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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
***The hobbit-read-through: Ch5 Riddles In The Dark
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Jun 25 2018, 3:37pm

Post #51 of 54 (831 views)
Maybe not in 'The Hobbit'. [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
The trolls, Gollum, the wolves, the spiders, and Smaug liked eating sentient people--scary monsters. The goblins just wanted to kill Thorin & Co, unless I missed a reference to eating their prisoners too.

I think we have to jump over to the Orcs of LotR for that. And even then I might be remembering more from the movies than the book.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Jun 25 2018, 3:44pm

Post #52 of 54 (832 views)
On the other hand... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I tend to see the immense importance of 'cheating at the Riddle Game' as being necessary to explain why Gollum, having lost, placably agrees to walk Bilbo out of the caves when he can't find the promised present.

I can certainly see that is how it is in Hobbit 1e. But as I read it, Tolkien gives us more about accusations of cheating in 2e than in 1e (and yet more in bits of LOTR that refer back to thsi episode). So I think it had changed its significance - what started as a handy plot device to prevent treachery by Gollum has now been used for something else, rather than edited out altogether or edited out only partially, with some left in as a sort of 'fossil'.

It reads to me that the 'cheating' thing is now source of guilt and discomfort for Bilbo - something that bothers him and perhaps acts as an ostensible reason to keep the ring secret.

And I think it's also a rationalisation for Gollum - because Bilbo cheated it would be OK to murder him to recover the ring. When he talks of killing Bilbo and Frodo, I see a revenge motive, as well as (of course) wanting to recover his Precious.

Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Jun 25 2018, 5:04pm

Post #53 of 54 (829 views)
Sure, for the Ring modification the cheating issue grows in importance [In reply to] Can't Post

As you say, the entire 1e/2e revision is to give the Ring its due. Bilbo's and the narrator's honest doubts about his and Gollum's various versions of 'cheating' do help explain the Ring's history in the later book, especially so in the rewrite. My point was that the vast majority of the present book remains unchanged. Anything we read that wasn't changed was never meant to apply to LotR, even if Tolkien cleverly found plenty of second meanings due to overlaps of psychology and just plain good storytelling about mythic subjects.

Even in the context of the new stuff about the Ring, I'll say that 'cheating' in this chapter is a word used for game play, not general criminality or dishonest conduct with friends. Thus I disagreed with sador's suggestion that the cheating in the Gollum chapter was a thematic introduction to Bilbo's later dishonest or burglarious behavior. I would even venture that Tolkien agreed, in that he added the "Thief! Thief!" dialogue to make the distinction clearer - Gollum doesn't rant "Cheat! Cheat!" because it wouldn't make sense in the new scenario.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jun 26 2018, 9:28am

Post #54 of 54 (812 views)
Although as we know [In reply to] Can't Post

The events in the Hobbit did happen in the broader ME world.

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