to an end, all are feeling refreshed and nourished for the journey ahead...Read More
The Riders of Rohan journey to Helm’s Deep in anticipation of battle. On the way, Gandalf urges Théoden to continue on to Helm’s Deep but that he must leave them for a while. As the battle begins, they become surrounded by a vast sea of Orc soldiers and victory seems hopeless. In a desperate last defense, Théoden rides forth into battle. Suddenly, they are greatly relieved to see Gandalf appear on the horizon leading more men to their aid in battle. With Gandalf’s arrival, the battle is quickly won...Read More
In this week's chapters, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are surprised to be met by Gandalf in the midst of Fangorn Forest. He is arisen, with a new authority and strength. With him, they journey to Rohan to meet with King Theoden. When they arrive, they are unwelcome and uneasy, finding Rohan much different than before. Theoden has lived long under the spells of Saruman through Wormtongue and upon realizing this, Gandalf quickly uses his strength to free him...Read More
Every Monday, our Facebook group has been discussing one or two chapters from The Lord of the Rings, and so I'm happy to be sharing a little bit of our conversation and reflections as we go! If you'd like to read along with us, join our Facebook group! Otherwise, leave your comments below and we can continue the discussion! We're currently reading through The Two Towers, the second part of The Lord of the Rings.
The Uruk-hai & Treebeard
In these two chapters, we are reconnected with Merry and Pippin as they are being carried toward Isengard by the Orcs. While Pippin feels hopeless, he manages to drop his Elven brooch in a last effort to leave it as a sign to anyone who might be trying to rescue them.
As the Orcs become distracted by battle, Merry and Pippin manage to escape -- only to find themselves lost in Fangorn Forest. There, they are met by Treebeard, an ent, and are taken into his care. He tells them about Saruman, and of the history of the forests, and he carries them along with him through the forest. After much discernment between the ents, they decide to march on Isengard.
Book Club Musings
- Do you ever feel hopeless or useless like Pippin did in the midst of the Uruk-hai? Reflect on these times and remember that you were created with a unique purpose and value...
- Similarly, do you notice when people in your life drop hints in their despair (as Pippin did with his brooch)? How observant are you of your friends and family? Do you notice when they are crying out in hopelessness? What can you learn from Aragorn's vigilance in pursuit of his friends?
- This description of Saruman stood out to me: "He has a mind of metal and wheels". Saruman seeks domination instead of cooperation or co-existence. Do you ever find yourself leaning towards a Saruman-like state of mind?
- My favorite quote from these chapters is from Treebeard: "Do not be hasty, that is my motto." How can you apply this mindset to your life?
What more would you add to the discussion? Leave it in the comments below or join our Facebook group to participate more!