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** Flies and Spiders: 2. "a dreadful wail from Bilbo put all thoughts of venison out of their minds" **

N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Sep 1 2012, 9:56pm

Post #1 of 4 (465 views)
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** Flies and Spiders: 2. "a dreadful wail from Bilbo put all thoughts of venison out of their minds" ** Can't Post

The party reaches the foretold magic river and find the ruins of a bridge. Bilbo spies a boat on the far side, and Fili throws a rope and hook to draw it across. As the last of the expedition is disembarking, a hart (male deer) runs into them, and though Thorin shoots it as it jumps across the water, Bombur is knocked in. The dwarves fish him out, but he has fallen under the sleep-spell.

How did Beorn know the stream was enchanted? How did he (or Gandalf) exect the party to get across it?

Who built the bridge and why has it not been repaired?

Shouldn't there be at least a small break in the trees over a 36-foot wide river, sufficient to let in enough light to see across it during the day?

What color is the boat?

Can someone clearly describe or find a picture of such iron hooks as the travelers have used to secure their packs to their shoulder straps? I'm having trouble understanding how that would work. Why aren't the straps simply sewn to the packs themselves?

If Dori is the strongest (and how do you supposed that was determined), why doesn't he help when the boat is stuck and four dwarves work to pull it free?

When the rope holding the boat fast breaks, "suddenly they all fell over on their backs". Is the reader meant to compare this moment and Bombur's stumble on the far bank to the pile of dwarves on Bilbo's porch?

Do Gloin and Gimli have to cross this stream when they journey to Rivendell seeking Elrond's counsel in The Lord of the Rings?

In what sense is Balin using the word "job" when he says it was "a good job that our rope was the stronger"?

There aren't any oars, so the dwarves rig two pull-lines. How do the boat's regular passengers cross?

Is the catastrophe of Bombur's dunking Thorin's fault, for prophesying that "something bad" would happen if Bombur continued to grumble? Bombur's, for grumbling? Would "something bad" have occured had Bombur not grumbled?

Does Tolkien mean to suggest that the hart is not a deer when he first describes it as "the shape of a flying deer"? (Emphasis added.)

"Thorin was the only one who had kept his feet and his wits" -- and yet it does our heroes no good. Why?

Further thoughts on this section?

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sador
Half-elven


Sep 2 2012, 6:45pm

Post #2 of 4 (170 views)
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Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

How did Beorn know the stream was enchanted?
Mirkwood is on his doorstep.
And maybe Radagast told him?

How did he (or Gandalf) exect the party to get across it?
Luck and courage. And they might have knoen there were boats.

Who built the bridge and why has it not been repaired?

The woodmen, before moving out near the Mountains.
It says something about Morkwood, if they prefer the Wargs and goblins as neighbours.

Shouldn't there be at least a small break in the trees over a 36-foot wide river, sufficient to let in enough light to see across it during the day?

Probably. But this does not seem to be a realistic forest.

What color is the boat?

Should be something bright - if the owners wanted not to miss it!

If Dori is the strongest (and how do you supposed that was determined), why doesn't he help when the boat is stuck and four dwarves work to pull it free?

Ah... I always wondered how he felt upon being sidelined for Fili. Maybe he just didn't feel like it?

When the rope holding the boat fast breaks, "suddenly they all fell over on their backs". Is the reader meant to compare this moment and Bombur's stumble on the far bank to the pile of dwarves on Bilbo's porch?

I don't think so. It's just reusing a comic moment.

Do Gloin and Gimli have to cross this stream when they journey to Rivendell seeking Elrond's counsel in The Lord of the Rings?

Probably. But how?

There aren't any oars, so the dwarves rig two pull-lines. How do the boat's regular passengers cross?

Maybe they take the oars out, against thieves?

Is the catastrophe of Bombur's dunking Thorin's fault, for prophesying that "something bad" would happen if Bombur continued to grumble? Bombur's, for grumbling?

Do you always blame prophets?
However, this sounded just like a warning.

Would "something bad" have occured had Bombur not grumbled?
I expect he didn't pay enough attention to security, being morose.

Does Tolkien mean to suggest that the hart is not a deer when he first describes it as "the shape of a flying deer"? (Emphasis added.)

Sure. Like the Balrog had no wings.

"Thorin was the only one who had kept his feet and his wits" -- and yet it does our heroes no good. Why?

We are not supposed to realise that Thorin is an excellent leader. We should resent him, in order to take the right side once Bilbo betrays him.

Further thoughts on this section?

Dwalin always seemed a responsible dwarf to me. Why did he leave the boat before securing the luggage, and making sure Bombur was safe?

"When light finally begins to come into our lives after a long darkness, only to reveal that one has still farther to go, what various ways might one react?"
- Dreamdeer



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


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 7 2012, 1:40am

Post #3 of 4 (166 views)
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" 'And light are their feet,' muttered the dwarf under his breath. " [In reply to] Can't Post

Now, the first thing to remember is: this "little-known pathway" is an Elf-path. That is why it is under such enchantment that the dark creatures of Mirkwood cannot get at anyone who is on the path. (And that may be the primary reason they were told to stay "on the path": that assured their safety.)

I assume that Elves would be immune to the effects of the river, and probably typically flitted across it like a stone skipping across the water. At some point in time they may have needed to cart loads of goods across it, so a bridge was built, but no longer needing it, they let it fall prey to Time. A boat was still necessary, for any items they may have gotten in trade (probably a yearly trip to Beorn's for honey), a nice grey elven-boat which would pass across the water at their bidding (only mortals need oars), so that was kept on "their" side of the river.

Could it be that Gandalf and Beorn still thought the bridge was in place?

I doubt any dwarves would have used this path after the demise of Smaug: with their wealth, they probably fixed up the eastern end of the Old Forest Road and cleared it for increased use, or even created a new path through the Forest.

And Thorin should keep his mouth shut. Something bad is going to happen to him if he keeps saying something bad will happen to others; he's bringing the superstition on himself.


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

"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




Ruinwen
Rivendell


Sep 10 2012, 11:17pm

Post #4 of 4 (245 views)
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Love [In reply to] Can't Post

The party reaches the foretold magic river and find the ruins of a bridge. Bilbo spies a boat on the far side, and Fili throws a rope and hook to draw it across. As the last of the expedition is disembarking, a hart (male deer) runs into them, and though Thorin shoots it as it jumps across the water, Bombur is knocked in. The dwarves fish him out, but he has fallen under the sleep-spell.

How did Beorn know the stream was enchanted? How did he (or Gandalf) expect the party to get across it?
Beorn roams far and wide in his bear-form. I expect he and the other bears have been into the forest many times. (I assumed that many of his bear friends lived in the forest, as they got to his house so quickly.)


Gandalf and Beorn expected them to think for themselves and come up with something without being babysat.


Who built the bridge and why has it not been repaired? Perhaps the Elves. At this point Sauron's influence in Mirkwood was at its zenith, and it says that the Elves now dwelt mainly on the borders - implying that once they had been far more widespread through Mirkwood, when it was Greenwood the Great. I expect there are many artefacts of elven make that have fallen into disrepair as the Necromancer's evil spreads through the forest.

Shouldn't there be at least a small break in the trees over a 36-foot wide river, sufficient to let in enough light to see across it during the day? No. The trees are very tall, twisted and thick and could easily have a spread of over 18 foot on each side.

What color is the boat? I don't know.

Can someone clearly describe or find a picture of such iron hooks as the travelers have used to secure their packs to their shoulder straps? I'm having trouble understanding how that would work. Why aren't the straps simply sewn to the packs themselves? I'm not sure either, but it's not hard to imagine some of the buckles on a modern backpack being replaced with hooks.

If Dori is the strongest (and how do you supposed that was determined), why doesn't he help when the boat is stuck and four dwarves work to pull it free? Dwarves spend a lot of time arm-wrestling? Haha, I don't know.

When the rope holding the boat fast breaks, "suddenly they all fell over on their backs". Is the reader meant to compare this moment and Bombur's stumble on the far bank to the pile of dwarves on Bilbo's porch? It would be impossible to not fall over! Haven't you ever been having a tug of war and the other team suddenly lets go? Boom! You're all sitting down.

Do Gloin and Gimli have to cross this stream when they journey to Rivendell seeking Elrond's counsel in The Lord of the Rings? No - after the BO5A the Goblins in the northern mountains aren't such a problem, so they can go round the top of Mirkwood.

In what sense is Balin using the word "job" when he says it was "a good job that our rope was the stronger"? A 'good job' just a slightly antiquated English way of saying 'a good thing.'

There aren't any oars, so the dwarves rig two pull-lines. How do the boat's regular passengers cross? There probably are oars, on the opposite bank next to the boat.

Is the catastrophe of Bombur's dunking Thorin's fault, for prophesying that "something bad" would happen if Bombur continued to grumble? Bombur's, for grumbling? Would "something bad" have occured had Bombur not grumbled? This is too deep and meaningful for me.

Does Tolkien mean to suggest that the hart is not a deer when he first describes it as "the shape of a flying deer"? (Emphasis added.) I think it was a deer, but I think Tolkien is trying to give us the sense that in this strange, dreamlike place, the dwarves can't take anything for granted. It could have been a shapeshifter, an illusion or even an hallucination.

"Thorin was the only one who had kept his feet and his wits" -- and yet it does our heroes no good. Why? Sometimes things just don't work out. I think Tolkien is trying to emphasise how very out of their element the Dwarves are, here deep in the forest. Their normal approach just doesn't work.

Further thoughts on this section? Don't really have time, or the book on hand to re-read and reflect, so I'll just say I love it.


 
 

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