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"On the Doorstep" free-for-all: What just happened?
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Curious
Half-elven


Jun 5 2009, 3:47pm

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"On the Doorstep" free-for-all: What just happened? Can't Post

I want to examine the last part of the chapter.

"All day Bilbo sat gloomily in the grassy bay gazing at the stone, or out west through the narrow opening. He had a queer feeling that he was waiting for something."

1. Why did Bilbo have this "queer feeling"? Was it intuition? Foresight? Divine intervention? Have you ever had a "queer feeling" like that? Did you ever have a "queer feeling" like that and nothing happened, like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin?

"There on the grey stone in the grass was an enormous thrush, nearly coal black, its pale yellow breast freckled with dark spots. Crack! It had caught a snail and was knocking it on the stone. Crack! Crack!

"Suddenly Bilbo understood."

2. What did Bilbo understand? What was the role of the thrush? Why didn't the thrush do something more obviously odd, like waive its wings and point? Why did it appear to just be opening up its dinner on the rock, and why did Bilbo interpret this as a sign? A sign from who? The thrush? Someone else?

"Quickly Bilbo explained."

3. What did Bilbo explain? What do you think he said? "This thrush cracked a snail on the rock"? Why didn't Tolkien tell us what Bilbo said?

"Then suddenly when their hope was lowest a ray of sun escaped like a finger through a rent in the cloud. A gleam of light came straight through the opening into the bay and fell on the smooth rock-face. The old thrush, who had been watching from a high perch with beady eyes and head cocked on one side, gave a sudden trill. There was a loud crack. A flake of rock split from the wall and fell. A hole appeared suddenly about three feet from the ground."

4. Okay, isn't this totally ridiculous? This isn't luck, this is a miracle, right? What are the chances? Is Tolkien hinting that Providence or a Higher Power is involved? Or is this a part of the magic that made the door, that the makers foretold exactly when it would be needed? But who tore just the right rent in the clouds? And why all the dramatics? Why not a cloudless day, instead of playing peek-a-boo with the sun? Does one of the Valar have a sense of humor? Is it a test of faith?

5. Why is the thrush watching? Why does it give a trill just after the gleam and just before the flake comes off? Does it know what is going to happen? Who is this thrush? Why a thrush, and not a raven or crow or mouse? Are there any traditions about thrushes? Why would the dwarves pick a thrush, when they are more friendly with ravens? Did the dwarves who made the door also foresee that the thrush would be needed as a messenger to the heir of Dale? Why didn't someone write all this down?

6. Why is there grass on this "doorstep" when the rest of the mountain is desolate? Why are there snails and at least one thrush? Why aren't there other plants, like brambles or trees or wildflowers?

7. So hammers have no affect on the rock but a ray of sunlight on a specific day makes it fall off? What kind of magic is this? If the dwarves can make this kind of magic, why can't they do other wizardly magic? What's the difference between dwarf magic and wizard magic?

8. Did the dwarves know the specific date when the keyhole would appear when they made the door? If so, how was that forgotten? If not, why did they pick an unknown date? Just how often does Durin's Day come along? Did it come before on a cloudy day and therefore nothing happened?

9. Compare and contrast, if you will, this magical moment with magical moments in LotR. Are there significant differences? Similarities? Significant in what way?

10. What does this moment tell us about Bilbo, and how he has changed since he left Bag End? How might this change him further? What does Bilbo learn? What do we learn? What does Tolkien want us to learn?

11. Can you think of any other comments or questions?


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jun 5 2009, 4:33pm

Post #2 of 36 (185 views)
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Solving the riddle [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Why did Bilbo have this "queer feeling"? Was it intuition? Foresight? Divine intervention? Have you ever had a "queer feeling" like that? Did you ever have a "queer feeling" like that and nothing happened, like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin?

It could be any of those. Or it could be a subconscious memory finding its way back to the surface of his mind. He's been looking at the map, "pondering over the runes and the message of the moon-letters Elrond had read," and something is stirring at the back of his mind. Tolkien is dropping a hint for his young readers.

2. What did Bilbo understand? What was the role of the thrush? Why didn't the thrush do something more obviously odd, like waive its wings and point? Why did it appear to just be opening up its dinner on the rock, and why did Bilbo interpret this as a sign? A sign from who? The thrush? Someone else?

'“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks,” read Elrond, “and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole.”'

The attentive child-reader has been given a perfect chance to solve the riddle!

3. What did Bilbo explain? What do you think he said? "This thrush cracked a snail on the rock"? Why didn't Tolkien tell us what Bilbo said?

It reminds me of the old panto trick, where the characters can't figure out what's going on and the kids in the audience shout out the answer - "behind you! it's the thrush! he's knocking!"

4. Okay, isn't this totally ridiculous? This isn't luck, this is a miracle, right? What are the chances? Is Tolkien hinting that Providence or a Higher Power is involved? Or is this a part of the magic that made the door, that the makers foretold exactly when it would be needed? But who tore just the right rent in the clouds? And why all the dramatics? Why not a cloudless day, instead of playing peek-a-boo with the sun? Does one of the Valar have a sense of humor? Is it a test of faith?

It's a fairy-tale. What more do we need to know? No Valar were involved in the telling of this tale...

5. Why is the thrush watching? Why does it give a trill just after the gleam and just before the flake comes off? Does it know what is going to happen? Who is this thrush? Why a thrush, and not a raven or crow or mouse? Are there any traditions about thrushes? Why would the dwarves pick a thrush, when they are more friendly with ravens? Did the dwarves who made the door also foresee that the thrush would be needed as a messenger to the heir of Dale?

The thrush certainly seems to be involved in this event, and of course we'll see more of him later in the story. He knows he's part of the magic, it seems, and is pleased to see that it has worked as it should.

I don't know why Tolkien chose a thrush. I've found an Indian legend and a Russian one involving a thrush (and there's apparently a Greek legend involving a girl being changed into a thrush), but these would all be pretty unfamiliar to Tolkien's readership, I assume. Perhaps he chose a thrush precisely because it's quite unusual in a tale, so that his child readers would be more likely to remember it when it appeared.

Why didn't someone write all this down?

Someone did - and Bilbo was the only one who remembered it. I think this is Bilbo showing his scholarly side again - I'm sure that must be one of the satisfactions Tolkien found in scholarship, the satisfaction of remembering something you've read somewhere and putting everything together to solve a puzzle.

7. So hammers have no affect on the rock but a ray of sunlight on a specific day makes it fall off? What kind of magic is this? If the dwarves can make this kind of magic, why can't they do other wizardly magic? What's the difference between dwarf magic and wizard magic?

This is ancient dwarf-magic, it seems. Thorin admits, when Elrond reads the moon-letters from the map, that some things now "pass the skill" of the dwarves. They are no longer able even to calculate when Durin's Day will occur, so the fact that they are here at the right place at the right time is one of those perfect fairy-tale chances.

(Although if you're cynical, you could believe that the flake of rock falls off belatedly, after being loosened by those hammers.... But why would you want to believe that, when you can believe in magic?)

10. What does this moment tell us about Bilbo, and how he has changed since he left Bag End? How might this change him further? What does Bilbo learn?

He's learned that chance favours the prepared mind, for one thing. He's learned the value of solving puzzles (although he's already had one very important lesson in this....), and the tremendous importance of following your hunches and believing in your luck.

What do we learn?

I think we learn Tolkien's superb ability to weave tantalizing puzzles into his work so that we're always sensing that there's something more, something hidden, that we haven't quite grasped.

What does Tolkien want us to learn?

I imagine he wants his child readers to get a glimpse of the intellectual satisfaction of solving a difficult puzzle, and seeing something magical come out of that. He's giving his readers the chance to engage with the story as a mystery that they play a part in solving. (I've just realized that my own love of trying to read LotR as a "source text", that only reflects and does not fully encompass the reality of "Middle-earth", must come from something like this sense that there's a puzzle to be solved - a sense that Tolkien makes explicit in The Hobbit, but must be somehow latent in LotR as well.)

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



Curious
Half-elven


Jun 5 2009, 6:45pm

Post #3 of 36 (179 views)
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Yes, but it's also Tolkien. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It's a fairy-tale. What more do we need to know?


Tolkien's the one who says (in "On Fairy-stories") that calling a sun green is easy; creating a world where it is plausible for the sun to be green is hard and, according to Tolkien, necessary if you want to write a good fairy tale, and not cheat. So arranging for a thrush to knock at sunset on Durin's Day when the dwarves just happen to be there with a key is easy, but does Tolkien do anything to make it plausible? If so, what? If not, how does he get away with it? And what does it mean that the improbable happened?


Quote

No Valar were involved in the telling of this tale...


No Valar were mentioned, but Gandalf does say at the end of the tale that it was not just about luck. And he says that again in LotR, when he says Someone wanted Bilbo to find the Ring. Granted, LotR is a different book, but there's a great deal of luck, and discussion of luck, in boths books.



Quote
Why didn't someone write all this down?

Someone did - and Bilbo was the only one who remembered it.


Not exactly. Yes, someone did make a cryptic note on the map, which is more of a riddle than an explanation. But if some ancient dwarf really predicted everything that happened, he could have written a lot more down than what we see on the map.



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 5 2009, 10:00pm

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Riddles in the light [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo's "queer feeling" is due to intuition. Consider: he knew, from their conversation with Elrond, that Durin's Day was when "the last moon of Autumn and the Sun are in the sky together". Now the day before, he heard Thorin say that the coming day begins the last week of Autumn.

That night he hardly slept - and being so awake, he would have realized, perhaps subconsciously, that there was no moon. He would, of course, be very familiar with the moon's phases; so without realizing it, his mind has put two and two together, and come up with: tomorrow, the moon will start its new phase, and it is the last moon before Winter.

So of course he has a strange feeling - he just can't put his finger on why! And that was what BIlbo understood when he heard the crack of the snail shell. (And so the snail sacrificed its life for the sake of a Hobbit and thirteen Dwarves.)

What was Bilbo explaining to the Dwarves? Why a "crack" and a "knock" were one and the same. What, did those Dwarves think a bird was going to go up to the door and knock on it?

Now, for that thrush. It had to be some bird other than a raven, of course: a raven has a harsh croak, but a thrush can emit a high-pitched ululation. It was not the sun's ray alone that caused the flake to chip, but the combination of the sudden warming of the cold rock-face and the vibrations caused by the "sudden trill" of the thrush.

One wonders what kind of adhesive was used for that rock-chip, which made it sensitive to those particular conditions.

And some sort of agreement had to have been made with the local thrushes back when the Map was created, so that this procedure would have been remembered through the generations. Like the servant staying on to tend to the house after the master has departed, so arrangements had been made for this thrush family to "tend" to the rock-face...in return for the right to enjoy the tasty snails, which had been placed there by the Dwarves long before. They had used the bay to cultivate an environment in which those snails would thrive.

And no doubt the thrush whose turn it was to watch that day was also getting a bit nervous as the clouds covered the sinking sun!

I do think there was some Valaric intervention with those westering clouds - with them intentionally teasing that band of stubborn Dwarves. (Either they were ticked off at Aulë, or Aulë himself was ticked off at Thorin for being a jerk at times.)

The biggest question here, I think, is why these instructions were written as moon-letters, and not put plainly on the Map. The thrushes would not have let non-Dwarves use the passage.

No, the reason for using Moon-letters was so that Tolkien could have a clever device integrated into the text: he had intended for the publisher to print the Map as a page inserted into the appropriate part of the text, with the Moon-letters on the back of the page but reversed, so that when one held the page up to a light, the letters would show through.

It would have been quite nice - but the cost was prohibitive, and thus this imaginative idea never saw the light of day. Or moon.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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 5 2009, 10:46pm

Post #5 of 36 (167 views)
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Cookies for you! [In reply to] Can't Post

They deliver themselves.





******************************************
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.”



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 6 2009, 2:06am

Post #6 of 36 (151 views)
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Oh, they're adorable! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks!

If I keep them in my cookie jar, with they multiply?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Jun 6 2009, 6:29am

Post #7 of 36 (161 views)
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If You Only Knew [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Why did Bilbo have this "queer feeling"? Was it intuition? Foresight? Divine intervention?

Any or all of the above.

Have you ever had a "queer feeling" like that?

Let's just say I am gifted in this area. Cool

Did you ever have a "queer feeling" like that and nothing happened, like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin?

Nope. 'My sheep hear my voice"


2. What did Bilbo understand?

He simply recalled the words Elrond read off the map.


What was the role of the thrush?

Again, as the map said, to give the reader of the map a heads up that the door was about to have it's keyhole revealed.


Why didn't the thrush do something more obviously odd, like waive its wings and point?

Seriously?
The prophetic word on the map did not say that did it?

Why did it appear to just be opening up its dinner on the rock, and why did Bilbo interpret this as a sign?

It was knocking like it was supposed to be wasn't it?


A sign from who? The thrush? Someone else?

The thrush of course. Just as the map said.


3. What did Bilbo explain? What do you think he said? "This thrush cracked a snail on the rock"? Why didn't Tolkien tell us what Bilbo said?

Of course Bilbo reminded the Dwarves of Elrond's words about the map.
If Tolkien told us what Bilbo said, it word ruin the running commentary of events.


4. Okay, isn't this totally ridiculous? This isn't luck, this is a miracle, right? What are the chances? Is Tolkien hinting that Providence or a Higher Power is involved? Or is this a part of the magic that made the door, that the makers foretold exactly when it would be needed? But who tore just the right rent in the clouds? And why all the dramatics? Why not a cloudless day, instead of playing peek-a-boo with the sun? Does one of the Valar have a sense of humor? Is it a test of faith?

It's dramatic, divine intervention & prophecy at it's very best.......

Totally ridiculous? Sure, but not as much as a guy in a flying boat killing a dragon bigger thant hree man-made mountain peaks if you ask me.

I don't really see it as a test of faith but as a matter of fact that the Dwarves & Bilbo seem to completely forget about until Bilbo 'suddenly understands'.


5. Why is the thrush watching? Why does it give a trill just after the gleam and just before the flake comes off? Does it know what is going to happen? Who is this thrush? Why a thrush, and not a raven or crow or mouse? Are there any traditions about thrushes? Why would the dwarves pick a thrush, when they are more friendly with ravens?

Because it was a fact that had been foreseen.

Seriously, they were prophecying, not being rational.

Did the dwarves who made the door also foresee that the thrush would be needed as a messenger to the heir of Dale? Why didn't someone write all this down?

Obviously they foresaw it.


6. Why is there grass on this "doorstep" when the rest of the mountain is desolate? Why are there snails and at least one thrush? Why aren't there other plants, like brambles or trees or wildflowers?

Who says the mountainside does not have a few other isolated pockets of grass here & there?

I guess this one has grass because it's sheltered. Burning out every inch of a mountainside with it's crags & gullies et all is not as easy as burning the countyside completely.


7. So hammers have no affect on the rock but a ray of sunlight on a specific day makes it fall off? What kind of magic is this? If the dwarves can make this kind of magic, why can't they do other wizardly magic? What's the difference between dwarf magic and wizard magic?

Great point, but the logical explanation must be that Dwarf magic seems to be tied to rock.


8. Did the dwarves know the specific date when the keyhole would appear when they made the door? If so, how was that forgotten?

I assume the loss of a stable mansion & many scholars in Smaug's attack on Erebor, which also could've caused the loss of the books needed to do the calculations.

If not, why did they pick an unknown date?

Knowing Dwarves, Durin's Day must be a big day.


Just how often does Durin's Day come along?

If the Dwarves don't know, how would I?
But, I bet somebody into astronomy has probably figured it out if it lines up with actual astrological events (which knowing Tolkien's thoroughness, it does).


Did it come before on a cloudy day and therefore nothing happened?

Maybe the same scenario happened every Durin's Day....
Who knows?








.















The Ultimate Tolkien Trivia Quiz: http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=so-you-want-to-be-tolkien-geek


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jun 6 2009, 10:11am

Post #8 of 36 (172 views)
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What can I say.... [In reply to] Can't Post

.... after dernwyn's amazing explanation of the whole thing!


In Reply To

Tolkien's the one who says (in "On Fairy-stories") that calling a sun green is easy; creating a world where it is plausible for the sun to be green is hard and, according to Tolkien, necessary if you want to write a good fairy tale, and not cheat. So arranging for a thrush to knock at sunset on Durin's Day when the dwarves just happen to be there with a key is easy, but does Tolkien do anything to make it plausible?



What you mostly need for plausibility, in a story, is the set-up - the gun on the mantelpiece, say, that everyone knows will be used before the end. The one thing that the storytelling convention hates is for things to just pop up without any warning or foreshadowing at all - we tend to react to that as if we've been cheated. So Tolkien has already set up the door, and the moon, and the thrush, back in Rivendell. He's even reminded us about Bilbo planning to sit on the "doorstep" until he figures things out. So all the elements are there for us the readers to accept this strange combination of events as plausible - not just because we've seen them foreshadowed, but because Tolkien has explicitly challenged us to figure out for ourselves what's going to happen next.

(This is the same trick that Peter Jackson pulls with the appearance of the Eagles at the Black Gate. He has introduced us in FotR to the idea that a moth is connected to the arrival of the Eagles, and then, at the Black Gate, we suddenly see that moth again. It instantly dawns on us - if we've been paying attention - that this means the Eagles are coming. What would otherwise seem like a completely out-of-the-blue happening that the audience would resist, becomes an event that the audience is complicit in, making them much more ready to accept it.)


In Reply To
And what does it mean that the improbable happened?



It means we're in a world of magic, where things happen that we can't explain (although, as dernwyn shows, there is an explanation, if you're ingenious enough to find it!)


In Reply To
No Valar were mentioned, but Gandalf does say at the end of the tale that it was not just about luck. And he says that again in LotR, when he says Someone wanted Bilbo to find the Ring. Granted, LotR is a different book, but there's a great deal of luck, and discussion of luck, in boths books.



Yes, well, I was being a bit facetious with my "no Valar" line, but what I intended to say was that the fairytale world of Bilbo doesn't require us to start thinking in terms of Valar - just luck is really enough. We know from LotR, it's true, that there is also more to luck than meets the eye, but I don't think we need to go there in The Hobbit. Otherwise it would start to remind me of that bit in Monty Python where Terry Gilliam's cartoon rays part to show God the Father sitting on a cloud...

Also, I wonder if it would be true to say that The Hobbit is actually set more in the pagan, Norse world than in the "Catholic" world that gradually infused LotR. Tolkien says that he only became aware of the Catholic subtext of LotR when he reread his first draft, so presumably no such subtext was ever intended or recognized by him in The Hobbit.


In Reply To
Not exactly. Yes, someone did make a cryptic note on the map, which is more of a riddle than an explanation. But if some ancient dwarf really predicted everything that happened, he could have written a lot more down than what we see on the map.



I think dernwyn's post shows just how "predictions" might really work. I really couldn't figure out how that magical thrush worked, but her idea works so perfectly that it's got me convinced! So the dwarf who wrote the riddle must have known how the riddle itself worked (since he and his comrades must have set it up), but he couldn't have known the part the thrush would play after this.


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



Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 6 2009, 9:03pm

Post #9 of 36 (130 views)
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Queer Feelings [In reply to] Can't Post

Usually when I follow a "queer feeling" I never learn, by dint of averting fate, what might have happened if I hadn't followed it. But occasionally I do find out, for instance, the night (after working late) that I was walking from a train station to my home at midnight (when I lived in an urban area) and suddenly had a powerful urge to walk down a different street than my usual one. The next evening I read in the paper that a woman had been raped and murdered on the street that I usually took, around midnight, on the night that I had avoided it.

Inevitably, however, when I ignore a queer feeling, I find out emphatically what awful fate I had failed to avert, which has kind of conditioned me, over the years, to follow intuition. Everything from friends getting mugged to total physical and financial collapse.

I find Tolkien's writing quite realistic.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 7 2009, 1:28am

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Always trust it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yikes - that's too close! And you've had some major issues!

I know about those "queer feelings" too - I call them "nudges" - but I've never had one that serious. Mine are more like: walking the dog one evening years ago, I got the "nudge" to go down a series of side roads. On reaching one intersection, along came a car going the wrong way down a one-way street. The driver stopped, and said he was not from this area, and was desperately looking for a friend's house. I gave him directions, he thanked me and went on his way, and then I no longer felt the "nudge" and returned home.

The worst that's happened when I didn't obey a "nudge": several years ago I took my youngest roller-skating. Now I should not have put on skates in the first place, I have terrible balance! I managed to skate for a while, then felt a "nudge" to get out of the rink at the next opening along the side-wall. I didn't - and a moment later, fell, and fractured my wrist.

You never know...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



sador
Half-elven

Jun 7 2009, 3:53pm

Post #11 of 36 (118 views)
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Wonderful! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just had to add, that the thrush is called next chapter an old bird; and that inexplicably, it irritates Bilbo to the extent he trows a stone at it - forgetting so soon how instrumental the thrush was in finding the keyhole!

"And winter comes after autumn." - Bifur


Curious
Half-elven


Jun 8 2009, 12:35am

Post #12 of 36 (124 views)
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I ask too many questions! [In reply to] Can't Post

I lost a post in which I had answered half of them. Arrgghh!

1. Why did Bilbo have this "queer feeling"? Was it intuition? Foresight? Divine intervention?

As others have noted, of course we have been given all the clues we need to solve this puzzle, and Tolkien is giving us a chance to do so before Bilbo does. So the queer feeling could be just intuition based on a vague memory of what Thorin said about Durin's Day. But it could be divine intervention and foresight too. Tolkien liked to blur the distinction.

Have you ever had a "queer feeling" like that? Did you ever have a "queer feeling" like that and nothing happened, like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin?

Yes to both. I give Tolkien credit, by the way, for including false prophecies in his tales along with true ones. Thus some of the songs sung when the dwarves returned did not come true -- because they were planted by the Master. LotR is filled with false and unreliable visions and prophecies along with many that prove to be true. Queer feelings are common, but not always reliable. Those who believe in prophecy tend to forget the feelings that proved to be false alarms, but Tolkien does not.

2. What did Bilbo understand?

The words on the map, of course.

What was the role of the thrush?

Knock on the stone.

Why didn't the thrush do something more obviously odd, like wa[]ve its wings and point? Why did it appear to just be opening up its dinner on the rock, and why did Bilbo interpret this as a sign?

I think it was a test of faith, a test the dwarves failed and Bilbo passed, even though the dwarves should have been much more aware of the possibility that their New Year's Day was also Durin's Day.

A sign from who? The thrush? Someone else?

Both, I think. Dernwyn makes a valiant effort to rationalize the whole event without resorting to divine intervention, but even she can't quite explain the precise rent in the clouds. But even if it could all be explained by a skeptic, that doesn't rule out Providence or divine intervention.

3. What did Bilbo explain? What do you think he said? "This thrush cracked a snail on the rock"?

He might just have reminded the dwarves of the words on the map, then said the thrush just knocked, and maybe pointed to the moon.

Why didn't Tolkien tell us what Bilbo said?

That would spoil the riddle!

4. Okay, isn't this totally ridiculous?

By Primary World standards, yes. And perhaps by LotR and Silmarillion standards as well. But not by the standards of The Hobbit, where the magic is more flamboyant, and where previous chapters have laid the groundwork for this marvelous event.

One of Tolkien's neat tricks in LotR is making invisibility more plausible in a world where magic is less flamboyant, by turning it into something other than invisibility. One of his mistakes in LotR, in my opinion, is portraying Bombadil as the type of flamboyant character we might find in The Hobbit, and then refusing to change him after writing the rest of LotR in a different, less flamboyant style.

This isn't luck, this is a miracle, right?

I think so, but Tolkien is very careful not to say so.

What are the chances?

Miniscule.

Is Tolkien hinting that Providence or a Higher Power is involved?

Very subtly.

Or is this a part of the magic that made the door, that the makers foretold exactly when it would be needed?

I don't think dwarven magic could make a rent in the clouds. So I think this is more than just magic. But again, Tolkien does not say that -- he lets us draw our own conclusions.

But who tore just the right rent in the clouds?

Exactly. Tolkien does not say, but it doesn't seem likely that it was the work of a spell cast on the hidden lock. That goes beyond even the most flamboyant magic in The Hobbit.

And why all the dramatics?

It's more fun that way.

Why not a cloudless day, instead of playing peek-a-boo with the sun?

Another test of faith -- notice the dwarves all groan but Bilbo does not.

Does one of the Valar have a sense of humor?

Maybe.

Is it a test of faith?

I think so.

5. Why is the thrush watching?

Apparently he knows something is going to happen.

Why does it give a trill just after the gleam and just before the flake comes off?

I love Dernwyn's theory about vibrating frequencies -- like the soprano who can break glass with her voice -- but whether the trill is just for effect or part of the process, it shows that the thrush is not just there to pick up dinner, but has a very good idea of what is about to happen.

Does it know what is going to happen?

Yes.

Who is this thrush?

A friend of Dale, interestingly, and not of the dwarves like the ravens. Why not a raven? Perhaps because someone foretold Bard's role as well.

Why a thrush, and not a raven or crow or mouse?

First, thrushes are associated with mountain areas in Europe. Ravens will play a role later. Here, we need a friend of Dale.

Are there any traditions about thrushes?

No mythical tradition of which I am aware.

Why would the dwarves pick a thrush, when they are more friendly with ravens?

I think because this is a work of foresight, and not just a work of dwarven magic. Although I suppose it might be part of a curse created by both the dwarves and the men of Dale to make sure that if a dragon did take their treasure their heirs would avenge them. Still, I think that curse would have to call upon the Valar to arrange for the rent in the clouds. If it is a curse, it is a mighty one.

Did the dwarves who made the door also foresee that the thrush would be needed as a messenger to the heir of Dale?

I think so.

Why didn't someone write all this down?

Prophecies work best when they are not explicit, but only become obvious in hindsight. Plus, there is that test of faith factor. And if they wrote down everything, the writing might fall into the wrong hands. And perhaps there was an oral tradition that was lost because so many lives were lost to Smaug and Thorin's father went mad.

6. Why is there grass on this "doorstep" when the rest of the mountain is desolate? Why are there snails and at least one thrush?

The "logical" reason -- because it is protected from fire. The supernatural reason -- because it is a sacred spot, and snails and thrushes figure into the prophecy.

Why aren't there other plants, like brambles or trees or wildflowers?

I'm sure there are natural reasons for grass to grow instead of these other plants, and there is also a supernatural reason -- so the snails can live there, but the sun can still hit the lock.

7. So hammers have no affect on the rock but a ray of sunlight on a specific day makes it fall off?

Yes.

What kind of magic is this?

Flamboyant magic -- like smoke rings that go where you tell them, or a purse that speaks, or swords that glow in the dark, or a crack that opens into door, or a ring of invisibility, or a man who turns into a bear, or a stream that puts you to sleep, etc.

If the dwarves can make this kind of magic, why can't they do other wizardly magic?

They're better with magic that protects treasure, as we saw with the trolls. But Thorin could do a little wizardly magic with his smoke rings -- just not as much as Gandalf.

What's the difference between dwarf magic and wizard magic?

Gandalf seems better at improvising in battle. Dwarf magic needs time and preparation, perhaps. And from what Thorin has said, dwarf magic has also diminished over time. This door could be 900 years old, by my calculations, if it went back to the founding of the first kingdom under the Mountain.

8. Did the dwarves know the specific date when the keyhole would appear when they made the door?

That's unclear. It's possible that they did not, though, especially since they seemed unprepared for everything else that happened.

If so, how was that forgotten?

That's unclear to me. Have they forgotten how to make astronomical observations? Or have they just lost the leisure time to do so, since it does take a while to build up enough data from the past to predict the position of the sun and the moon in the future? Also, the calendar could have shifted a bit, as calendars sometimes do over time due to the inexact length of years.

If not, why did they pick an unknown date?

Foresight and prophecy, perhaps. It's just the kind of thing a prophecy might say -- information that can be confirmed in hindsight, but cannot be predicted ahead of time.

Just how often does Durin's Day come along? Did it come before on a cloudy day and therefore nothing happened?

That I don't know, and I haven't found the answer by Googling.

9. Compare and contrast, if you will, this magical moment with magical moments in LotR. Are there significant differences? Similarities? Significant in what way?

As I noted above, I think the magic or coincidence is more flamboyant in The Hobbit. The doors to Moria opened much more logically. Aragorn did not have to worry about the sun, moon, and Durin's Day (or some Numenorean equivalent) when he rode the Paths of the Dead. Only Tom's magic is as flamboyant as the magic in The Hobbit. On the other hand, magic in LotR is no less powerful.

10. What does this moment tell us about Bilbo, and how he has changed since he left Bag End?

He has more faith than the dwarves, now.

How might this change him further?

It reinforces his faith, as prophecies often do. Note how eager he becomes to use the passageway, when he was so afraid to enter through the front door. Somehow the way this door opened for them seems to me very reassuring.

What does Bilbo learn?

Some prophecies do come true -- and maybe Someone wants him to enter the dragon's lair, which is a comforting thought.

What do we learn?

Pretty much the same as Bilbo, except that we can also ask ourselves whether we have ever had similar experiences in the Primary World.

What does Tolkien want us to learn?

At one level, he may just want us to enjoy the adventure. At another level, he may want us to wonder if miracles happen in the Primary World, and if so, why.

11. Can you think of any other comments or questions?

Believe me, if I had, I would have asked them!



(This post was edited by Curious on Jun 8 2009, 12:39am)


sador
Half-elven

Jun 8 2009, 6:45am

Post #13 of 36 (116 views)
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You really love this word, don't you? [In reply to] Can't Post

flamboyant
I must say I expected more results - but still, half the posts used here are yours, none of them uses the word more than twice in the same post (while you do that quite often - eight times in this one!), and four quote the word rather than use it (and twice quoting from you).
Only twice has this word been used by someone else in the RR - and of these two times, one was a quote from one of your posts (actually, copying a question before answering it).

"And winter comes after autumn." - Bifur


squire
Valinor


Jun 8 2009, 8:51am

Post #14 of 36 (132 views)
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Gentlemen do not mock other gentlemen's flamboyant vocabularic obsessions! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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


Curious
Half-elven


Jun 8 2009, 9:39am

Post #15 of 36 (136 views)
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Spectacular, flashy, obvious, unsubtle, ostentatious, splashy, [In reply to] Can't Post

extravagant, unrestrained, showy, extravagant ... I'll try to vary it up, next time.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jun 8 2009, 10:03am

Post #16 of 36 (118 views)
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Flamboyant is perfect [In reply to] Can't Post

especially for Gandalf (and Smaug) - since its root is in the word 'flame'...

Cool

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



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Jun 8 2009, 10:04am)


Twit
Lorien

Jun 8 2009, 12:53pm

Post #17 of 36 (94 views)
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the thrush [In reply to] Can't Post

maybe it had been told stories by its grandparents about what it had to do when The Time Came. It is an unusual thrush, being black, I've never seen a black thrush.
The beam of light is almost like a finger pointing to the rock, just to make sure that neither we nor Bilbo miss it. Perhaps it is Tolkein.
I think a lot of luck combined with destiny has come together in this chapter. And why not, it's a story full of the impossible.



I get the nudges and I have dreams that come true, I had one not long ago in that I dreamt Mr Twit was in a car that wasn't his, whilst sat at traffic lights at a crossing on a dual carriage way, by small trees and that a lorry crashed into the back of him.
I told him,and also told him to leave a bigger than normal space between him and the car in front, and to make sure his handbrake was on. He laughed, two days later it happened.
(He was unhurt somehow, but the car was a complete write-off, the rear completely crushed - he was pushed into the car in front, but perhaps by the fact that he had actually thought to leave a gap and put his handbrake on, he wasn't squished into it.)
That's a big example I know, but I always act on these nudges.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 8 2009, 3:53pm

Post #18 of 36 (122 views)
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"I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means....thrush?" [In reply to] Can't Post

Terrifying are the attent sleek thrushes on the lawn,
More coiled steel than living - a poised
Dark deadly eye, those delicate legs
Triggered to stirrings beyond sense - with a start, a bounce,
a stab
Overtake the instant and drag out some writhing thing.
No indolent procrastinations and no yawning states,
No sighs or head-scratchings. Nothing but bounce and stab
And a ravening second.

-Ted Hughes


“Of course there is a mark,” said Gandalf. “I put it there myself. For very good reasons. You asked me to find the fourteenth man for your expedition, and I chose Mr. Baggins. Just let any one say I chose the wrong man or the wrong house, and you can stop at thirteen and have all the bad luck you like, or go back to digging coal.”

-An Unexpected Party


"All day Bilbo sat gloomily in the grassy bay gazing at the stone, or out west through the narrow opening. He had a queer feeling that he was waiting for something."

“Very pretty!” said Gandalf. “But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning. I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”

-ibid


1. Why did Bilbo have this "queer feeling"?

See my footer.


Was it intuition?

He heard faint echoes of the Music of the Ainur.


Foresight?

Much like the foresight Gandalf had when he chose Bilbo.

“In fact I will go so far as to send you on this adventure.”


Divine intervention?

Gandalf is a Maia, and currently Bilbo is standing in for him, so yeah.


Have you ever had a "queer feeling" like that?

Absolutely.


Did you ever have a "queer feeling" like that and nothing happened, like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin?

I always assume something would have happened if I hadn’t have paused and reconsidered what I was doing.


"There on the grey stone in the grass was an enormous thrush, nearly coal black, its pale yellow breast freckled with dark spots. Crack! It had caught a snail and was knocking it on the stone. Crack! Crack!

"Suddenly Bilbo understood."

2. What did Bilbo understand?


Grey stone, nearly coal black (grey), snail (usually grey.) Grey times three. This means something!


What was the role of the thrush?

Same as the role of Gandalf. (And for that matter Bilbo's ruminations.)

"Triggered to stirrings beyond sense" (Intuition? Foresight? A queer sense?) to "drag out some writhing thing", like a snail, or hobbit, or an epiphany.


Why didn't the thrush do something more obviously odd, like waive its wings and point?

Same as why Gandalf doesn’t do more obvious magic. Ambiguous subtlety.


Why did it appear to just be opening up its dinner on the rock, and why did Bilbo interpret this as a sign?

One would expect hobbits to receive their messages from the divine with a food theme.


A sign from who?

Somebody grey.


The thrush?

Did you know “thrush” stands for “Technological Hierarchy to Remove Undesirables and Subjugate Humanity”?


Someone else?

Bingo!


"Quickly Bilbo explained."

3. What did Bilbo explain?


The meaning of “Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks … and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole.”


What do you think he said?

“The thrush is knocking!”


"This thrush cracked a snail on the rock"? Why didn't Tolkien tell us what Bilbo said?

The same reason we don't hear at the time what Fred, Daphne, and Velma find out when they go into town. It makes the mystery more mysterious.


"Then suddenly when their hope was lowest a ray of sun escaped like a finger through a rent in the cloud. A gleam of light came straight through the opening into the bay and fell on the smooth rock-face. The old thrush, who had been watching from a high perch with beady eyes and head cocked on one side, gave a sudden trill. There was a loud crack. A flake of rock split from the wall and fell. A hole appeared suddenly about three feet from the ground."

4. Okay, isn't this totally ridiculous?


I’d say “Biblical”, but some say it’s the same thing.


This isn't luck, this is a miracle, right?

Every breath, every day, is a miracle.


What are the chances?

What are the chances that this group of motley underachievers would escape trolls, goblins, wargs, more goblins, fire, spiders, starvation, and Elves and make it this far in the first place? Obviously they have friends in high places. One wonders if they could fail even if they tried.


Is Tolkien hinting that Providence or a Higher Power is involved?

The Music of the Ainur.


Or is this a part of the magic that made the door, that the makers foretold exactly when it would be needed?

Exactly. If it wouldn’t have happened it wouldn’t have been foretold. One of those nasty vicious circle paradoxes involved in time travel.


But who tore just the right rent in the clouds?

Which came first: The knowledge that the shaft of light would break through a rent in the clouds and shine onto this particular spot? Or the installation of the keyhole in this particular spot? It’s like in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) where they find a letter from themselves telling them where to find a key they desperately need. They agree to remind each other later to go back in time and type the letter and hide the key so both will be there to for them to find.


And why all the dramatics?

They’re Dwarves.


Why not a cloudless day, instead of playing peek-a-boo with the sun?

It’s hard to isolate one ray of sunlight on a cloudless day. I suppose Tolkien could have used something like a hidden underground map room, the jeweled “Headpiece of Durin”, and a staff “six kadams high and take back one kadam to honor the Dwarvish God whose Arkenstone this is” so his descendents could have made another mint suing the heck out of Spielberg and Lucas.


Does one of the Valar have a sense of humor?

They mostly seem a pretty grim bunch. Actually if I had to choose which had the best sense of humor I’d go with Melkor, but that doesn’t seem to fit here.


Is it a test of faith?

Faith in whom?


5. Why is the thrush watching?

Birds do that. Of course, since they have eyes on both sides of their heads they usually seem to be watching even when they aren’t.


Why does it give a trill just after the gleam and just before the flake comes off?

Animals are really sensitive to subsonics.


Does it know what is going to happen?

"Tiggered to stirrings beyond sense".


Who is this thrush?

Who is the moth in Jackson's LOTR?


Why a thrush, and not a raven or crow or mouse?

I assume it relates to the 102nd Psalm and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

(Another reference to the Dwarves as Jewish? )


Are there any traditions about thrushes?

The Blue Thrush is arguably the solitary watchful bird in the 102nd Psalm. It’s very common in Palestine, and is sold for a pittance in the marketplace.

(Does the phrase “exaltation of the humble” ring a bell?)


Why would the dwarves pick a thrush, when they are more friendly with ravens?

Because the prophet who foresaw this day saw a thrush, not a raven. I’m sure if they’d seen an owl they would have said owl and of course there would have been an owl here. Cause and effect get all screwed up when you start mixing past and future with foretelling and all that.


Did the dwarves who made the door also foresee that the thrush would be needed as a messenger to the heir of Dale?

That’s why they made the door and positioned the keyhole exactly where they did.


Why didn't someone write all this down?

It’s written on the map.


6. Why is there grass on this "doorstep" when the rest of the mountain is desolate?

Snails love to hang out here. Thrushes love snails. Dead snails and thrush guano equals fertile ground equals grass.


Why are there snails and at least one thrush?

Since the thrush is having to really work to bang open the snail’s shell, it would seem obvious the shell is thick. Thick-shelled snails are burrowers (like Dwarves), and are dormant until there is a good rain. One might assume this little place, open to the sky, accumulates moisture, encouraging plant growth on the rocks, and thus would be an ideal habitat for snails.

As for the thrush, it’s here because this is where its “thrush anvil” is. A “thrush anvil” is a stone especially shaped to facilitate a thrush cracking open a snail shell. Each thrush would have its own favorite and special “thrush anvil”.


Why aren't there other plants, like brambles or trees or wildflowers?

Snails eat them. It’s why gardeners don’t like snails. The most common garden pest is the Banded Snail, which just happens to be the thrush’s favorite snack.

See http://www.weichtiere.at/...hnecken/drossel.html.

Note how like a thrush pulls a snail out of his burrow, so did Gandalf pull a hobbit out of his burrow.


7. So hammers have no affect on the rock but a ray of sunlight on a specific day makes it fall off?

That’s exactly what wears down mountains.


What kind of magic is this?

The natural kind.


If the dwarves can make this kind of magic, why can't they do other wizardly magic?

They apparently did at one point, but these particular Dwarves seem to have forgotten much of their magic.

“…they spoke fragments of broken spells of opening,…’


What's the difference between dwarf magic and wizard magic?

I’d say Dwarven magic invokes stone and Aule whereas wizard magic would invoke air, fire, water, and Eru.


8. Did the dwarves know the specific date when the keyhole would appear when they made the door?

Apparently so.


If so, how was that forgotten?

Durin’s Day seems pretty specific.


If not, why did they pick an unknown date?

This doesn’t seem random.


Just how often does Durin's Day come along?

Once in a Blue Moon.


Did it come before on a cloudy day and therefore nothing happened?

It was this Durin’s Day that was foretold.


9. Compare and contrast, if you will, this magical moment with magical moments in LotR. Are there significant differences? Similarities? Significant in what way?

I’m still wondering exactly how a waning moon is able shine on a westward facing cliff before midnight. Anywhere else but in Middle-earth it’s astronomically impossible.

Still, I had expected a lot more puzzles ala The Hobbit in LOTR. I was very disappointed at their lack.


10. What does this moment tell us about Bilbo, and how he has changed since he left Bag End?

He is able to think outside the box and connect the unconnected. He is patient and self-confident.


How might this change him further?

The more of those qualities he exhibits the more others will rely upon him. And the less he will rely upon them. He’ll be able to step outside the box when the time comes.


What does Bilbo learn?

He’s smart.


What do we learn?

Bilbo’s smart.


What does Tolkien want us to learn?

Bilbo isn’t the fat stupid hobbit he was when he first set out. And he’ll need all his newfound cunning and confidence in his next trial.


11. Can you think of any other comments or questions?

One wonders if Gandalf asked Radagast to send this thrush, just to make sure that a thrush was here to enact the prophecy. Or if perhaps Radagast himself is the thrush, and it was his magic that shone the light and cracked the stone.

Well, Tolkien always wanted to write about time travel.

******************************************
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.”



Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 8 2009, 4:12pm

Post #19 of 36 (97 views)
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Thrush [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anybody mentioned already that we've already been told that the men of Dale used to talk to thrushes and know their language? Or is this point too obvious to discuss and I'm being silly to mention it?

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jun 8 2009, 4:48pm

Post #20 of 36 (116 views)
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“Then thou art the spokesman, old grey-bird?” [In reply to] Can't Post

Have we not heard of thee [singing] at whiles, ever hatching plots and mischief?”


Quote
I suppose Tolkien could have used something like a hidden underground map room, the jeweled “Headpiece of Durin”, and a staff “six kadams high and take back one kadam to honor the Dwarvish God whose Arkenstone this is”...


So do you think "Bad dates" is some sort of calendrical pun?

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Join us June 8-14 for "Inside Information".
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sador
Half-elven

Jun 8 2009, 8:46pm

Post #21 of 36 (81 views)
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Nobody yet [In reply to] Can't Post

But FarFromHome and Curious mentioned the connection of the thrush to Dale, and I've hinted at it more obliquely.

"In that case you may, perhaps, not altogether waste your time." - Smaug


sador
Half-elven

Jun 8 2009, 8:51pm

Post #22 of 36 (100 views)
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I'm actually surprised nobody brought this up before [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
"Then what is Durin's Day?" asked Elrond.
"The first day on the dwarves' New Year," said Thorin, "is as all should know the first day of the last moon of Autumn on the threshold of Winter..."

I actually thought all should know that.


In Reply To

Another reference to the Dwarves as Jewish?



"In that case you may, perhaps, not altogether waste your time." - Smaug


sador
Half-elven

Jun 8 2009, 8:58pm

Post #23 of 36 (86 views)
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Don't get me wrong - I love "flamboyant"! [In reply to] Can't Post

By the way, I just noticed perhaps you could task me for over-using "oblique" - would you prefer being that to being flamboyant?

Actually, the point you make about the magic in LotR being just as strong, but more subtle than in The Hobbit (and the House of Tom Bombadil), is mentioned in 'The Mirror of Galadriel':

Quote

'...If there's any magic about, it's right down deep, where I can't lay my hands on it, in a manner of speaking.'
...'You can see and feel it everywhere,' said Frodo.
...'Well,' said Sam, 'you can't see nobody working it. No fireworks like poor old Gandalf used to show...'



"In that case you may, perhaps, not altogether waste your time." - Smaug


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 8 2009, 8:59pm

Post #24 of 36 (93 views)
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Yep. [In reply to] Can't Post

Gentile: "When is Chanukkah this year?"
Rabbi: "Same as always: the 25th of Kislev."
-Old Jewish joke

Wink

******************************************
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.”



FarFromHome
Valinor


Jun 8 2009, 9:54pm

Post #25 of 36 (89 views)
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I looked this up. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I’m still wondering exactly how a waning moon is able shine on a westward facing cliff before midnight. Anywhere else but in Middle-earth it’s astronomically impossible.



It's not a waning moon - it's a new moon:

"He went to the opening and there pale and faint was a thin new moon".

And according to this website, the new moon and the sun set together: "So when the Moon is new, it rises and sets with the Sun, and the position of Moonrise/set varies just like that of Sunrise/set."

That's exactly what's happening here:

"The little moon was dipping to the horizon. Evening was coming on."

Part of what seems so magical - the conjunction of the sun and moon in the sky at sunset - apparently happens every month! Just goes to show that there's magic everywhere if you keep your eyes open...


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


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