Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
***The Hobbit Read-through; Ch 1 - An Unexpected Party
First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All

sevilodorf
Grey Havens


May 22, 11:57pm

Post #26 of 64 (3159 views)
Shortcut
Perhaps it's Poor Belladonna because she married down? [In reply to] Can't Post

The Tooks may be a bit on the strange side but they are the "ruling" family and incredible rich.

It is said that Bungo used Belladonna's money to build the most luxurious hobbit hole -- Bag End --

Bungo 1246 to 1326 was about 80 when he died. (His father had lived to 93) Bungo was the oldest of 5 --

Belladonna 1252 to 1334 was 82 at her death. (Her father had lived to 130) She was one of 12 -- second or perhaps third daughter and fourth youngest--

Maybe it was poor Belladonna because she only had one son and he looked and behaved just like his solid comfortable father.

Maybe Bungo kept bringing up the "queerness" of her family -- her older brother did just disappear -- trying to stuff the free spirited hobbit into a gilded cage.

Oh the possibilities.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com
Home of TheOneRing.net Best FanFic stories of 2005 and 2006 "The Last Grey Ship" and "Ashes, East Wind, Hope That Rises" by Erin Rua

(Found in Mathoms, LOTR Tales Untold)




Roverandom
The Shire


May 22, 11:58pm

Post #27 of 64 (3160 views)
Shortcut
With regards to Chapter One [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe that the narrator strikes just the right tone, if we consider that the story is something to be read aloud at bedtime by a parent to their child. The asides to the audience read that way to me. I'm reminded of The Princess Bride, with the main plot being the story-within-the-story, read by the grandfather. Every time something scary comes up, the narrator is there to remind us that it all ends well. I don't every remember being concerned for Bilbo's safety, that he wouldn't ultimately come out of it in one piece. One example of this would come later on, when we are assured that Bilbo will see the Eagles again at the Battle of the Five Armies --- and event that sounds exciting, but something for another bedtime in the future. Because of our thoughtful narrator, we know that Bilbo makes it at least that far. While "giving away the plot" isn't the best choice for a grown-up's book, it fits here quite nicely, in my opinion.

Half of the company of Dwarves seem interchangeable to me, as evidenced by the lack of lines given to them in the course of the book. I think that the colored hoods and instruments may be the author's way of trying to individualize them, but that only lasts through this first chapter. After that, we pretty much have Thorin, Fili and Kili, Balin, and All The Others.

Gandalf, of course, is a very different Gandalf from the one we meet in The Lord of the Rings. "Trickster" is a good way of describing this version of the wizard. In some ways Hobbit Gandalf reminds me of a more active version of Tom Bombadil. Maybe it's the part where Tom is likened to a carnival trickster when he plays, to Frodo's horror, with the Ring. I also wonder if we could make a case that this Gandalf is the stand-in for the author, as the story progresses. He steps away to allow Bilbo to shine, but he's always there when needed to either advance the plot or save the day, if necessary.

For just as there has always been a Richard Webster, so too has there been a Black Scout of the North to greet him at the door on the sill of the evening and to guard him through his darkest dreams.


sevilodorf
Grey Havens


May 23, 12:06am

Post #28 of 64 (3160 views)
Shortcut
Manners -- [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo is constantly remembering his.... why are the dwarves allowed to have such bad manners? They walk in to the house of a hobbit they are attempting to hire and promptly begin eating him out of house and home and expect him to provide lodging for 14!!

Why are they presented in this fashion?

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com
Home of TheOneRing.net Best FanFic stories of 2005 and 2006 "The Last Grey Ship" and "Ashes, East Wind, Hope That Rises" by Erin Rua

(Found in Mathoms, LOTR Tales Untold)




dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 23, 1:15am

Post #29 of 64 (3151 views)
Shortcut
Yes, one must be careful [In reply to] Can't Post

with those one nightstands.

Tongue


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


noWizardme
Valinor


May 23, 9:06am

Post #30 of 64 (3115 views)
Shortcut
-- maketh hobbit, but might maketh dwarf differently [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
why are the dwarves allowed to have such bad manners?


Looking at The Hobbit as a story, I'd suggest that they behave this way because it is funny. I notice that they don't behave too inappropriately - for example there is no ceremonial forge (so essential before any dwarven expedition!) that must be set up in Bilbo's best peony bed, fuelled with his furniture. They're more like some long-lost sailor uncle and his larger-than-life sailor mates unexpectedly turning up and radically enlivening a dull family gathering.

Looking for an explanation within the story, my suggestion is that the dwarves just assume Bilbo will behave as any dwarf host would. Manners are a cultural construct after all, and in real-life human cultures there are plenty of different takes on how hosts and guests should behave.

For all I know, well-behaved dwarves like these would have carefully enquired from Gandalf what food a host might have to offer, so that he can have the pleasure of offering it all. Perhaps it's a dwarf guest's responsibility that their host is not embarrassed by being asked for something he does not have, and is not forced to do something as uncouth as to list what he has in store. Of course, all that is speculation, amusing or not. But I had fun making it up and it might serve as an example.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 23, 12:31pm

Post #31 of 64 (3104 views)
Shortcut
Contrasting manners [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
They're more like some long-lost sailor uncle and his larger-than-life sailor mates unexpectedly turning up and radically enlivening a dull family gathering.

That is my take on it--the dwarves are rough in their manners, even with their Prince Thorin-who-should-be-king among them, because they are part of the rough world outside of the Shire, and more closer to home, they are like the rough blue collar guys who get into fights for fun at the pub contrasting with the refined, dull aristocrat that is Bilbo, like "Fight Club" meets "Downton Abbey." I think it's meant on the surface for comic effect, and a layer or two deeper down to show that Bilbo's dainty world is about to get a lot rougher.
When the company gets to Rivendell, Beorn's home, and Laketown, they are much better-behaved.


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 23, 12:39pm

Post #32 of 64 (3097 views)
Shortcut
How to give character to 13 characters? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Half of the company of Dwarves seem interchangeable to me, as evidenced by the lack of lines given to them in the course of the book. I think that the colored hoods and instruments may be the author's way of trying to individualize them, but that only lasts through this first chapter. After that, we pretty much have Thorin, Fili and Kili, Balin, and All The Others.

The movies struggled with this issue too. I think when it's both a book and a children's story, we're more forgiving that they're just "extras" on the edge of the stage.

I was pondering the opposite point of view: should Tolkien have labored to make all 13 dwarves have fleshed-out characters? Would it have made for a better story? Was he cheating as an author?

I'm not sure I've ever read The Hobbit wishing I knew more about All The Others. (By comparison, on my first couple of reads of LOTR, I wished that Legolas did more speaking because I wanted to know more about Elves, though he does get more author attention later in the trilogy.)


noWizardme
Valinor


May 23, 1:03pm

Post #33 of 64 (3086 views)
Shortcut
The Downton Abbey Fight Club? - you are *not* supposed to mention it! :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


FarFromHome
Valinor


May 23, 4:16pm

Post #34 of 64 (3082 views)
Shortcut
Also the dwarves think Bilbo is touting for business [In reply to] Can't Post

They assume he's a burglar for hire, and apparently think being wined and dined is the least they can expect if he hopes to be offered their valuable contract! Trickster Gandalf has set all this up so that the dwarves and Bilbo are at cross purposes the whole time. Which just adds to the comedy, so it's all good!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



noWizardme
Valinor


May 23, 4:59pm

Post #35 of 64 (3072 views)
Shortcut
colour-coded for your convenience [In reply to] Can't Post

Thirteen different characters is certainly something Tolkien achieved in LOTR - I imagine that if the 9 of the Fellowship were joined on their journey by Eomer, Eowyn, Faramir and Bombadil then not many of us would be scratching our heads over names or characters being too similar. It's because there's time (and a purpose in the plot) for them to be different, I think.

The quicker way, beloved of many modern 'franchises' is to colour code, and do so utterly consistently (the red ranger wears red when off duty etc.). Maybe each character has a distinct attribute (object, super-power etc.) and a one-aspect personality.

If Tolkien had been writing for the toy industry, I suppose there would also be a point where the dwarves would combine in groups of three to make larger creatures, and then in series 3 all 12 of them work out how to become one huge robot on which Thorin rides around.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


noWizardme
Valinor


May 23, 5:03pm

Post #36 of 64 (3082 views)
Shortcut
Weirdest job interview ever [In reply to] Can't Post

But I hadn't thought of that - from the dwarves' POV, Bilbo is being cut in for a share of a very large treasure, so it might seem understandable that he'd be a generous host.

That also seems to answer CuriousG's point, about why the dwarves seem 'better' behaved at other stop-overs: there, they're guests, rather than being entertained by a potential business associate on (presumably) an expense account.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm

(This post was edited by noWizardme on May 23, 5:15pm)


Ettelewen
Rohan

May 23, 7:15pm

Post #37 of 64 (3063 views)
Shortcut
First Readings [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember first reading The Hobbit after I'd read The Lord of the Rings, which means I must have been in my mid to late teens at least. I don't recall being put off by the narrative style then. It was just a different kind of story. I do admit The Hobbit has never engaged me at the same level LOTR has but I think that's due to the depth of content in the latter more than anything.

I still find The Hobbit quite an enjoyable read, at least partially due to the presentation (at least in initial chapters) as a light-hearted children's tale that often includes decidedly non-childish issues and situations.


noWizardme
Valinor


May 24, 8:16am

Post #38 of 64 (2904 views)
Shortcut
How did Tolkien's various rethinkings and reworkings affect this chapter? [In reply to] Can't Post

(As I understand it):
1) Tolkien made more-substantial-than-usual changes to his second edition of The Hobbit (published 1951, c.f. the 1e which was published 1937). I know that he made changes to Bilbo's encounter with Gollum, which had the effect of making Gollum's ring more sinister and more in keeping with LOTR (which Tolkien was then preparing). I don't know whether there were any significant changes to this chapter (we ought to hold off discussing changes that affect only later chapters, and talk about them when that chapter comes up).
I'd be interested to learn more about any significant changes that affect *this* chapter - if anyone wants to summarise some of the Tolkien scholarship about this.

2) At some point, probably as part of the work of preparing the LOTR appendices, Tolkien wrote an account of the Unexpected Party from Gandalf's point of view. The material was not included in the Appendices in the end, however, and finally made it into print after JRR Tolkien's death as part of 'Unfinished Tales' (Published 1980 edited by Christopher Tolkien), where it was titled The Quest Of Erebor. This has Gandalf as we know him at the end of LOTR, explaining that he wanted Thorin &Co to destroy Smaug and re-establish a strong presence of dwarves and Men around Erebor, as part of Gandalf's grand strategy to contain Sauron and improve 'the West's' chances in the foreseen War of the Ring. Gandalf also explains that he has a strong premonition that Bilbo *must* accompany the expedition, though he does not know why. In retrospect, it seems clear that Bilbo is meant to find the Ring and take it well away from anywhere Sauron or Saruman is likely to find it.
I'll just comment that this makes perfect sense for Gandalf as I understand him to be by the end of LOTR, but I can't quite square that account with what I read in The Hobbit Chapter 1.

I'd be interested to hear what other folks who have read The Quest Of Erebor thinkm when they try to reconcile it with the account we read in this Hobbit chapter. (But let's be mindful that we are not doing a UT read-through, so please consider the needs of folks who don't have access to The Quest Of Erebor, but who don't want to be excluded from our conversation).

3) Squire mentioned something I didn't know - Tolkien considered a more drastic revision to The Hobbit (in 1960 I believe) , to bring the tone more into line with LOTR. But he abandoned this idea.

I'd like to know more about that, if anyone would care to summarise what is known about what Tolkien was proposing to do, and why he decided not to proceed.

Lastly (as usual for Tolkien) anyone who wants to study the development of the text of The Hobbit has been very well equipped to do so by the work of by Christopher Tolkien and other scholars (I think Douglas Anderson and John D. Rateliff are names deserving a mention here, but I've not studied the study of The Hobbit, and so can't be relied upon to distribute credit properly). A lot of skilled work has gone into finding and deciphering Tolkien's various drafts, and studying how the published text emerged from the initial drafts and what the changes might mean. I have not read those works (yet), and so would be interested to read a summary of what Tolkien scholarship can tell us about *this* chapter. (OK to generalise about the whole book a bit, I'd say, but we should be careful not to bring forward discussions that properly belong to later chapters).

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


noWizardme
Valinor


May 24, 8:33am

Post #39 of 64 (2894 views)
Shortcut
Do we also get a taste of one of the book's themes - about greed? [In reply to] Can't Post

I notice that one of the things upsetting Bilbo about this unexpected party is


Quote
"He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he—as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful—he might have to go without."


It seems trivial and amusing but I'm thinking it's an early appearance of someone being reluctant to share - something which plays out on a much grander scale when there are disputes over the treasure of Erebor.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 24, 11:30am

Post #40 of 64 (2888 views)
Shortcut
And since Bilbo did share on a big scale later [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems foreshadowing to say “he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful.” That sense of duty stuck with him throughout.

Though I think giving up the Arkenstone upset him more in knowing it would end his friendship with Thorin as a betrayal rather than out of any deep sense of personal ownership he felt to the stone (or personal loss in getting rid of it).


noWizardme
Valinor


May 24, 1:49pm

Post #41 of 64 (2883 views)
Shortcut
...it gives us even more of your "all of Tolkien in one chapter" [In reply to] Can't Post

"Knowing your duty and sticking to it however painful" seems to be a recurring Tolkien theme to me. Often of course it works out, however unexpectedly (Frodo does achieve the impossible task of destroying the Ring - with some unexpected and unintentional last-minute help). If it doesn't (Boromir dies whilst protecting the hobbits; Theoden dies on the battlefield) there's the sense that other fates would have been worse.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


sador
Half-elven


May 24, 3:47pm

Post #42 of 64 (2880 views)
Shortcut
Better late than never [In reply to] Can't Post

The chapter is told in a light-hearted way, with the narrator making asides about the difficulty the ‘Tookish’ (adventurous) side of Bilbo’s personality is having emerging from the more stolid and respectable Baggins shell.
The best aside regarding the Tooks is "that was, of course, absurd" regarding the rumored fairy-ancestry.
I mean, only a page ago we were told what hobbits were - and we were supposed to know that was absurd?



I felt I was also being invited to smile at Thorin’s tendency to be proud and pompous.
Well, he was an important dwarf, who lives in an antique world.
Bilbo cuts him short - but sixty years later, the hobbits dread Bilbo's own speeches - he has become, to them, quite like Thorin!



The narrator (who calls themselves ‘I’ and addresses the reader as ‘you’) strikes me as a fairly unusual way of writing outside of works for quite small children, and may be quite dated now to boot (or are there many examples I don’t know about?)
Fielding and Thackeray used this kind of narration. If it's good enough for Vanity Fair, it's good enough for me.



Does anyone particularly like or dislike this narrator character, and if so would you care to explain why?
He reminds me of myself telling my kids bed-time story. They seem to have liked it.



I’m a bit baffled why Tolkien includes the longish section in which the dwarves come in a few at a time, and the main detail is the colour of their hoods.
Bilbo is baffled as well - which seems to be Tolkien's point. If you want an internal explanation - thirteen dwarves going through Hobbiton as a group might be conspicuous, oif even alarming.
I once wrote a long piece about the groupings of the dwarves.


The dwarves here seem like Disney dwarves from Snow White than – I think it’s the coloured hoods and that the sequence ends in the slapstick of a pile of dwarves on the hall floor, with Thorin having made an undignified entrance. Does anyone who likes this part want to try and explain what I’m missing?
Don't you think Gandalf did this on purpose to humiliate Thorin?


A current example is that his way of engineering the start of Bilbo’s adventure (trickery) seems very different to what he does to Frodo (persuasion).
In both case, he creates a sense of urgency to push the reluctant hobbit to action.
With Frodo, he relents and lets him stay in the Shire a few months longer - which turns out to be a bad mistake.


What do you think – does Gandalf feel different to you and if he does, does it matter?
He obviously is different.
In fact, I thoroughly disliked Gandalf in LotR being revealed as having ever more power, and felt as if Tolkien was pulling some kind of shabby trick on the readers.
"The situation become difficult? Oh dear, I guess I'll invest Gandalf with some more powers, so he could save the day" - this felt cheap to me, and on my first reading of Unfinished Tales, when Tolkien suggested he might have been Manwew in disguise (an idea he retracted immediately), I was really mad at him.
Only when I tried to look at this constant embellishment of Gandalf the other way round - that he was very powerful indeed, but only revealed his power gradually, as the need became more dire - I came to terms with it.


Please go ahead and raise any other points about this chapter that you’d like to discuss!
I will later - possibly as late as Sunday - look at some of the responses you've received, and see if I have anything to comment on them.



Thank you, nowiz, for leading this discussion!


noWizardme
Valinor


May 24, 4:36pm

Post #43 of 64 (2876 views)
Shortcut
Dwarf roll calls [In reply to] Can't Post

A sador is never late, and neither is he early.... The main thing is that you posted!

I enjoyed your list of the times what the Hobbit includes a full recital of the company's names (in the old post you linked to). It's making me wonder whether the dwarves' names, with their groupings by similar sounds aren't partly for the sonic effect. That is, rather than it being essential to list everyone for comprehension reasons, it's just fun to recite the list of names.

A similar example might be "Pugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb" (an instantly recognisable list to many British people my age even now, being the fire brigade in the 1960s children's TV show 'Trumpton'.) Pugh et al. seem to have stuck in the memory of many British people about my age, partly because they would reliably appear in episodes to solve some (usually safely trivial) emergency, and would always stand to attention for a roll call before setting off. Like this (video clip 41 secs long: https://youtu.be/3P5wcCuNZbY ).
I used to look forward to that bit as a small child (and I supposed the animators liked it too as they could recycle nearly 1 minute of content for each episode).

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Roverandom
The Shire


May 24, 6:53pm

Post #44 of 64 (2861 views)
Shortcut
Bedtime Story [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with the idea that the names of the dwarves are meant to facilitate reading aloud. Like sador, I've been reading The Hobbit to, and now with, my daughter every October, without fail. I, too, have always tried to bring distinct voices to as many characters as possible. There certainly seems to have been a conscious effort on the author's part to repeat the "roll call" on multiple occasions throughout the story. One example that leaps to mind is when the lights go out in the forest during the Elvenking's feast, but I'm sure that there are others. I don't have the book in front of me, at the moment, but I seem to recall that the order remains essentially the same, with the rhyming pairs (or trios) helping the parent/reader along. It provides a little comic relief, if nothing else, especially when you try to read the names quickly.

For just as there has always been a Richard Webster, so too has there been a Black Scout of the North to greet him at the door on the sill of the evening and to guard him through his darkest dreams.


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 25, 1:39am

Post #45 of 64 (2827 views)
Shortcut
The Quest of Erebor ("QOE") [In reply to] Can't Post

There are several versions of the story of Gandalf telling his version of this chapter to Frodo and others. I am cherry-picking a few tidbits.

1. "Poor Belladonna": Surprisingly, there's a slight reference to her. Thorin is complaining to Gandalf that Bilbo is completely unfit to be taken on any quest and says in particular, "He is soft...Soft as the mud of his Shire, and silly. His mother died too soon." >>> Sorry, that's it, but it was interesting to come across.

2. These are parallel quests in that both are known upfront to hopeless. In LOTR, please recall, Frodo cannot summon the gumption to throw the One Ring into his own fireplace, but somehow he's supposed to do so when he gets to Mount Doom in Mordor, contravening all logic.

In QOE, Gandalf says, "So it was that the Quest of Erebor set out. I do not suppose that when it started Thorin had any real hope of destroying Smaug. There was no hope. Yet it happened."

And seriously, how were thirteen lightly armed yet unarmored dwarves and a soft hobbit going to kill a great dragon? Yes, yes, they had a secret door to use, but did they all enter the secret door silently, as a group, intent upon murdering Smaug in his sleep? No. In both quests, it seems that Tolkien was injecting a hefty dose of trust that some divine intervention would set things right by manipulating events; call it fate.

3. Reconciling different Gandalfs: it's not clear what Hobbit-Gandalf explicitly hopes to gain from this quest and what motivates him so strongly for it to succeed. I think we're supposed to take for granted that he's a wizard and wizards have mysterious motives. Or that maybe it's all a big game to him, and he sees an opportunity for tricks and mischief. Whereas the LOTR-Gandalf has a chess master's motive to establish a bulwark against Sauron in Erebor and also eliminate the apparently last known active dragon that could be used to attack Rivendell during the War of the Ring. Moreover, the Gandalf in QOE has vague feelings of foresight that 1) this quest must happen for the sake of Middle-earth and 2) Bilbo must go on it or it will fail.

Gandalf's leadership role is fundamentally different in each version. In The Hobbit, he tells the dwarves, after Bilbo has made a fool of himself by having a panic attack, "You asked me to find the fourteenth man for your expedition, and I chose Mr. Baggins." He speaks as if he were hired by Thorin & Co, an agent who facilitates adventures, some wizard-for-hire. In QOE, Gandalf's intuition tells him to put the expedition together, and he spends a lot of time arguing with/persuading Thorin to take Bilbo along, and depending on the version, persuading Thorin to leave his current home and undertake the quest. He's a mover and shaker, and other people are his pawns.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 25, 12:46pm

Post #46 of 64 (2783 views)
Shortcut
Re: your last point [In reply to] Can't Post

regarding the contradiction in Gandalf's role in choosing Bilbo. I can read it as follows:
1. During the conversation at Bree, Thorin mentions that he is concerned his party is thirteen and could have bad luck because of that. He hesitates whether he should undertake the quest.
2. In listening to Thorin, Gandalf understands this expedition must take place, and he needs to find a way around Thorin's hesitation.3. Gandalf has known Bilbo for years and has a high regard for him.4. Gandalf suggests to Thorin that there might be a way to solve the number problem, and Thorin agrees to allow Gandalf to propose a fourteenth member.
I remember from one of my earliest read-throughs here in the Reading Room, where someone pointed out that the origin of thirteen being an unlucky number is from the Last Supper, and in Middle-earth there's no reason for thirteen to be unlucky since there is no Last Supper. Another area where Tolkien, either on purpose or unconsciously, has injected the real world into Middle-earth.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 25, 1:13pm

Post #47 of 64 (2781 views)
Shortcut
How well did Gandalf know Bilbo? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
3. Gandalf has known Bilbo for years and has a high regard for him.


Gandalf had not had any close contact with Bilbo since the hobbit was a child. The wizard may have had a high regard for Bilbo's mother Belladonna, but he did not know Bilbo well enough to hold him in much regard--not until he sounded him out a month later.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 25, 9:26pm

Post #48 of 64 (2736 views)
Shortcut
And for geeks like me: a couple articles on 13's history of being lucky or not (real world) [In reply to] Can't Post

This one from history.com points out that unlucky 13 is a Western thing; 4 is unlucky in China.

This one from Wikipedia gives various sources for 13 being unlucky, including the Last Supper.

I may be Curious, but I'd never thought to look up that origin before.
Thanks for bringing it up as part of the larger conversation, Entmaiden!


cats16
Valinor


May 26, 2:24am

Post #49 of 64 (2721 views)
Shortcut
Some thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for kicking this off, Wiz. Diving in with some random thoughts:

First, I'll mention the maps at the beginning of the book. I always chuckle at the parenthetical a few pages in that instructs the reader to refer to the illustration of Thror's map at the beginning of the book.

I'm nearly done with my own read-through, but glancing back at Ch.1 I noticed how frequently colors are mentioned. The hoods are the notable example, but everything from doors to belts and fingers and hair and whiskers get their own color. JRRT's use of the color grey is so wide-ranging and subtle.

Something that hadn't occurred to me before: the word 'Shire' doesn't appear in the book (unless someone points out that I'm wrong, and an idiot unmasked!). It's in the second sentence of FOTR, but I suppose, in my head, it had first popped up in The Hobbit.

A comment by Thorin's late in the chapter stood out to me: "We have long ago paid the goblins of Moria...we must give a thought to the Necromancer." The bit about Durin's folk paying off goblins hadn't stuck in my head until I let the words sit in my head for a beat. Am I misreading it, or is there a better way of thinking about this comment? Is there any reference to these payments in UT or elsewhere? It's been a few years since I've cracked it open.

More to come, I'm sure! *runs off to prep discussion for Ch.2*

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




Meneldor
Valinor


May 26, 2:31am

Post #50 of 64 (2713 views)
Shortcut
I've always assumed payments to goblins [In reply to] Can't Post

were rendered in the form of iron axes to their skulls. More paid back than paid off, if you get my drift.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. -Psalm 107

First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.