Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
***The hobbit-read-through: ch. 16 – A Thief in the Night
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 5, 3:39pm

Post #26 of 41 (1538 views)
Shortcut
I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes - Bilbo could have done many other things than go back to the dwarves. It is this act which seals his total sincerity, I think, and makes it convincing that he's doing something because he believes it is the best for all, rather than to save his own skin, or get some other personal gain.

I also agree that the story is rather spoiled if Bilbo makes, say, one of the other choices set out neatly here:


Quote
Of course, we can’t pass this chapter without discussing, even briefly, the nature of Bilbo’s actions and whether they amount to a betrayal of the dwarves. From a strictly legal perspective Bilbo isn’t doing anything wrong, having been employed as a burglar to help with the regaining of the treasure, a job he has carried out to very best of his abilities. There is a sticky issue regards just how the fourteenth share was to be apportioned (Bilbo’s internal thoughts noted that his own belief is this doesn’t cover the Arkenstone) but Thorin’s obsession with the Arkenstone and his naked threat to any that would withhold it was not part of the equation until after Bilbo found it. It can be argued that Bilbo has taken his share and can do with it as he will, having no political allegiance to the dwarves and thus no reason to find himself as a belligerent player in a state of war with Lake-town or the Woodland Realm.

But on a less technical level, we must consider Bilbo’s actions. The dwarves are his companions, albeit grumbly, sometimes inconsiderate companions. He has, whether he wants to admit it or not, aligned himself with their cause. He could, perhaps, have walked away when the news of the dragon’s death came to the company, and there is no indication that he has voiced his dissatisfaction with affairs to Thorin (though fear could have played a part in that). Even now, he could leave the Arkenstone behind, scramble down the gate, and tell Thranduil, Bard and Gandalf that he just wants to go home, and one of the reasons he doesn’t is the connection he has with the dwarves.

Chapter by chapter analysis of The Hobbit by the always-worth-a-read 'NeverFeltBetter' - https://neverfeltbetter.wordpress.com/...-thief-in-the-night/



I note the Elvenking does not dispute Bilbo's more intimate knowledge of Thorin, but argues he has "knowledge of dwarves in general". Is this comment racist?
Yes. Or, at least I would take it to be so if applied to a real-life group of people (try substituting, say "knowledge of Americans in general"; or "knowledge of vegans in general" [or, insert another group of which you have intimate knowledge]). Besides, as you've noted, the Elvenking is claiming that his knowledge of 'dwarves in general' trumps Bilbo's very intimate knowledge of these dwarves in particular - how does that make sense?. Perhaps it is as well that Bilbo does not yet (as far as we know) have much knowledge of 'elves in general' - I've heard that they go totally berserk if someone shows them a fancy gemstone: they have to have it for themselves and will go to any lengths to get it :)

What to make of this, and other similar passages either voiced by characters or by the narrator? In Middle-earth, I suppose, members of a 'race' might all be stereotypes rather than characters, in which case presumptions of someone's behaviour or character from their race might be more justifiable than they are in real life. But where Tolkien does characterise individual dwarves, it seems to refute this notion. What I think is happening is that dwarves start out in Tolkien's story as mostly stereotype, but individual dwarves become characters as he writes character into them. Once that has happened, it can't be undone. We've often discussed here the corner Tolkien painted himself into by characterising some orcs, after which it's hard to believe in them as the mindless hero-fodder that would be handy for battle scenes. I think the same process might be at work here.



I'm thinking about Bombur, & will try to write something. But it works best if I do the thinking first :)

~~~~~~
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


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 5, 5:16pm

Post #27 of 41 (1528 views)
Shortcut
Capacity for Friendship is one of Bilbo's best qualities [In reply to] Can't Post

Whatever he thought he was doing running after the dwarves that May morning, I think that it's long been friendship that has kept him going. Maybe that is as well - without that capacity for friendship, perhaps he could not have trusted Gandalf enough to give up the Ring, and to leave it to Frodo, with Gandalf looking after him. The contrast with the friendless Smeagol is very stark.

~~~~~~
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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 5, 8:34pm

Post #28 of 41 (1517 views)
Shortcut
In a real world, I think Bilbo would be dead [In reply to] Can't Post

If the dwarves acted like humans, he’d probably be dead, and let’s say in a less romanticized world of dwarves where their anger gets the better of them, again Bilbo would be dead.

I think the story skates on a knife edge on this point: Bilbo is not really that naive that he thinks he faces no danger from the dwarves, and Thorin does threaten to kill him, so the tension is there. Which makes Bilbo’s moral heroism all the more magnificent.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Sep 6, 9:35am

Post #29 of 41 (1445 views)
Shortcut
thief in the night. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking that there are quite a few pop songs that are entitled Thief in the night or at least have it in their lyrics!


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Sep 6, 9:37am

Post #30 of 41 (1445 views)
Shortcut
All this talk of complex negotians [In reply to] Can't Post

And not insulting the other side been diplomatic etc can't help but remind me of some other contemporary negotiations that are taking place! Which is the 'Arkenstone' of Brexit?


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 6, 10:55am

Post #31 of 41 (1441 views)
Shortcut
Bombur [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that Bilbo seems to have timed things to choose the best watchman as his stooge. Not only will Bombur willingly sleep instead of watch (of which more later) but he grumbles cautiously about Thorin's leadership and the uncomfortable fix it has put them in; seeing the inconvenience of setting a watch as much as an imposition as a necessary part of the mission. So perhaps if he did wake and find Bilbo gone, he would be more understanding of some excuse.

I suspect that Bilbo knew he woudl have had a harder time getting around Balin, for example.

Bilbo is eager to get back before the end of Bombur's watch, and I wonder if that isn't in part to prevent blame falling on Bombur. If so it's a contrast to 'Frying Pan' where he was willing to let Balin be grumbled at for failing to see him, rather than to revel his new ability to be invisible.

Tolkien says something interesting about Bombur's sleeping:


Quote
Bombur would sleep (he could sleep at any time, and ever since the adventure in the forest he was always trying to recapture the beautiful dreams he had then)


...suggesting that Bombur is still suffering the effects of whatever it was that the enchanted stream did to him.

I agree that it's a bit surprising to read in LOTR that throwaway comment that makes Bombur grotesque - confined to a litter, and carried around by six dwarves. I've commented before that Tolkien is a little inclined to do the fat guy as a comic figure, but this seems to be something else: to me it almost seems to turn Bombur into a figure of horror for cautionary tale, though in that case I'm not sure what the moral is.

The idea that Bombur is turning to food as a comfort for his regrets seems a plausible idea. Or maybe he is still under the influence of the enchanted stream - trying to dream his way back to faerie, and occupying too much of his waking life with the nearest real-life approximations. Or, maybe we should look to Tolkien at the time he was writing LOTR - a man perhaps seeing 'middle-aged spread' in the mirror these days, and with some misgivings about all the time he's spent fantasising rather than professoring. "Take your pick" (as they used to say to dwarves on their first day working down the mine, having confusingly taken them to a store that contained only shovels).

~~~~~~
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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 7, 11:20am

Post #32 of 41 (1375 views)
Shortcut
Bombur in LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

I personally think this is an area that one can read too much into. I think of the LOTR story about “Bombur is so fat now that...” is just a throw-away comic line meant to amuse readers and tickle the nostalgia of readers of The Hobbit who want an update on the dwarves in LOTR. Though clearly, YMMV.


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 7, 1:47pm

Post #33 of 41 (1362 views)
Shortcut
"YMMV." looks very rune-like [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact isn't it the logo on Snorri Steampuksun's Penumatic Spoil Removal System ("we can remove the spoil form you mine-workings reliably - Your Mules May Vary...")

Quite right - the idea that it's just a throwaway line works too.

...I'll look for the throwaway line right after I've taken my pick from this shovel store...

~~~~~~
Now you dwarves must be careful with that machine with a rotating cutting tip or reciprocating hammer or chisel, used for making holes - it's not a drill, y'know!"


sador
Half-elven


Sep 7, 2:51pm

Post #34 of 41 (1355 views)
Shortcut
I agree, but [In reply to] Can't Post

the same might be said on most of the references to individual dwarves in The Hobbit, too.
But it has been a long "hobby" of me to take similar throwaway references and try to imagine a full character which would be consistent with them.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 7, 8:10pm

Post #35 of 41 (1334 views)
Shortcut
I thought it was [In reply to] Can't Post

Yavanna Mulls Messages from Varda. Or: Yo, Mandos, Manwë’s Vacationing.

It’s meant to be cryptic and open to interpretation, like all great literature.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 7, 8:31pm

Post #36 of 41 (1330 views)
Shortcut
The Elvenking’s wonder at Bilbo [In reply to] Can't Post

That reminded me of one of my favorite Tolkien passages, when Frodo forgives Saruman’s attempt to murder him:

“Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred.”

I think the context is similar here in that a superior person is looking at a hobbit with surprised respect, having previously underestimated them, and perhaps realizing they’re an equal.

Like Frodo, Bilbo upends normal expectations of self-interest and takes the high moral ground that few if any would take. I suspect the Elvenking might even feel a bit of guilt that he’s more motivated by greed than this hobbit is.


Plurmo
Rohan

Sep 9, 3:11am

Post #37 of 41 (1166 views)
Shortcut
The tree of Aulë had a heart of light. [In reply to] Can't Post

I prefer to try to connect the Arkenstone to the history of the dwarves. Aulë was inspired by what he saw in The Music and so made the dwarves. Then he was ordered to put them to sleep until after the awakening of the elves. Isn't it possible that the Arkenstone was made by Aulë for the purpose of being a lonely star close (and yet unacessible, like stars are) to the lonely chamber where one of the Seven slept, it's light passing through a long shaft (like the light over Balin's tomb) so that he would awake under a star, just like the elves would, and it's light would connect the dwarven heart to Aulë just like the elven heart would connect to Elbereth? The consequence being that dwarves became enamoured to the light of the hiden jewels of Aulë the same way elves are enamoured to the light of stars?

Maybe a tree of Aulë with a heart of light was the inspiration for Yavanna, who was ever near his thought. And possibly the Silmaril, a far later work by the Noldor was also inspired in the teachings of Aulë who maybe said to Fëanor that it was possible to make a jewel that could keep light as if alive, and so, now according to the tale told by Darkstone, he set out to work in a way to recreate the light of the hair of Galadriel, and denied her hair, made it from the living light of the Trees instead.

Being both covenants in radiating form, the Arkenstone is the beloved star of the dwarves as much as Eärendil is the beloved star of the elves still in Middle-earth.

It is interesting that Bilbo would make good use the Arkenstone first and Frodo his heir would use the light of Eärendil later, as if all covenants would be made use of in the final struggle against Sauron.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 9, 9:50am

Post #38 of 41 (1136 views)
Shortcut
"A lonely star" [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, but tradition holds that Durin the Deathless was put to sleep at Mount Gundabad, not the Lonely Mountain. None of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves have a direct connection to Erebor of which I am aware, so you seem to be reaching a bit. It's a nice story though!

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sep 9, 9:52am)


Plurmo
Rohan

Sep 9, 11:40pm

Post #39 of 41 (1073 views)
Shortcut
I think that the Mirrormere crown implies [In reply to] Can't Post

that the seven stars of the dwarves are not in the sky, though they are meant to be mirroring the Valacirca. It is not unlikely that the dwarven sky is an inward notion, since they are aulërian and that the seven rings had no mastery over them because there is a real Crown of Durin constellation out there keeping them indomitable and focused on the ground.

The seven fathers of the dwarves were placed to sleep each at different places. Mount Gundabad is the only site that is mentioned, as far as I can recall, therefore Erebor might as well be a sleeping site. Since it was Eru who awoke them, there is no reason why the sleeping chamber ever had a way out or could be found from the outside.

Maybe Thorin, though from the line of Durin, could be a reincarnation of the Erebor sleeper, since he ended up sleeping with his Arkenstone, instead of leading onward that line (what's more, neither him nor his nephews.) Nobody knows about those things, but there is room for speculation.

My idea was to suggest that the Arkenstone could be a preimage for the Silmarillion, instead of being a Silmaril or created based on it, and that it was strictly connected to dwarven history from the start. Outright fanfiction, though.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 10, 1:37am

Post #40 of 41 (1062 views)
Shortcut
The resting sites of the Seven Fathers [In reply to] Can't Post

We have Durin at Gundabad; the two clans of the Dwarves of the Ered Luin at Mount Dolmed (in the Third Age the site would have been in Forlindon about 120 miles or so north of the Gulf of Lune; the Fathers of the four eastern Houses seem to have been in the Orocarni (Mountains of the East). I don't know that Erebor was ever a contender.

The separate idea that the Arkenstone has some connection with the Silmarilli (an inspiration?) without actually being one of them is an interesting notion.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sep 10, 1:39am)


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 10, 8:38am

Post #41 of 41 (1021 views)
Shortcut
"Outright fanfiction" perhaps, but a lovely idea. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~
Now you dwarves must be careful with that machine with a rotating cutting tip or reciprocating hammer or chisel, used for making holes - it's not a drill, y'know!"

First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.