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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
***The Hobbit read-through -General discussion, summing up
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CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 7, 8:45pm

Post #51 of 58 (607 views)
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Playing favorites [In reply to] Can't Post

"I love all my children/Tolkien sections equally."

With that out of the way, I liked the beginning the most, probably because it's light-hearted, so "An Unexpected Party" through the stay in Rivendell.

"Riddles In the Dark" is a favorite because of the contrast in characters and their riddles, the complexity of the scene, and also because it's so pivotal to LOTR.

If I could special order a re-write by Tolkien, I'd ask him to end the story soon after Smaug being killed, with Thorin becoming king of the mountain and living in peace with his neighbors, and Bilbo going home rich. I can appreciate the story as is, but I think I could also appreciate it without the dark turn of events and deaths at the end.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Oct 7, 9:09pm

Post #52 of 58 (610 views)
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Other mentions of the events of the Hobbit in other parts of Tolkien's tales. [In reply to] Can't Post

Such as those that where not in the text of the Hobbit as it was written. I can think of a few of these. There is the part i where we get a sample of the first chapter but more of the point of view from Thorin and Gandalf. Which makes me wonder what other parts of the tale we could have seen from a non-Bilbo perspective.
Or the part where we hear about Gandalf and Thorin meeting in Bree. The further accounts of Durin's folk in the appendixes of Lotr including the Moria sub-plot and some more material about Dragons. I suppose that the meeting of Frodo and Gloin in Rivendell is almost a summing up of events in the wild after the Hobbit. Or even Gandalf's later thoughts about the stragetic reasons for reforming Erebor.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Oct 9, 10:55pm

Post #53 of 58 (555 views)
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And one more thing [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf's general stragetic justification for helping out the Dwarves in the quest As mentioned elsewhere. As I understand it, he would have liked to see Erebor restored as a buffer state almost against any outstretched arm from Sauron against the undefended lands west of the misty mountains. Only thing is, I'm not sure that I buy this. Was there really no defences against a potential Mordor army in all the leagues between the lonely mountain and the Shire? As I see it, there would still have been the Dwarves of the iron hillls, the men of lake-town, other men, probably, the
Elves of mirkwood, even mirkwood itself would not have been too easy for any Mordor people to cross, then we have Beorn and his people, the woodmen and of course Rivendell itself.
I think that's a few defences! Although removing a large obsticle like Smaug is an advantage of course.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 10, 1:36pm

Post #54 of 58 (546 views)
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If Smaug remained in the Mountain [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem was that North Rhovanion was polit. The Dwarves of the Iron Hills were far from any other large settlements of the Free Peoples; nor did Dáin seem to have any close allies among Elves or Men (perhaps there was a small town of Men located nearby from which the Dwarves could trade for food, work animals and other goods).

The Elves of Mirkwood traded with the Men of the Lake, but they did not seem to have any sort of pact for mutual defense. Esgaroth was too small to put up much more of a defense then throwing down the bridge and preparing for a siege. The Elves of Lothlórien were protected by the Ring possessed by Galadriel, but they remained isolated in the Golden Wood.

Without the Battle of Five Armies, Beorn would likely have remained a hermit and would not have united many of the Woodmen and other Men of the Vales of Anduin under him. Bard would have remained a captain of the bowmen of Lake-town while Dale would still be in ruins.

As the Necromancer, Sauron had occupied Dol Guldur in Mirkwood for most of two thousand years. It seems likely that his servants knew of a number of secret tracks through Mirkwood. And marching troops (whether Orcs or Men) around the southern eaves of the Forest would not have been difficult.

Then there is the dragon to consider. Even if Sauron could not convince Smaug to ally with him willingly, he might trick the worm into believing that the Lake-men, or some other group among the Free Peoples of the North, were plotting to rob him; in that way the Dark Lord could set Smaug against his enemies.

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Tue, 11:05am

Post #55 of 58 (112 views)
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Does anyone think this was a book about good vs evil? [In reply to] Can't Post

I’m making the comparison to LOTR, which definitely was about that. I am having trouble seeing it in The Hobbit, where is was more about safety vs danger.

I like Smaug, in a way, at least when he’s playing cat & mouse with Bilbo, not when he’s destroying Laketown. But I also think Smaug was content to sleep on his treasure practically forever, and he hadn’t bothered Laketown in generations. I wouldn’t call him evil the way Sauron, the Balrog, and the Nazgul were evil.

What do others think?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Tue, 1:15pm

Post #56 of 58 (95 views)
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Part of that first sentence got dropped. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The problem was that North Rhovanion was polit.


Oops! That should have read: "The problem was that North Rhovanion was politically divided." Trouble with my keypad left the sentence garbled and I only just caught it!

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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Tue, 1:24pm

Post #57 of 58 (94 views)
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Good vs. Evil? [In reply to] Can't Post

It is such a story in a manner of speaking, though perhaps not in the conventional sense. Certainly there are evils to be overcome, both externally and internally. Bilbo and the company face wicked Trolls, Goblins, Wargs, spiders, etc.; not to mention Gollum and the dragon. However, they must also struggle with inner demons: Bilbo must decide whether to slay Gollum and later what to do with the Arkenstone; Thorin must overcome his own greed and stubbornness Other characters need to set aside their differences for the common good.

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Tue, 9:49pm

Post #58 of 58 (46 views)
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Evil vs hungry vs enemies [In reply to] Can't Post

The goblins seem evil. I'm not sure if the trolls really are evil in the moral sense, or if they are just hungry, primitive brutes. Gollum is evil, but the wolves and spiders--they're hungry and want to eat. The spiders torment their food before eating it, but so do real-world cats, so are cats morally evil?

Then Smaug--it's hard for me to see a sleeping dragon as evil. Re-imagine LOTR where Sauron doesn't invade anyone or send the Nazgul anywhere and just sleeps in Barad-dur: would he be evil? I guess I'm taking a position of, "If they're evil, they have to prove it." True, Smaug destroyed a kingdom and a city and stole a treasure plus he ate plenty of people, so he was evil in the past, but I just never get that feeling in the present. More the sense that he's dangerous and has no pity, but he's not like the dragon Glaurung who casts spells on Hurin's family to make them tormented and miserable. Maybe Smaug is "evil lite."

But good point about evil coming up within the good characters such as Thorin.

More broadly, The Hobbit seems to be about fighting adversaries. The Elven-king is hostile to the dwarves and vice versa, but neither side is evil. I don't think we're meant to find the Elven-king morally evil for imprisoning the dwarves, more that he was harsh, unfair, and an adversary for the protagonists to overcome (but he was still moral enough that he fed his prisoners well and didn't torture them). Otherwise, Bilbo wouldn't have wound up on his side during BOFA. But think of Sauron in The Silmarillion imprisoning Felagund and Beren and sending werevolves to devour their companions one by one: pure evil.

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