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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Queer Lodgings - Part Four


May 7 2009, 8:03pm

Views: 379
Queer Lodgings - Part Four Can't Post

Hi tornsibs Smile ...
the next installment -

It’s time to eat – Beorn asks the company to join him for supper after Gandalf’s storytelling.

Inside the hall it was now quite dark - because there are no windows in the hall – just the venting window in the ceiling for the smoke from the fire to escape from, and the doors either end of the hall.

Lets talk about the wait staff.
Beorn can speak to his animals, and he instructs them (in queer language like animal noises) to prepare the dining places for Beorn and his guests to sup.

Here is a list of the mentioned animals ..
4 beautiful white ponies
Several large long bodied dogs (how many is several?)
Some snow white sheep
A large coal black ram

Their skills:
They can carry things in their mouths – such as unlit torches, they can light them and place them into the brackets on the pillars.
The dogs could carry things with their forepaws.
They could get, carry and place furniture – such as trestle tables and chairs and logs.
They could carry trays on their backs.
They could set a table complete with table cloth.

It’s interesting to note that the animals don’t ‘talk’ (as in ‘English’) – Beorn talks to them and they understand him.

Do you think this is fantastical, or do you think it out of place?
Is it easier to believe in talking spiders, trolls and dragons, obits dwarves and wizards - than animals that set tables and wait on guest?

Note: Annotated Hobbit p.176 – the picture by Klaus Ensikat has a goat in it (there’s no goat mentioned in the books though – yet this was printed in the 1971 German edition)

Seated at tables around the hearth, Beorn at the head of the table told stories of his surrounding lands North and South and of the terrible forest of Mirkwood.
Here the dwarves listened and shook their beards (though as we find out they didn’t head his warnings).
They sat long into the night, even after Beorn tired of the dwarves ‘jool talk’.
Bilbo heard the sound of wind and branches in the rafters – and the hoot of owls – (Im sure he would have recognized if they were barn or screech owls – though it doesn’t say) but Tolkien mentioned that these sounds might have been magic or not .. “Whether it be magic or not” ...

Why would these sounds be ‘magic’? Was Tolkien suggesting that Bilbo was in a magical place, or that he was hearing things because he was scared? Or something else?

Time for sleep and Gandalf recounted what Beorn had said before he left the hall “you must not stray outside before the sun is up, on your peril”.
Bilbo wakes in the night to hear a growling sound outside and ‘the noise of some great animal scuffling outside’ – Bilbo thought it might be Beorn in his bear identity, but Bilbo is afraid that Beorn would come and ‘kill’ them. I get the impression Bilbo does not trust this place or Beorn.
We later found out that there was a bear gathering outside that night. But why would Beorns guests be in peril?
Do you think if any of the company had strayed outside, Beorn would have not told them to go back inside – or is it that he in his skin changing form is dangerous to friend as well as foe?
My impression from the book was that he was dangerous in a changed state (although it does not directly say that) – what’s your take and where does you impression come from?

In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter? Wink

Gandalf has gone somewhere for the day, as has Beorn. Gandalf returns in the afternoon to the company’s questioning of where he has been, and where is Beorn. After more food, and some colourful smoke ring blowing, the company find out from Gandalf that he has followed a set of bear tracks over the river and into the Misty Mountains. Beorns tracks.
Why would Gandalf follow these tracks? What purpose is there in doing this? Is it just to justify Beorns checking out their tale?

Though Gandalf mentions the many bear prints outside the hall from what he thinks was a gathering the night before – little bears – large bears – ordinary bears – gigantic big bears - and the prints came from every direction except from west over the river and the Misty Mountains.

So where do the other bears come from – do bears live in Mirkwood forest?

Bilbo thinks Beorn has gone to fetch Wargs and Orcs and bring them back to get them all – why would Bilbo think this after Beorn has told them these creatures are his enemy? Is this a Tolkien ploy to make Bilbo look foolish, which in turn makes him look a wiser warrior hero afterwards?

Bilbo, After being told he is silly by Gandalf, goes to bed and dreams of hundreds of Bears dancing in the moonlight – and he wakes in the middle of the night to hear scuffling, growling and scraping sounds – he goes back to sleep.
Anyone want to do some dream Analysis – what does the dream mean and why include it?

Beorn wakes them in the morning and over breakfast tells the company where he has been, verifying Gandalf’s story. And I have the impression that Beorn also knows the mistrust Bilbo has in him ... “Not eaten up by wargs or goblins or wicked bears yet I see” said Beorn to Bilbo (disrespectfully, but humerously).

Are bears wicked or dangerous? Or both?
How do you think Beorn knew Bilbos fears?

Beorn tells the company he has found out from an Orc and a Warg that the company’s tale is true, and also learns that the company is now being hunted by the Orc’s and Wargs, and anyone harbouring them in safety is in danger of attack. Beorn offers the company his help now to enable them to travel through Mirkwood.

Beorn promises them a pony each and a horse for Gandalf, food that would last for weeks, bows and arrows and water. He also warns them once more that the road ahead through Mirkwood is Dark, Dangerous and Difficult. (we are certainly being setup many times to get a real feel of fear for this forest). Beorn tells them of the perils they might face and gives many warnings – theres nothing to find in there to eat – there aew wild ‘things’, dark, queer and savage – nothing is wholesome - he also mentions the enchanted stream – black and strong - which if drunk from causes great drowsiness and forgetfulness – and that they must not leave the path.

They thanked Beorn for his generosity and became glum with the thoughts of the danger ahead.
“They all thought that the adventure was far more dangerous than they had thought” ...
Why with all the warnings did they not heed one piece of advice?

Tolkien basically outlines (through Beorns warnings) each encounter that the dwarves will face when they enter Mirkwood, yet they take no heed of these warnings regardless of their thoughts that this adventure was more dangerous ...
Any thoughts on this?

After some preparations – they leave Beorn, and head off towards Mirkwood Forest ... tomorrows chapter.

Thanks everyone


Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!

Avatar: Liberace - The other Lord of the Rings.

Quote of The Week: The thing is I always write in the morning, and I know that if I go to the Net I won’t write ... you can start in the most scholarly website and end up at Paris Hilton dot com .. GdT

Subject User Time
Queer Lodgings - Part Four Elven Send a private message to Elven May 7 2009, 8:03pm
    Bilbo Baggins and the Amazing Dancing Bears! Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone May 7 2009, 9:56pm
    Thoughts, part 1. Curious Send a private message to Curious May 7 2009, 10:46pm
    Thoughts, part 2. Curious Send a private message to Curious May 8 2009, 1:03am
    when in doubt. look it up... batik Send a private message to batik May 8 2009, 3:20am
    Good morning! Twit Send a private message to Twit May 8 2009, 9:51am
    A few thoughts Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer May 8 2009, 4:19pm
        I'm not sure it's quite that clear cut Curious Send a private message to Curious May 8 2009, 5:35pm
    I don't have much to say, except Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins May 8 2009, 5:49pm
    A few answers sador Send a private message to sador May 10 2009, 1:35pm
    Bearly human squire Send a private message to squire May 10 2009, 2:40pm
        Of all your posts... Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer May 10 2009, 11:50pm
    Type mismatch FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome May 10 2009, 5:15pm
        Wild vs. Tame Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer May 10 2009, 11:53pm


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