Registered: Jan 2001
In summer, the scorching sun above Middle-earth sears the land. Perched high on the dome of the sky, it bakes everything down, forcing the Hobbits, the Elves and the men to do their work quickly and retreat to their homes, staying in the cool shade while the orb of light attacks them from overhead. During the winter, on the other hand, the sun only climbs above the horizon for a few hours each day, and then dips back and plunges the world into darkness. The snow drives downward, the winds howl, and everyone, men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, and Orcs, can feel the chill penetrating to their bones.
Frodo had set out from his home in the Shire, hoping for a chance to see the real Middle-earth. While his official purpose for the journey was to destroy a magic ring in the fires of Mount Doom, he had really accepted the invitation to join the quest because he viewed it as an opportunity to experience the genuine outside world. He had heard stories, of course, about how Hobbits who left the Shire, although naïve and ambitious at first, would eventually turn against the other cultures with scorn, and would long for their cozy hobbit-holes, their elaborate tea parties, their pipes of tobacco before second breakfreast. “Is it true what they say about hobbits who journey eastward, that we all eventually lose the spirit of adventure and just want to return to our cozy homes after a few months,” he asked Gandalf once as they sat around the campfire, but the wizard declined to provide a direct answer.
Regardless, he had remained inquisitive during the flight from the Nazgul and the stay at Rivendell. But as each day passed and the winter grew colder and more ominous, the dark bulks of the Misty Mountains loomed on the horizon up ahead. Their peaks seeming to be lost in the cloud cover, the mountains dwarfed everything, blotted out everything. Their massive bulks weighed on the members of the Fellowship, and the swirling snow seemed to wrap around them, cutting off and suffocating them. There, on the slopes of the Caradhras, Frodo suddenly felt small and insignificant, as if nothing that a little Hobbit could achieve would ever amount to anything more than that, snowflakes whirling in a storm.
from A Passage to Mordor, by E. M. Forster
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