Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles 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
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
* * Barrels out of Bond * * 4: The forest river

dormouse
Half-elven


Sep 10 2012, 10:28am

Post #1 of 4 (677 views)
Shortcut
* * Barrels out of Bond * * 4: The forest river Can't Post

Reading from 'Out they went under the overhanging branches' to the end of the chapter.

Bilbo is in the water now, clinging to a barrel and pulled along by the current until he has the chance to climb onto the top of his barrel. At last the current carries them into the main Forest River where the trees thin, the sky appears, and the barrels are carried to their destination by a pier on the north bank, where people are waiting to haul them to shore to be counted and roped together ready for the next stage of the journey in the morning. Bilbo is free and able to steal a supper, and though his sniffing and sneezing gives him away, thanks to the ring he can't be found. Next morning the barrels are made up into a raft and he manages to scramble on board as the raft elves set off for the Long Lake.

1. Almost submerged in cold water and at risk from the jostling barrels, Bilbo wonders 'whether he should risk the chance of letting go and trying to swim to the bank.' Thinking of Hobbits, and what you know of there likes and dislikes, is there anything that strikes you about this - something else that marks Bilbo out as unusual among his kind?

2. Bilbo's barrel ride is difficult but possible, we are told, because his barrel is a big one which has 'shipped a small amount of water', making it more stable. In an earlier draft of the story this barrel was actually Bombur's. Why do you think Tolkien changed this and which version do you prefer?

3. The illustration of Bilbo on the barrel has to be one of the most familiar images of The Hobbit - and for me it's one of Tolkien's best paintings. Do you see it in your mind when you think of this part of the story and does it affect your mental picture of the scene and the edge of Mirkwood?

4. 'There were people on the look-out...' Are these men, or elves, or a mixture?

5. It's understandable that, once on dry land, Bilbo would look for warmth and food (I always have to smile at that rather proper little remark that the pie he took 'did not beling to him'), but does it surprise you that he makes no attempt to communicate with the dwarves during the night?

6. In the early drafts of this part of the story, Tolkien had some problems trying to work out how the prisoners would escape. Maybe Bilbo would go back to look for help from the wizard (whose name in those days was Bladorthin), be frightened by a big bear and found by the wizard, who would return with him to negotiate with the Elvenking. Maybe the captivity would last months, the dwarves would be made to work and it would be Bilbo who would escape in a barrel, find Medwed/Beorn and have a message sent by eagle to the wizard. How would that have affected the story? Do you like this version better?

7. Notice anything about the closing sentence?

8. Thanks for reading this far, for posting if you have, and if I've missed anything, do mention it!


telain
Rohan

Sep 10 2012, 10:11pm

Post #2 of 4 (194 views)
Shortcut
a cliff-hanger to be sure [In reply to] Can't Post

1. I think his wondering stems from his Tookish side. I doubt most Hobbits would even consider getting on that barrel in the first place!

3. Yes -- I really enjoy that painting as well. Something about the quality of light is really fantastic.

4. From the title of the painting mentioned above Bilbo comes to the hut of the Raft-Elves I'm inclined to say 'Elves", but given how intertwined these two peoples are in this area of the world I think it is likely both.

5. Yes and no. I would think he would at least try to figure out if any of them were still alive. However, he might not have wanted to risk being caught either.

6. Cliff hanger! Which of your favourite dwarves didn't make the journey!

Thank you, dormouse!


sador
Half-elven


Sep 11 2012, 11:43am

Post #3 of 4 (216 views)
Shortcut
Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Thinking of Hobbits, and what you know of there likes and dislikes, is there anything that strikes you about this - something else that marks Bilbo out as unusual among his kind?
You mean that this implies he actually knows to swim? Yes, that does contradict what we know of non-Brandybucks. Tolkien probably forgot this sentence when crafting the next book.
Nice catch!

2. Why do you think Tolkien changed this and which version do you prefer?

It would spoil the drama of Thorin emerging first - or else make Bilbo an utter dunce for not noticing he was riding upon a full barrel.

3. Do you see it in your mind when you think of this part of the story and does it affect your mental picture of the scene and the edge of Mirkwood?
No. In fact, I had to check it just now to remember it. It is nice.


4. 'There were people on the look-out...' Are these men, or elves, or a mixture?
Elves, as far as I understand.

5. does it surprise you that he makes no attempt to communicate with the dwarves during the night?
Well, he doesn't have time to think of them; or else there were still elves around and he was concerned that he might be caught.

6. How would that have affected the story? Do you like this version better?
The others were simply no-fliers.

7. Notice anything about the closing sentence?
What do you mean? Do you find "remains to be seen" odd? A foreshadowing that some might die - which is never paid off? Or the narrator once again playing with the reader? Do you think the next sentence would be "good night"?

8. Thanks for reading this far, for posting if you have, and if I've missed anything, do mention it!
Since you had raised the extra knowledge we get from The Lord of the Rings - why didn't the Ring sieze the opportunity and slip off his finger?


And thank you for this discussion!


"Has Bilbo's presence for the most part generally gone unnoticed at the feast, or are people simply being more polite to and celebratory of the dwarves, whose arrival is more expected?"

"Well, there’s thirteen rough and bearded short people, and one rather prissy and unbearded short person. The answer is obvious. Surely the people of Lake-town are knowledgeable enough to not ever dare bother a Dwarven female without leave."
- Laerasea / Darkstone



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


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 14 2012, 2:57am

Post #4 of 4 (592 views)
Shortcut
Soaked to his furry toes [In reply to] Can't Post

1...is there anything that strikes you about this - something else that marks Bilbo out as unusual among his kind?
Sador picked up on this: a hobbit, swimming?!

2. ...In an earlier draft of the story this barrel was actually Bombur's. Why do you think Tolkien changed this and which version do you prefer?

Bombur has become the brunt of problems often enough by now; I'm glad he was not singled out for this further indignity!

3. The illustration of Bilbo on the barrel has to be one of the most familiar images of The Hobbit - and for me it's one of Tolkien's best paintings. Do you see it in your mind when you think of this part of the story and does it affect your mental picture of the scene and the edge of Mirkwood?

It has always bothered me. A barrel floating on its side like that, even with water inside, is going to roll unless the person on top is perfectly balanced. Bilbo has difficulty doing this, but in reality he would soon roll over. I would have preferred a barrel floating upright, it's far more stable and Bilbo could sit on the top. But then he would not have been a proper "barrel-rider"!

4. 'There were people on the look-out...' Are these men, or elves, or a mixture?

Elves. The two kinds are friendly, but do not intermingle.

5. ...does it surprise you that he makes no attempt to communicate with the dwarves during the night?

By heading into the woods with his booty, Bilbo kept attention away from the barrels. Note some Elves had grown suspicious of the "heavy" ones. If his wet tracks had led that way, the dwarves might have been found out.

6. ...Do you like this version better?

Having Bilbo escape, return back through Mirkwood, and fetch "Gandalf" or "Beorn" was quite clunky! No, we needed yet another adventure for our hobbit to continue his growth, and this provided the perfect piece.

7. Notice anything about the closing sentence?

Yes, what a heck of a way to end a story at bed-time! It's a wonder the boys didn't have nightmares about drowning. Laugh

Thank you for leading this chapter, dormouse! Smile


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"





 
 

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.