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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**The Return Journey** Part Three - "snow after fire"

One Ringer
Tol Eressea

Nov 9 2012, 5:21pm

Views: 1782
**The Return Journey** Part Three - "snow after fire" Can't Post

Bilbo begins the long journey home with Gandalf, Beorn and the elf host.

So they went on until they drew near to the borders of Mirkwood (…) the wizard and Bilbo would not enter the wood even though the king bade them stay a while in his halls. They intended to along the edge of the forest, and round its northern end in the waste (…) It was a long and cheerless road, but now that the goblins were crushed, it seemed safer (…) Moreover Beorn was going that way too.

Why not travel through Mirkwood? Although their determined path is “safer” and Beorn will be with them, wouldn’t it save time to perhaps pass through the forest with the help of the elves?

They depart:

He had many hardships and adventures before he got back. The Wild was still the Wild, and there were many other things in it in those days beside goblins; but he was well guided and well guard…

Does Tolkien leave the reader open to imagination here? What sort of creatures might we concoct? What sort of hardships? Or is it all meant to be ignored for the sake of time?

Coming to the Misty Mountains, Bilbo and Gandalf arrive at a “high point”:

…looking backward they saw a white sun shining over the outstretched lans. There behind lay Mirkwood, blue in the distance, and darkly green at the nearer edge even in spring. There far away was the Lonely Mountain on the edge of eyesight. On its highest peak snow yet unmelted was gleaming pale.

How does this visual interact with the story? How big is Middle-Earth? How high has Bilbo climbed?

The chapter closes:

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!” said Bilbo, and he turned his back on his adventure. The Tookish part was getting very tired, and the Baggins was daily getting stronger. “I wish now only to be in own armchair!” he said.

I mentioned during the Over Hill and Under Hill discussion how fairy tales recurrently use repetition. What frame of mind does reprising “Tookish” or “I wish {insert homely reference}” put the reader in? Is The Hobbit as true a fairy tale as they come by, or just plain fantasy and adventure?

Any other thoughts on the chapter?

And that’ll do it for this week. Sorry if I didn’t cover the entire chapter, but I’ve been on a busy schedule these past days, and just wanted to cover some of the key parts.

FOTR 10th Anniversary Music Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33xJU3AIwsg

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."

Subject User Time
**The Return Journey** Part Three - "snow after fire" One Ringer Send a private message to One Ringer Nov 9 2012, 5:21pm
    blown away elevorn Send a private message to elevorn Nov 9 2012, 5:44pm
    The Necromancer Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Nov 10 2012, 9:52am
    The "Back Again" direction of "There and Back Again" CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Nov 15 2012, 5:44pm
        Good point about the "others"! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Nov 22 2012, 1:12am


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