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Over Hill and Under Hill Discussion - Part Three

One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Aug 3 2012, 4:31pm

Post #1 of 5 (595 views)
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Over Hill and Under Hill Discussion - Part Three Can't Post

Captured, and faced with the wrath of the Goblin King, the dwarfs are near death when the goblins are assaulted by an unknown power---


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The yells and yammering, croaking, jabbering and jabbering; howls, growls and curses; shrieking and skriking that followed were beyond description. Several hundred wild cats and wolves being roasted slowly alive together would not have compared with it.



Once again Tolkien uses what I feel is lyrical writing with regards to the goblins. Thoughts? What about “skriking”? Is this even a real word? Is the narrative caught in the moment that it can’t comprehend what is happening? What about the gruesome analogy?

As Gandalf comes to the rescue, we are reintroduced to the blades---


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This sword’s name was Glamdring the Foe-hammer, if you remember. The goblins just called it Beater, and hated it worse than Biter if possible. Orcrist, too, had been saved; for Gandalf had brought it along as well, snatching it from one of the terrified guards.



There are many repetitions in the text throughout the novel, and then there’s just as many moments where Tolkien makes an aside (“if you remember”). Is this his way of making the book more intimate? Repetition is common in many great fantasy stories. Is this The Hobbit’s way of capturing that tradition?

In the madness of the situation, is it feasible that Gandalf would have retrieved Orcrist? Is he more agile than Tolkien is letting on?

Gandalf and Thorin stand to fend off the pursuing goblins---


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They came scurrying round the corner in full cry, and found Goblin-cleaver, and Foe-hammer shining cold and bright right in their astonished eyes. The ones in front dropped their torches and gave one yell before they were killed.



How many goblins should we believe are chasing, or in this case, manning the front lines? Is there meant to be some magic in the blades that allow Gandalf and Thorin to slay so many so quick? Are the goblins merely mesmerized and in shock that they find no time to defend? Is there something else at play here?

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Felagund
Lorien


Aug 4 2012, 8:03am

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"wicked dwarves" [In reply to] Can't Post

Whenever I read this bit of 'Over Hill & Under Hill' I stop and think about the line "in some parts wicked dwarves had even made alliances with them [the goblins]". Dwarves working with Orcs? There's only one other quote I can find along these lines and that's in The Silmarillion, when it mentions that few dwarves fought on either side in the War of the Last Alliance.

By the way, I've always loved this chapter title - great repetition, it just rolls off the tongue. Tolkien really has fun with the words of all his chapter titles in The Hobbit. Some of them are just descriptive ('An Unexpected Party' or 'A Short Rest') but belie something momentous, and others are brilliant metaphors ('The Clouds Burst'), riffs on old sayings ('Out of the Frying-Pan & into the Fire') or almost riddles in themselves ('Barrels out of Bond').

Thanks for leading the discussion on this chapter!

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


sador
Half-elven


Aug 5 2012, 8:58am

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Once again Tolkien uses what I feel is lyrical writing with regards to the goblins. Thoughts?
I like the jabbering.

Quote

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Quite suggestive, isn't it?

What about “skriking”? Is this even a real word?
Google is my friend:
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/skrike

Is the narrative caught in the moment that it can’t comprehend what is happening?
No, it can. It even offers a payback for "yammer and bleat!"

What about the gruesome analogy?
At first, when you wrote "lyrical writing" I thought you were refering to this... Blush

There are many repetitions in the text throughout the novel, and then there’s just as many moments where Tolkien makes an aside (“if you remember”). Is this his way of making the book more intimate?
Yes - one of the ways.

Repetition is common in many great fantasy stories. Is this The Hobbit’s way of capturing that tradition?
No comment. I haven't read that many of them.


In the madness of the situation, is it feasible that Gandalf would have retrieved Orcrist?
This is one of the least unfeasible events in this story.

Is he more agile than Tolkien is letting on?

Tolkien as a storyteller is more agile than he is letting on.

How many goblins should we believe are chasing, or in this case, manning the front lines?
"Three could walk abreast". Sounds similar.

Is there meant to be some magic in the blades that allow Gandalf and Thorin to slay so many so quick?
In a narrow place? I would suppose this is more probable than the Fellowship initial defending themselves in the Chamber of Mazarbul.

Are the goblins merely mesmerized and in shock that they find no time to defend?
Makes sense.

Is there something else at play here?
I don't think so. Gandalf never even had to conjure up one of his flashes.

"Is the mountain more dangerous because it is personified? Are the nights not scary enough unless they are actively plotting against the dwarves?"
- Arwen's Daughter.



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for A Short Rest!


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Aug 5 2012, 3:44pm

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Re: "wicked dwarves" [In reply to] Can't Post

Remember that, prior to The Hobbit, Tolkien had originally conceived of the dwarves of Middle-earth as a more wicked race, greedy, selfish and conniving, if not outright allies of Morgoth. The tale of The Hobbit forced Prof. Tolkien to revise that view.

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house." - Aragorn


CuriousG
Valinor


Aug 14 2012, 4:24pm

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Gruesome [In reply to] Can't Post

The neat thing about "skriking" is that it fits the lyrical pattern that you note, so even if it were an invented word, most readers wouldn't question it and would accept it as part of the whole. The link Sador provided mentions a thrush in the defintion: how's that for unintended foreshadowing?

In what is a children's book, I find the analogy of the animals being tortured quite disturbing. Not bad enough to ban the books from libraries, and plenty of fairy tales in their original form have worse things (the evil stepmother in one old tale is forced to dance on hot coals until she dies!). I don't dwell on it, but I find it out of place.

Gandalf and Orcrist: I think we are meant to believe that this wily wizard is agile enough and has the presence of mind to snatch Thorin's sword. And after all, he needs to re-arm all of the dwarves that he can if they're going to fight their way out and continue their quest. Gandalf shows a similar presence of mind at the Black Gate in The Return of the King, when he snatches Frodo's possessions from the Mouth of Sauron. "These we will take!" I love that scene.

How many goblins should we believe are chasing, or in this case, manning the front lines? Lots. And they were goblinning the front lines, not manning them. But seriously, I think if we were given numbers high or low, we'd start to think about what's realistic or not. Leaving it fuzzy like this lets our imagination adapt the crowd control to what we each find believable. I imagine the good guys are outnumbered 3 to 1, if I think about it.

Is there meant to be some magic in the blades that allow Gandalf and Thorin to slay so many so quick?
Are the goblins merely mesmerized and in shock that they find no time to defend? Is there something else at play here? Yes, I think so. Gondolin has a mystique about it in the Silmarillion also, coming the closest of all realms to reproducing the atmosphere of Tuna in Aman. That would give an extra oomph to its weapons here.

Great questions--thanks for leading the chapter! Sorry I couldn't join sooner.

 
 

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