I may have written some tips on how to tackle Tolkien’s works, but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert – in any way. On the contrary, I’m still in the learning stages and there comes a time where even I find myself in difficulty reading his texts.
Case in point is the section ‘Farewell to Lorien’, from The Fellowship of the Ring. Halfway through the chapter, Celeborn advises a possible route for the Company to take .
But the passage (quoted below) doesn’t seem to fit geographically – or at least, I have never been able to understand how the proposed journey fits within the map.
Boromir, and any that go with him seeking Minas Tirith, will do well to leave the Great River above Rauros and cross the Entwash before it finds the marshes. Yet they should not go too far up that stream, nor risk becoming entangled in the Forest of Fangorn.
Cross where? East or West? How far up the stream?
I’ve checked with two other versions of the book to make sure it wasn’t a typo from the copy I was reading. However, they all contain the same discrepancy.
If you look at the map, it seems impossible to go so far North as to end up in Fangorn.
First off, which marshes are being referred to? The Nindalf (Wetwang), on the East side of the Anduin? Or the marshes around the mouths of the Entwash on the western side?
The way I understand it, Celeborn seems to advise them to leave their boats roughly at No.1, then cross the Entwash from the West before the marshes, at No. 2 and then proceed forward to Minas Tirith (No.3).
They may also have taken an alternative route and passed close by the Anduin River (No.2b).
But in either case, there’s a distance of over 200 miles between Rauros and the edge of Fangorn Forest.
I’m wondering whether “nor risk becoming entangled in the Forest of Fangorn” should be taken with a pinch of salt or simply removed.
Even if he was referring to the Nindalf, what has Fangorn got to do with it?
It’s all slightly confusing to me, to be honest …
And unless I’m seeing too much into this without any reason, Celeborn’s warning seems rather far-fetched considering the distance involved and the Company’s journey being way out of course from the Forest.
Perhaps it might have been a way to introduce Fangorn: foreshadowing the events in The Two Towers. But it seems rather unnecessary to insert it here and in this context.
Anyone else ever had any problems with this passage? How do you interpret it?