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**The Return Journey** Part One - Comings and Goings

One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Nov 5 2012, 1:50pm

Post #1 of 4 (936 views)
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**The Return Journey** Part One - Comings and Goings Can't Post

The chapter begins with Bilbo’s awakening, and soon sights the Dwarves recovering from battle:


Quote
But all was deadly still. There was no call and no echo of a song. Sorrow seemed to be in the air. “Victory after all, I suppose!” he said, feeling his aching head. “Well, it seems a very gloomy business.”



And when he is approached by a man:


Quote
Then Bilbo remembered his ring! “Well I’m blessed!” said he. “The invisibility has its drawbacks after all. Otherwise I suppose I might have spent a warm and comfortable night in bed!”



How do Bilbo’s words come across? They seem to be somewhat passive, or plainly observant; almost unimpressed. Is Bilbo committed to the battle at all? It seems that had Bilbo known his fortune in the Ring he might have not been around at all, or is there some other meaning to it?

Bilbo is carried to a tent in Dale:


Quote
and there stood Gandalf, with his arm in a sling. Even the wizard had not escaped without a wound; and there were few unharmed in all the host. When Gandalf saw Bilbo, he was delighted. “Baggins!” he exclaimed. “Well I never! Alive after all – I am glad!”



Is there something a bit vain about Gandalf? Given the narrative and his reaction, does he assume that if he walks away from battle with a sling, that Bilbo should be dead? Note the emphasis on “I am glad!”. Why else wouldn’t he be?

Thus, Bilbo takes his final council with Thorin:


Quote
Farewell, King under the Mountain!” he said. “This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so … Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils – that has been more than any Baggins deserves.”
“No!” said Thorin … “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!”



Bilbo himself has learned something of adventures, but perhaps Thorin has learned something more. Is there something significant that the overall moral of the story has been displayed by Bilbo before the adventure had been fully realised? What was the purpose of his adventuring? Who learned the most in the end?

FOTR 10th Anniversary Music Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33xJU3AIwsg

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


sador
Half-elven


Nov 5 2012, 4:30pm

Post #2 of 4 (399 views)
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Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

How do Bilbo’s words come across?
He needs to recover.

They seem to be somewhat passive, or plainly observant; almost unimpressed. Is Bilbo committed to the battle at all?
Yes, he's just dazed.

It seems that had Bilbo known his fortune in the Ring he might have not been around at all, or is there some other meaning to it?
I don't get you meaning. Please expound.

Is there something a bit vain about Gandalf?
Of course!

Given the narrative and his reaction, does he assume that if he walks away from battle with a sling, that Bilbo should be dead?
No, I don't think that's the issue. Bilbo has been missing for so long; and Gandalf doesn't know of the Ring yet.

Note the emphasis on “I am glad!”. Why else wouldn’t he be?
In case his burglar wasn't sure of the affection.

Is there something significant that the overall moral of the story has been displayed by Bilbo before the adventure had been fully realised?
No, I disagree. Thorin doesn't even say "it would have been a better world" - only "a merrier" one. This can't be the sole moral of the book.

What was the purpose of his adventuring?
I'll keep my thoughts for next week, if you don't mind.

Who learned the most in the end?
Bilbo, of course.

"And so the healing begins. The original readers had no idea, of course, about the Halls of Mandos; with that in mind, does it make sense for these Elves to seem "glad" rather than "relieved", or is this Tokien unconsciously bringing his mythology into the story?"
- dernwyn



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Return Journey!


One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Nov 6 2012, 2:03pm

Post #3 of 4 (466 views)
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My bad, [In reply to] Can't Post

Unsure I completely misread the context of the line and overlooked "drawbacks". Total reverse of what is actually meant in the text.

FOTR 10th Anniversary Music Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33xJU3AIwsg

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 15 2012, 5:19pm

Post #4 of 4 (790 views)
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Post-hobbit stress syndrome [In reply to] Can't Post

How do Bilbo’s words come across? They seem to be somewhat passive, or plainly observant; almost unimpressed. Is Bilbo committed to the battle at all? It seems that had Bilbo known his fortune in the Ring he might have not been around at all, or is there some other meaning to it?

Bilbo seems to be in the same dazed, observant state that Merry is on the Pelennor Field after the battle has swept past him. There's something about hobbits that makes them anticlimactic after big events, such as Merry & Pippin napping on the ruins of Isengard after the big battle there. It might be Tolkien intentionally trying to bring big events back down to the level of average individuals who aren't so emotionally connected to the full meaning of events, as Gandalf and Aragorn are. When there are no hobbits on hand, he uses other racially isolated characters, such as Legolas and Gimli at Helm's Deep and the Paths of the Dead.

Though I wouldn't say Bilbo is unimpressed; I agree with passive. I recall in The Red Badge of Courage, which was based on interviews of Civil War veterans to paint a realistic picture, that the main character stumbles around blankly with other soldiers toward the end of one battle, not sure who was winning or if it was even over. Bilbo seems to be in the same state.

Is there something a bit vain about Gandalf? Given the narrative and his reaction, does he assume that if he walks away from battle with a sling, that Bilbo should be dead? Note the emphasis on “I am glad!”. Why else wouldn’t he be?
I wouldn't say vain, but he has a healthy ego, to be sure. As for assuming Bilbo should be dead, it's a fair enough conclusion: Bilbo isn't battle-trained, and it's the green recruits that usually die first in a battle. For the "I am glad," I think he's just verbally italicizing his words for emphasis, the same as "I am very glad! I am so happy to see you!"

Bilbo himself has learned something of adventures, but perhaps Thorin has learned something more. Is there something significant that the overall moral of the story has been displayed by Bilbo before the adventure had been fully realised? What was the purpose of his adventuring? Who learned the most in the end?
As a peace-lover in the real world myself, I really like Thorin's line, and it comes as a surprise, because he hasn't shown any previous sign in the book of thinking hobbits might have a better way of life than his own. Or a "merrier" one. That statement seems to pack a lot of things into it. With the eyes of mortality, Thorin seems to feel some regret about his gold-lust and stubbornness, which were contributing to a war already without the goblins and wolves. I would think he feels some responsibility for the death of his nephews also.

Bilbo learned the most in the end, certainly. But Thorin learns something here, and it seems that Bilbo's friendship with Balin influences that dwarf (within this book) to appreciate hobbits more.

 
 

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