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Are Middle-earth adventures only for bachelors?

News from Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Oct 11 2013, 5:15am

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Are Middle-earth adventures only for bachelors? Can't Post

"I'm going on an adventure!"




In our newest TORn Library feature, Gibbelins muses on the unwedded status of the Fellowship during the Quest to destroy the Ring in The Lord of the Rings. Could it be that Middle-earth adventures are only for bachelors?

Are adventures only for bachelors?
By Gibbelins

Have you ever thought it odd that everyone in the Fellowship is single? Many of them marry after the adventure is over, but none of them have families at home while they are on the quest. On several occasions, Tolkien seems to make a particular point of Bilbo and Frodo's bachelorhood, without ever explaining why it might be important.

But in the Quest of Erebor, Gandalf gives some inkling of its significance when he is describing why he singled out Bilbo for the journey (Unfinished Tales, 331):

I learned that he had never married. I thought that odd, though I guessed why it was... I guessed that he wanted to remain "unattached" for some reason deep down that he did not understand himself - or would not acknowledge, for it alarmed him.


He wanted, all the same, to be free to go when the chance came, or he had made up his courage.

So if Bilbo had become "attached", would he not have been free to go on adventures? If so, it seems a little unfortunate, that a wife would act as some sort of anchor, preventing a man from being "free" to do as he wills.

But Finrod Felagund also seems to support Gandalf's sentiment:

Now Finrod Felagund had no wife, and [his sister] Galadriel asked him why this should be; but foresight came upon Felagund as she spoke, and he said: "An oath I too shall swear, and must be free to fulfill it, and go into darkness."(Silmarillion, 130).


I can well imagine that Tolkien would have considered it irresponsible for a man to willingly depart on a dangerous adventure if he leaves behind a family that might be helpless if he does not return. (A cursory knowledge of Tolkien's own childhood might assist that belief, but I will not dwell on biographical details here; I prefer to stick to the evidence in his stories.)

The legendarium is full of characters who leave behind their loved ones to go into danger.

Feanor seems to have no compunctions about abandoning his estranged wife Nerdanel and taking their sons with him. Indeed, in some versions of the story, he comes off as rather malicious, intentionally depriving her of her children out of spite that she is not obedient enough to him (The People of Middle-Earth, "The Shibboleth of Feanor").

Many of the Noldor follow Feanor's example and leave their loved ones behind in Aman, but I do not think we are meant to take Feanor as a role model; certainly the Noldor do not profit by that path.

A better example might be Beren, who tries but fails to leave Luthien behind on multiple occasions. The first time he leaves without her, he ends up being imprisoned almost immediately and must be rescued by Luthien. And yet he still tries to leave her behind a second time. Fortunately for him, Luthien will not have it. She repeatedly insists on going with him: "On either road I shall go with you, and our doom shall be alike" (177). It is a good thing Beren listens; he would not have gotten far without Luthien.

Earendil also regularly leaves Elwing behind to sail off in search of the "Straight Road" to Valinor. But his absence ends in disaster. He ends up being away from home when the Havens of Sirion are attacked, and thus his children are taken captive, and his wife Elwing barely escapes. Only then, with Elwing by his side, does Earendil finally find what he seeks.

So perhaps the message is not really that you must remain "unattached" if you want to go on adventures.

A better message would be: take your lover with you on all your adventures! You're probably going to need her (or him).

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Oct 11 2013, 1:07pm)


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Oct 11 2013, 12:00pm

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Thorin and Company [In reply to] Can't Post

Gibbelins neglects Thorin & Co.; at least one of the Dwarves, Gloin, is wedded and has a son--young Gimli. And I'm not sure that he is the only one in the group who is not single.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


DeadRabbits
Lorien


Oct 11 2013, 12:42pm

Post #3 of 20 (386 views)
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Gloin and Bombur are the only dwarves that are married, according to the character bios... [In reply to] Can't Post

... Bombur even has seven children. Does anybody know if Bard is supposed to have a wife, or if he's a single dad?

Now now Bill, you swore this was a battle between warriors, not a bunch of miss nancies, so warriors is what I brought


The Grey Elf
Gondor


Oct 11 2013, 1:11pm

Post #4 of 20 (388 views)
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Funny timing, this [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd been mulling over the fact that in DOS, Bard is apparently being presented as quite the family man (though whither the mother of his children ...?). It's just another way of making his heroic character unique given that the majority of Middle-earth's heroes are typically unattached.

Welcome more children to Middle Earth. Support The S.H.I.R.E. Project!


FrodoEyes
Rivendell

Oct 11 2013, 1:14pm

Post #5 of 20 (383 views)
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I just always assumed.... [In reply to] Can't Post

that Frodo was gay ;-)

Well, he never shows any interest in women! I think he and Merry had a thing going on.

'I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.'
'So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.'


Imladris18
Lorien


Oct 11 2013, 2:07pm

Post #6 of 20 (358 views)
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Also [In reply to] Can't Post

Surprised there was no mention of Aragorn/Arwen either.


Misty Mountain Hop
Rivendell


Oct 11 2013, 2:12pm

Post #7 of 20 (348 views)
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I guess I should move to ME and go on an adventure [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink

"Only, you've never done a hard day's work." - Merry


RosieLass
Valinor


Oct 11 2013, 3:24pm

Post #8 of 20 (327 views)
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Well, I should hope that someone with family responsibilities... [In reply to] Can't Post

...would think long and hard before leaving their family for something with a high likelihood of ending in death and destruction and failure to return.

I feel the same way about people who pursue high risk sports and other dangerous activities. It's irresponsible. It's time to grow up and realize that it's not all about you anymore.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


RosieLass
Valinor


Oct 11 2013, 3:27pm

Post #9 of 20 (320 views)
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Bard's a little different, though. [In reply to] Can't Post

He didn't "go on" an adventure. It came to him where he lived.

So I don't see it as quite the same as, say, the dwarves or the Ring fellowship.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Oct 11 2013, 6:42pm

Post #10 of 20 (258 views)
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Bard [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'd been mulling over the fact that in DOS, Bard is apparently being presented as quite the family man (though whither the mother of his children ...?). It's just another way of making his heroic character unique given that the majority of Middle-earth's heroes are typically unattached.



When reading the book, I've always assumed that Bard was single until after the Battle of Five Armies and that he wed and sired children sometime after the rebuilding of Dale. We know that film-Bard has three children, but we do not know the status of his wife. Is he a widower?

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Oct 11 2013, 6:44pm

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Aragorn [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Surprised there was no mention of Aragorn/Arwen either.



Well, Aragorn and Arwen were betrothed, but they didn't marry until after the War of the Ring and Aragorn's coronation.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


patrickk
Rohan

Oct 11 2013, 8:35pm

Post #12 of 20 (221 views)
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There is also Galadrial and Celeborn [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Surprised there was no mention of Aragorn/Arwen either.



Well, Aragorn and Arwen were betrothed, but they didn't marry until after the War of the Ring and Aragorn's coronation.


There is also Galadrial and Celeborn who may be by way of an arranged 'royal' wedding among the elite high born elves nevertheless were married - so with hat we know it is rather a long bow to suggest all were single, and remember the dwarves were vagabonds with no home, so less likely to be raising families


Lieutenant of Dol Guldur
Gondor


Oct 11 2013, 8:44pm

Post #13 of 20 (242 views)
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Azog, Elrond, Gloin, Denethor, Thranduil or Bard to name a few fathers [In reply to] Can't Post

The funny thing is also that we haven't seen their wives yet have we? We neither saw Celebrain, Legolas', Boromirs or Bolgs mother, nor Gloins or Bards wife. But at least we might see a picture of Gimlis mother in the next movie.

Where are the mothers? Did they go away with the Ent-wives? Are they all divorced? Tongue And yes I know that Celebrain went west but it's funny... we have so many father-children stories in Tolkiens works but no mothers. Except for Bilbos mother. Here are a few single-fathers I do remember from the books:

MEN:
Denethor - Faramir/Boromir --> mother dead
Bard - Bain --> mother unknown
Theoden - Theodred --> mother dead

ELVES:
Thranduil - Legolas --> mother unknown
Elrond - Arwen --> Celebrain went west

DWARVES (not counting the "son of..." stuff)
Thror - Thrain --> mother unknown
Thrain - Thorin --> mother unknown
Gloin - Gimli --> mother unknown (perhaps picture in DOS)

ORCS:
Azog - Bolg ----> even unknown if there is a mother at all


"There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power."

(This post was edited by Lieutenant of Dol Guldur on Oct 11 2013, 8:45pm)


Adanel
The Shire

Oct 11 2013, 11:38pm

Post #14 of 20 (202 views)
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Its obviously really bad luck [In reply to] Can't Post

to be a mother in middle earth, seems to guarantee you an early death/exit.

Dont forget Aragorn / Gilraen, at least we see a bit of her story in the appendices but its tragic and shes gone before the main events.
Thandruil has an unknown nameless mother also.

Makes you wonder did Tolkien have some mother issues!


Na Vedui
Rohan


Oct 12 2013, 1:43am

Post #15 of 20 (189 views)
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Perhaps [In reply to] Can't Post

(as Legolas said about Gandalf) "the grief was still too near" for him. Tolkien lost his father when he was very small, perhaps too small to remember him much; and his mother (whom he seems to have been very close to) when he was still a child. So the large numbers of orphans or semi-orphans in his work are perhaps not surprising, and I can't help wondering whether portrayals of a normal, happy mother-child relationship just hurt too much to write. He has one or two living mothers and their children - the brief and rather sad vignette of Gilraen and Aragorn; and then there's Turin Turambar and his mother Morwen but they spend a lot of time apart and the whole story is full of tragedy; and Nerdanel and her sons, but she and Feanor split up and she loses them ...


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 12 2013, 7:05am

Post #16 of 20 (183 views)
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"Won't somebody please think of the children?" [In reply to] Can't Post

Ask anyone with a young family how lightly they would take it if one of the parents just up and decided to go adventuring for a year or two....with no means of communication in the meantime, or even the certainty that they would be coming back - or that anyone would ever be able to tell their family what became of them if they didn't. This would be something one did only under great necessity. Wives and kids usually aren't too happy about being basically abandoned for a year or two at a time. Tolkien himself lost his father very early, and then his mother while he was still young. He knew what it was like to be the family "left behind" - at least his parents didn't choose to leave him! In addition, I think he was too much the family man himself not to think of the impact of such a thing. He wouldn't consider it either "good" or "wise" for Gandalf to break up a family for his own purposes.

Add to this the fact that in an agrarian, non-industrial society only the relatively wealthy upper classes could afford to leave their means of livelihood for a year or two and wander off. You can't just leave a farm or shop behind on a whim and expect it to look after itself. Even today, when traveling is a rather easy proposition and usually not very dangerous, young singles often take some time to travel before "settling down" because it just isn't so easy after that. Tolkien said that Gandalf sent "lads and lasses" off on adventures, though, so it wasn't only bachelors; sometimes it was bachelorettes as well. Cool

Silverlode

"Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dűm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."



Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Oct 12 2013, 12:23pm

Post #17 of 20 (141 views)
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Do Galadriel and Celeborn count as adventurers? [In reply to] Can't Post

For most intents and purposes, I was thinking that Galadriel's days of adventure were long over by the late Third Age. However, let's not be hasty; there was the White Council's attack on Dol Guldur in 2941 and the assault during the War of the Ring that brought down Dol Guldur for good. Not bad for an old biddy who first settled in Middle-earth at the time of the War of the Silmarils.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Oct 12 2013, 3:19pm

Post #18 of 20 (137 views)
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Yes and No [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien may have been influenced by the insistence, at least at the beginning of both WWI and WWII of not conscripting married man with children. And it's not as if these characters didn't think of marriage. Remember that Tolkien states that Bilbo and Frodo were unusual in that they didn't marry. But if Eru sets the world in motion so that some day you will be ready to save it, then He may decide that marriage would not be for you. Sam gets married but only after "the job he has to do." Same with Merry and Pippin. So marriage -- in some cases -- waits until the job is done. In other cases the couple , becoming one flesh in their marriage or betrothal (in some cultures the betrothal is a good as the marriage) must work together to complete the quest. Even if that means in the case of Aragorn and Arwen that she "looks over him in thought" and creates the battle standard (her presences in the the conflict) which proclaims him as king.


Demosthenes
Sr. Staff


Oct 13 2013, 2:10am

Post #19 of 20 (102 views)
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Apologies to mods .. I meant to direct that to the RR! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

TheOneRing.net Senior Staff
IRC Admin and Hall of Fire moderator


Bombadil
Half-elven


Oct 13 2013, 3:03pm

Post #20 of 20 (93 views)
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We maybe making the Same mistake over & over.. [In reply to] Can't Post

We keep Humanizing Dwarves & Hobbits
Their priorities aren't the same as ours.

Many Dwarve women exit Erebor
duing the Assault by Smaug,
and in the Town of Dale we see really cute ones
"Selling Buttons at the Door" (Bomby had to throw that in.:)

Hobbits? now, REALLY, Bilbo (Confirmed Bachelor?)
Frodo (Confirmed Bachelor! TOO)

Well, as it was said on Seinfield..
"Not that there is anything WRONG with That"

Bomby would rather not think about sex when
THIS is About WAR!

Bomby's Theory was that Bilbo was in love as a Youth
but She married someone else, and so he just stopped
thinking that anyone else could replace her.
(That happens all the time.)

Frodo was considered Barely an Adult @ 33, I Think?
So their Timeframe for getting married was really long.

After the War,
He was probably experiencing Post Tramatic Stress syndrome
maybe having Bad dreams, feeling Damaged (His Finger?)
He could have become a Recluse then. Only venturing out to the Market,
and WAS sorta Shunned by the neighbors.

Now, the Marriage of SAM was a big deal in Both The Book & Movies
..so it seems that Frodo was probably the Best babysitter for his kids,
and That is enough to turn some people OFF to having children?

even though, Bomby thinks Eleanor Gamgee was probably the Sweetest thing Ever!

 
 

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