"No permanent trail even for Rangers to find."

Blad The Inspirer

New Member
Hi! I've been loving this course and the Mythgard Academy classes for the past couple of years, though I only joined the forum recently.

There was one small thing I noticed in episode 66 regarding the interpretation of a line about Aragorn.

As the group enters the Midgewater Marshes, the narrator says that,

"The marshes were bewildering and treacherous, and there was no permanent trail even for Rangers to find through their shifting quagmires."

In class, I think the interpretation was that the narrator was boasting on Strider's behalf, essentially saying that your average Ranger would not be able to find a trail, but Strider was no ordinary Ranger (because clearly Strider was able to find a trail).

My reading was slightly different, and focused on the word "permanent". I think the narrator is actually stressing the difficulty of the terrain, rather than complementing Strider. There was no permanent trail even for Rangers (e.g. Strider) to find, meaning that he was forced to find an appropriate path on the fly, just as any other Ranger would have had to do in the same situation. This reading also seems to me to fit slightly better, given Frodo's limited familiarity with Rangers (including Strider, at this point). I suspect that he would not be able to distinguish Aragorn's abilities from those of other Rangers so confidently. Therefore, I think that the semi-complimentary nature of the two claims in this passage (including the earlier mention of not seeing many animals) is directed at Strider as a representative of Rangers, rather than placing him above other Rangers.

I don't know how different my reading is from the one in class, but given the theme of Stride-ocentric boasting that had started to develop in the last lesson, I though it might be worth mentioning. Does this reading seem appropriate, or am I missing something?

Thank you, and as always I'll be looking forward to our arrival at Rivendell sometime this century!
 

Darren Grey

Active Member
I agree, and think that the line is partly about emphasising Ranger skills in the mind of the reader. That Strider leads them through is incidental ("Strider is awesome" being a repeated theme from the narrator around this point).
 

Arnthro

Active Member
On the discord chat during that class someone mentioned pretty much what you are talking about. They have Bill the Pony with them and the pony needs a distinct enough trail to get through the marshes. It is very likely that Strider is finding and following an ever changing (nonpermanent) trail through the marshes. One would still need impressive skills to navigate said marshes but I agree that the sentence you are referring to speaks more about the marshes being difficult.
 
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