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* * A Warm Welcome * * 2 - extracting Dwarves from barrels is no easy task


Sep 12 2012, 8:00pm

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* * A Warm Welcome * * 2 - extracting Dwarves from barrels is no easy task Can't Post

The focus of this discussion post extends from “As soon as the raft of barrels came in sight...” to “They passed its doors and stood blinking in the light...

1. The process of finding every dwarf-in-a-barrel always seemed so long -- is this an attempt to draw out the tension a little? Why does Tolkien take so long to describe them getting out of the barrels, while in the previous chapter he barely spends a paragraph getting them into barrels? Is this a comment on how easy it is to get into trouble and not so easy to get out of it? Or, is it just another opportunity to list off all the dwarves names and an excuse to leave most of them behind recuperating?

2. In the previous chapter, Thorin, as he is being packed in a barrel, is described grumbling like “... a large dog in a small kennel.” When he’s released, he has a “... famished and savage look like a dog that has been chained and forgotten in a kennel for weeks.” While I love the extension of the metaphor, why did Tolkien choose “dog” to represent kingly Thorin? Does Thorin possess other dog-like qualities, or was this just a one-off? Is he regarded differently in other chapters?

3. As we are reintroduced to the rescued Party, we are once again reminded that Kili and Fili are young (for dwarves). Fili says: “I could eat anything in the wide world now, for hours on end -- but not an apple!” In your mind’s eye (or perhaps mind’s ear!) how does this come across to you? As childish or youthful exaggeration? As grumpy or cross? As sarcastic?

4. Our Party has strange luck! They’ve come across another group of guards drinking, and therefore unaware of their existence. Tolkien tells us that this is not surprising, because it has been “... so long since there had been any real need” (i.e., they haven’t had trouble for a while.) Yet, as soon as Thorin makes his appearance, some of the guard run out of the hut “... as if they expected the Mountain to go golden in the night and all the waters of the lake turn yellow...” even though many of them don’t really regard the legends anymore. What do you make of this situation? Do they (or, “we”) so eagerly forget bad things? Is this a comment on the resilience of hope and optimism, or are the guards responding to another, less savoury emotion (i.e., greed?)

5. To me, “A Warm Welcome” is a transition chapter: one of those places in a story where we move from one part (the Journey) to another (the Destination). Do you feel this way? Furthermore, these sorts of transitions in books, television series, or films often feel a little clunky in the telling -- does this chapter feel a bit clunky, or, to further the above metaphor: like “a dog’s breakfast”? Is a certain amount of clunkiness merely the nature of these transitions in storytelling?

6. Anything else you noticed and care to post about? Please do!

Subject User Time
* * A Warm Welcome * * 2 - extracting Dwarves from barrels is no easy task telain Send a private message to telain Sep 12 2012, 8:00pm
    Straw dogs dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 17 2012, 12:49am
        the "Holy Grail" of responses... telain Send a private message to telain Sep 17 2012, 3:47pm
    Late answers sador Send a private message to sador Sep 19 2012, 8:19am


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