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

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

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
“Bilbo is not honest yet” - ??

squire
Half-elven


Jul 12 2009, 2:28pm


Views: 673
Shortcut
“Bilbo is not honest yet” - ?? [In reply to] Can't Post

"Once we read LotR we find out Bilbo is not honest yet - he is still lying to everyone (including Gandalf, and future readers of his book) about the Ring!"

I have a problem with this interpretation, that can probably never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Leaving aside the author's intent while writing The Hobbit and the confusing question of which edition we are reading, there is no evidence in The Hobbit that Bilbo is lying to anybody by the end of the story, much less about the Ring. The entire interpretation that he "is not honest yet" is imposed on this text by another - about as effective as if I was to say that Merlin in Mallory's Morte d'Arthur is living backwards in time, because T.H. White says so in The Once and Future King.

I don't think it makes a difference that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are by the same author, especially when the author had many chances to make such a moral connection explicit (or implicit with hints) in rewriting and chose not to do so. A subsequent book can indeed bring to light things that were not clearly or correctly understood by a reader of an earlier book - but I suggest that those things have to be there in the first place. Even the author may not have known they were there when he wrote it, as Tolkien marvelously did not know how much more he could make of the world of The Hobbit than just a setting for a juvenile adventure. He may later find much that is there that he can work with to develop his sequels. A magic ring of invisibility, say; or a peripheral demon who served to separate the wizard from the hobbit to allow the hobbit to grow.



But Bilbo's "continuing lack of honesty" just isn't there in The Hobbit. The later book simply imposes it in a devious attempt to reconcile irreconcilable stories.

I would say that Bilbo's character, as established in The Hobbit, is so appropriately shaped by his adventures (but not at all by the Ring as it is later reconceived) that it becomes plausible in the second book that the same character abandons the Ring - albeit with Gandalf's help. I don't see the Arkenstone surrender as a very large part of his character formation, because the author slights that brief conflict as a mere hesitation in the presence of the stone's beauty; he never foreshadows it and never returns to it. Bilbo was never in it for the money, and money has no power over him.

Here is a safer generalization: The mature Bilbo of The Hobbit's finale is the same comically strong character who casually accepts Gandalf's tricking him out of keeping the now-fatal Ring, who apologizes to Frodo for passing the curse on to him, who sincerely volunteers to take the Ring to Mordor at the Council of Elrond, who becomes the major literary artist of the late Third Age, etc.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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

 
 
 

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

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

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

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