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*** Favorite Chapters - A Long-Expected Party (LOTR)
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uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 10, 2:44am

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*** Favorite Chapters - A Long-Expected Party (LOTR) Can't Post

Ah, well, a haphazard effort at the last moment. Indeed I realize it’s no longer Monday for a lot of users here, but I’m in New York and it’s still Monday for me. I will have to hope we can “committee this,” as my folk-singing friends would say; that is, roughly, I’m going to start into a song even though I don’t know all the verses, and I’ll simply trust that between us we can reconstruct the most of it. I have no plan at all, I’ll just toss out a few reflections on this extraordinarily long chapter and perhaps add more as the week goes on, and we’ll see what comes of it.

Here in the early pages we are reintroduced to Bilbo and the Shire; Bilbo is, as I’ve remarked before, a very different being now from the unwilling adventurer of the Hobbit, although the picture does harmonize delightfully. He’s rather magisterial now, almost a sort of hobbit St. Nicholas, the man who has everything and is generous with it. The chapter moves at a breakneck pace; it feels almost like a montage. It slows briefly for our scene at the pub with the Gaffer, then brushes over a quick exchange between Bilbo and Gandalf—a cryptic exchange, built to raise questions. Until Bilbo makes his speech, the whole thing is basically a building up of his grand party and of his remarkable character. The mood is often lightly comedic; the author treats this way as a rule with the general hobbitry of the Shire, borrowing perhaps some of the mood of Austen or Wilde or Congreve. And then the speech comes and we finally get a bit of a look at elderly, donnish Bilbo; still a bit pedantic, a bit petulant, a bit of a comical figure even now.

Oh, back to the Gaffer for just a moment: I note here that he lays in a preliminary sketch of the Old Forest. Was this added later, or does this tell us that Tolkien has gone into writing the book with at least some idea of the course he’s taking, that far ahead?

It was said recently, one this forum, that the author was obliged to ease us into LOTR with chapters that feel more like an extension of the Hobbit, first, modulating from there. With that in mind I notice that the litany of funny hobbit surnames, even though it only appears twice, has a very similar function to that of the litany of dwarves’ names in the Hobbit. And some plot points are revisited; the Sackville-Bagginses are present, Dale is mentioned a few times, and of course Gandalf’s fireworks display paid homage to Smaug.

Side note: “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” Just speaking personally, how often have you taken a moment to try and work out whether that comes to a compliment?

And then Bilbo pulls his stunt and vanishes, and only now, rather deep in the chapter, do we get an glimpse of the character of Frodo, who indeed wouldn’t really be jumping out at any new reader as the protagonist of the story, at this point. And what a difference. Already our Frodo, just now come of age, keeps his mouth shut. He holds himself a bit aloof. He is given to laughter, as is true for quite a ways into the book, before his burden gets so much heavier later on, but he's not often the one actually joking, as it were. Why is he so different from Bilbo?


All right. I do mean to post this while it is still Monday somewhere. The chapter rolls on, of course, through a lengthy exchange between Bilbo and Gandalf that clearly marks the Ring as sinister, and then a bit more of Frodo’s point of view and some more droll hobbit behaviors and ominous Gandalf remarks, but I’ll have to come back to that in the next day or two. In the meantime, everybody’s thoughts about any part of the chapter are more than welcome, of course.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Mar 10, 10:52am

Post #2 of 29 (882 views)
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Thank you for mentioning me! [In reply to] Can't Post

Smile I think that the words of a Gaffer is just a reminder of the dangers lurking outside the Shire. I do think that the Hobbits and our heroes in general are suitably different than in the Hobbit, they are more heroic and more serious than Bilbo and the Dwarves in the latter tale. Which is reflected I might point out in the movies which could be why some prefer Liotr to the Hobbit series. I never have worked out if what Bilbo says is a compliment or not. Or maybe a complaint. Ever noticed that those two words are very similar in spelling? I wonder if anyone ever asked Tolkien this important point as opposed to asking about Eagles, Tom Bombadil or the shape of Sauron? One thing I have noticed about this chapter is that here it seems like a children's party, yet in a few pages in the next we are informed about how dangerous the world outside is and the situation is pretty desperate. Tolkien does pull of this trick rather well.


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 10, 3:19pm

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I've always thought it was delightfully crafty of Tolkien to grab the reader's attention in the first sentence with the coinage "eleventy-first."


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 10, 7:23pm

Post #4 of 29 (854 views)
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wagered a single peony coin, doubled savings at a stroke [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I've always thought it was delightfully crafty of Tolkien to grab the reader's attention in the first sentence with the coinage "eleventy-first."

You're right, I think it deserves some credit. I suspect that phrase gets playfully repeated more widely than much of what's in the book; it used to come up once in a while at home in my childhood. The numbers in this birthday event seem oddly suggestive of some numerological business going on in general, don't they? Bilbo turns 111; he shares a birthday, the 22nd, with his heir who's turning 33, and together they total 144. Give me all your fives?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 10, 10:18pm

Post #5 of 29 (841 views)
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On first read, I wanted a whole trilogy like this [In reply to] Can't Post

I was young, I'd read and loved The Hobbit, and I was delighted to learn more about hobbits, including what happened to Bilbo after he came home to find himself declared legally dead and his goods auctioned off. And you make a good point about Frodo: I had no reason to think that young upstart would take over the whole story and fully expected Bilbo to be at the center of attention.

Shifting gears to hobbit society in general: I will say that on re-reads, I have to remind myself that Tolkien is going for light-hearted, comedic effect here, because taken literally, a lot of things about hobbit behavior are unsavory: they misbehave at parties, they gossip quite unkindly, and even wealthy relatives steal your spoons. This isn't a chapter to analyze but to enjoy.

And yes, it's a lot of fun working out Bilbo's comment to figure out if it's a compliment or not. I love word play!

I fully agree with Hamfast's comment:

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One thing I have noticed about this chapter is that here it seems like a children's party

It's much more of a children's party than an adult one, and I wouldn't be surprised if adults appeared on the scene and told everyone they must be in bed by 9 pm. At the same time, I have no illusion that the story is mostly about adults. So I think this chapter impresses upon us for the remainder of the trilogy that the 4 hobbit protagonists are adults who have retained the best part of their childlike natures.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 10, 11:20pm

Post #6 of 29 (838 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It's much more of a children's party than an adult one, and I wouldn't be surprised if adults appeared on the scene and told everyone they must be in bed by 9 pm. At the same time, I have no illusion that the story is mostly about adults. So I think this chapter impresses upon us for the remainder of the trilogy that the 4 hobbit protagonists are adults who have retained the best part of their childlike natures.


...our four hobbits are nearly all adults. Pippin was around 28 years old when he and his companions left the Shire, still a few years shy of his coming of age. He wouldn't reach his majority until T.A. 3023. Of course in the films, Pippin no longer appears to be the youngest of the four hobbits; I could even argue that Frodo might be the youngest (as opposed to the oldest of the four).

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 10, 11:21pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 11, 1:45am

Post #7 of 29 (824 views)
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But then again [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
It's much more of a children's party than an adult one, and I wouldn't be surprised if adults appeared on the scene and told everyone they must be in bed by 9 pm. At the same time, I have no illusion that the story is mostly about adults. So I think this chapter impresses upon us for the remainder of the trilogy that the 4 hobbit protagonists are adults who have retained the best part of their childlike natures.


...our four hobbits are nearly all adults. Pippin was around 28 years old when he and his companions left the Shire, still a few years shy of his coming of age. He wouldn't reach his majority until T.A. 3023. Of course in the films, Pippin no longer appears to be the youngest of the four hobbits; I could even argue that Frodo might be the youngest (as opposed to the oldest of the four).


If we are talking book-reality, then Pippin is only 11 and Merry and Sam not that much older: still children


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 11, 2:19am

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Yes, but... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If we are talking book-reality, then Pippin is only 11 and Merry and Sam not that much older: still children


...that's at the time of Bilbo's (and Frodo's) birthday party. In the book, that was 17 years before the Council of Elrond. In the films those events seem to be separated by just over 13 months, and the ages of the four hobbits are adjusted accordingly. Seriously, Jackson didn't even get the year of Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday correct (though you have to watch the extended edition of FotR to know that). Jackson's War of the Ring seems to take place in T.A. 3001-02.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 11, 2:29am)


squire
Half-elven


Mar 11, 3:09am

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Gee whillikers [In reply to] Can't Post

Does it really make sense to criticize the New Line films on the grounds that they don't align with Tolkien's careful calendrical timeline?

I would say the ages and dates of the characters and events are basically meaningless in judging whether the films have adequately adapted the source material. The critical touchstones are the portrayals of the basic plot, the major themes, and the essential characters of the lead players.



squire online:
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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 11, 1:23pm

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Yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

The only thing that I criticized was Jackson getting wrong the year of Bilbo's farewell party. Why bother to mention the year at all if you mess it up? The other changes were deliberate, but this just comes off as lazy.

#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 11, 4:12pm

Post #11 of 29 (741 views)
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In Reply To
The critical touchstones are the portrayals of the basic plot, the major themes, and the essential characters of the lead players.


Well, he more or less got the first one......


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 11, 5:38pm

Post #12 of 29 (735 views)
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far be it from me to forestall anybody's Jackson-bashing but [In reply to] Can't Post

Well. How 'bout that local sports team.

Actually I find the springle-ring sticks in my mind (it's the most athletic thing we have here anyway, other than a wrestling match with Sancho Proudfoot) because it gives me a moment's longing to know a bunch more about the everyday folklore and customs of the Shire. It's notable, anyway, that hobbits don't just sit around speechifying and drinking beer, but that being at a party and having a bunch of kazoos handed out strikes them as reason enough to jump up on the tables and start into what sounds like a strenuous dance routine. This, I daresay, is one more of those quintessentially Tolkienesque gestures offstage, intimating a suggestion of a whole area of story-world that we will never get to see. It's less lofty and terrible than most of them, but still it is the paint vanishing under the frame, that method of making the world feel wider and more real for which he had such a touch. The tree, the forest, the mountain, that must underlie the little leaf that is all we can see.

Anyway. Then what? Bilbo and Gandalf have their conversation, which no doubt Gandalf planned all along, to make sure Bilbo succeeds in shaking loose of the Ring: that act we will soon learn is nigh unthinkable. We are moving a little further out of the cryptic mode of their earlier exchange, but it's still hints; Gandalf hasn't told Bilbo everything. When will he? Does Bilbo ever find out, before Elrond's council, what a grave risk and burden he bore so long?

For now the reader, at least, learns plainly that Gandalf treats the Ring as dangerous, and it's clear that something sinister is at work on Bilbo's heart. He calls the Ring "precious." We see, for the first time, hidden power manifest in a character's seeming to grow in stature (whether this is ever meant to be literal, I doubt). And we see Bilbo, relieved of it, headed off cheerily to adventure again, same as he was but different.

But we know now that we won't be going with him. The handoff of the Ring has been made, and the handoff of Gandalf's attention, and therefore the involvement of Great World Affairs, have gone with it: Frodo, whoever he is, will be our protagonist now. So really, that happened pretty fast.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 12, 12:05pm

Post #13 of 29 (652 views)
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The Shire! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for doing this, Uncle I.

I like your idea of doing it 'by committee' a sort of multi-person improvised performance. That's the basis of a discussion forum working well, surely - between us we manage something more interesting than any one person's essay.

Perhaps I can add a bit to The Music here without making a discordant, Melkor-like din? (Me make Folk music as a din? You know of what I speak, since you have seen it also Evil

A whole lot is going on in this chapter, as has already been said. Just one of those things is that we get a view of The Shire in peacetime - especially its society here, just as we get the feeling of the land in Ch 3-4. So I'll write about that - and it strikes me what an odd fantasy land The Shire is. It's odd, but it's strangely recognizable. And maybe it's odd that it is recognizable, and being recognized doesn't seem so odd.

The Shire seems to me to be one of those very strange enclaves in Middle Earth, like Rivendell or Lorien, or Fangorn. It's not like the outside, or the other places. You almost expect someone to be using a Ring to maintain it. But what sort of Ring would produce a sort of simple, rustic yet comfortable paradise like The Shire? I see it as a recurring sort of English fantasy in terms of culture rather than 'fantasy fiction' - I can imagine a William Morris-like figure wielding a Ring of Arts and Crafts. Or, from a different English tradition, I can imagine someone wielding a Ring of Enlightened Tory Squiredom. Of course there's no reason to think Tolkien was taking the Shire as a serious kind of Utopia, or that it's a particularly desperate plot-hole that it can exist in Middle-earth - I just mean that the idea seems to come from more than one place in English life.

The Shire seems a little like other places in English literature too. In a way that is hard to analyse, it resembles other fantasy lands from Children's stories (the resemblence between hobbits and children - or at least childlike people - has already been mentioned). I find it easy to imagine a Jane Austen-like Shire squirearchy, where mothers scrub their daughters up in the hope of attracting those eligible young Tooks, Brandybucks, or even the prize of a perma-bachelor Baggins. Whether The Shire's like Barsetshire, Middlemarch or other Nineteenth Century novels that were once part of the English literature canon, I can't say (haven't read those - please comment if you have). I haven't read much Dickens either, but I did recently read George Orwell's excellent essay on Dickens and his works. Orwell comments that the happy ending for a Dickens hero is a quiet country place with a comfortable income, a lovely wife producing a new child each year and nothing disagreeable happening. That sounds like the ending for Sam Gamgee to me. Something a bit like The Shire also seems to have got into the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics. https://youtu.be/4As0e4de-rI?t=762 A persistent dream. Nor is it an exclusively English or British one, I think - is there a bit of Lake Wobegon in there too, for just one example?

(As has already been said) Tolkien doesn't make The Shire perfect. We seem quickly to have some of the 'unsavoury' (as CuriousG has already put it) side of small community life. Everyone is into everyone else's business; old gossip is brought up again and still thought interesting; and is it just that Sam dislikes Ted, or is there a rumbling multi-generational low-level feud between the Sandymans and the Gamgees? Some of Bilbo's behaviour and his 'joke or point' presents also reads to me like someone who is arranging a rather passive-aggressive parting shot. I'm not sure the recipients are supposed to find the jokes all that funny. And maybe Bilbo wouldn't have done it had he been expecting ever to come back and have to get along with them again?

That's important I think - it makes the Shire a place that our heroes are desperate to leave on the one hand, but treasure once they've left on the other. And of course the full effect is only seen very many pages later on the sad return to Hobbiton, and the (significantly) felled Party Tree as a sort of final straw.

That's if you make it that far through the book, of course! I've used to find this chapter a bit slow, in an interesting difference of opinion with CuriousG, who says that at one point he could have hung around Hobbiton much longer. Maybe that's to do with how much one already loved The Hobbit and wanted another story just like it? Or maybe the story shows its age at this point - perhaps authors in Tolkien's time expected their readers to give them a few chapters to start things up to justify the trip to the bookshop or library, whereas current authors write for a more readily distracted audience? Whether more recent stories start faster is probably completely unprovable (and very much to do with who gets to decide, what criteria they use, and which cherries they pick to illustrate their point). But I I can certainly imagine a more recent fantasy writer deciding they ought to have a more PJ-like start with an Exciting Prologue rather than some local gossip and a jolly party.

That's my contribution to the music done! And so the lead in to someone else's bit -


"Laddie-i-o, laddie-i-o, three jolly young fellows as ever did go
Laddie-i-o, laddie-i-o, three jolly young fellows as ever did go"*



--
*From The Eynsham Poacher, a folk song from Oxfordshire https://muzikum.eu/...-poacher-lyrics.html

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


(This post was edited by dernwyn on Mar 13, 1:18am)


Hasuwandil
Rivendell


Mar 12, 12:16pm

Post #14 of 29 (646 views)
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Gandalf's eyebrows [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know that I have much to say about this chapter. I did read it recently as part of my re-education regimen (Unfinished Tales - The Second Age, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and now The Lord of the Rings), and I tried to think of it in the context of Bilbo going off on a new adventure of his own (which apparently he did for about a year before settling down at Rivendell, although we know next to nothing about it). Of course, there are some obvious intrusions of the new direction in which the narrative was heading, not the least of which is the introduction of Frodo as a new main character.

However, I'd like to discuss one of the major themes of Tolkien's two most famous works, namely Gandalf's eyebrows.

From The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party":


Quote
But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.


From The Lord of the Rings, Book I, "A Long-expected Party":


Quote
He wore a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, and a silver scarf. He had a long white beard and bushy eyebrows that stuck out beyond the brim of his hat.


From The Lord of the Rings, Book I, "The Shadow of the Past":


Quote
His hair was perhaps whiter than it had been then, and his beard and eyebrows were perhaps longer, and his face more lined with care and wisdom; but his eyes were as bright as ever, and he smoked and blew smoke-rings with the same vigour and delight.


It's all very well to write this, but how does one interpret it visually? Does Gandalf's hat have a wide brim, as in the Peter Jackson and Ralph Bakshi films? Is it more like a tall hood, as in the Rankin/Bass made-for-TV movies? Or is it more like a dunce's cap, as Merlin wears in Disney's The Sword in the Stone? If the former case, are we supposed to take Tolkien's description literally, or is he just exaggerating to emphasize that Gandalf has bushy eyebrows? In the latter two cases, Gandalf's eyebrows may literally stick out beyond the brim of his hat, except that one could argue that his hat is brimless, so perhaps the "brim" must be figurative.

Or maybe he just has really long eyebrows.

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 12, 2:16pm

Post #15 of 29 (635 views)
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If taken literally [In reply to] Can't Post

I think birds and squirrels could nest in those eyebrows with room to spare.

If his hat has a brim, I'd say that rules out the dunce cap option, or any hat that closely hugs the head. If I google images of "hats with brims for men," the minimum brim I see is about 1 inch, which is a lot of eyebrow.

My gut says that Tolkien didn't want Gandalf to appear cartoonishly absurd, so my guess is that he had normal eyebrows at one end of the gamut for "thick & bushy." I recall an interview (which I can't find, but here's a link for image's sake) with Jim Carter of Downton Abbey, who mentioned odd things that fans would ask him when meeting him in real life, one of which was how did he get his eyebrows to be so thick and bushy. (Pretty strange for a stranger to ask you that.) My point is that as the stuffy, tradition-defending butler of the show, his eyebrows were part of that look of "I Am The Establishment." No manscaping for him, or for Gandalf.


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 12, 2:56pm

Post #16 of 29 (636 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


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" 'The Shire'... is in fact more or less a Warwickshire village of about the period of the Diamond Jubilee"


(That is, Victoria's 60th anniversary on the throne, in 1897)


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Mar 12, 2:58pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 12, 3:08pm

Post #17 of 29 (630 views)
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Where is the Shire from, and what sustains it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Your comment was certainly thought-provoking:

Quote
The Shire seems to me to be one of those very strange enclaves in Middle Earth, like Rivendell or Lorien, or Fangorn. It's not like the outside, or the other places. You almost expect someone to be using a Ring to maintain it.

Those two Elven realms *are* maintained by Rings, and Fangorn is maintained by talking, walking trees with vases of magic light who control the other trees. So it actually does seem to me now that Middle-earth story logic would require some sort of underground Hobbit-stone, pulsing with arcane light and sending out tendrils of its New Agey essence to maintain all parts of the Shire against the external forces of evil and decay. That happens a lot in fantasy, so it's no stretch to think so, and it's rather remarkable that Tolkien hangs the Shire out on a limb, so to speak, or leaves it Ringless, and we readers are meant to infer that the land's quaint magic emanates from the whole of hobbit society, like they're all part of a collective metaphysical mind, and quite unconsciously so. That magic is disturbed by Lotho, Saruman, and the non-hobbit ruffians, but after three aristocrats and a loyal man-servant lead the effort to oust them, the zeitgeist restores the Shire's charm quite quickly.

Where does it come from? Within the trilogy, it feels like it was wholly created by the hobbits, and it's hard to imagine one without the other. If the hobbits all left for some reason, they'd leave behind empty green fields, akin to "Sheep walked for a while biting the grass, but soon the hills were empty again."

But where did Tolkien get the Shire from? I have to say that as an American, the Shire has always seemed foreign to me, and similar to

Quote
"a Jane Austen-like Shire squirearchy, where mothers scrub their daughters up in the hope of attracting those eligible young Tooks, Brandybucks, or even the prize of a perma-bachelor Baggins."


I think the idea of social class and a landed aristocracy have a lot do with it. I grew up in the countryside outside a small town in the mountains of Colorado, where there is a long tradition of thinking that government is unnecessary except for maintaining an army, so one might think I'd feel a lot in common with the ungoverned and agricultural Shire, but we didn't have rich people as a distinct social class. They were expected to fit in and go to the same schools as the rest, just live in bigger houses, and they were still expected to work. They could dress a little better, but not so much that they'd stand out. Marrying into their families wasn't considered a social up or down. We pretended we were all middle class (and yes, all of us were above average, even the average kids).

So the bucolic feeling of the Shire that arises elsewhere (such as in the trek to Crickhollow) is something that I can relate more easily to, but the social element remains foreign to me. (We had bars aka pubs, but you went there with your friends and ignored everyone else rather than have group discussions.) Oh, and I left out history as a sense of community: the Shire goes back many generations, obviously, whereas our town was only about 3-4 generations old, so we had no sense of "The Joneses have always had a house on that hill," etc. So I view the Shire as Tolkien's personal image of the England he grew up in blended with a few of his personal ideals of how society should be.



noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 12, 5:06pm

Post #18 of 29 (618 views)
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And that's part of the paradox [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To

Quote
" 'The Shire'... is in fact more or less a Warwickshire village of about the period of the Diamond Jubilee"

(That is, Victoria's 60th anniversary on the throne, in 1897)

Thanks for that good example of why it's odd that the Shire is so recognizable! In the real world, a 1897 Warwickshire village was plumbed into the largest imperial economy of the time. To be sure the effect of that would have been more subtle than what a humble villager would see if they went to a city, and quite likely the poorer folk were still part-reliant on local produce and industries. But conveniences like tea, teapots, wine, umbrellas, silk waistcoats and so on were coming in from far away, and I believe the gentry had long stopped living substantially off the proceeds of their land rents.

The Shire somehow (magically?) manages with mostly a depopulated dark-ages wilderness outside its borders, which I'm finding kinda interesting to think about, whilst at the same time being happy to agree that it doesn't' matter a bit where Bilbo gets his tea or Lobelia her umbrella.

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


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 12, 11:57pm

Post #19 of 29 (591 views)
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as to what maintains and defends the Shire [In reply to] Can't Post

The rangers lay claim to that in no uncertain terms.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 13, 2:12am

Post #20 of 29 (580 views)
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Don't forget the Bounders! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
as to what maintains and defends the Shire
The rangers lay claim to that in no uncertain terms.


The shirriffs of the Watch who patrol the borders of the Shire play their part in defending their lands. A handful of them might even have some familiarity with the Rangers of the North.

As for maintaining the Shire, the Mayor of Michel Delving also holds the office of First Shirriff among his other duties. However, the Thain of the Shire (the patriarch of the Tooks by the time of the War of the Ring) holds emergency powers, and might actually be held in greater respect by many hobbits--as might also be the case with the Master of Buckland.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 13, 2:13am)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Mar 13, 1:57pm

Post #21 of 29 (499 views)
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"They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it." [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Quote
“and there in that pleasant corner of the world they plied their well-ordered business of living, and they heeded less and less the world outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. They forgot or ignored what little they had ever known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it.”

Prologue - Concerning Hobbits (my bolds)


I feel Tolkien makes it clear that the hobbits are comically [1], or bafflingly [2], or exasperatingly and ungratefully [3] oblivious that their good fortune is not 'the rule in Middle-earth', and is only partly to do with their own virtues (being 'sensible'). It is in a good part due to lucky circumstance and to connections with the outside world -- connections that the average hobbit does not understand, or care to know about. I see the village Bobby-like Bounders as intended as part of this comedy or irony, myself.

Once again though Tolkien finds a balance - the hobbitry managed to survive attacks by wolves (which only Bilbo is now old enough to remember) and an attack by orcs (still further back). The Black Riders' attack on Crickhollow and the Horn Call Of Buckland starts up some sort of civil defence activity in Buckland, though Tolkien supplies no details. So anyone who wants to can imagine that the Shire could quickly field an armed force of Minutemen, or Minute-hobbits (if you forgive the expression).

--
[1] Frodo and Gandalf Ch 2[2] Gildor Ch3{3] Aragorn to Council of Elrond Book II Chapter 2

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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 13, 2:52pm

Post #22 of 29 (494 views)
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There are shirriffs and then there are shirriffs. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I feel Tolkien makes it clear that the hobbits are comically [1], or bafflingly [2], or exasperatingly and ungratefully [3] oblivious that their good fortune is not 'the rule in Middle-earth', and is only partly to do with their own virtues (being 'sensible'). It is in a good part due to lucky circumstance and to connections with the outside world -- connections that the average hobbit does not understand, or care to know about. I see the village Bobby-like Bounders as intended as part of this comedy or irony, myself.


I imagine that many of the Bounders were at least a little more worldly than the "Inside" shirriffs that comprised the rest of the Watch, if only because they did have to deal with the occasional trespassers from outside the Shire, poachers and wild animals. The rest of the Watch would have been more used to domestic disputes, arguments between neighbors, and helping to round up lost livestock.


In Reply To
Once again though Tolkien finds a balance - the hobbitry managed to survive attacks by wolves (which only Bilbo is now old enough to remember) and an attack by orcs (still further back). The Black Riders' attack on Crickhollow and the Horn Call Of Buckland starts up some sort of civil defence activity in Buckland, though Tolkien supplies no details. So anyone who wants to can imagine that the Shire could quickly field an armed force of Minutemen, or Minute-hobbits (if you forgive the expression).


Tolkien tells us as much. The Thain had the authority to convene a Shire-moot in times of emergency and to act as the captain of the Hobbitry-in-arms. Unfortunately, Saruman's ruffians were able to keep such efforts in check during the War of the Ring and afterward until the return of Frodo and his companions, largely through the subversion of the office of the Mayor of Michel Delving, who was also First Shirriff.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 13, 2:57pm)


uncle Iorlas
Lorien


Mar 14, 2:37am

Post #23 of 29 (453 views)
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fiddlesticks [In reply to] Can't Post

It is a lasting impression in the back of my mind that the passage next morning, when people come round to inquire after Bilbo and find he's left gifts for all and sundry, went on much longer than it actually does. I love the little strokes with which Lobelia is sketched: she immediately took the point, but she also took the spoons.

And then there's her exchange with Frodo, and his banter with Merry after it. Again, his character is so unlike Bilbo's, who at his age might very well have gotten his dander up and delivered Lobelia a rather fussy speech of his own. Frodo is comparatively laconic and just shares a wry chuckle with his friends. There's a social smoothness about him. Does that come in with being heir to great wealth, somehow, in a way Bilbo was not?


squire
Half-elven


Mar 14, 3:24am

Post #24 of 29 (448 views)
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Frodo is not exactly 'unlike' Bilbo - he is Bilbo as Bilbo was meant to be even in his youth [In reply to] Can't Post

I suggest that Bilbo was just as much an heir to great wealth as Frodo is.

But your point about their differing personalities is still a good one. I wonder if the difference is that Frodo was raised by Bilbo after Bilbo had had his adventure. Frodo is more open to new experience, and more forgiving of snobbery as something one can simply ignore.

Bilbo was raised by his more or less ultra-conventional parents (one can predict a Baggins' answer without having to ask the question), and was more on his dignity, as a legacy of his upbringing, even after his travels.



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Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 14, 3:18pm

Post #25 of 29 (375 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo was heir to Bungo's comfortably-well-off wealth, but Frodo was heir to Bilbo's Lonely Mountain dragon hoard wealth.

(And richer even than the Tooks, had he known the value of that mithril shirt)

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