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

Curious
Half-elven


Jun 5 2009, 3:47pm


Views: 536
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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?

Subject User Time
"On the Doorstep" free-for-all: What just happened? Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 5 2009, 3:47pm
    Solving the riddle FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 5 2009, 4:33pm
        Yes, but it's also Tolkien. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 5 2009, 6:45pm
            What can I say.... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 6 2009, 10:11am
    Riddles in the light dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 5 2009, 10:00pm
        Cookies for you! Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Jun 5 2009, 10:46pm
            Oh, they're adorable! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 6 2009, 2:06am
        Wonderful! sador Send a private message to sador Jun 7 2009, 3:53pm
    If You Only Knew Tolkien Forever Send a private message to Tolkien Forever Jun 6 2009, 6:29am
    Queer Feelings Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jun 6 2009, 9:03pm
        Always trust it. dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 7 2009, 1:28am
    I ask too many questions! Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 8 2009, 12:35am
        You really love this word, don't you? sador Send a private message to sador Jun 8 2009, 6:45am
            Gentlemen do not mock other gentlemen's flamboyant vocabularic obsessions! // squire Send a private message to squire Jun 8 2009, 8:51am
            Spectacular, flashy, obvious, unsubtle, ostentatious, splashy, Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 8 2009, 9:39am
                Flamboyant is perfect FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 8 2009, 10:03am
                Don't get me wrong - I love "flamboyant"! sador Send a private message to sador Jun 8 2009, 8:58pm
            Michael Drout might call it "diagnostically Curiousian". N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jun 8 2009, 10:22pm
    the thrush Twit Send a private message to Twit Jun 8 2009, 12:53pm
    "I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means....thrush?" Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Jun 8 2009, 3:53pm
        “Then thou art the spokesman, old grey-bird?” N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jun 8 2009, 4:48pm
        I'm actually surprised nobody brought this up before sador Send a private message to sador Jun 8 2009, 8:51pm
            Yep. Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Jun 8 2009, 8:59pm
        I looked this up. FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 8 2009, 9:54pm
            I'm talking about Moria. Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Jun 8 2009, 9:58pm
                Oh, sorry. I missed the "compare and contrast" bit... // FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 8 2009, 10:07pm
                    Comparing and contrasting.... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 9 2009, 10:25am
                        Nice! Curious Send a private message to Curious Jun 9 2009, 2:01pm
    Thrush Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jun 8 2009, 4:12pm
        Nobody yet sador Send a private message to sador Jun 8 2009, 8:46pm
        I don't think we know that yet. FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 8 2009, 10:30pm
            My mistake Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jun 8 2009, 11:23pm
                So that's where you were. FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 9 2009, 10:13am
                    I didn't say. Sorry. Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jun 9 2009, 5:55pm
                        I didn't mean FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Jun 9 2009, 9:30pm
                            Thanks for missing me. // Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Jun 11 2009, 12:26am

 
 
 

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