Episode 206 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

And Elrond sighed:
  • Does Elrond sigh before or after his announcement that Pippin will join the Company?
  • Note: In the unabridged recording, Rob Inglis has Elrond sighing in response to Pippin.
  • However, the placement after Elrond’s name may make the sigh in anticipation, as he turns himself to declaring the completion of the Company and the beginning of their journey.
  • Elrond may be acknowledging that his part is now done, from the Council to the Company.
  • If Elrond had believed that Pippin’s going would threaten the success of the mission, he would be foolish to allow it, or at least to let that go unspoken, so he fears were not about that.
  • Therefore, his foreboding is about the danger now threatening the Shire, which is correct.
  • If his foreboding is about Pippin’s safety, and Pippin still chooses the peril, then Elrond may honor that choice, and his sigh is one of acquiescence to Pippin’s choice to go.
  • It also may be the sigh of a person who has completed a great task, which Elrond has now done.
  • Note: This is one of many places where people sigh at the completion of a choice.
  • Gandalf has made it clear that this is Elrond’s choice to make, and Elrond has felt the weight of that choice, as well as the counsels that he has given, such as during the Council itself.
  • Note: The use of “tale” is an antiquated definition related to the world “tally”, which is a count. However, there is an additional sense of the “tale”, or story, now being begun at last.
  • Why must they wait seven days? Why not leave immediately, or the following morning at least?
  • Note: The choice of the 25th of December was not accidental for Tolkien, though he didn’t reveal that date until he published it in the Tale of Years (Appendix B) with The Return of the King.
  • The reason for the seven days’ delay is probably to include time for the Company to make their preparations to depart, such as packing, and also to allow time for the reforging of Narsil.
Andúril, Flame of the West:
  • The stars may represent the Eldar, while the sun represents Men, and thus the Last Alliance.
  • The moon, stars, and sun may also map onto the three major cities of Gondor; Minas Ithil for the Moon, Osgiliath for the Stars, and Minas Anor for the Sun, and so is a message to Gondor.
  • Therefore, this is a memory of ancient Gondor, not it’s current state, and therefore shows Aragorn as a connection to the ancient kingship and kingdom, which he promises to now renew.
  • There are also a total of nine heavenly bodies on the sword, which maps onto the Company.
  • The seven stars may also be a memory of the Valacirca, “The Sickle of the Valar”, that Varda set in the heavens as a warning to Melkor of his ultimate defeat and doom, and to his servants.
  • The Valacirca was already mentioned as being seen above Bree-hill, associated with the Nazgûl.
  • The Sun and Moon also indirectly reference the Two Trees, which were their ultimate sources.
  • It’s unclear if the crescent moon is a waxing or waning crescent, though it is a rising moon.
  • The use of “for” to describe Aragorn’s going to war explains the carving of runes on the blade.
  • While Aragorn has been carrying the blade as a mere symbol for many years, he now needs the blade for war, and so the fashion of the blade is changed to meet its new purpose for him.
  • Aragorn’s title as Chieftain of the Dúnedain is also used here, rather then his title as heir of Elendil, which means that he is going as the Enemy of Sauron, not to claim the throne yet.
  • Note: This may be an addition by Findegil later in Gondor, though its not out of the question for Frodo to mention this himself, with Findegil modifying it with alliteration and lore. The fact that Aragorn is mentioned as going to war points to things beyond the hobbits’ knowledge at the time and usual register and is looking back on the past for important historical moments. The description if the sword is an appeal to the pride and patriotism for Gondor’s past, while poetically combining contrasting elements of heat and cold, day and night, and east and west.
  • The use of “West” combines three connotations; one is Númenor, another is Valinor, and another is the Men of the West of Middle-earth, all of whom stand in opposition to Sauron.
  • While the sword has been associated with the coldness of the Moon, the use of “Flame” may point to the fact that the blade emits light, as sunlight and moonlight have been captured in it.
  • This points to a different intent being infused into this blade than ones like Sting and Glamdring, which burn blue with anger at the presence of Orcs, but rather Andúril as a beacon of hope.
  • Is there an association with the “Flame Imperishable”? Obliquely, though not directly. Rather, he may even be referencing Bilbo’s poem referencing the flame springing anew from the ashes.
  • There is also an association with fire as opposing the Ringwraiths, and since the Company is being symbolically formed as set against the Black Riders, this sword acts as a burning brand.
Speaking of the road and the perils:
  • It’s notable that Elrond is not present advising Gandalf and Aragorn as they speak of their road.
  • Frodo’s contentment in their guidance, showing his willingness to submit and not take control.
  • This is a positive sign of Frodo’s faith and humility, and the understanding of his role as bearer.
  • Rather than spending his last days in Rivendell in anxiety about the road ahead, he is focusing on positive thoughts of Bilbo and allowing these experiences to strengthen him against the Ring.
  • Note: What is Sam doing during this time? He may be taking this opportunity to enjoy Elvish poetry and lore. This may be evidenced by his improved knowledge of the Beren and Lúthien story later near Mordor, and he had shown his enthusiasm for lore poetry before, like in Moria. He might be learning more from Bilbo, or from the Elves themselves, including even Elrond.