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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
** Flies and Spiders: 4. "hark to the singing and the harps" **

N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Sep 4 2012, 5:26am


Views: 372
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** Flies and Spiders: 4. "hark to the singing and the harps" ** Can't Post

Next morning the food has run out, and though they can hear that it is raining, the water doesn't penetrate the thick forest canopy. Then Bombur awakes, but he remembers nothing since leaving Bywater. He recounts an enchanted dream of a royal woodland feast, but the other dwarves don't want to hear about food. The party walks one more day, and then Bombur will go no further. As they argue, Balin spots a distant fire. They leave the path to investigate, and discover an elvish feast, but when they step into the clearing, the fire goes out and the elves disappear. Some time after Bilbo and the dwarves find each other in the dark, Dori spots another fire. Again the feasting elves vanish in darkness, but this time Bilbo, chosen by the dwarves to represent them, falls into an enchanted asleep from which he is woken only with difficulty. The whole process repeats once more after Kili sees another fire hours later, and Thorin steps into the festivities, but this time our heroes lose each other, and Bilbo hears distant cries of distress before he is left alone in the dark.

Have they actually run out of water as well as food, or does their thirst indicate they are merely (!) on very short rations?

Why does Bombur wake up at this point? Does it have anything to do with the rain? Why does Tolkien choose this moment for Bombur to wake up?

Is the spell meant to wear off with time, or is it expected that everyone who falls asleep will drown in the stream?

Why does Bombur lose his memory of events since the first chapter?

Does the reference to "tuppence" tell us anything about coinage in the world of The Hobbit?

Couldn't Beorn have provided the party with an axe to go with the bows and arrows? It would have helped with getting across the stream (to build a raft) or to clear a space here for access to the rain!

By counting words, I find that the very middle of The Hobbit are the two words "the ground" in this sentence: "After a good deal of creeping and crawling they peered round the trunks and looked into a clearing where some trees had been felled and the ground leveled." That fact may have had more significance when Peter Jackson was adapting the book into two films rather than three. (This is just an observation; I don't have a question here.)

Why don't the moths and bats mob the elves' fires as they had the dwarves' earlier in the chapter?

Do elves in The Hobbit not hear as well as elves in The Lord of the Rings shouldn't they notice the dwarves approaching?

Why do none of the dwarves fall into an enchanted sleep when they disturb the first feast?

Bilbo is thrust into the second feast before he can put on his ring of invisibility. Does this show that he ought to have told the dwarves about it before?

Would the ring have protected him from the enchantment?

Why don't Bilbo and Thorin lose their memory like Bombur?

Are the three elvish feasts separately-planned events, or one event that gets rescheduled twice? The king is only seen at the last and grandest affair.

Is there any significance to the specific dwarves who spot the fires?

What would happen if, instead of stepping into the glade, one of the dwarves had called out to the elves for help?

"Loud and clear and fair were those songs, and out stepped Thorin in to their midst." What does that sentence really mean?

Bilbo thinks he hears his companions' distant "yells and cries for help". Was Tolkien evoking this scene when he described Frodo's experience on the Barrow-downs?

Further thoughts on this section?

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Subject User Time
** Flies and Spiders: 4. "hark to the singing and the harps" ** N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Sep 4 2012, 5:26am
    Not late this time! sador Send a private message to sador Sep 4 2012, 6:47am
        Say not 'unscathed'... dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 7 2012, 2:12am

 
 
 

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