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Beornings are probably the 2nd most unknown beings with Tom Bombabil the greatest mystery
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squire
Half-elven


Mar 20, 6:41pm

Post #26 of 44 (601 views)
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Um, Radagast quote about the Necromancer? [In reply to] Can't Post

The lotr.fandom site says this in its article on "Magic in Tolkien Mythology", as you cited:
"Radagast, a knowledgable Istar like all other Istari, states two Ages later during the time of The Hobbit that '...a human sorcerer could not summon such evil', referring to the dark magic within Dol Guldur of the inhuman Necromancer, who was Sauron."
I frankly don't know where Radagast says this in LotR. As far as I can remember, he only speaks to Gandalf about the appearance of the Nazgul in the westlands. Do you think the writer could be citing the Hobbit film's dialogue? But doing so would tend to undermine the article's credibility, already somewhat weakened in my eyes by its unorganized and repetitious catalogue style, and its omission of Tolkien's own distinctions between the various forms of good and bad magic in his writings, found in Letter 155.



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Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 20, 7:25pm

Post #27 of 44 (600 views)
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Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

also said elsewhere that "the necromancers are of his [Sauron's] train." The Wise and or the author seemed to have a special horror of death-magic, and communing with "refusing" fear was considered both evil and dangerous.

But that says nothing about Beorn, whom after all Tolkien put into a children's book which was never intended to be particularly cohesive, or even part of the Legendarium although it borrowed a bit from it. The obvious inspiration was Bodvar Bjarki from Hrolfssaga Kraki, a figure whom many scholars (incl. JRRT) believe was another version of the "same" character as Beowulf.


No One in Particular
Lorien


Mar 21, 1:32am

Post #28 of 44 (588 views)
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Radagast [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The lotr.fandom site says this in its article on "Magic in Tolkien Mythology", as you cited:
"Radagast, a knowledgable Istar like all other Istari, states two Ages later during the time of The Hobbit that '...a human sorcerer could not summon such evil', referring to the dark magic within Dol Guldur of the inhuman Necromancer, who was Sauron."
I frankly don't know where Radagast says this in LotR. As far as I can remember, he only speaks to Gandalf about the appearance of the Nazgul in the westlands. Do you think the writer could be citing the Hobbit film's dialogue? But doing so would tend to undermine the article's credibility, already somewhat weakened in my eyes by its unorganized and repetitious catalogue style, and its omission of Tolkien's own distinctions between the various forms of good and bad magic in his writings, found in Letter 155.



Yes, I believe the quote mentioned is from one of the Hobbit films. I forget if it was in AUJ or Desolation, although I lean towards Desolation.

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


InTheChair
Lorien

Mar 21, 7:22pm

Post #29 of 44 (537 views)
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If we open the door to dismissing statement from the Hobbit, which we must... [In reply to] Can't Post

Then the whole notion of Beorn being a skin-changer could stem from the vivid imagination of Bilbo.

No doubt this was not Tolkiens intention, always interested in the mythological. Yet also careful about revealing it.

I do not remember if the first hand source in the secondary world (Bilbo) ever sees Beorn in bear shape, but I do not think so. (In LotR:s the approach is different. Here Frodo and the Hobbits directly see both Tom B, Goldberry and The Barrow-Wight. All potentially mythological figures)

So we never see Beorn transform. He is in the house, He leaves, the party goes to sleep, and in the morning they find bear tracks outside the house.

Then at the end Bilbo is told (by someone?) that Beorn showed up in bear form and helped out. Beorn is then present, as a man, at Thorins funeral.

In Bilbos account the source of Beorn being a skin-changer is attributed to Gandalf. The same Gandalf who gave Old Took (was it?) a pair of self-buttoning cuff links?


(This post was edited by InTheChair on Mar 21, 7:28pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Mar 21, 8:50pm

Post #30 of 44 (523 views)
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I think it is pretty clear that the account in The Hobbit accurately reflects what happened [In reply to] Can't Post

and is not just from Bilbo's imagination. He was told about Beorn coming to the battle.

Queer Lodgings

Gandalf tells Bilbo: "He is a skin-changer. He changes his skin: sometimes he is a huge black bear......."

The Return Journey

"Bilbo learned later...... (we don't know who be we must assume either one of the company or Gandalf) ......Beorn himself appeared......in the bear's shape......."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 21, 9:08pm

Post #31 of 44 (518 views)
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Yeah, that was no ordinary man who single-handedly changed the tide at BOFA. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


InTheChair
Lorien

Mar 21, 10:25pm

Post #32 of 44 (514 views)
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It make a better story that way at least. [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh yes. Bilbo is specifically told, according to his own account, that Beorn arrived in bear shape. Though he does not see anything of that event himself. So the bear shape is essentially hearsay. Even if it comes from characters that Bilbo, and we, implicitly trust.

In contrast Frodo reports that he himself saw Tom Bombadil put on the ring and be completely unaffected by it. (Well, I guess technically LotR:s is third hand reports of what Frodo actually said, but there's a difference in presentation to what we see with Beorn)


squire
Half-elven


Mar 22, 3:30am

Post #33 of 44 (501 views)
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Wait, what? Why must we dismiss Bilbo's account of Beorn as a skin-changer? [In reply to] Can't Post

Dismissing statements from The Hobbit is not what I was arguing for.

I was trying to say that statements from The Hobbit cannot always be reconciled into a perfect continuity with The Lord of the Rings - and that that's OK. There's nothing in that position that need make us doubt Bilbo's account (more properly, the Narrator's account) in The Hobbit about Beorn's amazing and magical nature. In fact it frees us believe the account, because the LotR has nothing quite so exotic as a man-bear skin-changer in its rationalized lists of the beings and monsters of Middle-earth.

Nor, for that matter, should we doubt Gandalf's testimony in The Hobbit about Beorn, just because in that book he gave the Old Took an absurd cheap-conjurer "pair of magic diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came undone till ordered". After all, if the Gandalf of The Hobbit and the Gandalf of The Lord of the Rings are not quite the same wizard - as has been reasonably argued by several critics - we are free to celebrate and enjoy the fussy and somewhat absurd old coot "who never minded explaining his cleverness more than once" without worrying that his alter ego in the later book is evidently a semi-divine angel figure sent to the world to do battle with Satan's viceroy.

Reading the two books as separate adventures in slightly separate story-worlds, rather than contorting them to fit together as standard commercial-property fantasy series prequel and sequel, allows us to enjoy each book for itself, while appreciating the occasional links to be found between the two.



squire online:
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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Mar 22, 4:39am

Post #34 of 44 (497 views)
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Bilbo did see Beorn in bear-form [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
As the light faded Bilbo thought he saw away to the right, or to the left, the shadowy form of a great bear prowling along in the same direction. But if he dared to mention it to Gandalf, the wizard only said: "Hush! Take no notice!"


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


InTheChair
Lorien

Mar 22, 3:20pm

Post #35 of 44 (458 views)
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There aren't any musts in it [In reply to] Can't Post

Reading the two books as separate adventures in slightly separate story-worlds, rather than contorting them to fit together as standard commercial-property fantasy series prequel and sequel, allows us to enjoy each book for itself, while appreciating the occasional links to be found between the two.

Yet we are touching that practice when we try to find explanation for Beorns skin-changing. Something the Hobbit books avoid, even to the degree of never allowing the main character to see it. There are suggestions of Oromë and Yavanna from a third work, the Silmarillion in this thread. And yet the wording of the Hobbit leaves open the possibility that it was only a fanciful elaboration by the chronicler. (Although the serving animals were seen by Bilbo so it's not very clear cut.)

I am completely willing to accept that Beorn was a real skin-changer and his descendants too. I don't know if it makes any sense to try and explain it by knowledge from the LotR:s and the Silmarillion though, when the book itself takes some trouble keep it to hearsay.








InTheChair
Lorien

Mar 22, 3:24pm

Post #36 of 44 (457 views)
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Yes Bilbo does see a bear, or at least thinks he does. [In reply to] Can't Post

But again the wording is so careful as to make it almost meaningless. It is as if Bilbo himself does not believe it enough to clearly state it in his account.

This is our source for Beorn being a skin-changer.

(There might be some statements in the Appendixes, or Unfinished tales maybe? I do not remember.)


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 22, 3:58pm

Post #37 of 44 (453 views)
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Are [In reply to] Can't Post

we really supposed to believe Gandalf is a liar?

Not buying it.


InTheChair
Lorien

Mar 22, 11:31pm

Post #38 of 44 (437 views)
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No. [In reply to] Can't Post

Although we know for a fact that Bilbo is.

In any case I also subscribe to the belief that Beorn is a skin changer, and Tolkien even claims so in one of this letters.

The way the book the Hobbit treats it though is as hearsay. If we accept the meta-story that this account was written by Bilbo.

Wouldt have been interesting to see how the attempted re-write of the 1960:s might have treated Beorn.


(This post was edited by InTheChair on Mar 22, 11:31pm)


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 22, 11:39pm

Post #39 of 44 (436 views)
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Even [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo was not "a liar," but rather a hobbit who told one (fairly major) lie, for reasons we know were largely not his fault, and which troubled Gandalf precisely because it was so out of character.

(And even that was of course a ret-con by Tolkien)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Mar 23, 12:46am

Post #40 of 44 (434 views)
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I think you are misreading this [In reply to] Can't Post

Or at least I judge Tolkien's intention here very differently than you do. I don't believe that he is at all suggesting that it is in question that Bilbo did see Beorn following them in Bear form. I think he is simply underscoring Beorn's stealthiness. And any question about whether Bilbo actually did see Beorn in bear form is eliminated by Gandalf's response.

There is nothing in the LOTR appendices or Unfinished Tales about Beorn being a skin-changer, but Tolkien does of course confirm this in Letter 144 To Naomi Mitchison.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


InTheChair
Lorien

Mar 23, 11:04pm

Post #41 of 44 (352 views)
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Yes Tolkiens intention is obvious [In reply to] Can't Post

That Beorn is following them, to keep and eye on his animals, and probably to scout the surroundings.

Even so the careful handling of Beorn, and keeping his transitions out of the experience of Bilbo, leaves open a window to consider the whole thing a myth if one so desires.

Tolkiens statement in the letter could be taken as proof that he considers the myth true. Which makes sense. Most would consider the character of Gandalf from LotR:s together with his statements from the Hobbit proof that it is true.


Eruonen
Valinor


Mar 24, 4:24am

Post #42 of 44 (325 views)
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This has been an interesting discussion. I was hoping it would be something [In reply to] Can't Post

that would shed some light or have reasonable explanations on the character of Beorn. That did happen along with different interpretations of the same event we are all familiar with - the witness (multiple readers in our case) problem.

From law - "Social scientists have demonstrated through studies since the 1960s that there was significant reason to be concerned about the accuracy of the eyewitness-identification testimony used in criminal trials. Although witnesses can often be very confident that their memory is accurate when identifying a suspect, the malleable nature of human memory and visual perception makes eyewitness testimony one of the most unreliable forms of evidence."
https://www.ncsc.org/...-Criminal-Cases.aspx


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Mar 24, 1:44pm

Post #43 of 44 (289 views)
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Yavanna did not derive the Ents [In reply to] Can't Post

Eru derived the Ents, in response to Yavanna's concerns about Aule's children, and His children as well, destroying her beloved olvar, through Manwe's intercession.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


InTheChair
Lorien

Mar 24, 7:03pm

Post #44 of 44 (273 views)
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Witnesses. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if there actually are any witnesses when it comes to Beorn. At least not when it comes to his transformation. Bilbo for certain does not see it. Gandalf does not see it while they are at Beorn house. He might have seen it after the BoFA, but no mention is made of it.

Gandalf does make claim to understanding the language of Bears. A very Tolkienesque thing. That might be taken as some kind of authority that the bear he sees is indeed Beorn.

Either way with or without proof we are meant by the author to assume it is so.

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