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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
* * * A Warm Welcome * * * 1 - approaching Doom

telain
Rohan

Sep 10 2012, 10:45pm

Post #1 of 8 (717 views)
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* * * A Warm Welcome * * * 1 - approaching Doom Can't Post

I don’t want to tread on dormouse’s discussion, but I won’t be able to post this one tomorrow -- so, my apologies for jumping the gun a bit.

I intend on posting three discussions and perhaps a final wrap-up post. The first covers the beginning of the chapter until “But this legend did not much affect their daily business.

Escape for our Party from the Elvenking's Halls is successful! Now they must hope the barrels hold and that they will come to rest on friendlier shores. The first part of the chapter is almost entirely from Bilbo's perspective (with a bit of help from the Narrator) and he observes the landscape and the talk of the raft drivers and traders on the River.

1.A Warm Welcome” Really? If you remember the first time you read it, did you think it would be a truly pleasant experience, or did you think the title would be misleading, especially after all the narrow misses they’ve been through so far? Does our Party (and the narrative story arc) deserve a bit of reprieve from all the action and tension right about now?

2.The lands opened wide about him,...” The opening description of the landscape mirrors the song sung by the Wood-elves in the former chapter. Of the two versions, which helps you visualize the landscape better? (I promise this is not one of my research topics!) Which do you prefer? Is there a difference in the way the Wood-elves (who live in this place) sing about the landscape and the way Bilbo (who has never seen it before) describes it?

3....it’s dark head in a torn cloud,...” This view is Bilbo’s (and our) first look at Mount Doom. What is your impression of the Mountain? Is it truly “lonely” given Smaug’s presence? Furthermore, Tolkien describes the Mountain in very personal terms: “...it rose and looked across the marshes to the forest.” and “...the Mountain seemed to frown at him and threaten him...” Does this treatment give it a more sinister or less sinister feeling? What other landforms get this anthropomorphic treatment from Tolkien?

4.Those lands had changed much since the days when dwarves dwelt in the Mountains...” Why does Tolkien concentrate so much on the landscape here and how it has changed over time? Do the great floods, earthquakes, and vanishing roads and paths signify something (if so, what?) What connection is Tolkien trying to get us to recognize?

5. Overall I felt a sense of barely concealed dread in this first part of the chapter. The Lonely Mountain, the changing landscape, the “strange town” of Men perched precariously in Long Lake are just a few examples I noticed. Did you feel the same? What other examples caught your eye? How does a sense of dread contrast with the title: “A Warm Welcome”?

6. Any other thoughts, questions, comments, or concerns welcome!


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Sep 11 2012, 8:28pm

Post #2 of 8 (217 views)
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Mount Doom? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wrong book! You mean, of course, Erebor--Lonely Mountain.

1. I wasn't sure what to expect in this chapter. But, the reception that the Dwarves received made sense to me.

2. Both descriptions worked well.

3. That really would be remarkable, if Bilbo was seeing Mount Doom! The description fits the name Lonely Mountain very well.

4. The land being changed in times of trouble is an idea that goes back at least as far as Arthurian legends.

5. All this is really quite overwhelming and intimidating for a small hobbit from Hobbiton. If Bilbo hadn't been toughened up a bit by his previous experiences then he'd probably run screaming back to the Wood-elves at this point!

'Thus spake Ioreth, wise-woman of Gondor: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.' - Gandalf the White


telain
Rohan

Sep 11 2012, 9:04pm

Post #3 of 8 (210 views)
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so sorry! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, please do insert Erebor/Lonely Mountain every time I mistakenly wrote Mount Doom! So sorry for such an obvious mistake!


Elizabeth
Valinor


Sep 11 2012, 9:47pm

Post #4 of 8 (230 views)
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I'm sure it feels like Doom [In reply to] Can't Post

...to Bilbo, at least! And I think in many respects it's a precursor of Mt. Doom. When does a mountain become like a character in a story, and why?






Join us NOW in the Reading Room for detailed discussions of The Hobbit, July 9-Nov. 18!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


sador
Half-elven


Sep 12 2012, 12:04pm

Post #5 of 8 (207 views)
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Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

1. If you remember the first time you read it, did you think it would be a truly pleasant experience, or did you think the title would be misleading, especially after all the narrow misses they’ve been through so far?
I was young and innocent. But after all, A Short Rest was entirely a correct name, and even Queer Lodgings was!

Does our Party (and the narrative story arc) deserve a bit of reprieve from all the action and tension right about now?
Yes.
As Tolkien wrote in the previous passage, Bilbo is hurrying towards his last and greatest adventure; as Beregond says (copied by movie-Gandalf) this is the deep breath before the plunge.

2. Of the two versions, which helps you visualize the landscape better?

This one, by far.

(I promise this is not one of my research topics!)
Wink
I wonder how many got your joke?

Is there a difference in the way the Wood-elves (who live in this place) sing about the landscape and the way Bilbo (who has never seen it before) describes it?
Possibly.

Also, the wood-elves never mentioned the Mountain - which kind of dominates Bilbo's experience, and our impression.

3. What is your impression of the Mountain?

Overwhelming.

Is it truly “lonely” given Smaug’s presence?
I always took this to be a topographic description - the only Mountain for a long way.

Does this treatment give it a more sinister or less sinister feeling?
The anthropomorphism itself does not; but the sense of its frowning and threatening does.

What other landforms get this anthropomorphic treatment from Tolkien?
Caradhras, Mount Doom, Lake Nurnen.
But also Nimrodel and Ivrin (were Narog rises).

4. Why does Tolkien concentrate so much on the landscape here and how it has changed over time?

Sets up Thorin and Balin's homecoming as essential strangers.

Do the great floods, earthquakes, and vanishing roads and paths signify something (if so, what?)
One suspects Smaug has to do with them.

What connection is Tolkien trying to get us to recognize?
Next chapter he will spell it out:


Quote
They were come to the Desolation of the Dragon, and they were come at the waning of the year.



5. Did you feel the same?
I think so.

What other examples caught your eye?
The bogs and marshes.

How does a sense of dread contrast with the title: “A Warm Welcome”?
Maybe the Dragon is waiting for them?!? That would be pretty warm...

6. Any other thoughts, questions, comments, or concerns welcome!
This is the first time you're leading' isn't it? Welcome to the club!


"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!


telain
Rohan

Sep 12 2012, 4:17pm

Post #6 of 8 (182 views)
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mountains with character [In reply to] Can't Post

I find it interesting in the case of the Lonely Mt (checking to make sure the name is right... yes! Lonely Mt!) that a sentient creature (Smaug) lives in the mountain, thus providing a rationale for the mountain to possess attributes of a character. This is not the case with Mt Doom; instead the actions of other characters make the mountain seem more dreadful than perhaps it otherwise would.


telain
Rohan

Sep 12 2012, 4:28pm

Post #7 of 8 (203 views)
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and furthermore [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
(I promise this is not one of my research topics!)
I wonder how many got your joke?


I'm just glad you got it!

Referring to your comment about how the Wood-elves don't mention Lonely Mt. -- isn't that interesting? I wonder why they don't ... Is it a dwarf-place and they just don't rate it? Is it because they are Sylvan and they leave mountains to the Noldo? Any other ideas?


Quote
4. Why does Tolkien concentrate so much on the landscape here and how it has changed over time?
Sets up Thorin and Balin's homecoming as essential strangers.


I really love this idea. Thorin et al have been away so long that the land itself has changed, as have people's conception of what the Lonely Mt is, who lives there, etc. The entire landscape may be somewhat unfamiliar to them, with just enough major landmarks to remind them that they are in the right place. Having spent much of my life moving from place to place, I understand this idea of homecoming to a place that may in fact be rather unfamiliar...


Quote
This is the first time you're leading' isn't it? Welcome to the club!


I had a bit of practice with "Teritary characters", but this is my first proper chapter discussion. Thank you!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 16 2012, 11:38pm

Post #8 of 8 (480 views)
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That is what it is, to him: his doom. [In reply to] Can't Post

"Bilbo had come far and through many adventures to see it, and now he did not like the look of it in the least."

It's like seeing the Devil's Tower from a distance, or Uluru: lone, imposing, mysterious - to some, exciting; to others, ominous. We've been hearing about this character since near the beginning of the story; now, the legend is become the reality. And we - and Bilbo - react to it, knowing we must soon actually meet this "giant".


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

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"





 
 

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