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:
A Warm Welcome-- Part Five: Misc and Open Discussion

Laerasëa
Tol Eressea


May 31 2009, 4:26am

Post #1 of 14 (534 views)
Shortcut
A Warm Welcome-- Part Five: Misc and Open Discussion Can't Post

We have a few songs that the Lake-people sing at the feast at Esgaroth; I would like to look at one of the verses of one of them in particular:

The streams shall run in gladness
The lakes shall shine and burn,
All sorrow fail and sadness
At the Mountain-King's return!

1. What makes the people of Lake-town so happy with the dwarves' arrival? Tolkien says, "Indeed such excitement had not been known in the town in the memory of the oldest grandfather." What, really, do the townspeople believe is going to happen? Do they believe that they are going to receive the treasure after Thorin kills Smaug? Apparently, the Master inspires some songs about gold floating down the river to Lake-town, which the dwarves are not too happy about.

Even Bilbo was given a seat at the high table, and no explanation of where he came in was asked for in the general bustle.
2. Has Bilbo's presence for the most part generally gone unnoticed at the feast, or are people simply being more polite to and celebratory of the dwarves, whose arrival is more expected?

Thorin takes advantage of the celebration to leave with goodwill and provisions (horses, ponies, boats "laden with rowers, dwarves, Mr Baggins, and many provisions), and "the only person thoroughly unhappy was Bilbo."
3. Why does Bilbo go with them? Did he have the option of staying in Esgaroth? What makes his attitude (at this point of the journey) so much different from that of the dwarves?

4. Are "rowers" citizens of the Lake-town, or does Tolkien just mean "oars" here? (dipping a bit into the next chapter, in the first paragraph, it reads, "none of the men would stay with them even for the night so near the shadow of the Mountain"-- not sure if that's talking about the men that perhaps accompany the arrival of the new horses, or the "rowers").

5. Any other thoughts on this chapter in general?

Thank you for participating this week!

********************************
Traveling Journal Official Site
The journal is finally in America!!


(This post was edited by Laerasëa on May 31 2009, 4:27am)


Curious
Half-elven


May 31 2009, 12:09pm

Post #2 of 14 (341 views)
Shortcut
Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What makes the people of Lake-town so happy with the dwarves' arrival?

Prophecies of good times, which turn out to be true, in a fashion.

What, really, do the townspeople believe is going to happen?

They don't expect what comes between Thorin's appearance and good times, namely the attack by Smaug and the destruction of Lake-town. The prophetic songs apparently didn't mention that part.

Do they believe that they are going to receive the treasure after Thorin kills Smaug?

The prophetic songs are more ambiguous than the songs the Master commissions.

2. Has Bilbo's presence for the most part generally gone unnoticed at the feast, or are people simply being more polite to and celebratory of the dwarves, whose arrival is more expected?

The songs apparently said nothing about Bilbo, either. So the people aren't sure what to make of him.

3. Why does Bilbo go with them?

Where else is he going to go at this point? Also, although unhappy, Bilbo has learned to rely upon his luck, courage, and wits. Finally, I think he considers himself bound by agreement to do his part. But Bilbo realizes that the toughest part is yet to come.

Did he have the option of staying in Esgaroth?

I think the dwarves would have been unhappy if he had, and then how would he get back home?

What makes his attitude (at this point of the journey) so much different from that of the dwarves?

Just because the prophecies are coming true doesn't mean it will be easy from here on out. And Bilbo realizes that the dwarves will look to him for answers.

4. Are "rowers" citizens of the Lake-town, or does Tolkien just mean "oars" here?

How are the boats getting back to Lake-town without human rowers? I don't think the boats were given to the dwarves to keep.

5. Any other thoughts on this chapter in general?

Not at this time.



sador
Half-elven

May 31 2009, 12:44pm

Post #3 of 14 (340 views)
Shortcut
A few answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Mountain-King's return!

1. What makes the people of Lake-town so happy with the dwarves' arrival?

It's those who believe the old prophecies, at least on this fortnight.

What, really, do the townspeople believe is going to happen? Do they believe that they are going to receive the treasure after Thorin kills Smaug?
I think the Master inspired these songs before Thorin arrived in Lake-town.
But the townspeople do not believe in anything in particular; they are just caught in the excitement of the moment.

2. Has Bilbo's presence for the most part generally gone unnoticed at the feast, or are people simply being more polite to and celebratory of the dwarves, whose arrival is more expected?
Well, someone who sneezes all the time is usually noticed! Laugh

But the people do not know what to make of him, and do not bother very much, either.

3. Why does Bilbo go with them? Did he have the option of staying in Esgaroth?
No.

What makes his attitude (at this point of the journey) so much different from that of the dwarves?
Just like he was upset at seeing the Mountain, which the dwarves would probably be excited at. For him, it's only a terrifying part of the journey; for them, it's coming home.

Also note that Bilbo does not quite have the dwarves' faith in the old prophecies - in fact, even on the last page of the book he expresses skepticism about them, and is rebuffed by Gandalf!

4. Are "rowers" citizens of the Lake-town, or does Tolkien just mean "oars" here?
I never thought it anything but Lake-men.
To begin with, they are far more skillful in rowing (remember Celeborn, in 'Farewell to Lorien', does not mention Gimli as one skilled with boats); also I suppose the Lake-men would prefer to get the boats back to town.

5. Any other thoughts on this chapter in general?

This chapter marks a shift in tone. Up to it, every chapter (apart of 'Roast Mutton', which was a great comedy) had a bit of poetry in it, usually light-hearted. From now on, only 'The Gathering of the Clouds' will have (and Bilbo would see it as ominous rather than cheering), and of course 'The Last Stage'.

"I could eat anything in the wide world now, for hours on end - but not an apple!" - Fili


Modtheow
Lorien


May 31 2009, 2:03pm

Post #4 of 14 (349 views)
Shortcut
The lakes shall shine and burn [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What makes the people of Lake-town so happy with the dwarves' arrival? What, really, do the townspeople believe is going to happen? Do they believe that they are going to receive the treasure after Thorin kills Smaug?

The streams shall run in gladness
The lakes shall shine and burn,
All sorrow fail and sadness
At the Mountain-King's return!


I take the poem in this chapter to be one of the old songs, not the Master's version. The song is introduced this way: "Some began to sing snatches of old songs concerning the return of the King under the Mountain...Others took up the song and it rolled loud and high over the lake." As a prophetic celebration of the king's return, the song makes sense from the point of view of the dwarves, with images like "His wealth shall flow in fountains / And the rivers golden run" -- anti-dragon-hoarding images, to be sure. As for why the townspeople are so happy -- reasonable townspeople wouldn't believe that they are going to receive the treasure directly, but I think they could imagine that, with a rich kingdom re-established close by and the hoarding dragon gone, the treasure would be in circulation once again mostly as trade or sometimes as gifts from which they could potentially benefit. Most of the townspeople, though, seem to be caught up in some kind of mob frenzy that doesn't allow them to think clearly (which is probably why they don't even think to ask about Bilbo), and the Master takes advantage of that by leading them to believe that the treasure would simply float down the river to them in cargoes. (Maybe the key difference is between understanding metaphors and taking everything in a fundamentally literal sense.)

I like the line "The lakes shall shine and burn" -- while "burn" goes with "shine" in that both can describe a quality of light and colour, the burning lake also foretells the fall of a fiery Smaug into the water.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


May 31 2009, 2:32pm

Post #5 of 14 (339 views)
Shortcut
I think the townspeople [In reply to] Can't Post

   
1. What makes the people of Lake-town so happy with the dwarves' arrival? What, really, do the townspeople believe is going to happen? Do they believe that they are going to receive the treasure after Thorin kills Smaug?

...are hoping for the prosperity of a neighboring kingdom to help bring prosperity back to their own land. They've maintained commerce and exhange with the Elves, so they've had some limited stability because of that. But I'm sure that stories of having commerce with the Dwarves in the past has grown in the telling to the point of Lake-town believing that the Return of the King ;) would mean wealth would come with the Elves and the Dwarves as partners... and p'raps the rebuilding of Dale. They probably also believe that any treasure stolen from Men would be returned. At least, I'm sure that's what the Master of Lake-town hopes ;)


2. Has Bilbo's presence for the most part generally gone unnoticed at the feast, or are people simply being more polite to and celebratory of the dwarves, whose arrival is more expected?
Bilbo doesn't feel good... so he's probably kept a low profile. Plus, Thorin tends to suck the air out of any situation he feels he has a right to rise to... and I'm thinking Bilbo's not in the mood to witness that ;)


3. Why does Bilbo go with them? Did he have the option of staying in Esgaroth? What makes his attitude (at this point of the journey) so much different from that of the dwarves?
Bilbo has made a deal... a promise... to fulfill an expectation, both with the Dwarves and with (especially with) Gandalf. He's got integrity, so he'll complete the job he's sworn to.


GREAT job, Laerasea!! Thank you so much for a very thought-provoking thread for the chapter... And Happy Birthday :D


sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."
~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists


squire
Half-elven


May 31 2009, 2:55pm

Post #6 of 14 (344 views)
Shortcut
"Thorin tends to suck the air out of any situation he feels he has a right to rise to" [In reply to] Can't Post

Ha ha ha! Dead on!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 1 2009, 12:07am

Post #7 of 14 (320 views)
Shortcut
Thanks for a fine week! [In reply to] Can't Post

As for Bilbo's unexplained presence, Kings always have various retainers around them that go unexplained. Sometimes it's better not to ask. (For instance, nobody is likely to cheerfully point out, "And that little guy over there? He's the Royal Burglar!")

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 1 2009, 12:46am

Post #8 of 14 (326 views)
Shortcut
Well, lookee here! [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What makes the people of Lake-town so happy with the dwarves' arrival?
Nothing this exciting has happened in this backwater for - well, since the Dragon stopped going on the occasional raid, so long ago now that most have never seen the creature. And with the roads and paths in such unusable condition, I doubt they've seen more than just an occasional Dwarf from the Iron Hills in a long time, as well.
Now, they have an entire party of Dwarves suddenly appear on their doorstep, and one even claims ruler-ship of the storied Mountain and its treasure! Good, those Dwarves will be able to shove aside this rumored dragon and get their businesses going again; it won't be long before the "good old days" return to that town!

2. Has Bilbo's presence for the most part generally gone unnoticed at the feast, or are people simply being more polite to and celebratory of the dwarves, whose arrival is more expected?
With Bilbo's size, he might be shrugged off as a type of beardless Dwarf. Now, if he had been Man-size, they may have asked questions!

3. Why does Bilbo go with them?
It's in his contract to stay with Thorin & Company - even though he's already had enough of "adventures", and would much rather stay in that cozy town for a while.

Thank you for leading us this week, Laerasëa! Smile


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915



Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 2 2009, 6:05pm

Post #9 of 14 (365 views)
Shortcut
The Return of the Mountain King! (Er, which one?) [In reply to] Can't Post

“Why do you weep for your lost leader?" he said. "He is not dead. He has gone back to his own country and yours—to Germany; and with him are his mailed knights. In the Kyffhäuser Mountain, in the great hall of the immortals, Frederick Barbarossa rests with his chosen heroes. He will sleep there until the eagles shall cease to fly around the mountain peaks. He will rest there until the time is ripe for the doing of mighty deeds. Then the bell shall toll the hour, the trumpet shall sound, and he will ride forth with his mailed knights to conquer the world. Weep no more; but return to your fatherland to wait for the day and the hour when your warrior king shall call you!"

-James Baldwin, Thirty More Famous Stories Retold, 1903.


"Nearly all the stories are true, and there are not more than three or four that might not have happened."

-Introduction ("To the Boys And Girls"), ibid


1. What makes the people of Lake-town so happy with the dwarves' arrival?

It’s change, and when things are bad (or cursed), any change is good.


Tolkien says, "Indeed such excitement had not been known in the town in the memory of the oldest grandfather." What, really, do the townspeople believe is going to happen?

“Something wonderful!”

-2010 (1984)


Do they believe that they are going to receive the treasure after Thorin kills Smaug?

Like most merchants and tradesmen in boom towns, eventually.


Apparently, the Master inspires some songs about gold floating down the river to Lake-town, which the dwarves are not too happy about.

Is this the subtle seed for Bard's (and, via his spies, the Elven King's) later expedition? The Master is *good*!


Even Bilbo was given a seat at the high table, and no explanation of where he came in was asked for in the general bustle.
2. Has Bilbo's presence for the most part generally gone unnoticed at the feast, or are people simply being more polite to and celebratory of the dwarves, whose arrival is more expected?


Well, there’s thirteen rough and bearded short people, and one rather prissy and unbearded short person. The answer is obvious. Surely the people of Lake-town are knowledgeable enough to not ever dare bother a Dwarven female without leave.


Thorin takes advantage of the celebration to leave with goodwill and provisions (horses, ponies, boats "laden with rowers, dwarves, Mr Baggins, and many provisions), and "the only person thoroughly unhappy was Bilbo."
3. Why does Bilbo go with them?


He signed a contract. Bilbo is a very moral person.


Did he have the option of staying in Esgaroth?

Not unless he wants to dig out a shallow scrape in the riverbank like a Stoor. And a Baggins is not a Stoor!


What makes his attitude (at this point of the journey) so much different from that of the dwarves?

The Dwarves are believing in the power of luck. As their luck Bilbo knows it isn’t as simple as the Dwarves think. Luck involves a lot of worrying and hard work.


4. Are "rowers" citizens of the Lake-town, or does Tolkien just mean "oars" here? (dipping a bit into the next chapter, in the first paragraph, it reads, "none of the men would stay with them even for the night so near the shadow of the Mountain"-- not sure if that's talking about the men that perhaps accompany the arrival of the new horses, or the "rowers").

Men. As for any accompanying oars, see the lyrics of the Smothers’ Brothers’ “Dance Boatman Dance”.


5. Any other thoughts on this chapter in general?

Was Laketown as perilous to the Company as Lothlorien will be to the Fellowship?

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Curious
Half-elven


Jun 2 2009, 6:54pm

Post #10 of 14 (311 views)
Shortcut
I don't think he signed anything. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
He signed a contract. Bilbo is a very moral person.


Bilbo has a promise signed by Thorin, but Bilbo didn't sign anything. Furthermore, Thorin's promise is conditional upon performance, and the dwarves haven't given Bilbo anything yet -- well, maybe a cloak and some food, but I think Bilbo has more than earned any expenses to this point.

I think it is more a question of sunken costs and a gambler's lucky streak, which shows how Bilbo has changed. He's gone this far, he's learned to rely on his luck, and it would seem a waste at this point to stop short of the goal, although he isn't happy about the prospect of getting eaten. But I'm not at all sure he feels morally obligated to continue. I think, rather, he's learned to rely on his luck, and wants to see how far it will take him.

What's strange is that despite the written agreement of the dwarves, it's not at all clear what is expected of Bilbo. As it turns out, he acts as a kind of spy, tricking Smaug into revealing his weakness, and then communicating that to Bard through the thrush. But that's certainly not in the letter agreement, or in anyone's mind at the moment.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 2 2009, 7:11pm

Post #11 of 14 (309 views)
Shortcut
Good point. [In reply to] Can't Post

Nothing was signed, but there was an offer and a written acceptance:

Then Mr. Baggins turned the handle and went in. The Took side had won. He suddenly felt he would go without bed and breakfast to be thought fierce. As for little fellow bobbing on the mat it almost made him really fierce. Many a time afterwards the Baggins part regretted what he did now, and he said to himself: “Bilbo, you were a fool; you walked right in and put your foot in it.”
“Pardon me,” he said, “if I have overheard words that you were saying. I don’t pretend to understand what you are talking about, or your reference to burglars, but I think I am right in believing” (this is what he called being on his dignity) “that you think I am no good. I will show you. I have no signs on my door-it was painted a week ago-, and I am quite sure you have come to the wrong house. As soon as I saw your funny faces on the door-step, I had my doubts. But treat it as the right one. Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert."


Followed by:

Thorin and Company to Burglar Bilbo greeting!
For your hospitality our sincerest thanks, and for your offer of professional assistance our grateful acceptance.


I do think the common thread throughout the book is Bilbo's steadfast morality. Sure, he's bourgeoise at the first, but he's moral bourgeoise. And at the end he's a social outcast, but he's a moral social outcast. I think that is an important message. You can leave social conformity but that doesn't mean leaving morality.

Which I think is a big reason why Tolkien abandoned his revision of The Hobbit. With the influence of the Ring, that morality would be tainted. And that's also why I feel The Hobbit never really works as a prequel to LOTR. And finally it's why I am a bit trepedatious about the film.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Curious
Half-elven


Jun 2 2009, 7:35pm

Post #12 of 14 (313 views)
Shortcut
It's a strange sort of morality. [In reply to] Can't Post

As we have often noted, Gandalf is a Trickster, and Bilbo seems to be an apprentice Trickster, called a Burglar -- hardly considered a moral profession. Bilbo tries to steal from the trolls and fails; arguably steals the ring from Gollum (especially in the original non-prequel) and certainly tricks Gollum into showing him the way out; lies to Balin, Gandalf, and the dwarves about the ring (which Gandalf seems to suspect but also laugh at -- the idea that Bilbo's lie was a sign that he was under the Ring's evil influence was part of LotR's revisionist history); tricks and ambushes the spiders (arguably justified because he was outnumbered, but still more the tactics of an assassin than a knight), steals from the elves, steals from Smaug, tricks Smaug into revealing his weak spot, and steals from Thorin.

I agree that despite all this Bilbo is moral, but it is morality that defies or skirts the law rather than following it blindly. It is the morality of a Burglar, Spy, or Assassin. Therefore I don't think Tolkien would consider honoring a contract necessarily a moral obligation, especially when at this point Bilbo has received nothing of consequence from the dwarves and has saved their lives twice over. Indeed, Bilbo arguably breaches that contract when he steals the Arkenstone, which he knew very well was not intended to be part of the agreement. But if he breaches the contract, he does so because he is moral, and because morality is more important than, and separate from, legality.


(This post was edited by Curious on Jun 2 2009, 7:39pm)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 10 2009, 5:00am

Post #13 of 14 (271 views)
Shortcut
Why the capitalization in "not a town of elves but of Men"? [In reply to] Can't Post

An overdue nit concerning this chapter: can anyone explain Tolkien's inconsistent capitalization or the names of peoples or races in The Hobbit?

Thanks Laerasëa!

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Hobbit in the Reading Room, Mar. 23 - Aug. 9. Everyone is welcome!

And sign up now for The Silmarillion!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Curious
Half-elven


Aug 10 2009, 11:25am

Post #14 of 14 (269 views)
Shortcut
Normally [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien capitalizes a race when he refers to the whole race, where we might use a word like "mankind" or "humans." Therefore, in the quote you mention Tolkien may be saying "not a town of the elves of Mirkwood but of humans."

 
 

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.