March into Middle-earth: The Fellowship of the Ring Buddy Read, Part Two

Posted 12 March, 2016 by Rinn in Buddy Read / 7 Comments

March Into Middle-earth

Welcome to the second part of my re-read/buddy read of The Fellowship of the Ring! I discussed Chapters I – V last week. The buddy read is also taking place on my Goodreads book group, Dragons & Jetpacks if you’re interested in joining over there.


This discussion will cover Chapters VI – XI of The Fellowship of the Ring, and will contain spoilers for the book.

  • OH GOD NOT THE OLD FOREST. It brings back horrible memories of trying to navigate that place on Lord of the Rings Online. It’s a horrible, horrible maze that you get lost it and can never leave.
  • That eternal question – who is Tom Bombadil, really? He knows EVERYTHING, he says he was there long before the elves, the Ring has absolutely no effect on him when worn and he does not seem to be tempted by it. I know there is a theory that he is one of the gods of Middle-earth, and the Lord of the Rings Wiki has other theories too, but whatever he is, he’s certainly interesting. If he is a god, I’m glad he doesn’t interfere with the quest any further than making sure the Hobbits manage to get past the Old Forest and Barrow Downs. It’s interesting to note that his Sindarin name was Iarwain Ben-adar, which means ‘Oldest and Fatherless’.
  • I was actually considering the fact that there is something odd about Tom Bombadil, and not necessarily a good kind of odd. Then I found this theory that says he could in fact be the most evil force in Middle-earth. What do you think?
  • The Barrow Downs would have been pretty wonderful to see in the films, and ever so creepy, but they would have required the character of Tom Bombadil to be included. I think the reason he was left out is because no-one knows who he truly is, and those who just watched the films and had not read the books might not have understood this, and thought it was something to exclude those who had skipped reading the books. In addition to some of those scenes perhaps not being entirely necessary, and the need to cut down a large book into a 2 1/2 hour film.

  • prancing pony gif
  • It takes the Hobbits around three chapters, or fifty pages, to reach Bree from the Shire. This feels slow when you consider how much the film condensed this time down. But it also makes a lot of sense, because the journey needed to feel urgent and perilous. The book gives us more time to ‘explore’ Middle-earth through the hobbits’ eyes, and hear some of their travelling songs. I love it, but I understand why it was reduced.
  • Oh, Barliman Butterbur. You lovable idiot.
  • We don’t even meet Strider/Aragorn until Chapter IX. And of course, the rest of the Fellowship later on.

  • ‘No, I don’t think any harm of old Butterbur. Only he does not altogether like mysterious vagabonds of my sort.’ Frodo gave him a puzzled look. ‘Well, I have a rather rascally look, have I not?’ said Strider with a curl of his lip and a queer gleam in his eye.


  • Look at the quote above, AKA Aragorn knowing that he rocks the scruffy look. What a man.

  • Alright, no need to get cocky.
    Alright, no need to get cocky.

  • All the geography of Middle-earth is so familiar from playing Lord of the Rings Online. All of these areas that are mentioned perhaps once in the books, are ones that you can actually visit in the game. It’s so wonderful reading about them and being able to picture them in my head.

How are you enjoying the book so far? Are there any parts within these chapters that you really loved?

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7 responses to “March into Middle-earth: The Fellowship of the Ring Buddy Read, Part Two

  1. OH GOD YES the Old Forest πŸ™‚ I unashamedly love this sequence (and the Barrow Downs), and I’m always sad that they end up on the cutting room floor, although I can see why. It’s an adventure on the way to an adventure, and although it’s all sorts of atmospheric and lends nuance to Fangorn later, it doesn’t move things along.

    As for Tom Bombadil… who knows? I spitballed last week that he’s a carefree incarnation of Eru Iluvatar, keeping an eye but remaining uninvolved… but I LOVE the theory you link to. That’s a hilarious and entirely logical alternative.

    I’m so happy to read Aragorn. He’s my biggest bone to pick with Peter Jackson. I can forgive most of the cinematic licence and I do love the films, but I do prefer my Aragorn to be kingly and commanding from the start. Although I’ve got no bones to pick with Viggo. The gifs are all too good.

    • The sequence in the book is great – the area in LOTRO is not. πŸ˜› I GOT SO SO LOST!

      I really wish we could find out who is really is. But that kind of takes away part of the fun of it, right? We shall never know, and Bombadil’s existence will be an eternal mystery, the cause of crazy theories forever more… πŸ˜›

      I really liked Viggo as Aragorn actually. I liked that he grew into his kingship – first he looked like this total vagabond, as he was supposed to, then the hobbits find out who he really is and he changes. Although he is, of course, still quite vagabond-esque throughout, due to the journey. πŸ˜‰

  2. Team Barliman Butterbur. He’s a buffoon but such a well-meaning guy- big fan of him. I MUST SAY that the Hobbit’s journey to Cricklehollow and subsequent journey to Bree are my fave parts of Fellowship of the Ring. There it’s PURE TENSION and hobbit goodness.

  3. I HATED the Old Forest in LOTRO, so true about it being a maze. Although now that I haven’t played in a while I look back sorta fondly on that whole area- Bree land and the Shire- but yeah I never want to go into the Old Forest again, at least in the game. πŸ™‚

    I do like the Old Forest/ Bombadil sequence in the book though. Bombadil (and Goldberry ) are fascinating. I personally like the theory that he’s a Maia that just sort of “became” the area he inhabits, and the theory that he’s an aspect of Eru is also one I don’t oppose- it’s fun to think about, especially his immunity to the Ring. What explains that??

    And I’ve come to really like the flight from the Shire- when I was younger I thought it was all boring, but now I love it. Barliman Butterbur is great! πŸ™‚

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    • It terrified me – even now, when I’m way out of level range and nothing actually attacks me, I hate going in there. I haven’t played properly in a few years, but I do log on every now and again to take screenshots and just wander about Middle-earth. πŸ™‚

  4. I HATED the Old Forest in LOTRO, so true about it being a maze. Although now that I haven’t played in a while I look back sorta fondly on that whole area- Bree land and the Shire- but yeah I never want to go into the Old Forest again, at least in the game. πŸ™‚

    I do like the Old Forest/ Bombadil sequence in the book though. Bombadil (and Goldberry ) are fascinating. I personally like the theory that he’s a Maia that just sort of “became” the area he inhabits, and the theory that he’s an aspect of Eru is also one I don’t oppose- it’s fun to think about, especially his immunity to the Ring. What explains that??

    And I’ve come to really like the flight from the Shire- when I was younger I thought it was all boring, but now I love it. And Barliman Butterbur is great! πŸ™‚

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