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***The Hobbit read-through -The Gathering of the Clouds: 5 of 5: Tone, and everything else


Aug 31, 1:17pm

Post #1 of 3 (770 views)
***The Hobbit read-through -The Gathering of the Clouds: 5 of 5: Tone, and everything else Can't Post

In this last of my scheduled posts I wanted to raise points about the tone of the work now, and its themes. And the rest is a ‘bundle of oddments’ such as a Tolkien character might use as a pillow, and which might contain a gem or two.

We seem to be a long way away stylistically from a bunch of semi-comedy dwarves bursting into Bilbo’s life with their different coloured hoods – what happened? Did Tolkien get more serious intentionally or did it just happen?

I did sight our Avuncular Narrator (‘As you have heard some of the events already, you will see that the dwarves still had some says before them…’) but he’s appearing less often – do you miss him?
Should Tolkien have gone back and made the book more consistent stylistically (in your opinion), or is it just right as it is?

Is the style becoming more like LOTR? If so is that a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing?

What is this story now – which elements do you see (children’s’ tale, fairy story, folk tale, saga, novel, romance…) and in what proportions?

Fantasy (especially for children) often has clearly distinguishable ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, who are good and bad axiomatically, but here the ‘good guys’ are squaring up for a confrontation with each other that might turn to war. Did anyone as a child reader lose their bearings here, or are child readers more sophisticated than many adults imagine, and able to deal with this stuff?

Aside from ‘dragon-sickness’, John D Rateliff (my library has sourced a ‘Brief History of the Hobbit’ for me) points out that there appears to be a dwarfish curse on the large treasure jar in Tolkien’s painting ‘Conversation with Smaug’. The inscription on the jar appears to read ‘gold of Thror and Thrain, cursed be the thief’. Is this just regular cussing, or is it technical cursing (bringing down a magical or metaphysical revenge on its target)? Is Bilbo at risk?

This being the last post of the set, it’s also time for YOU to ask that question or make that observation or contribution that you’ve been sitting on all week, in case we covered it. What else should we discuss about this chapter?

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

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Aug 31, 10:01pm

Post #2 of 3 (745 views)
Here's a little point [In reply to] Can't Post

A bit of a what if but one thing I have been mulling over. Now suppose that in the journey from Bag End to the Lonely Mountain, a few of the Dwarves didn't make it. Well, it was a dangerous journey, sad but there you go. So, now there where not enough Dwarves to defend the mountain
So, Bard is tempted and does get inside it with the Elves. How might that have changed the situation. On the one hand, I have heard it argued that the Elves and Men might have had a chance to fortify the mountain themselves and defend it better against the forthcoming Orc attack. But one thing I have thought might have happened is that maybe the Elves and Men might have disagreed amongst themselves over the Dragon Gold. At least the Dwarves knew what to expect!.

uncle Iorlas

Sep 1, 4:04am

Post #3 of 3 (735 views)
avunculus [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally I'm a fan of the Avuncular Narrator. In college writing seminars we were told that the omniscient 3rd was out of fashion--because, as one prof volunteered, people these days realize that an omniscient point of view is not possible. But I have a lot of affection for the style, and particularly this sort of narration, with a clear and individual voice, even if it does have superhuman access to unknowable thoughts and secrets about what's going on.


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