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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part II "There's more tales to tell than ours."

Elizabeth
Valinor


Aug 15 2012, 7:20am

Post #1 of 6 (381 views)
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**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part II "There's more tales to tell than ours." Can't Post

So, let us get moving on!

Not yet, there is still a reunion to be held, and stories to be swapped.

Yes, I know the title is a bit wrong. Anyway, let's call it a riddle. What does it refer to?

So Bilbo has just made up his mind to go back into the Mountains and look for his friends – when by the extraordinary luck which follows him, he hears their voices. On the edge of a small dell, he sees Balin, but Balin does not see him: he is wearing the Ring, and I doubt he casts any shadow – going downhill on the Eastern side, when the sun is in the West. Anyhow, let's not disparage Balin too much.

The dwarves are talking about him, and debating whether to go back and look for him. Gandalf purports to go back, alone if need be, while an unidentified dwarf says out loud that Bilbo was more trouble than help so far, and curses the thought of going back.

  1. Who might that be? I suppose Thorin or Dori's voice would be recognized. Are we to assume that this one dwarf is voicing the voice of the whole group?

  2. Does this unnamed grumbler serve as a counterpoint to Bilbo's decision mentioned above? Note that he doesn't refuse – only complains.



  3. Gandalf gets testy, and snaps at Dori for dropping Bilbo and not picking him up. This gives Bilbo the opportunity to learn what happened to his friends: after a scuffle in which no dwarf was injured, despite the goblins fighting and biting in the dark – another word-play to amuse the audience? – Gandalf worked up one of his flashes, and the goblins fled. Led by the wizard, the troop rushed directly to the back-door, crashed through the ineffective guards, and helter-skelter went directly to the dell. It turns out that randomly walking about, Bilbo has hit on the direct path! At the appropriate moment, our hero interrupts Dori's narration by taking off the ring and introducing himself.

  4. Is Gandalf fair? After all, it was Dori who first thought of picking Bilbo up and carrying him; the wizard would have left him behind long before. Is he just trying to sift the blame? Or to put pressure upon the dwarves to follow him back into the tunnels?

  5. I note Dori's description of the fighting: You nearly chopped off my head with Glamdring, and Thorin was stabbing here there and everywhere with Orcrist, seems to be more appreciative of Thorin than of Gandalf, even blaming him for carelessness. Is Dori trying to pay him back?

  6. And why don't we hear Thorin throughout this conversation? Dori's words are the only mention of the leader for the first half of this chapter. Is he letting Gandalf take the heat, or is he simply out of his depth?

  7. A last note about Dori's narrative – he ends his story with here we are - without the burglar, confusticate him!. Did Dori remember Bilbo's confusticate and bebother those dwarves! from the unexpected party? Or is this a hint to the reader – and what should s/he make of it? Or is the repetition just a slip of the professor's?



  8. Bless me, how they jumped! Then they shouted with surprise and delight. Gandalf was as astonished as any of them, but probably more pleased than all the others.

    After this aside by the narrator, it seems that the dwarves are really glad that Bilbo is back. Gandalf immediately scolds poor Balin for not noticing Bilbo creep along, and Bilbo takes full advantage of this feat, omitting any mention of the Ring. Then he tells them a long tale with all the riddles and how Gollum inexplicably missed him in the dark, and how he dodges the guards. They seems to accept the story – with the possible exception of Gandalf.

  9. Again, Gandalf is unfair – but without knowing it. But why does he scold Balin? Once again, where is Thorin?

  10. Was Gandalf more pleased than the others because he really cared for Bilbo more than them, or because he was vindicated in the argument regarding his worth?

  11. What do you think of Balin's reaction? Magnanimity, or damage control?

  12. Does it make you feel bad, seeing how Bilbo does not really deserve it? Does Bilbo's long story, with the emotion it evokes from the dwarves?

  13. Is there any reason to suppose Gandalf suspects something? Is this just Bilbo's knowledge that he is lying, or did Gandalf really detect a false note in his voice?

  14. To those who have read The Lord of the Rings – does the latter book change your answers? How?

This was a pretty long thread, so we'll stop now. Next we will have Gandalf's tale, and get down to the foothills.






Join us NOW in the Reading Room for detailed discussions of The Hobbit, July 9-Nov. 18!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Aug 15 2012, 7:21am)


elostirion74
Rohan

Aug 15 2012, 9:45pm

Post #2 of 6 (145 views)
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some answers [In reply to] Can't Post

"1. Who might that be? I suppose Thorin or Dori's voice would be recognized. Are we to assume that this one dwarf is voicing the voice of the whole group?

2. Does this unnamed grumbler serve as a counterpoint to Bilbo's decision mentioned above? Note that he doesn't refuse – only complains."

I assume the dwarf in question represents the clear majority of the group. Apart from the rather comical and facetious opening chapter, Tolkien seems to give the dwarves a realistic characterization, giving plenty of examples of common group dynamics and personality traits from our modern world. There´s no hint of duty and heroic sacrifice here, only the ordinary frustration and anger of someone who has just escaped a very dangerous situation and feels no inclination to put themselves at risk for someone they have a low opinion of. Bilbo has been brought to do a job and be useful, and as yet they probably think he´s been quite the opposite. All of the reactions of the dwarves are quite recognizable and understandable given their situation, the risk involved and the stress they´ve been under etc, but I do believe their reaction is meant as a counterpoint to Bilbo´s decision above. Note that we don´t hear any of the other dwarves voicing other opinions.

"4. I note Dori's description of the fighting: You nearly chopped off my head with Glamdring, and Thorin was stabbing here there and everywhere with Orcrist, seems to be more appreciative of Thorin than of Gandalf, even blaming him for carelessness. Is Dori trying to pay him back?"

This is a very heated discussion, so Dori might well be trying to pay Gandalf back. I believe the main motive is to point out how Gandalf´s accusation is massively unfair, though.

"5.And why don't we hear Thorin throughout this conversation? Dori's words are the only mention of the leader for the first half of this chapter. Is he letting Gandalf take the heat, or is he simply out of his depth?"

Very appropriate question. I suppose it´s a little bit of both, perhaps more so the latter. I wonder why Tolkien didn´t let the narrative voice interfere here.

"8. Was Gandalf more pleased than the others because he really cared for Bilbo more than them, or because he was vindicated in the argument regarding his worth?"

Gandalf clearly cares more for Bilbo than the dwarves, but I suppose he is more pleased because he was vindicated in his argument. After all Gandalf has spent a good deal of time arguing and trying to convince them of Bilbo´s worth in the first place.

"9. What do you think of Balin's reaction? Magnanimity, or damage control?"

Definitely magnanimity. Balin clearly seems to respect Bilbo´s skill.

"10. Does it make you feel bad, seeing how Bilbo does not really deserve it? Does Bilbo's long story, with the emotion it evokes from the dwarves?"

Not really. On the whole I rather think it´s funny with the gap between the reality of his escape from the goblins at the back gate and the story Bilbo tells, where Bilbo presents himself as quite the action hero. The story he makes up is quite a good one, particularly in terms of entertainment value, and a piece of good strategic thinking.












sador
Half-elven


Aug 22 2012, 11:39am

Post #3 of 6 (113 views)
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I'm not sure, at this moment [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"9. What do you think of Balin's reaction? Magnanimity, or damage control?"
Definitely magnanimity. Balin clearly seems to respect Bilbo´s skill.


But Balin would show real magnanimity later, when he finds out how he tricked by Bilbo, but doesn't hold it against him.

"In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter?"
- Elven



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Queer Lodgings!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 26 2012, 10:47pm

Post #4 of 6 (82 views)
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Now you see him, now you don't - er, other way around [In reply to] Can't Post

1.&2. Does this unnamed grumbler serve as a counterpoint to Bilbo's decision mentioned above? Note that he doesn't refuse – only complains.

Since the grumbler is anonymous, I think it's safe to assume that he's voicing the thoughts of most of the group. What short memories they have! Without Bilbo's finding that troll-key, they would not have Glamdring and Orcrist with them, and the fight in the tunnels could have gone far worse.

3. & 4. Blame, pressure, and payback.

Are these guys irritated! Gandalf is feeling guilty about losing Bilbo, and so is venting his anger at Dori, who he should know very well had no control over the situation, and Dori is shoving this back at him. They are ALL upset about the loss, but no one's going to take the blame. And with his anger showing, Gandalf is not doing a good job of getting co-operation in forming a search party.

5. And why don't we hear Thorin throughout this conversation?

Good question! He's not known for holding his tongue.

6. Confusticate! I think Tolkien just likes this word. Doesn't it sound like a swear, without swearing?

7. Again, Gandalf is unfair – but without knowing it. But why does he scold Balin? Once again, where is Thorin?

You're right again, Thorin should have been the one to speak up and admonish Balin.

8. Was Gandalf more pleased than the others because he really cared for Bilbo more than them, or because he was vindicated in the argument regarding his worth?

He was probably most relieved that he wouldn't have to go searching for him!

9. What do you think of Balin's reaction? Magnanimity, or damage control?

Gracious acceptance of defeat.

10. Does it make you feel bad, seeing how Bilbo does not really deserve it?

Not at this point! Bilbo deserves a bit of praise, after how they were talking about him earlier.

11. Is there any reason to suppose Gandalf suspects something? Is this just Bilbo's knowledge that he is lying, or did Gandalf really detect a false note in his voice?

Beware wizards that give you queer looks. Gandalf knows goblins, and he knows Bilbo could not have truly escaped the way he said he did.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"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


Aug 27 2012, 8:07am

Post #5 of 6 (78 views)
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Well, yes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What short memories they have! Without Bilbo's finding that troll-key, they would not have Glamdring and Orcrist with them, and the fight in the tunnels could have gone far worse.


Unless you suppose Gandalf would have found some other way to arm them. Come on, he isn't that incompetent!


In Reply To
Gandalf is feeling guilty about losing Bilbo, and so is venting his anger at Dori


Later in this very chapter - Gandalf will forget bilbo twice more, with Dori saving him.
One might think he would have learned...


In Reply To
They are ALL upset about the loss, but no one's going to take the blame. And with his anger showing, Gandalf is not doing a good job of getting co-operation in forming a search party.


Perhaps. But as i read it, the dwarves are not refusing - just grumbling, as seems to be their wont.


In Reply To
Thorin should have been the one to speak up and admonish Balin.


But that would be disparaging his old comrade, cousin and second-in-command.
I expect Thorin does know when to let Gandalf do the nasty job and take the heat.


In Reply To
Beware wizards that give you queer looks. Gandalf knows goblins, and he knows Bilbo could not have truly escaped the way he said he did.


Ha! I never thought of that one!

"In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter?"
- Elven



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Queer Lodgings!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 28 2012, 2:08am

Post #6 of 6 (177 views)
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Up in arms [In reply to] Can't Post

To give Gandalf his due, I suppose he would have found some kind of weaponry in Rivendell, but it would not have had nearly the psychological impact on the goblins as Biter and Beater!

Good point about it probably not being "proper" for Thorin to get after Balin about letting Bilbo get by! Yes, let the wizard do the "dirty work", and keep Balin on his toes.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"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



 
 

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