Aragorn guides the devastated Company toward the elf-forest of Lothlórien. He stops briefly in their haste to tend to Frodo’s injured torso and a head wound of Sam’s. Aragorn is amazed to discover that a coat of precious mithril is what protected Frodo from being killed, and he realizes that it must be Bilbo’s old coat of mail.
The members of the Company barely have time to grieve, for with the onset of dusk orcs will start their pursuit (they are known to avoid the sunlight). Aragorn is pragmatic in his haste towards Lothlórien.
The Fellowship presses on, running for three hours beyond dusk to ensure they are not caught by orcs. Aragorn and Legolas are glad to arrive at the border of the forest of Lórien, while Gimli and Boromir would prefer not to enter due to rumors of enchantment they have heard about the forest. Frodo is concerned that there is something that is following them, but he knows from Sting’s blade that it is not an orc, as the blade does not glow.
Gimli and Boromir are suspicious of the elf-forest for different reasons: dwarves have a longstanding enmity with elves, while Boromir fears the power of another person to read his mind. Meanwhile, Frodo cannot work out if he is imagining something tracking them, or what purpose its intentions are.
Finally taking some rest in the outer edges of the woods, Legolas shares ancient elvish stories. These include a song about the elf-maiden Nimrodel, which relates the tale of how sorrow came to Lothlórien after the dwarves awoke an evil in the mountains by digging too deep in their search for precious metals—this is likely a reference to the balrog. Gimli is unimpressed by this assertion.
Again, Tolkien uses song to emphasize the importance of preserving history and explaining myth. By prioritizing characters’ storytelling in his narrative, he creates intertextual references that add depth to the world of Middle-earth.
Moving further into the forest, the Company is soon addressed by Lórien guards who are led by an elf named Haldir. They know something of Frodo’s quest as Ring-bearer, and welcome their Northern cousin Legolas. The Fellowship is grateful to be invited into the elves’ tree platforms, for later that night a formidable company of orcs passes below them. Despite avoiding that danger, Frodo is once again aware that there may be a strange creature lurking near the Fellowship. Haldir confirms that it is not Frodo’s imagination, but the creature is too cunning for them to learn more.
The members of the Fellowship are grateful to be met by allies at the edge of the elf-forest, having only just escaped from pursuing orcs. Frodo is alarmed by the confirmation of a strange creature following their group.
In the pale light of day, Haldir and his guards take the Company to meet the Lord and Lady of the Wood. The elves’ distrust of dwarves is so great that they blindfold Gimli to protect Lothlórien’s secrets. To calm Gimli’s outrage, Aragorn requests that all of the Company be blindfolded as well. Thus the Lórien elves guide them into the heart of the forest.
The traditional enmity between elves and dwarves is perhaps heightened by the distrust that exists in this dangerous period of the end of an age. Aragorn’s wisdom settles the brewing tension between Gimli and the elves: the Ranger’s compassion establishes him as a hero just as much as his resilience and combat skills do.