The Fellowship of the Ring Book 2, Chapter 8 Summary
Farewell to Lórien
The night before the Company leaves Lothlórien, they are summoned by the Lord and Lady.
Celeborn tells them that now is the time to leave, if they want to continue on their quest. For those who do not want to go on, they can stay in Lothlórien for a time.
Boromir says he has to continue to Gondor in any case, and Aragorn adds that they have not yet decided their forward route.
Celeborn offers them boats to travel down the Silverlode to the Great River Anduin. Aragorn thanks Celeborn: that will save them some time and effort.
After wishing the Lord and Lady good night, the Company gets together for a planning session.
Most of them want to go to Minas Tirith, in Gondor, first, before deciding their ultimate route to Mordor.
Aragorn's mind is still divided.
Boromir tells them he will go to Gondor alone if he has to. He adds that it is folly to go into Mordor without armed forces, and "folly to throw away [...] folly to throw lives away, I mean" (2.8.19). Notice the slip-up?
Frodo is becoming suspicious of Boromir's intentions.
In the morning, the people of Lórien give them food and clothing. The food is a very thin cake called <em>lembas</em>, a light, strengthening food for travel, which can keep you on your feet for many days.
They also receive gray cloaks that look like twilight under the trees, hiding the wearer from sight. Each cloak clasps with a brooch "like a green leaf veined with silver" (2.8.28).
At the bank of the Silverlode, the Company finds three small gray boats loaded with their luggage and many extra coils of light, strong rope (which makes Sam happy).
Haldir escorts them to their boats and bids them farewell.
Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam ride in one boat; Boromir, Merry, and Pippin in the second; and Legolas and Gimli in the third.
As they drift down the river, they hear singing.
There is a boat coming toward them holding two Elves with paddles, Celeborn, and Galadriel.
Galadriel sings of Lothlórien and travel across the Sea.
They have come to say farewell and eat a final meal with the Company.
To Frodo, Galadriel no longer looks terrifying or filled with hidden power.
She seems both present and far away, as though she has been left behind by Time.
After they have eaten, Celeborn talks to them about their trip. He suggests that they go as far down as the cataracts of Rauros.
There, they will find a wide marsh and the Forest of Fangorn.
On the western side of the Anduin lies Rohan.
On the eastern side, there are the Dead Marshes to Cirith Gorgor and the black gates of Mordor.
For Boromir and those who want to go to Gondor, they should leave their boats above the Rauros.
The Company should avoid the Forest of Fangorn, since it is a strange place.
Galadriel offers white mead for a farewell drink. She tells Celeborn, "let not your heart be sad, though night must follow noon, and already our evening draweth nigh" (2.8.54).
She offers each of the members of the Company a gift.
Aragorn gets a jeweled sheath for his sword, Andúril.
Galadriel also gives him a silver brooch, shaped like a flying eagle, with a green stone. The stone was left for Aragorn if he should pass through Lothlórien. Galadriel gave it to her daughter, Celebrían, who passed it to her daughter, Arwen. And now Arwen wants to pass it to Aragorn.
The green stone recognizes another of Aragorn's names: Elessar, the Elfstone.
Aragorn is (understandably) very happy.
To Boromir, Galadriel gives a golden belt; Merry and Pippin get silver belts.
To Legolas, she gives a bow in the style of the Galadhrim and a quiver of arrows.
Sam gets a box filled with earth from Galadriel's garden with a little silver nut inside. If Sam carries this box back with him to the Shire and sprinkles this soil on his garden, his flowers will bloom like few in Middle-earth.
Galadriel asks what Gimli would like. He replies that it has been enough to have seen her and heard her speak.
Galadriel announces, "Hear all ye Elves! [...] Let none none say again that Dwarves are grasping and ungracious!" (2.8.67).
But Galadriel insists on giving Gimli a present; he says he wants a single strand of Galadriel's hair.
If Gimli ever returns to his home, he will place the hair in crystal and keep it as "a pledge of good will between the Mountain and the Wood until the end of days" (2.8.70).
Galadriel unbraids her hair and grants his wish.
To Frodo, Galadriel offers a small crystal that glitters with the light of Eärendil. She wishes, "[m]ay it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out" (2.8.72).
With this gift, Frodo sees Galadriel again, "standing like a queen, great and beautiful, but no longer terrible" (2.8.83).
They continue down the Silverlode to the Great River Anduin, and they see the figure of Galadriel receding in the distance.
As they sail out of sight, she sings a song in Elvish that Frodo cannot understand. Still, it makes him feel sad.
The river takes a turn, and they can no longer see Lothlórien.
Gimli weeps openly, knowing that he may well never see Lothlórien again. He and Legolas mourn together.
So the Company travels southwards through bare, empty, cheerless country.