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"Threes Thursday": 4 November - A Long-expected Party
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Gwytha
Rohan


Nov 7 2021, 8:44pm

Post #26 of 41 (682 views)
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Multiples of three [In reply to] Can't Post

Twelve dozen guests at Bilbo's special family party(144=3x48)
Bilbo's age: Eleventy-one(3x37 equaling)
Frodo's coming of age: 33 years.

Growth after all is not so much a matter of change as of ripening, and what alters most is the degree of clarity with which we see one another. -Edith Pargeter


Gwytha
Rohan


Nov 7 2021, 8:48pm

Post #27 of 41 (681 views)
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Three Rings.. [In reply to] Can't Post

for the elven kings(under the sky)
...Nine for mortal men(doomed to die)

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them...

Growth after all is not so much a matter of change as of ripening, and what alters most is the degree of clarity with which we see one another. -Edith Pargeter


Gwytha
Rohan


Nov 7 2021, 9:00pm

Post #28 of 41 (682 views)
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So I opened a book of African folktales [In reply to] Can't Post

and the first page of the test begins with the words:

"Three storytellers met one day and began to tell stories."

The first story of the book involves a brother and sister who run away from home. They go to live in a cave, and the brother tells the sister not to let anyone in but him in order to avoid being caught by a cannibal. The cannibal tries three times to trick the sister into letting him in, and succeeds on the third try(just like the wicked queen in Snow White---and wasn't there a similar occurence in a European story about a dozen billy goats hiding from a wolf?)
The third story in the book is called "The Three Tests."

I think might be something archetypal/universal going on here...

Growth after all is not so much a matter of change as of ripening, and what alters most is the degree of clarity with which we see one another. -Edith Pargeter


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 8 2021, 11:31am

Post #29 of 41 (638 views)
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Wow, how interesting! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's fascinating to speculate whether this prevalence of threes is because:
  1. three has some strong effect on the human imagination (what you mean by archetypes, I think, Gwytha?) or;
  2. three is a highly practical number for story-telling (a sequence that then is subverted; two opposites and a balance; many other possibilities) and a prevalence of threes in stories trains us to see them elsewhere, or;
  3. those two effects have been working together.


~~~~~~
My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/...2%80%93duck_illusion )


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 8 2021, 11:34am

Post #30 of 41 (637 views)
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Hooray, It works! :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Our read-throughs because quite book-clubbish or literature-course-ish. Personally I enjoyed that, but I was aware that it wasn't for everyone. I would be delighted if I've accidentally hit upon something that allows more people to feel they can participate.

~~~~~~
My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/...2%80%93duck_illusion )


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 8 2021, 11:44am

Post #31 of 41 (634 views)
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Finding twos [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a fine pair, and shows two's ability to lend itself to opposites (antagonistic ones, complementary ones...) Quite a different feel to threes.
Personally, I'd be happy to read about more twos, or other interesting numbers and ideas about the text stimulated by these numbers in our chapter under study!

~~~~~~
My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/...2%80%93duck_illusion )


squire
Half-elven


Nov 8 2021, 1:16pm

Post #32 of 41 (634 views)
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Another way in which three works practically in storytelling [In reply to] Can't Post

As I remember it, Goldfinger says this to James Bond after he's captured him spying on the smuggling operation. In the story (the book, in my memory), the two of them have run into each other back in England twice through mutual friends.

"Mr. Bond, there is an old saying. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

Goldfinger concludes that Bond is after him, and proceeds to torture him imaginatively but unproductively.

So here three is the first and smallest instance of "many" (or, as I put it earlier in the thread, a bunch). It is meaningful precisely because it does not occur normally, by coincidence as Goldfinger puts it.



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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Nov 8 2021, 3:12pm

Post #33 of 41 (633 views)
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As a quick aside... [In reply to] Can't Post

I enjoyed Serkis's lively audio version of "The Hobbit" but am not quite ready to purchase his version of the trilogy, given its less vernacular tone. Did you enjoy it?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 8 2021, 5:41pm

Post #34 of 41 (624 views)
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Oooh! rhetoric too! [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a good one! Not only is Mr Goldfinger's saying a good example of three being a pattern, but it's also a rhetorical figure in three parts (a tricolon). Speech writers use this a lot because it sounds good, and since Tolkien often writes as if he should be read aloud, I think it would be worth looking out for examples.
Other examples of tricolons (we must of course have three examples Smile!):
  1. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” – William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar
  2. "Mad, bad and dangerous to know" - Lord Byron according to Lady Caroline Lamb, perhaps regretting having an affair with him
  3. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”- the American Declaration of Independence
(note the longest item in the list has to come last, and it may break a pattern of alliteration or rhyme)
We might also find Tolkien repeating a word immediately in exactly the same sense (which is called epizeuxis, I beleive):
  1. No, no, no! - Margaret Thatcher
  2. Location, location, location - Estate agents
  3. Bah, blah, blah - Greta Thunberg
For whatever strange reason, two repeats is not as good and four is too many.

(OK, King Lear can go "Howl, howl, howl, howl!" but he's mad; and even "Never, never, never, never, never! ...Look on her, look, her lips, Look there, look there!" But then he immediately dies, so I feel we should be careful with higher-number epizeuxes Wink)

Finally, Goldfinger reacting to Bond's third incursion reminds me of "Three on a match" – a superstition that it’s unlucky for 3 people to use the same match to light cigarettes. It is said to have originated in World War I (in which Tolkien fought, of course). One explanation for it is that by the time the third man was lighting up, an enemy sniper would have had time to see the light, aim and fire. So the third man would be the one to be shot. But I expect the idea that bad things come in threes would be older (perhaps for Goldfinger's reason - it's when the third misfortune strikes that it feels it can no longer be happenstance or co-incidence). So for all I know this sniper idea is a post-rationalization of a superstition.

~~~~~~
My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/...2%80%93duck_illusion )

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Nov 8 2021, 5:43pm)


Felagund
Lorien


Nov 8 2021, 9:22pm

Post #35 of 41 (619 views)
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by the numbers [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for enlivening things with such an awesome idea!

I think most of the 'threes' have been accounted for and brilliantly, so I thought I'd keep an eye out for some other numbers. And as a spoiler alert, I have to wonder already: even though this is only Chapter 1, are we ever going to be able to top this one for the sheer array of numbers?

Anyway, back to the numbers and apologies in advance for any duplication havoc I'm creating:

  • 99 is the age at which Bilbo begins to elicit the suspicions of his neighbours, earning him the dubious sobriquets of 'well-preserved' and 'unchanged'. We also learn that Bilbo had been at "ninety as much the same as fifty."


  • we learn about 'tweens'! That is, the period of a hobbit's life between childhood and the coming of age at 33.


  • we get the lovely number 'eleventy-one' for the first time.


  • we learn that the oldest hobbit in memory lived to the very ripe old age of 130 (a number that will continue to be of interest to our Bilbo for years to come...)


  • the Gaffer had, by this point, been tending the garden at Number 3 Bagshot Row for 40 years.


  • we learn that Frodo is the first and second cousin of Bilbo. Luckily, there's some family trees in 'Appendix C' to help us wrap our heads around that one!

  • we learn that the events of The Hobbit took place 60 years previously, as remarked by the Gaffer. Which is also the time that Otho Sackville-Baggins has been waiting for 'his' inheritance, as he gracelessly remarks a little later in the chapter


  • we learn that the hobbit practice of giving out presents on their own birthday means that for residents of Hobbiton and Bywater, you were getting at least 1 present a week. Now we occasionally get onto demographics in the Shire and perhaps this is the key that Tolkien hid in plain sight, all those years ago...! Anyone up for trying to calculate the population of Hobbiton and Bywater on the back of this 'one present per week' formula? I'd do it myself, of course, if I wasn't virtually innumerate!


  • we learn about the excellent hobbitish custom of 'elevenses'.


  • I, and I suspect many others at the time of our respective very first readings learn what 1 Gross is! And this is what Bilbo (that joker!) goes with for his guest list


  • Bilbo has brought everyone together for 'Three Purposes'. No more, no less...


  • for undisclosed numbers between more than one and a lot, look no further than the number of umbrellas Adelard Took 'borrowed' from Bilbo over the years; the number of books Hugo Bracegirdle appears to have borrowed and not returned; or the number of silver spoons that Lobelia Sackville-Baggins had 'acquired' over a similarly long period.


  • a dozen bottles of the strong red wine, Old Winyards is quite the gift.


  • in a scene I'd completely forgotten about and took a great deal of joy in rediscovering, 3 young hobbits (2 Boffins and a Bolger) try their hand at invasive treasure-seeking in one of Bag End's cellars. Cheeky precursors of Merry and Pippin, in a way.

  • an epic tale that virtually starts with an interval! Via the last words in the Chapter: "Frodo did not see him [Gandalf] again for a long time." We have the set up, we have old characters and new, we have a premonition or two that the very useful and seemingly innocent magic ring might not be all it seems, and then... three years amble by! Most relaxed start ever?


  • And finally, the three dwarven companions of Bilbo, which another poster mentioned earlier: I wonder why Tolkien settled on them as remaining anonymous? In one early reading of this chapter, I wondered if one or more of them might have been an old comrade from the survivors of Thorin & Co.? And then along came HoMe VI, which disabused me of that notion! The three dwarves (who, originally, were just written up as "several") did have names, introduced in what looks to be a 'middling' draft of the Chapter, where we learn that they are called Nar, Anar and Hannar. Moreover, in that draft, there was a fourth dwarf, Lofar, who remained at Bag End after the Long-expected Party, and departed with Gandalf, after the latter had had a chance to talk to Frodo about his inheritance. Perhaps the eventual anonymity was Tolkien not wanting to distract us overly with too much in the way of unintended flashbacks to when dwarves last hung about at Bag End. Different book, different protagonists; focus on the sequel please etc.?

    And genuinely finally! Once seeing these dwarves named (if only to be abandoned), my curiosity got the better of me and I consulted the Dvergatal, the 'Catalogue of Dwarves' that features in the Elder Edda, that favourite shopping trolley for Tolkien when it came to his dwarves of Middle-earth. And lo and behold, Nar, Anar, Hannar and Lofar are all there to see, along with the better-known Durin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Ori, Dori, Nori, Thorin, Thrain, Thror, Fili, Kili, Fundin, Nain, Dain, Gloin, Frar, Dwalin & Loni (as well as a certain Gandalf).

    Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


    noWizardme
    Half-elven


    Nov 9 2021, 12:01pm

    Post #36 of 41 (584 views)
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    So: next Thursday... [In reply to] Can't Post

    Thanks you everyone who has participated so far! For a no-warning, spur-of-the-moment idea, "Threes Thursday" has already done OK (and of course there's no reason not to add more discussion, if that's what people want to do).
    So: next Thursday I'm proposing to do a similar post starting a discussion about Chapter 2. But:
    I should say that a close relative became seriously ill yesterday, so at any point in the near future I might go missing from these boards. Should that happen on Thursday, I'd encourage someone else to start the conversation - all that's needed is to cut and paste the text with which I started this thread, and then edit it to change the chapter name. (Or you can make any other changes that seem needed, or write a new starter post!). And then the game can continue for another week. It is not my game exclusively!
    A second confession/ explanation / personal point I'd like to make here is that by instinct I'd love to replay affectionately and thoughtfully to each and every response. But I can't - certainly not in my current situation and probably not anyway. Indeed, when we were doing read-throughs, I think my eagerness to make posters feel appreciated and welcome might have backfired in three (3Smile!) ways:
    1. It was too much of a time commitment and a worry for me
    2. By rushing in with a reply, maybe I inhibited others from replying
    3. It's not my place to dictate how people ought to behave to other users
    So I want to avoid that in this game, and in anything else we now do.

    My third (3Smile!) point is to remark that these boards are a community which operates by a sort of nice anarchy - I didn't have to ask anyone's permission to start this game, not be in some kind of inner circle of grandees who are permitted to start something. So if anyone else wants to start an activity, I'd encourage them to go right ahead and do so!

    I don't know how long this game is likely to entertain us:
    1. maybe we'll be bored with it after a few chapters
    2. and maybe then the 'rules' (such as they are) should evolve or;
    3. we'll get a long way into just LOTR like this, continuing some time with continued enjoyment;
    (3Smile!)
    I think we'll be able to detect (1) by reduced engagement. For me it will be time to stop or modify the game when the number of replies gets low. We can discuss rule modifications as we go. Or, since the 'rules' are really no more than prompts to read & think & post something, people are welcome to go right ahead and bend them!

    ~~~~~~
    My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/...2%80%93duck_illusion )


    Gwytha
    Rohan


    Nov 9 2021, 3:01pm

    Post #37 of 41 (574 views)
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    I'm loving the Andy Serkis version [In reply to] Can't Post

    I've enjoyed Rob Inglis' reading of LOTR over the years, but I really love how Andy Serkis reads it. Initally I sometimes found it jarringly dramatic, but by now that's become one of the things that makes it so good. I prefer how AS does the songs...he's much more on key and more often and the music he(I presume) comes up with are better than the Inglis version(though I could wish Billy Boyd might have composed the tunes). Love how he voices the characters. Some of them seem to come right out of the films(ie Pippin,Gandalf, and of course Gollum), an others he interprets differently(Aragorn, Faramir, and in particular Denethor). A.ltogether I highly recommend it

    Growth after all is not so much a matter of change as of ripening, and what alters most is the degree of clarity with which we see one another. -Edith Pargeter


    Lily Fairbairn
    Half-elven


    Nov 9 2021, 4:21pm

    Post #38 of 41 (564 views)
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    Thank you! // [In reply to] Can't Post

     

    Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
    Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
    Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
    Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
    They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
    The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


    Gwytha
    Rohan


    Nov 10 2021, 3:54pm

    Post #39 of 41 (541 views)
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    I meant archetypes [In reply to] Can't Post

    in the sense of "a recurrent symptom or motif in litereature, art, mythology" ...as well as dreams, I should think. Seven and nine also show up a lot as of powerful or magical significance, ie as in the numbers of rings various folk have had.

    Growth after all is not so much a matter of change as of ripening, and what alters most is the degree of clarity with which we see one another. -Edith Pargeter


    Altaira
    Superuser / Moderator


    Nov 16 2021, 9:29pm

    Post #40 of 41 (405 views)
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    Great find! [In reply to] Can't Post


    Quote
    my curiosity got the better of me and I consulted the Dvergatal, the 'Catalogue of Dwarves' that features in the Elder Edda, that favourite shopping trolley for Tolkien when it came to his dwarves of Middle-earth. And lo and behold, Nar, Anar, Hannar and Lofar are all there to see,


    That rascally Tolkien.


    Thanks for that bit of detective work, and thanks for the great idea NoWizardMe!



    Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



    "Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

    "I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





    Gwytha
    Rohan


    Nov 16 2021, 10:15pm

    Post #41 of 41 (400 views)
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    I suspect [In reply to] Can't Post

    that the compelling nature of the number three can keep us going for the long haul, especially as your suggestions allow so much flexibility in how and what we comment about.

    Growth after all is not so much a matter of change as of ripening, and what alters most is the degree of clarity with which we see one another. -Edith Pargeter

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