Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Hobbit - III. A Short Rest

The title of this chapter aptly describes its contents. After the harrowing experience with the trolls and retrieving the spoils of their cave, the party makes its way across some difficult terrain to Rivendell, home of Elrond. Elrond we are told plays a significant part in many other tales but a small part in this one. It is a nice stop for the party where they are allowed to refresh from their journey and replenish their supplies.

It seems that little is asked of the dwarves in return for the elves' hospitality. Elrond relays the history of the swords acquired by Gandalf and Thorin in the troll's cave. Gandalf's sword, Glamdring or Foehammer was the king's sword in Gondolin a fallen elven city. Thorin's sword Orcrist or Goblin Cleaver was also a legendary sword from Gondolin. There seems to be some foreshadowing from Thorin as he wishes that his sword will cleave goblin's once more. Likely boding ill for the party in the future as they journey across the Misty Mountains.

This chapter also introduces us to elves who are old yet young at the same time. They are playful yet wise and embody many virtues. The narrator is clearly appreciative of elves and takes some time to describe their contributions to Middle Earth. Elrond says that while he does not approve of the dwarvish lust for material wealth he supports their cause to rid the world of the evil dragon Smaug, and regrets the devastation he has wrought.

Some new information is also revealed about the map. Apparently there are moon letters on the map which can only be read by the light of the moon on midsummer's eve, which happens to be when they have arrived in Rivendell. The runes read, "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the keyhole". We are also told that Durin's Day is the dwarven new year and occurs when the last moon of Autumn and the sun are in the sky together. Hopefully the party will arrive at the Lonely Mountain by then...

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