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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part I - 'The courage that had been awakened in him was now too strong'


Aug 14 2012, 4:40am

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**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part I - 'The courage that had been awakened in him was now too strong' Can't Post

Greetings! I am posting this for sador, who is traveling. Per some messages between sador and squire, I have been asked to move ahead with "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire", so herewith is sador's first post.

Bilbo had escaped the goblins, but he did not know where he was. He had lost hood, cloak, food, pony, his buttons and his friends. He wandered on and on, till the sun began to sink westwards-behind the mountains. Their shadows fell across Bilbo's path, and he looked back. Then he looked forward and could see before him only ridges and slopes falling towards lowlands and plains glimpsed occasionally between the trees.

  1. Now that's a surprise! Or is it? Didn't Gollum speak of "the Back Gate" as opposed to the goblins' "Our Front Porch"?

  2. Did you ever experience a similar sense of disorientation, and sudden revelation regarding were you are?

  3. Try to remember your first reading. Did you realize what was going on immediately – or did you need the next paragraph, in which Bilbo exclaims that he must have got to the other side of the Mountains?

  4. Can this moment of recognition be successfully presented on film? How?

  5. He still wandered on… but all the while a very uncomfortable thought was growing inside him. He wondered whether he ought not, now he had the magic ring, to go back into the horrible, horrible, tunnels and look for his friends. He had just made up his mind that it was his duty, that he must turn back-and very miserable he felt about it –

    But we'll stop here for the moment.

    This is, in my opinion, a no less than momentous occasion. It is another of several landmarks in Bilbo's career. It requires a tremendous and lonely courage (foreshadowing his courage in going down to the sleeping Smaug), as well as showing true concern for his companions. Well, they did (ineffectively) try to help him in the trolls episode, and did carry him in the goblins' tunnels – but they were a group; and nobody really expected such heroism from Bilbo. Silneldor called it one of Bilbo's_finest_moments, and I concur.

  6. How does this decision compare to other significant occasions? Is this one of your favourite Bilbo moments? What others do you have?

  7. The "horrible, horrible tunnels" contrast here very strongly with the pleasant scenery. Is this Tolkien's way of highlighting Bilbo's courage, or is this the standard fare among his descriptions of nature?

  8. Does this help you forget that after all, Bilbo is in a quandary – no food, no friends, alone in an unknown land?

  9. And a last point – the cloak and hood he had lost. These were Dwalin's, right? But aren't these the very hood and cloak he wore when finally leaving Bag-End? Where did he get them back from?

  10. Just to refresh your memory:

    From a locked drawer, smelling of moth-balls, he took out an old cloak and hood. They had been locked up as if they were very precious, but they were so patched and weatherstained that their original colour could hardly be guessed: it might have been dark green. They were rather too large for him.
    -- A Long-expected Party.

    Welcome to the discussion of ‘Out of the Frying-pan Into the Fire’! As I've said before, I am going to regret taking this upon myself – but at the same time will enjoy every minute.

    I have no time to discuss this chapter in the detail necessary to do it justice (a big thank you to Elizabeth for helping me post these!) – it is full of both beautiful description and action scenes, one of which is iconic enough to have been depicted often. Both Anderson and Rateliff have added several very interesting details and insights, and some comments by Shippey are also appropriate.

    Despite the hectic action this chapter as teeming with, neither of the previous discussions really took the simplest, linear approach. So I will. Obviously, I will not be able to discuss each incident like I did the opening paragraph; three or four questions per scene, two or three scenes per post – if I do more than that, I won't manage. It's up to you to fill the gaps.
    Regarding the previous readings – in March 2004, entmaiden led the discussion; twelve out of the thirteen threads she posted (not counting the open discussion) were about characters and peoples – Bilbo, Gandalf, the Dwarves, wargs, goblins and eagles – and one about the scenery. Here is a link to that discussion (scroll down to it), which unfortunately I have not yet had the opportunity to read through. Just to realize her achievement – this discussion followed another discussion, nineteen threads long, of Riddles in the Dark – which she also led! Hardy are our admins!

    I wasn't a member at the time – but I do remember the discussion of April-May 2009, led by batik. This included six threads (words and phrases, landscapes, stories told by characters, adventure until meeting the wargs, goblins and eagles, movie_questions) and was very interesting. I might re-use some ideas I got back then – from batik, or the others which participated.

    So that's (nearly) all for this thread. We have stopped with the voices Bilbo heard, which prevented him to go back into the goblin's tunnels. As you all know, the voices were those of Gandalf and the Dwarves. Before moving on, three stories will be told: the adventures of the dwarves until they escaped (told by Dori), Bilbo's account of his adventure with Gollum, and Gandalf telling of his part in this whole business. The next post will cover the first two stories.

    But before taking my leave, I want to return to Bilbo's choice. In her first post of the 2004 discussion, entmaiden seemed to think that returning to the tunnels was the obvious thing to do, and actually asked:

  11. Do you think the ring was influencing Bilbo’s reluctance to go back into the tunnels to look for his friends?
    Now that's a different approach! What do you think?

Join us NOW in the Reading Room for detailed discussions of The Hobbit, July 9-Nov. 18!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

Subject User Time
**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part I - 'The courage that had been awakened in him was now too strong' Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Aug 14 2012, 4:40am
    "Frying pan"--it's always about food! CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Aug 18 2012, 7:24pm
        I forgot to ask this! sador Send a private message to sador Aug 22 2012, 11:35am
    Front and back dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Aug 23 2012, 2:24am
        That's good. sador Send a private message to sador Aug 23 2012, 8:53am
            They would not be dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Aug 23 2012, 11:26am


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