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"Threes Thursday": 25 November - A Short Cut to Mushrooms


Nov 25 2021, 8:52am

Views: 1884
"Threes Thursday": 25 November - A Short Cut to Mushrooms

This week our chapter is LOTR Book I Ch4, A Short Cut to Mushrooms.

Tell me, if you wish, what threes you find in that chapter. You can do that in any way you like including:
  • A sort of scavenger hunt into the text to find a three of something
  • Using the idea of threes to comment on the chapter in some way (e.g. write about three things you like; three plot points; three characters...)
  • On occasion we might find places where the number three or a pattern of three seems likely to have been put there deliberately by Tolkien for inspiration, symbolism, use of a writing technique etc. (Or, sometimes, where such inspiration or symbolism might not be deliberate on the part of the author, but is something a reader can find and enjoy).
Contributions can be long or short, learned or simple, and from anyone.

And really this 'threes' idea is only there to encourage people to look at the chapter and join in a discussion about it. So if the 'threes' thing is a barrier to join the discussion, just feel free to post about the chapter without having to shoehorn some threes in.

I have a vague plan to carry on through LOTR like this week by week, provided the response makes it seem worthwhile. But we'll see.

So over to you - what do you want to say about
LOTR Book I Ch4, A Short Cut to Mushrooms?

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see )


Nov 25 2021, 9:09am

Views: 1858
About next week (2nd December)...

Next week, I'm unlikely to be able to start Threes Thursday on time (that is, Thursday 2nd December). I was wondering whether anyone would be willing to do it for me?

All you would have to do would be to copy and paste the starter post text from this week, and change the name of the chapter to "LOTR Book I Ch5, A Conspiracy Unmasked"
And that IS all. This is not our old "read through" format , and so there is no expectation that someone is 'leading' the chapter by preparing some initial thoughts and questions about the chapter, or acting as MC for the week (keeping a conversation going if possible by responding politely to posts if nobody else does that first).

Of course anyone can do those things if they want, but it's not part of deputizing for me next Thursday.

I think this format is more like an 'open mike night' than a performance by a pre-booked elite- someone needs to turn the stage lights on and puts out the chairs, and it's helpful if that's organised in advance. But the entertainment is whoever decides to turn up and do something, and the mutual support of people 'having a go'.

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see )


Nov 25 2021, 11:38am

Views: 1854
Wait: better plan - no chapter next week

 I've decided that I'll post the invitation to find threes in Ch 5:'Conspiracy' on Thursday December 9th.
I realized that most folks would probably be just as happy to give our current 'Mushrooms' chapter two weeks. And this may help contributors in the USA who are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend and who might therefore appreciate more time to take part. (Happy Thanksgiving to our friends in the USA!)

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see )


Nov 25 2021, 5:48pm

Views: 1847
Three mushroom observations

  1. I don't think we get to understand the background to Frodo's teenage-delinquent fungal larceny and Mrs Maggot's gift fully until next chapter. That's when Tolkien tells us 'hobbits have a passion for mushrooms' etc. I wonder why that final detail waits until Crickhollow?
  2. I notice that it is turnips, not mushrooms in the fields as the hobbits approach Maggot farm. Turnips as winter feed for cattle on the farm, perhaps? Cattle as their own contribution to a mixed farm perhaps, and I have a feeling that mushrooms grow well in well-manured fields....
  3. Maggot Farm (no idea if that's the official name...) is a pretty grand place. Before the Industrial Revolution (our best real-historical model for The Shire, probably) brick was a pretty classy building material, I think: It had the costs of winning the raw materials & transporting them by muscle power, just like stone. But unlike stone, bricks need to be fired, and that means a lot of wood to be forested and gathered (unless someone is mining coal, which also didn't' become a cheap fuel until deeper mines could be kept pumped out by steam power, and the coal transported by canal or rail). So I think the farmhouse tells us the Maggots are doing well from the mushroom business (or at least were, when the house was built)!

And that's my 'three' already. But I'll tell you the story about Tolkien and mushrooms anyway. Poor Tolkien didn't' have 'a passion for mushrooms': he was violently allergic to them. So much so that the caterers for the Tolkien Society Inaugural Ball had to avoid all traces of fungi. Hence the phrase 'non-fungi ball Tolkien'.... Wink

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see )


Nov 25 2021, 9:25pm

Views: 1836
That is, I do agree, a better plan.

Because November is the best month for birthday festivities, there have been 4 here to prepare for and to celebrate of late. There are still notes to be written up for Chapter 3 (and Chapter 4 to be read), so I am delighted with the extension. And to those of you in the 50 states, do eat like hobbits today.
See you soon-ish.

No One in Particular

Nov 26 2021, 6:56am

Views: 1808
Casa del Maggot

In my copy of the 1966 edition, it is referred to as old Farmer Maggot's land. Current editions name added the name Bamfurlog to old Farmer Maggot's land. I don't know when that change was made, but that's how it is in the Rob Englis reading. That was the first place I came across the change in fact.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph

Tol Eressea

Nov 28 2021, 4:55pm

Views: 1751
Hmm.... Maggot has three daughters.... and three dogs....

Which I suppose is sort of scraping the barrel for threes.
Minor musings.....

It says two of his sons so he has more... perhaps they've their own farmhouses nearby.

His dogs are Fang, Grip and Wolf and obviously well trained to frighten strangers.

Maggot's reaction to the Black Rider .... along with the Gaffer's reaction previously.... is noticeably lower anxiety than reactions later.... During the Battle of Minas Tirith simply the presence of the Riders in the air brings such a feeling of dread that well trained soldiers cower.... where as here common ordinary hobbits give them tongue lashings and tell them to be on their way (though the dogs hid)

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll
Home of 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)


Nov 28 2021, 5:32pm

Views: 1749
Hmmm - that's interesting

I wonder when that change was made?

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see )


Nov 28 2021, 5:42pm

Views: 1751
Receeding Black Riders

The Black Riders turn up three times in this Chapter (same number of times as they did in the last chapter, interestingly!)
  1. Rider seen silhouetted on the hill - he can't get down the hill after them, but knows they came down
  2. The chilling call of one Rider signalling another (with the clear inference that there is more than one)
  3. Farmer Maggot's news that a Rider visited him earlier, looking for "Baggins"

I'm not, of course counting the brief confusion in which Merry is thought to be a Rider, much though I like that bit!
In comparison with the last chapter (where the danger got more and more intense) it's scary, but the pursuit appears to be falling behind. There are points (perhaps 3 of them - see what you can find) where the hobbits behave almost as if the alarm is over. It's not until the next chapter that there's one last probable sighting of a Rider who hasn't quite stopped them at the Ferry.

As with the last chapter, I like the way Tolkien handles the ebb and flow of the tension...

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see )

Tol Eressea

Nov 28 2021, 10:30pm

Views: 1730
Sun-dried bricks

were common in the southwestern US, no firing and little wood needed. Maybe they wouldn't hold up in the English rain.

"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."


Nov 29 2021, 10:41am

Views: 1716
The rain it raineth every day

...well not quite, but I think it would be a challenge to sun-dry brisks in the first place in the wet British / European Atlantic seaboard climate. And then (as you say) there's the risk that they just crumble when the rain starts again. So it was mostly wattle and daub vernacular architecture, not bricks, for those who couldn't afford stone. Or at least I think so.

Of course all this breaks down the moment someone wants to imagine that they have a sort of Super Clay in the Shire, or some other fantasy solution to the problem.

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see )