Our Sponsor Sideshow Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
"Threes Thursday": 18 November - Three is Company

noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 17 2021, 12:10pm

Post #1 of 15 (1486 views)
Shortcut
"Threes Thursday": 18 November - Three is Company Can't Post

This week our chapter is LOTR Book I Ch3, Three is Company.

Tell me, if you wish, what threes you find in that chapter. You can do that in any way you like including:
  • A sort of scavenger hunt into the text to find a three of something
  • Using the idea of threes to comment on the chapter in some way (e.g. write about three things you like; three plot points; three characters...)
  • On occasion we might find places where the number three or a pattern of three seems likely to have been put there deliberately by Tolkien for inspiration, symbolism, use of a writing technique etc. (Or, sometimes, where such inspiration or symbolism might not be deliberate on the part of the author, but is something a reader can find and enjoy).
Contributions can be long or short, learned or simple, and from anyone.

And really this 'threes' idea is only there to encourage people to look at the chapter and join in a discussion about it. So if the 'threes' thing is a barrier to join the discussion, just feel free to post about the chapter without having to shoehorn some threes in.

I have a vague plan to carry on through LOTR like this week by week, provided the response makes it seem worthwhile. But we'll see.

So over to you - what do you want to say about LOTR Book I Ch3, Three is Company?(There's at least one easy one this week Smile)


~~~~~~
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 17 2021, 12:32pm

Post #2 of 15 (1452 views)
Shortcut
Three threes for Chapter three [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought that this time I'd start us off. My threes are all things that could well be the prompt for a response, so I'm hoping to open things out for further discussion, rather than to pip anyone else to some of the threes!.

There are of course three hobbits setting out across the Shire. That three is whittled down from Falco (who leaves for lunch and then a career in Nintendo games and in pop music: anyway he plays no further part in this story). Merry and Fredeager go ahead by cart. The names and characters in this chapter's expedition changed as Tolkien went through various drafts of the story. Would those of you who enjoy "working from HoME" give us a summary of how it all evolved and what the changes might mean?

This chapter has three peoples (again). In Ch 1 we had hobbits, and a wizard and dwarves as hobbit guests. By contrast, The Shire has now been invaded by sinister Black Riders, whose nature, numbers and purpose are as yet unknown. The incautious hobbits are saved from these Riders by another folk present in The Shire without any by-your-leave from the hobbits: the elves. Someone might like to provide three points about the Black Riders, or about the elves as we see them in this chapter?

I notice we're in the third of three contrasting chapters. We've had (1) a light comedy of Shire manners, (2) A dive into Middle-earth history and the revelation of a quest; and now we have (3) a gentle travelogue, which shows us the lovely land of the Shire, just as we've been shown hobbit society, and Middle-earth history outside this charmed little land. Chapter 3 then slowly turns from a pleasant walking holiday into a worrying pursuit. How are you finding these contrasting or changing styles?

~~~~~~
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 )


InTheChair
Rohan

Nov 17 2021, 5:18pm

Post #3 of 15 (1440 views)
Shortcut
Now for certain [In reply to] Can't Post

The first verse of Gildors Elbereth song has three capital O:s in it.

ShockedShockedShocked

Well, that's a bit obscure but it was all I could muster up. Simple things, simple things.


ElanorTX
Tol Eressea


Nov 17 2021, 8:20pm

Post #4 of 15 (1432 views)
Shortcut
Is it already Thursday? I thought you were Wednesday afternoon. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."



Lissuin
Valinor


Nov 17 2021, 10:03pm

Post #5 of 15 (1430 views)
Shortcut
It is, as it happens, Thursday the 18th of November in my corner of the Shire, BUT... [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe our esteemed leader's enthusiasm for the game may to have urged him into a precipitous commencement of the festivities this week.

Before the game is afoot, thou still let’st slip! Well, never mind, Wiz. Wink The game is on! Or afoot!


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 19 2021, 10:48am

Post #6 of 15 (1388 views)
Shortcut
wizard time zones [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I posted on what was already Thursday in New Zealand (for example) but was still Wednesday in the UK. For reasons I shan't trouble people with, it became clear that I couldn't post on Thursday & I had to decide what to do. I'm assuming it caused no real harm, only mild surprise and amusement? (And possibly it caused kind concern - it would have been better had I briefly explained that I was starting early to fit my other tasks better, and not to worry about it.)

~~~~~~
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 )


sevilodorf
Tol Eressea

Nov 20 2021, 3:32am

Post #7 of 15 (1370 views)
Shortcut
I'll build on the poetry thread.... [In reply to] Can't Post

There are three bits of verse....

The Road Goes Ever On and On

Upon the Hearth the Fire is Red (which has three stanzas)

and the Elves' - Snow White Snow White O Lady Clear

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com
Home of TheOneRing.net Best FanFic stories of 2005 and 2006 "The Last Grey Ship" and "Ashes, East Wind, Hope That Rises" by Erin Rua

(Found in Mathoms, LOTR Tales Untold)




sevilodorf
Tol Eressea

Nov 20 2021, 3:34am

Post #8 of 15 (1368 views)
Shortcut
Three sightings/appearances of the Black Rider [In reply to] Can't Post

With the Gaffer

On the road when they hide

and when the Elves "frighten" it away.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com
Home of TheOneRing.net Best FanFic stories of 2005 and 2006 "The Last Grey Ship" and "Ashes, East Wind, Hope That Rises" by Erin Rua

(Found in Mathoms, LOTR Tales Untold)




squire
Half-elven


Nov 20 2021, 5:01am

Post #9 of 15 (1366 views)
Shortcut
I snap my fingers at your threes, and ask where the Baggins money comes from [In reply to] Can't Post

Rereading the chapter for the first time in a while, I do note that three seems to appear as a number a lot less frequently than in the first chapter. Except, of course, for the title triplet, the three hobbits on the beginning of the journey! And that should be enough to content anyone looking for 'three' in this chapter.

No, what struck me much harder was this line from the opening scenes:
Mr. Frodo was selling Bag End, indeed he had already sold it - to the Sackville-Bagginses!
... Just why Mr. Frodo was selling his beautiful hole was even more debatable than the price. A few held the theory - supported by the nods and hints of Mr. Baggins himself - that Frodo’s money was running out: he was going to leave Hobbiton and live in a quiet way on the proceeds of the sale down in Buckland .... But so firmly fixed had the notion of the immeasurable wealth of the Bagginses of Bag End become that most found this hard to believe,...
- LR I.3
This passage certainly seems to suggest that Frodo has been committing the ultimate sin of the landed gentry or any rentier class: spending his capital. His wealth, we read, is "running out" - or, contrarily in the popular mind of the district, is "immeasurable". Both rumors agree that his wealth is in the form of a treasure account that is spent as needed: taking some of that gold and those jools and cashing them in by sale in order to support the gentle lifestyle of a well-to-do and comfortable country squire.

But this begs the question of what form Bilbo's wealth had taken in the years before his adventure, when in The Hobbit we read that he is "very well to do" and "rich", and that his ancestors had been the same way "for time out of mind". It's almost impossible to read The Hobbit and not conclude that the Baggins family are landed gentry along traditional English lines. They own farm estates in the area which they rent out to a peasant class; the peasants farm the lands and the proceeds are returned to the Bagginses in the form of rents in kind (that is, as produce not money); the Bagginses in turn use those rents in kind in exchange for goods and services that support their leisurely lifestyle in Bag End.

And so there seems to be a conflict in the story. Unlike the scenario above as implied in The Hobbit, Bilbo's wealth in The Lord of the Rings is said by the locals to be entirely based on the legendary treasure he gained on his adventure with the Dwarves; Frodo inherited that treasure along with Bag End when Bilbo left; the treasure, limitless or running out, is Frodo's only source of support.

Otherwise we would have to assume that Frodo unlike Bilbo and all of his Baggins ancestors somehow found his landed income too small, and so had imprudently been slowly selling off the Baggins lands, year after year, in order to raise enough cash to live on. This is called "living on your capital" which, among the wealthy, is a shorthand phrase for the road to ruin. The whole point of being wealthy is that you get to live, usually very comfortably indeed, on your income from rents on your investments and capital. Never, ever, sell your land or capital just to cover living expenses!

Which is true? The Hobbit, wherein the Bagginses cannot run out of money because their wealth is not based on money but on the endless productivity of their lands? Or The Lord of the Rings, wherein the Bagginses' only wealth besides the Hole itself is a hoard of gold and jools that can, in fact, be spent until it "runs out" and all that is left to do is sell the Hole and retire to a humble cottage to live on the last proceeds of a once-vast estate?

Is this another example, on a lesser scale compared to the reimagining of the power and significance of Bilbo's Ring, where Tolkien pulls off a sleight of hand in effecting his transition from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings? Is there any other way whereby he could have had Frodo justify to the neighborly gossips the momentous decision to leave Bag End? Why was it unacceptable for Tolkien, as he conceived his "new Hobbit" sequel, to have Frodo simply run off in the middle of the night, just as Bilbo did in the first book?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 20 2021, 2:59pm

Post #10 of 15 (1343 views)
Shortcut
I've never managed... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never managed to sit down and study all the changes in the different versions of 'The Road Goes Ever On..." (and perhaps including "I sit beside the fire and think,,," which seems to be much the same rhythmically). Maybe a study would show up that changes in the words reflect what is currently going on in the story? For example

Quote
Pursuing it with weary feetUntil it joins some larger wayWhere many paths and errands meetAnd wither then? I cannot say.

Might reflect (or foreshadow etc.) Book 1 - Book II: Frodo takes the Ring to Rivendell where many paths and errands do indeed meet.
Has anyone done a study of the different versions, or know where there is one?

~~~~~~
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 20 2021, 3:09pm

Post #11 of 15 (1343 views)
Shortcut
A three-part crescendo [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a great 'three', and I notice that each time a Black Rider appears it is more sinister and menacing. I think this three-fold repetition does a lot of the building sense of menace that undercuts a jolly walk in this chapter.

Thinking back to our Chapter 1 discussion about whether three was a a convenient-sized bunch or has it's own significance, I think three appearances probably do work better than two or four here. What do people thin would have happened on the third occasion, if the elves hadn't turned up?
Whatever I imagine, I think Tolkien has pushed the Black Riders as far as he can as an ambiguous threat - from the next chapter, it's definitely a pursuit!

Who remembers their first reading of the text? If you didn't already know something about the Black Riders (from the films, from other readers etc.) do you remember being alarmed sooner than Frodo appears to be? I can't quite be sure but I think I quickly cottoned on to the idea that Frodo had dallied too long before setting out and something nasty had come to get him. Run Frodo, you fool! I certainly admire Tolkien's handling of the suspense in this chapter!

~~~~~~
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 20 2021, 3:48pm

Post #12 of 15 (1345 views)
Shortcut
A fine finger-snap! [In reply to] Can't Post

Ooh, I do like a rummage around how Tolkien does the illusion of The Shire. I think my reaction is probably pretty typical and the intended one, in that I intuit a lot of ideas and images from other tales of the English squirearchy and gentry. But further thought suggests that the hobbits of The Shire ought not to be like that, because of their different history. We've played this fine game before (indeed,I think I learned it from you, squire - for which many thanks; its a fun pursuit!)

In unpicking 'how The Shire wouldn't really work', I'm not complaining at all about Tolkien's writing - in fact I think it's a success that he's recruited my (our?) imaginations in this way, and it saves him a lot of explanation. It's got to be part of the storyteller's art to realize where more detail helps the illusion, and when it distracts or detracts. I feel that a lot o world-building about the exact composition and status of the Baggins estate would really not have been helpful: an arm-wave works far better.

But if one is odd enough to pick up that English squirarchy vibe and run with it, then I certainly agree: Bag End ought to be a significant estate. This is at odds with how it reads to me - which is something much more like an underground version of a comfy Victorian family home (something more like the Tolkien family's own place, perhaps).


Land is the obvious investment for Baggins wealth to be built upon, not least because.. well what else could there be in The Shire?

In Frodo's defence, I suppose that he only needs to throw the bulk of gossip off the right scent. Conflicting rumours would help wit that no doubt, so silly to give out a detailed explanation. And perhaps it helps that the Bagginses are regarded as notoriously eccentric, perhaps downright mad. They are also well-known for their connections with 'Outsiders'. So I wonder whether a likely thing for the more sophisticated hobbits to suppose would have been that Frodo had been badly burned by some mysterious foreign financial dealings, for which his home and/or lands were collateral. Hence his need to liquidate his assets in a hurry.

Hobbits aren't of course well-known for their overseas investments. That's in contrast to historical English Gentlemen, who from the Renaissance onward were financing privateers, colonies, the Atlantic slave trade, the East India Company, the Industrial Revolution, and of course holding Government stock. Government stock being needed for the huge military forces and merchant navy needed to protect all that overseas activity, conduct increasingly widespread and complex wars against imperial and colonial rivals, and prop up an escalating feeling of national superiority and destiny. None of that history applies to the hobbits. But I think I'm right in saying that Lotho is already exporting pipe-weed by his point, and investing the foreign exchange into land. So hobbits with foreign business dealings would appear to be plausible, even if not commonplace.

I'm now going to enjoy the (utterly unprovable) idea that ironically it was raising the capital for bag End that pushed the Sackville-Bagginses further into the arms of their foreign trading partners and backers, thus giving the Outsiders more leverage than they might otherwise have achieved, and bringing The Scouring that bit closer.

The other thing this is making me think is just how much of a spanner it would have put into the works if the S-Bs had smelled a rat and put some serious due diligence into why Frodo was really selling. Saruman is a major customer of Lotho's, after all, and might quickly have put a few choice items of information 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 )

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Nov 20 2021, 3:57pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Nov 20 2021, 3:53pm

Post #13 of 15 (1341 views)
Shortcut
what do you think Frodo gains from his subterfuge? [In reply to] Can't Post

How do people rate this aspect of Frodo's escape plan? What do people think of his scheme to sell up to the S-Bs, as opposed to (say):

  • Rushing out of Bag End without a handkerchief (like Bilbo) or;
  • Seeming to go off on a walking holiday (not unprecedented, it would seem), and simply not returning (a scheme that ought to allow him a few days or weeks head-start before it's suspicious that he's not returned, and might even act as a cover story for, say, him being sighted in Bree

That is, I suppose, what do you think Frodo gains from his subterfuge?

~~~~~~
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 )


InTheChair
Rohan

Nov 20 2021, 6:33pm

Post #14 of 15 (1322 views)
Shortcut
I had spoiled it. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Who remembers their first reading of the text? If you didn't already know something about the Black Riders (from the films, from other readers etc.) do you remember being alarmed sooner than Frodo appears to be? I can't quite be sure but I think I quickly cottoned on to the idea that Frodo had dallied too long before setting out and something nasty had come to get him. Run Frodo, you fool! I certainly admire Tolkien's handling of the suspense in this chapter!


Before reading the books for the first time I had already read one or two comic book based on the Ralph Bakshi movie, so I knew what the riders were and what they were after.

I also probably spent my first book read-through thinking that Boromir wore a helmet with bull horns, and that Legolas donned the white and sky-blues, just to make it a three.

That would be a different chapter though.


ElanorTX
Tol Eressea


Nov 21 2021, 9:17am

Post #15 of 15 (1270 views)
Shortcut
"Never touch your capital" turns up in American children's fiction too [In reply to] Can't Post

such as in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, where two older unmarried aunts are managing a straitened household in order to avoid invading their principal.
Actually it's not a bad principle (pun intended), unless caught in the current economy where return on investment can fall so low. I wonder what happened in Middle-earth during the plagues?

"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."


 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.