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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Responses from sador! :-)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jul 17 2013, 11:29am

Views: 105
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)

Subject User Time
Discussion: History of the Hobbit, Chapter 1(c) bruinen Send a private message to bruinen Jul 10 2013, 5:47pm
    Interesting! Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 Jul 10 2013, 11:26pm
    I would agree about Elf centric POV Bruinen Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 11 2013, 1:45am
        early Dwarves Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Jul 11 2013, 1:24pm
            Great points Elthir! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 11 2013, 3:29pm
            The sad thing CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jul 12 2013, 11:19pm
            Thanks... Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Jul 13 2013, 2:29am
                What's scary is CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jul 13 2013, 3:06am
                    That's when you go from 'Talking to yourself' to 'Arguing with yourself.' // Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 13 2013, 4:14am
                        I think I'm sane as long as my avatar remains the same, right? // CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jul 13 2013, 4:22am
                            cg Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Jul 13 2013, 4:36am
                                I debated on that point CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jul 13 2013, 4:40am
                                    Or, like Jeeves, he has a very Upper-class accent, adding that underbreath h' Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 13 2013, 4:54am
                            Absolutely! // Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 13 2013, 4:48am
            great comments! // bruinen Send a private message to bruinen Jul 13 2013, 2:13pm
    Thanks, chocolate, and new question... bruinen Send a private message to bruinen Jul 13 2013, 2:12pm
        Hmm malickfan Send a private message to malickfan Jul 13 2013, 9:53pm
        Zombies! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 14 2013, 4:52pm
    (and therefore legendary) dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 14 2013, 4:57pm
        That's great Dernwyn! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 15 2013, 12:22am
            LOL! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 15 2013, 2:45am
                And I'd love to hear Dwalin's answer...!!! // Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 16 2013, 2:57am
                    Aye, Graham McTavish might have a bit to say about that. Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Jul 16 2013, 2:53pm
                        That would be great....!!! // Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 17 2013, 12:05am
            Ooooo...on that note: Dwalin and his past bruinen Send a private message to bruinen Jul 17 2013, 2:39am
                Wading into the intro just a bit... Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 17 2013, 3:00am
    Responses from sador! :-) dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 17 2013, 11:29am


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