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Tolkien's Middle-earth:

Lesson Plans for Secondary School Educators

Unit Five: "The Tides of Fate Are Flowing"

Key Terms

free will The human capacity to make and act upon conscious choices, independently of social pressures, destiny, or other outside forces. When Frodo agrees to take the Ring to Mount Doom, and when he later decides to separate himself from the Company, he is exercising his free will.

counsel (koun-sul) Advice given by a knowledgeable person. The figure who offers wise counsel is found throughout epic literature: Nestor in The Iliad, Merlin in Arthurian romance, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. In Tolkienís fiction, the mortals and elves seek counsel not only from wizards but also from each another.

council (koun-sul) A gathering convened to study a problem and formulate a possible solution. In Book Two, the Council of Elrond meets to ponder the crisis of the One Ring.

bane (bayn) Something that causes misery, destruction, or ruin. During the Council of Elrond, the One Ring is sometimes called "Isildur's Bane."

weregild (weer-gild or wir-gild) In Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law, compensation paid to the relatives of someone slain. At the Council of Elrond, the Elf Lord reports that Isildur claimed the One Ring as weregild for the loss of his father and brother on the slopes of Orodruin.

pseudo-choice (su-doe-chois) A sociological term for a choice exercised within a narrow realm. In favoring a back road over a superhighway, a driver is indeed making a choice, but on terms dictated by the automobile. One reason Tolkien's characters seem heroic is that they wrestle with authentic choices.

Unit Five Content

Comments for Teachers
Preliminary Quiz
Key Terms
Discussion Topics
Suggested Activities

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