and his friends inhabit. Why do you think he spends so much time describing the countryside?
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"When they got to the top of it, leading their ponies, they saw that the great mountains had marched down very near to them. Already they I seemed only a day's easy journey from the feet of the nearest. Dark and drear it looked, though there were patches of sunlight on its brown sides, and behind its shoulders the tips of snow-peaks gleamed."
Tolkien is very good at creating atmosphere, mood and tone with his descriptions. They set the feeling for the story and also help develop character and plot.