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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The talking purse-anything in the mythology to explain what it is?

malickfan
Gondor

Mar 8 2013, 11:44am

Post #1 of 19 (756 views)
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The talking purse-anything in the mythology to explain what it is? Can't Post

Or is it just an example of the whimsy tone of the hobbit book?

Judging from what I've read of the History of the Hobbit it still seems to be in the 1960 rewrite, and given the trolls came down 'from the mountains and ate a village and a half' any chance it could be a magical artifact from Erebor or Dale (like those bilbo gives away at his 111th B.Day party) made by the dwarves and plundered in the sack of Dale?

‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 8 2013, 1:43pm

Post #2 of 19 (471 views)
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Elven in origin, perhaps? [In reply to] Can't Post

It does say in The Hobbit that Trolls' purses are a mischief. That does suggest that it belonged to William. But are they really clever enough to make them themselves? They're entire hoard was full of many different things. I'm more inclined to believe that the purse didn't belong to the Trolls, but was stolen.

Perhaps it was Elvish? Eol created Anglachel, which spoke after Turin killed Brandir. Now, if Eol could create sentient objects, maybe other Elves could. Or perhaps someone even higher created it (maybe a Maia or one of the Valar?)


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 8 2013, 2:26pm

Post #3 of 19 (491 views)
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Creating sentient items [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


Perhaps it was Elvish? Eol created Anglachel, which spoke after Turin killed Brandir. Now, if Eol could create sentient objects, maybe other Elves could. Or perhaps someone even higher created it (maybe a Maia or one of the Valar?)


Is Elven influence perhaps the most likely? Since ME obeys the first law of thermodynamics in that no one but Iluvatar can create but others can change - perhaps the purse was 'awakened" by Elves. I know they "woke up" the trees (granted trees are living) can they contact some sort of primal Ardaic spirit (simpler than fea?) and "awaken" non-biological items? Is that perhaps how the sentient pieces are created? Perhaps Eol had an inside track, being more closely tied to Arda as an Avari?

Okay, Malickfan, so I asked more questions than I remotely hoped to answer....


(This post was edited by Brethil on Mar 8 2013, 2:28pm)


Luinnár
Rivendell

Mar 8 2013, 6:58pm

Post #4 of 19 (436 views)
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I don't think it was made by elves. [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not sure if it was elvish because its accent seemed a bit too similar to the trolls.


Fredeghar Wayfarer
Lorien


Mar 8 2013, 10:35pm

Post #5 of 19 (421 views)
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Possessed by a spirit? [In reply to] Can't Post

Only Eru can create life in Tolkien's world so the sentient objects in Middle-earth seem to be possessed by spirits of one form or another. The Two Watchers had evil spirits within them that had been summoned by Sauron. Barrow-wights could only be raised from the dead by being possessed by spirits, they couldn't be given life (un-life?) on their own.

I would assume the talking purse was of similar origin. It may have spoken with the trolls' accent because it took on the qualities of its owner. It could be that it would have sounded different if it were owned by an Elf or a Dwarf. As for who summoned the spirit, I'm not sure. Could be the Elves since, as you guys pointed out, Eol could do the same thing with a sword. Or it could have been Sauron providing a tool to his minions.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Mar 8 2013, 11:51pm

Post #6 of 19 (453 views)
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It may have been an ordinary purse [In reply to] Can't Post

that had a spell of protection upon it. I suppose it would be similar to the spells the dwarves used to protect the treasure they buried from the trolls' hoard. Were those spells only known to dwarves or were they a common spell that any sentient creature might use?

In what way did the spells protect the treasure? Did an alarm sound if someone disturbed the cache? Did an onion fall on their head out of nowhere?

I thought we might learn something from Dora the Explorer, but I wasn't able to find any attempt to explain why her backpack could talk.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Mar 8 2013, 11:54pm)


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Mar 11 2013, 11:41am

Post #7 of 19 (394 views)
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Is it really alive? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it probably wasn't a living creature. Maybe the speaking was just an alarm call like a car alarm or one of those key-rings there used to be that you could hear go beep if you whistled.


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 12 2013, 12:04am

Post #8 of 19 (390 views)
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*chuckles* [In reply to] Can't Post

"I am not sure if it was elvish because its accent seemed a bit too similar to the trolls. "


Luinnár
Rivendell

Mar 12 2013, 12:54pm

Post #9 of 19 (366 views)
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... [In reply to] Can't Post

If you are laughing at my grammar then you should know that I am probably a lot younger that you think. And I believe that the purse could have been mimicking one of their voices.


malickfan
Gondor

Mar 12 2013, 2:48pm

Post #10 of 19 (349 views)
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Wow I actually got some responses! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Okay, Malickfan, so I asked more questions than I remotely hoped to answer....


Don't worry! I'm surprised I got so many replies!, good point about the Elves awakening it-perhaps it was looted in Gondolin with the swords?

I'm still inclined to beleive it was a magic artifact stolen from a village As I somehow doubt William and Co would have the intelligence to make a magic purse...

Maybe me and DanielLB should start a talking purse fan club...

‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 12 2013, 3:07pm

Post #11 of 19 (348 views)
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Let's do it! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Maybe me and DanielLB should start a talking purse fan club...


I wish Tolkien had said more on the matter. I'm always intrigued by the little details.

Smile


malickfan
Gondor

Mar 12 2013, 3:26pm

Post #12 of 19 (348 views)
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Me Too... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I'm always intrigued by the little details.


...You are talking to the guy who wrote a 20,000 word essay on Cirdan the Shipwright...

As I said above the purse still seems to be in the 1960 rewrite so was therefore 'canon'...maybe I'll do a sequel essay on the purse...


‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



SirDennisC
Half-elven


Mar 12 2013, 4:17pm

Post #13 of 19 (356 views)
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I'm sure CuriousG [In reply to] Can't Post

Wasn't teasing you. Rather I got that he was amused, in a good way, by the sharp reasoning of your answer.

Now if it was a spell of protection upon an ordinary purse, perhaps it was a troll spell for the very reason you pointed to. For dwarven spells of protection, if tripped a voice would say, "And where do you think you're going, laddie?"


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 12 2013, 4:50pm

Post #14 of 19 (341 views)
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It is a very goint point [In reply to] Can't Post

Although the whole accent idea is very amusing - i see why it would be a bit compliacted and need explanation on film, but it would have been quite a scene if the purse talked. Especially if anyone decided to keep it. I'm guessing our Curious George was thinking in this vein as well.

To err is human, to Hoom is Entish.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 12 2013, 5:10pm

Post #15 of 19 (356 views)
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It's a interesting question, and I've changed my mind. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been second guessing my original thought a bit. Although there is certainly not tons of data in the text for clarification. Since Elven "magic" in general seems to be tied up more in the intent of user than in an enchantments (ie: the cloaks given to the Fellowship) by which by I mean that an Orc, for example, probably would recieve no benefit from such items, then its difficult to say definitively that the purse would be of the same origin. Neither the cloaks or, for example the blades Orcrist and Glamdring, are sentient, although they have reactivity they lack language. The purse is. Almost makes me wonder if it isn't some sort of signature of Aule, considering that I don't see Elves being as fascinated by gold and its storage as much as Dwarves (and perhaps their maker). Then of course its presence in the Troll hoard not farfrom the Blue Mountains) and the route to Erebor and the Iron Hills) makes sense as well.

If its sentient, it would perhaps pick up any nearby speech patterns, explaining its amusing Cockney accent.

Of course Sir Dennis may be right, and if Backpack can't inform us perhaps Knight Rider can help Wink

To err is human, to Hoom is Entish.


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 12 2013, 10:14pm

Post #16 of 19 (322 views)
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Yes, exactly. Luinnar, I thought you were making a joke. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sorry if it seemed I was making fun of you. Purses don't normally talk, even less often do they have accents, but this one certainly sounded cockney, as you point out, which Elves do not speak, so you made a convincing point that it was a trollish purse, and your argument was funny too. (Maybe you didn't intend it that way, but it was, and in a good way.)


acheron
Gondor


Mar 13 2013, 11:57am

Post #17 of 19 (334 views)
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Dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post

It does seem like kind of a dwarvish thing. In the same scene, the dwarves put their own "spells" on the treasure they leave behind. Maybe if another troll came by, the treasure would raise an alarm the same way the purse did. When Bilbo came by on his way back, the alarm spell would have recognized him then?

(I kind of wonder if this isn't worth putting too much thought into, though that's coming from someone who had a detailed discussion about whether hobbits would have eaten cinnamon, so what do I know?)

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 13 2013, 5:38pm

Post #18 of 19 (317 views)
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It does "feel" Dwarvish, doesn't it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Even as I was musing about Elvish awakenings, it didn't feel 100% satisfying. It's a very Ardaic, "this-world" sort of item after all.

Incidentally I read your spice treatise, and the soup might get made in my Hobbit-hole quite soon! Thank you!

To err is human, to Hoom is Entish.


acheron
Gondor


Mar 14 2013, 12:27am

Post #19 of 19 (350 views)
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ah yes, that is a good soup [In reply to] Can't Post

Haven't made any soup of any kind for awhile, maybe it's time to return to that one. Smile

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams

 
 

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