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Oct 22 2012, 6:12pm

Views: 340
Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you make of animal sentience in The Hobbit? It seems widespread -- what are the implications?

It seems to me that if animals were really sentient and could communicate it would have huge implications. Yet in The Hobbit animals talk yet are still generally treated like animals -- except by Beorn.

Why the distinction between ravens and crows? Is there any primary-world basis for the distinction? Mythological basis?

I think it's the voice, the size, and the intelligence. However, ravens are also more associated with carrion, so sometimes they are the evil birds.

If the thrush can understand Common, why can't it speak Common to the dwarves? Why didn't it try speaking with the dwarves before now?

The thrush in The Hobbit is almost like the Eagles in LotR -- so selective in its actions, and yet so important and providential, that it almost seems like an instrument of the Higher Powers -- or a convenient device of the author.

Why does the raven use Common when the thrush did not? Aren't the dwarves able to understand the raven's bird speech?

The use of Common in fantasies, like the use of universal translators in science fiction, should never be examined too closely.

Why are the birds gathering back to the Mountain and to Dale from South and East and West? Why does Smaug's death cause them to gather?

I suppose they are just gossips. It's a wonder the Giant Spiders didn't show up, too.

Tolkien skips quickly over the raven's telling of the tale of Smaug's death, which he learned from the thrush. How much of what we know was told by the raven? Did the dwarves learn anything about Bilbo's role in the discovery of Smaug's weak spot? Why did Tolkien gloss over this point?

I'm guessing Bilbo's role was not known, since no one commented on it.

How does the raven know the character of the Master of the Lake-men and of Bard?

Again, birds gossip.

Is there another bird speaking to the Elvenking? Does the thrush return to Bard and tell him what happens? Are the birds just incredible gossips? Do they get anything out of spreading this news?

Since the elves and men are surprised to see the dwarves, they apparently did not get advanced warning from birds. I'm not sure why not. Perhaps they didn't think to ask.

Do you have any other comments on these passages?


Subject User Time
**The Gathering of the Clouds** I Curious Send a private message to Curious Oct 17 2012, 6:11am
    Answers sador Send a private message to sador Oct 17 2012, 10:40am
    Some answers SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 17 2012, 4:07pm
    The thrush and its purpose dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Oct 21 2012, 2:50am
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Oct 22 2012, 6:12pm


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