Episode 193 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

Comment on Sam’s volunteering and his destiny:
  • While Gildor was afraid that any extra information might nudge Frodo away from playing his part out of fear, the Elves seemed not to have the same fears about Sam’s part in destiny.
  • This may be because of Sam’s sense of duty to Frodo, and that his commitments are so obvious to them that they only feel the need to confirm it in words and to encourage it further.
  • Both Gildor and Elrond assume that Sam will volunteer, though Elrond doesn’t make him say it.
  • While Sam paraphrases Gildor’s folk in his own idiom, it’s clear that they used the imperative.
  • In Sam, his desire and his duty already are in alignment, so there is no real choice for him to make, though Gildor’s folk tease him somewhat for his willingness to stand up to Black Riders.
  • Note: Sam’s turning back on Frodo’s order in the film works dramatically, but is untrue to Sam.
  • The Elves may be underestimating Sam, given the Gaffer and Farmer Maggot’s resistance.
  • Why don’t the Elves name Sam an Elf-friend? There is no point where he is explicitly named one, he must be considered one by the time of his return to the Shire, given his experiences.
  • Galadriel’s words in the Shire regarding the use of her gifts, and his invitation to go to the Undying Lands imply that he is and may have come with the giving of those gifts.
  • Gimli would also be considered an Elf-friend, shown through his permission to go West, too.
  • Frodo’s spoken induction is likely to highlight it and to emphasize his role in the story. However, the fact that his status as Elf-friend is perceptible by those meeting him makes it seem different.
  • The light in his eyes and ring in his voice can be previewed by Goldberry, but this may not be universal, and may point to a special blessing conferred on him, as others will do later, too.
  • Note: It seems that Tolkien has the moment when Bilbo is named an Elf-friend in mind there.
There was a deal of talk, and everyone had an eye-opener:
  • Frodo’s standing forth as “the halfling” as the counsel that is stronger than Morgul-spells.
  • In the sense of “words” the Morgul-spells are all about one dominating the wills of others.
  • Frodo’s freedom of will and choosing to take it on himself are anathema to Morgul-spells.
  • Note: This points to a theme in Tolkien that he emphasizes the importance of words and speaking them aloud. The Council was not necessary, but it was important that they decide to destroy the Ring, that Frodo do it willingly, and done among others among the Free Peoples.
  • Why does Bilbo emphasize the “eye-openers”? Why not emphasize Frodo’s quest instead?
  • Bilbo may actually be referring to Frodo as one of the great eye-openers, but also that everyone had a story, but was shown that theirs was far more important than they knew, in context.
  • This bigger context, and the overall eye-opener, is that the Council of Elrond, which they didn’t expect to have, was the turning point for the entire history of Middle-earth in the Third Age.
  • There is a sense in the use of the phrase “eye-opener” that implies that it is a call to action.
Caught even him on the hop, though he passed it off:
  • Bilbo mentions all their talking in a jokingly slighting way and gives some hobbitry to Gandalf.
  • Bilbo is really hoping to catch out Gandalf with his teasing, as Gandalf is always in the know.
  • It is likely that Gandalf had not heard the poem from Boromir’s dream, so that may actually have been a surprise, along with Frodo’s dream about him on top of Orthanc, which astonishes him.
  • Gandalf’s response may be a smug bit of banter but pointing to Bilbo and Frodo as eye-openers themselves shows that their characters was the greatest surprise, affirmed by Boromir’s dream.
  • Their stories themselves would not have been a surprise, as many of them would know have been part of the stories, but that the role the halflings were to play was known only to Gandalf.
  • It’s possible that Elrond needed to be convinced that Frodo should become the Ring-bearer. He implied on several occasions that he is learning new things that set his mind on its decision.
  • Note: This will play out again in Elrond needing to be convinced to allow Merry and Pippin to go with the Fellowship. He and Aragorn may know hobbits but may have been surprised to see the way that they respond on this stage. Sam himself, and his volunteering, may also be a surprise.
  • Gandalf does want to tease Bilbo back by implying that Bilbo was falling asleep or allowing his mind to wonder, but he also follows on to complete the answer to Pippin’s earlier question.
  • Bilbo’s own eye-openers are both the providential nature of this finding of the Ring, and his ability to leave the Ring behind in the end, which has pointed Gandalf toward sending a hobbit.
  • For Pippin’s benefit, Gandalf shows that the most important event was Frodo’s volunteering.
  • Many times, throughout Frodo’s story, the role of both Providence and his strength at resisting the servants of the Enemy that have made it obvious that Frodo was the only choice as bearer.