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* * On the Doorstep * * Part 1: Desolation

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 17 2012, 1:37am

Views: 724
* * On the Doorstep * * Part 1: Desolation Can't Post

I'll be doing this in three parts. This first part will cover the text to "...filled with his foul reek."

For two days the dwarves, Bilbo, and the Lake-men row up the River Running, while horses, ponies, and provisions take a different route, and meet them at one point. Then the Lake-men leave, not willing to even spend a night in that area.

1. Why not ride the ponies, instead of travelling by the river? And if it was to save the ponies' strength, why not have them and the horses and provisions travel in a barge behind them?

2. Songs and old tales are fine - until the reality sets in! If the Lake-men so fear the dragon, why do they stay in Lake-town?

Now Thorin and company make the long, quiet journey northwards.

3. Why is there not even the remnant of a road? Wasn't there once great commerce between Dale and Laketown? Smaug arrived on the scene only 171 years ago, would all traces of an overland route have disappeared in that time?

4. Note Tolkien's descriptive words for this place: desolation, waning, bleak, barren, broken, blackened...end.

Rateliff (HoH p. 483 on) believes that Tolkien drew this idea of a dragon causing desolation in the land around its dweling from William Morris's version of the Fafnir story, the stories of Lord Dunsany, and English folklore and ballads. Other folklore traditions however, such as Beowulf, Spenser's Faerie Queene, and the Elder Edda, set the dragon's lair as being simply in a remote place, or even a paradise. Why do you suppose Tolkien choose the former depictions for his dragons? Are all of his dragons surrounded by wastelands?

They reach the Mountain, and first set up camp at the foot of Ravenhill. Thorin sends Fili, Kili, Balin, and Bilbo to take a look at the Front Gate. This is a sad moment for Balin, as he beholds the ruins of Dale, and the "steam and dark smoke" emanating from the entrance .

5. Why would Thorin send those particular four?

6. What do you make of that curious combination of fire and water coming from the entrance?

Other questions or comments are always welcome, of course!


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

Subject User Time
* * On the Doorstep * * Part 1: Desolation dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 17 2012, 1:37am
    Homecoming Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Sep 17 2012, 3:05am
        Suspenseful and nerve-wracking dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 21 2012, 3:42am
    fear and "forgetting" telain Send a private message to telain Sep 17 2012, 4:08pm
        The "rude awakening"! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 21 2012, 3:49am
    It comes in trailers? sador Send a private message to sador Sep 20 2012, 2:17pm
        Mountainous wasteland, eh? dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 21 2012, 4:01am
    The Doorstep demnation Send a private message to demnation Sep 23 2012, 2:54am
        That's an interesting answer dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 24 2012, 12:38am


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