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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
I'm glad you like it.


Nov 19 2012, 8:57am

Views: 1633
I'm glad you like it. [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, I was under the impression that I have called the first ten chapters of The Hobbit a picaresque often before - I have long thought of this! But it turns out I did so only once, and then oibliquely.

In Reply To

What I would observe about your list is that songs in The Hobbit are sung by groups, never by individuals, unless it is Bilbo himself in the Gollum and spider episodes. So the songs seem to be mostly choral commentaries on the action or on the nature of the choruses themselves (“introductory” choruses, you might say).

Oh, this is excellent!

In Reply To

I like to think I’m consistent here. The Hobbit and I have been in bed together far too long for me to say I like or dislike one part more than another. To me, it’s one book, for all of its range of tone, pace, voice, point of view, and mythopoeticism.

I agree - and what's more, I think the shift in tone actually follows a pattern (which I'll try to get to on the next thread). It is Curious who usually states that the first part of the book is superior by far to the other.

It’s Bilbo who has changed. The Tookish side is well sated by now. He is like the young soldier, after having survived a battle or two, listening to the same patriotic anthem that led him to enlist; he is alive and older and wiser, and the magic is gone.

So is the Baggins side the wiser?

Well, I'm sure not; but I agree that Bilbo is quite fed-up with danger.
On the other hand, it could be that with a choice between the dwarves' song and that of the elves outside - the Tookish side prefers deserting, too.

In Reply To

Well, Smaug sure crumbled up like the Wicked Witch of the West once a simple but correct solution was applied to the problem.

As did Sauron, by the way.

In Reply To

In The Hobbit, it seems to be established in the Rivendell and Mirkwood chapters that Elves are an ongoing part of the mortal world, although they have become much more reclusive since the coming of Men.

I agree that, whatever Rateliff might argue, even if The Hobbit was at first conceived to take part in the same world as the Silmarillion legends, it then took a life of itself, and might not be consistent with it.
However, the Mrkwood elves are introduced with an account of the Great Journey and the Unwilling elves which stayed behind, so I'm not sure we can detach the two - at least not regarding the elves.

In Reply To
Oh, there’s a little foolish bantering – that’s how I read the nonsense about the dragon and the goblin, anyway. Really, I don’t see any shift.

But that bantering wasn't in the song, was started by Bilbo, and at any case is comparable to the elves' teasing Thorin about his beard and Bilbo about his love for cakes. The bantering in A Short Rest is both more rude, and not modified in any way.

In Reply To
This is practically the only Elven song I can think of where the phrase and (more importantly) the idea of “elf and elf-maiden” occur...

Very good!
Which might be the reason I like Nellas (from The Children of Hurin) so much.

In Reply To

I don’t buy it, but then I haven’t read Rateliff’s commentary.

Haven't you? I'm surprised; as a rule, you've read more than me.

In Reply To
I like the image of lit windows in the “house of Night”. It seems quite original to me.

Yes; although in The Lord of the Rings, the tower of the Rising Moon becomes a place of fear, with a ghastly light that reveals rather than illuminates. Gives me the shivers.

In Reply To
I read recently that it is more common than we realize for agrarian people who have gone to bed when it gets dark to wake in the early hours of the morning, stay awake for an hour or two, and then go back to sleep until light.

That's very interesting. Thank you!

That said, the Elves are hardly working on just a lullaby for Bilbo. The first two stanzas are celebratory of the joys of a nighttime revel. Only in the third verse do they change pace and address “the wanderer [who] sleepeth.”

In Reply To
I am rather curious about the ode to all the types of trees. Only since coming to TORn have I found that the medievals had distinct ideas about the nature and uses of various tree species, and I now read verses like “Lullaby! Lullaby! Alder and Willow!” “Sigh no more Pine” and “Hush! Hush! Oak, Ash, and Thorn!” with suspicion that I am missing some erudite reference to Tolkienian tree-lore.

But no birches (except for the alder).

Seriously, I have been thinking of the Shippey-Fleiger argument regarding the birch in Smith of Wootton Major (in A Question of Time and The Road to Middle-earth), and Shippey always seemed to have a point with the oak-birch dichotomy. But isn't Treebeard compared to an oak or beech? Perhaps Shippey is making too much of it.

Anyway, it is an interesting question - but the thorn is unexpected.

In Reply To
I will try to respond to the rest of your questions later.

I'm looking forward to it. Thank you!

"As all things come to an end, even this story..."

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.”?
- N.E. Brigand

The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Return Journey!

Subject User Time
The Last Stage, part III - Poetry and Prose sador Send a private message to sador Nov 15 2012, 9:23am
    “Picaresque” – nice! squire Send a private message to squire Nov 18 2012, 1:25am
        I'm glad you like it. sador Send a private message to sador Nov 19 2012, 8:57am
    Songs and tales FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Nov 19 2012, 11:26am
        Thanks for the links! sador Send a private message to sador Nov 21 2012, 10:50am
    Tour de force CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Nov 20 2012, 7:48am
        Good point FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Nov 21 2012, 10:20am
        Thank you! sador Send a private message to sador Nov 22 2012, 1:17pm
    *What* goes ever on and on? squire Send a private message to squire Nov 22 2012, 6:13am
        Nice analysis! sador Send a private message to sador Nov 22 2012, 6:21pm
        Truth and fiction FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Nov 23 2012, 11:36am


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