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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Middle-earth Police?

macfalk
Valinor


Oct 6 2010, 7:42am

Post #1 of 11 (962 views)
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Middle-earth Police? Can't Post

First of all I just want to add that The Hobbit I've read and re-read many times is a copy from the 1950's translated into Swedish (my native tongue) and I wonder if this exists in the real The Hobbit or if it's just bad translation?

In The Hobbit (in the chapter Roast Mutton), When they spot the troll's encampment, there is a sentence in the book saying something about "these areas are unknown by travellers and the police" (in Swedish, of course)

So, is there a Middle-earth police or is it just bad translation? I don't have the original copy here and it's hard to aquire one Unsure


(This post was edited by macfalk on Oct 6 2010, 7:43am)


squire
Half-elven


Oct 6 2010, 10:44am

Post #2 of 11 (726 views)
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Their lot was not an 'appy one [In reply to] Can't Post

Your translation is based on the early editions of The Hobbit.
Others said: "These parts are none too well known, and are too near the mountains. Policemen never come so far, and the map-makers have not reached this country yet. They have seldom even heard of the king round here..." ("Roast Mutton", The Hobbit, 1st ed.)
In the early 1960s Tolkien had a chance, due to copyright issues, to edit The Hobbit, and he changed some of the passages that most clearly contradicted the vision of Middle-earth that had evolved when he wrote the sequel, The Lord of the Rings, years before.
Others said, "These parts are none too well known, and are too near the mountains. Travellers seldom come this way now. The old maps are no use: things have changed for the worse and the road is unguarded. They have seldom even heard of the king round here..." ("Roast Mutton", The Hobbit, 3rd ed.)
So the policemen are long gone. I am holding out for seeing one in the movie, in the background of the scene where Bilbo rushes down to the Green Dragon just in time to leave with the Dwarves. I see a hobbit bobby as a perfect cameo for the director.



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 (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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macfalk
Valinor


Oct 6 2010, 11:52am

Post #3 of 11 (763 views)
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Interesting! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for your answer.

So it was there, and Tolkien edited it away almost 30 years later?

Hmm, not just about the policeman thing, but I wonder which edition of TH that PJ & co have based their script on.

Do you know which edition is considedered as the "standard" one nowadays (in English speaking countries)?


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Oct 6 2010, 1:41pm

Post #4 of 11 (748 views)
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Per'aps we might see.... [In reply to] Can't Post

The hobbit bobby in the theater, only to have it edited out in the DVD?

Notta


HannibalBarca
Registered User

Oct 6 2010, 3:51pm

Post #5 of 11 (747 views)
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Last Train from Mordor flatform Hobbiton, and all point East [In reply to] Can't Post

Its a problem, Meats back on the menu, in the film implies there are French resturants in ME. LOTR page 40 has an express train refernced for isntance.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 7 2010, 9:36pm

Post #6 of 11 (666 views)
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Lilliputians [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, the police went the same way as Tolkien's reference to Lilliputians (Tolkien said that hobbits were much larger than Lilliputians). A bit of a pity, really.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Oct 7 2010, 10:49pm

Post #7 of 11 (665 views)
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Not to mention ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo walking to the "Great Desert of Gobi" and fighting the "Wild Wire Worms of the Chinese" if he needed to (when he overheard the dwarves questioning his suitability to go on the quest with them). Though of course, unlike the Lilliputians, those references (while in the original draft) never made it into a published version.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Oct 8 2010, 5:24am

Post #8 of 11 (637 views)
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Good one! [In reply to] Can't Post

Laugh






Sign up now in the Reading Room to lead a chapter discussion of LotR Book II!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Flagg
Tol Eressea

Oct 10 2010, 1:04am

Post #9 of 11 (611 views)
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Wait a minute... [In reply to] Can't Post

...if the original edition of The Hobbit is Bilbo's embellished account and the revised edition is the story of what 'really' happened... doesn't that mean that Bilbo lied in his memoirs about policemen not coming near the trolls' encampment... even though policemen don't exist in Middle-earth? Crazy


Flagg
Tol Eressea

Oct 10 2010, 1:10am

Post #10 of 11 (740 views)
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They made it in altered form [In reply to] Can't Post

I think 'Great Desert of Gobi' was changed to a more generic 'Great Desert' of some description, and 'Wild Wire Worms of the Chinese' was changed to 'Were-Worms' of something or other. So the references weren't totally removed; just their connection to reality.

And incidentally, since 'worm' means 'dragon' in Middle-earth, I like to think of these mysterious 'Were-Worms' as man-dragon skin-changers. Smile


Elwing
The Shire

Feb 22 2011, 1:15am

Post #11 of 11 (568 views)
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well, not "police" precisely [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
First of all I just want to add that The Hobbit I've read and re-read many times is a copy from the 1950's translated into Swedish (my native tongue) and I wonder if this exists in the real The Hobbit or if it's just bad translation?

In The Hobbit (in the chapter Roast Mutton), When they spot the troll's encampment, there is a sentence in the book saying something about "these areas are unknown by travellers and the police" (in Swedish, of course)

So, is there a Middle-earth police or is it just bad translation? I don't have the original copy here and it's hard to aquire one Unsure


Please pardon my leaping into this older thread, but I found it interesting. It's fascinating for native English-speaking Tolkien-lovers to interact with those who have read it in different languages, because JRRT's sense of language was so central to his work.

Others have explained about the change in editions, so I'll just add that while "policemen" sometimes has a citified connotation that may be incongruent with the view of Middle-earth as a pre-Industrial society, there is a glimpse of law enforcement in LOTR. The following fair-use quote from the Prologue may help:

"The Shirriffs was the name that the Hobbits gave to their police, or the nearest equivalent that they possessed. They had, of course, no uniforms (such things being quite unknown), only a feather in their caps; and they were in practice rather haywards than policemen, more concerned with the strayings of beasts than of people. There were in all the Shire only twelve of them, three in each Farthing, for Inside Work. A rather larger body, varying at need, was employed to 'beat the bounds', and to see that Outsiders of any kind, great or small, did not make themselves a nuisance.

At the time when this story begins the Bounders, as they were called, had been greatly increased. There were many reports and complaints of strange persons and creatures prowling about the borders, or over them: the first sign that all was not quite as it should be, and always had been except in tales and legends of long ago."

"Shirriff" is not a standard English word, but is plainly meant to be the Hobbitish version of "Sheriff" which has a long English history. It denotes a county law enforcement officer, and is derived from "Shire," which means county. JRRT here and there introduced Hobbit versions of things such as names of days of the week, or variants on human proverbs ("make haste while the sun shines"); little touches that helped link their culture to ours.

 
 

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