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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Discussion: History of the Hobbit, Chapter 1(c)
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Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 17 2013, 3:00am

Post #26 of 27 (95 views)
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Wading into the intro just a bit... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Just for fun, since we're chatting about Dwalin (and relating to D(i) in the summary above) there's a very fun dwarf history note in THOTH back in Chapter 1(b) that you might enjoy. (Apologies ahead of time while my geek shows...)
(More chocolate Erebor coins, anyone? **passes box around again**)
Thank you Bruinen (Oh look! I got a chocolate Thorin!) Wink

Having a quick read over the Introduction (its late, not sure how much farther I will get) I am intrigued by the use of the word "Miriquidui" (as a mountain range) and "Mirkviur" as a dark boundary forest - astonishingly close to the ear to Mirkwood. Will read more and try to answer your other excellent question about historical Dwalin/Durin or Dwalin/Thorin...!!

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 17 2013, 11:29am

Post #27 of 27 (124 views)
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Responses from sador! :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

"...For them to be treated sympathetically as heroes of the new story is nothing short of amazing: no less surprising than if a company of goblin wolf-riders had ridden up to Bag-End seeking a really first-class burglar.”
Actually, even more - as in the poem Goblin Feet (which geordie discussed recently), the goblins seem quite likeable - possibly elvish prototypes!
Well, at least for HoME and Letters readers... (are the orcs named "goblins" in the early volumes of HoME? I think not). Tolkien's children (The Hobbit's first audience) clearly knew that goblins were evil from the Father Christmas Letters; but did they know that dwarves were supposed to be bad eggs?

That right there is plenty of discussion fodder! What do you think? Dwarves: stereotyped in the elvish media…or not?
Well, this is evident in the exchange between Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf before the West-Gate of Moria.
And The Book of Lost Tales clearly has an elvish bias - the Tales are told Aelfwine by elves, or by children which have been the guests of elves for long!


…begins mid-sentence from where Pryftan Fragment left off
Which is actually quite fascinating. It indicates that the Pryftan Fragment was broken off at a very early stage; either that Tolkien indeed left it in mid-sentence (like Humpty Dumpty in I sent a message to the fish), or that he only found these pages.


Bilbo... invites them all to spend the night and have a good breakfast in the morning.
An offer he would repeat to the trolls!


Bilbo’s land is called “The Country Round” and is not yet named The Shire.
So I googled "Country Round". It
looks nice
.

Rateliff comments on the traditional dragon habit of sleeping on a mound of gold, citing several literary pre-cursors.
And it is very interesting that "gold" is the last word Bilbo hears before he falls asleep - and it makes him uncomfortable!


They (Dwarves) played a major role in The Nauglafring and are mentioned in passing in The Tale of Tinuviel, Turambar and the Foaloke, and in the unfinished Gilfanon’s Tale.
In Gilfanon's Tale they seem to play quite an important role.


Notes that Tolkien had a particular interest in the history of the Langobards (or Longbeards), a Germanic tribe who invaded the crumbling Roman Empire in the sixth century, settling in the area of Italy still known as Lombardy.
And which were (as Christopher Tolkien explains in his commentary to The Lost Road) a pretty unsavoury folk! I wouldn't want to meet Alboin and Audoin in real life, no thank you.


Rateliff states that Gandalf’s (Thorin’s) statement about “money to lend and to spend” gains new significance in light of the fact that the Lombards were famed bankers and ‘lombard’ in Middle English meant banker, money-lender, pawnbroker.
True. And I forgot that point. Thank you!


Rateliff describes how Tolkien drew the Longbeads as linked to Mim (the dwarf of the Nauglafring) and that they did participate in the planned raid on Tinwelint’s kingdom (later Doriath), but that Durin’s Folk and the Seven Houses are distiguised as separated from the old race, or petty dwarves.
Yes. It is fascinating that once Tolkien decided that dwarves were actually the race least suspectible to corruption, he had to invent an eighth group (of the petty-dwarves) to explain Mim. But then he never explained that extra group...


He (Rateliff) clearly states Tolkien’s supportive position toward Judaism as evidenced in letters and interviews (including the famous Nazi inquiry prior to the Hobbit’s publication in Germany), and does not feel there is evidence of anti-Semitism in Tolkien’s dwarves.
A great apologia! But how does it relate to the hateful dwarves of the early BoLT?
I also wonder whether the connection reflects a similar one between the dwarfs of mediaeval legends and their author's perception of Jews. Has anyone researched this?
There are several possible directions:
1. It could be that only after writing The Hobbit, Tolkien had decided (or realised) the connection of his created dwarves to how he preceived Jews.
2. Or that he realised the connection I've speculated above in Norse legends, and decided to "rehabilitate" the dwarfs, in accordance with his own feelings about Jews (perhaps the use of the name "Moria" originally did reflect this connection - although as the legendarium developed and the place grew in significance, Tolkien stoutly denied the similarity of names was anything but coincidental).
3. It could also be that Tolkien had realised this connection from the beginning, but as a youth he was not immune to antusemitism himself (like the young Joyce was). The dwarves of later writings did in effect rewrite his earlier prejudices.
I have been interested in this topic for some time, but haven't found yet anything to decide between the three.


He states that the negative perception involving details like money-lending applies equally to the Lombards.
Right on the money!


Instead, Rateliff urges readers to see parallels between the dwarves’ stories and the Old Testament—Joshua, Judges, the Maccabees...
The Books of Maccabees were written by Hellenised jews at a relatively late period, and were never canonised by the Jews themselves as a part of the Bible. Few jews living today have read them, or even ever seen the full books.
Just saying.


Rateliff states that it is far more likely that Tolkien, at this stage in the world building, meant Moria to be nothing more than a goblin mine, of the sort referenced in TH chapter IV.
Ah... see what I wrote above.


The Necromancer... goes back all the way to Tolkien’s Lost Tales period, specifically to Gilfanon’s Tale—as ‘a certain fay (i.e. one of the Maiar) named Tu the wizard.
Yippee! I have long argued that Sauron was derived more from Tu than from Tevildo! Although his character owes much to the latter character, and also to the mysterious Fankil (see here). Someone agrees with me!


This reference to the Necromancer in The Hobbit is the first and strongest indicator that by this point in the draft, Tolkien already considered TH part of his larger mythology.
Well, Beren and Luthien having driven him away is a stronger one.


Rateliff states that this was purely accidental, that Tolkien was really just reluctant to abandon ‘the comic precision’ of the line ‘one hundred years ago last Thursday.’
"states" is too strong. I would prefer "suggests".
But yes, this seems the most likely explanation.


And by the way – thank you for King Hendrik's Saga! I hope to get around to reading it soon.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






(This post was edited by dernwyn on Jul 17 2013, 6:08pm)

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