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The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring


by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring Good vs. Evil Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph) / (Prologue.Section.Paragraph)

Quote #7

For the black horses can see, and the Riders can use men and other creatures as spies, as we found at Bree. They themselves do not see the world of light as we do, but our shapes cast shadows in their minds, which only the noon sun destroys; and in the dark they perceive many signs and forms that are hidden from us: then they are most to be feared. And at all times they smell the blood of living things, desiring and hating it. Senses, too, there are other than sight or smell. We can feel their presence – It troubled our hearts, as soon as we came here, and before we saw them; they feel ours more keenly. (1.11.116)

At last, we find out something useful about how the Ringwraiths see the world; though, how Aragorn knows these things, we can't imagine. We doubt the Ringwraiths are volunteering information about desiring and hating the blood of living things. In the moral system of Lord of the Rings, it seems as though the worlds of dark and light are actually separate: the Ring draws Frodo briefly into the world of the dark, which makes him invisible in the world of the light. Are there other characters that seem to occupy both the light and dark worlds? How do you think the two are different?

Quote #8

"As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow, and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means. (2.2.156)

In Saruman's speech to Gandalf attempting to tempt him to the dark side, there are several classic signs that he's gone evil. First of all, the whole idea of progress for the sake of Rule and especially Order sounds distinctly authoritarian. Second, buried in all of his fine talk, Saruman is claiming that the end justifies the means: "there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means." But what possible goal could justify joining Sauron and turning on all of his friends? Third, Saruman is already planning to "come at last to [...] control" the Power he plans to join; in other words, he wants to betray Sauron before he's even finished joining him. Saruman's evil is spectacularly easy to see through. Do we see any more successful deceptions over the course of the novels?

Quote #9

"And now we must enter the Golden Wood, you say. But of that perilous land we have heard in Gondor, and it is said that few come out who once go in; and of that few none have escaped unscathed."

"Say not unscathed, but if you say unchanged, then maybe you will speak the truth," said Aragorn. "But lore wanes in Gondor, Boromir, if in the city of those who once were wise they now speak evil of Lothlórien [...] Perilous indeed [...] fair and perilous; but only evil need fear it, or those who bring some evil with them." (2.6.53-54)

We're getting some serious foreshadowing at this point that something is wrong with Boromir: his reluctance to enter Lothlórien is certainly a bad sign. But we are also intrigued by Aragorn's claim that the only evil on Lothlórien comes from the outsiders who visit there. Is it possible for an Elf to turn evil? Are there examples in The Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings trilogy of such a thing? Or is evil just absolutely genetically incompatible with Elfhood? If you are evil, do you just stop being an Elf? What do you become, then?

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