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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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Strider is also revealed as an awe-inspiring figure, one of
the few remaining descendants of a great and ancient race
of men, the Numenorea. Strider's true name is Aragorn; to
show his new status in the book, he is called by that name,
instead of Strider.

Notice the star imagery in chapter 1. In Elrond's eyes is a
light like the light of stars. Bilbo twice refers to stars: first
in his song about Earendil, who is turned into a star, and at
the end of the chapter, when he says he will go to look at
the stars of Elbereth. (Elbereth is a being from the Blessed
Realm who is believed by the elves to have created the
stars.) Aragorn appears to Frodo as having a star shining on
his breast. Whereas shadow is a symbol of evil, stars
emerge in Tolkien's book as a symbol of a distant, yet
enduring good.

A council is held at Rivendell, and all races-dwarves,
elves, men, and hobbits-are represented. Ostensibly they
have come to bring news and to seek advice. Yet Elrond
says that they have been brought here by some higher
purpose. The stories they have to tell all relate in some way
to the rise of Sauron, as well as to the Ring, which Frodo
now carries.

Elrond's story of the Ring encompasses a broad sweep of
history, for he has lived through three ages and seen evil
rise and fall many times. Next, Boromir, a man from the
country of Gondor to the south, tells of Sauron's rise in
Mordor. The forces of Gondor are trying to hold back the
tide of evil, but they're too weak against Sauron's might.

Aragorn chooses this moment to reveal that he's the heir of
Elendil, once king of Gondor, who had been slain in the
last battle against Sauron many years ago. He has Elendil's
broken sword, and the time has come for that sword to be
reforged and for Aragorn to return to Gondor as rightful

The passage where Aragorn describes his life as a Ranger
shows the elitism that people see in The Lord of the Rings.
Aragorn's words depict an elite few who spend their lives
facing danger and discomfort for the sake of the many, who
are simple and weak. The Rangers are scorned for their
trouble, while the simple folk remain blissfully ignorant of
the dangers they are being protected from. Aragorn
considers it right that things should be this way. Do you
agree with his theory? Is it better for the common people to
be kept unaware of the dangers in the world? Do you know
of governments and leaders who seem to feel that way?

Gandalf has the worst news of all. His tale is of the
treachery of Saruman the White, a wizard like Gandalf, and
head of the council that drove Sauron from Mirkwood.
Secretly Saruman has for some time desired the Ring for
himself, and when he suspects that Gandalf knows where it
is, he summons him under the pretext of offering help
against the Black Riders and Sauron. But instead he tells
Gandalf that they must join forces and use the power of the
Ring to rule Middle-earth. While certain evils would have
to be tolerated and weaker allies cast aside, Saruman claims
it would all serve a higher good. When Gandalf refuses to
join him, Saruman imprisons him on the top of a mountain.
Gandalf is finally rescued by Gwaihir, the eagle.

The council must now decide what is to be done with the
Ring. Boromir suggests they use the Ring's power against
Sauron. Elrond explains that whoever used the Ring to
defeat Sauron, no matter how noble his purpose, would
become just as evil as Sauron, for such is the nature of the
Ring. The very desire for the Ring corrupts the heart, as it
corrupted Saruman.

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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