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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Soaked to his furry toes

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 14 2012, 2:57am

Views: 536
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"

Subject User Time
* * Barrels out of Bond * * 4: The forest river dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Sep 10 2012, 10:28am
    a cliff-hanger to be sure telain Send a private message to telain Sep 10 2012, 10:11pm
    Answers sador Send a private message to sador Sep 11 2012, 11:43am
    Soaked to his furry toes dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 14 2012, 2:57am


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