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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Balin's interest in Gollum and the Ring

cats16
Valinor

Jan 27 2013, 6:49am

Post #1 of 9 (1201 views)
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Balin's interest in Gollum and the Ring Can't Post

This is something I've always wondered about, since reading the book as a child. It just seemed...odd. (I would quote the passage, but I don't have a copy of the book with me.)

Balin acts somewhat strange in "Flies and Spiders", even at one point speaking in a variation of Gollum's voice (talking himself to sleep). A couple of other times throughout the book, as well, he seems obsessively interested in both Gollum and the Riddles scene. His behavior seems highly irregular compared to the rest of the book.

So, I'm wondering: 1) Can anyone shed some light into what exactly this passage may mean or represent (if anything) about Balin's character, and 2) If this DOES mean anything, do you see this being portrayed in any variation in DOS or TABA?


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 27 2013, 9:01am

Post #2 of 9 (626 views)
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I will have to look again. Balin was the lookout, and especially interested in Bilbo's tale. . . but concerning Rings [In reply to] Can't Post

I have speculated before that Balin may have had too much exposure to Thror's Ring, and maybe known too much (but not enough) concerning it. He went to Moria in hopes of finding it, and it would not be entirely surprising for Bilbo's tale of a magic Ring to especially interest him, if that other less mighty but still Great Ring had already been on his mind. . . or it may be that it was Bilbo's tale that started Balin brooding over the Ring of Durin.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


bborchar
Rohan


Jan 27 2013, 11:45am

Post #3 of 9 (525 views)
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Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

I honestly always read it as Balin feeling vindicated for missing Bilbo on his watch. He had been perplexed about it, and it bothered him to that point. I think that if the dwarves had had any indication that it was a ring of power, they would have tried taking it from Bilbo.


dormouse
Half-elven


Jan 27 2013, 2:03pm

Post #4 of 9 (487 views)
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Balin is certainly interested..... [In reply to] Can't Post

...we're told that he in particular asks to hear the story repeated. But I don't hear any echo of Gollum in his falling asleep - he drifts off chuckling to himself and repeating Bilbo's name. I don't see anything sinister there. It puzzled - and piqued - him that Bilbo got past him so he was keen to find out how. One he does know he seems amused, more than anything.

Of course they might choose to interpret it differently for the film - so far Bilbo hasn't told anyone about finding a ring, so we don't know if/when he will and how that will be presented.


Kimtc
Rohan


Jan 27 2013, 4:15pm

Post #5 of 9 (415 views)
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This was my reading, too. [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, in the original edition, it was just a magic ring, and did not become a ring of power until Tolkien rewrote it as he developed LOTR. Since only that scene was rewritten, I don't think there was any subtext to Balin's interest in the ring beyond dwarfly curiosity and his own ego (for losing Bilbo).


In Reply To
I honestly always read it as Balin feeling vindicated for missing Bilbo on his watch. He had been perplexed about it, and it bothered him to that point. I think that if the dwarves had had any indication that it was a ring of power, they would have tried taking it from Bilbo.



cats16
Valinor

Jan 27 2013, 5:13pm

Post #6 of 9 (397 views)
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For some reason I recall... [In reply to] Can't Post

...Balin muttering "Well bless us, my precious, so that's how he got past us, eh? Gollum."

Someone with the book on hand can quote that better than myself. I think this sentence was the one that REALLY threw me for a loop.


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Jan 27 2013, 5:29pm

Post #7 of 9 (402 views)
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The quote: [In reply to] Can't Post

'...they all fell silent again. All except Balin. Long after the others had stopped talking and shut their eyes, he kept on muttering and chuckling to himself. "Gollum! Well I'm blest! So that's how he sneaked past me, is it? Now I know! Just crept quietly along, did you Mr. Baggins? Buttons all over the doorstep! Good old Bilbo--Bilbo--bo--bo--bo--" and then he fell asleep, and there was complete silence for a while', (The Hobbit, Flies and Spiders).

There it is: dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not, but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don't expect too much.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 27 2013, 11:01pm

Post #8 of 9 (301 views)
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I re-read it, and I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it is mostly if not entirely innocent. There is nothing of plot, plan or budding obsession in Balin, just amusement and pleasure at knowing how Bilbo evaded everyone.

In Reply To
...we're told that he in particular asks to hear the story repeated. But I don't hear any echo of Gollum in his falling asleep - he drifts off chuckling to himself and repeating Bilbo's name. I don't see anything sinister there. It puzzled - and piqued - him that Bilbo got past him so he was keen to find out how. One he does know he seems amused, more than anything.

Of course they might choose to interpret it differently for the film - so far Bilbo hasn't told anyone about finding a ring, so we don't know if/when he will and how that will be presented.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


cats16
Valinor

Jan 27 2013, 11:10pm

Post #9 of 9 (360 views)
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Thanks for clearing that up! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something in the text.

 
 

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