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: Chapter 18 - :"The Return Journey" (Part 1 of 3)
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 16, 1:19pm

Post #1 of 42 (1968 views)
Shortcut
***The Hobbit Read-through: Chapter 18 - :"The Return Journey" (Part 1 of 3) Can't Post

The Aftermath of Battle



Why the ‘***’? I have no idea; let’s just call it ‘tradition’. Full Disclosure: For this read-through I am using The Annotated Hobbit (2002) annotated by Douglas A. Anderson.

This chapter covers a great deal of ground, geographically; as much as the previous chapters 4 through 11, but in the opposite direction. Of course most of the major threats and hazards that the company had to deal with on their journey west have all been dealt with: the trolls turned to stone; the goblins of the Misty Mountains and the Wargs all but wiped out; and peaceful relations established with the Woodland Realm and the survivors of Lake-town. But before Bilbo can begin the journey home, we have to deal with the aftermath of the Battle of Five Armies.

BIbo wakes up on Ravenhill having been rendered unconscious at the end of the previous chapter after being struck in the head with a random stone. He is alone, but can see elves and dwarves moving about on the plain below. A man approaches but looks confused when Bilbo calls out to him. The hobbit realizes that he is still invisible and removes his ring before making his presence known. Thorin has been gravely wounded and is asking for Bilbo.

Imagine how dire Bilbo’s situation would have been if the goblins had won the day. What options would he have had at that point?

There is still an encampment in the valley near the ruins of Dale. Bilbo is met there by Gandalf (whose arm is in a sling) and ushered into a tent where lies Thorin. The dwarf-lord has been cured of his madness at the cost of suffering mortal wounds. He is able to reconcile with Bilbo before succumbing to his injuries, delivering some of the best lines of the book as his dying words. After Thorin passes on Bilbo goes off alone for a bit to have a good cry; he is glad, though, that they were able to part in friendship.

In the 1937 Hobbit, part of Thorin’s farewell was given as: “If more men valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” In response to a suggestion by author and journalist Arthur Ransome, this was changed in the 1951 edition to begin, “If more of us...” What are your thoughts about this alteration?

Later Bilbo learns of how the battle went after he was struck unconscious. The last thing that he had seen was the coming of the Eagles. The goblins could not entirely conceal their movements in the Misty Mountains from the great birds and the Eagles had gathered in great numbers. Sensing the coming battle, the Lord of the Eagles led his folk to the Lonely Mountain and began attacking the goblins positioned on the mountain-slopes.

Even then, the Eagles were not enough to turn the tide of battle. In the last hour, Beorn came in bear-shape, seemingly more huge than should be possible and virtually impervious to the goblins’ weapons. The dwarves were making a last stand around their leaders, though Thorin had fallen, wounded by goblin spears. Beorn tore through the goblin lines, picked up Thorin and carried him to safety. Then Beorn returned, routing Bolg’s bodyguards “and pulled down Bolg himself and crushed him.” The spirit of the enemy was broken. The goblins tried to flee, but many were closely pursued and either killed outright or forced into the river to drown.

Much is often made of Tolkien’s use of the great Eagles. Do the Eagles function here as a deus ex machina? Or, given the explanation provided, is Tolkien playing fairly with the reader?

Also, the Lord of the Eagles is sometimes assumed to be the same character as Gwaihir from The Lord of the Rings. Might this be so? If not, why?

Beorn seems to be the literal physical embodiment of the Norse berserker. Surely this is intentional? What other significance, if any, is there to his appearance beyond the timely intervention?

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


No One in Particular
Rivendell


Sep 17, 1:08am

Post #2 of 42 (1874 views)
Shortcut
When I fell asleep we were winning!!?!?? [In reply to] Can't Post

If the Goblins had won, Bilbo would have been in a tight spot. Yes, he has the magic ring, but that isn't perfect; the Wargs (and likely some of the Goblins themselves!) could track him by scent. His only hope would be to stay invisible and make his way as far from the battlefield as quickly as possible. I see no short or long term benefit to hanging around; if the Goblins had won, you could be quite sure that none of his friends, or even folk he might have trusted like Bard or the Elvenking, would still be alive to help him.

Gwaihir-there simply is not enough information presented in The Hobbit or LoTR to make a determination, He could be, or he could not be. I haven't read anything in the HoME series that touches on it, and I haven't read the Letters yet, although my brother gave my a copy for my birthday, so I will be reading it at some point. Smile

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 17, 1:21am

Post #3 of 42 (1865 views)
Shortcut
Gwaihir [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Gwaihir-there simply is not enough information presented in The Hobbit or LoTR to make a determination, He could be, or he could not be. I haven't read anything in the HoME series that touches on it, and I haven't read the Letters yet, although my brother gave my a copy for my birthday, so I will be reading it at some point. Smile


Actually, there is enough information presented in The Lord of the Rings to answer this question.


Quote
'Twice you have borne me, Gwaihir my friend,' said Gandalf. 'Thrice shall pay for all, if you are willing.'


The first time would have been when the Windlord bore Gandalf away from Isengard. The second time was from Zirak-Zigil to the Golden Wood. If Gwaihir was also the Lord of the Eagles from The Hobbit then this would be the fourth (or fifth?) time he carried Gandalf, not the third.

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


No One in Particular
Rivendell


Sep 17, 1:38am

Post #4 of 42 (1859 views)
Shortcut
Gwaihir's Uber aervice... [In reply to] Can't Post

Fair enough. Not one hundred percent, but I can live with it.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


sador
Half-elven


Sep 17, 2:54am

Post #5 of 42 (1861 views)
Shortcut
I find it odd [In reply to] Can't Post

That the Eagles were long aware of the goblins' movements, despite much of them being possibly underground, and Mount Gundabad being so far from the Great Eagle's eyrie - while the ravens had no inkling of their approach. I see why Jackson and co. had to invent those wierd huge worms - he had to make it somehow believable; but I still didn't like it.

It seems interesting that Beorn goes directly for Bolg, like Thorin tried to before. It seems that once the chief baddie is taken down, the goblins are defeated (again, an idea Jackson used somehow). Does this seem a pattern?

The personal importance of Bolg indicates that there might be a serious strategy by which the goblins operate; this might suggest that the first two stages in nowizardme's summary last week might not be accidental - isn't it possible that the goblins who climbed the surrounding cliffs were actually planned to envelope the defenders? Bolg did not probbly want to be the diversion himself like Aragorn -- but he did want to be the first the gain the Gate and sieze the treasure.
After that, the goblins might open another of the old gates, as discussed in the previous chapter.

If Gwaihir was not the Lord of Eagles, then he must be either a subordinate or the leader of a palace coup sometime along the in-between 77 years. And there are indications in HoME of more than three "rides" he gave Gandalf; we have discussed this on previos occasions, and I'll try to dig them up later today.


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 17, 8:43am

Post #6 of 42 (1829 views)
Shortcut
Random Stone [In reply to] Can't Post

My enjoyable bit of speculation today is to wonder where the 'random stone' came from that KO'd Bilbo. (It's one of those points that is fun to ponder, whilst realising there's no way of arriving at a 'correct' answer).

Are the goblins storming the elvenking's command post on Ravenhill, with troops throwing stones (e.g. with slings, catapults, or larger stone-throwing engines)?

Is this a friendly fire incident, with Bilbo being struck by a rock (or splintering fragment of one) dropped by an eagle?

Was Bilbo struck down by a curious dodecahedral- shaped stone, engraved with the numbers 1-20, and was a ghostly donnish voice heard to exclaim 'Bother! a one. Do I get a saving throw?'

~~~~~~
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!"


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 17, 8:54am

Post #7 of 42 (1830 views)
Shortcut
Taking down the chief baddie [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It seems interesting that Beorn goes directly for Bolg, like Thorin tried to before. It seems that once the chief baddie is taken down, the goblins are defeated (again, an idea Jackson used somehow). Does this seem a pattern?


I think that might fit with warfare in the age when the chief was both king (or similar) and general, and took the field themselves. I think many troops often had loyalty to that individual and might not see the point of fighting that guy's wars once he was dead (this could be different for the bodyguard, an elite corps with personal oaths that might require them to avenge their lord if possible. )

Also, in the days when politics were dynastic, the death of the chief might instantly create a political as well as military power vacuum unless there was an agreed successor and an agreed policy (e.g. Eomer takes over from Theoden). So killing the boss might cause a lot more confusion than it would in a modern professional army, representing the interests of a nation state or other group larger than a person.

~~~~~~
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!"


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 17, 11:10am

Post #8 of 42 (1819 views)
Shortcut
Stone giants playing dice [In reply to] Can't Post

Your last guess was the correct one, with the throw giving Bilbo +22 Stealth/ -17 Luck.

He had a mail shirt but no helmet, right? If so, I’m guessing a smaller stone at high velocity was all that was needed to knock him out, and a larger one would have been fatal, though *why* anyone was throwing small stones remains a mystery.

Maybe there were goblins trying to tempt the elves off Ravenhill, Battle of Hastings style, insulting their mothers and peppering them with small stones.

Or, if Beorn can the Eagles can show up out of nowhere, like a play where the whole cast appears on stage at the end, why not a Mirkwood spider showing up and throwing stones at the invisible hobbit in a last act of revenge?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 17, 11:15am

Post #9 of 42 (1820 views)
Shortcut
Then maybe the counter-question is [In reply to] Can't Post

If taking down Bolg could scatter the orcs, would it have scattered the dwarves if both Dain & Thorin went down, or the elves if the Elvenking were killed? (Or would it have been enough to demoralize the elves if Thranduil’s wondrous tresses of hair were shaved off or seriously messed up?)

Actually, if I think about it more seriously, think of LOTR and the battle at the Morannon, and let’s assume Gandalf, Eomer, Imrahil, and Aragorn were all killed, with a corridor left for the Men of the West to escape. Wouldn’t they have all run away at that point?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 17, 11:24am

Post #10 of 42 (1816 views)
Shortcut
Delayus ex machina [In reply to] Can't Post

Good point. If the Eagles were aware of the goblins’ mustering AND knew they were headed to Erebor, and they could fly faster than a warg-rider could march/run, then they should have been there ahead of time. Tolkien had to delay the Eagles so they could make a dramatic entry, but I’m not sure he convinced readers who ponder the details.

And the logic breaks down overall when it comes to surveillance. Why didn’t the ravens inform Thorin? And why didn’t grim Bard and the Elvenking have Erebor ringed with spies in case either the dwarves opened an escape route or there were others besides Dain on the way to reinforce them?

But to counter all that, I am reminded of America’s 2nd invasion of Iraq where, even when equipped with night vision gear, drones, GPS, etc, a large American detachment settled down for the night and woke up the next day to find their bivouac was only 2 blocks away from a large chunk of the Iraqi army. That shouldn’t have happened, but it did, so maybe goblins can show up when least expected.

I would say more, but my bus to work has suddenly been overwhelmed by goblins and wolves. Oh my. Where’s a pack of Eagles when you need them?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 17, 1:42pm

Post #11 of 42 (1806 views)
Shortcut
Worms, Orcs and Eagles [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That the Eagles were long aware of the goblins' movements, despite much of them being possibly underground, and Mount Gundabad being so far from the Great Eagle's eyrie - while the ravens had no inkling of their approach. I see why Jackson and co. had to invent those wierd huge worms - he had to make it somehow believable; but I still didn't like it.


The Eagles probably first spotted the activity of the Goblins mustering between Goblin Town and Gundabad and so knew to keep a close eye out for further movement. But Jackson's addition of the Were-worms was needed to solve a different problem: the approach of Azog's army from the south. That force was original to the films and didn't exist in Tolkien's story.


In Reply To
It seems interesting that Beorn goes directly for Bolg, like Thorin tried to before. It seems that once the chief baddie is taken down, the goblins are defeated (again, an idea Jackson used somehow). Does this seem a pattern?


Characters in fiction do have an advantage over real people in their ability to glance over an entire battlefield and instantly ascertain the positions of key players. In a real battle under such primitive conditions it might have taken hours for word of Bolg's death to spread to the rest of his army and to have a real effect on morale. And with such a delay, some ambitious underling might have taken command in his stead. On the other hand, the power vacuum could have also led to squabbling among his lieutenants and a total breakdown of the command structure.


In Reply To
The personal importance of Bolg indicates that there might be a serious strategy by which the goblins operate; this might suggest that the first two stages in nowizardme's summary last week might not be accidental - isn't it possible that the goblins who climbed the surrounding cliffs were actually planned to envelope the defenders? Bolg did not probbly want to be the diversion himself like Aragorn -- but he did want to be the first the gain the Gate and sieze the treasure.
After that, the goblins might open another of the old gates, as discussed in the previous chapter.


The Goblins definitely had a strategy if not a particularly complex one; Tolkien's military experience and background as a Medieval scholar probably helped him out here. I don't think it was exactly as you speculate, but you might be pretty close.


In Reply To
If Gwaihir was not the Lord of Eagles, then he must be either a subordinate or the leader of a palace coup sometime along the in-between 77 years. And there are indications in HoME of more than three "rides" he gave Gandalf; we have discussed this on previos occasions, and I'll try to dig them up later today.


While I'm sure that the Great Eagles would have been longer-lived than ordinary raptors, I think that the Lord of the Eagles from The Hobbit had probably perished and been succeeded at least once or twice by the time of the War of the Ring. Gwaihir might well have been the son or grandson of the previous Windlord. However, if there is any evidence that they are in fact the same entity, I will be interested to see it.

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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 17, 1:46pm

Post #12 of 42 (1799 views)
Shortcut
You might well be correct. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If taking down Bolg could scatter the orcs, would it have scattered the dwarves if both Dain & Thorin went down, or the elves if the Elvenking were killed? (Or would it have been enough to demoralize the elves if Thranduil’s wondrous tresses of hair were shaved off or seriously messed up?)

Actually, if I think about it more seriously, think of LOTR and the battle at the Morannon, and let’s assume Gandalf, Eomer, Imrahil, and Aragorn were all killed, with a corridor left for the Men of the West to escape. Wouldn’t they have all run away at that point?


I'm just going to say 'probably yes' to all of that.

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


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 17, 2:26pm

Post #13 of 42 (1791 views)
Shortcut
on the other hand... [In reply to] Can't Post

The counter-argument is that Middle-earth battles seem to be 'death or glory' affairs. Unless the losing side can withdraw in good order (Faramir's rearguard, say) it's victory or death/enslavement.

For some battles in LOTR, we're pretty much told that it's win or die here honourably or die dishonourably elsewhere for the 'good guys', and asked to admire their courage in choosing to go down fighting if needs be. But I notice that Tolkien tends to sweep his battlefields of orcs and goblins by some means - so I suppose that orcs and goblins ought to be assuming that surrendering won't be an option for them. On the third hand (!) that might just add to the panic if a battle seems to be going against you.



Bast that fridge!

~~~~~~
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!"


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 17, 2:38pm

Post #14 of 42 (1789 views)
Shortcut
The problems of independent commands? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, if we decide to apply 'realism' it's hard to see why the eagles don't arrive earlier (and spoil Tolkien's dramatic scene) , or at least send a message about the oncoming warg-goblin army (which spoils an earlier dramatic scene).

If I want to spelunk that plot-hole (if that's what it is) I'll suggest that the eagles are an independent command, not used to working with allies. So maybe they spent some time deciding what if anything to do, and it didn't seem like a priority to send a messenger to the ground-livers, who in any case have a running grievance about missing livestock and are prone to shoot.

Meanwhile eagle activity may have made raven reconnaissance too dangerous...

~~~~~~
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!"


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 17, 3:51pm

Post #15 of 42 (1776 views)
Shortcut
Do or die battles [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly some in LOTR were of that nature. It didn't matter if the leadership at Helm's Deep was decapitated; I think readers are led to believe the defenders would fight to the last man, expecting to be slaughtered if they surrendered anyway. But the Morannon battle was different, especially since it was on foreign soil and in a frightening place.

But it's a little murky with Minas Tirith as the siege wore on. Denethor abdicated his leadership of the defense, and messengers told him that not everyone would follow Gandalf's lead, so they were abandoning the walls. Let's say that that the Witch-king defeated Gandalf at the gate and was able to lead his forces into Minas Tirith (and Rohan came a day late). Would there have been a stout defense at each of the city's successive rings, or would it have been more of a situation of people abandoning their posts and hiding, hoping to escape notice in the chaos of the sack of the city and maybe find a back door out? Given the general psychological state of the defenders, I'm inclined toward the latter.

Thinking of First Age battles, they were pretty much all do-or-die, though there were always some living captives that could be carted off to slavery at Thangorodrim. But it's hard to think of examples where Elf/Man armies collapsed after their leaders were killed. And then in some of them, the leader was the last to be killed/captured (Fingon, Hurin, Huor), so that makes it harder to draw conclusions.

Maybe most significantly, Feanor died early in the whole war saga that he started, but that didn't make the remaining Noldor flee Beleriand or seek peace/surrender/whatever with Morgoth. They fought on for centuries, even as the odds got worse.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Sep 17, 3:52pm)


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Sep 17, 5:14pm

Post #16 of 42 (1761 views)
Shortcut
Gwaihir: quick hits [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
While I'm sure that the Great Eagles would have been longer-lived than ordinary raptors, I think that the Lord of the Eagles from The Hobbit had probably perished and been succeeded at least once or twice by the time of the War of the Ring. Gwaihir might well have been the son or grandson of the previous Windlord. However, if there is any evidence that they are in fact the same entity, I will be interested to see it.

In LOTR, The Sil., UT, Letters, Gwaihir is NEVER called The Lord of the Eagles nor The King of all Birds. He is simply called “Gwaihir the Windlord” and once – “the swiftest of The Great Eagles”.

The pertinent sentence as mentioned by Otaku: “ Twice you have borne me, Gwaihir my friend. . .Thrice shall pay for all.” ” would be an absolutely stupendous and unforgivable faux-pas by Gandalf, and totally an unconscionable and forgetful error on the part of Tolkien himself who sweated bullets, checked, double-checked, and triple-checked his work for its accuracy. To think that Tolkien overlooked such a major occurrence is unthinkable.

Yes, we have gone round-and-round on this subject, but it has always been quite clear to me that Gwaihir could have been in The Hobbit, but certainly didn’t carry Gandalf from the trees. And there were a total of three and only three rides on Gwaihir by Gandalf.

Yes, some discrepancies can be argued between The Hobbit and LOTR but this cannot, cannot be one!

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 17, 8:27pm

Post #17 of 42 (1741 views)
Shortcut
Gwaihir’s leadership role [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, who built his eyries in the inaccessible peaks of the Encircling Mountains when Middle-earth was young. Behind them in long swift lines came all their vassals from the northern mountains, speeding on a gathering wind.”

>> “...greatest...mightiest of the descendants of old Thorondor...all their vassals”

I interpret that to mean, whether specified or not, that Gwaihir was the heredity leader of the Eagles. King, lord, whatever.

But he could easily have had a father/grandfather who was in The Hobbit.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 17, 9:04pm

Post #18 of 42 (1738 views)
Shortcut
Beorn and Treebeard [In reply to] Can't Post

“Beorn seems to be the literal physical embodiment of the Norse berserker. Surely this is intentional? What other significance, if any, is there to his appearance beyond the timely intervention?”

Beorn reminds me of Treebeard, who initially tells Merry & Pippin that he’s not on anyone’s side because no one is on his side. But as events unfold, we find he has some way of communicating with Gandalf, and he readily puts his forces at his disposal. Later he will be clearly deferential to Galadriel & Celeborn. Neutral? Hardly.

Beorn is initially suspicious of Gandalf and the dwarves, reluctantly housing them but conducting his own reconnaissance to verify their story. “It is some good being a wizard, then.” —as if he’s not entirely sure about them. But he shows up to save the day the way the huorns do, and the fact that he personally rescues Thorin’s body from the melee shows this is personal and not just a chance to kill a bunch of goblins.

And yes, he does seem like the ideal of the Norse berserker. But I also think he plays the role of someone closest to nature like Bombadil or Treebeard or Ghan-buri-ghan, and Tolkien seems to like those character types coming to the rescue when all other hope seems lost.


(This post was edited by CuriousG on Sep 17, 9:05pm)


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Sep 18, 4:21am

Post #19 of 42 (1713 views)
Shortcut
Here be Kings and Things [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
“There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendants of old Thorondor,…”

The commas in this sentence are somewhat confusing. It seems that “greatest” and “mightiest” modify both Gwaihir AND Landroval. We all want Gwaihir to be the “King of all Birds” or “Lord of the Eagles”. So, do we pick Gwaihir from this sentence? Why not Landroval? (Even though the passage has nothing to do with Kingship.)

And I must revert to the fact that Gwaihir was never called “Lord” or “King”, just “swiftest”, and in this sentence one of the “greatest” and “mightiest”. But to be greatest and mightiest need not mean “King”. Yes, both Gwaihir and Landroval were likely lords (small case) and had vassals (subordinates), but neither were ‘King of all Birds’ nor ‘Lord of the Eagles’.

So, I’m sticking to the “three ride rule” limit. We all want Gwaihir to be King or Lord, and I have no doubt that Tolkien was very cognizant of this “rule” and the portent of this passage, and the “…thrice shall pay for all” sentence.

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




sador
Half-elven


Sep 18, 6:04am

Post #20 of 42 (1709 views)
Shortcut
My apologies [In reply to] Can't Post

I simply do not have time to answer probably this week, or indeed the next. And I shouldn't have thrown out a provocation like this, if I had no time to back it up!
I might be able to reply on Thursday; if not, I will try to open a thread about this when I can.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 18, 9:49am

Post #21 of 42 (1697 views)
Shortcut
No problem. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be interested in reading what you have to say when you are able to post it. I am curious about your speculations about intrigues and politics among the Eagles and how such ideas came to you.

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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Sep 18, 10:06am

Post #22 of 42 (1693 views)
Shortcut
Gwaihir and Landroval [In reply to] Can't Post

For myself, I don't find Tolkien's punctuation here confusing at all. Both Gwaihir and his brother Landroval are great and mighty Eagles. Further, the passage tells us that the chieftainship of the Great Eagles does seem to be passed down from one generation to the next.


In Reply To
And I must revert to the fact that Gwaihir was never called “Lord” or “King”, just “swiftest”, and in this sentence one of the “greatest” and “mightiest”. But to be greatest and mightiest need not mean “King”. Yes, both Gwaihir and Landroval were likely lords (small case) and had vassals (subordinates), but neither were ‘King of all Birds’ nor ‘Lord of the Eagles’.


Well, Gwaihir is referred to as 'the Windlord' which is enough of a title to satisfy me. While I do not believe that Gwaihir is the Lord of the Eagles from The Hobbit, I am convinced that he is his successor: the current chieftain of the Eagles of the North by the time of the War of the Ring.

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


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 18, 10:51am

Post #23 of 42 (1693 views)
Shortcut
Ransome note [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In the 1937 Hobbit, part of Thorin’s farewell was given as: “If more men valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” In response to a suggestion by author and journalist Arthur Ransome, this was changed in the 1951 edition to begin, “If more of us...” What are your thoughts about this alteration?




Quote
Mr Arthur Ransome objects to man on p. 27 (line 7 from end). [the line is one describing Bilbo as a 'man'] Read fellow as in earlier recension? He also objects to more men on p. 294 1. 11. Read more of us? [this is a reference to Thorin's line, which we're discussing] Men with a capital is, I think, used in text when ‘human kind’ are specifically intended; and man, men with a minuscule are occasionally and loosely used as ‘adult male’ and ‘people’. But perhaps, although this can be mythologically defended (and is according to Anglo-Saxon usage!), it may be as well to avoid raising mythological issues outside the story.

Tolkien's Letter 20 (to Unwins, dated 1937 and suggesting reprint corrections)


Quote

So Ransome was pointing out that it's potentially confusing to use 'Men' to mean the kind of humanoid creature as distinct from elves, dwarves, hobbits and the like and then to refer, or appear to refer, to Bilbo or Thorin as men.

I agree with that. "More of us..." covers Thorin's regret that elves and dwarves have behaved with short-sighted greed, as well as Men. The whole issue of who is a Man (or a man) in Middle-earth is a bit confusing too, and makes my ex-editorial brain itch. So the change is an improvement, in my opinion

Interesting that Tolkien also sees the potential confusion between men = 'adult male Men' and men = people (that is, including women, girls and boys, which I think comes to much the same as what he means by 'Men'). In LOTR, of course it will be important that Eowyn, while she is a 'Man', is not a 'man', and does something that no man could do.

Some more recent authors (or their publishers) might have prefer to avoid using Man/man etc altogether to avoid these issues, but I think of that concerns about gender-inclusive language might not have been so widespread in the 1930s or 1950s, quite aside from any 'mythological defence' or 'Anglo-Saxon usage' that drives Tolkien towards liking upper-case 'Men'. The whole issue of which groups in Middle-earth might be described as 'human', 'people' etc. is another can of worms, so quite aside from the irrelevance and impertinence of suggesting changes now, I wouldn't know what to suggest Smile

~~~~~~
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!"


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 18, 11:11am

Post #24 of 42 (1685 views)
Shortcut
'child of the kindly West' [In reply to] Can't Post

...is what the dying Thorin calls Bilbo. What does it mean? Is it merely literal - e.g. Bilbo comes from West of the Misty Mountains, Thorin from the other side - or does 'West' here have other connotations?

~~~~~~
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!"


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 18, 12:25pm

Post #25 of 42 (1678 views)
Shortcut
Wait, now you’re bringing up worms too? [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand gender-inclusive language, but we need verri-inclusive language too?

Well, we all know that greedy worms start half the wars in this world, so Thorin should have included them too.

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.