Episode 252 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

Bilbo’s voice speaking:
  • This is very different from the dreams that Frodo has had in the past, as it seems like a delusion given the haziness and the focus on hearing rather than seeing, and the condemning tone.
  • The feeling of fire heating Frodo’s toes is likely the beginnings of frostbite and not supernatural.
  • Frodo’s mind is possibly on the idea that he is likely on a one -way mission, even though everyone around him on the journey has been concerned with his state of mind and morale.
  • The premise of this dream is that he has returned to Rivendell, where he can not only rest and sleep, but is safe from both the hardships of the journey and his responsibilities for the quest.
  • The fact that he has “come back” points to Rivendell, though returning to the Shire is also a possibility, and that is not just a journey back in space, but also back to happier times.
  • There is a recollection of Bilbo’s “I sit beside the fire and think” song before in Rivendell.
  • Frodo would probably not expect Bilbo ever to return to the Shire after retiring in Rivendell.
  • The implication is that if he were to return to Rivendell, he would be giving up on the quest.
  • Bilbo’s answer shows that he would not approve of this if Frodo were to choose to go back.
  • While Bilbo often fantasized about being back in Bag End during his adventure, it was never about abandoning the dwarves and the quest, but simply a wish to be home and comfortable.
  • Note: This is a manifestation of the conflict of Bilbo’s Baggins and Took sides in The Hobbit, but it is clear that it is not shameful for him to think about home when in dangerous circumstances.
  • Bilbo’s criticism is partly based on the fact that Frodo’s story is uninteresting to read as it stands, and also that if he doesn’t go forward with the quest, the world will end, and no one will read it.
  • It’s possible that Frodo might have had more to say to Bilbo had Boromir not shaken him awake.
Back painfully to wakefulness:
  • There is irony that this is the first time that Boromir has interacted with the Ring through Frodo.
  • Boromir may have taken notice of what was happening to Frodo because he’s the Ring-bearer.
  • This is also a moment where Boromir expresses his frustration and concern for obvious dangers.
  • Boromir is challenging the leadership of the Company to do something, while showing restraint.
  • As a man of action and experienced leader, he pushes without undermining Aragorn or Gandalf.
  • Even though he is afraid for the safety of the hobbits, he doesn’t make any specific suggestions.
  • Aragorn and Gandalf’s thoughts are kept mysterious, even as Boromir is being entirely practical.
  • Boromir is showing his good generalship in looking out for the least and last in the Company.
The cordial of Imladris:
  • It’s not clear what Gandalf’s overall plan to save them is, beyond giving them the miruvor.
  • There is a high likelihood that miruvor contains alcohol, like what they were given by Gildor.
  • Note: In much older times, most drinks contained at least low levels of alcohol in order to sterilize it, as plain water was often unsafe to drink, and even children were served it. It’s likely also that Lucy’s cordial in the Narnia series was also alcoholic to some degree, presumably. Any alcohol would not be medicinal in this case, as it would be a bad idea when cold. Lastly, in Tolkien, it seems to be assumed that all drinks are alcoholic unless explicitly said not to be.
  • It is only Gandalf identifying the cordial as Elvish that gives it the sense of helping their situation.
  • Note: Tolkien was not far removed from the 19th century when brandy was used medicinally.
  • Gandalf has not mentioned the miruvor before now, but they have not needed up until now.
  • At this point, it is not clear whether the effect of the miruvor is physical or spiritual, or both.
  • It is noticeable that the liquor is warm, which seems be description of the sensation of drinking it, and this contrasts to what they were given by Gildor, which seemed neither warm nor cool.
  • The effect seems to be primarily spiritual, as they are not physically changed, but invigorated.
  • That it gives a feeling of hope provides the ability to act but does not change their predicament.