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The Last Stage 1: “The stars are all burning!”
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 27 2009, 5:25am

Post #1 of 36 (504 views)
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The Last Stage 1: “The stars are all burning!” Can't Post

Welcome to our discussion of “The Last Stage”, the final chapter of The Hobbit. There will be five threads covering the text in chronological order, followed by an open discussion.

This post covers the text from “It was on May the First that the two came back” through “in this age of the world, or for many after.’” In this section, Bilbo and Gandalf arrive in Rivendell to find the elves singing of Smaug’s demise and of the pleasures of the valley. Gandalf tells of Bilbo’s adventures, and of his own work as part of a “great council of the white wizards” expelling the Necromancer from Mirkwood.

Questions (Answer as few or as many as you like.)

Is there any significance to the date of May 1?

Do you like the joke of “the Last (or the First) Homely House”?

How is Elrond’s house “homely” in a sense that Beorn’s is not?

What does Tolkien include these Elves in the story -- what purpose do they serve?

Why do they “burst” into song both in “A Short Rest” and here?

Are the elves premature in describing Smaug’s bones as crumbled?

Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?

The elves sing, “O! Whither so laden / So sad and so dreary?” Are Bilbo and Gandalf sad and dreary? Or are the elves addressing the baggage-pony? Is that pony a precursor of the mare in Farmer Giles of Ham?

I think “The fire is more shining” sounds strained. What is your favorite and least favorite line in the elves’ song?

Since the elves seem to know about Smaug, why do they need Gandalf to tell the tale?

Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?

When Tolkien wrote and published The Hobbit, what did he imagine would be need to happen for Sauron to be “banished from the world”?

Do you have further questions or thoughts on this section?

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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jul 27 2009, 1:28pm

Post #2 of 36 (232 views)
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Nearing The End [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Do you like the joke of “the Last (or the First) Homely House”?


Yeah... it always makes me smile. It's all part of that "There and back again" mentality. We're on the flip-side of the Quest... so the Last becomes the First and the There becomes the Back Again.



Quote
How is Elrond’s house “homely” in a sense that Beorn’s is not?

Beorn's home has a camp-like quality. It's function is more like an elegant barn filled with animals. Rivendell is built for bi-ped/civilized comfort and sensibilities.


My favourite line of the song is really a series of lines... or the one long line if you do away with the stanza development:

"The fire is more shining
On hearth in the gloaming
Than gold won by mining,
So why go a-roaming?"


It says it all for me as someone who had done a bunch of wandering and ultimately settled into one well-mathomed place. The fire in the hearth (or heart) does shine brighter here than anywhere else I've been and is more precious to me than a treasure-trove of gold.


What's my least favourite line? As always...
.........."O! Tra-la-la-lally"

I understand the use and spirit of the line, but it still causes this spasm in the back of my brain.



Quote
Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?


It's a metaphor for men, methinks. No matter what happens in the history and run of mankind in Middle-earth, the elves realm will still endure. *sigh*



Quote

When Tolkien wrote and published The Hobbit, what did he imagine would be need to happen for Sauron to be “banished from the world”?


I got the impression that Tolkien imagined it would be the strength of the wizards and elves that would bring down Sauron since they were the only ones we heard of that were involved with the Council and the conflict. But Sauron survived/evaded them. So I'm thinking the Good Professor was already setting up the need for an Alliance of elves and men. Then that wasn't enough; so he included dwarves and hobbits with the smallest, supposedly least dangerous kindred being the ones to throw the deadly stroke. But truthfully, it was indeed ALL of the kindreds working together to make it happen.

This is so appropriate for you to be our closing leader of this journey through The Hobbit. Thanks so much, N.E.B. :)



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


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 27 2009, 2:18pm

Post #3 of 36 (224 views)
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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there any significance to the date of May 1?

May 1 falls approximately half-way between the spring equinox in March and the summer solstice in June, which means that it is traditionally the beginning of summer weather, although it is the closer to the middle of the astronomical season of spring. As a result, many traditional holidays fell on May 1, and some modern ones do as well. Tolkien used both the astronomical and seasonal change of seasons as symbolic turning points in his tales, although he did so more in LotR than in The Hobbit, where the timeline is sometimes vague.

April is early for a trip through high mountains in the northern hemisphere. I wonder how they made it through the lingering snow. Maybe Beorn helped them through the high pass. Or maybe Gandalf found a friendly stone giant to clear the way and block a certain cave!

Do you like the joke of “the Last (or the First) Homely House”?

I confess I never noticed it until I read The Annotated Hobbit. Like many of Tolkien's jokes, I find it amusing, not hilarious. Tolkien generally goes for the quiet smile rather than the guffaw -- or in modern terms, the Wink rather than the LOL or ROFLOL.

How is Elrond’s house “homely” in a sense that Beorn’s is not?

Although Rivendell is notoriously hard to find, Elrond has been a friend to all good peoples for countless years. Beorn seems to be just now breaking out of his tradition of distrust towards all but his animal friends. Apparently he will soon take a wife and found a dynasty, but that is quite a change from the past, when he seemed to like living apart from other people, and distrusted visitors. Even in LotR, Gimli notes that the Beornings' tolls are high.

Furthermore, the east side of the Misty Mountains is in general wilder than the west. Even those who enjoy Beorn's hospitality know that they are in the wilderness. Elrond's house is the last bastion of culture and civilization.

What does Tolkien include these Elves in the story -- what purpose do they serve?

Rivendell is a starting point for adventure, a place of lore and memory, a haven before entering the wilderness. The silly song of the elves welcomes Bilbo back from the wilderness to a gentler land.

Furthermore, Bilbo's welcome to Rivendell will contrast with his reception in the Shire, where his return is generally resented, and he is quite nearly shunned. Perhaps that is why Tolkien decided to spend a few pages on Rivendell, even though, strictly speaking, there is no need. Gandalf could have revealed his mission to Bard and Dain and the Elvenking, and then we could have skipped quickly to the Shire. But instead we see Bilbo welcomed by the elves of Rivendell, and resented by the hobbits. But Bilbo doesn't mind, and takes to visiting the elves -- not the far-away elves of Mirkwood, but elves from Rivendell, presumably.


Why do they “burst” into song both in “A Short Rest” and here?

Because Tolkien likes songs, and because such songs signal that all is safe, and that Bilbo and the reader can relax.

Are the elves premature in describing Smaug’s bones as crumbled?

Well, I would imagine that a good number of them broke in the fall. But they have not crumbled into dust. But Tolkien needed a rhyme for "humbled"!

Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?

Mortal kingdoms. Dain's and Bard's. Perhaps not the Elvenking's. The contrast is between an elven kingdom like Rivendell and a mortal kingdom.

The elves sing, “O! Whither so laden / So sad and so dreary?” Are Bilbo and Gandalf sad and dreary? Or are the elves addressing the baggage-pony? Is that pony a precursor of the mare in Farmer Giles of Ham?

Perhaps they are singing to the baggage pony! The narrator does note that the pony who carried the baggage was especially tired. This may be a precursor of the ponies in LotR, who are treated as intelligent creatures by Bombadil, Sam, and Gandalf. On the other hand, they may all be somewhat laden, and they are all tired.

"Sad," however, seems strange. Perhaps Tolkien just needed another syllable for the poem. On the other hand, everyone may seem sad to the merry elves of Rivendell. And Bilbo and Gandalf did lose a few friends on their adventure. And although it was several weeks ago for Bilbo, for the reader it was just in the last chapter that we saw Bilbo crying.

I think “The fire is more shining” sounds strained. What is your favorite and least favorite line in the elves’ song?

I agree with you about least favorite. I like the lines about the stars brighter than gems.

Since the elves seem to know about Smaug, why do they need Gandalf to tell the tale?

Gandalf surely can add some things they didn't know. Plus, elves like tales they know as well as those they don't.

Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?

No, Bilbo is not old, he is literally weary.

When Tolkien wrote and published The Hobbit, what did he imagine would be need to happen for Sauron to be “banished from the world”?

I don't know, but in the original version Gandalf says quite positively "The North is freed from that horror for many an age." In 1966 Tolkien changed it to the present, not-so-certain version.

Do you have further questions or thoughts on this section?

I find it hard to believe that Bilbo did not ask about Gandalf's whereabouts before reaching Rivendell, or that Gandalf would not inform Bilbo about it, not to mention the Elvenking and Beorn. This seems like a tidbit held back for the reader's benefit, rather than realisitically held from Bilbo for all these weeks.


(This post was edited by Curious on Jul 27 2009, 2:27pm)


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 27 2009, 2:33pm

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I ran out of time to make this edit.


Quote
Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?

No, Bilbo is not old, he is literally weary.


On second thought, in LotR Tolkien may have been comparing old age to the end of a long journey, and in Bilbo's case he had one more trip to make. So perhaps he was harkening back to these words from The Hobbit.


batik
Tol Eressea


Jul 27 2009, 7:36pm

Post #5 of 36 (214 views)
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down in the valley [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there any significance to the date of May 1?
What Curious said--and leaning more towards the changing of the seasons bit.

Do you like the joke of “the Last (or the First) Homely House”?
Eh- I get it. Something to think about---perceptions change.


How is Elrond’s house “homely” in a sense that Beorn’s is not?
"Evil things did not come into that valley".


Why do they “burst” into song both in “A Short Rest” and here?
Almost seems as if they burst into song the first time to startle the dwarves. This time the elves were already singing (or so I read) and seem to pump up the volume.

Are the elves premature in describing Smaug’s bones as crumbled?
I don't know. What would the effect of the waters of Long Lake/Running River have on bones? And how dense are a dragon's bones? Like a those of a bird or a dinosaur?

Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?
I suppose that could be Dain and Brand.


The elves sing, “O! Whither so laden / So sad and so dreary?” Are Bilbo and Gandalf sad and dreary? Or are the elves addressing the baggage-pony? Is that pony a precursor of the mare in Farmer Giles of Ham?
Maybe Bilbo. Gandalf does not strike me as sad or weary in TH.


I think “The fire is more shining” sounds strained. What is your favorite and least favorite line in the elves’ song?
Favorite: "Here grass is still growing" which is followed by least favorite "And leaves are yet swinging" Swinging!? No doubt it was a rhyme-thing.



When Tolkien wrote and published The Hobbit, what did he imagine would be need to happen for Sauron to be “banished from the world”?
"Hope" ? Here, Gandalf has hope of the North being "free on that horror" for a while but seems only wishful of anything more than that.




Twit
Lorien

Jul 28 2009, 6:00am

Post #6 of 36 (183 views)
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here goes [In reply to] Can't Post

Questions (Answer as few or as many as you like.)

Is there any significance to the date of May 1?

It is May day, a holiday traditionally to welcome in summer. Morris dancers (shudder) and maypole dancing.
Perhaps the Elves have a May bank holiday so it was good timing as they would all be at home doing DIY and getting the barbeques out.


Do you like the joke of “the Last (or the First) Homely House”?

I got it, but it didn't make me laugh, it is somehting my dad might say when he is trying to be amusing.



How is Elrond’s house “homely” in a sense that Beorn’s is not?

I think Rivendell is 'state of the arts' comfortable, where-as Beorn is more rustic. The Elves seem to be far more civilised and there doesn't seem to be any threat to Bilbo's safety, where-as at Beorn's house, I'm guessing he still would have needed to stay inside at night.

What does Tolkien include these Elves in the story -- what purpose do they serve?

It is all part of the journey that Bilbo has been on, and he is being set up ready to go home. Plus Gandalf needed to let us know where he has been and to let us know that despite having been on this incredible adventure, this was only a small part of what is happening.


Why do they “burst” into song both in “A Short Rest” and here?

because they are happy go lucky merry creatures. At the moment.


Are the elves premature in describing Smaug’s bones as crumbled?

In a literal sense yes, but they are using artistic license, it is a good way of letting everyone know that Smaug Is Dead.

Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?

Mankind's I think.


The elves sing, “O! Whither so laden / So sad and so dreary?” Are Bilbo and Gandalf sad and dreary? Or are the elves addressing the baggage-pony? Is that pony a precursor of the mare in Farmer Giles of Ham?

I think to the Elves Bilbo and Gandalf probably do seem weary and sad, but they are tired, and have seen their friends die and have had to say goodbye to those that survived. This would be enough for Bilbo to be sad and weary, but Gandalf also has Other Reasons.


I think “The fire is more shining” sounds strained. What is your favorite and least favorite line in the elves’ song?

My favourite is; 'and Elves are yet singing' , it makes me think that maybe they are still out there somewhere... I actually like the way they give the Hearth at home the same importance as the moon and stars.

Since the elves seem to know about Smaug, why do they need Gandalf to tell the tale?

They like stories around the hearth, and hearing what has been going on out of the horse's mouth is more reliable. It also gives Gandalf the chance to tell us what he has been up to.


Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?

It would seem that Bilbo finds Rivendell extremely relaxing.


When Tolkien wrote and published The Hobbit, what did he imagine would be need to happen for Sauron to be “banished from the world”?

I don't know if he had thought of Sauron as Sauron in LotR. I look forward to reading what others have written here.


Do you have further questions or thoughts on this section?


sador
Half-elven

Jul 28 2009, 7:32am

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In Reply To
Welcome to our discussion of “The Last Stage”, the final chapter of The Hobbit. There will be five threads covering the text in chronological order, followed by an open discussion.


Great! However, the way my week looks, I will be late for most threads - and with Voronwe doing the Athrabeth, that means I will be always late for two discussions! Frown

Is there any significance to the date of May 1?
Of course there is! However, I doubt that Tolkien thought of Labour Day... the beginning of summer with the May_Day festivals (but probably Curious linked to the same articles already), is more likely.

Do you like the joke of “the Last (or the First) Homely House”?
Yes, but not enough to have remembered it of the top of my head.

But then I remember this chapter less well than the others.

How is Elrond’s house “homely” in a sense that Beorn’s is not?
There's a library!

But it's far more comfortable, and can banish all thoughts of the Shire for some time.

What does Tolkien include these Elves in the story -- what purpose do they serve?
They convey the feeling of returning to decent places, where there is such a thing as tea-time.

Why do they “burst” into song both in “A Short Rest” and here?
The songs are there, under the surface; it seems the Elves are keeping it down so as not to offend the strangers; but then they cannot control themselves!

Are the elves premature in describing Smaug’s bones as crumbled?
Elves are timeless.
But they are also a hasty folk; like they lamented Gandalf long before they needed to.

Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?
Well, we know of three Kings in The Hobbit - Thranduil (not named), Dain and Bard.
Is the Elvenking throned in The Hobbit? I think he is in the third feast. And only Dain is made king, although I suppose he isn't said to be "crowned" (however, that is Durin's emblem). So I would guess these two, with the upstart Man remaining secure - fitting Tolkien's mythology!
But I don't really expect the Elves are singing of the passing of the Elder Days.

The elves sing, “O! Whither so laden / So sad and so dreary?” Are Bilbo and Gandalf sad and dreary?
They are not laden, at any rate.

Or are the elves addressing the baggage-pony?
I wouldn't put it beyond them:

Quote

A habit of the old; the chose the wisest person present to talk to.



Is that pony a precursor of the mare in Farmer Giles of Ham?
I was thinking more in terms of Bill the pony.
But I like the mare even better.

I think “The fire is more shining” sounds strained. What is your favorite and least favorite line in the elves’ song?
I had planned to go over the song last night, but couldn't find the time; and my memory is so faulty these days!

Since the elves seem to know about Smaug, why do they need Gandalf to tell the tale?
More fun; and that's a part of the essence of Rivendell!

Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?
Probably. Great catch!

When Tolkien wrote and published The Hobbit, what did he imagine would be need to happen for Sauron to be “banished from the world”?
The Last Battle?

Do you have further questions or thoughts on this section?
I need a holiday myself.

"Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be ture, after a fashion!" - Bilbo.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 28 2009, 7:57am

Post #8 of 36 (201 views)
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Celebrations! [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there any significance to the date of May 1?

I'm sure there is - especially as the date is the first thing we are told in this chapter. The May Day holiday has a very long, pre-Christian tradition in Northern Europe. In Ireland, it's Beltane, associated with the immortal, mythological people called the Tuatha De Danann who may be one of the sources for the Elves. Traditionally, May Day was considered the start of summer, and celebrations included decorating sacred objects with May blossoms (hawthorn) - this was later Christianized, so that in the Catholic traditions of my youth, little girls paraded in white dresses bearing a statue of the Virgin crowned with white blossoms as the "Queen of the May". Basically, it's a time of celebration and looking forward to the summer to come. It seems appropriate for the date the travellers arrive back from their winter adventure.

Do you like the joke of “the Last (or the First) Homely House”?

Sure - Tolkien likes to remind us from time to time that how we see things depends on our perspective.

How is Elrond’s house “homely” in a sense that Beorn’s is not?

Well, it sounds more like a five-star hotel, while Beorn's place sounds like a slightly counter-culture B&B!

What does Tolkien include these Elves in the story -- what purpose do they serve?

I think they are actually the voice of true wisdom as Tolkien viewed it. They are the ones who realize that being open to the enjoyment of natural beauty gives more pleasure than owning even the most beautiful precious object. But he's not about to preach this openly - he hides it beneath a veneer of comic, Puck-style elvish singing. I think it's one of his favourite ploys - to present some of his deepest observations in comical disguise

Why do they “burst” into song both in “A Short Rest” and here?

The reason they do it here, I guess, is precisely because this is a repeat of the previous experience - except that now the words have the song have changed! Actually, it's not that the burst into song (Bilbo hears them already singing as he approaches, "as if they had not stopped since he left"). But they burst into a song, the one they sing both to honour and to tease their visitors...

Are the elves premature in describing Smaug’s bones as crumbled?

Literally, probably so. But Elves aren't literal, are they? They see things from a longer perspective than we do, for one thing.

Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?

All of them. At least, all of men's thrones, crowns etc. (men are specifically mentioned in these lines). No mortal power can last for ever.

The elves sing, “O! Whither so laden / So sad and so dreary?” Are Bilbo and Gandalf sad and dreary? Or are the elves addressing the baggage-pony? Is that pony a precursor of the mare in Farmer Giles of Ham?

I suppose the travellers look tired and weighed down by the treasure they are transporting. The Elves' main point is that treasure is just a burden - you can achieve greater happiness without all that weight of possessions, if you look for it in the flowing river and the burning stars instead.

I think “The fire is more shining” sounds strained. What is your favorite and least favorite line in the elves’ song?

Agreed that the line sounds strained, although less so in context, where the parallel structure of comparisons sets up this odd construction to make it perhaps more acceptable than it otherwise would be.

My least favourite line is "And leaves are yet swinging" - "swinging" seems a very unimaginative way to describe the effect of leaves! It seems to be there just to make the rhyme with "And elves are yet singing", another very unimaginative line.

I like the line you use in your header, "The stars are all burning!", but maybe mostly because it has so many echoes from other parts of the legendarium.

Since the elves seem to know about Smaug, why do they need Gandalf to tell the tale?

Telling a tale isn't just about the facts!

Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?

Yes, I think that Rivendell in LotR is full of small references to The Hobbit.

When Tolkien wrote and published The Hobbit, what did he imagine would be need to happen for Sauron to be “banished from the world”?

I have no idea. I have never been able to figure out just what Tolkien imagined at any given point in his myth-making. Did he even know that the Necromancer was Sauron when he wrote The Hobbit?

For me, the important thing is not what Tolkien knew and when he knew it, but how he weaves all his ideas from different periods together, making one interpretation reflect back on another (as real myths and legends do).


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


Jul 28 2009, 9:23am

Post #9 of 36 (211 views)
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It just occurred to me that the Elves are wrong. [In reply to] Can't Post

Whose “throne and crown” will “perish”, as the elves predict?

In fact, we learn in LotR that the kingdoms of men and dwarves will outlast Rivendell.


squire
Valinor


Jul 28 2009, 5:27pm

Post #10 of 36 (177 views)
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In the world of The Hobbit, they're right [In reply to] Can't Post

There is no One Ring, no Three Rings, and Men are surely mortal. In the immortal Elves' eyes, it is still Men who must die soon and give up their thrones and crowns.



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


Jul 28 2009, 5:47pm

Post #11 of 36 (169 views)
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Well, there's an element of The Silmarillion. [In reply to] Can't Post

There are allusions to the fall of Gondolin and Doriath, although no one but Tolkien would have fully understood what that meant. But we know that Glamdring and Orcrist and Sting came from a fallen elven kingdom. Still, I agree that we won't know that the elves are wrong until we read LotR, and that the elves might not have been wrong until Tolkien conceived of LotR.


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jul 28 2009, 7:55pm

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And more to the point... [In reply to] Can't Post

...the elves (at least the simpler ones) don't yet know that they're wrong.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 29 2009, 1:14am

Post #13 of 36 (165 views)
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You're a lally-gagger? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gramma! I never would have imagined!

Wink

It may be that we're so used to Christmas carols and un-used to madrigals and other older songs, that we naturally associate the "tra-la-la-lally" with "Deck the Halls", and thus it seems so out-of-place to us. But I doubt Tolkien ever thought about that connection!


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



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 29 2009, 1:26am

Post #14 of 36 (160 views)
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That would indeed be a concern... [In reply to] Can't Post

...snow in the high mountain passes in April: that hadn't occurred to me last week!

I suppose there's no one who does regular maintenance of the main pass; Elves might go up there to make sure the trails are okay, but probably only if they were scouting ahead for a larger party.

Would Beorn go that high into the mountains, unless he were raiding orcs or wargs?

Your UUT that Gandalf did as he said he would earlier, that is, find a helpful giant to plug up that cave, and then ask him to scoop a path through for them, would be in keeping with the fairy tale nature of The Hobbit, wouldn't it!


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



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 29 2009, 1:35am

Post #15 of 36 (158 views)
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Hit it, boys! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
This time the elves were already singing (or so I read) and seem to pump up the volume.


No doubt Gandalf and Bilbo were seen coming from far off - and a fresh song was made (or they already had it handy, figuring that sooner or later those two would be by), and as soon as they were within earshot - SURPRISE! WELCOME BACK!

*sigh* Elvish humor...


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



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 29 2009, 1:48am

Post #16 of 36 (157 views)
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More likely a "river-bank holiday" [In reply to] Can't Post


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Perhaps the Elves have a May bank holiday...


Wink

What, do you really have a fear of Morris dancers? Shocked

You make a good point about Bilbo's nighttime safety in Rivendell in contrast to his possible peril at Beorn's!


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



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 29 2009, 1:56am

Post #17 of 36 (159 views)
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*snert* [In reply to] Can't Post


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Or are the elves addressing the baggage-pony?
I wouldn't put it beyond them:

Quote
A habit of the old; they choose the wisest person present to talk to.



What, are you implying that the baggage-pony deliberately choose his selection as the gold-carrier, because it would be easier to manage that than a wizard or a hobbit?


Wink


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



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 29 2009, 2:01am

Post #18 of 36 (159 views)
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Interesting thought! [In reply to] Can't Post


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I think it's one of his favourite ploys - to present some of his deepest observations in comical disguise.


That sounds like a most hobbity characteristic to me! 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



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 29 2009, 2:27am

Post #19 of 36 (161 views)
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Elves are not fond of dragons, are they! [In reply to] Can't Post

A side-note about the Elves's song: originally, the verses were in reverse order; Tolkien re-numbered them along the margin of the manuscript. I don't know why, since the "O where are you going" seems more appropriate as the starting line for welcoming the travellers back!

Tolkien had no thoughts regarding what it would take to banish the Necromancer; those lines were there just to tidy up the story. As Rateliff put it, "Thus, while it is clear from the various Plot Notes that mere dramatic necessity required the wizard to leave Thorin and Company to their own devices for most of the second half of the story and that Tolkien had no particular idea of what the wizard was doing in the meantime, Tolkien's ultimate decision regarding what Gandalf had been up to evolved from a neat tying up of loose ends in the original Hobbit to have significant ramifications in the sequel."

Strange, how these things work out...!


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



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 30 2009, 4:14am

Post #20 of 36 (236 views)
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Yes, Tolkien knew the Necromancer was Sauron. [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, in early drafts, the Necromancer is described as having been evicted from his earlier fortress by Beren and Lúthien. But he had not yet come up with the idea of the Rings, or connected Bilbo's magic ring to the Sauron.

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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 30 2009, 5:05am

Post #21 of 36 (166 views)
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Is there a library in Bag End? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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Twit
Lorien

Jul 30 2009, 7:24am

Post #22 of 36 (144 views)
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There's nothing scarier than men with bells and sticks [In reply to] Can't Post

skipping around in costume. It brings back my own May day memories of walking to the pub along with most of the village, standing around watching it, with the adults slowly getting drunker and drunker. It makes me cringe, don't know why, it just does.
The morris men around where I live now are Silurin morris dancers. They are scary.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 31 2009, 3:15am

Post #23 of 36 (136 views)
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I'd forgotten that bit! [In reply to] Can't Post

From the first volume of HoH - thanks for bringing it up, NEB!

That happened back in the drafts when Gandalf was still Bladorthin; he made the cryptic comment at Bag End when Gandalf/Thorin suggested the Dwarves attack the Necromancer. After his "Don't be absurd" line, he says "And anyway...his castle stands no more and...he is flown [added: to another darker place] - Beren and Tinúviel broke his power, but that is quite another story."

This line feels out of place, because Bladorthin/Gandalf had just been explaining how he came across Gandalf/Thorin's father in the dungeons of the Necromancer, yet the line seems to imply that that dungeon was in the no-longer-existing castle, and the Necromancer is now elsewhere.

And it brings Beren and Lúthien a bit too close to the current timeline!


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



squire
Valinor


Jul 31 2009, 7:47pm

Post #24 of 36 (142 views)
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I want to say yes but I can't [In reply to] Can't Post

There's no mention of one that I remember. It doesn't appear in the original conception of Bag End in The Hobbit, where Bilbo is more concerned with food and clothes than with reading and writing. Later in The Lord of the Rings, when Bilbo becomes the greatest scholar the Shire has ever known, we learn that Bag End has a study (where Frodo receives the Sackville-Bagginses). That's probably as close to a full-blown "library" as we can get.

A great house of England would have a real library with stacks of shelves and ladders and beautiful brass fittings. A simpler manor or suburban villa might have a "study": much smaller, with a bookcase or two - an adequate place for reading and writing and keeping accounts. To equate Bag End with its proper real-world analogue, we should decide whether Bag End is the first type of house or the second. Given that we hear that the Tooks' Smials and Brandy Hall are far larger than Bag End, and have extensive lands attached to them, whereas Bag End is in the midst of Hobbiton and has always had more bourgeois associations - and adding the mention of the "study" - I think we can settle on Bag End not being a Great Hole, even though it is described as
"the most luxurious hobbit-hole ... that was to be found either under The Hill or over The Hill or across The Water," (The Hobbit, Ch. I)
After all, when this description is given, the Tooks live just across the Water, not in the Great Smials of the Shire.



squire online:
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 2 2009, 6:54pm

Post #25 of 36 (136 views)
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Can anyone provide some examples [In reply to] Can't Post

...of serious medieval songs that include "tra-la-la-lally"-style lyrics?

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

Join us Jul. 26-Aug. 2 for "The Last Stage".

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

(This post was edited by N.E. Brigand on Aug 2 2009, 6:55pm)

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