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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Replying to your reply and some more answers...


Nov 18 2012, 5:35pm

Views: 1321
Replying to your reply and some more answers... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
So is the use of the word ['grub'] for 'food' just an Americanism?

No, I think it's British English too, but I have to admit it never occurred to me as a meaning here. Not sure why, since love of food is certainly another hobbit trait that finds its way into their names (Bracegirdle, Bolger and so on). Perhaps it's because it's got the wrong tone - it doesn't seem like the kind of word a real lover of good food would use. It implies generic food intended just to satisfy hunger - a word an orc might use, perhaps, but not a fine upstanding family solicitor!

While I'm here, let me try a couple more of your questions...

In Reply To
...this junior branch of the Baggins family [Sackville-Bagginses] were incessant social climbers, a trait they will develop to horrendous proportions in The Lord of the Rings.
Do you agree? If this social climbing, what shall we say of the late Bungo marrying one of the famous daughters of the Old Took a mere attraction to her glamour?

Well, for me the distinction is between true social status and merely "keeping up appearances". Marrying well is a sign of real social standing. Changing your name to something Frenchified (whether Sackville-Baggins or Bouquet) is a sign of something else altogether!

In Reply To
And then, the spoons. Is this likely, for a young couple of social climbers, to steal their cousins silverware? Or is it more likely for a grumpy rich relative to suspect them? in short, do you think Otho and Lobelia guilty or not?

I'd say it's very likely, providing nobody knows about it. Like Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet), I'm sure they would love to be able to set a very impressive table for their guests. Although maybe Bilbo is just prejudiced against them because of their snobbery. There's no proof, so we can judge Bilbo's attitude for ourselves.

Why did he keep Smaug's treasure (even giving the last of it to Sam for Rosie), but not the trolls'?

Perhaps because he felt he'd earned Smaug's treasure, which was distributed as fairly as it could be in the end. He doesn't really even want to take any of the trolls' hoard, and seems to think it should be given to charity ("You had better take this, Gandalf. I daresay you can find a use for it"), which is often what people choose to do with rewards they don't feel they have earned.

In Reply To
So now we come at last to the question: What exactly has Bilbo gained from his adventure? Was it worth losing his reputation?

One thing he's learned is that a reputation, in itself, means nothing! After all, that's what the S-B's want, respect that hasn't been earned. Bilbo has earned self-respect, I guess, and has found that knowing your own worth is so much better than trying to impress others.

In Reply To
I am sorry to say he did not mind [losing his reputation].
Is the narrator really sorry? Are we supposed to be?

No, the narrator is just rather puckishly expressing the attitude of "proper" middle-class hobbits. He's not at all sorry, and he doesn't expect us to be either! He's a grown-up winking subversively at his child-readers.

In Reply To
For this is the end of the chapter, don't you think? The last seven paragraphs are a sort of epilogue, nothing but tying up a few loose ends. No?

Loose end yes, but there is the issue of the "memoirs". That framing device that so divides readers begins here. And telling us that the book is going to have "There and Back Again" as part of its title is surely intended to make the young reader turn to the cover of their copy of The Hobbit and go "hmm"...

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 II - "And back again" sador Send a private message to sador Nov 13 2012, 4:02pm
    A few answers FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Nov 15 2012, 10:53am
        Replying to your answers sador Send a private message to sador Nov 15 2012, 4:21pm
            Replying to your reply and some more answers... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Nov 18 2012, 5:35pm
                I was hoping to avoid referencing BotR this week! sador Send a private message to sador Nov 19 2012, 9:41am
                    I wish I had more time! telain Send a private message to telain Nov 19 2012, 4:09pm
                        So so I! sador Send a private message to sador Nov 21 2012, 10:04am
                            Ah, solicitors. dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Nov 25 2012, 2:56am
    Counting the silver CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Nov 19 2012, 11:29pm
        Nobody rose to the bait... sador Send a private message to sador Nov 21 2012, 10:39am
            *raises eyebrows high* dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Nov 25 2012, 3:14am
                Well, yes sador Send a private message to sador Nov 25 2012, 9:08am
                    Heirs apparent dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Nov 27 2012, 2:26am


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