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** The Hobbit, “Riddles in the Dark”** 3. – “It must have a competition with us, my preciouss!”

squire
Valinor


Aug 11 2012, 9:52pm

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** The Hobbit, “Riddles in the Dark”** 3. – “It must have a competition with us, my preciouss!” Can't Post

At this point, Bilbo has accepted Gollum’s offer to play at Riddles. He lets Gollum go first, for lack of any ideas of his own. Gollum opens with:

R1G. “What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, up it goes,
And yet never grows?”

[I have identified the Riddles with a short code for reference: R for riddle; 1 for the sequence of paired riddles in the story; in each contesting pair G is for Gollum going first and B is for Bilbo responding.]

Bilbo claims that is easy, and says “Mountain, I suppose.”
A. Is it easy? Did you get it when you first read it, before reading the answer in the next line? Why does Bilbo get this one instantly, but will struggle to think of several of the others?

Gollum seems pleased that Bilbo has a competitive spirit for Riddles, and proposes “a competition”. Based on the rule of “the one asks…the other doesn’t answer”, either Gollum wins and eats Bilbo, or Bilbo wins and gets a present from Gollum.
B. Does it make sense that Gollum expects Bilbo to abandon his sword and agree to be killed and eaten, if he loses a game – even a game of honor?

WAIT! Hold the phone! Did I say Bilbo “gets a present” if he wins? No, of course not – if Bilbo wins, Gollum will do “what it wants…We shows it the way out, yes!”

Yes, this is the beginning of the famous re-write. In 1947, Tolkien sent a typed copy of the first book of The Lord of the Rings to his publisher to show them that his sequel actually existed after ten years of work. One comment that Rayner Unwin made was that Gandalf’s explanation of Gollum’s finding the Ring and losing it to Bilbo did not make much sense compared to the account in The Hobbit. Tolkien (in Letters, #109) grumbled that Gandalf was doing pretty well given the circumstances; that probably he, Tolkien, would shorten and rewrite LotR I.2 (‘The Shadow of the Past’) to elide the problem, but the better solution would be to revise the ‘Riddles’ chapter in The Hobbit – a solution that was out of the question due to costs, he supposed.

Nevertheless, later that year he sent along some minor proof-type corrections for a future reprinting of The Hobbit, and with these, “(for the possible amusement of yourself and Rayner) a specimen of re-writing of Chapter V of [The Hobbit], which would simplify, though not necessarily improve, my present task [of finishing LotR].” (Letters, #111).
C. Why did Tolkien do this? What does he mean by “specimen”?

Well, the rest is history, of course. Three years later the publishers had decided to re-issue The Hobbit in the improved post-war economy, and they sent Tolkien the proofs. He was shocked, shocked to discover that his notes on a re-write for Chapter V had been set in type, radically changing the story of Bilbo and Gollum and the Ring. He pissed and moaned that now he would have to rewrite Chapter 2 (“most of a chapter”, he speculates) of LotR I, because it had been written to work with the original Hobbit. (Letters, #128)
D. Does anyone know if he did, in fact, re-write ‘The Shadow of the Past’ in 1950-53 to catch up with his own changes to The Hobbit?

But in reality, he almost immediately convinced himself that the new version was “better, in motive and narrative” (Letters, #128) and after passing the proofs around, he somewhat grudgingly conceded that “Such people as I have consulted think the alteration is in itself an improvement (apart from the question of a sequel). That is something.” (ibid., #129).
E. We have just begin to read the altered portion of the chapter – but do you have a feeling, based on what we’ve read of The Hobbit so far, that the new and more aggressive Gollum and the more sinister Ring are “better” from a literary point of view, and not just because they cohere with the LotR?

Well, that question can’t really be answered unless you’ve read the original version, can it! I confess I am in the now-tiny minority of readers who were raised on the old Hobbit – I have an aging child’s sentimental soft spot for the creepy but endearing “old Gollum” and his “present”. So, for reference, here is a chart of the comparative changes, which I will refer to going forward.
F. This chart aside, have you read the earlier version before? Straight through as part of the chapter, or in excerpt?

So, to continue! Bilbo agrees to Gollum’s contest, and “nearly bursts his brain” to come up with riddles that “could save him from being eaten.”
G. What exactly is a “riddle”? Do they have to rhyme? Is there a format or length? How does one differ from a “puzzle” or, as it happens, a mere “question”?

Bilbo says,

R1B. “Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still.”

This the narrator tells us is “an old one” that came to Bilbo’s mind because he was hungry. Gollum, it seems, “knew the answer as well as you do.”
H. As well as who does?

My sources (Tolkien and John Rateliff) agree that this is the one riddle in the chapter that was a commonplace example from our real world, at least at the time of writing.
I. Does this place Bilbo’s world and our world on the same plane, and take us out of the fairy-tale world of hobbits, dwarves, wizards and dragons?

Gollum gets that the answer is ______________ (you already know it, right?), and comes back with:

R2G. “Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.”

Bilbo at first is flustered, but “got his wits back” because “he had once heard something like this before”. It is (“of course”) the wind.

Ah. We may say that the wind mutters, or flutters; the wind cries; it bites. Yet it doesn’t actually do any of those things, which are actions of a body. Doesn’t it seem that riddles, at least as Tolkien presents them, are playing with the power of language to make metaphors? Thus, to imagine a riddle, think of some picturesque phrase or phrases that can’t be taken literally. Then make a verse asking the listener to identify the subject of the phrase, entirely from clues in the metaphorical usage.
J. Just speculating here – any takers or comments?

K. Do such riddles become easier or harder if one is listening rather than reading on a page?

Bilbo starts to strategize: knowing that Gollum lives underground, he “makes one up on the spot” that refers to a setting Gollum won’t imagine easily:

R2B. “An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
“That eye is like to this eye”
Said the first eye,
“But in low place,
Not in high place.”

Truly Gollum is puzzled, but finally he brings up childhood memories of “ages and ages and ages before, when he lived with his grandmother in a hole in a bank by a river”. Then he realizes that the answer is “Sun on the daisies.”
L. It turns out that “daisy” is descended from “day’s eye”, a reference to the sun – did you get that?

Just to speculate on a riddle whose twist is a detail of English etymology. If as Tolkien would sometimes have us believe, this book was “translated” by him from Bilbo’s memoirs which were written in (according to the LotR appendices) Westron, a Third Age patois of Númenórean, Sindarin, and the Valar only know what else –
K. If not Daisy as a wordplay on Day’s Eye, then what was this riddle about originally?

At this point comes the first emendation of the text to accommodate the change in Gollum’s terms of competition. Originally, while Gollum struggled to remember the outside world, “Bilbo was beginning to wonder what Gollum's present would be like”. That doesn’t work now, and the present reading is “Bilbo was beginning to hope that the wretch would not be able to answer”.

L. Which version fits the story better: Bilbo imagining a pleasant reward for his victory, or Bilbo imagining the defeat of an enemy?

Gollum fights back hard. The riddles up to now have been of the “aboveground everyday sort.” These are “tiring” him, and also remind him of better days, when “he had been less lonely and sneaky and nasty”. He resents this and is also starting to get hungry!
M. How does the idea of a monster wishing he was less awful, but hating the feeling that results, fit into The Hobbit? Is this a typical nursery tale for kids?

N. In what other books might children of the Tolkien family have been exposed to the pathos of the human condition along these lines?

Anyway, Gollum is starting to feel mean, so he “tried something a bit more difficult and unpleasant”:

R3G. “It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.”

Bilbo gets it immediately, partly because he “has heard that sort of thing before” (just as he had the “Wind” one, R2G above), and partly because he is sitting in pitch-black darkness – for the answer is “Dark”.

It is to “gain time, until he could think of a really hard one” that Bilbo asks his next short one, a “dreadfully easy chestnut” as he thinks, although “he had not asked it in the usual words”:

R3B. “A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid,”

But Gollum cannot make it out! He hisses and whispers and sputters, until Bilbo actually makes a joke about the answer not being a tea-kettle. Again, a small change was made in the text here because Bilbo imagined winning the contest entirely in terms of getting a “present” from Gollum. Now instead of asking “what about your present?”, he asks “what about your guess?”
O. Does it matter much that Bilbo goes from assuming he’s won, to simply nagging his opponent?

Not to be too niggly – my point is I think Tolkien actually cared about such niceties of storytelling detail. To me, these changes confirm that they are from a first draft that went to publication without a chance for him to consider the full nuances of his rewrite.

Anyway, Gollum finally (again) remembers his childhood “thieving from nests” and “sitting under the river bank” teaching his grandmother to suck eggs – and “Eggs” is the answer.
P. What is the joke here?

Gollum is flustered, and asks one that he in turn thinks is too easy:

R4G. “Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.”

Bilbo, who is not a water-man and is feeling rather threatened by the general situation, cannot think this one through. The narrator inserts this semi-helpful comment: “I imagine you know the answer, of course, or can guess it as easy as winking, since you are sitting comfortably at home and have not the danger of being eaten to disturb your thinking.”
Q. Why does the narrator interject a comment like this, just now?

R. Is Bilbo in danger of being eaten alive? Or will Gollum kill him first, which is bad enough but not as purely horrifying and painful to contemplate. And why is Bilbo so lacking in confidence in his sword?

Gollum begins to talk about how Bilbo will taste! Bilbo asks for more time, as he gave to Gollum on the eggs riddle, but Gollum is getting greedy and starts to climb out of his boat “to get at Bilbo”.
S. Did you remember that Gollum has been in his boat the entire time? Because I didn’t – nor did any of the many illustrators of this iconic scene, as far as I can remember. But are there any actual clues in the text that have given us the impression that Gollum has been sitting on the ground next to Bilbo all this time?

In any case, this move of Gollum’s is ill-timed, because he disturbs a fish, who jumps out and lands on Bilbo’s feet. This inspires him to realize the riddle’s answer is – “Fish!” And quickly he calls out his own riddle, “so that Gollum had to get back into his boat and think”:

R4B. “No-legs lay on one-leg, two-legs sat near on three-legs, four-legs got some.”

The problem with this one is, the previous subject had been fish, and fish have no legs. Thus Gollum pieces it together quickly, when it might have quite tough otherwise. He gives it as “Fish on a little table, man at table sitting on a stool, the cat has the bones.”

This one has always reminded me of the Sphinx’s riddle to Oedipus.
T. Is it a common type of riddle – and if so, why would it have been trouble for Gollum at another time?

Gollum now plays to kill – or so we’re given to understand. “He thought the time had come to ask something hard and horrible.”

R5G. “This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.”


This baffles Bilbo completely. He knows instinctively that the answer is not of the “giants and ogres” sort, but he can’t put his finger on it. His wits get muddled with the fear of losing. Gollum gets out of the boat, into the water, and paddles towards Bilbo – his eyes getting closer and closer in the darkness.
U. Is this the most suspenseful moment in the chapter? Do children get scared at this point?

But Bilbo saves himself by squealing for more time, and only getting out the words “Time! Time!” And that is the answer, “of course”.

And with our reading audience on the edge of its seat or hiding half under a pillow, that’s it for now – in my next post, the riddle game comes to its end and then the real drama begins. One final question:
V. If you’ve ever read this aloud to a child, does the writing lend itself to a dramatic performance or is it too complex to fight with? Do the kids ever get the riddles, or do you just give them a chance to think and then read on to the answers?



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Aug 12 2012, 10:33pm

Post #2 of 9 (155 views)
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Riddles [In reply to] Can't Post

Firstly about the riddles. When I first read the Hobbit, all those years ago, I must confess that I did not get one riddle correct. But I was a bit younger than Bilbo. And I suppose it was good that it wasn't me there. Although maybe a child from the eighties doesn't find something that was obvious from the thirties, erm, obvious.
Although maybe I might have survived. This is just one of my mad thoughts. But did Gollum really want to eat Bilbo? After a while. Gandalf later said that it was possibly pleasant for Gollum to hear another voice. One that maybe Gollum recognised as another Hobbit. Now eating goblins is one thing. But would Gollum have eaten one of his own kind? Possibly Gollum let Bilbo win the game. Till he found out about the ring of course!


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Aug 12 2012, 10:46pm

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A riddle I might guess [In reply to] Can't Post

What is in these tunnels
All around the air
Sounds like lark begins with a d
And is always there.


Gold Grizzly
The Shire


Aug 13 2012, 12:47pm

Post #4 of 9 (185 views)
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A. Is it easy? Did you get it when you first read it, before reading the answer in the next line? Why does Bilbo get this one instantly, but will struggle to think of several of the others?

I didn't get any of them, although I was young, and didn't have the patience to think about them properly before looking at the answers. I guess this one may have been easy for Bilbo because he was in a mountain at the time (rather like RG3, the answer is all around him).

E. We have just begin to read the altered portion of the chapter – but do you have a feeling, based on what we’ve read of The Hobbit so far, that the new and more aggressive Gollum and the more sinister Ring are “better” from a literary point of view, and not just because they cohere with the LotR?

It's hard to set aside my bias towards the LOTR/rewrite version of Gollum, because I was so familiar with him before reading the original version. It does seem more consistent, though, for a character who wants to eat our hero to be menacing.

F. This chart aside, have you read the earlier version before? Straight through as part of the chapter, or in excerpt?

About a year ago, I managed to find a side by side comparision similar to the one you've linked to. It was somthing I'd been curious about since hearing about it.

G. What exactly is a “riddle”? Do they have to rhyme? Is there a format or length? How does one differ from a “puzzle” or, as it happens, a mere “question”?

Like poems, I imagine that they don't have to rhyme, but should be constructed with aesthetics in mind. These riddles do mostly rhyme, with R4B being the only exception.

H. As well as who does?

That would be the reader (although he overestimates me) ... Wink

I. Does this place Bilbo’s world and our world on the same plane, and take us out of the fairy-tale world of hobbits, dwarves, wizards and dragons?

The book seems to be set in our world's past, based on the first chapter when Hobbits are described as having become shy of the big people (meaning that they're still around).

J. Just speculating here – any takers or comments?

That seems reasonable, although R4B is again an exception, being vague rather than metaphorical. Perhaps because Bilbo is trying to ask one quickly, that riddle is not quite up to the standard of the other eight.

K. Do such riddles become easier or harder if one is listening rather than reading on a page?

Probably easier reading, as one can check through the wording as many times as needed before guessing.

L. Which version fits the story better: Bilbo imagining a pleasant reward for his victory, or Bilbo imagining the defeat of an enemy?

Given Bilbo's situation, I wouldn't expect him to be all that interested in a present which he can't have expected to have been anything special. I prefer the 2nd version.

P. What is the joke here?

"Teaching your Grandmother to suck eggs" is an old expression for trying to teach someone about a subject that they are already an expert in.

Q. Why does the narrator interject a comment like this, just now?

This continues Tolkien's theme of assuming that his readers are familiar with, and good at, the riddle game.

R. Is Bilbo in danger of being eaten alive? Or will Gollum kill him first, which is bad enough but not as purely horrifying and painful to contemplate. And why is Bilbo so lacking in confidence in his sword?

Bilbo hasn't, as far as we know, ever used a sword in a fight at this point in the story, so he couldn't be entirely confident of victory (indeed, he runs away later on in the chapter rather than risk a fight). I often wonder whether Bilbo would have simply let Gollum eat him, but we do learn that the riddle game is "sacred and of great antiquity, and even wicked creatures were afraid to cheat when they played at it". Perhaps the more civilised Bilbo would indeed have felt compelled to honour his agreement.

S. Did you remember that Gollum has been in his boat the entire time? Because I didn’t – nor did any of the many illustrators of this iconic scene, as far as I can remember. But are there any actual clues in the text that have given us the impression that Gollum has been sitting on the ground next to Bilbo all this time?

I do imagine him in the boat, although Bilbo starting when Gollum's hiss "came in his ears" does give an image of close proximity.

T. Is it a common type of riddle – and if so, why would it have been trouble for Gollum at another time?

The timing is bad because they have just had a riddle based on fish, and perhaps because Gollum is thinking about having a meal himself (i.e. eating Bilbo).

V. If you’ve ever read this aloud to a child, does the writing lend itself to a dramatic performance or is it too complex to fight with? Do the kids ever get the riddles, or do you just give them a chance to think and then read on to the answers?

I did try a few of the riddles on my nephew recently; not in context, I just quoted them from memory. He needed heavy hints to get them. They are quite hard, I think.


telain
Rohan

Aug 16 2012, 12:44pm

Post #5 of 9 (126 views)
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riddle me this... [In reply to] Can't Post

G. What exactly is a “riddle”? Do they have to rhyme? Is there a format or length? How does one differ from a “puzzle” or, as it happens, a mere “question”?

in my mind, riddles are part-poem and part-puzzle. As GG stated, they don't have to rhyme, but they should be written or spoken with linguistic aesthetics in mind. They are definitely not mere questions, since many riddles don't actually take the form of a question (R1B, R2G, etc.,) though the person listening/reading is meant to "answer". Also questions are more straightforward; riddles are meant to deceive and/or distract the reader/listener from getting the correct answer.

I don't think of them as merely puzzles, either. Wikipedia states they must have a double or veiled meaning, which I tend to agree with. It might be a case where all riddles are puzzles, but not all puzzles have a double or veiled meaning (and are therefore not riddles.) "Puzzles" (to me) also have a far more neutral connotation, whereas riddles have an edge to them; it takes wit and cleverness (not just hard work and determination) to solve riddles. I am thinking now of the infamous "Battle of Wits" in the Princess Bride.

Riddles also have the connotation of interaction between two people: one person knows the answer and another does not. The answers to both "puzzles" and "questions" may not be known to anyone and certainly could be undertaken by one person alone.


sador
Half-elven


Aug 19 2012, 4:56pm

Post #6 of 9 (95 views)
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A. Is it easy?
Like most riddles, it is - once you know the answer (as Gandalf will say in A Journey in the Dark - did you ever notice the similarity of names?).

Did you get it when you first read it, before reading the answer in the next line?
For sure not. I was too young to bother and stop reading to think it out - although I probably would not have found it.

Why does Bilbo get this one instantly, but will struggle to think of several of the others?
Gold grizzly scored a point; Bilbo was also oppressed by the mountains for a long time now.


B. Does it make sense that Gollum expects Bilbo to abandon his sword and agree to be killed and eaten, if he loses a game – even a game of honor?
No, of course not: as Frodo said - Bilbo intended to cheat from the beginning.

But once Bilbo loses, he will be befuddled and far easier prey.

C. Why did Tolkien do this?
Inspiration.

What does he mean by “specimen”?
Perhaps he tried several?

D. Does anyone know if he did, in fact, re-write ‘The Shadow of the Past’ in 1950-53 to catch up with his own changes to The Hobbit?
I haven't got the opportunity to check HoME. But I suspect that had he did, I would have noticed and remembered it.
Like Bilbo and Gollum, Tolkien was stalling for time.

E. We have just begin to read the altered portion of the chapter – but do you have a feeling, based on what we’ve read of The Hobbit so far, that the new and more aggressive Gollum and the more sinister Ring are “better” from a literary point of view, and not just because they cohere with the LotR?
They are better in a serious adventure book. The question is whether The Hobbit is one.

F. This chart aside, have you read the earlier version before?
Curious pnce linked to this chart - or to a similar one.

Straight through as part of the chapter, or in excerpt?
Well, after that I've read it in Anderson and Rateliff.

G. What exactly is a “riddle”? Do they have to rhyme?
Not necessarily (as in the "No-legs" one), but it's a bonus.

Is there a format or length?
Not really. But they need to be catchy, and easy to remember.

How does one differ from a “puzzle” or, as it happens, a mere “question”?
It is supposed to hint at the answer.

H. As well as who does?
You, champ.


I. Does this place Bilbo’s world and our world on the same plane, and take us out of the fairy-tale world of hobbits, dwarves, wizards and dragons?
Bilbo's world was always a part of our world; that's where the comedy comes from.


J. Just speculating here – any takers or comments?
Ah.

A story: on Tuesday when we were on vacation with friends, we came to a place where there was a nice maze. I volunteered to be the responsible adult accompanying the children to it.
Just for the fun of it, the organizers printed riddles on sheets of paper, and stuckthem in several prominent places throughout the maze.
We came across some twenty. Most were easy enough chestnuts (I missed only one); the more difficult ones were from this chapter: my son got (remembered) those, while failing some of the easier one. I had to remind him that the translation just doesn't work in Hebrew (there are no corresponding phrases), so it was less cleverness than remembering by rote.

K. Do such riddles become easier or harder if one is listening rather than reading on a page?
I suspect the intonation is very useful.


"This chapter seems to be full of movement—slowly and deliberately (then less so) down hills; scrambling up trees-- then up, up, and away into the Eagles’ eyrie; and down, down back to the ground.
Flora, fauna, food, fear, and flight are featured..."
- batik



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Out of the Frying Pan-into the Fire!


sador
Half-elven


Aug 20 2012, 3:03pm

Post #7 of 9 (107 views)
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L. It turns out that “daisy” is descended from “day’s eye”, a reference to the sun – did you get that?
I recall reading it somewhere.

K. If not Daisy as a wordplay on Day’s Eye, then what was this riddle about originally?
Tricksy, it is? Cheating with the bulleting, to make us believe there are less questions!


But as to your question: the etymology is quite natural (although it doesn't quite work in Hebrew); it is highly likely that a similar derivation occurs in the original.
Or else, Tolkien was a bit of a creative translator, and the original refered to a different flower. Perhaps the chrysanthemum? It's a beautiful flower, and deserves its recognition.

L. Which version fits the story better: Bilbo imagining a pleasant reward for his victory, or Bilbo imagining the defeat of an enemy?
The first works better for a bedtime story.


M. How does the idea of a monster wishing he was less awful, but hating the feeling that results, fit into The Hobbit?
He's the only one who does that. Also in The Lord of the Rings - unless you count Saruman's spirit last sigh, and Grima's hating him.

Is this a typical nursery tale for kids?
Is http://en.wikipedia.org/...iew_with_the_Vampire typical?
(I admit knowing of that book only from Sting's song Moon Over Bourbon Street)

N. In what other books might children of the Tolkien family have been exposed to the pathos of the human condition along these lines?
Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.


O. Does it matter much that Bilbo goes from assuming he’s won, to simply nagging his opponent?
He becomes less of a simpleton. Although it does lose some of the charm.

P. What is the joke here?

Gold Grizzly mentioned it. As did Dreamdeer in the previous discussion.

Q. Why does the narrator interject a comment like this, just now?
Well, of course I can't get it; but it makes me feel I can, and thus superior to poor Bilbo.

R. Is Bilbo in danger of being eaten alive? Or will Gollum kill him first, which is bad enough but not as purely horrifying and painful to contemplate.

Do we really want to know?
But perhaps Gollum, as being once civilised, has not yet gotten to the habit of eating live meat (for whatever it's worth, Jackson and co. thought that he had).

And why is Bilbo so lacking in confidence in his sword?
What is he going to do with it?


S. Did you remember that Gollum has been in his boat the entire time?
Probably not until my fifth reading or so.

Because I didn’t – nor did any of the many illustrators of this iconic scene, as far as I can remember.
Doesn't Anderson bring one who did? I don't remember.

But are there any actual clues in the text that have given us the impression that Gollum has been sitting on the ground next to Bilbo all this time?
I don't think so. But they seem to have been very close - or was it a trick of the dark tunnel, like the one played on Sam at the end of the Choices of Master Samwise?


T. Is it a common type of riddle – and if so, why would it have been trouble for Gollum at another time?
It's a different style from those he knows.
And was the Sphinx' riddle so easy?

U. Is this the most suspenseful moment in the chapter?
I suppose the one after Gollum is finally beat is.
Somehow I didn't really expect Bilbo to lose.

Do children get scared at this point?
Proibably.

V. If you’ve ever read this aloud to a child, does the writing lend itself to a dramatic performance or is it too complex to fight with? Do the kids ever get the riddles, or do you just give them a chance to think and then read on to the answers?
I haven't. I once tried to read The Hobbit to my son, simultanously translating it for him - and miserably failed. We ended up buying him a Hebrew book - and he devoured it within a couple of days.

"This chapter seems to be full of movement—slowly and deliberately (then less so) down hills; scrambling up trees-- then up, up, and away into the Eagles’ eyrie; and down, down back to the ground.
Flora, fauna, food, fear, and flight are featured..."
- batik



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Out of the Frying Pan-into the Fire!


sador
Half-elven


Aug 23 2012, 8:48am

Post #8 of 9 (90 views)
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Found it! [In reply to] Can't Post

S. Did you remember that Gollum has been in his boat the entire time? Because I didn’t – nor did any of the many illustrators of this iconic scene, as far as I can remember.
In the colour plates in the middle of Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit, the painting of this scene in the letter Horus Engels sent Tolkien is reproduced. Tolkien found it "too Disneyfied" (per Carpenter), and Anderson comments on Gollum being way too large; However, he clearly sits in a boat!

So does Gollum in this illustration by Alan Lee.

"In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter?"
- Elven



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Queer Lodgings!


squire
Valinor


Aug 23 2012, 9:46am

Post #9 of 9 (154 views)
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No pockets, though! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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