The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
An Update to Bilbo's Contract



DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 2 2012, 3:23pm


Views: 5192
An Update to Bilbo's Contract

I've gathered the new images of Bilbo's contract from Weta and added to the list of things we can read:

Deciphering Dwarf Documents Part II

I've left a whole section wide open for anyone who wants to take a shot at it Wink You can reply here with suggestions, or on the page itself, and I will work them in as I get time.



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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Oct 2 2012, 3:32pm


Views: 3021
You're awewome!

But then, you knew that already! Cool

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Bombadil
Half-elven


Oct 2 2012, 3:34pm


Views: 3092
That izz... Absolutely Histerical!

Who's the Lawyer in the Company?...Balin..?
I can see Ori scribbling furiously to
Transcibe this..while Bilbo is passed out
Muttering "Struck by Lightning!?"


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 2 2012, 3:52pm


Views: 2898
You're truly great!

Laugh

Thanks for this.

Want Hobbit Movie News? Hobbit Headlines of the Week!



Macfeast
Rohan


Oct 2 2012, 4:01pm


Views: 2825
I said it on your blog.

These dwarves are really covering all bases.

"...in all countries whether existent now or in the future..."
"...to neither divulge nor make known said knowledge by any means, including but not limited to speech, writing demonstration, re-enactment, mime, or storage and retrieval within means or apparatus currently known or unknown, or as yet unthought of."
"Specialist equipment required in the execution of duties in his professional role as Burglar shall be purchased, procured, purloined or obtained by Burglar..."
"Portage rates for excess baggage..."
"...[should] said goods, property, and merchandise fail to arrive at the destination nominated by the Burglar, then and in such a case the present instrument is cancelled, void, and of no value."
"Let the present instrument also be cancelled if the said Burglar refrains from asking or exacting payments of the aforesaid amounts of money, goods, property or merchandise for the space of one year after..."
"Present Company shall not be liable for injuries..."

It's not exactly how Tolkien wrote it, but there's enough clever humor in there (the visual gag alone is pretty funny) that I don't mind Laugh


(This post was edited by Macfeast on Oct 2 2012, 4:06pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 2 2012, 4:18pm


Views: 2875
Nice work, DJ!

But I just came across an alternative version of the contract, which is much funnier:


Quote
Thorin and Company to Burglar Bilbo, greetings! For your hospitality our sincerest thanks, and for your offer of professional assistance our grateful acceptance. Terms: cash on delivery, up to and not exceeding one fourteenth of total profits (if any); all traveling expenses guaranteed in any event; funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for.

Thinking it unnecessary to disturb your esteemed repose, we have proceeded in advance to make requisite preparations, and shall await your respected person at the Green Dragon Inn, Bywater, at 11 a.m. sharp. Trusting that you will be punctual.

We have the honour to remain

Yours deeply
Thorin & Co.
(Source: Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007.)



DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 2 2012, 5:11pm


Views: 2869
My favorite part

...is the demand for pipeweed in the margin. I wonder if, when they originally read out the contract to see if everyone agreed on the wording, did each dwarf suggest something, and it was added in after the fact. That would explain why it is so long and messy.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Oct 2 2012, 5:26pm


Views: 2781
The minute I saw the better view of the contract I thought of you

"DarkJackal is going to have a field day with this one."

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


dave_lf
Gondor

Oct 2 2012, 5:46pm


Views: 2847
Greatness versus Genius


Quote
funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for.


It's "and the matter is not otherwise arranged for" that really drives this one home. A lesser author would have stopped at "if occasion arises," since that's pretty funny all by itself.


(This post was edited by dave_lf on Oct 2 2012, 5:47pm)


GoodGuyA
Lorien

Oct 2 2012, 6:15pm


Views: 2625
This is why Weta is the greatest props department in the world

Who else would go to such lengths to write out something which only a few people would ever see in full? I suppose Daniel Reeve had to write this out as well, which must be an absolute pain to do! I get tired after a bit of typing... I imagine that Martin Freeman had to have sat down one time and just read it all, probably periodically laughing as he did.

Also, SA's here to spoil our fun. Surprise surprise! Wink


burgahobbit
Rohan


Oct 2 2012, 6:18pm


Views: 2657
Good job! That was interesting.

Here are some of my thoughts. It seems that the Burglar will end up breaking a couple of those roles. I mean, is he really going to be carrying masks, disguises, skeleton keys and pry-bars? And also, he surely wrote down a bit about the dwarvish culture in his book.

"I may not have told you all of it." Is Bilbo compromising the contract after all his adventures? That would be no good. I don't want a rebellious Bilbo who signs a contract and then dismisses it. Unsure Or do the two Parties later revise the contract so that Bilbo can write his story? Just a thought...


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Oct 2 2012, 6:27pm


Views: 2628
Have you sent this to TORN's Spymaster?

It deserves to be on the front page!

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Carne
Tol Eressea

Oct 2 2012, 6:35pm


Views: 2631
Can't the moderators post this on the front page?

Or does it have to be sent to the Spymaster?

I've been wondering about this. I remember when many minor roles started popping up (like Craig Hall as Galion and Stephen Ure as Fimbul/Grinnah) and were all over the forum yet it never ended up on the front page.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Oct 2 2012, 7:15pm


Views: 2539
Some can.

Not all moderators have edit access to the home page, and not all of those who edit the home page are regulars on the discussion boards. Emailing items to spymaster@theonering.net is the surest way for an item to be considered for inclusion on the home page.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 2 2012, 7:42pm


Views: 2743
How is this funnier?

It reads rather like a normal contract to me.

Just curious as to how you worked that out.

I find the extreme legalese in the Weta version to be hilarious - a nice poke at the silliness our legal system(s) have made us all endure.

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 2 2012, 9:35pm


Views: 2686
An Update to the Update to Bilbo's Contract :-)

This just dropped into the Collecting Forum (and the home page)

Bilbo's Contract by the Noble Collection

And this really useful picture of a whole lot of it!

Off to see how much we got right!



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


Fàfnir
Rohan


Oct 2 2012, 10:12pm


Views: 2417
In the book, it's really funnier IMO. //

 


marcuspaine
Bree

Oct 2 2012, 10:27pm


Views: 2500
I know this is going to sound almost sacrilegious, but I think I like the movie's version of the contract more NT

It's funny in the book too, but the contract's excessive legalese in the movie made me chuckle a bit more to be perfectly honest.


(This post was edited by marcuspaine on Oct 2 2012, 10:30pm)


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 2 2012, 11:14pm


Views: 2365
You would be hard pressed to take a contract like this seriously

Reading the additional fine print visible in the Noble Contract:

Conditions subsequently appended or added to this Contract are
automatically assumed to be agreed upon as if they were present,
read and understood at the signing and witnessing hereof.


Bilbo would have to be mad to sign this thing, or he always felt that it was ridiculous, and just sort of ignored it.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery

(This post was edited by DarkJackal on Oct 2 2012, 11:15pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 2 2012, 11:17pm


Views: 2460
Because

IMO, brevity is (more often than not) the soul of wit.

The following two lines are enough to make the humorous point. The rest of the stuff in the WETA version is simply fat.


Quote
funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for.

Thinking it unnecessary to disturb your esteemed repose


That's funny. The dwarves are essentially poking fun at the modern hobbity prosaic need for contracts, and everything "written out nice and neat." Thorin also throws in a not-so-subtle jab at Bilbo's sleeping habits, which is good for character...

The movie prop sort of flips everything on its head, actually. It shows that the dwarves are excessively legalistic, which is not quite right. That legalism is a feature of the more modern hobbits, as opposed to the more adventurous and poetically-inclined dwarves.


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 2 2012, 11:40pm


Views: 2497
Actually and I am slightly suprised to say this

But this new contract is funnier in my opinion. The text contract makes its jokes well but we actually get more humorous moments in this longer version. For me, this genuinely very well done.

LR


stoutfiles
Rohan

Oct 2 2012, 11:43pm


Views: 2486
The book's version of everything is better

Because it's what happened. PJ can (and will) run hog wild on the blanks, like what happened when Bilbo gets knocked out in the BO5A (if he even does in the movie), but if something is already described I would rather it not be "improved".


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Oct 2 2012, 11:43pm


Views: 2364
The book contract is right for the book, but I like the movie contract for the film

In the book, Thorin's longwindedness can be shown with his long speeches, but that would not work in the films. The contract is a good way of presenting the same concept in a visual way. The book contract would not be particularly visually interesting. This change works for me.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 12:14am


Views: 2341
But it's not the same concept

Thorin's long-windedness is a very, let's say, dwarven nobility thing. There is lots of pride, ceremony, attempts at high-mindedness, and bad poetics, that are associated with that. He is a royal windbag, in other words.

The legalese of the contract is a different thing altogether. It is a joke on Bilbo, not a reflection of Thorin's character. Bilbo is a sort of Edwardian bourgeois, who likes things written down nice and neat, and Thorin is poking fun at this "grocer-like" attribute of Bilbo by writing up this faux-contract.

In the films, the contract will be a reflection of the dwarves. And frankly, that's a misinterpretation of who they are. The joke should be on Bilbo, not the dwarves.

-SA
P.S. And why would Thorin's windbaggery not work on film?


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 3 2012, 12:15am)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 12:18am


Views: 2421
I can understand finding it funnier, actually

Even though I don't.

However, I think this pre-written contract turns everything on its head. Bilbo's the careful, cautious, legalistic, modern type. Not the dwarves.

So why did they write this up in advance, rather than just draw up a quick note in the morning, after they realized who Bilbo really was?

You see, this contract would not have been written (and certainly not in the way it is written here) unless the dwarves knew what they were expecting in a hobbit burglar.

IMO, it speaks to a rather fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between Bilbo and the dwarves. Hopefully, that relationship is better reflected elsewhere.


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 3 2012, 12:26am


Views: 2207
I'm not sure it speaks of a fundamental misunderstanding

I think it's probably supposed to be fun, rather than fundamental to anything.

LR


marcuspaine
Bree

Oct 3 2012, 12:34am


Views: 2152
I agree with this

I think the contract is a great cinematic adaptation of what was in the book, and its additions are not only very cleverly written but also in keeping with what Thorin and a group of dwarves (as I'm sure this extensive contract was a group effort) would have thought of. Like I said, I even think the movie's version is funnier than what Tolkien wrote, with all due respect to his many skills as a writer.


(This post was edited by marcuspaine on Oct 3 2012, 12:37am)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 12:37am


Views: 2010
I think it's fun as well

But so was the contract in the book - and it was fun while serving other story purposes as well. And on top of that, the contract in the book was a funny way of simultaneously revealing something about hobbits, and something about how the dwarves feel about hobbits (at this point, with sarcasm).

This contract, written up by the dwarves in advance, shows that the dwarves are cautious, legalistic and modern types. And that's just not an accurate interpretation, IMO.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 3 2012, 1:04am


Views: 2035
Interesting, so dwarves can't be as diverse as humans?

How in the world did they put together such vast civilizations under ground?

I think it's possible for there to be legal eagles (or turkeys like the one who drew up the contract) in all the races.

But I really didn't give it that much thought, the movie version wins on absurdity.

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 1:17am


Views: 2123
More fine print

So I suppose this means you won't be amused at the mention of a "fire safety officer"? Too bad.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 1:20am


Views: 2150
Diversity

Since we got to know few dwarves on a personal level in all of Tolkien's works, I say it leaves the door open for variety.



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Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 1:21am


Views: 2119
It certainly wins on absurdity

I agree with that. It's also quite funny, in an absurd way.

My only point is that the absurdity of the note, from the book, has a very clear point, and is not there just for fun. It has multiple layers. Tolkien was saying something very pointed about hobbits (the reader), dwarves (representatives of a forgotten age), and their relationship to each other. Two very different philosophies were clashing in Bag End.

The movie contract essentially shows that the dwarves are very similar to hobbits in their prosaic, mundane attention to legalistic detail, and in their modern use of language. This upends the "clash" of worldviews that happens in the book. The prosaic vs. the poetic, the foolishly proud vs the practical, the adventurous vs. the grocer, and the legalistic vs the idealistic.

The book contract was a deliberate mockery of hobbit practices. You can almost feel the sarcasm in that note. The movie contract, on the other hand, is a mockery of dwarven ways that aren't actually dwarven ways! They are hobbit ways. Modern, Edwardian, of the legalistic age, or whatever you want to call it.

That's why I think this change speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the dwarves represent.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 3 2012, 1:36am


Views: 2065
So...

Dwarves can't be legalistic?

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 1:41am


Views: 2065
They shouldn't be, no

At least not in the context of this story, which at its heart is about the clash of the prosaic world (a hobbit/the modern reader) and the poetic world (dwarves, the ancient and forgotten past). This mirrors the conflict Bilbo has in himself between Took and Baggins.

If the dwarves are drawing up hobbity contracts, it simply muddies the story, IMO. It obfuscates the whole point of it.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 3 2012, 1:49am


Views: 2086
That kinda over-simplifies the dwarves in my humble opinion.

And the hobbits.

But to each their own.

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.

(This post was edited by Tim on Oct 3 2012, 1:53am)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 1:58am


Views: 1940
Perhaps

But there's a big difference between simplification, and flipping something on its head.

In the book, the dwarves mock Bilbo for being a "grocer," and for being a tad legalistic. In the film, the audience will mock the dwarves for that quality.

This, to me, reverses the dynamic of Bilbo vs. the dwarves that exists in the book.

I do believe that the dwarves can have different personalities, etc. Indeed, I think they should. However, I don't think that they should be given the characteristics of hobbits. And that's because such a thing damages the core of the story, IMO.

In the end, I imagine this will be the least of my worries. I will probably laugh, and find it all pretty amusing (as I did when watching the trailer). But I will definitely wonder if the film-makers really do understand the book.


GoodGuyA
Lorien

Oct 3 2012, 2:00am


Views: 2027
Or is it just possible that Jackson is -gasp- taking a different interpretation?

I never saw much of anything in the books aside from a few gags which talk much about the Hobbit's legal standards. It's not something which is meant to be taken seriously, and if it were LotR would be even longer. There's a difference between order/class and "highmindedness". Saying that the dwarves completely lack that in their culture is really not understanding the scope of the world, and that's just drawing back on your own self in saying what the films lacked. The fact that they even made a contract to begin with is not all all a demonstration of their knowledge with hobbits, but their own fairness and judgement. So what if this depicts them as being long winded in a different manner, and really only one of them?

I'll bring up the original point about this change: In film, visuals carry more weight than dialogue, no matter how prosaic or clever it is. In a film which is supposed to evoke adventure and franticness, having a scene be essentially grinding to a halt due to the rest of the exposition needing to be given (the song, the quest) just to bring out a really insignificant character element is bad for pacing, plain and simple. It's allowed to have slow moments, but if the entire first half of the movie is devoid of motion because you just want to expound on a character trait like haughtiness, there are certainly better ways to do it. Even in the latest trailer, we hear Richard Armitage's expression when he addresses Bilbo. That's a far better and more clever way to show off this element.


Lightice
Lorien

Oct 3 2012, 2:04am


Views: 2050
You're misunderstanding plenty yourself


In Reply To
But there's a big difference between simplification, and flipping something on its head.

In the book, the dwarves mock Bilbo for being a "grocer," and for being a tad legalistic. In the film, the audience will mock the dwarves for that quality.

This, to me, reverses the dynamic of Bilbo vs. the dwarves that exists in the book.


The dwarves never mock Bilbo for being "legalistic". I don't understand where you are getting that at all. The new version of the contract is simply an extension of Thorin's character; he is described as being extremely long-winded and pompous, and willing to speak on endlessly if he gets an opportunity. These qualities are represented in the contract, here. It is in no way turning the characterizations upside down.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:13am


Views: 1940
It is not at all an "insignificant character element"

It is an essential aspect of what it means to be Bilbo. A modern person that has lost touch with his heroic past (or his primordial yearnings). The legalism (and humility and pragmatism) of the Baggins, vs. the adventurousness of the Took. It is, IMO, a huge character element.

But I agree about film being a visual medium. It is why I love flashbacks so much. Show, don't tell, that backstory.

However, there are other ways of doing this on film that is consistent with the book. First, leave out the pre-written contract, and have the dwarves write it for Bilbo after they meet him (off-screen, if need be). Once they realize the kind of guy he is, they can write it in a "mock legalism." That would require a shorter contract to be believable, IMO, but it could still have been shown as ridiculously long, thus preserving the visual comedy, if you like. Then Bilbo could find it in the morning, as he does in the book.

Or, just keep the scene(s) as in the book. No contract until Thorin's short and sarcastic note in the morning. Would take about 10 seconds for Bilbo to read it aloud on film, and would still be very funny.

Ah well. Not the biggest deal. But irritating, nonetheless...


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 3 2012, 2:14am


Views: 1906
Where do they mock him for being a tad legalistic?

Who's idea is it for the contract? Who draws it up? How does being a grocer = all hobbits love contracts?

What story core would be damaged?

I'm not being argumentative, I'm genuinely curious.

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:22am


Views: 1969
But here you're conflating Thorin-esque long-windedness, with legalese

But they are not the same thing at all, IMO. In fact, I think they are opposite sides of the "long-winded" coin. One being that of the mundane modern world, and the other of the pomp and arrogance of an earlier world. As I mentioned previously:


Quote
Thorin's long-windedness is a very, let's say, dwarven nobility thing. There is lots of pride, ceremony, attempts at high-mindedness, and bad poetics, that are associated with that. He is a royal windbag, in other words.

The legalese of the contract is a different thing altogether. It is a joke on Bilbo, not a reflection of Thorin's character. Bilbo is a sort of Edwardian bourgeois, who likes things written down nice and neat, and Thorin is poking fun at this "grocer-like" attribute of Bilbo by writing up this faux-contract.


Sorry, but I haven't misunderstood anything. There is far more nuance in the Hobbit than it is often given credit for. And in the Hobbit, language matters. Even seemingly small differences in language matter. A lot.

-SA
P.S. The idea of hobbits being a tad legalistic also comes up again in FOTR: Frodo's discussion with the Sackville-Baggins about Bilbo's will. The pejoratively-used term "grocer," in the Hobbit, refers to someone who is both timid, and small-minded. Someone who counts beans, and needs everything to be ordered and predictable. That is how one connects "grocer" to the absurd legalism of Thorin's note.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 3 2012, 2:28am


Views: 1959
Yeah, no offense, but I think you're reading too much into it.

We can agree to disagree.

I don't really think it serves the story to limit my thinking on what a dwarf can or can't be - ditto for a hobbit. I would hesitate to take such a small sample of behavior and smack it on every individual of the race.

And I agree with the long-winded point about Thorin and the contract being and example of that.

But heavens I don't think all dwarves are long-winded. Wink

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:30am


Views: 1928
From the book:


Quote
"Bless me!" said Thorin, "haven't you got a map? and didn't you hear our song? and haven't we been talking about all this for hours?"

"All the same, I should like it all plain and clear," said he obstinately, putting on his business manner (usually reserved for people who tried to borrow money off him), and doing his best to appear wise and prudent and professional and live up to Gandalf's recommendation. "Also, I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration, and so forth" - by which he meant: "What am I going to get out of it? and am I going to come back alive?"

"O very well," said Thorin.


You see, it is Bilbo who insists on the legalese that we see in the book "contract" or note. Not the dwarves, The dwarves, on the other had, thought they had already explained everything to Bilvo by singing a song about the dragon, and reclaiming their gold!

Singing a song vs. writing up a detailed contract? Seems like a big difference to me. And it is a difference which strikes at the core of who the dwarves are vs. who Bilbo Baggins is.

Thorin is long-winded, but he does not do legalese. The contract in the film is an extension of Bilbo's personality, not Thorin's, and for that reason, I find it mistaken.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 3 2012, 2:33am)


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 2:33am


Views: 1927
The dwarves change over the course of the story

As you know. You gave me a good reason for it months ago, one that I had not considered, and which helped to rationalize what I thought was a blatant inconsistency in the book. These dwarves have been corrupted by staying too long in the West. It won't be until they revisit their roots in the wild East that they will again act like dwarves of old.

The dwarves that come knocking on Bilbo's door do not act the part of representatives of the ancient past, IMO. They bumble their way in the doorway, hang up their hoods on pegs like school kids, and start ordering food like any hobbit would (that they gradually begin to gain some dignity along the course of the journey, and at the end come out looking like actual heroes, is a wonder given such a poor start). Thorin and the others may sing epic songs, but the rest of the time, I see little difference between Bilbo's, Gandalf's, or Thorin's manner of speaking, or how modernized they are in the first part of the story.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:38am


Views: 2010
That's a very good point

The dwarves are, in many ways, shadows of their previous selves. They have been rendered mundane and bumbling, which contradicts with their desire to once again be fierce warrior poets! The dwarf song is more a reminiscence, than a reflection of who they still are.

However, I think the film contract goes way, way too far. In the book, it is Bilbo who insists on those kind of legalistic guarantees, not the dwarves. And that is because Tolkien was making a humorous point about Thorin's perception of Bilbo.

Thorin may have gotten a little soft over time, but he still perceived himself as a proud dwarven King. He would never have stooped to creating something so hobbitish as that contract, unless it were in mockery, as his note was in the book.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 3 2012, 2:40am


Views: 1931
Again, over generalizing

And waitaminute...

This more-funny contract can more than fit into the context you're bringing up - that if *certain members of this group* of dwarves like to poke fun at Bilbo for being a stickler for a contract - it would be hilarious for the dwarves to really poke fun at him by drawing up the ridiculous contract - and it would still keep the simplification of all dwarves that you read out of this whole thing.

Thorin doesn't seem to have a problem with drawing up a contract. Seems like he's done it before. It's not like they gaped at him with open mouth and said "Contract? What's that?"

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.

(This post was edited by Tim on Oct 3 2012, 2:41am)


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 2:44am


Views: 2017
You have a good point about song versus contract

But this one point doesn't make me feel there is a huge divide between the two races as much as it does to you. Even if there really is a huge divided between them, it just doesn't manifest itself much in the Unexpected Party.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:45am


Views: 1944
That would make great sense

However, as I understand it, the film contract will have been written long before the dwarves meet Bilbo. And if the dwarves have no idea of what Bilbo will be like (as in the book), then they would be in no position to mock him so accurately.

This is why I would be okay with the contract (even a long one) being written up after they meet Bilbo. That would preserve the humor of the scene, while also preserving the Bilbo-Thorin dichotomy.

However, based on the scenes from the trailer, I don't think that is very likely.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:53am


Views: 1924
Perhaps

Though this "debasement of language," as it were, comes out earlier. Gandalf's mockery of Bilbo's multiple uses of "good morning" is a dig at Bilbo's (or modern man's, and certainly, modern Britain's) propensity for sucking all meaning out of words that in the past had real and solid meaning. Bilbo says "good morning," though he means "shove off!" This kind of language use is also partly behind legalese, which is incredibly dry, difficult to discern the meaning of, and mostly devoid of spirit and poeticism. I can imagine Tolkien finding legalese to be the "wraithing" of language. Not dead, but just barely and unnaturally alive.

In an Unexpected Party, I still think the distinction is there. The fact that Thorin thought the song was enough information for Bilbo to go on is clear evidence of that. Bilbo, of course, cannot accept that. He must have it all clear and plain, and essentially, in legalese. But from Thorin's perspective, Bilbo's "plain and clear" probably means "tortured and unclear." He still prefers songs over documents, despite his diminishment in exile.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 3 2012, 2:57am)


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 2:58am


Views: 1896
There are 13 dwarves we can pick from

...to assign the blame for this. It doesn't have to be Thorin Wink



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 3:01am


Views: 2174
True!

Smile Though that would simply convolute the point, IMO. I mean, if some of the dwarves are just like Bilbo, why even have Bilbo in the story?


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 3:02am


Views: 2148
True

This contract reflects a general knowledge of hobbits, not of Bilbo in particular, and shows an attempt to curtail any dishonest behavior which might be expected when hiring a thief.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 3:07am


Views: 2163
If that is how PJ plays it

I will find it perfectly acceptable. If after singing the song, and after Bilbo asks for more details, Thorin says something like:

"Here's the contract. Maybe you'll understand that better, hobbit."

I will embrace it.

But if the contract is played as a peculiarly dwarven characteristic, or as an extension of Thorin's windbaggery, I will find it hard to stomach, and certainly a misinterpretation of the book.


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 3:08am


Views: 2165
Because he doesn't smell like a dwarf...

...to a dragon. That was Gandalf's answer when Thorin wondered the same thing. Tongue



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 3:11am


Views: 2138
Let's hope for the best then! //

 



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


GoodGuyA
Lorien

Oct 3 2012, 3:18am


Views: 2012
Now you're just being silly...

Undermining such a serious moment with a lame throwaway gag? Seems like your humor is incredibly selective, and I certainly don't agree that it was Tolkien's intent or just a generally good idea in terms of writing to go that route. You may bemoan the lack of certain details, but Jackson and Weta always replace these with more details which serve the story differently. It's not so literal when it's tackling the underlying themes, but it's not unfaithful just because of that.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 3:19am


Views: 2179
Agreed

Now THAT was a conversation.

Dark Jackal has proved that it is indeed possible to have one with me. Wink


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 3:27am


Views: 2071
I don't understand...

Thorin, in the book, acts incredulously when Bilbo asks him for more details after they had already sung the song. See the quote I cited above, where he essentially criticizes Bilbo for not listening, or not comprehending. He then says "O very well" when Bilbo asks for more details, etc. That exasperation could be replaced, at this point, with: "Give him the contract," followed by a sarcastic suggestion by Thorin that Bilbo might understand that better. How, exactly is that a throwaway gag? How is it even a gag? Whatever it is, it would be infinitely better than the suggestion that the contract is a particularly dwarvish thing (though not better than what's already in the book).

The contract is not part of Thorin's "long-windedness," and PJ would be misinterpreting the Hobbit if he played it as such. The contract is a mockery of hobbitish ways, and, on a simpler level, merely Thorin's way of giving Bilbo what he asked for. After all, Bilbo did ask for it:

Quote

"All the same, I should like it all plain and clear," said he obstinately, putting on his business manner (usually reserved for people who tried to borrow money off him), and doing his best to appear wise and prudent and professional and live up to Gandalf's recommendation. "Also, I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration, and so forth" - by which he meant: "What am I going to get out of it? and am I going to come back alive?"



(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 3 2012, 3:29am)


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 3:28am


Views: 2174
I am a glutton for punishment :)

Would love to continue, but must eat.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 3:39am


Views: 2141
Eat then!

Just make sure it's an enjoyable meal. Smile


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 3:55am


Views: 2242
Nicely said, SA.

I've been ignoring most of the advance film news, and before I randomly clicked on the latest Movie board post was unaware of the filmmakers' spoof-contract. (Though surely only a few lines will actually be conveyed to viewers in the film itself? And has anyone mentioned that Tolkien himself created a version of this contract in his tengwar script? Not that the filmmakers have the rights to that.) I am surprised that, at least as per DarkJackal's impressive transcrption, neither "esteemed repose" nor "funeral expenses" seems to appear in the film version! And regarding "if the matter is not otherwise arranged for" (also missing from the film, it appears), I think it was Tom Shippey who first observed that this means, "if you aren't eaten by the dragon"!

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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 4:06am


Views: 2191
Nice to see you here!

Despite the fact that it was in response to me that SA started this discussion, I largely agree with his point (as both of you probably already know, from reading my "Law and Arda" paper in Tolkien Studies). I would recommend that people check out Tom Shippey's chapter "The Bourgeois Burglar" in The Road to Middle-earth for probably the best discussion of the dichotomy between Bilbo as a representative of the modern world and the dwarves -- particularly Thorin -- as representative of the old world.

That having been said, I don't expect Jackson to even attempt to capture that type of subtly in the films, so I am looking for different things in the film contract.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 4:14am


Views: 2139
A shame, though

Because that kind of subtlety, as in the Hobbit, can be conveyed very briskly, and in a way that has general appeal for a mass audience. It is not the sort of chamber play subtlety that one must be a direct descendant of William the Conqueror to fully grasp.

I wonder if the film-makers have actually at least thought about the book on this level, or if this sort of thing never even occurred to them...


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 4:19am


Views: 2095
In a word, no

I don't think that they think about it on that level. But honestly, I don't think that many do, outside of the scholarly realm.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 5:14am


Views: 2102
True, however

Most people aren't adapting the book into films. Smile

Plus, I think countless readers of Tolkien have picked up on these subtleties subconsciously. There is something familiar about Bilbo, but most can't pinpoint what that is, or why they feel that way. There is something enchanting about the dwarves' quest, and the dwarf song, but most can't pinpoint why they react that way. IMO, a core reason for their reaction lies in Tolkien's language, and his varying use of that language for different purposes.

So if filmmakers want to awake an audience's subconscious in a way that Tolkien does, they should get to know what's really behind that.


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 5:19am


Views: 2021
I was in error, those quotes are in there

Somehow I managed in an edit of this post to delete the only original lines from the book to make their way into the film version! It is like I was guided by some force that only loves PJ's version and hates Tolkien EvilEvil

"Esteemed repose" is missing so far as I can see, but rest assured, the contract contains this:

Cash on delivery up to and not exceeding one fourteenth of the total profit [if any].


All traveling expenses guaranteed in any event.


Funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives if occasion arises, and the matter is not otherwise arranged for
.



Here is another look at that section from a promotional image:

http://heirsofdurin.files.wordpress.com/.../guidelines_hero.png



The Hobbit Photo Gallery

(This post was edited by DarkJackal on Oct 3 2012, 5:22am)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 5:23am


Views: 2094
Esteemed repose is not in there

Because the contract is not delivered to Bilbo in the morning. Rather, it is pre-written and handed to him during the unexpected party.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 5:26am


Views: 2096
Thanks N.E. Brigand

Though we have not interacted much before, your reputation precedes you.

Nice to have your vote of confidence on this!


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 5:33am


Views: 1986
Shippey is, of course

A font of wisdom on this, and many other subjects relating to Tolkien and the English language. Most of my babblings are derivative of his work, my own linguistic background, and a selection of my favorite Tolkien scholars - most notably, Flieger.

However, not only do I not expect a lay audience to think about some of these concepts, I also do not think it necessary for them to do so.

IMO, the author and the artist are responsible for getting the ingredients of the soup right, and the diner is only responsible for eating it. But if the cook gets those ingredients wrong, it will either taste bad, or taste like something quite different.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 6:01am


Views: 2093
Thanks for the update, DJ.

Now I have to get back to trying to catch up on two years of Reading Room posts.

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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 8:24am


Views: 2105
If anyone is still reading :-)

Some really clear images were shared by someone at the Weta Cave today. I'm made more updates (including adding an excessive amount of fine print Crazy). I have a bit more to add to the transcription, but you can view it all clearly now.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery


AlatarVinyamar
Lorien

Oct 3 2012, 9:30am


Views: 2094
Its worth pointing out.

Tolkien specifically calls out the Dwarves as being modelled on Jews. I would have thought lawyerly contracts would fit that stereotype rather well?


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 3 2012, 10:14am


Views: 2044
Well serves me right for going to bed

Just the point I was going to make! One is a response to specific pomp, the other to the expectation of pomp. But scatcely fundamental either way.

LR


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 3 2012, 12:13pm


Views: 2093
NEB! Great to see you!

Hope you get to spend more time in these parts.


Beren0nehanded
Bree


Oct 3 2012, 12:38pm


Views: 1915
Subjectivity!

The great thing about humor is that it's so subjective! Wink

Weta did a fantastic job as usual with their version of Tolkien's brilliant writing!

Don't be hasty.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 12:49pm


Views: 2117
Different bones

I don't expect the movie soup to taste the same as the book soup. It inevitably is going to incorporate the bones of a different ox. I wouldn't expect anything else.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 3 2012, 1:53pm


Views: 2114
Can we still like the book and films, even if we don't like soup? /

 

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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:06pm


Views: 2083
Soup is good food! //

 

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:40pm


Views: 2069
You don't like ANY kinds of soup???

That must make you a....Communist, or something!


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 3 2012, 2:44pm


Views: 1953
Any type of soup is yuck

I want to be able to chew my food. Not just drink hot food-like water! Shocked

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(This post was edited by DanielLB on Oct 3 2012, 2:45pm)


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 2:50pm


Views: 1928
You do not know what good soup is!

Good soup cannot be drunk and you do have to chew a bit.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 2:55pm


Views: 1925
It's a good point

However, whether or not it's a good interpretation depends on the details of how the film plays out. If the dwarves are made aware of Bilbo's personality, or of the habits of hobbits, before they ever show up at Bag End, then the contract will make a lot of sense, as it will be "aping" the hobbit style. But if it is portrayed as a "dwarvish" contract, then it will simply be a misinterpretation of the source material. And IMO, a serious one. It will not ruin the film for me, but it will be a missed opportunity to really get this one right.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 3:00pm


Views: 1940
Three things

First, it was never stated explicitly by Tolkien that the dwarves were definitely "modeled" on Jews. There are certain aspects of the dwarves that contain echoes of the history and culture of the Jewish people, and Tolkien mentioned as much, but that is different from being "modelled" after Jews.

Two, it is probably not a good idea to perpetuate Jewish stereotypes such as "most Jews are lawyers," or t least, legalistic. Just a thought...

Third, it is Bilbo who asks for "out of pocket expenses" and remuneration" in the book. Thorin only writes up that legalistic note in mocking response to Bilbo's request. For Thorin, singing a song about the dragon and the treasure, and making vague comments about retaking it, should have been enough for Bilbo. But Bilbo insisted that it wasn't, and that he wanted it all spelled out "plain and clear."

The short answer is that the "contract" from the book is not dwarvish. It is hobbitish. Simple as that.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 3 2012, 3:03pm)


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 3 2012, 3:02pm


Views: 2025
Dwarves tend not to trust non-dwarves.

That is certainly in Tolkien. And, whilst hobbits aren't as bad as elves, they still aren't dwarves, and therefore might need their duties and obligations clearly set out.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 3 2012, 3:03pm


Views: 2076
It's interesting

that Terry Pratchett's dwarves are far more clearly "jewish".

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 3:04pm


Views: 1894
But that's not what the book implies

The book implies that Bilbo should have said yea or nay based on a dwarven song, and some vague plans laid out by Thorin. It is Bilbo who asks for a contract!


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 3:20pm


Views: 1925
Your point is?

I do not understand what Terry Pratchett (one of my favorite story tellers) has to do with the Hobbit.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 3 2012, 3:22pm


Views: 2056
Just an aside

that he takes the idea of "Jewish" dwarves from Tolkien and runs with it.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 3:28pm


Views: 1882
I have always thought of the contract as a bit of a trifel

a Tolkien joke and a bit of an anachronism much like the mention of steam engines and mantle clocks.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 4:04pm


Views: 2281
That's spot on

But that is consistent with hobbits and the Shire in general. They are anachronisms. They are modern rural Englishmen living in an otherwise Dark Age Middle Earth! Everything about them, from their waistcoats and pipes, to their contracts and wills written in red ink, are meant to be familiar to the modern reader.

Yes, the dwarves of the Hobbit are not quite the fierce dwarves of Azanulbizar. They have grown a little soft. But they are not meant to be the anachronistic ones. That's the job of Bilbo Baggins, beourgois burglar!

There is still hope though. If PJ makes it clear that the contract was written with a silly hobbit in mind, I'll find it perfectly appropriate.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 3 2012, 4:38pm


Views: 2050
I've never seen drunk soup

Does it slosh across the table?

Small wonder it cannot be good!




Wink


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

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






Phibbus
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 4:43pm


Views: 1932
Mmhm

It is an anachronism. As SA points out, it is one that occurs in response to the greater anachronism of an essentially Victorian/Edwardian bourgeois society plunked down in the middle of an otherwise medieval world.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.


Phibbus
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 4:45pm


Views: 2025
Don't blame me

It was the soup talking.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 4:58pm


Views: 1857
A cheap shot at propper usage.

Drink, drank, drunk.Angelic

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



AlatarVinyamar
Lorien

Oct 3 2012, 4:58pm


Views: 1867
In response

Your "Three Things"

The first item. I'll dig out the quote later. But yes, Tolkien specifically stated that the Dwarves were inspired by/modeled on Jews. Your obfuscation is simply that.

Second item. Please don't ascribe anti-semitic motivations to my posts. I merely raise the comparison that Tolkien himself made and common stereotypes associated with that comparison.

Third item. You are confusing opinion with fact. There are other readings of the text that are as valid as your own, or more so.


AlatarVinyamar
Lorien

Oct 3 2012, 5:01pm


Views: 1950
Quote for reference

""The dwarves of course are quite obviously - wouldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic."" ― J.R.R. Tolkien


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 3 2012, 5:03pm


Views: 1962
I was thinking of this one


Quote
I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations,
speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue.....


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geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 3 2012, 5:07pm


Views: 1805
I was just looking up the quote while you posted -

- here it is in a wider context.


G: Did you intend in Lord of the Rings that certain races should embody certain principles: the elves wisdom, the dwarves craftsmanship, men husbandry and battle and so forth?

T: I didn't intend it but when you've got these people on your hands you've got to make them different haven't you. Well of course as we all know ultimately we've only got humanity to work with, it's only clay we've got. We should all - or at least a large part of the human race - would like to have greater power of mind, greater power of art by which I mean that the gap between the conception and the power of execution should be shortened, and we should like a longer if not indefinite time in which to go on knowing more and making more.
Therefore the Elves are immortal in a sense. I had to use immortal, I didn't mean that they were eternally immortal, merely that they are very longeval and their longevity probably lasts as long as the inhabitability of the Earth.
The dwarves of course are quite obviously - wouldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic. Hobbits are just rustic English people, made small in size because it reflects (in general) the small reach of their imagination - not the small reach of their courage or latent power.

This is from a recorded interview - 'G' here is Denis Guerolt. Here's a link to a page which has a transcript of the interview -
http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/lore/interview.asp
.


(This post was edited by geordie on Oct 3 2012, 5:08pm)


elevorn
Lorien


Oct 3 2012, 5:08pm


Views: 1814
agreed!//

 



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 3 2012, 5:12pm


Views: 1990
Ooh, no - I like soup.

My mum used to make wonderful soup - boiling up a good ham-bone from the butcher's, and adding all manner of veggies. What with that and home-baked bread - I miss my mum.
.


Bombadil
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 6:02pm


Views: 1956
Well Well Wellington?

DJ Thang YOU.. very Bunch &
all our Board Partiscipants..

Maybe it's sum Elvish Genome
Bomby has?

My eyes sorta Glaze-over
Legalize verbage.

Isn't very Westron ta me?

Im simple &love simple
Sentences.

Gotta Go
Opps? Soups..on..
(Goldberry makes a Killer.. Dandilion & Hemp Soup!)


(This post was edited by Bombadil on Oct 3 2012, 6:03pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 6:03pm


Views: 1987
You misinterpreted my post. Apologies if I wasn't clear.

1. I'm not obfuscating, just clarifying. The dwarves, according to that quote, were not "modeled" on Jews. They simply share some characteristics of the Jewish people. That's all. Wasn't being combative here at all.

2. I wasn't ascribing anti-Semtic motivations to your post. I was simply implying that it wouldn't be in Peter Jackson's interest to perpetuate such a stereotype. Apologies for not being crystal clear.

3. There are opinions, and there are facts. However, I do not pull this interpretation out of my posterior. Those with intimate knowledge of Tolkien, and the English language, such as Professor Tom Shippey (and Tolkien himself) have made the very same assessments of the contract, and the hobbit, within the context of Middle Earth (and the dwarves). I find it a tad frustrating when some people just write it off, as if it is just some silly, pedantic opinion. It is, as far as I can tell, quite possibly very close to the truth of what Tolkien was intending.

I don't mind if people choose to interpret the contract as reflecting Thorin's character, even though I think it is way off base. But I do mind if that is presented as a more legitimate opinion than one that is likely closer to the mark, which is that it was Bilbo who asked for such contractual details, and Thorin who (mockingly) delivered. That comes straight from the book, and not from anyone's interpretation. It is in the quote I posted earlier.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 3 2012, 6:04pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 6:06pm


Views: 1975
Yup. I'm aware of that quote

And as I stated earlier:


Quote
There are certain aspects of the dwarves that contain echoes of the history and culture of the Jewish people, and Tolkien mentioned as much, but that is different from being "modelled" after Jews.



SirDennisC
Half-elven


Oct 3 2012, 7:06pm


Views: 2123
Is that an oxtail soup recipe scribbled in the margin?

And a note that oxtail is actually beef tail?

ps Thank you for your diligence DJ.

Angelic


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 3 2012, 7:16pm


Views: 1938
Oh I shouldn't think they will spend any explicit time on that.

And I can't find that this represents anything in the region of "serious" on my own spectrum.

I doubt that the motivation for the form of contract will be raised, nor the options (of which legalism is only one) be discussed. Similarly the question of the dwarves' natural approach to contracting is really, in my view, neither here nor there. The primary character interest is really in relation to Bilbo and in the slightly self-aggrandising style of the dwarves' ultimate product (which is maintained happily in the film version).

I also have to say I don't read the same things into Thorin's post song incredulity. He is exasperated that Bilbo has not already obtained the info that he needs and as a result tells the lengthy tale. The contract doesn't enter into Thorin's response at this point.

But to rerturn to the original thought, on reflection, I remain impressed at the genuinely funny, and very appropriate piece of work here.

LR


DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 3 2012, 8:14pm


Views: 1925
I agree

Most soup is a poor substitute for food, except for baked potato soup.

Edit: Sorry, I realize I am being too harsh in my critique of soup. It is IMO only.



The Hobbit Photo Gallery

(This post was edited by DarkJackal on Oct 3 2012, 8:24pm)


AlatarVinyamar
Lorien

Oct 3 2012, 10:23pm


Views: 1978
No worries

I'd be curious to see the supporting text from Shippey and Tolkien that supports your claim. I'm pretty well read on Tolkien also, although far from an expert, and I don't recall seeing them before. I would have expected it at least in Rateliff's "History of the Hobbit" or Doug Anderson's "Annotated Hobbit", neither of which support your reading.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 3 2012, 11:38pm


Views: 2036
Off the top of my head

See the chapter "The Bourgeois Burglar" in Shippey's The Road to Middle Earth. I will try to dig up the exact quotes in the meantime, unless someone else (Voronwe...) gets there first! Smile


burgahobbit
Rohan


Oct 4 2012, 12:12am


Views: 1857
Haha! I sort of skimmed over that part the first time. Very funny!

But still, Bilbo did sign it. His name, in his writing, is at the bottom of the contract. It seems far fetched to me that, Bilbo, already skeptical of the dwarves and the adventure, would actually sign a contract that said all that.

Oh well! Maybe I should just take this as a funny contract that the film-makers made and not let it effect the rest of the story. Wink


(This post was edited by burgahobbit on Oct 4 2012, 12:22am)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 4 2012, 12:37am


Views: 1858
True


Quote
I also have to say I don't read the same things into Thorin's post song incredulity. He is exasperated that Bilbo has not already obtained the info that he needs and as a result tells the lengthy tale. The contract doesn't enter into Thorin's response at this point.


But it is very, very revealing of Thorin's character (and the character of the dwarves) that they consider the song to be clear information about the quest! To Bilbo, it was an evocative song, that made his mind wander across Middle Earth. To Thorin, it was straight up information-sharing!

Bilbo then asks, very explicitly, for "plain and clear" information, including "out-of-pocket expenses" and "remuneration."

After Bilbo asks for those things, Thorin gives him a prosaic account of what happened, what's to be done, and what Bilbo's role would be. And even then, Bilbo does not quite accept that he's actually expected to go on the journey, telling the dwarves that he will see them off in the morning (only to be corrected by Thorin, who clarifies that Bilbo is going as well).

It is not until Bilbo sees Thorin's note, which is written out for Bilbo "plain and clear" - in legalese as he asked for it the night before - that Bilbo accepts his role in the quest, and runs out the door (without his handkerchief...)

IMO, based on this, it is crystal clear that Thorin's note/contract, in the book, is written in the idiom of the hobbit. I still think this could be preserved in the film, and hope it is. If it is portrayed as "the sort of thing dwarves do" then PJ will have unnecessarily missed the mark on a wonderful bit of subtlety in the story.



(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 4 2012, 12:39am)


Phibbus
Rohan


Oct 4 2012, 1:25am


Views: 1853
Shippey quote

Shippey's discussion of the contract uses it as an exemplum of a slightly different but related point. It does come from "The Bourgois Burglar" chapter of The Road to Middle-earth, the main theme of which is the contrast between Bilbo's modern mindset and that of the heroic-age world which he inhabits:

Quote
The early moves of The Hobbit depend very much on this tension between ancient and modern reactions. It begins almost as a satire on modern institutions, with Mr. Baggins language particularly taking some shrewd knocks: the more familiar it seems, the more fossilized it is. […] Against this the dwarves' ceremonious style of salutation—'At your service!' 'At yours and your family's' 'May the hair on his toes never fall out!'—may seem pompous and indeed be insincere, but at any rate, it is about something, not just semantically empty. Similarly Bilbo, trying to be business-like, flees to abstractions, only to have the narrator expose them: '"Also I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remunerations, and so forth"—by which he meant: "What am I going to get out of it? And am I going to come back alive?" THorin, though long-winded enough, does not talk about calculations, but things†: the dwarf-song which opens their conclave centres on the misty mountains cold and grim, on harps, necklaces, twisted wire, pale enchanted long-forgotten gold. […]

†The contract which he finally does deliver on p. 33 is typically more practical than Bilbo at his most business-like had thought. It covers profits, delivery, travelling expenses, but also defrayal of funeral expenses, 'by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for'. This means, 'you or all of us may die, and also be eaten'. [pg. 73 in the 2d ed.]

While he focuses on Thorin's preoccupation with solid specifics vs. Bilbo's nebulous nothings, he takes it for granted in the note that the contract is a response to the latter. I, like you, have always assumed that he was poking fun at Bilbo with the language.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 4 2012, 2:58am


Views: 1988
That's the one

Thanks for digging it up. Thorin is long-winded, but what he is long-winded about is key. He talks and talks and talks about reclaiming his birthright, gems and gold, pride and dignity. Bilbo, on the other hand, talks about practical, business-like subjects, such as pay and expenses.

And yes, it is very clear that Thorin is poking fun at Bilbo with the note in the morning. If you don't see the sarcasm in "Thinking it unnecessary to disturb your esteemed repose" then you're not looking!


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 4 2012, 7:39am


Views: 1813
I agree with almost all of this.

But as this suggests (and Shippey vaguely touches upon) the character pointer within the humour is towards Bilbo (not about the legalism of dwarves as earlier suggested) and in film we should be able to establish the same middle class rather than Middle Ages feel for Bilbo through the visuals and the performance long before we get to the contract. I would be very surprised if we did not, given what we have seen already.

LR


AlatarVinyamar
Lorien

Oct 4 2012, 10:09am


Views: 1807
Honestly?

I think its a stretch. Yes, it can be read that way, and yes, its a valid argument. However, I don't believe it was intended as such. People often read their own motives into Tolkien's works and are often wrong. Please don't suggest that because I disagree with you it must be because I am "not looking". I am perfectly capable of making my own judgements with my own faculties. The "esteemed repose" can be seen as poking fun, or overly polite (which is also in keeping with the Dwarven fascination with formality and service), but even if that were poking fun, it does not follow that the preceding contract is an elaborate joke. You state that Thorin believes that the song has clarified everything but conveniently leave out Thorin's own speech immediately prior to Bilbo's outburst.


Quote
"We are met to discuss our plans, our ways, means, policy and devices. We shall soon before the break of day start on our long journey, a journey from which some of us, or perhaps all of us (except our friend and counsellor, the ingenious wizard Gandalf) may never return. It is a solemn moment. Our object is, I take it, well known to us all. To the estimable Mr. Baggins, and perhaps to one or two of the younger dwarves (I think I should be right in naming Kili and Fili, for instance), the exact situation at the moment may require a little brief explanation-"
This was Thorin's style. He was an important dwarf. If he had been allowed, he would probably have gone on like this until he was out of breath, without telling any one there 'anything that was not known already.


How does that gel with your assertion that everything to be said was already in the song and only Bilbo needed it clarified further. Tolkien quite clearly states here that it is Thorin who would go "on like this until he was out of breath, without telling any one there anything that was not known already". This is Thorin's character, and is completely in keeping with the contract.

Finally, you stated that you had corroboration from Tolkien also. I'd be curious to see it. Also, I would prefer if its something relatively clear rather than something we all have to read between the lines in the exact fashion you have chosen to.

I'm not saying this to be combative, but it seems to me that much of your argument is interpretation, and you do not seem to understand that other interpretations are equally valid.


Fàfnir
Rohan


Oct 4 2012, 1:30pm


Views: 1808
I just had an medieval history class this morning

and, as I read your debate yesterday, I remarked that contract were something very present in relationships between knights and counts and kings, and even peasants wanted everything to be wrote down at a point, about taxes and duties to their lord... Contract is not such a modern thing, and I wouldn't be surprised if dwarves, who are in some way more serious people than hobbits, give it some place in their culture, especially when they're about to get a burglar near of their treasure


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 4 2012, 2:07pm


Views: 1966
Well, there was that Magna Carta thingy

that the British PM seems to know nothing about...

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 4 2012, 2:09pm


Views: 1908
Agreed as well

I think that Bilbo's anachronistic bourgeois nature will be established in a number of other ways, both in terms of visuals, dialogue and character. We have already seen a lot of that already

What I do worry about, though, is the suggestion that the dwarves are also beorgeois. So I hope the contract is portrayed as the dwarves aping a hobbit's style, rather than their own peculiar way.


Foromir
Rivendell


Oct 4 2012, 2:11pm


Views: 1763
Scene from the Trailer could support this view.

Looking at this still from the second trailer (alternative ending) you can almost hear Thorin saying to a chuckling Balin: "See, I told this would be necessary when dealing with a Hobbit!" while handing Bilbo the contract with blatant nonchalance.[/img]

This is of course no proof at all how the scene will actually be played out, but maybe a bit of speculative fuel to this very interesting discussion.



In Reply To
I will find it perfectly acceptable. If after singing the song, and after Bilbo asks for more details, Thorin says something like:

"Here's the contract. Maybe you'll understand that better, hobbit."

I will embrace it.

But if the contract is played as a peculiarly dwarven characteristic, or as an extension of Thorin's windbaggery, I will find it hard to stomach, and certainly a misinterpretation of the book.



(This post was edited by Ataahua on Oct 4 2012, 6:43pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 4 2012, 2:11pm


Views: 1896
The Magna Carta is a very modern document

Compared to what Tolkien was aiming for with most of the non-Shire Middle Earth, which was a deeper, forgotten, mythic age.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 4 2012, 2:11pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 4 2012, 2:13pm


Views: 1899
Good observation

I hope you're right!


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 4 2012, 2:34pm


Views: 1958
Not that forgotten.

Thanks to people like Tolkien, we now know a lot more about Anglo-Saxon and Bronze age Britain.

But yes, the Magna Carta, and the legalism that went with it, was a Norman.

But it was written only 149 years after the end of the Saxon period.

And the Normans where themselves descended from "north-men" AKA Vikings, which was one of the cultures Tolkien based his dwarves on.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 4 2012, 2:41pm


Views: 1791
All true

But though the Normans were descendants of Norse conquerors, they very much adopted many of the legalistic norms of the European continent (norms that mostly derived from old Roman law, followed by papal law, followed by the laws of Frankish Kings...) The Norman conquest of Britain was part of why, in Tolkien's view, England's mythology (or the mythology of the Anglo-Saxon) was almost completely obliterated.

Giving Tolkien's dwarves Norman (or post-1066) characteristics would be quite wrong, IMO. Giving those modern characteristics to the hobbits, on the other hand, is perfectly fine.

Though it is funny to note that "Bag End" is a dig at Norman/French influence, being, as it is, an anglicized version of cul-de-sac... Smile


Lightice
Lorien

Oct 4 2012, 2:55pm


Views: 1791
Speaking of mythology

Lets talk of mythical dwarves for a moment. The mythical fair folk of Norse and Celtic origin often put a great importance on agreements. For example, many could not break their word once they'd given it, but could interpret their words with extreme creativity, and twist their meaning in cunning ways. For example, when the Norse god Loki made a bet with a dwarf with his head as the wager. After losing, he cleverly noted that his neck was not part of the bargain, and thus the dwarf could not actually remove his head. The dwarf responded by sewing his mouth shut. The various kinds of bargains are the staple of mythology and fairy tales involving dwarves. The overly complicated agreement in the movie seems to be designed to avert the typical tendency for dwarves to end up on the losing side over some loophole or special term. They've had a lot of time to learn about their mistakes, and come up with something that will definately stick, no matter what.

To me the contract seems extremely dwarf-like, not something made to please a hobbit, who don't seem to have any interest in legal matters outside inheritence disputes, considering the small size of their law enforcement and legislature.


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 4 2012, 3:07pm


Views: 1877
I bet the majority of Brits don't know what it is! /

 

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Fàfnir
Rohan


Oct 4 2012, 3:10pm


Views: 1778
Since I'm no Brit...

...I'm not ashamed to ask.
What is this thing ?


Eye's on Guard
Lorien


Oct 4 2012, 3:16pm


Views: 1869
Yikes!

Shocked Even all Americans should know about it. It's the first document to understand when considering the background of the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, and the American Revolution.


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 4 2012, 3:18pm


Views: 1973
We aren't talking about the majority of Brit's

We are talking about the (Eton and Oxford educated) prime minister.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 4 2012, 3:22pm


Views: 1918
A contract of sorts

between the king (John) and his people (well, Barons, but you can't have everything) setting out and putting some limits on the power of the monarch (i.e. state).

It's not so much the actual terms, but the precedent that was set, that makes it important to world history.

Literally, it means "Great Charter".

A Far Dragon is the best kind...

(This post was edited by Fardragon on Oct 4 2012, 3:24pm)


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 4 2012, 3:24pm


Views: 1958
Doesn't mean a thing really

Just because he went to Eton and Oxford doesn't mean much. His family obviously had money in their pocket, not knowledge of British history.

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Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 4 2012, 3:27pm


Views: 1949
Knowledge of history

is the most important thing a prime minister needs.

"those who forget the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them".

And this mistake is particularly worrying: "whoops! I forget the powers of the state where supposed to be limited",

Bring back Churchill!

A Far Dragon is the best kind...

(This post was edited by Fardragon on Oct 4 2012, 3:28pm)


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 4 2012, 3:30pm


Views: 1932
I'm not denying that

I was just disagreeing that he should've know it simply because he had a very privileged education.

Smile

I say bring back Thatcher! Shocked But that's a topic for a very different day! Wink

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Fàfnir
Rohan


Oct 4 2012, 3:31pm


Views: 1839
Thanks ! //

 


Fàfnir
Rohan


Oct 4 2012, 3:35pm


Views: 1894
An hour of wolves and shattered shields...

...when the Age of Men comes crashing down. But it is not this day !


(This post was edited by Fàfnir on Oct 4 2012, 3:35pm)


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Oct 4 2012, 3:44pm


Views: 1852
history and

Theres one other quality prime ministers need.....the killer instinct.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 4 2012, 4:00pm


Views: 1958
Agreed

Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?

Tim: There are some who call me... Tim?

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Oct 4 2012, 6:45pm


Views: 1853
Sorry Foromir,

but that image had to be removed as it's very oversized. Below are the image guidelines from TORN 201 in the WElcome section - feel free to resize the image and repost it within this thread.

Point 2.20
The specific guidelines for posting pictures within the message body of your post are as follows: the maximum size of any picture posted should be 525 wide x 400 pixels high (or a better measure is: 210,000 pixels squared - width x height), but no wider than 670 pixels. The maximum file size per picture should be 50k. The cumulative file size of all pictures in one post should not exceed 250k (5 pictures of the maximum filesize of 50k, 10 pictures of a filesize of 25k, etc.).


Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 4 2012, 9:42pm


Views: 1882
"Does Magma Carta mean nothing to you?..

...Did she die in vain?"
Sly


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Oct 5 2012, 1:14am


Views: 1958
Agreed that agreements are dwarf-like

Never said they weren't.

What isn't dwarf-like, on the other hand, are modern-style agreements written in the kind of legalese hobbit insists on, and using terminology such as "remuneration" and "out-of-pocket-expenses." Those are bourgeois hobbity terms and practices, and have nothing to do with dwarves.

It is these stylistic, and linguistic differences through which Tolkien makes his point about the gulf of distance between Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield. Indeed, Tolkien makes many points through the use of varying modes of the English language, in both the Hobbit and LOTR.


Reptile
Rivendell


Oct 5 2012, 3:54am


Views: 1776
It looks like it's been amended,

From the stitched on parts and marginalia, it looks like Bilbo had a chance to renegotiate on several terms before signing. In the scenes that show Bilbo running along with the contract fluttering behind him, I don't think I can see the added parts. It's neat how the sewn on pieces have sealing wax on the threads, just to make it all legit.

"If you listen closely, you can hear the gods laughing."


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 5 2012, 7:08am


Views: 1888
I think the flappy bits are folded in

See here Smile

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Foromir
Rivendell


Oct 5 2012, 7:53am


Views: 2131
Ah, should have known that - my bad! (resized image inside) //

[/img]


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 5 2012, 10:19am


Views: 1891
I don't think these will be mentioned or visible in the movie

they are just in-jokes, like the implicit reference to the internet.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Reptile
Rivendell


Oct 5 2012, 6:35pm


Views: 1799
Nice detail

I can see it clearly when I zoom in on that photo. So, it will be interesting to see whether Bilbo gets to have any say at all in negotiating the terms of the contract.

"If you listen closely, you can hear the gods laughing."


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 12 2012, 5:06pm


Views: 1819
Close up pictures of the contract

Here

Smile

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DarkJackal
Rohan


Oct 12 2012, 6:29pm


Views: 1853
cool

I will have to see what blanks are left to fill. The full thing is so outrageous.



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