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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
***Favorite Chapters- Inside Information (The Hobbit)
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sador
Half-elven


Jan 16, 3:14pm

Post #26 of 45 (393 views)
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I love Thorin, too. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think he does put on kingly airs; perhaps when digging coals (as Gandalf said in An Unexpected Party), or even wielding his hammer (referring to appendix A of LotR) - this is the only thing which was left him, as well as something to keep his followers heads' up - they are mere miners now, but they still cling to the remnants of their fathers' dignity.

Thinking about things I don't understand


sador
Half-elven


Jan 16, 3:25pm

Post #27 of 45 (391 views)
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Any way of running a discussion is fine. [In reply to] Can't Post

This whole series is indeed quite different from the others, but in previous discussions something similar to your approach was done. I will lead a discussion in a months' time - and will probably do it somewhat differently.


Bilbo becoming the real leader in this chapter is reflected, I think, in the change of the mode of the story. The picaresque of the first chapters has changed once the company reaches Mirkwood, and in the Lonely Mountain the true drama begins. The story and Bilbo grow together, and so we are able to accept his development.

Thinking about things I don't understand


sador
Half-elven


Jan 16, 3:32pm

Post #28 of 45 (394 views)
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I am sorry I was so late in responding [In reply to] Can't Post

And also that I really do not have the time to respond properly.


However, Solicitr mentioned Fafnir - I think Smaug goes a step further, as his malice is not (like Fafnir's) an instrument of revenge after he had received his death-stab but an active tool to dismay and cow his enemies.
The best counterpart I can think of is Glaurung - however, Smaug seems relatively independent, and has a far better sense of humour, pride, and actual cleverness - in short, he (it?) has more of a personality than his First-age predecessor. Alas (for him), that personality includes a fatal flaw - the ancient one of hubris, in boasting and rolling around, exposing himself to Bilbo (and did Smaug not know a bit was exposed? or had he forgotten, in the excitement of the moment?)

Thinking about things I don't understand


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 16, 3:58pm

Post #29 of 45 (394 views)
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IMO [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien's dragons are some of his very best characters. Glaurung and Smaug of course have different tones because they are in very, very different stories. Glaurung, like the whole of the Turinssaga, is grim, horrifying and very, very serious. Smaug is in The Hobbit- which, although it becomes rather more serious and even grand in the later chapters, remains drolly humorous.*

And then there is my favorite of all, the sleazy con-artist Chrysophylax! Here we have the Smaug formula inverted: if Smaug is 80/20 dangerous/amusing, X-lax is the reverse: very funny, but there is still the frisson of "oh, yeah, dragon"

*Someone - Shippey maybe? - likened Smaug to a retired colonel accosted in a railway-carriage by someone to whom he has not been introduced. Myself, I always envisioned him with the voice of Jeremy Irons.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jan 16, 4:00pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 16, 4:03pm

Post #30 of 45 (390 views)
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Underland [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all the additional underground bits, for the interpretation and for the cacking pun about a geocentric journey...

It's all beginning to remind me of Underland, a book by Robert Macfarlane, describing journeys he made into various underground places, and a lot of thinking about the symbollism of those places. Underland is, by the way, one of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking books I've read. There is some overlap for me between the pleasures of reading Macfarlane and the pleasures fo reading Tolkien. For one thing, I find both their prose styles very satisfying.

The following quotes give some of Macfarlane's ideas that seem relevant to our current discussion. These versions come from a newspaper article Macfarlae wrote about his book. But as it happens, these particular paragraphs also appear in the book in slightly altered form. (So, if you've read the book , that is why they might seem familiar):


Quote
We know so little of the worlds beneath our feet. Look up on a cloudless night and you might see the light from a star trillions of miles away, or pick out the craters left by asteroid strikes on the moon’s face. Look down and your sight stops at topsoil, tarmac, toe. I have rarely felt as far from the human realm as when only 10 metres below it, held in the shining jaws of a limestone bedding plane first formed on the floor of a warm Cretaceous sea.


...The underland’s impenetrability to vision and its obstructiveness to entry have long made it a means, across world cultures, of alluding to what cannot easily be seen or said: trauma, memory, grief, death, suffering, the afterlife – and what Elaine Scarry calls the “deep subterranean fact” of pain. Deliberately to place something in the underland is often a strategy to shield it from view. Actively to retrieve something from the underland often requires effortful work, physical or psychoanalytical.


...Yes, journeys into darkness have long been made to recover or to store what is precious (minerals, information, memories, the lost, the loved) and to dispose of what is harmful (waste, ghosts, poison, enemies, trauma).


https://www.theguardian.com/...th-robert-macfarlane


Maybe it is all this sort of thing that makes the underground passages of Tolkien so memorble and significant, so that we end up with "Dungeons & Dragons", not (say) "Hikes & Heroes"

~~~~~~
The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 16, 4:04pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 16, 4:11pm

Post #31 of 45 (386 views)
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I would quite like to bury underground that "Puff the Magic Dragon" [In reply to] Can't Post

"Puff the Magic Dragon" - a song about a dragon who is a child's imaginary friend, and who finds himself abandoned when the child grows older.

As a small child I found this fate for Puff very upsetting, and made up an extra bit in which a new child came along to rescue Puff from his loneliness.

~~~~~~
The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 16, 4:18pm

Post #32 of 45 (386 views)
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By random co-incidence (Second World War school air raid shelters) [In reply to] Can't Post

By random co-incidence, the work from which I'm taking a tea break involved me finding this site, with descriptions of Second World War school air raid shelters: http://www.subterraneanhistory.co.uk/...helters-redhill.html

Not entirely impossible that kids trapped down there were being read Tolkien to keep their spirits up; or that a few years later children trapped in the equivalent German school air-raid shelter were being read the German translation...

In any case, Bilbo and the dwarves running down the tunnel to escape from an aerial attack probably had particular wartime connotations for many readers early on.

Anyway, back to work...

~~~~~~
The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 16, 4:34pm

Post #33 of 45 (386 views)
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Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

after The Hobbit, of course, but during the writing of the LR, served as a volunteer air-raid warden. The typical ARP post looked like this:



Or used Anderson shelters of the sort many British families installed in their gardens:



Very hobbitish, isn't it?


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jan 16, 4:46pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 16, 5:48pm

Post #34 of 45 (376 views)
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There was an Andersen shelter in the back garden... [In reply to] Can't Post

There was an Andersen shelter in the back garden of the house in which I grew up. The sandbagging had long been removed, so it was just a corrugated iron half-cylinder slowly rusting away and meanwhile being used as a garden shed, and a backstop for garden air-rifle practice.

I think wartime models often had a pit or trench inside in which to shelter, but ours had been filled in and concreted off. I remember helping to clear the whole thing out so it could be demolished (you know how full of mathoms sheds get - or at least that's what happens in my family!).The night before I had a dream about finding a passageway down into what turned into a substantial tunnel. But real life was rather more prosaic.

~~~~~~
The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 16, 5:52pm

Post #35 of 45 (377 views)
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That song always bothered me as a kid too [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish I'd done what you did and make up my own ending for it, rather than let it make me feel sad. Poor Puff.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 16, 5:58pm

Post #36 of 45 (374 views)
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Dragons, Trolls and mind controls [In reply to] Can't Post

A few weeks ago we spent a while discussing the accent of the 'Roast Mutton' trolls. I wonder whether it means anything that the violent but stupid trolls are from one end of the English class structure of Tolkien's time, and the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities is up the posh end (or so it seems from the accents they've been given)?

Maybe it's part of Smaug being demonic rather than demotic. There seem to be some hints that Smaug is hypnotic in some way. Something a little like Saruman's Voice, maybe. Perhaps Tolkien had already developed his ideas about the psychologically manipulative side of dragons we see in the Tale of Turin (the hero, I mean, not the Italian city...). Smaug the suave, sophisticated old-Etonian voice does somehow read more like someone who might trick you with his talk and get inside your head. I'm not sure that would work with an accent like the gor-blimey trolls.

~~~~~~
The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 16, 6:09pm

Post #37 of 45 (374 views)
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I think we need a princess... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think we need a princess to rescue the dragon from its neglect by its knight....

~~~~~~
The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


sador
Half-elven


Jan 16, 8:06pm

Post #38 of 45 (370 views)
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Yes, it was Shippey. [In reply to] Can't Post

And of course, Farmer Giles is a truly fabulous story. Chrysophylax is up there with Garm, among Tolkien's most entertaining characters.

Thinking about things I don't understand


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 16, 8:23pm

Post #39 of 45 (364 views)
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A princess is probably preferable to my litigious idea of suing the kid for dragon neglect. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 16, 9:12pm

Post #40 of 45 (361 views)
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Just because [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of Tolkien's working notes for the LR are scribbled on the backs of City of Oxford Air Raid Precautions Warden's Report Forms


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Jan 17, 3:35am

Post #41 of 45 (339 views)
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This reminds me [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think we need a princess to rescue the dragon from its neglect by its knight....

...of the day my ex-wife asked: if we have dragonflies, and we have damselflies, why are there no knight-in-shining-armor-flies?


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Jan 17, 3:44am

Post #42 of 45 (339 views)
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STOP THIS NONSENSE [In reply to] Can't Post

Glaurung is indeed a great deal like Smaug, and it works differently in that darker story; I like Glaurung, actually, as an effectively fearsome villain whose worst weapons are psychological.

I wasn't thinking of Chrysophylax, oddly, but I did keep thinking of the sea serpent in Roverandom, who rather seems to belong to the same lineage.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jan 17, 6:44pm

Post #43 of 45 (279 views)
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Shame! ;) - but I guess there are lots of night-flying insects? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
..of the day my ex-wife asked: if we have dragonflies, and we have damselflies, why are there no knight-in-shining-armor-flies?


Shame! - but I guess there are lots of night-flying insects? Many of them bite me, so perhaps I am a dragon?

~~~~~~
The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jan 17, 11:02pm

Post #44 of 45 (270 views)
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Speaking of comedy [In reply to] Can't Post

And for those that have seen it, Thorin's manner of speaking reminds me a bit of Captain Manewring from Dad's Army!Smile


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jan 17, 11:06pm

Post #45 of 45 (267 views)
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Going underground [In reply to] Can't Post

A couple more perhaps, easy to miss some, Angband mostly underground I think it says somewhere, Dol Guldor, possibly, and even maybe Mordor, it isn't too much of a stretch to think that a lot of it was maybe underground.

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