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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Moor Gnidaer:
I Am Fatty Bolger, and That Is Okay

mcmojo
Eerb

Feb 12, 5:17pm

Post #1 of 14 (876 views)
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I Am Fatty Bolger, and That Is Okay Can't Post

Here is a little something I wrote after my most recent reading of The Lord of the Rings. (Probably my 15th time through...)


"I Am Fatty Bolger, and That Is Okay"


Lissuin
Ronilav


Feb 12, 10:11pm

Post #2 of 14 (827 views)
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"Fatty Bolger had not been idle", indeed, [In reply to] Can't Post

and so many other gems from these books. I've lost track of the times that something in yet another reread hits me over the head, and I can swear I had never registered that particular thing before. There's an instructive variety of well-observed personality types the Professor wrote for us as examples of how to manage the good and bad in life in ways unique to each of them, and we can use those, too. As I've gone from teenager through five more decades of living and encountered unfamiliar experiences and learned new things, I seem to wake up, catch up to something else Tolkien has left for me to find. It can either strike me as, "Oh, really. I'll have to think about that one", or "Yes! That is so true!"

The lasting affection I have for Tolkien's writing is because of that gentle delivery of truthful life lessons he sprinkles around between his tales of dragons and trolls, elves and hobbits.


mcmojo
Eerb

Feb 12, 10:14pm

Post #3 of 14 (823 views)
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Yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

Beautifully stated.


Na Vedui
NahoR


Feb 12, 10:48pm

Post #4 of 14 (819 views)
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It seems Fatty Bolger.. [In reply to] Can't Post

... was also not idle when (once again) the struggle came home to the Shire, this time in the shape of Saruman's Ruffians. He must have done *something* to have ended up in the Lockholes; at the very least standing up and protesting, or even active resistance.
Merry married Fatty's sister Estella; I sometimes wonder whether perhaps she was in it too with Fatty, and so Merry found his "Eowyn of the Shire".


Lissuin
Ronilav


Feb 12, 11:29pm

Post #5 of 14 (815 views)
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How deligthful, my dears! Two things: [In reply to] Can't Post

(1) Fredegar Bolger, rebel leader.

Quote
... It seems Fatty Bolger was also not idle when (once again) the struggle came home to the Shire, this time in the shape of Saruman's Ruffians. He must have done *something* to have ended up in the Lockholes; at the very least standing up and protesting, or even active resistance.


"He had been taken when the ruffians smoked out a band of rebels that he led...".

(2) Eowyn of the Shire

Quote
Merry married Fatty's sister Estella; I sometimes wonder whether perhaps she was in it too with Fatty, and so Merry found his "Eowyn of the Shire".



Solicitr
NahoR


Feb 13, 12:34am

Post #6 of 14 (808 views)
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Even [In reply to] Can't Post

cooler, to me, though is the Thain's highly effective guerilla war that the Ruffians couldn't put down.


Lissuin
Ronilav


Feb 13, 1:59am

Post #7 of 14 (797 views)
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Each had a part to play. Resistance is not futile. [In reply to] Can't Post

Scene: Night. In the woods. A small fire reflects off the faces of a circle of hobbits.
H1: Did you hear? They got Fatty Bolger in the jail.
H2: Fatty! What on earth for? Jay walkin'?
H3: Nah, nah, he got a few of the lads and lasses over there to carry away and hide some of the food those ruffians was keeping for themselves. Took it right out from under their noses on those moonless nights a while back. Them rebels made off with it and gave it out to some of the old hobbits down yonder, them that was close to starvin'.
H1: But Fatty got unlucky one night.
(Silence as they all consider the news.)
H2: Fredegar Bolger. Who would of thought it? To Fatty!
All: To Fatty!
The Thain: So, lads, when's our next move?


sador
Nevle-flah


Feb 13, 9:39am

Post #8 of 14 (758 views)
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"I sleep all night, and I work all day" [In reply to] Can't Post

But really, your blogpost deserves a much better response than this stupid joke.


I really liked what you've written, and agree about the importance and honour in quitting daydreaming and simply living a productive life, and making a difference for the better to your family, friends, community and co-workers (or employers, or employees, as the case may be).
That is a lot - and in nearly every case, is more important than your hoped-for heroics.



Regarding Fatty Bolger - he is indeed one of my favourite characters; here, I will just point out that he is a scion of an aristocratic family (as far as the Shire has those), and the difference between him and Folco Boffin.
I once wrote at length about the Boffins and Bolgers here.

Thinking about things I don't understand


noWizardme
Nevle-flah


Feb 13, 10:29am

Post #9 of 14 (752 views)
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They also serve, who're more than standard weight [In reply to] Can't Post

It's good that in the end our Freddie has a bit more to him that the one-dimensional cliche-character he at first seems to be (A fat character? Let me guess: he'll be greedy, timid and probably lazy too?) Tolkien usually seems to avoid cliche, but he's close to the edge here. And it seems odd because aren't 'greedy, timid and probably lazy too' supposed to be pretty generic observations about hobbits? So it's nice that there is a little more to 'Fatty' than meets the eye. You know, I don't like calling him 'Fatty', so it's 'Freddie ' from now on.

A few thoughts in case they can prompt some onward discussion ('tis what we do here):

1) Tolkien was one of a quartet of Cleverest Boys In The School. They had at one time hopes of making waves in the arts. I'm not sure how fanciful that was - it's easy to be Cleverest Boy In The School and then discover that there are many schools, and many very clever boys and girls. And things worked out differently anyway (as they are wont to do) - two friends were killed in the First World War (if I recall), one became a headmaster (and that's OK); and probably these days they are most remarked upon as having been friends of Tolkien. Tolkien in any case is best remembered for something that wasn't his day job. Whichever committee made him Professor (a much more senior rank in the British university system than it is in the American) may have expected more work like his lecture on Beowulf, and not Hobbit and LOTR at all. I'm not suggesting that the quartet of hobbits departing Crickhollow are thoroughly autobiographical, just noting how some of the issues in mcmojo's blog post could be said to have applied to Tolkien's life.

2) In earlier drafts of FOTR, young Freddie Bolger has a larger adventure - he's captured by the Black Riders, rescued by Gandalf, and meets the others at Rivendell. The Bolger-rescue sub-plot does seem to me to give Gandalf a better reason not to try and catch up with Frodo than the 'getting lost' one Tolkien chose. I don't know why Tolkien abandoned that sub-plot. Possibly HoME says, though on the whole I recall it being very scholarly about what changed but pretty quiet about why (except where there are some of Tolkien's marginal notes working out what he thought was going wrong). My total guess as to why it was changed is that then there's be a fifth hobbit at Rivendell, and an obvious candidate to do what Elrond wants - send someone back to the Shire to lead La Resistance (which is - or at least we can imagine it is - what he does anyway on the finalized plot). So that would further undercut Elrond's argument that M&P can't go with the Ring, because they need to head back home. And Tolkien at that point is already not thoroughly convincing me that if M&P go then Glorfindel can't. My fridge and I have already had words about the logic or otherwise of that. Or possibly giving Gandalf the save Freddie/save Frodo dilemma felt too much like Aragorn's decision later to rescue M&P rather than go further with Frodo, or Gandalf's decision to save Faramir rather than fight the Witch King?Or, of course, someone may have a much better idea!

3) Put last because it's longest - I like this bit:

Quote
“Fond as he was of Frodo, Fatty Bolger had no desire to leave the Shire, nor to see what lay outside it. His family came from the Eastfarthing, from Budgeford in Bridgefields in fact, but he had never been over the Brandywine Bridge. His task, according to the original plans of the conspirators, was to stay behind and deal with inquisitive folk, and to keep up as long as possible the pretence that Mr. Baggins was still living at Crickhollow. He had even brought along some old clothes of Frodo’s to help him in playing the part. They little thought how dangerous that part might prove.

‘Excellent!’ said Frodo, when he understood the plan. ‘We could not have left any message behind for Gandalf otherwise.”

Tolkien both tips readers off that Crickhollow isn't going to be safe, and hints at the rather amateurish nature of the hobbit expedition - they've thought it through to an extent, but don't really understand what they are getting themselves into. Perhaps that particularly works because Freddie seems to be afraid of the imaginary dangers of the Old Forest and ends up having to brave something that's arguably worse.

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


noWizardme
Nevle-flah


Feb 13, 1:46pm

Post #10 of 14 (734 views)
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And welcome to the Reading Room, mcmojo [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this is the first time you've joined us on *this* TORN board? Do make a habit of it!

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


mcmojo
Eerb

Feb 13, 1:53pm

Post #11 of 14 (733 views)
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Thanks for the welcome [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been a long-time lurker. I can't recall, but I do think I have posted in here before.
Regardless, I appreciate the feedback. As many have pointed out, Fatty's story doesn't end with his little moment of bravery at Crickhollow. I chose to focus on that one moment because that line, "Fatty Bolger had not been idle" really stood out to me this time reading the book. That was my focus for what I wrote. Big or small. Important or completely unknown, we all have roles to play - and each role matters. Fatty was ready. That is an encouraging thought.


CuriousG
Nevle-flah


Feb 13, 4:19pm

Post #12 of 14 (721 views)
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And that was all that Bombur was [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
(A fat character? Let me guess: he'll be greedy, timid and probably lazy too?)




Solicitr
NahoR


Feb 13, 8:52pm

Post #13 of 14 (706 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
'greedy, timid and probably lazy too' AND 'a little more to them than meets the eye' are supposed to be pretty generic observations about hobbits. Fat and soft on the outside, tough as old tree-roots underneath.


InTheChair
Neirol

Feb 16, 4:45pm

Post #14 of 14 (582 views)
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Maybe Merry was into big-uns [In reply to] Can't Post

Or maybe no.

Fatty does seem to have been very active throughout. More so than someone like Folco Boffin who I am not sure if he is mentioned again after they leave the Shire.

 
 

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