Study Guide

The Fellowship of the Ring Exploration

Exploration

Think about fantasy as a genre; it's all about adventuring through foreign lands with strange beasts and mysterious magics. Basically, it's a genre full of exploration. And The Fellowship of the Ring certainly doesn't break the trend of the adventure narrative.

This is a journey through much of Middle-earth, from the hilly green Shire to the rocky crags of Emyn Muil and everything in between. Characters like Gandalf and Aragorn make the whole of the land their home, but others, like our gang of hobbits, have hardly every left their backyards.

Questions About Exploration

  1. Which character is the most adventurous? Which the least? Do you think people are born with a need to explore, or is it an acquired taste?
  2. Can an adventurous spirit be counted in miles traveled, or is there something more to it?
  3. Is exploration always portrayed as a positive thing? Can you think of times where curiosity and adventure have caused more harm than good?

Chew on This

Exploration as conquest never results in anything good. The dwarves drill too deep and awaken a Balrog, and Saruman's exploration using his Palantír ends in his corruption.

It's only through exploration that the heroic deeds of Middle-earth are accomplished.

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