The Fellowship of the Ring
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring Perseverance Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph) / (Prologue.Section.Paragraph)
They had climbed on to a narrow saddle between two higher points, and the land fell steeply away again, only a short distance ahead. Frodo threw himself down, and lay on the ground shivering. His left arm was lifeless, and his side and shoulder felt as if icy claws were laid upon them. The trees and rocks about him seemed shadowy and dim.
"We cannot go much further," said Merry to Strider. "I am afraid this has been too much for Frodo. […]
"What is the matter with my master?" asked Sam in a low voice, looking appealing at Strider. "His wound was small, and it is already closed. There's nothing to be seen but a cold white mark on his shoulder."
"Frodo has been touched by the weapons of the Enemy," said Strider, "and there is some poison or evil at work that is beyond my skill to drive out. But do not give up hope, Sam!" (1.12.41-2, 44-5)
The perseverance in this section is two-fold: first, there's the perseverance of the Hobbits against the hard, cheerless terrain they have to cross. They are all exhausted and drained by the journey to Rivendell, but none (of course) more than Frodo (what with that evil sword wound in his shoulder). But the other example of perseverance in this section is, sadly, the "poison or evil" that continues to destroy Frodo's health even when there is no obvious wound to cause it. The poison endures just as poor Frodo does. Frodo continues to be a victim of wounds that never properly heal – the Ringwraith's blade is only the beginning.
To the east the outflung arm of the mountains marched to a sudden end, and far lands could be descried beyond them, wide and vague. To the south the Misty Mountains receded endlessly as far as sight could reach. Less than a mile away, and a little below them, for they still stood high up on the west side of the dale, there lay a mere. It was long and oval, shaped like a great spear-head thrust deep into the northern glen; but its southern end was beyond the shadows under the sunlit sky. Yet its waters were dark: a deep blue like clear evening sky seen from a lamplit room. Its face was still and unruffled. About it lay a smooth sward, shelving down on all side to its bare unbroken rim.
"There lies the Mirrormere, deep Kheled-zâram!" said Gimli sadly. "I remember that [Gandalf] said: 'May you have joy of the sight! But we cannot linger there.' Now long shall I journey ere I have joy again. It is I that must hasten away, and he that must remain." (2.7.7)
(A mere, by the way, is a lake or pond.) In this day of extremely gory action movies, we've gotten used to characters dying over the course of a film with no time for the remaining characters to mourn them. The idea that you would stop in the middle of a quest to take stock of the loss of one of your friends is pretty risky: the Company has to keep going, even if they are going to miss Gandalf. So Gandalf's death is certainly a test of their perseverance. There are numerous wonders in this novel: the Dwarf hall of Khazad-dûm, the statues of the Argonath, and now, here, the Mirrowmere. The Company must keep racing past them, with, at most, a few rich paragraphs to mark the spot. Yet, these lyrical passages in Tolkien give Middle-earth a real shape and texture that brings readers back to this world over and over again.
All of them, it seemed, had fared alike: each had felt that he was offered a choice between a shadow full of fear that lay ahead, and something that he greatly desired: clear before his mind it lay, and to get it he had only to turn aside from the road and leave the Quest and the war against Sauron to others [...]
"Well, have a care!" said Boromir. "I do not feel too sure of this Elvish lady and her purposes."
"Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!" said Aragorn sternly. "You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware!" (2.7.40, 45-6)
As Galadriel peers into the souls of the Company's members, she offers them a test: if they could abandon the Quest and win their hearts' desires, would they do so? All of them pass the test, but Boromir most resents it. Again, his outraged pride suggests that he is not going to be able to resist the Ring the same way that calmer, more balanced men like Aragorn can. Boromir's resentment of Galadriel foreshadows his changing position in the Fellowship.