Celeborn gathers the Company together and tells them that it is time to leave Lothlórien. He gifts them three swift boats so that they can travel down the nearby River Anduin until they reach unpassable falls, where they will have to decide whether to move east or west. Considering the Fellowship’s future path, Aragorn feels torn between protecting Frodo on a direct quest to Mordor—especially now that they have lost Gandalf—or accompanying Boromir to his homeland of Gondor to aid their people. Frodo is worried when Boromir hints aloud that the Company should take the Ring to Gondor so that they can use its power directly against Sauron.
The Fellowship teeters on disaster due to numerous factors, including Gandalf’s loss and the unclear path before them. Boromir again shows himself vulnerable to the temptation of the Ring. He has noble intentions—defending his home and fighting Sauron’s armies—but he doesn’t recognize the danger of his ambitions and the corrupting power of the Ring.
Before leaving, Celeborn provides them with food and clothing as well as the boats. This includes a marvelous hooded cloak for each member of the Company that will hide the wearer from prying eyes, and stores of nourishing “lembas” cakes that will give the travelers strength even through great exertions.
The gifts of the hosts of Lórien will prove invaluable upon the Fellowship’s departure, providing nourishment and safe travel for months to come.
The Lord and Lady of Lórien gift each of the Company special individual items—a magic sword sheath and green-jeweled brooch in the shape of an eagle for Aragorn; belts of silver or gold for Merry, Pippin, and Boromir; a great bow and quiver of arrows for Legolas; and a box of magic Lórien earth for Sam. Galadriel then asks Gimli what he would request of the Lord and Lady. Having grown to revere Galadriel, Gimli elegantly asks for a strand of the Lady’s golden hair. She presents him with three, which he promises to treasure forever as a token of the goodwill between dwarves and elves. Finally, Galadriel presents Frodo with a crystal phial of starlight. The Company now takes their leave, sailing out from the safety of Lothlórien. All of them weep at the sadness of leaving such fair lands and peoples, with Gimli hit the hardest.
Lothlórien represents the last safe haven on the Fellowship’s journey for a long time. The individual gifts fall into a tradition of fantasy and myth whereby special objects are bestowed upon heroes depending on their strengths and needs. Many of the Fellowship’s gifts will become invaluable later in their journey. Gimli’s depth of feeling upon his departure from Lórien is evidence of his change in heart toward the elves.