Many Partings is the sixth chapter of the second book of The Return of the King.
The company rides north to Rohan, then Isengard, where Gimli and Legolas head north through Fangorn Forest, Aragorn returns to his kingdom, the rest of the company heads north where they meet Saruman and Wormtongue who were just released from Isengard; Galadriel and the Lórien elves leave over the pass of Caradhras; the hobbits and Gandalf then arrive in Rivendell.
After many days, when the festivities are over, the Company sets out for Rivendell. Aragorn tells Frodo that he knows the hobbit wishes for nothing more than to return home. Frodo answers that he wishes first to stop off at Rivendell to visit Bilbo one last time, as the older hobbit will likely die soon. On the way, they stop at Rohan and bid farewell to Éomer, honoring the memory of Théoden. After a brief stay in Rohan, they set off again.
Arriving in Isengard, they meet Treebeard, the Ent leader who orchestrated the march on Saruman in The Two Towers. The Ents had promised to guard Saruman’s old stronghold of Orthanc, ensuring that the corrupt wizard would never escape. Treebeard tells them of the flight of many Orcs and the doom the Orcs met in the forest. He relates that he reported news regularly to Saruman, who would come to the window of Orthanc to listen. But then the wizard withered away. Treebeard, to Gandalf’s dismay, has released Saruman, for he did not wish to keep such a miserable creature caged. Gandalf warns Treebeard that Saruman still has the power of his voice—a power he has used to his advantage in the past.
Proceeding onward, the group comes upon an old, ragged man leaning on a staff. They recognize him as Saruman. Another beggar in his company is Wormtongue, his former servant. The deposed Saruman is bitter but powerless. Galadriel and Gandalf offer Saruman mercy and reprieve. Their kindness irritates Saruman, who claims that with his demise, theirs will soon follow. After a few more days of slow and pleasant travel, Galadriel and Celeborn turn eastward and return home.
The remaining travelers reach Rivendell and the House of Elrond, and they find Bilbo. The old hobbit sits quietly in a small room, surrounded by bits of paper and pencils. The next day, all of Rivendell celebrates Bilbo’s 129th birthday. After a fortnight, Frodo realizes that he must return to the Shire. Bilbo chooses to remain in Rivendell, for he is far too old for any more travel. Bilbo gives Frodo three books of collected lore entitled Translations from the Elvish, asking Frodo to finish editing them. Before Frodo leaves, Elrond takes the hobbit quietly aside, assuring him that in time he himself will visit the Shire, and he will bring Bilbo with him.
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Songs and VersesEdit
- Out of doubt, out of dark
- The Road Goes Ever On