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Elf party near Woodhall

The Shire

Nov 17 2017, 11:29pm

Post #1 of 4 (5227 views)
Elf party near Woodhall Can't Post

In Chapter 3 of Book 1, there is mention of "elf party" where Frodo and company get to eat food and drink, on top of a hill near Woodhall. How did it come to be?
Was it some mysterious magic or like that?


Nov 18 2017, 12:22am

Post #2 of 4 (5214 views)
There are certainly hints of magic [In reply to] Can't Post

In that the fire "sprang up" suddenly when the stars came out of the mist, and the food has a taste and savor that seems to transcend its simplicity, and the hobbits could not afterwards well remember exactly what went on during the dinner. But these magics, like the ones in Rivendell and Lothlorien, are somehow just Nature enhanced, rather than anything actually unnatural, as the word magic usually implies to us.

I noticed on re-reading the passage that some Elves sat on "the sawn rings of old trunks", which reminded me that fairy-stories often have stumps as seats in the woods, without inquiring as to which forester was busy harvesting trees in the area previously. Tree stumps are a sure sign of man's activity in the woods, and reminds us that in Europe, there is very little tradition of truly 'wild' woods. Forests were managed as hunting grounds and timber resources by the noble lords and their neighboring agricultural districts; in this case one briefly wonders when and how any hobbits, wielding lumber saws, had been harvesting full size trees in the Woody End.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Nov 18 2017, 10:39am

Post #3 of 4 (5177 views)
Nature enhanced - yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

I like that “nature enhanced” idea: that is how it seems to me. Whether rather elves enhance nature, are enhanced by it, or both is something Sam and Frodo try and fail to work out later. To me though, it doesn’t matter how it works.

I notice that this encounter also has some dream-like properties, as do other experiences of elvish company or hospitality. My interpretation is that these things really happen, but that the rules of normality might not be quite as usual.

Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Nov 18 2017, 8:10pm

Post #4 of 4 (5125 views)
I've never seen it as an [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
In Chapter 3 of Book 1, there is mention of "elf party" where Frodo and company get to eat food and drink, on top of a hill near Woodhall. How did it come to be? Was it some mysterious magic or like that?

"elf party" (if that's what you meant). Rather as a chance encounter of Hobbits with a "party of Elves".

Yes, there are hints of what we might call magic, but I prefer as Squire said, "Nature enhanced". Reminds me of Sam calling the Mirror of Galadriel "magic", and she seemed a little confused by the use of the word. To her it wasn't magical just an Elven technology or tool perhaps?

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor


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