Discussion:
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
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Troels Forchhammer
2004-01-04 23:04:24 UTC
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Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage

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This is the final chapter of /The Hobbit/. I wanted to include some
comments on "The Quest of Erebor," but I haven't got it finished in time -
if I can get it done sometime during the week, I'll post it, otherwise I'm
sure that Aaron is perfectly capable of producing a good transition from
/The Hobbit/ to /The Lord of the Rings/.

*** ---- ***

Synopsis:

Bilbo and Gandalf arrive at Rivendell on May the First (a year and three
days after the Unexpected Party). As they ride down into the valley,
"Bilbo heard the elves still singing in the trees, as if they had not
stopped since he left."[1] The song of the elves makes it plain that they
are quite up-to-date about the events in Erebor[2].

In the evening, Gandalf relates the tale of their adventures to Elrond
(and, presumably, other Elves). It is while listening to this that Bilbo
learns what Gandalf had been up to while he was away from Thorin's
quest[3].

Even though Elrond's "house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep,
or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best,
or a pleasant mixture of them all," Bilbo and Gandalf stays for only a
week in Rivendell. On their way home they pick up the Troll gold that they
and the Dwarves buried on their way out. Bilbo tries to get Gandalf to
take it all, because he has enough, but Gandalf insists on sharing it,
saying, "You may find you have more needs than you expect."[4]

Finally Bilbo can "see his own Hill in the distance," and at that he stops
to speak his "Roads go ever ever on" song, at which Gandalf comment is,
"My dear Bilbo! Something is the matter with you! You are not the hobbit
that you were." We get to see further changes in Bilbo a little later.

Arriving at Bag End they see a lot of commotion. It turns out that Bilbo
has been "Presumed Dead" and there's an auction going on of his
possessions[5]. The return of Bilbo creates even more commotion, and in
the end Bilbo has to buy back a lot of his own furniture[6]. From this
incident arises also the enmity with the Sackville-Bagginses, which were
to last for 77 years.

Settling in Bilbo doesn't entirely return to his old habits. He remains
"an elf-friend, and had the honour of dwarves, wizards, and all such folk
as ever passed that way"[7]. He also discovers that he isn't considered
quite respectable any longer, but he doesn't care as he is quite
content[8].

Seven years later, as Bilbo is writing his memoires (later to be found and
translated by Prof. Tolkien and published as "The Hobbit" ... ;-) he
receives a visit by Gandalf and Balin. Bilbo and Balin notes each other's
prosperity, and Bilbo learns that the old Master of Lake-town had come to
a bad end trying to escape with a lot of the gold Bard had given him[9].
The new Master is better, and they are, in Lake-town, making songs saying
that under his rule the rivers run with gold. The last paragraphs are[10],

"Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be
true, after a fashion!" said Bilbo.
"Of course!" said Gandalf. "And why should not they prove
true? Surely you don't disbelieve the prophecies, because you
had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don't really
suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were
managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a
very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but
you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"
"Thank goodness!" said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the
tobacco-jar.

*** ---- ***

Comments, Points of Interest and Questions:

[1] Glimpse of the timelessness / preservation powers of Elrond's Ring?

[2] Given our knowledge of talking birds, and the Communication of
Thought, it is, I deem, not necessary to ask how the elves could know
about Smaug's fall etc.

[3] Bilbo overhears Gandalf telling Elrond,
... It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council of
the white wizards, masters of lore and good magic; and that
they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in
the south of Mirkwood.
"Ere long now," Gandalf was saying, "The Forest will grow
somewhat more wholesome. The North will be freed from that
horror for many long years, I hope. Yet I wish he were
banished from the world!"
"It would be well indeed," said Elrond; "but I fear that
will not come about in this age of the world, or for many
after."
This passage is interesting for several reasons, IMO.

3a: "a great council of the white wizards" - obviously this refers to the
White Council (or rather, it is does later, in the editing of /The
Hobbit/ to fit with the LotR. The question is why Tolkien didn't change
this to 'The White Council'. Also, since Galadriel was the one to first
summon the White Council, wouldn't Elrond be a natural member of it?

3b: Gandalf and Elrond's hopes and fears aren't all that precise, are they
;-) Only ten years lasted before Dol Guldur was occupied by three
Nazgûl, but while Sauron wasn't banished from the world as such (I take
that to imply being thrown into the void as Morgoth was), it would only
be some 77 years before Sauron was vanquished so "that none can foresee
his arising ever again." This passage was subtly changed in the 1966
Ball edition to be in line with LotR. Previously Gandalf had said "The
North is freed from that horror for many an age," which was certainly
wrong ;-)

[4] Premonition? A hunch? Or just a lucky guess? Gandalf shows the ability
for this kind of presage in other situations (e.g. warning the Hobbits
of the gate much, much later when returning to the Shire after the War
of the Ring). How shall we interpret this in the context of the Hobbit?

[5] We learn that Bilbo holds title as "Esquire". I'm not certain how
common this would be in the English countryside at the time when Tolkien
wrote /The Hobbit/, nor of the exact meaning for Bilbo's social standing
(the source of his income prior to his adventure has recently been / is
currently debated), but I do think that it somehow emphasizes the
connection between the Shire of the Hobbits and the English country
-shires.

[6] We're told that "The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years." The
Hobbits seem to have had a quite well-developed legal code - see also
the requirements for Bilbo's will in LotR I, 1 and the company in charge
of the auction; "Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes." I am alone in
thinking that this points rather heavily towards a monetary economy.

[7] Is it possible to read anything into this; that Bilbo remained an
elf-friend on one side and "had the honour of dwarves, wizards and all
such folk ..." on the other side? Does this indicate a difference in his
relationship with Elves and Dwarves respectively, or is it just a
linguistic adornment?

[8] This is, IMO, the clearest sign of the change Gandalf noted as they
neared the Hill - that he is capable of rising above the generally quite
myopic views of the surrounding Hobbit society and not care about it.

[9] "He fell under the dragon-sickness" - is this another indication of
there being some kind of curse or similar on gold from a dragon's hoard?

[10] Here we see the idea that there is some kind of other will behind
Bilbo's success. This connects both backwards and forwards (to LotR). In
ch. 8 we read about Bilbo that "... by luck (he was born with a good
share of it) he guessed more or less right, ..." and now Gandalf tells
us that it wasn't "... managed by mere luck, ..." after all. This of
course also relates to Gandalf's words in LotR and /The Quest of Erebor/
(UT) that "Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker, and
you therefore were meant to bear it. And I might have added: and I was
meant guide you both to those points."

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk
p***@mail.ru
2004-01-05 16:33:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
This is the final chapter of /The Hobbit/. I wanted to include some
comments on "The Quest of Erebor," but I haven't got it finished in time -
if I can get it done sometime during the week, I'll post it, otherwise I'm
sure that Aaron is perfectly capable of producing a good transition from
/The Hobbit/ to /The Lord of the Rings/.
Troels, thank you... I have re-arranged synopsis/points for an easier
discussion (your footnotes are intended for reading purposes, I assume -
and they work well).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Bilbo and Gandalf arrive at Rivendell on May the First (a year and three
days after the Unexpected Party). As they ride down into the valley,
"Bilbo heard the elves still singing in the trees, as if they had not
stopped since he left."[1]
< [1] Glimpse of the timelessness / preservation powers of Elrond's Ring?
Not sure about that. To me, it's one of two impressions one has when
returning to familiar premises: "Oh well, everything's the same!", and
"Oh goodness, little Mary is now cradling her own children." I take your
bets on which impression one is more likely to get when dealing with
'immortals'.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
...The song of the elves makes it plain that they
are quite up-to-date about the events in Erebor[2].
[2] Given our knowledge of talking birds, and the Communication of
Thought, it is, I deem, not necessary to ask how the elves could know
about Smaug's fall etc.
Hmm. You're right, but in a peculiar way, I'm afraid. I'm not aware of
any mental link between Thranduil and Elrond. As far as Gandalf-Elrond or
Gandalf-Galadriel links are concerned, there is much more latitude to
interpret the Hobbit to imply that such conversations did take place.
However, I am inclined to stick to the simplest explanation: Elrond ran a
fairly extensive intelligence-gathering network :-) as will be obvious
from the LotR discussions this year. Indeed, even earlier in the Hobbit
Rivendell Elves are credited with knowing exact intentions of Thorin &
Co.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
In the evening, Gandalf relates the tale of their adventures to Elrond
(and, presumably, other Elves). It is while listening to this that Bilbo
learns what Gandalf had been up to while he was away from Thorin's
quest[3].
[3] Bilbo overhears Gandalf telling Elrond,
... It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council of
the white wizards, masters of lore and good magic; and that
they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in
the south of Mirkwood.
"Ere long now," Gandalf was saying, "The Forest will grow
somewhat more wholesome. The North will be freed from that
horror for many long years, I hope. Yet I wish he were
banished from the world!"
"It would be well indeed," said Elrond; "but I fear that
will not come about in this age of the world, or for many
after."
This passage is interesting for several reasons, IMO.
3a: "a great council of the white wizards" - obviously this refers to the
White Council (or rather, it is does later, in the editing of /The
Hobbit/ to fit with the LotR. The question is why Tolkien didn't change
this to 'The White Council'. Also, since Galadriel was the one to first
summon the White Council, wouldn't Elrond be a natural member of it?
Hint: Does the wording imply that he hadn't been at the council?

"white wizards" - a shorthand for "wizards/witches practicing good magic"
Post by Troels Forchhammer
3b: Gandalf and Elrond's hopes and fears aren't all that precise, are they
;-) Only ten years lasted before Dol Guldur was occupied by three
Nazgûl, ...
Of course they are optimistic assessing their 'victory'. Shows that even
the Wise cannot foresee all events (but are good at explaining past ones
:-).

The idea of Dol Guldur being retaken strikes me. If the White Council
(hence abbreviated as WC >:-) was so blatantly over-optimistic, it could
well be that Dol Guldur was not destroyed or permanently occupied by a
strong enough force. At least Galadriel should have known better the
strategic importance of Amon Lanc for her realm, southern Mirkwood and
the Anduin Valleys in general.

[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Even though Elrond's "house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep,
or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best,
or a pleasant mixture of them all," Bilbo and Gandalf stays for only a
week in Rivendell. On their way home they pick up the Troll gold that they
and the Dwarves buried on their way out. Bilbo tries to get Gandalf to
take it all, because he has enough, but Gandalf insists on sharing it,
saying, "You may find you have more needs than you expect."[4]
[4] Premonition? A hunch? Or just a lucky guess? Gandalf shows the ability
for this kind of presage in other situations (e.g. warning the Hobbits
of the gate much, much later when returning to the Shire after the War
of the Ring). How shall we interpret this in the context of the Hobbit?
It's a nice point which may suitably be divided into three:
4a) Where does Gandalf get the idea that Bilbo may need more money?
(Variants from least to most spectacular: news from the Elves, better
understanding of the inner workings of the Shire society, premonition
deriving from the knowledge of the Music, a hunch from Eru)
and
4b) Why does Gandalf use the idea the way he does? (Suggestions: to help
Bilbo, to help Bilbo help himself, to preserve Hobbiton as the suitable
setting for the next novel, to prevent Bilbo from becoming a drinking
disillusioned vagabond with a magic Ring).

4c) Why does Tolkien include this bit into the book (story-externally)?

4a) I'd rule out the Music and Eru as improbable. Bilbo's possession of
Hobbiton is not essential for the world at large. Perhaps Gandalf had
some clues from wandering Elves to guess that something was afoot in the
Shire. Plus he's not taking risks and does not need the money.

4b) I vote for helping Bilbo help himself. Whatever the source, Gandalf
is reluctant both to interfere with Bilbo's private life and to let down
his _friend_ and _protege_.

4c) _The Last Stage_ is certainly full of prophesies/premonitions and
discussion thereof. Tolkien is quite keen to show us a) limits of
foretelling, b) usefulness of keeping the prophesies' details away from
the actors, c,d,e) <insert points of your choice>.

[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Arriving at Bag End they see a lot of commotion. It turns out that Bilbo
has been "Presumed Dead" and there's an auction going on of his
possessions[5].
The Shire must have had a couple of such auctions before (perhaps to
dissuade people from wandering).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
... The return of Bilbo creates even more commotion, and in
the end Bilbo has to buy back a lot of his own furniture[6].
[6] We're told that "The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years." The
Hobbits seem to have had a quite well-developed legal code - see also
the requirements for Bilbo's will in LotR I, 1 and the company in charge
of the auction; "Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes." I am alone in
thinking that this points rather heavily towards a monetary economy.
No, you aren't. Highest-bidder auctions are almost unthinkable under
barter ("Two cows! Who gives more? You, Sir?" "Seven goats and a pig!")
and impossible for natural economy with little or no surplus food. The
legal profession isn't likely to develop in money-free conditions either.

My estimate would be that the Shire economy depended heavily on trade
with the Dwarves in the Blue Mountains; after the initial 'agricultural
revolution' the money from the Dwarves helped create the virtuous cycle
of capitalist economy (of course, it translated eventually into Lotho's
excesses). By the time of the Hobbit, we see institutions of early
capitalism rather firmly entrenched. (MM's essays have been of some help
to me).

[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Settling in Bilbo doesn't entirely return to his old habits. He remains
"an elf-friend, and had the honour of dwarves, wizards, and all such folk
as ever passed that way"[7].
[7] Is it possible to read anything into this; that Bilbo remained an
elf-friend on one side and "had the honour of dwarves, wizards and all
such folk ..." on the other side? Does this indicate a difference in his
relationship with Elves and Dwarves respectively, or is it just a
linguistic adornment?
IMHO, it's just a figure of speech to show Bilbo being on friendly terms
with Elves, Dwarves and Gandalf. However, an 'elf-friend' is a special
and separate notion to be used extensively elsewhere in Tolkien's prose.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
... He also discovers that he isn't considered
quite respectable any longer, but he doesn't care as he is quite
content[8].
[8] This is, IMO, the clearest sign of the change Gandalf noted as they
neared the Hill - that he is capable of rising above the generally quite
myopic views of the surrounding Hobbit society and not care about it.
Isn't that change due partly to Bilbo's treasures and partly to his
expanded horizons? With foreign gold and new friends outside the Shire he
is able to neutralize two threats to his non-conformism from conformist
neighbours - starvation and loneliness.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Seven years later, as Bilbo is writing his memoires (later to be found and
translated by Prof. Tolkien and published as "The Hobbit" ... ;-) he
receives a visit by Gandalf and Balin. Bilbo and Balin notes each other's
prosperity, and Bilbo learns that the old Master of Lake-town had come to
a bad end trying to escape with a lot of the gold Bard had given him[9].
[9] "He fell under the dragon-sickness" - is this another indication of
there being some kind of curse or similar on gold from a dragon's hoard?
Sadly, we aren't ever told that the dragon-sickness is Tolkien's
euphemism for syphilis (too much money => too many partners => STDs in
abundance).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
The new Master is better, and they are, in Lake-town, making songs saying
that under his rule the rivers run with gold. The last paragraphs are[10]...
[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[10] Here we see the idea that there is some kind of other will behind
Bilbo's success.
This topic has been given a fair share of discussion, and I'm afraid that
all good points have already been expounded upon - and some blame for
this lies on Troels :-). Again, thank you for your polite, thoughtful and
thought-provoking analysis.

Archie
Tar-Elenion
2004-01-05 22:58:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@mail.ru
My estimate would be that the Shire economy depended heavily on trade
with the Dwarves in the Blue Mountains; after the initial 'agricultural
revolution' the money from the Dwarves helped create the virtuous cycle
of capitalist economy (of course, it translated eventually into Lotho's
excesses). By the time of the Hobbit, we see institutions of early
capitalism rather firmly entrenched. (MM's essays have been of some help
to me).
<gasps> <shock>, "virtuous" and "capitalist" in the same sentence?
;)
--
Tar-Elenion

Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.
Troels Forchhammer
2004-01-06 13:45:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
<snip>
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
"Bilbo heard the elves still singing in the trees, as if they had
not stopped since he left."[1]
< [1] Glimpse of the timelessness / preservation powers of Elrond's Ring?
Not sure about that.
[...]

I didn't phrase that very well. What I meant to imply was that this
feeling of timelessness, of immutability, was, from the start, part of
Tolkien's conception of the Elves - even before he invented the Rings
of Power and directly attributed to them a power of preservation which
was at work in Rivendell
Post by p***@mail.ru
To me, it's one of two impressions one has when returning to familiar
premises: "Oh well, everything's the same!",
But was Bilbo all that familiar with Rivendell? He had stayed there for
a couple of week (or a little more), but still -

It may be that it is just my knowledge of themes that are introduced
later that influences my reading of /The Hobbit/ - I don't know.

[...]
Post by p***@mail.ru
Hmm. You're right, but in a peculiar way, I'm afraid. I'm not aware of
any mental link between Thranduil and Elrond. As far as Gandalf-Elrond
or Gandalf-Galadriel links are concerned, there is much more latitude
to interpret the Hobbit to imply that such conversations did take place.
A hurried Gandalf-Elrond communication would explain it. My impression
from Ósanwe-kenta was that the users didn't need to set up a specific
link - and I think it very unlikely that Thranduil and Elrond would never
have met.
Post by p***@mail.ru
However, I am inclined to stick to the simplest explanation: Elrond ran
a fairly extensive intelligence-gathering network :-) as will be obvious
from the LotR discussions this year. Indeed, even earlier in the Hobbit
Rivendell Elves are credited with knowing exact intentions of Thorin &
Co.
That too.
You might say that I was inquiring into the sources for that intelligence
gathering network. From what we have learned already in the Hobbit about
speaking birds, and from what we learn in LotR about the use of birds and
beasts as spies, and later in Ósanwe-kenta about speaking with the mind,
I don't think that we need to search beyond these sources to explain how
the news had travelled faster than Gandalf and Bilbo (who had, admittedly,
probably not hurried much). The passage of the mountains in particular
was dangerous, and if there was no need for it, I'm reluctant to suppose
that lives would be risked to carry news that could be delivered faster
and safer by other means.

[...]
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
3a: "a great council of the white wizards" - obviously this refers
to the White Council
[...]
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
wouldn't Elrond be a natural member of it?
Hint: Does the wording imply that he hadn't been at the council?
I think so. "It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council ..."
that certainly implies to me that Elrond didn't attend.
Post by p***@mail.ru
"white wizards" - a shorthand for "wizards/witches practicing good magic"
I do understand that. I can also see a reason for letting it stand; not
to further confuse readers who stick to /The Hobbit/, but since there
was so many other references in the text even of /The Hobbit/ that
remained mysterious even until the release of the Silm, I still wonder
why Tolkien let this stand, when he made other changes in the 1966
edition, where a change to "they had been to a gathering of the White
Council" would, IMO, have had the same effect within /The Hobbit/
while bringing the text in accordance with the later conception of
Middle-earth (in particular removing the implication of there being
many white wizards).
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
3b: Gandalf and Elrond's hopes and fears aren't all that precise,
are they ;-) Only ten years lasted before Dol Guldur was occupied
by three Nazgûl, ...
Of course they are optimistic assessing their 'victory'. Shows that
even the Wise cannot foresee all events (but are good at explaining
past ones :-).
;-)

I think that the change in Gandalf's wording there is interesting from
a developmental PoV and wanted to share with those who doesn't have
access to an /Annotated Hobbit/.
Post by p***@mail.ru
The idea of Dol Guldur being retaken strikes me. If the White Council
(hence abbreviated as WC >:-) was so blatantly over-optimistic, it
could well be that Dol Guldur was not destroyed or permanently
occupied by a strong enough force. At least Galadriel should have
known better the strategic importance of Amon Lanc for her realm,
southern Mirkwood and the Anduin Valleys in general.
Yes. The WC certainly seems to have underestimated the strength of
their enemy considerably in this situation. Having re-established strong
realms of Dwarves and Men in Erebor, and having eliminated the immediate
threats from Smaug and "The Necromancer (against Lórien and Rivendell in
particular), they were apparently too satisfied with themselves to follow
up on the new strategic situation. And yet the removal of these threats
were, according to "The Quest of Erebor" the primary concerns for Gandalf
when he involved himself with the quest.
Post by p***@mail.ru
4a) Where does Gandalf get the idea that Bilbo may need more money?
(Variants from least to most spectacular: news from the Elves, better
understanding of the inner workings of the Shire society, premonition
deriving from the knowledge of the Music, a hunch from Eru)
and
4b) Why does Gandalf use the idea the way he does? (Suggestions: to
help Bilbo, to help Bilbo help himself, to preserve Hobbiton as the
suitable setting for the next novel, to prevent Bilbo from becoming a
drinking disillusioned vagabond with a magic Ring).
4c) Why does Tolkien include this bit into the book
(story-externally)?
4a) I'd rule out the Music and Eru as improbable. Bilbo's possession
of Hobbiton is not essential for the world at large.
Agreed.
Post by p***@mail.ru
Perhaps Gandalf had some clues from wandering Elves to guess that
something was afoot in the Shire.
News that legal proceedings were commencing in order to have Bilbo
declared "presumed dead"? Would the wandering Elves even bother to
pick such gossip up (they might if Gandalf had asked them to look
out for reactions in the Shire).
Post by p***@mail.ru
Plus he's not taking risks and does not need the money.
Yet he confirms that he can indeed find a use for it.
Post by p***@mail.ru
4b) I vote for helping Bilbo help himself. Whatever the source,
Gandalf is reluctant both to interfere with Bilbo's private life
and to let down his _friend_ and _protege_.
I agree about that. It is just that the more I reread this passage
the more it feels to be of the same order as Gandalf warning the
Hobbits in LotR that they might have problems at the gate. It may
be that his knowledge comes not from some mysterious premonition,
but rather from far more prosaic sources (such as the wandering
Elves you mention), but it does, to me, hint at /knowledge/ rather
than guesswork or words without real purpose.
Post by p***@mail.ru
4c) _The Last Stage_ is certainly full of prophesies/premonitions
and discussion thereof. Tolkien is quite keen to show us a) limits
of foretelling, b) usefulness of keeping the prophesies' details
away from the actors, c,d,e) <insert points of your choice>.
The ending; the whole last chapter, certainly feels to me as some
kind of forerunner of the ending of LotR; one might almost call the
ending in LotR a much expanded (both in length and drama) version of
the ending in /The Hobbit/.

There's the visit in Rivendell for healing, the warning from Gandalf
that not all in the Shire is as when they left. The commotion when
they come home, and the sense of removal of the hero from the daily
business of the Shire (of course, Bilbo doesn't actually leave the
Shire until chapter one of LotR).

The feeling that one can't expect to be able to go out into the wide
world and kill dragons or save the world only to come back and
expect that nothing has changed is common for both books, IMO.

[...]
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I am alone in thinking that this points rather heavily> towards a
monetary economy.
No, you aren't.
Good ;-)
You mention the same thoughts that made me reach the same conclusion.
Post by p***@mail.ru
My estimate would be that the Shire economy depended heavily on trade
with the Dwarves in the Blue Mountains;
Their own products being agricultural, and the Shire being placed
strategically between the Dwarves, Lindon and Bree-land. The Dwarves
and the Elves possibly didn't like to trade directly and goods from
Bree-land destined for any of the non-human societies west of the Shire
would obviously have to pass through the Shire.
Post by p***@mail.ru
(MM's essays have been of some help to me).
References!
You can't just say that without giving us references (I have great
respect of Michael's knowledge of Middle-earth, and I like to read
what he writes outside of these newsgroups).
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[7] Is it possible to read anything into this; that Bilbo remained an
elf-friend on one side and "had the honour of dwarves, wizards and
all such folk ..."
IMHO, it's just a figure of speech to show Bilbo being on friendly
terms with Elves, Dwarves and Gandalf. However, an 'elf-friend' is
a special and separate notion to be used extensively elsewhere in
Tolkien's prose.
That is of course the reason why I was puzzled by this passage. Bilbo's
primary contact was with Dwarves and wizards (well, one wizard anyway),
but "elf-friend" seems to be the most important elsewhere in Tolkien's
writings.

Elrond is, in chapter 3 of /The Hobbit/ also referred to as an
"elf-friend" - is this one of the situations where the greater idea of
Middle-earth influences /The Hobbit/?
Post by p***@mail.ru
Isn't that change due partly to Bilbo's treasures and partly to his
expanded horizons? With foreign gold and new friends outside the
Shire he is able to neutralize two threats to his non-conformism
from conformist neighbours - starvation and loneliness.
My impression of Hobbit society in the Shire in general is that most
of the inhabitants would consider the loss of respectability a very
grieveous loss in itself. That Bilbo is able to live contentedly
despite of this appears, to me, unusual for a Shire Hobbit.
Post by p***@mail.ru
Sadly, we aren't ever told that the dragon-sickness is Tolkien's
euphemism for syphilis (too much money => too many partners => STDs
in abundance).
;-)

So the companions of the old Master who left him were his amazon
guard who discovered his illness and didn't want to be infected -
Post by p***@mail.ru
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Here we see the idea that there is some kind of other will behind
Bilbo's success.
This topic has been given a fair share of discussion, and I'm afraid
that all good points have already been expounded upon - and some
blame for this lies on Troels :-).
I do admit to finding the use of providence in Tolkien's writings
very interesting - I'm afraid that it's not a topic I'm likely to tire
of anytime soon ;-)
Post by p***@mail.ru
Again, thank you for your polite, thoughtful and thought-provoking
analysis.
YW, and thanks for the kind words.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk
Rhiannon S
2004-01-06 14:50:03 UTC
Permalink
Subject: Re: Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
Date: 06/01/2004 13:45 GMT Standard Time
Post by p***@mail.ru
4a) Where does Gandalf get the idea that Bilbo may need more money?
I'd go for Gandalf knowing Hobbit society quite well. Bilbo has been gone for
a year, he left in a hurry without telling anyone and all anyone knows is he
was last seen with some dwarves<dwarfs?> and that trouble maker Gandalf. Bilbo
also has a reputation for being quite a staid customer.
I'd suggest it isn't unreasonable to forsee at least some legal problems on his
return, given the length of time, even if not the auction.

Gandalf is just playing the odds.
--
Rhiannon
http://www.livejournal.com/users/rhiannon_s/
Q: how many witches does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: depends on what you want it changed into!
ALuddy
2004-01-14 04:09:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by p***@mail.ru
The idea of Dol Guldur being retaken strikes me. If the White Council
(hence abbreviated as WC >:-) was so blatantly over-optimistic, it
could well be that Dol Guldur was not destroyed or permanently
occupied by a strong enough force. At least Galadriel should have
known better the strategic importance of Amon Lanc for her realm,
southern Mirkwood and the Anduin Valleys in general.
Yes. The WC certainly seems to have underestimated the strength of
their enemy considerably in this situation. Having re-established strong
realms of Dwarves and Men in Erebor, and having eliminated the immediate
threats from Smaug and "The Necromancer (against Lórien and Rivendell in
particular), they were apparently too satisfied with themselves to follow
up on the new strategic situation. And yet the removal of these threats
were, according to "The Quest of Erebor" the primary concerns for Gandalf
when he involved himself with the quest.
Gandalf says elsewhere that he allowed the words of Saruman to soothe him
perhaps too much (regarding the Ring). This may have been true of the WC as a
whole wrt Dol Goldor.
Henriette
2004-01-05 18:03:50 UTC
Permalink
"Troels Forchhammer" <***@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message news:<YZ0Kb.5652$***@news2.nokia.com>...

A new week and a new Chapter with a new lay-out. Good work, thank you
Troels!
(snip)
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Even though Elrond's "house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep,
or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best,
or a pleasant mixture of them all," Bilbo and Gandalf stays for only a
week in Rivendell.
In this summing up I miss dancing, which *is* mentioned somewhere else
in the chapter: "He had many a merry jest and dance". I have been
wondering about the Elves dancing. Would they dance each by themselves
or maybe with someone, as in our discotheques? Or would they
Folk-dance or do medieval dances? Waltz? Sacred dance? Does anyone
have an idea? Would they dance differently from the Hobbits?
Post by Troels Forchhammer
On their way home they pick up the Troll gold that they
and the Dwarves buried on their way out. Bilbo tries to get Gandalf to
take it all, because he has enough, but Gandalf insists on sharing it,
saying, "You may find you have more needs than you expect."
He is obviously clairvoyant.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Arriving at Bag End they see a lot of commotion. It turns out that Bilbo
has been "Presumed Dead" and there's an auction going on of his
possessions[5].
"Most of the things had already been sold, for various prices from
next to nothing to old songs".

This "old songs" saying, is that a well-known one? Old songs in this
context means nothing, doesn't it? (like "Love" in tennis) Is there a
special reason for that?

IIRC yzetta introduced the "Chuckle moment" into the Chapters. This
was mine in Chapter 19:

"and though few believed any of his tales"....

Henriette
Glenn Holliday
2004-01-06 01:37:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
"Most of the things had already been sold, for various prices from
next to nothing to old songs".
This "old songs" saying, is that a well-known one? Old songs in this
context means nothing, doesn't it?
It could be literal. As in "sing for your supper," which travelling
minstrels literally did.
--
Glenn Holliday ***@acm.org
Henriette
2004-01-06 15:14:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Glenn Holliday
Post by Henriette
"Most of the things had already been sold, for various prices from
next to nothing to old songs".
This "old songs" saying, is that a well-known one? Old songs in this
context means nothing, doesn't it?
It could be literal. As in "sing for your supper," which travelling
minstrels literally did.
Nice idea to think it is literal, and yes, why not?

Henriette
Jette Goldie
2004-01-06 17:34:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
Post by Glenn Holliday
Post by Henriette
"Most of the things had already been sold, for various prices from
next to nothing to old songs".
This "old songs" saying, is that a well-known one? Old songs in this
context means nothing, doesn't it?
It could be literal. As in "sing for your supper," which travelling
minstrels literally did.
Nice idea to think it is literal, and yes, why not?
"Going for a song" is an old UK phrase meaning
"being sold at a very cheap <for that article> price".

I remember a tv show in the 60s called "Going for
a Song" - kind of an antique quiz show, where
contestants would try to work out what an item
was and guess how much it would fetch at auction.
--
Jette
"Work for Peace and remain Fiercely Loving" - Jim Byrnes
***@blueyonder.co.uk
http://www.jette.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
Henriette
2004-01-08 18:31:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jette Goldie
"Going for a song" is an old UK phrase meaning
"being sold at a very cheap <for that article> price".
Thank you Jette. In NL when at a shop you lack the last few pennies to
pay for an article, people will say: "come and whistle a song for it
one day".

Henriette
Jeen Broekstra
2004-01-10 10:14:54 UTC
Permalink
In NL when at a shop you lack the last few pennies to pay for
an article, people will say: "come and whistle a song for it
one day".
Never heard that expression to be honest... How does it go in
Dutch: "Kom nog maar eens terug een liedje fluiten"?

Jeen
--
Jeen Broekstra http://www.cs.vu.nl/~jbroeks/

Will you loan me $20.00 and only give me ten of it?
That way, you will owe me ten, and I'll owe you ten, and we'll be even!
Henriette
2004-01-10 20:25:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeen Broekstra
In NL when at a shop you lack the last few pennies to pay for
an article, people will say: "come and whistle a song for it
one day".
Never heard that expression to be honest... How does it go in
Dutch: "Kom nog maar eens terug een liedje fluiten"?
"Kom daar nog maar eens een liedje voor fluiten " of: "Fluit daar maar
een liedje voor".

Misschien probeer je nooit gepast te betalen......

Henriette
Jeen Broekstra
2004-01-11 12:22:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
"Kom daar nog maar eens een liedje voor fluiten " of: "Fluit
daar maar een liedje voor".
Nooit van gehoord. Maar ik geloof je op je woord.
Post by Henriette
Misschien probeer je nooit gepast te betalen......
Of ik heb gewoon nooit te weinig geld bij me :)

Sorry for the Dutch interlude everyone. We now return to your
regular program.

Jeen
--
Jeen Broekstra http://www.cs.vu.nl/~jbroeks/

Your reasoning is excellent -- it's only your basic assumptions that are wrong.
TeaLady (Mari C.)
2004-01-12 01:39:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeen Broekstra
Post by Henriette
"Kom daar nog maar eens een liedje voor fluiten " of: "Fluit
daar maar een liedje voor".
Nooit van gehoord. Maar ik geloof je op je woord.
Post by Henriette
Misschien probeer je nooit gepast te betalen......
Of ik heb gewoon nooit te weinig geld bij me :)
Sorry for the Dutch interlude everyone. We now return to your
regular program.
Jeen
I don't really understand it, but I like it. Probably am mangling
the pronounciations, but heck, no one can hear me (except my dog).
--
mc
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-01-12 02:21:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by TeaLady (Mari C.)
I don't really understand it, but I like it. Probably am mangling
the pronounciations, but heck, no one can hear me (except my dog).
We can hear you.

:-)
Kristian Damm Jensen
2004-01-13 15:18:21 UTC
Permalink
Jeen Broekstra wrote:
<snip>
Post by Jeen Broekstra
Sorry for the Dutch interlude everyone. We now return to your
regular program.
Considering the amount of scandinavian linguistics around here, I
hardly see why you should feel sorry for a little Dutch.
--
Kristian Damm Jensen
damm (at) ofir (dot) dk
Taemon
2004-01-11 17:16:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
"Kom daar nog maar eens een liedje voor fluiten " of: "Fluit daar
maar een liedje voor".
Die ken ik niet. Overigens staat in de Nederlandse vertaling van die
zinsnede "variërend van bijna niets tot een appel en een ei" ofwel
"goedkoop en goedkoop". Ook raar.

T.
Henriette
2004-01-12 14:21:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Taemon
Post by Henriette
"Kom daar nog maar eens een liedje voor fluiten " of: "Fluit daar
maar een liedje voor".
Die ken ik niet.
Tu quoque Taemon! Stelletje provincialen.
Post by Taemon
Overigens staat in de Nederlandse vertaling van die
zinsnede "variërend van bijna niets tot een appel en een ei" ofwel
"goedkoop en goedkoop". Ook raar.
But it is the same in English. From next to nothing to old songs:
cheap and cheap. You *did* pay attention when we were discussing this,
now were you?

Henriette
Taemon
2004-01-13 19:48:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
Post by Taemon
Post by Henriette
"Kom daar nog maar eens een liedje voor fluiten " of: "Fluit
daar maar een liedje voor".
Die ken ik niet.
Tu quoque Taemon! Stelletje provincialen.
Me dunkt dat het een lokaal dialect is :-)
Post by Henriette
Post by Taemon
Overigens staat in de Nederlandse vertaling van die
zinsnede "variërend van bijna niets tot een appel en een ei"
ofwel "goedkoop en goedkoop". Ook raar.
cheap and cheap. You *did* pay attention when we were discussing
this, now were you?
That's why I quote it; the translator came to the same conclusions.

T.
Henriette
2004-01-14 07:54:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Taemon
Post by Henriette
Post by Taemon
Overigens staat in de Nederlandse vertaling van die
zinsnede "variërend van bijna niets tot een appel en een ei"
ofwel "goedkoop en goedkoop". Ook raar.
cheap and cheap. You *did* pay attention when we were discussing
this, now were you?
That's why I quote it; the translator came to the same conclusions.
Aha. I thought with "raar" you were referring to the translator, who
in this case did an excellent job. Because I could not imagine you
would dare to use it for something my favorite author wrote. I forgot
for a moment sbout the rebellious nature of the wild people living
somewhat outside of the civilised parts of NL ;-)

Henriette
TeaLady (Mari C.)
2004-01-06 02:54:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
This "old songs" saying, is that a well-known one? Old songs in
this context means nothing, doesn't it? (like "Love" in tennis)
Is there a special reason for that?
I used to hear "That went for a song" and it meant a high price.
(Heard spoken by, and explained by, grandparents) Perhaps an
"old" song meant a high price. I've also heard "Got that for a
song" and it meant a low price (parents). So maybe it meant less
than next-to-nothing. Knowing Lobelia, I'd go with the first
meaning.
--
mc
Henriette
2004-01-06 15:19:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by TeaLady (Mari C.)
I used to hear "That went for a song" and it meant a high price.
(Heard spoken by, and explained by, grandparents) Perhaps an
"old" song meant a high price. I've also heard "Got that for a
song" and it meant a low price (parents). So maybe it meant less
than next-to-nothing. Knowing Lobelia, I'd go with the first
meaning.
The first meaning being the high price??

Imagine Lobelia would have to sing literally, as Glenn suggests.....
Maybe even worse than Tom Bombadil singing ;-)

Funny, those two contradictory explanations by your parents and
grandparents!

Henriette
TeaLady (Mari C.)
2004-01-07 02:30:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
Post by TeaLady (Mari C.)
I used to hear "That went for a song" and it meant a high
price. (Heard spoken by, and explained by, grandparents)
Perhaps an "old" song meant a high price. I've also heard
"Got that for a song" and it meant a low price (parents). So
maybe it meant less than next-to-nothing. Knowing Lobelia,
I'd go with the first meaning.
The first meaning being the high price??
Imagine Lobelia would have to sing literally, as Glenn
suggests..... Maybe even worse than Tom Bombadil singing ;-)
Funny, those two contradictory explanations by your parents and
grandparents!
Henriette
Words and phrases mutate a lot in the US, I guess. Slang words do,
with words meaning "good" suddenly meaning "awful" and so on. I
never thought to question the change - but it was confusing when
Grandma would be talking about high prices and mom low, and both
using nearly the same terms for opposit meanings. They understood
each other, so perhaps there was more to the sayings than I
remember. And knowing my family, Grandma's use of the phrase might
have been an "in" joke, which was never explained to me.
--
mc
Henriette
2004-01-08 18:27:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by TeaLady (Mari C.)
Words and phrases mutate a lot in the US, I guess. Slang words do,
with words meaning "good" suddenly meaning "awful" and so on. (snip)
LOL, yes, same here. "We" ( I try not to, but you say it before you
are aware....) are (also) saying the Dutch equivalent for "cruel"
(wreed) and "fat" (vet) meaning "awesome", and we use the English word
"cool". In Scotland this summer, they said "sweet" meaning "fat".

Henriette
AC
2004-01-05 18:50:10 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 23:04:24 GMT,
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[7] Is it possible to read anything into this; that Bilbo remained an
elf-friend on one side and "had the honour of dwarves, wizards and all
such folk ..." on the other side? Does this indicate a difference in his
relationship with Elves and Dwarves respectively, or is it just a
linguistic adornment?
Being an elf-friend was, throughout Tolkien's mythology, an important and
honored title. While I'm sure it was great that Bilbo was considered a
great guy by Dwarves and wizards, to be counted as an elf-friend seems to
put one in a distinguished group. I am reminded of the Council of Elrond,
where Frodo is put in the same group as Hurin and Beren (the elf-friends of
old).
--
Aaron Clausen

tao_of_cow/\alberni.net (replace /\ with @)
Troels Forchhammer
2004-01-06 10:35:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by AC
On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 23:04:24 GMT,
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[7] Is it possible to read anything into this; that Bilbo remained an
elf-friend on one side and "had the honour of dwarves, wizards and
all such folk ..." on the other side? Does this indicate a
difference in his relationship with Elves and Dwarves
respectively, or is it just a linguistic adornment?
Being an elf-friend was, throughout Tolkien's mythology, an important
and honored title. While I'm sure it was great that Bilbo was
considered a great guy by Dwarves and wizards, to be counted as an
elf-friend seems to put one in a distinguished group. I am reminded
of the Council of Elrond, where Frodo is put in the same group as
Hurin and Beren (the elf-friends of old).
That was my impression as well based on the use in other places such as
the one you refer to in the Council of Elrond.

That is why I was puzzled by this passage; Bilbo spent most of his time
in the company of Dwarves and a wizard, and while he did meet Elves (and
ultimately paid for what he had stolen from them ;-) this was in many
ways the least part of his adventures.

That he should therefore end up as an elf-friend and not a dwarf-friend
or wizard-friend seems a bit puzzling to me (he of course ended up as a
friend of a specific wizard and some specific Dwarves, but the expression
"elf-friend" carries to me the connotation of being counted a friend by
all Elves and honoured by them).

Within the mythos it does seem that elf-friend is the greater honour,
which may be the underlying reason here - the passage just caught my
eye, and I chose to use the occasion to get some input on it, thanks.
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk
p***@mail.ru
2004-01-05 23:27:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
This is the final chapter of /The Hobbit/. I wanted to include some
comments on "The Quest of Erebor," but I haven't got it finished in time -
if I can get it done sometime during the week, I'll post it, otherwise I'm
sure that Aaron is perfectly capable of producing a good transition from
/The Hobbit/ to /The Lord of the Rings/.
Troels, thank you... I have re-arranged synopsis/points for an easier
discussion (your footnotes are intended for reading purposes, I assume -
and they work well).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Bilbo and Gandalf arrive at Rivendell on May the First (a year and three
days after the Unexpected Party). As they ride down into the valley,
"Bilbo heard the elves still singing in the trees, as if they had not
stopped since he left."[1]
< [1] Glimpse of the timelessness / preservation powers of Elrond's Ring?
Not sure about that. To me, it's one of two impressions one has when
returning to familiar premises: "Oh well, everything's the same!", and
"Oh goodness, little Mary is now cradling her own children." I take your
bets on which impression one is more likely to get when dealing with
'immortals'.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
...The song of the elves makes it plain that they
are quite up-to-date about the events in Erebor[2].
[2] Given our knowledge of talking birds, and the Communication of
Thought, it is, I deem, not necessary to ask how the elves could know
about Smaug's fall etc.
Hmm. You're right, but in a peculiar way, I'm afraid. I'm not aware of
any mental link between Thranduil and Elrond. As far as Gandalf-Elrond or
Gandalf-Galadriel links are concerned, there is much more latitude to
interpret the Hobbit to imply that such conversations did take place.
However, I am inclined to stick to the simplest explanation: Elrond ran a
fairly extensive intelligence-gathering network :-) as will be obvious
from the LotR discussions this year. Indeed, even earlier in the Hobbit
Rivendell Elves are credited with knowing exact intentions of Thorin &
Co.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
In the evening, Gandalf relates the tale of their adventures to Elrond
(and, presumably, other Elves). It is while listening to this that Bilbo
learns what Gandalf had been up to while he was away from Thorin's
quest[3].
[3] Bilbo overhears Gandalf telling Elrond,
... It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council of
the white wizards, masters of lore and good magic; and that
they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in
the south of Mirkwood.
"Ere long now," Gandalf was saying, "The Forest will grow
somewhat more wholesome. The North will be freed from that
horror for many long years, I hope. Yet I wish he were
banished from the world!"
"It would be well indeed," said Elrond; "but I fear that
will not come about in this age of the world, or for many
after."
This passage is interesting for several reasons, IMO.
3a: "a great council of the white wizards" - obviously this refers to the
White Council (or rather, it is does later, in the editing of /The
Hobbit/ to fit with the LotR. The question is why Tolkien didn't change
this to 'The White Council'. Also, since Galadriel was the one to first
summon the White Council, wouldn't Elrond be a natural member of it?
Hint: Does the wording imply that he hadn't been at the council?

"white wizards" - a shorthand for "wizards/witches practicing good magic"
Post by Troels Forchhammer
3b: Gandalf and Elrond's hopes and fears aren't all that precise, are they
;-) Only ten years lasted before Dol Guldur was occupied by three
Nazgûl, ...
Of course they are optimistic assessing their 'victory'. Shows that even
the Wise cannot foresee all events (but are good at explaining past ones
:-).

The idea of Dol Guldur being retaken strikes me. If the White Council
(hence abbreviated as WC >:-) was so blatantly over-optimistic, it could
well be that Dol Guldur was not destroyed or permanently occupied by a
strong enough force. At least Galadriel should have known better the
strategic importance of Amon Lanc for her realm, southern Mirkwood and
the Anduin Valleys in general.

[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Even though Elrond's "house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep,
or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best,
or a pleasant mixture of them all," Bilbo and Gandalf stays for only a
week in Rivendell. On their way home they pick up the Troll gold that they
and the Dwarves buried on their way out. Bilbo tries to get Gandalf to
take it all, because he has enough, but Gandalf insists on sharing it,
saying, "You may find you have more needs than you expect."[4]
[4] Premonition? A hunch? Or just a lucky guess? Gandalf shows the ability
for this kind of presage in other situations (e.g. warning the Hobbits
of the gate much, much later when returning to the Shire after the War
of the Ring). How shall we interpret this in the context of the Hobbit?
It's a nice point which may suitably be divided into three:
4a) Where does Gandalf get the idea that Bilbo may need more money?
(Variants from least to most spectacular: news from the Elves, better
understanding of the inner workings of the Shire society, premonition
deriving from the knowledge of the Music, a hunch from Eru)
and
4b) Why does Gandalf use the idea the way he does? (Suggestions: to help
Bilbo, to help Bilbo help himself, to preserve Hobbiton as the suitable
setting for the next novel, to prevent Bilbo from becoming a drinking
disillusioned vagabond with a magic Ring).

4c) Why does Tolkien include this bit into the book (story-externally)?

4a) I'd rule out the Music and Eru as improbable. Bilbo's possession of
Hobbiton is not essential for the world at large. Perhaps Gandalf had
some clues from wandering Elves to guess that something was afoot in the
Shire. Plus he's not taking risks and does not need the money.

4b) I vote for helping Bilbo help himself. Whatever the source, Gandalf
is reluctant both to interfere with Bilbo's private life and to let down
his _friend_ and _protege_.

4c) _The Last Stage_ is certainly full of prophesies/premonitions and
discussion thereof. Tolkien is quite keen to show us a) limits of
foretelling, b) usefulness of keeping the prophesies' details away from
the actors, c,d,e) <insert points of your choice>.

[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Arriving at Bag End they see a lot of commotion. It turns out that Bilbo
has been "Presumed Dead" and there's an auction going on of his
possessions[5].
The Shire must have had a couple of such auctions before (perhaps to
dissuade people from wandering).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
... The return of Bilbo creates even more commotion, and in
the end Bilbo has to buy back a lot of his own furniture[6].
[6] We're told that "The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years." The
Hobbits seem to have had a quite well-developed legal code - see also
the requirements for Bilbo's will in LotR I, 1 and the company in charge
of the auction; "Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes." I am alone in
thinking that this points rather heavily towards a monetary economy.
No, you aren't. Highest-bidder auctions are almost unthinkable under
barter ("Two cows! Who gives more? You, Sir?" "Seven goats and a pig!")
and impossible for natural economy with little or no surplus food. The
legal profession isn't likely to develop in money-free conditions either.

My estimate would be that the Shire economy depended heavily on trade
with the Dwarves in the Blue Mountains; after the initial 'agricultural
revolution' the money from the Dwarves helped create the virtuous cycle
of capitalist economy (of course, it translated eventually into Lotho's
excesses). By the time of the Hobbit, we see institutions of early
capitalism rather firmly entrenched. (MM's essays have been of some help
to me).

[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Settling in Bilbo doesn't entirely return to his old habits. He remains
"an elf-friend, and had the honour of dwarves, wizards, and all such folk
as ever passed that way"[7].
[7] Is it possible to read anything into this; that Bilbo remained an
elf-friend on one side and "had the honour of dwarves, wizards and all
such folk ..." on the other side? Does this indicate a difference in his
relationship with Elves and Dwarves respectively, or is it just a
linguistic adornment?
IMHO, it's just a figure of speech to show Bilbo being on friendly terms
with Elves, Dwarves and Gandalf. However, an 'elf-friend' is a special
and separate notion to be used extensively elsewhere in Tolkien's prose.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
... He also discovers that he isn't considered
quite respectable any longer, but he doesn't care as he is quite
content[8].
[8] This is, IMO, the clearest sign of the change Gandalf noted as they
neared the Hill - that he is capable of rising above the generally quite
myopic views of the surrounding Hobbit society and not care about it.
Isn't that change due partly to Bilbo's treasures and partly to his
expanded horizons? With foreign gold and new friends outside the Shire he
is able to neutralize two threats to his non-conformism from conformist
neighbours - starvation and loneliness.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Seven years later, as Bilbo is writing his memoires (later to be found and
translated by Prof. Tolkien and published as "The Hobbit" ... ;-) he
receives a visit by Gandalf and Balin. Bilbo and Balin notes each other's
prosperity, and Bilbo learns that the old Master of Lake-town had come to
a bad end trying to escape with a lot of the gold Bard had given him[9].
[9] "He fell under the dragon-sickness" - is this another indication of
there being some kind of curse or similar on gold from a dragon's hoard?
Sadly, we aren't ever told that the dragon-sickness is Tolkien's
euphemism for syphilis (too much money => too many partners => STDs in
abundance).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
The new Master is better, and they are, in Lake-town, making songs saying
that under his rule the rivers run with gold. The last paragraphs are[10]...
[...]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[10] Here we see the idea that there is some kind of other will behind
Bilbo's success.
This topic has been given a fair share of discussion, and I'm afraid that
all good points have already been expounded upon - and some blame for
this lies on Troels :-). Again, thank you for your polite, thoughtful and
thought-provoking analysis.

Archie
Graeme Thomas
2004-01-05 23:23:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[5] We learn that Bilbo holds title as "Esquire". I'm not certain how
common this would be in the English countryside at the time when Tolkien
wrote /The Hobbit/, nor of the exact meaning for Bilbo's social standing
(the source of his income prior to his adventure has recently been / is
currently debated), but I do think that it somehow emphasizes the
connection between the Shire of the Hobbits and the English country
-shires.
The use of "Esquire" is just a reflection of formal usage of the 1930s.
There was no title, as such. A relatively informal address would be
"Mr. B. Baggins", whereas a formal address would be "B. Baggins
Esquire". By the 1960s the normal formal usage would be "B. Baggins
Esq.", although I don't know whether the abbreviation was in common use
30 years earlier. (I think I received one letter addressed to me as
"Esq.", in about 1969, but I don't think I had one before or since.)

So, this was completely normal for the times, and you shouldn't try
reading anything into it.
--
Graeme Thomas
Troels Forchhammer
2004-01-06 11:56:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Graeme Thomas
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[5] We learn that Bilbo holds title as "Esquire". I'm not certain how
common this would be in the English countryside at the time when
Tolkien wrote /The Hobbit/, nor of the exact meaning for Bilbo's
social standing (the source of his income prior to his adventure
has recently been / is currently debated), but I do think that it
somehow emphasizes the connection between the Shire of the Hobbits
and the English country -shires.
The use of "Esquire" is just a reflection of formal usage of the
1930s. There was no title, as such.
My dictionary defined it as a title, which is also the definition in
the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esquire
"in modern times, a title of dignity next in degree below knight and
above gentleman; also, a title of office and courtesy"

The Wikipedia also says:

"In England, the title of esquire belongs to:
- the eldest sons of knights and their eldest sons in perpetual
succession
- the eldest sons of younger sons of peers and their eldest sons
in perpetual succession
- those who bear special office in the royal household
- Sheriffs while in office
- Justices of the Peace while in commission
- Commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy
- Masters of the Supreme Court
- Deputy Lieutenants and Commissioners of Lieutenancy
- Queen's Counsel
- sergeants at law
- Royal Academecians
- officers of the Royal Navy with rank of Lieutenant or higher,
of the Army with rank of Captain or higher, or of the Royal
Air Force with rank of Flight Lieutenant or higher
- bachelors of divinity, law, or physics, and others
- persons to whom the title is granted by the monarch"

This is of course what triggered my question - along with my memory of
PoMe (IDHTBIFOM) where it's told that Bilbo was the head of the Baggins
clan - though I don't remember what it says about obligations and rights
(land?) that goes with that, if anything.
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk
Graeme Thomas
2004-01-06 13:48:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Graeme Thomas
The use of "Esquire" is just a reflection of formal usage of the
1930s. There was no title, as such.
My dictionary defined it as a title, which is also the definition in
the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esquire
"in modern times, a title of dignity next in degree below knight and
above gentleman; also, a title of office and courtesy"
I'm not sure what was meant by "modern times" in that definition. It's
possible that, in the 1930s, a few people were allowed to use the title
as a right (i.e., to describe *themselves* as "Esquire"). But it was
commonplace as a courtesy title for others to use, replacing "Mr".
Thirty years later, in the days of my own youth, the habit was dying,
and it's almost dead now.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
This is of course what triggered my question - along with my memory of
PoMe (IDHTBIFOM) where it's told that Bilbo was the head of the Baggins
clan - though I don't remember what it says about obligations and rights
(land?) that goes with that, if anything.
This is discussed at some length in Letter 214. It is lengthy, but I'd
summarize it by saying that the headship itself was just a title, but
since it normally went to the main line of succession of a family, most
of the wealth of the family would go with it.
--
Graeme Thomas
A Tsar Is Born
2004-01-06 04:09:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
[1] Glimpse of the timelessness / preservation powers of Elrond's Ring?
Tolkien hadn't dreamed up the Rings yet at the time this was written.
But clearly it was a Power he associated with elves and elven kingdoms, at
least from a mortal p.o.v. Later the Rings were invented (in part) to
account for this quality.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[2] Given our knowledge of talking birds, and the Communication of
Thought, it is, I deem, not necessary to ask how the elves could know
about Smaug's fall etc.
Tolkien has earlier told us that the news traveled all over Wilderland in a
few weeks after Smaug's death.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[3] Bilbo overhears Gandalf telling Elrond,
... It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council of
the white wizards, masters of lore and good magic; and that
they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in
the south of Mirkwood.
"Ere long now," Gandalf was saying, "The Forest will grow
somewhat more wholesome. The North will be freed from that
horror for many long years, I hope. Yet I wish he were
banished from the world!"
"It would be well indeed," said Elrond; "but I fear that
will not come about in this age of the world, or for many
after."
This passage is interesting for several reasons, IMO.
3a: "a great council of the white wizards" - obviously this refers to the
White Council (or rather, it is does later, in the editing of /The
Hobbit/ to fit with the LotR. The question is why Tolkien didn't change
this to 'The White Council'. Also, since Galadriel was the one to first
summon the White Council, wouldn't Elrond be a natural member of it?
After he'd thought about it, yes. But he hadn't thought it through yet. If
your question is, why didn't he change it later, I think Tolkien liked
(rightly) to keep these separate creations ... separate. Why trouble the
(usually younger) readers of The Hobbit with all the abstruse matter later
to turn up (or, tantalizingly, not turn up) in LotR?
Post by Troels Forchhammer
3b: Gandalf and Elrond's hopes and fears aren't all that precise, are they
;-) Only ten years lasted before Dol Guldur was occupied by three
Nazgûl, but while Sauron wasn't banished from the world as such (I take
that to imply being thrown into the void as Morgoth was), it would only
be some 77 years before Sauron was vanquished so "that none can foresee
his arising ever again." This passage was subtly changed in the 1966
Ball edition to be in line with LotR. Previously Gandalf had said "The
North is freed from that horror for many an age," which was certainly
wrong ;-)
Same. He hadn't worked out a time line, and Gandalf's prediction suited the
world of The Hobbit.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[4] Premonition? A hunch? Or just a lucky guess? Gandalf shows the ability
for this kind of presage in other situations (e.g. warning the Hobbits
of the gate much, much later when returning to the Shire after the War
of the Ring). How shall we interpret this in the context of the Hobbit?
Or just: he knows whom to talk to, and what to ask. I've always guessed he
found out about Shire goings-on in Bree, when the hobbits he was with were
too busy boasting of their own stories to ask about recent Shire events.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[5] We learn that Bilbo holds title as "Esquire". I'm not certain how
common this would be in the English countryside at the time when Tolkien
wrote /The Hobbit/, nor of the exact meaning for Bilbo's social standing
(the source of his income prior to his adventure has recently been / is
currently debated), but I do think that it somehow emphasizes the
connection between the Shire of the Hobbits and the English country
-shires.
It meant untitled gentry. As the only titled gentry in The Shire are the
Thain and the Master of Buckland, esq. would go to the Heads of the ten
other leading aristocratic families -- which Bilbo is. (So is Otho, but of
the Sackvilles, through his mother, not the Bagginses.) Do I recall the
other eight families: Bolger, Boffin, Chubb, Grubb, Proudfoot, Bracegirdle,
Burrowes....? That leaves one out.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[6] We're told that "The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years." The
Hobbits seem to have had a quite well-developed legal code - see also
the requirements for Bilbo's will in LotR I, 1 and the company in charge
of the auction; "Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes." I am alone in
thinking that this points rather heavily towards a monetary economy.
Primitive societies often have exceedingly complex legal codes, e.g.
medieval Iceland, whose sagas Tolkien knew quite well (in the original).
This by itself does not mean a money economy (Iceland's was not), but there
are a lot of references to coinage in accounts of the Shire. It does not
quite jibe with the Shire in the context of a backwater in a feudal world,
but JRRT was working from both ends here -- the Shire from a British rural
context, Gondor from someplace quite different. They don't really mesh. Oh
well.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[7] Is it possible to read anything into this; that Bilbo remained an
elf-friend on one side and "had the honour of dwarves, wizards and all
such folk ..." on the other side? Does this indicate a difference in his
relationship with Elves and Dwarves respectively, or is it just a
linguistic adornment?
I'd say the latter. But "elf-friend," as we know, is a special term in the
earlier mythology, and JRRT uses it here to tie him to the elder material.
Perhaps he was beginning to think that Bilbo would prove, in fact, the
"transmitter" of Elvish lore to our times.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[8] This is, IMO, the clearest sign of the change Gandalf noted as they
neared the Hill - that he is capable of rising above the generally quite
myopic views of the surrounding Hobbit society and not care about it.
[9] "He fell under the dragon-sickness" - is this another indication of
there being some kind of curse or similar on gold from a dragon's hoard?
Greed for wealth for its own sake is always a very grave sin in Tolkien's
universe.
He regards it as typical of dragons, but also of dwarves and of not a few
men and hobbits -- and even the occasional elf. The trick, of course, is to
be, like Bilbo and Frodo (and Gimli), rich AND not at the same time tight.
Perhaps this only happens in fairy stories.

Tsar Parmathule
Huan the hound
2004-01-06 05:23:43 UTC
Permalink
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

[snip]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
week in Rivendell. On their way home they pick up the Troll gold that they
and the Dwarves buried on their way out. Bilbo tries to get Gandalf to
take it all, because he has enough, but Gandalf insists on sharing it,
saying, "You may find you have more needs than you expect."[4]
[snip]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[4] Premonition? A hunch? Or just a lucky guess? Gandalf shows the ability
for this kind of presage in other situations (e.g. warning the Hobbits
of the gate much, much later when returning to the Shire after the War
of the Ring). How shall we interpret this in the context of the Hobbit?
[snip]

Gandalf was a wanderer, and as the book mentions, there was enough
gold to make the ponies want to take things slower. Maybe he really
didn't want all that gold to slow him down.

Now this makes me wonder what he did with the gold when he left the
Shire again. His financial situation is mysterious! Somehow I doubt
that there were a lot of banks around. :-)
--
Huan, the hound of Valinor
John Jones
2004-01-05 19:03:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
[5] We learn that Bilbo holds title as "Esquire". I'm not certain how
common this would be in the English countryside at the time when Tolkien
wrote /The Hobbit/, nor of the exact meaning for Bilbo's social standing
(the source of his income prior to his adventure has recently been / is
currently debated), but I do think that it somehow emphasizes the
connection between the Shire of the Hobbits and the English country
-shires.
In Tolkien's day, it was the common title for just about all men, unless you
had a superior title. You could address a letter to me as 'Mr John Jones'
or 'John Jones, Esquire' (but not both). It seems to be obsolete now. People
could also once be titled by a particular profession or trade, but this
mostly became obsolete in the nineteenth century, I think.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[9] "He fell under the dragon-sickness" - is this another indication of
there being some kind of curse or similar on gold from a dragon's hoard?
'Dragon sickness' = greed, I always thought.
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
2004-01-09 06:35:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
http://parasha.maoltuile.org/
Troels, thank you for introducing Ch. 19
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[2] Given our knowledge of talking birds, and the Communication of
Thought, it is, I deem, not necessary to ask how the elves could know
about Smaug's fall etc.
Those Elves seem to be the biggest gossips in Middle-Earth, don't they? Many
high schools are like that. Plenty of time for networking when you're
immortal. <wink>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[4] Premonition? A hunch? Or just a lucky guess? Gandalf shows the ability
for this kind of presage in other situations (e.g. warning the Hobbits
of the gate much, much later when returning to the Shire after the War
of the Ring). How shall we interpret this in the context of the Hobbit?
As Bilbo says, doubtless Gandalf can find many good uses for the gold,
travelling all over Middle-Earth and knowing many of its woes. Bilbo has
some inkling of those too, or he wouldn't offer. Gandalf's generosity to
Bilbo was warranted; the auction must have been a serious blow for him. To
save a Kingdom and come home to a welcome like that could leave a person
bitter.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[6] We're told that "The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years." The
Hobbits seem to have had a quite well-developed legal code - see also
the requirements for Bilbo's will in LotR I, 1 and the company in charge
of the auction; "Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes." I am alone in
thinking that this points rather heavily towards a monetary economy.
I agree that the Shire had a quite developed monetary economy. The Hobbits
have been settled there for 1400 years and have become quite civilized and
sophisticated. And apparently have been heavily influenced by contact and
trade with the Big Folk. In fact, I wonder exactly how much of Hobbit
culture would be truly unique and original? (Perhaps it is better to save
this for Ch. 1 LOTR.)
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[8] This is, IMO, the clearest sign of the change Gandalf noted as they
neared the Hill - that he is capable of rising above the generally quite
myopic views of the surrounding Hobbit society and not care about it.
Bilbo's "Roads Go Ever On" song sounds like it could be an anthem for the
Shire, if it wasn't for the fact that Hobbits do not travel much. A Hobbit
hearing Bilbo's song might think he was spending too much time with the
Elves. (I wonder if the Shire would have an anthem. Probably not, since the
Hobbits are so modest. But even modest folk can be proud of their homeland.)
There are a lot of songs in this book, which probably has some people
thinking "make it into a Musical." Of course, "The Lays of Beleriand"
probably screams "Opera!"
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[10] Here we see the idea that there is some kind of other will behind
Bilbo's success. This connects both backwards and forwards (to LotR). In
ch. 8 we read about Bilbo that "... by luck (he was born with a good
share of it) he guessed more or less right, ..." and now Gandalf tells
us that it wasn't "... managed by mere luck, ..." after all. This of
course also relates to Gandalf's words in LotR and /The Quest of Erebor/
(UT) that "Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker, and
you therefore were meant to bear it. And I might have added: and I was
meant guide you both to those points."
The hand of Providence seems to be all over both books, although maybe in
"The Hobbit" much of it was originally intended to be luck?

Minor nitpick: I think I may have spotted the Old Boy making a rare
grammatical error. When he says: "In short Bilbo was 'Presumed Dead', and
not everybody that said so was *sorry* to find the presumption wrong."
Shouldn't that be "...not everybody that said so was *GLAD* to find the
presumption wrong"? The way it's worded in the book, it sounds to me like
everybody's saying they're "sorry" to see Bilbo's NOT dead! (But not
everybody means it, which means _some_ are glad he's alive!)

--
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pêlluin,) Ph.D., Count of Tolfalas
Igenlode
2004-01-13 20:14:53 UTC
Permalink
[repost]
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Minor nitpick: I think I may have spotted the Old Boy making a rare
grammatical error. When he says: "In short Bilbo was 'Presumed Dead', and
not everybody that said so was *sorry* to find the presumption wrong."
Shouldn't that be "...not everybody that said so was *GLAD* to find the
presumption wrong"? The way it's worded in the book, it sounds to me like
everybody's saying they're "sorry" to see Bilbo's NOT dead! (But not
everybody means it, which means _some_ are glad he's alive!)
I don't quite understand. This is standard English usage - "not
everyone that said so was sorry to find the presumption wrong", i.e.
some people did regret that he was in fact *not* dead. (The
Sackville-Bagginses, one assumes!)

Is it the double negative that's confusing? Or is it the "not
everyone", which implies here "a small but not totally non-existent
minority"?
--
Igenlode Wordsmith

'In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for
years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you may quote me on that.
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-01-14 00:52:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Minor nitpick: I think I may have spotted the Old Boy
making a rare grammatical error. When he says: "In
short Bilbo was 'Presumed Dead', and not everybody
that said so was *sorry* to find the presumption wrong."
Shouldn't that be "...not everybody that said so was
*GLAD* to find the presumption wrong"? The way it's
worded in the book, it sounds to me like everybody's
saying they're "sorry" to see Bilbo's NOT dead! (But not
everybody means it, which means _some_ are glad he's alive!)
It might be clearer if you 'translate' the original:

"In short Bilbo was 'Presumed Dead', and not everybody that said so was
sorry to find the presumption wrong."

This is equivalnet to:

"In short Bilbo was 'Presumed Dead', and a few of those that said so
were sorry to find the presumption wrong."

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
2004-01-09 06:38:57 UTC
Permalink
And so ends our weekly discussion series of "The Hobbit." My thanks to all
our participants for making it a success. If you are new to
Chapter-of-the-Week on AFT and RABT, please join us next week when AC
introduces the Prologue of "Lord of the Rings." And don't hesitate to
volunteer to introduce a chapter from our schedule. LOTR chapters are on
average longer than Hobbit chapters, but don't let that frighten you. It's a
great way to develop your skill for such things, and a fun way to make
everyone think and talk about the books. AFAICT Chapter 3 is still
unclaimed, and it's due for Feb.2.

The link to the schedule is:
http://parasha.maoltuile.org
My thanks again to David Flood for providing us with this page.

Once again for the format (with plenty of room for variation:)

*****

-To volunteer, simply post to these threads expressing your wish to do so,
and specify an unclaimed chapter(s) from the schedule page. First come,
first served.

-Your name will be placed beside the chapter(s) you want on the schedule
page. Note there will be a slight lag.

-Volunteer for as many chapters as you can handle, but if demand for
chapters increases, let's try to give different people a chance at them.

-A volunteer is expected to read the chapter before posting the
introduction.

-On the appropriate Monday of the schedule, post a paragraph summary of the
chapter, followed by a paragraph of suggested points for discussion.

-The subject line of the post should contain "Chapter of the Week" followed
by the name of the chapter.

-You should also include the link to David Flood's schedule webpage.

-Please be sure your post is cross-posted to both alt.fan.tolkien and
rec.arts.books.tolkien.

-If you're unable to make your intro post, please request that someone take
over for you, and try to give 48 hours notice.

*****

That's all there is to it. Chapter-of-the-Week is open to everyone, even
those who missed our Hobbit discussions. Since each chapter is treated as a
self-contained unit, there is no need to be here every week, and you can
join in wherever you like. I hope to see all of you posting next week.

/me bows

--
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pêlluin,) Ph.D., Count of Tolfalas
Troels Forchhammer
2004-01-09 09:22:10 UTC
Permalink
AFAICT Chapter 3 is still unclaimed, and it's due for Feb.2.
Well, so is chapter 5, and that'll give me a little better time to
get an introduction done, so I'll take that.
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk
zett
2004-01-09 23:18:09 UTC
Permalink
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <***@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<50sLb.32423$X%***@pd7tw2no>...
[big snip]>
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
-To volunteer, simply post to these threads expressing your wish to do so,
and specify an unclaimed chapter(s) from the schedule page. First come,
first served.
[big snip]
Oh, I didn't know one was supposed to post in the thread to volunteer.
Oops. Anyway, I sent an email to D. Flood today claiming Chapter 10 of
Book I "Strider" for March 22.

Again, I would like to thank you and Mr. Flood for making this
discussion possible. Even though I haven't posted much, I have been
reading all the threads and enjoying them.
Henriette
2004-01-10 11:31:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by zett
Again, I would like to thank you and Mr. Flood for making this
discussion possible. Even though I haven't posted much, I have been
reading all the threads and enjoying them.
Yes, thank you too, Mr. Flood!:-) Finally Wilde Ier is called the name he deserves.

And thank you, zett, because you also made this discussion possible!

Henriette
Henriette
2004-01-10 11:31:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by zett
Again, I would like to thank you and Mr. Flood for making this
discussion possible. Even though I haven't posted much, I have been
reading all the threads and enjoying them.
Yes, thank you too, Mr. Flood!:-) Finally Wilde Ier is called the name he deserves.

And thank you, zett, because you also made this discussion possible!

Henriette
Henriette
2004-01-10 11:32:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by zett
Again, I would like to thank you and Mr. Flood for making this
discussion possible. Even though I haven't posted much, I have been
reading all the threads and enjoying them.
Yes, thank you too, Mr. Flood!:-) Finally Wilde Ier is called the name he deserves.

And thank you, zett, because you also made this discussion possible!

Henriette
Henriette
2004-01-10 11:30:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
And so ends our weekly discussion series of "The Hobbit." My thanks to all
our participants for making it a success.
My thanks as well to Dr Ernst and all other participants! I thoroughly
enjoyed the TH discussions. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun.
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
If you are new to
Chapter-of-the-Week on AFT and RABT, please join us next week when AC
introduces the Prologue of "Lord of the Rings."
I would like to say something about this. One point is, that IMO the
Prologue sums up a *lot* of facts and points we could discuss, more
than ye average story chapter. I will leave it totally to our much
appreciated AC, but it may be an idea to split the Prologue in two,
which is quite easy to do because of the subchapters, and either make
two threads, or post one thread in two weeks. Otherwise a thread may
become to complicated to follow.

My other point is, that if we start with the Prologue, we skip (in my
Ballentine book), the foreword by a Peter S. Beagle and what is worse,
the lovely foreword by the author. Also we skip a map and the "Three
rings for the Elven-kings" poem, ( but the poem returns later in the
book). Other books have other forewords. What do we do with those,
maybe we should leave room for people to talk about their respective
forewords?
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
And don't hesitate to
volunteer to introduce a chapter from our schedule. LOTR chapters are on
average longer than Hobbit chapters, but don't let that frighten you. It's a
great way to develop your skill for such things, and a fun way to make
everyone think and talk about the books. AFAICT Chapter 3 is still
unclaimed, and it's due for Feb.2.
We still have a long reserve volunteer list. Some volunteers have not
written one word as yet.
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
-A volunteer is expected to read the chapter before posting the
introduction.
LOL, *why* do you say that?
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
/me bows
Me bows back!

Henriette
AC
2004-01-10 18:05:51 UTC
Permalink
On 10 Jan 2004 03:30:00 -0800,
Post by Henriette
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
If you are new to
Chapter-of-the-Week on AFT and RABT, please join us next week when AC
introduces the Prologue of "Lord of the Rings."
I would like to say something about this. One point is, that IMO the
Prologue sums up a *lot* of facts and points we could discuss, more
than ye average story chapter. I will leave it totally to our much
appreciated AC, but it may be an idea to split the Prologue in two,
which is quite easy to do because of the subchapters, and either make
two threads, or post one thread in two weeks. Otherwise a thread may
become to complicated to follow.
Actually, I've split it into four posts (for the four sections). Even with
that, some of the posts will be pretty big. I was planning on posting into
the same thread, but I will take your advice and place each in its own.
--
Aaron Clausen

tao_of_cow/\alberni.net (replace /\ with @)
Henriette
2004-01-11 12:29:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by AC
Actually, I've split it into four posts (for the four sections). Even with
that, some of the posts will be pretty big. I was planning on posting into
the same thread, but I will take your advice and place each in its own.
Good luck with all the work! and thank you.

Henriette
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
2004-01-11 06:23:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
I would like to say something about this. One point is, that IMO the
Prologue sums up a *lot* of facts and points we could discuss, more
than ye average story chapter. I will leave it totally to our much
appreciated AC, but it may be an idea to split the Prologue in two,
which is quite easy to do because of the subchapters, and either make
two threads, or post one thread in two weeks. Otherwise a thread may
become to complicated to follow.
Good idea, Henriette. BTW, does anyone think the maps and illustrations are
worthy of a parallel discussion thread in the week in which they appear?
Post by Henriette
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
-A volunteer is expected to read the chapter before posting the
introduction.
LOL, *why* do you say that?
It doesn't hurt to state the obvious, since even common items like shampoo
come with directions. (Heh.) I was mildly concerned someone might try to
work with a chapter entirely from memory and get something wrong.

--
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pêlluin,) Ph.D., Count of Tolfalas
Henriette
2004-01-11 12:28:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Good idea, Henriette.
I did not wih to snip this line.
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
BTW, does anyone think the maps and illustrations are
worthy of a parallel discussion thread in the week in which they appear?
I do. Ideally, they ought to be discussed, including the forewords.

Henriette
Een Wilde Ier
2004-01-12 21:41:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Post by Henriette
I would like to say something about this. One point is, that IMO the
Prologue sums up a *lot* of facts and points we could discuss, more
than ye average story chapter. I will leave it totally to our much
appreciated AC, but it may be an idea to split the Prologue in two,
which is quite easy to do because of the subchapters, and either make
two threads, or post one thread in two weeks. Otherwise a thread may
become to complicated to follow.
Good idea, Henriette. BTW, does anyone think the maps and illustrations are
worthy of a parallel discussion thread in the week in which they appear?
Good idea!
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Post by Henriette
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
-A volunteer is expected to read the chapter before posting the
introduction.
LOL, *why* do you say that?
It doesn't hurt to state the obvious, since even common items like shampoo
come with directions. (Heh.) I was mildly concerned someone might try to
work with a chapter entirely from memory and get something wrong.
Yeah! Like Peter Jackson & Co. ;-)
Pete Gray
2004-01-13 22:00:59 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 21:41:05 +0000, Een Wilde Ier
Post by Een Wilde Ier
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
I was mildly concerned someone might try to
work with a chapter entirely from memory and get something wrong.
Yeah! Like Peter Jackson & Co. ;-)
Or indeed forget whether it was in the finished LotR or in the drafts
in HoME:

(I wish I'd made a list as I was reading, but here's some examples)
- Bree inhabited only by men.
- 'Saramund betrays him - having fallen and gone over to Sauron'
(HoME 7, 'Of Hamilcar, Gandalf and Saruman')
- 'Now Eomer has ridden away thither with all but our last handful of
horsemen.' (HoME 7, 'King of the Golden Hall')
--
Pete Gray
while ($cat!="home"){$mice=="play";}
Henriette
2004-01-14 08:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Een Wilde Ier
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
It doesn't hurt to state the obvious, since even common items like shampoo
come with directions. (Heh.) I was mildly concerned someone might try to
work with a chapter entirely from memory and get something wrong.
Yeah! Like Peter Jackson & Co. ;-)
LOL! Maybe in our next ABT meeting we can include an ABPJ discussion,
introduced by a reading from either you or Mr Epstein ("bien étonnes
de se trouver ensemble"!). But I agree: those lembas crumbs on Sam
with his subsequent being sent away by Frodo seemed to me an totally
unnecessary change. There were more moments when I suddenly found
myself full of adrenaline. But on the whole: not bad at all. Oops,
sorry!

Henriette
Een Wilde Ier
2004-01-14 20:54:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henriette
Post by Een Wilde Ier
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
It doesn't hurt to state the obvious, since even common items like shampoo
come with directions. (Heh.) I was mildly concerned someone might try to
work with a chapter entirely from memory and get something wrong.
Yeah! Like Peter Jackson & Co. ;-)
LOL! Maybe in our next ABT meeting we can include an ABPJ discussion,
introduced by a reading from either you or Mr Epstein ("bien étonnes
de se trouver ensemble"!).
If we can finally succeed in liberating our lost Comrade from his icy
imprisonment at the hands of TEUNC, high up in the Alps in
closely-guarded villa...
Post by Henriette
But I agree: those lembas crumbs on Sam
with his subsequent being sent away by Frodo seemed to me an totally
unnecessary change. There were more moments when I suddenly found
myself full of adrenaline. But on the whole: not bad at all. Oops,
sorry!
grr.

Christopher Kreuzer
2004-01-10 18:58:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
-To volunteer, simply post to these threads expressing your wish to do so,
and specify an unclaimed chapter(s) from the schedule page. First come,
first served.
I would like to volunteer for 'The Council of Elrond'. (Ch2, Bk 2).

I know it is a big chapter, but if I start early (for April 19th) I can
think about how best to tackle an introduction and sort out the various
topics covered. The date also falls the weekend after Easter, so that will
also help with time to write the introduction. I'll see how AC's four posts
for the Prologue work out and go from there.

Hope that is OK.

Christopher

PS. I also sent an e-mail to the address on the Parasha schedule page. Is it
best to do that to volunteer, or to post here?
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
2004-01-11 06:26:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
PS. I also sent an e-mail to the address on the Parasha schedule page. Is it
best to do that to volunteer, or to post here?
I think David prefers direct e-mail, but I would do both, just to be sure
everyone can see if a chapter has been claimed.

--
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pêlluin,) Ph.D., Count of Tolfalas
Een Wilde Ier
2004-01-12 21:42:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
PS. I also sent an e-mail to the address on the Parasha schedule page. Is
it
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
best to do that to volunteer, or to post here?
I think David prefers direct e-mail, but I would do both, just to be sure
everyone can see if a chapter has been claimed.
Email is best! Work is hectic, so I try to take breaks from 'puters
these days, where I can :-(
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-01-12 22:19:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Een Wilde Ier
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
I think David prefers direct e-mail, but I would do both, just to be sure
everyone can see if a chapter has been claimed.
Email is best! Work is hectic, so I try to take breaks from 'puters
these days, where I can :-(
Talking of which, Troels claimed chapter 5 earlier in this thread.
Just in case you missed it in the noise...

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Een Wilde Ier
2004-01-12 22:25:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Post by Een Wilde Ier
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
I think David prefers direct e-mail, but I would do both, just to
be sure
Post by Een Wilde Ier
Post by Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
everyone can see if a chapter has been claimed.
Email is best! Work is hectic, so I try to take breaks from 'puters
these days, where I can :-(
Talking of which, Troels claimed chapter 5 earlier in this thread.
Just in case you missed it in the noise...
Indeed I did! I'm still working back through the backlog of the past few
days' posts...
Igenlode
2004-01-09 20:45:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
A couple of further points that occurred to me:

Does Elrond *really* use red silk handkerchiefs? Much more undignified
and flamboyant than I'd ever pictured him :-)

What does Gandalf do with his half of the troll gold - and what does he
anticipate needing it for? I suppose he can pay his shot at the
Prancing Pony and other wayside stopping-places, but somehow one never
seems to picture Gandalf spending *money* like ordinary mortals :-)
--
Igenlode

'Eagle's Daughter' - historical romance now on-line at
http://curry.250x.com/Tower/Fiction/eagle/
Emma Pease
2004-01-10 02:37:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Igenlode
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Chapter Of The Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 19: The Last Stage
Does Elrond *really* use red silk handkerchiefs? Much more undignified
and flamboyant than I'd ever pictured him :-)
They were a present from Arwen when she was a little girl.
Post by Igenlode
What does Gandalf do with his half of the troll gold - and what does he
anticipate needing it for? I suppose he can pay his shot at the
Prancing Pony and other wayside stopping-places, but somehow one never
seems to picture Gandalf spending *money* like ordinary mortals :-)
Possibilities:

1. Food and bed at various inns. Barliaman might put him up for free
but I'm not sure all innkeepers are as obliging.
2. Charity (anonymously of course)
3. Pay the Dwarves for stuff he needs in making fireworks
--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht
Graeme
2004-01-10 17:13:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Settling in Bilbo doesn't entirely return to his old habits. He remains
"an elf-friend,
What is an "elf-friend" exactly? At times it seems like a formal
title, and at other times it seems to be used quite informally. Bilbo
was named "elf-friend" by Thranduil, but not earlier by Elrond.
Sometimes elves seem able to recognize one who has been named an
elf-friend.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Seven years later, as Bilbo is writing his memoires (later to be found and
translated by Prof. Tolkien and published as "The Hobbit" ... ;-)
I thought it was 10 years later. In any case, Tolkien seems to have
had a great difficulty about using Bilbo in the sequel. At times he
wanted to, but ultimately he didn't. In Letters, he cites this
passage as being the reason why Bilbo couldn't have any more
adventures worth the name. But really this is rather easily gotten
round, isn't it? If Bilbo wrote this 10 years later, there's no
reason he couldn't have another major adventure 5 years after that. It
still would have been true when he wrote it. This is MUCH less of a
stumbling block than the character of Gollum in the original version
of The Hobbit, and Tolkien got around that.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
3a: "a great council of the white wizards" - obviously this refers to the
White Council (or rather, it is does later, in the editing of /The
Hobbit/ to fit with the LotR.
I don't have a copy of the changes with me here, but I don't believe
this passage was changed at all (except for the bit about "many an
age"). It was there from the beginning, as was the Necromancer
himself.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
The question is why Tolkien didn't change
this to 'The White Council'. Also, since Galadriel was the one to first
summon the White Council, wouldn't Elrond be a natural member of it?
Yes, but he may not have been present for that particular field trip.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[6] We're told that "The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years." The
Hobbits seem to have had a quite well-developed legal code - see also
the requirements for Bilbo's will in LotR I, 1 and the company in charge
of the auction; "Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes." I am alone in
thinking that this points rather heavily towards a monetary economy.
They have to have money of some kind for establishments like The Green
Dragon to be able to operate. I doubt that people buy a beer by
paying for it with a pig (and getting two rats in change).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[9] "He fell under the dragon-sickness" - is this another indication of
there being some kind of curse or similar on gold from a dragon's hoard?
Could be metaphorical. Gold has a tendency to bring out the worst in
people, curse or no.
AC
2004-01-10 18:08:11 UTC
Permalink
On 10 Jan 2004 09:13:40 -0800,
Post by Graeme
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Settling in Bilbo doesn't entirely return to his old habits. He remains
"an elf-friend,
What is an "elf-friend" exactly? At times it seems like a formal
title, and at other times it seems to be used quite informally. Bilbo
was named "elf-friend" by Thranduil, but not earlier by Elrond.
Sometimes elves seem able to recognize one who has been named an
elf-friend.
I don't know if Thranduil's declaration would have quite the pull of
Elrond's. I mean, I'm sure Thranduil's a keen guy, a good leader (though a
bit of a jerk to Dwarves) and all, but Elrond is a descendant of the
Noldorin kings.
--
Aaron Clausen

tao_of_cow/\alberni.net (replace /\ with @)
Graeme
2004-01-11 05:46:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by AC
I don't know if Thranduil's declaration would have quite the pull of
Elrond's. I mean, I'm sure Thranduil's a keen guy, a good leader (though a bit
of a jerk to Dwarves) and all, but Elrond is a descendant of the Noldorin
kings.
Actually, Elrond ought to be High King of the Noldor, if they hadn't abolished
the throne right when it was his turn. I'm surprised he didn't sue.
GoldenUsagi
2004-01-10 22:58:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Graeme
What is an "elf-friend" exactly? At times it seems like a formal
title, and at other times it seems to be used quite informally. Bilbo
was named "elf-friend" by Thranduil, but not earlier by Elrond.
I found it interesting that Elrond was described as an "elf-friend" in the
Hobbit. In the little description we get of Elrond, we know he lives in
Rivendell with Elves, and one gets the feeling that he's got some interesting
ancestry, but in the Hobbit it's never said if he's an Elf or a Man (unless I
missed it somewhere). Of course, now we know the whole story. Does anyone
know how developed Elrond was for Tolkien while writing the Hobbit (maybe from
one of his commentary writings that I haven't read)?
Tar-Elenion
2004-01-10 23:16:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by GoldenUsagi
Post by Graeme
What is an "elf-friend" exactly? At times it seems like a formal
title, and at other times it seems to be used quite informally. Bilbo
was named "elf-friend" by Thranduil, but not earlier by Elrond.
I found it interesting that Elrond was described as an "elf-friend" in the
Hobbit. In the little description we get of Elrond, we know he lives in
Rivendell with Elves, and one gets the feeling that he's got some interesting
ancestry, but in the Hobbit it's never said if he's an Elf or a Man (unless I
missed it somewhere). Of course, now we know the whole story. Does anyone
know how developed Elrond was for Tolkien while writing the Hobbit (maybe from
one of his commentary writings that I haven't read)?
Elrond was first introduced into the Legendarium in the mid '20's (as the
half-elven) son of Earendil and Elwing. After the defeat of Morgoth he
elected to stay in Middle-earth feeling bound by his mortal half. There
was no Elros (he sort of had Elros' role, and IIRC, was king of Numenor
at one point). I think it was after JRRT began writing The Hobbit, that
Elros was introduced.
--
Tar-Elenion

Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.
Dirk Thierbach
2004-01-12 10:00:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by GoldenUsagi
I found it interesting that Elrond was described as an "elf-friend"
in the Hobbit. In the little description we get of Elrond, we know
he lives in Rivendell with Elves, and one gets the feeling that he's
got some interesting ancestry, but in the Hobbit it's never said if
he's an Elf or a Man (unless I missed it somewhere).
Hm. It is said "In those days of our tale there were still some people
who had both elves and heroes of the North for ancestors, and Elrond
the master of the house was their chief." I think as their chief, Elrond
is supposed to count as one of those with both elves and "heroes" as
their ancestors.
Post by GoldenUsagi
Of course, now we know the whole story. Does anyone know how
developed Elrond was for Tolkien while writing the Hobbit (maybe
from one of his commentary writings that I haven't read)?
From the above I would guess that Elrond is already thought of as an
half-elf, but that the issue of the choice of the half-elves is either
not present, or Tolkien didn't want to drag it into the Hobbit. I haven't
verified this with HoME, though.

- Dirk
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