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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
'The Fellowship of the Ring' Discussion, Chapter One: A Long-Expected Party
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Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 15 2014, 3:55pm

Post #176 of 187 (2264 views)
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A few thoughts back at'cha! [In reply to] Can't Post

The opening actually brings to mind the English country-side, though where I live is far from that. But some of the books I read as a kid (just based on cobby webbed impression), particularly Enid Blyton, has that similar genteel feel. There is a lot to setup though, as noted. And by the end of the chapter, things have gotten dark, and not just from the time of day or the season.

I had a similar feeling. I had read a lot of classics--Dickens, Austen, and the like--, and I had this odd sense if familiarity when I read LotR. It did recall the ideas I had formed about the English pastoral countryside. I think it was intentional for the author, but at the time it was on a very subconscious level for me.

(OT: I thought the chapter discussions were going to start thereEvil)

Laugh

Frodo seemed custom-made to be Bilbo's successor. Just from the way tongues wagged about his parents' death, even just in that casual conversation where the Gaffer held court, it seemed it wasn't hard for Frodo to accept Bilbo's invitation to live with him, and get away from the gossip. And of course, that led to some great nurturing in preparation for his role in life.

He does, now that you say it. But never did I feel that the author was very high-handed in all this setup-- a curious thought now that I know the whole plot. Tolkien seems to have mastered the art of characterisation, even when plot is forced to introduc a new character, it is never done needlessly, and ny the end, we develop deep seated emotions for what other authors would call 'minor characters'. Tolkien seems to have crafted his palyers with painstaking love and attention to detail that is found nowhere else.

Given Bilbo's age, and the effects of the Ring, I'm inclined to think it's always intended to be a permanent vacation.

My thought as well. He may be denying the finality to himself, but it is always there IMO.


Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


sador
Half-elven


Dec 15 2014, 4:53pm

Post #177 of 187 (2294 views)
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I'm glad to find you visible. [In reply to] Can't Post

Smile
What do you think of the speech?
I like it. It is Pickwickian indeed, up to a point.
I might like it less listening to it than reading about it, though.


At first it seems to be formal and courteous—the expected thing to say.
These two are not synonymous.

Then it takes a turn to flattery of the hobbits.
Nah. Standard empty words, which nobody would take for flattery. A mere introduction to a toast (which they are expecting).

Do you think he really enjoyed life in Hobbiton, amongst all the whispers and suspicions?
Tolkien said so (at the end of The Hobbit), and I would hate to contradict him. Also his gossip far into the night with Frodo and Sam in Rivendell indicates that he did find it enjoyable.

What kept him happy while he knew that the world was much larger than the Shire?
Precisely that. He had a safe haven. Remember his first song (at the end of The Return Journey).

Do you think he ever felt confined and exasperated at the ignorant hobbits and their petty ways?
Well, this chapter implies that he had become irritable. And also (with the benefit of hindsight, as squire pointed out) that it was less him, and more the baleful influence of the Ring.

So does Tolkien contradict himself? More or less.

Do you think Bilbo chose the year that Frodo ‘came of age’, so that he could inherit Bag End legally? Have his plans been put on hold, waiting for this day and the right time?

Yes; but I'm not sure how far in advance they were made. There is a difference between waiting a couple of months for a special date. and waiting for a few years. We have no indication either way.

What emotions do you read in his words? Hesitation, relief, sorrow? I know how the films portray this announcement, but what do you see?
He might be "screwing himself up", as Frodo does at the end of Book II. But I guess he is trying to act out his part of the joke.
In the films, it seems as if Bilbo is hesitating whether to use the Ring. Which makes a lot of sense, based on what the audience already knows - and less, if we consider what Bilbo himself knows.

How do you think he felt?
I can't put it better than squire did.

They had probably said their good-byes before this, and it had been expected that they would not meet again. Do you think that they believed their parting to be permanent with no planned rendezvous?
Like Darkstone, I don't think Bilbo had made any real plans. In the next chapter we will read that Frodo was considering going after Bilbo (and in A Conspiracy Unmasked that Merry thought so, too), but there was no possibility of planning a rendezvous.

Frodo’s amusement seems to reflect Bilbo’s attitude towards the hobbits—a bit of condescension maybe?
I doubt it. He will speak of feeling so in the next chapter - but that will be after seventeen years of living alone.
He might feel a bit of a Brandybuck condescension towards the Hobbiton riff-raff, though.

His knowledge gained from Bilbo has opened his eyes. How do you think this has affected him, losing the only one who he could share thoughts and knowledge of places beyond the Shire?
Badly. He was looking for a fellow-adventurer ever since, instead of a proper soulmate - so he never married.

Where do you think he meant to go?

Across the fields.

Why take the sword?
He might need it. Frodo is less likely to - andif he ever goes on an adventure he should find his own sword, as heroes normally do.

Is he planning to go somewhere dangerous?
The Road is perilous.

Is his final destination set in his mind or not?
No.

Is it only now he decides never to return?
He told Gandalf before that he already had.

What must he be thinking about leaving Frodo?
It's as good a way of getting even with Lobelia as may be found.

What did you think the trouble was at first? Did you associate it to the Ring? What can we infer so far as to its sinister nature?
I've answered that above.

Do you think it strange how possessive he feels, given that it is only a simple magic ring at this point?
I think that in the early drafts he wasn't so possessive.

But if you've read The Hobbit, and how secretive and possessive he was about the ring (and the Arkenstone!), it is no real surprise.

How much do you think he learned about Gollum?

He hasn't found Gollum yet, and hasn't deemed it important enough to go looking for him (Aragorn had to come up with the bright idea). So I expect no more than Bilbo told him - both versions.

Bilbo seems eager to establish ownership. Is this because he feels guilty about taking it?
For sure.

He then says it feels like ‘an eye’ watching him. Direct Sauron reference?
As squire put it, a brilliant foreshadowing.

After being convinced to leave it, Dwarves appear from other rooms. How much did they hear?
I would assume nothing, but you can never know.

Why, in the intricate detail of M-E, are they not named?
They were in the drafts, and then Tolkien decided their names weren't important enough.

Who do you think they are?
Probably the same as those who brought the goods from the Mountain and Dale.

If he really wanted to catch Bilbo, why not leave earlier?
Couldn't. Had to see the guests were served.

Did he think it was a joke?
Tolkien says so.

What do you think of this detailed account of the doing of the Shire?
I love Merry in this chapter (and he is only nineteen!).

What do you think set off his suspicions?
Well, Bilbo's words and deeds on that lasat night, as he will say in the next chapter.



Thank you, Rembrethil, for kicking off this discussion!


noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 15 2014, 10:23pm

Post #178 of 187 (2256 views)
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Since we're talking about semi-colons [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I don’t have a gun and I don’t have even one wife and my sentences tend to go on and on and on, with all this syntax in them. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than have syntax. Or semicolons. I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after “semicolons,” and another one after “now.”

And another thing. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than get old. And he did. He shot himself. A short sentence. Anything rather than a long sentence, a life sentence. Death sentences are short and very, very manly. Life sentences aren’t. They go on and on, all full of syntax and qualifying clauses and confusing references and getting old. And that brings up the real proof of what a mess I have made of being a man: I am not even young. Just about the time they finally started inventing women, I started getting old. And I went right on doing it. Shamelessly. I have allowed myself to get old and haven’t done one single thing about it, with a gun or anything.
Ursula K Le Guin,


~~~~~~

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

This year LOTR turns 60. The following image is my LOTR 60th anniversary party footer! You can get yours here: http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=762154#762154


Lurker in the Mirk
Valinor


Dec 16 2014, 12:58pm

Post #179 of 187 (2254 views)
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You're too modest here [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Glad you made it here. We're currently on Chapter Two, so you might wan to jump over there to catch up.

Me glad too! *sweat* I'll have to take a raincheck and get on chapter 2 over the weekend. There's a lot of details and questions Kim's got going there.



"I'll say dark and gritty, which, with the Elvenking, translates as Hot and Sexy. Cool" - vanima ephel



I fancy myself an ME BFF (Book/Film Fan) Smile
(Aaaaand a gushy Thranduil fangurl before The Hobbit movies; still a gushy Thranduil fangurl through them. Laugh)

HeartThranduil Appreciation. Threadcount: XXVII
I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X | XI | XII | XIII | XIV | XV | XVI | XVII | XVIII | XIX | XX | XXI | XXII | XXIII | XXIV | XXV | XXVI



"BoFA"= The Battle || "BotFA"/"tBotFA" = The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

=======
Middle-earth dispatches out of the lurkmirk




Bracegirdle
Valinor


Dec 16 2014, 1:02pm

Post #180 of 187 (2249 views)
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Ah, punctuation! How about the dreaded comma! [In reply to] Can't Post

Don’t we all tend use to many commas? Even Tolkien!


Quote
There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendants of old Thorondor. . .

I’m sure this sentence has been scrutinized to a fare-thee-well on TORn, but, it leaves one somewhat confused (at least me) as to a proper interpretation. Why, oh why the first comma if he meant BOTH were “greatest”, as is it could mean that Landroval was “greatest”. . .? Would this sentence be clarified (and flow more smoothly) if we take out that dreaded first comma?
But I seem to recall in a Letter to his publisher something to the effect of – “Touch not a letter nor mark; it is as I wish.”

Anyway, I’m off to Chapter Two. I have a lot of reading to catch up on and so little time.

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
But, sneaking off in daylight takes much more cunning.



Lurker in the Mirk
Valinor


Dec 16 2014, 1:28pm

Post #181 of 187 (2255 views)
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Yes, scholarly, and not just you [In reply to] Can't Post

If erudite was a mineral, the RR would be looking like an Aglarond wannabeSmile

Honestly, the RR was a daunting place, to me, for a long time.



In Reply To
I don' think there is a 'more conventional route'. All of us have our own experiences and order of exposure to the wonders and works of Middle-Earth. No one order is better than another, so don't ever doubt the worth of your insights. I'm just happy you're here now, no matter how you got here.Smile

Thanks, appreciate the welcome, a lot.

Hate to TMI, but in the pre-historic age of the internet, coming from a developing society, and a family where English is not the mother-tongue, I was always a sf/fantasy nerd who only had myself to rely on for reading lists and so on after I was introduced to the neighbourhood library and decided I wanted nothing of the usual "girlie" reads. Still, the worlds in the books were just that, contained between the front and back cover. But Tolkien, wow! There's all this stuff that's essentially the BTS of the books he wrote, and there's even a whole industry of research. Somehow, even as a frog in the well who probably got ideas about what's good to read from eavesdropping on the boys in the library *yup, things were that abysmal for me*, "Tolkien", "Middle-earth" (which my young, impressionably Norse-mythology enamoured mind confused with Midgard for the longest timeEvil), "Hobbits", "Orcs" started popping up in my consciousness.

I do remember having my hands on the Hobbit, and LotR at different points in my young reader-career. But as a kid, and having only me to read to me, my memory was of the Hobbit being too staid to keep the ADD reader in me interested, and the almost academic nature of the LotR's prologue being too scholarly for the kiddie action-junkie (I'm a linear reader with a completist streak). If I had owned the books, I might have completed them at some point in my younger days and gone on to the clever and DEEP stuff (like the respected denizens of the RR seem to delve in) earlier, but the library was my only resource, and without the means to even afford loan extensions, ME was chucked to the back of my mind but still as a to-read-before-I-die because whispers of Tolkien continued to waft through my world. Thankfully, owning books is no longer quite the unattainable luxury now, and I'm the proud owner of a rather dog-earred set of LotR books released in conjunction with the FotR premiere.

Anyway, it seemed being one of those who got defeated by the opening chapter early on, and being a movie-firster, aren't quite acceptable in certain quarters. Being both at the same time just seemed an especially awkward thing to be. Long-winded way of saying it, but I just want to say I really, really do appreciate the welcome.Smile



In Reply To
(Hey BG, I see another semicolon!! Ha ha! Crazy)

Hey! I like the deft use of those in the bookLaugh



In Reply To
Oh, yes, that abandoned project. I wonder what discussions we'd be having if it was completed. Somehow though, I think it would seem to be The Lord of the Rings: An Unexpected Prequel, rather than The Hobbit; a light-hearted tale of adventure and courage.

You know, actually, I'd be interested in that Unexpected Prequel. I'm probably flashing my frog-in-the-well status here but really, what novel of contemporary times in the world can truly claim to have age-appropriate editions?Smile



"I'll say dark and gritty, which, with the Elvenking, translates as Hot and Sexy. Cool" - vanima ephel



I fancy myself an ME BFF (Book/Film Fan) Smile
(Aaaaand a gushy Thranduil fangurl before The Hobbit movies; still a gushy Thranduil fangurl through them. Laugh)

HeartThranduil Appreciation. Threadcount: XXVII
I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X | XI | XII | XIII | XIV | XV | XVI | XVII | XVIII | XIX | XX | XXI | XXII | XXIII | XXIV | XXV | XXVI



"BoFA"= The Battle || "BotFA"/"tBotFA" = The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

=======
Middle-earth dispatches out of the lurkmirk




(This post was edited by Lurker in the Mirk on Dec 16 2014, 1:29pm)


Lurker in the Mirk
Valinor


Dec 16 2014, 1:42pm

Post #182 of 187 (2234 views)
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hmmm [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I had a similar feeling. I had read a lot of classics--Dickens, Austen, and the like--, and I had this odd sense if familiarity when I read LotR. It did recall the ideas I had formed about the English pastoral countryside. I think it was intentional for the author, but at the time it was on a very subconscious level for me.

Interesting that you bring up the feeling being at subconscious level. I've always just sort of accepted whatever the author decided as the setting (provided I can "get it" of courseLaugh). I suppose it's because no English books I read were ever set in places where they could be called familiar to me anyway.



In Reply To
He does, now that you say it. But never did I feel that the author was very high-handed in all this setup-- a curious thought now that I know the whole plot. Tolkien seems to have mastered the art of characterisation, even when plot is forced to introduc a new character, it is never done needlessly, and ny the end, we develop deep seated emotions for what other authors would call 'minor characters'. Tolkien seems to have crafted his palyers with painstaking love and attention to detail that is found nowhere else.

Agreed! And sometimes it's quite contrary in that there's not even a whole lot of words there. When I realise these great big bombastic milieu I thought I read did not even contain that many instances of actual bombast, it may be just me, but it dawned on me that Tolkien just has this way of getting the reader to paint the canvas in her(his) mind with a very interestingly graceful economy of words.



In Reply To
My thought as well. He may be denying the finality to himself, but it is always there IMO.

I think Bilbo faced it and made peace with it only after he had some time at Imladris, just cos of the nirvana stage he probably reached from all that Elf zen he came into daily contact with.Laugh



"I'll say dark and gritty, which, with the Elvenking, translates as Hot and Sexy. Cool" - vanima ephel



I fancy myself an ME BFF (Book/Film Fan) Smile
(Aaaaand a gushy Thranduil fangurl before The Hobbit movies; still a gushy Thranduil fangurl through them. Laugh)

HeartThranduil Appreciation. Threadcount: XXVII
I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X | XI | XII | XIII | XIV | XV | XVI | XVII | XVIII | XIX | XX | XXI | XXII | XXIII | XXIV | XXV | XXVI



"BoFA"= The Battle || "BotFA"/"tBotFA" = The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

=======
Middle-earth dispatches out of the lurkmirk




Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 16 2014, 2:23pm

Post #183 of 187 (2261 views)
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Well.... [In reply to] Can't Post

My interpretation is that the first set of commas is to make the reference to Ladroval as an aside, so the rest of the sentence, and its entailed epithets, naturally applies to Gwahir alone.

To clarify, I might have changed the last comma to a semi-colon, but I have a sinking feeling that it would no longer be the epic Tolkien style that we know and love.

I hope to catch you up on chapter two. I am horribly late, much like Alice's white rabbit!

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 16 2014, 2:29pm

Post #184 of 187 (2259 views)
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Great thoughts. I hope to catch up on Chapter Two. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've said it before, but I love to hear others experiences of discovering Middle-Earth. We all have unique paths we have traveled, and I love to see where they take us in our appreciation of Tolkien.

Again, I am so glad you have joined us. Onwards to Chapter Two!!!

P.S. Now that you say it, 'age-appropriate editions' does sound like an interesting thing. I'm sure if he had more time, and the will to do so, Tolkien would have written an adult Hobbit. He never seemed to care what anyone thought of his work, so long a he enjoyed himself in writing it. I wonder how we would have differentiated them??? We already have several version of the Hobbit, but most of the changes are easily explained in light of LotR, or very minor. Now I wonder what a rewrite might look like.....

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 16 2014, 2:34pm

Post #185 of 187 (2260 views)
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A few thoughts, then on to Chapter Two [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting that you bring up the feeling being at subconscious level. I've always just sort of accepted whatever the author decided as the setting (provided I can "get it" of courseLaugh). I suppose it's because no English books I read were ever set in places where they could be called familiar to me anyway.

This is exactly alike to my experience, I've never been to England, but I did get a vague idea of how different authors saw it, and that gave me some grounding to accept whatever they said about the setting.

I think Bilbo faced it and made peace with it only after he had some time at Imladris, just cos of the nirvana stage he probably reached from all that Elf zen he came into daily contact with.Laugh

Agreed! Elves do seem to have that effect, or maybe it was the power of Elrond's ring Vilya to preserve things 'unstained'-- similar to Galadriel in Lorien?

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Dec 16 2014, 2:53pm

Post #186 of 187 (2261 views)
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Ouch, Rem [In reply to] Can't Post

There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendants of old Thorondor. . .

Your interpretation should then read something like: “There came Landroval and Gwaihir the Windlord his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest. . .
wherein then you would have moved Gwaihir to his proper position in the sentence (should he be the only “greatest”).

As the original reads to me Gwaihir AND Landroval are both “greatest”; or Landroval alone is “greatest”. Oh, my….

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
But, sneaking off in daylight takes much more cunning.



(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on Dec 16 2014, 2:54pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Dec 17 2014, 2:33pm

Post #187 of 187 (2308 views)
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Yeah, I think that the superlative usually refers to one, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

I do realise that the word 'greatest' can mean that these were the 'two best', but whenever I use the word, I always use it to refer to one, ultimate thing. Just the way my brain works. Crazy Tongue

I actually am upset whenever people lightly say:

That's the worst!

He's the best!

It was the greatest movie, ever!


etc...

It makes me want to say,' No it's not!' Frown

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?

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