The tale of Nine is filled. Representatives from the Free Folk of Middle-earth will accompany Frodo, though no oath of bond is laid upon them to go further than they will. Now seven days of preparations begin. Join us as we continue to read through The Lord of the Rings, book II, chapter 3, The Ring Goes South.
The Ring Goes South Pt. 2
Elvish smiths re-forged the Sword of Elendil, and Aragorn gave it a new name: Andúril, Flame of the West.
[O]n its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them was written many runes
Aragorn son of Arathorn was indeed going to war. This calls to mind the vision Saint John had while on the island of Patmos:
Revelation 1:12-16 (NASB)
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
We believe that Aragorn is a reflection of the King in the Prophet, Priest, and King messianic motif. As we continue through The Lord of the Rings we will continue to make comparisons between he and Christ Jesus.
In Seven Days The Ring Goes South
As Aragorn and Gandalf spent the next seven days considering the perils that they would meet, or pondering tales of the past and studying maps and books of lore, the hobbits gathered in the Hall of Fire. They heard the full lay of Beren and Lúthien and other tales in the evenings. During the day Frodo and Sam could be found with Bilbo in his room as he read passages from his own book or reading bits of his verses.
It was when Frodo and Bilbo were alone that the beloved old hobbit gifted the younger with Sting and the dwarf-mail given to him by Thorin Oakenshield. All Bilbo asked for in return was that Frodo take care of himself and to bring back news of the adventure. For Bilbo longed to complete his book and to write a second. He then turned to the window and began to softly sing a beautiful elegiac lament. More than anything Bilbo wanted to be a part of this adventure.
I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.
For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.
I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.
The Lord of the Rings: One Volume, pp. 278-279
Remember Also Your Creator In The Days Of Your Youth
Bilbo’s adventures have (nearly) come to an end. As the Ring goes south he will not accompany Frodo on the quest. The realization that his time in the wide world is over is a bitter one. There is a strength in youth that is finite. And it is eventually spent. This is, as the Preacher said, “Vanity of vanities!” The same Preacher warns that because of this we should remember God in our youth:
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 (NASB)
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain; in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through windows grow dim; and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will sing softly. Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
This is a poetic and symbolic picture of the human body as it ages, as well as how the old experience the world around them. And this is the stage of life Bilbo finds himself in. “Vanity of vanities!” His song should remind us why we must remember our Creator in the days of our youth. Amen.
- The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, by Robert Foster
- Christianity in Lord of the Rings, by Peter Kreeft
- The Fellowship of the Ring Audiobook read by Rob Inglis
- The Lord of the Rings 1981 Radio Dramatization by BBC
What stood out to you in The Ring Goes South Pt. 2? Let us know in the comments below.
On The Secret Fire Podcast we travel chapter-by-chapter and book-by-book through J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth viewing it through Christian lenses. We invite you to join us each week as we continue the adventure on the Arkenstone server in Lord Of The Rings Online.
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