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A question about dialogue
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Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jan 15, 11:11pm

Post #1 of 33 (4172 views)
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A question about dialogue Can't Post

In the Shadow of the past, there is a line which even now I am not totally sure who is speaking it. Frodo and Gandalf are having a discussion about dark things and wandering etc and there is one point where they both have a few lines without description about who is saying what as it is a line of dialogue and I am not sure about counting. But one of the two says ,'I would like to see the Shire saved if I could. Though I have not always thought this and sometimes I have thought the inhabitants too stupid for words and a plague or an invasion of dragons would do them good. But I don't think that now and I think that as long as i go wondering I like to have the Shire as a base.' Now I did think at first it was Gandalf saying this, but then again it is not really a Gandalf type of thing to say. But then again, would Frodo think of wandering outside the Shire? Does anyone here have some thoughts?


(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jan 16, 2:04am)


cats16
Valinor


Jan 15, 11:51pm

Post #2 of 33 (4096 views)
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It's Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

On p.61 of my edition (Houghton Mifflin, 2nd edition), there are three paragraphs splitting Frodo's reply to Gandalf's musing that the Ring's effects, whatever they may be, will take a great deal of time to set in.

I won't bother quoting it all, but the first paragraph ends with Frodo saying:


Quote
"I cannot keep the Ring and stay here. I ought to leave Bag End, leave the Shire, leave everything and go away.' He sighed.


A new paragraph starts with the quote you've given, and it ends without a closing quotation mark, indicating that the paragraph after that, which starts with "Of course," is also Frodo's voice. That third paragraph ends with a closed quotation mark, ending his monologue.

Interestingly, my version of the quote you've selected is slightly different from yours. Mine reads "an earthquake or an invasion of dragons," rather than "a plague or an invasion of dragons." Also, instead of "I think that as long as I go wandering I like to have the Shire as a base," mine reads:


Quote
"I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again."


This makes more sense coming from Frodo (and sounds much more like his voice, IMO). He's just been confronted with the long, terrible history of the Ring and is thinking aloud about the ramifications of its arrival into his life, and the frightening predicament he now faces. It's melancholic yet possesses impressive clarity in light of everything he's just learned from Gandalf.

Gandalf replies to all of this--as anyone would, I expect--in an awestruck manner, with the "My dear Frodo!" quote. He is impressed by the hobbit, yet assures him that "I don't think you need go alone," in reference to Frodo's comment about leaving everything/wandering.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




(This post was edited by cats16 on Jan 15, 11:52pm)


Attalus
Lorien


Jan 16, 12:07am

Post #3 of 33 (4088 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I have always thought it was Frodo. The thought that the inhabitants were too dull and stupid for words, is much more of a Baggins thing to say.Smile

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


squire
Half-elven


Jan 16, 12:19am

Post #4 of 33 (4089 views)
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Who are the Bagginses, at this point? [In reply to] Can't Post

Funny you should say the thought of the Shire's inhabitants as being dull and stupid is "a Baggins thing to say".

In The Hobbit, "dull and stupid" is a harsh but accurate summary of the Baggins clan, i.e., one side of Bilbo's family. Then there is the romantic Took side, which becomes the symbol of Bilbo's willingness to go on an adventure.

Of course, this is The Lord of the Rings - and Frodo may be a Baggins by name, but he has been raised by, first, Brandybucks, and second, his elder cousin Bilbo who has more or less demolished the "Baggins" side of his personality.

So now, in 180-degree contrast to the first book, the second book establishes that it's a "Baggins thing" to go on adventures!



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Attalus
Lorien


Jan 16, 2:17am

Post #5 of 33 (4070 views)
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Heh [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I guess I was thinking of Frodo and Bilbo as my Bagginses of choice. I have to admit it has been years since I read The Hobbit, and longer ago than that I paid much attention to the opening chapter. But you have to admit that Lotho and Lobelia , though jerks, obviously, were not staid, "dull and stupid" Hobbits.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 17, 4:27am

Post #6 of 33 (3949 views)
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The Sackvilles are social strivers. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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Attalus
Lorien


Jan 17, 4:34am

Post #7 of 33 (3957 views)
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Quite [In reply to] Can't Post

The S-B's were vulgarians, climbers, snobs, and no-goodniks generally. But that doesn't make them stupid and dull. I wouldn't want them at any party of mine. They are unpleasant,, covetous, and ugly {well, in action. They could look like Theda Bara and Alan Ladd (who were both short) and they would be awful}. But, still, not dull. One's enemies are rarely dull.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


squire
Half-elven


Jan 17, 1:05pm

Post #8 of 33 (3921 views)
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Snobs and no-goodniks, yes. Climbers and vulgarians, not so clear. [In reply to] Can't Post

I never got the impression that, just because the Sackville-Bagginses craved possession of Bag End, that they were in any sense of a lower social class or poorer than Bilbo was. One can find an infinite degree of status differences among people who, to the rest of us, are all incredibly wealthy, privileged, and cultivated.
It is comic that Lobelia tries to steal cutlery, but she's not doing it for the money as far as I can tell. And Lotho's evident vulgarity, epitomized by his bad skin, does not tell us that he was a lout as far as education and breeding is concerned.
Hey, even Sauron is tip top upper class, to judge from his diction.



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Belegdir
Lorien


Jan 17, 4:33pm

Post #9 of 33 (3904 views)
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Lobelia stealing cutlery [In reply to] Can't Post

always puts me in mind of the type of people that will take sugar packets from a restaurant. It's just one of those things they do and don't see it as stealing.


Attalus
Lorien


Jan 17, 6:55pm

Post #10 of 33 (3884 views)
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Actually... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I got the impression that they were slightly higher status (as such things are reckoned in The Shire, and probably mainly in their own minds) and that what was that was behind Lobelia's outburst of "You're no Baggins, you're a Brandybuck!"

Making Merry's comeback "It was a compliment, and so, not true," even more humorous. Smile

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 17, 8:08pm

Post #11 of 33 (3874 views)
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Is it really stealing if.... [In reply to] Can't Post

you are convinced that it ought to be yours by right? I get the sense that Lobelia is the sort who would rationalise her pettiness in just such a fashion.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




(This post was edited by Silverlode on Jan 18, 12:53am)


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 17, 8:52pm

Post #12 of 33 (3859 views)
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Double last names [In reply to] Can't Post

were a thing that the upper classes in England did to preserve a family name that might otherwise be lost due to lack of male descendants. Later on, it became a thing that the middle classes started doing, and then it could be seen as social climbing or snobbery.

Interestingly, Wikipedia gives Stopford Sackville as an example of a double-barreled last name. Upon following that link, I discovered that the Stopford Sackvilles inherited an estate (Drayton House) when the Drayton line (which had literally come over with the Conqueror) failed. I do not know whether the SS's were at all less genteel, but it might well be seen as a comedown for an old family line to fail and lose their estate to an offshoot branch of the family tree and another name.

Shades of Bag End passing to another branch of the family upon the departure of the last of the name, perhaps...at least until Bilbo went and adopted someone with a lesser relationship and cut them out. Otho (who is Sackville Baggins presumably because his mother was the last of the Sackvilles) was Bilbo's first cousin, making Lotho his first cousin once removed. Frodo was a second cousin once removed and had a whole bunch of people between him and the succession in the normal way of things. Hence the "You're not even a Baggins!" insult, which is pretty rich coming to the son of Drogo Baggins from a Bracegirdle, but no doubt she's all about protecting Lotho's interests.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




Attalus
Lorien


Jan 17, 9:15pm

Post #13 of 33 (3854 views)
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Double Barreled Names, cont. [In reply to] Can't Post

Immediately brings to mind Lord Randolph Churchill's quip, (he was Winston Churchill's dad) who set the House roaring in Parliament after replying to some nonentity. Then, almost as though speaking to himself, he added: Strange, strange how often we find mediocrity dowered with a double-barreled name." (Manchester, The Last Lion ) Wink
EDIT: punctuation
Pirate

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!

(This post was edited by Attalus on Jan 17, 9:17pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 17, 11:38pm

Post #14 of 33 (3841 views)
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Rationalising pettiness [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice phrase! It reminds me of how the horrible snobby sister-in-law in the movie Sense and Sensibility asks for the key to check the silver before the two heroines move out of their family home that has been inherited by their brother. It's typical of her pettiness and willingness to give offence - pretty Sackville-Baggins style really.

Silverware in those days, being solid silver, would be one of the more valuable items in a household, and usually kept under lock and key - except when you were entertaining, of course, so I would think that to take advantage of someone's hospitality by stealing the spoons would be a pretty shabby thing to do, no matter whether you thought you had a right to them or not.

I recall as well that Lobelia was reluctant to have the door key left with the Gamgees after Bag End was sold:
Anyway, she had come to see that nothing she had paid for had been carried off; and she wanted the keys. It took a long while to satisfy her, as she had brought a complete inventory with her and went right through it. In the end she departed with Lotho and the spare key and the promise that the other key would be left at the Gamgees in Bagshot Row. She snorted, and showed plainly that she thought the Gamgees capable of plundering the hole during the night.
It all fits together I guess - she assumes everyone is as petty and untrustworthy as she is!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



squire
Half-elven


Jan 18, 2:15am

Post #15 of 33 (3826 views)
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Do you think there is a class thing involved? [In reply to] Can't Post

This little subthread started from the remark that the Sackville-Bagginses were "climbers", i.e. from a lower class aspiring to be gentry on Bilbo's level. I disagreed, thinking that Lobelia is just as much a member of the Shire upper or gentry class as any Baggins or similar family. Yet she is clearly depicted as a grasping, mean-spirited, petty, and mistrustful woman.

You referred to a Jane Austen story, which also depicts the upper classes. Is it a literary convention that Tolkien was following, to make Lobelia repulsive because she is wealthy and privileged?



squire online:
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Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 18, 3:00am

Post #16 of 33 (3814 views)
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"Two spoons at least; an use ill kept: 'T is well now if our own be left." [In reply to] Can't Post

In the Bachelor's Banquet (1603) we find an allusion to these feasts: 'What cost and trouble will it be to have all things fine against the Christening Day; what store of sugar, biscuits, comfets, and caraways, marmalet, and marchpane, with all kinds of sweet-suckers and superfluous banqueting stuff, with a hundred other odd and needless trifles, which at that time must fill the pockets of dainty dames.' It would appear from this that the women at the feast not only ate what they pleased, but carried off some of the good things in their pockets.

A writer in 1666, alluding to this and the falling-off in the custom of giving presents at christenings, says:

'Especially since gossips now
Eat more at christenings than bestow.
Formerly when they used to trowl
Gilt bowls of sack, they gave the bowl
Two spoons at least; an use ill kept:
'T is well now if our own be left.'

He insinuates that some of the guests were as likely to steal spoons from the table as to give gilt bowls or 'apostle spoons' to the infant."


-Shakespeare the Boy by William James Rolfe, 1896

******************************************
I met a Balrog on the stair
He had some wings that weren't there.
They weren't there again today.
I wish he would just fly away.





Attalus
Lorien


Jan 18, 5:16am

Post #17 of 33 (3800 views)
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Snobs? [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually in all of Jane Austen, the only one that Lobelia really reminded me of was Lady Catherine de Bourgh . Horrible woman. I Hope Elisabeth Bennett made her days miserable till the end of her misspent life.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 18, 5:14pm

Post #18 of 33 (3765 views)
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Sort of, I think [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's perhaps more of a culture clash between the good old country squire with his old-fashioned values and plain tastes, and fashionable town-dwellers with their love of (expensive) show. It's not the difference in wealth that matters so much as how you see your place in the world. If the country gentry were (supposedly, in literary terms) settled and comfortable with their status on their own estates, town-dwellers (or to use the French term, "bourgeois") needed to demonstrate their status in society by shows of wealth and taste.

In literary terms (I'm thinking of, for example, Anthony Trollope and George Eliot as well as Jane Austen) it's the country gentry with their simpler tastes (and dislike of show and fuss) who provide the heroes and heroines of the stories, while the fashionable set are seen as being selfish and pretentious, and with an unhealthy love of money and expensive possessions. They are in a way all the same "class", and they interact socially with each other - the most famous example maybe is Mr Darcy who starts out in a fashionable set before Elizabeth Barrett calls him out for his snobbery and ends up bringing out his more honest and genuine side. And in Sense and Sensibility, the novel I mentioned previously, the "sensibility" of the romantic young sister who is swept off her feet by a glamorous and fashionable young man only to be betrayed by him and, after much hardship, learn the "sense" of the honest love of a worthy country squire is the essential plot. That's a bit simplistic, but I think it's fundamentally the scale on which Bilbo and the Sackville-Bagginses sit.

I recall that Tom Shippey points out in one of his books that 'Sackville' is really just a French version of 'Baggins', French taste being the epitome of pretentiousness as far as the country gentry are concerned! And as I recall that is echoed in Tolkien's own life, if it's true that his aunt's farm was called 'Bag End' as the plain English version of the still-used French term 'cul-de-sac' to mean a dead-end street (although as it happens it's just a bit of faux French, as you might say, being unknown in France itself...).

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Attalus
Lorien


Jan 18, 7:08pm

Post #19 of 33 (3755 views)
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Excellent points... [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I must pick a nit. It is Elizabeth Bennet.

Another excellent example is "Old Christmas: From the Sketch Book of Washington Irving". Squire Bracebridge and Bilbo (and JRRT) would get along famously. Irving even wrote a full-volume update called "Bracebridge Hall," hardly ever read any more, but very dear to me. Recommended to all Tolkien lovers as a distant glimpse of the Shire.
Smile

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 18, 8:52pm

Post #20 of 33 (3741 views)
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Whoops! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Though I must pick a nit. It is Elizabeth Bennet.


Thanks for picking that up - I think I was getting confused with Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

And thanks for the Washington Irving recommendation. I'll definitely check it out!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 20, 4:15pm

Post #21 of 33 (3576 views)
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So I was just searching old posts for somethng and this caught my eye: [In reply to] Can't Post

On Bilbo's Spoons

Plus a change...

Cool

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 20, 5:50pm

Post #22 of 33 (3561 views)
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... plus c'est la mme chose. [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool



Attalus
Lorien


Jan 20, 6:05pm

Post #23 of 33 (3561 views)
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Spoon-snatching [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Ralph Waldo Emerson quote riffs off the idiom to count one's spoons meaning to check and make sure that nothing has been stolen by suspicious guests. The phrase can be traced back to James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791:




Quote
But if he really does think that there is no difference between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses, let us count our spoons.


Spoons were made of silver (as JRRT notes) andwere hence valuable. Knives, being plain iron or steel were not, and forks were too new to become proverbial, I guess. Angelic

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jan 21, 10:25pm

Post #24 of 33 (3452 views)
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All right, the real quote is slightly different [In reply to] Can't Post

Than my summerizied version. And better, of course. I must admit that I am not totally sure about the rules of the speaker changing with a paragraph or not which explains my unclearness over the passage. Also, the speaker does seem to be talking about Hobbits a bit as a seperate race, hence my unsureness about it been Frodo, either. But thanks for clearing that up.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jan 21, 10:38pm

Post #25 of 33 (3447 views)
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Lets be fair to Lobellia [In reply to] Can't Post

She did turn out all right in the end, attacking Ruffians with an umbrellia! She wasn't fazed. In fact, Frodo might have considered taking her with him! She might even have not been scared by the Black Riders and used a swipe of an umberlla against them. Or at the least said things like, 'Come on, leave now, Frodo, don't wait until Gandalf might get here,' 'So why are we taking a nap in these haunted, fog infested hills, then?' 'No, Merry don't go out for a wonder in Bree when the Nazgul are about!'

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