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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A Thief in the Night -- Part 4

weaver
Half-elven

Jul 10 2009, 3:53am


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A Thief in the Night -- Part 4 Can't Post

Now, let's look at the exchange that Bilbo has with Bard and the Elven King, concluding with the moment when he gives up the Arkenstone.

"Really you know," Bilbo was saying in his best business manner, "things are impossible. Personally I am tired of the whole affair. I wish I was back in the West in my own home, where folk are more reasonable. But I have an interest in this matter--one fourteenth share, to be precise, according to a letter, which fortunately I believe I have kept."

Bilbo then reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out the letter Thorin gave him back in Bag End. He goes on to say he's sympathetic to their claims, and that he would deduct what is rightfully theirs before taking his share of the profits. He also warns them about the approach of Dain and his dwarf army.

Here is the conversation which follows:

"Why do you tell us this? Are you betraying your friends, or are you threatening us?" asked Bard grimly. "My dear Bard!" squeaked Bilbo. "Don't be so hasty! I never met such suspicious folk! I am merely trying to avoid trouble for all concerned."

Bilbo then says he wants to make them an offer -- which turns out to be the Arkenstone. Here is what it looks like:

"It was as if a globe had been filled with moonlight and hung before them in a net woven of the glint of frosty stars."

And here is what Bilbo says about it:

"This is the Arkenstone of Thrain...the Heart of the Mountain; and it is also the heart of Thorin. He values it above a river of gold. I give it to you. It will aid you in your bargaining."Then Bilbo, not without a shudder, not without a glance of longing, handed the marvellous stone to Bard, and he held it in his hand, as though dazed."

Questions:


1. Let me get this straight -- Bilbo lost his pocket handkerchief, and his buttons, but somehow he kept Thorin's letter? Is it credible he'd still have it at this point? And why did Tolkien think he needed it here?

2. Just how much of a plan did Bilbo have about this encounter? How much did he have thought out ahead of time, and how much is figuring out on the spot?

3. To make his case, Bilbo produces a letter, supports the "claims" of Bard and the Elven King, provides information about Dain, and gives up the Arkenstone. What conclusions can you draw about the particular sequence of things Bilbo had to do in order to win the confidence of Bard and the Elven King?

4. Do you see any similarities between Bilbo's interrogation here and that of Frodo by Faramir in LotR?

5. Which description of the Arkenstone do you prefer -- the shiny glittery imagery, or the reference to it being "Thorin's heart"?

6. Just how strongly was Bilbo tempted to keep the Arkenstone? If Bard had believed him without needing to reveal it, would he have kept it?

Weaver




Subject User Time
A Thief in the Night -- Part 4 weaver Send a private message to weaver Jul 10 2009, 3:53am
    here goes Twit Send a private message to Twit Jul 10 2009, 10:10am
        Letter consistency Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jul 11 2009, 12:17am
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 10 2009, 2:19pm
    Letter Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jul 11 2009, 12:14am
    Bilbo makes them an offer they can't refuse squire Send a private message to squire Jul 11 2009, 5:24am
        Good for you to have done it! sador Send a private message to sador Jul 12 2009, 7:27am
            “Bilbo is not honest yet” - ?? squire Send a private message to squire Jul 12 2009, 2:28pm
                Quite so! N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jul 12 2009, 5:26pm
                Perhaps "find out" was too strong sador Send a private message to sador Jul 13 2009, 6:41am
                    The Mind as Iceberg Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jul 13 2009, 6:36pm
                        It may be in the author's mind, Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 13 2009, 6:45pm
                    If Bilbo lied to his neighbors about his adventures, Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 13 2009, 6:47pm
                        "His magic ring he kept a great secret..." N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jul 13 2009, 7:15pm
                            Oops! sador Send a private message to sador Jul 13 2009, 7:24pm
                        Not lied? sador Send a private message to sador Jul 13 2009, 7:22pm
                            As N.E.B. notes, there's no obligation to tell everything. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 13 2009, 8:32pm
                                Well, you know sador Send a private message to sador Jul 14 2009, 6:15am
                                    Bilbo told Frodo the whole story, but Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 14 2009, 8:55am
                                    The Quest for Power Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jul 14 2009, 6:56pm
                                        Tolkien wanted to put the genie back Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 14 2009, 7:46pm
                                        "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it" squire Send a private message to squire Jul 14 2009, 9:39pm
                                            Or Capitalist or Colonialist Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 14 2009, 10:39pm
                                                Consensus is a matter of opinion. Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jul 15 2009, 2:53am
                                            You got my point Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jul 15 2009, 2:42am
    A few answers sador Send a private message to sador Jul 12 2009, 7:52am
        Ah, the "note-paper"! squire Send a private message to squire Jul 12 2009, 2:47pm
            Water-resistant ink Kimi Send a private message to Kimi Jul 13 2009, 1:14am
                Excellent! squire Send a private message to squire Jul 13 2009, 1:38am
                Fascinating! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 13 2009, 3:19am
    I like Bilbo's style of taking care of business so much more grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jul 12 2009, 2:45pm

 
 
 

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