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:
Just one thought...


Nov 18 2012, 4:40pm

Views: 1195
Just one thought... [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf it was who spoke, for Bilbo was fallen quiet and drowsy. Most of the tale he knew, for he had been in it, and had himself told much of it to the wizard on their homeward way or in the house of Beorn.
Indeed. For most of the tale, Bilbo was an active participant, or at least a spectator; while Gandalf would only know what he was told.
Why didn't Bilbo tell the story himself? Has he grown bashful or timid again? Does he just pale into insignificance next to the charismatic wizard? Or is he taking advantage of having someone else do the talking?

Your question, combined with NE Brigand's in your footer:

Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?
has made me realise that this drowsiness is experienced in Rivendell by other hobbits too. It's in Frodo's experience there, as he listens to the songs of the Elves:
"Almost it seemed that the words took shape, and visions of far lands and bright things that he had never yet imagined opened out before him; and the firelit hall became like a golden mist above seas of foam that sighed upon the margins of the world. Then the enchantment became more and more dreamlike, until he felt that an endless river of swelling gold and silver was flowing over him, too multitudinous for its pattern to be comprehended; it became part of the throbbing air about him, and it drenched and drowned him. Swiftly he sank under its shining weight into a deep realm of sleep." (Many Meetings)
In his drowsiness, he too (like Bilbo in The Hobbit) hears a tale:
"There he wandered long in a dream of music that turned into running water, and then suddenly into a voice. It seemed to be the voice of Bilbo chanting verses. Faint at first and then clearer ran the words."
It struck me that what we get in this scene of The Hobbit is a hint of the way in which tales work on the imagination. You may start with a set of facts, such as the events Bilbo had told to Gandalf on the way back to Rivendell, but as the story is retold, and especially when you hear it under the influence of the drowsy subconscious, it takes on its full weight of enchantment.

So Bilbo's drowsiness may be more than just a case of bashfulness or insignificance - perhaps it's because he's in that receptive, creative state of mind where tales take on a life of their own. Actually, he reminds me a bit of how he was when Frodo first saw him in Rivendell, when Elrond wakes him:
"Wake up! I was not asleep, Master Elrond. If you want to know, you have all come out from your feast too soon, and you have disturbed me – in the middle of making up a song."
Maybe in this scene of The Hobbit Bilbo is just allowing the tale to flow over him and absorb him, the first step towards turning the events of his adventure into the enchanting tale he will tell in the "memoirs" we are reading.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings

Subject User Time
The Last Stage, part I - "And elves are still singing" sador Send a private message to sador Nov 12 2012, 12:55pm
    Is this the last chapter SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 13 2012, 4:13am
        Me? Plunge? sador Send a private message to sador Nov 13 2012, 12:29pm
            "Last (or First)" SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 13 2012, 3:57pm
                directional? telain Send a private message to telain Nov 19 2012, 4:00pm
                    "Last Decent House" sador Send a private message to sador Nov 20 2012, 7:41pm
                        yes! telain Send a private message to telain Nov 21 2012, 5:07pm
    Just one thought... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Nov 18 2012, 4:40pm
        An "elvish dream"? sador Send a private message to sador Nov 19 2012, 9:06am
    Elves. Hmph. CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Nov 19 2012, 10:44pm
        I saw two shooting stars last night / I wished on them but they were only satellites sador Send a private message to sador Nov 20 2012, 8:17pm


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.