Not all those who wander are lost

red and gold leaves on a vine

Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken

Frodo felt Bilbo stir impatiently at his side. Evidently he was annoyed on his friend’s behalf. Standing suddenly up he burst out:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


by J. R. R. Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973)
from The Fellowship of the Ring
chapter: The Council of Elrond
image – tanakawho

Variations on a Theme

This poem appears twice in “The Fellowship of the Ring,” once towards the beginning, in Gandalf’s letter introducing Aragorn to Frodo, and again, spoken by Bilbo during The Council of Elrond.

I like the juxtaposition of “not all who wander are lost,” deep roots untouched by frost, and a greater destiny. Logically, wandering and roots don’t seem like they should be connected, but in real life wandering will happen and can be part of growth.

| More

2 Responses to “Not all those who wander are lost”

  1. Abimbola Akanwo Says:

    Very true..good excerpt, good observation.

    Wandering through life, but never ever felt lost.

    Thank you for the post.

  2. Brewgyver Says:

    This is one of my all time favorites. I have used, and will again. I’ve also seen bumper stickers with this quote, gonna find one online and buy it, right right now, before I dot another i :)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Stop SOPA