The Hobbit: A Chapter by Chapter readthrough, Chapter One: An Unexpected Party

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Post by malickfan on Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:46 pm

All good points guys Thumbs Up


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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:42 am

{{{Finally got time to join in! cheers Although I am drunk drunken But with time!

1) Is it possible Tolkien was describing Bilbo and his Hobbit hole in such a fashion as to give the reader the impression that a “hobbit” was a kind of animal or part human?(this links in with the beast-fable conventions in popular children’s literature of the era, the Anthropomorphism found later in the book, and in some of Tolkien's other writings of the period)

In short yes- slightly longer deny it all he likes, definitely- the eagles even refer to Bilbo as a rabbit at one point. Not that I am saying there was anything outwardly rabbit like about hobbits bar hairy feet, but they live in green countryside in holes in hillsides. And Tolkien most definitely to my mind has a few word games and imagery deployed which use that impression.

3. How deliberate do you think these contradictions are?


I don't really see them as contradictions- I don't find the opening line mundane either. There is lovely balancing h's with hole and hobbit which gives it when spoken a lyrical quality-and I do believe given how the tale came about that Tolkien had in mind the idea it would be read aloud as a bedtime story, the more overt traditional fairytale elements are part of that notion as the large use of onomatopoeic sounds in the text- think of for example the goblin song.

The opening line its also a statement of two halves- one we know about one we don't- everyone knows what living is and everyone knows what a hole in the ground is- but we haver no idea when we first read of what a hobbit is. The reader is immediately hooked therefore by being intrigued to find out what a hobbit is. And drawing your reader in is the aim of an opening line.

Given for the story to work Bilbo has to be identifiable to children I don't think to children there is any contradiction between the annual sound of the word hobbit, and the description of them. Tolkien gives them enough features to distinguish them in a child's mind from the adult real world, not least by making them short like children and giving them a love of cakes and good food and being allowed to eat as often as they liked. The hairy feet and allusions to rabbits and small furry things help engender them too as well as distinguish them as worthy of their own name apart form either being child or adult.

4.The hole is described as going almost straight into the hill and yet still close enough to the outside slope to have an entire series of windowed rooms on one side of the hall, is there really enough room inside a Hill for such an apparently expansive home, or did Tolkien make a mistake?


No mistake I believe- we are never given the dimensions of The Hill beyond tolkiens own illustrations (and scale is not necessarily always his strong point) and then we only see it from one side even if completely accurate- form the text of Fellowship in particular we know it has its own orchard and expansive enough gardens to require two gardeners to maintain. Frodo also grows potatoes in large enough quantities to fill sacks (its my personal belief Bilbo and Frodo also makes an income of selling them, hence the significance of Bilbo's gift of some sacks of potatoes to the Gaffer). It also fits with the idea that Bag End is basically the hobbit equivalent to an English Manor House rather than an English cottage (obviously, despite all the praise heaped on film Bag End's exterior, its completely wrong in style, look and size, and obviously the grass problem  Mad )

5.We learn that Bilbo has “whole rooms” full of clothes, multiple bathrooms a well stocked pantry and several dining rooms, given his quiet bachelor lifestyle, and no mention of a job, is being from a “very well-to-do” family sufficient explanation for his lifestyle and apparent wealth? How much money does it take to be “very well-to-do”?, do you think Bilbo's wealth has any baring on how the reader, or characters perceive him?


Well to do is typically a polite way to say upper middle class to lower upper class, I would say in British terms. Its also the sort of term that would be more commonly heard spoken by the lower and working classes of the classes above them, especially the upper ends of the working classes who rather fancy becoming well-to-do themselves.
Tolkien probably knew most of the children who would read or hear the book would be poor or working class, so the term for them immediately puts Bilbo where he needs to be in the social scale (ie well above them). So Bag Ends size and abundance of rooms and stuff fits it perfectly.

In terms of how the reader sees him its aim is two fold- to show how comfortably Bilbo lives and that he has no motivation to do otherwise, he lacks for nothing. But in turn Tolkien shows us all this has done is make him stuffy, stuck in his ways and what imagination he may have once possessed is slowly draining away (and doesn't have its embers relit until the dwarves sing and then go back out immediately after he leaves) the more comfortable in his lifestyle he gets the more stuffy he has become, hence the emphasis on comfort in the opening.

6.The narrator quickly draws a connection between being respectable (and rich) and not doing anything unexpected or adventurous, do you think Tolkien is satirizing or accepting the literary conventions of British country life and the 'class system' that contrast respectability and routine with adventures and the unexpected? Would it be fair to say he might even be poking fun at members of his own 'class'?


I dont think its quite that black and white- Tolkien expands on this idea a little with the notion that the Tooks, despite being rich are not quit respectable because they go off and have adventures- its not so much the class he is satirising as the rules, the ridiculous social etiquette of English polite society- if someone does go off on a adventure they arent talked about in polite society, it'd all frowned upon, ideally covered up so as not to embarrass the family name.
Tolkie has a bugbear for this sort of thinking, any sort actually which narrows down the range of intellectual thought with arbitrary rules whose only basis are the themselves done for a long time.
In fellowship he bemoans the narrow-mindedness of hobbits, their homespun beliefs exemplified in Sandymans scorn of Sam's tales of elves and walking trees, or the Gaffer who always knows best using 'common sense' and handed donw folk-wisdom rather than reasoned thought.
Here its the rules which would frown on any 'outlandish; behaviour in Tolkiens own class and those above him he is taking the piss out of, and showing, through the effect adventure has on Bilbo and the person it makes him, how wrong such narrow social thinking can be.
Bilbo grows and has a wider world knowledge by story end thanks to an adventure, yet his own society would frown and scorn and mock and disavow such things as adventures and thing themselves utterly right and proper to do so.


7. In this very first chapter, the narrator also lets us know the entire point to, and ending of the story, just leaving Bilbo's character arc in the story a mystery, does this weaken its impact, knowing the end in advance?, or does being told this early that Mr Baggins survives his journey unharmed reassure the young reader?

I am tempted to think the thinking here on Tolkiens part is WW1. In that he states outright the purpose of the story- which is not will Bilbo make it back, the answer to hat is n the subtitle of There and Back Again, but who mentally and spiritually will make it back?- what will Bilbo be like, what will his experiences have done to him, how will they have changed him? These seem to me a way of looking at the purpose of the tale from a perspective coloured by the experience of coming home from war, never the same again, and knowing friends and fellow soldiers who came back and were never the same again, suffers of shell shock and the like. I dont think Tolkien is interested in the tale of does Bilbo live or die because I reckon he might think there is a fate worse than dying, and that's surviving but completely destroyed by your experiences. Living on a ruined shell of the person you were- thats the stakes for Bilbo, not if he makes it but what will it do to him?


I had hoped to at least finish the first set of points, but writing this has taken long enough for me too be far too drunk to continue, when I could be instead, getting far drunker. I shall return- if time permits and I ever get sober enough again, well soberish- you know what I mean  drunken  pub   }}}}

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Post by malickfan on Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:11 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{{Finally got time to join in! cheers Although I am drunk drunken But with time!

Better late than never!, I don't have much to say in reply, other than I agree with most of your points, which isn't a bad thing, read thoughs are always fun because everyone sees things differently...

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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:23 am

{{What do you mean MOST of them!! Suspect Mad  I do hope to get round to the rest but do continue on without me until then drunken  }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:37 pm

{{{

The narrator takes several 'detours' during the course of the story, here interrupting the story to explain just what a hobbit is. We learn that they are not animals or half animals, but essentially little people roughly half human size, these narrative detours aren't really necessary, but strike me as an enjoyable quirk of The Hobbit, do you find such detours endearing or distracting?


Endearing, and necessary. In LotR's Tolkien makes the reader feel comfortable and in familiar settings through his descriptive use of the Shire and its inhabitants before the dark stuff starts to happen. He doesn't have that luxury to the same extent in TH, not just for time reasons but because he is introducing hobbits for the first time. The narrator is used instead to offers the reassurance and the sense of being in a familiar place and in safe hands before the dark stuff hits that gives the young reader the sense its ok to read on.

A much more general question now, many consider Hobbits to be Tolkien's most famous 'invention' in terms of fantasy races, they aren't bearded like Dwarves or winged like the fairies of folklore...but are they really that unique? Bilbo appears to share many character traits and aspects of British culture and history, essentially he just comes across as an english version of the mystical but hard to spot “little people's” of European folk legend...so why are Hobbit considered so unique to Tolkien?

I never thought of them as being in the same category as the 'little people' of Scottish folklore I grew up with. They live underground yes, but deep and in caverns where hey dance non-stop except when they lure the unwary (one of my favourites cause it scared me, was the tale of a piper who ended up trapped in their caverns having to play non-stop for their dancing- eventually being mortal it was said to have killed him, but its also said you can still sometimes hear, distant below the earth the lament of his pipes, still playing for the little people for evermore).
So hobbits didn't share the same sort of stories or the same characteristics.



The so called magic of Hobbits, is described as the “ordinary everyday sort” that allows them to “disappear” (or hide) when they hear “big people” (humans) coming along in their clumsy manner, how is this hobbitish magic contrasted with that of the Dwarves and Gandalf in this Chapter?


Dwarven magic tends to be mechanical ion some way, the hidden message oin the map for example,its technical, Gandalfs magic is more traditionally presented, more the wizard sort. Hobbits seems and always has done to me, to be natural, inherent, nothing to learn, an instinctive ability aided by evolution. As a kid what I mainly saw of the Scottish wildlife as I went through the woods was nothing at all, sudden rustling and a crackle of branches as something disappeared, but too quick to catch, on a good day the white bob of as deers arse as it disappeared through the trees and undergrowth. I always saw hobbits 'magic' as a version of that, naturally stealthy and good at disappearing from sight- I've properly walked right by more deer lying right next to me in long grass than I have ever seen. It ain't magic, and it ain't an invisibility cloak- but it may as well be.


Next we learn Mr. Baggins’ first name – Bilbo – and about his “fabulous” and “remarkable” mother, Belladonna Took, daughter of the 'Old Took'. The Tooks live just across the Water at the foot of Bilbo’s Hill. They are known for being richer, rather less respectable, and more adventurous, than the Baggins family. But what exactly makes Belladonna so fabulous? is the narrator hinting that she had adventures before her marriage? or making another sarcastic dig at Bilbo's seemingly quaint lifestyle?

I don't think its sarcasm, I think it does hint that there was something famous, or infamous about Belladonna Took in particular. Tolkien has a thing for remarkable women in their own class- he gets stick for putting his women on a pedestal and for not having enough strong female characters, but thats to forget the ones he gives us in the other classes, we have Belladonna here (lower upper- to upper class), who seems to have a reputation for something rather exciting, we have Lobelia in LotR's (middle-upper middle class), who defies Saruman's men and afterwards recognises her previous treatment of others was off and corrects it, and Rose (working class), who does what so many women who saw their husbands go to war did, they remained behind with no idea if they would ever see their loved one again, and she got on with what she had to do, helping her family, looking after her father, being resilient and never giving up hope.


This is followed by the reference to an “absurd” story that i Took once married a “fairy wife” at some point in the vague past, to explain this trait, is this just an example of the narrator making a joke, or another hint at the strange wonders that lay beyond Bilbo’s neighbourhood?



This is an odd one for me, because by the time I read TH I already knew this-

'In the drawing room of Dunvegan Castle is the most precious treasure of the MacLeods. It is a flag, rather tattered, made of faded brown silk and carefully darned in places. This is the MacLeods’ Fairy Flag. '

To cut a long story short the chief of the Macleods makes a deal with the King of the Faeries after falling in love with, basically a sort of elf (in the Tolkienish sense) one of whats known as 'The Shining People'.

The flag that marks this tale however is real and is still in the Macleod Chiefs castle to this day, its said it can be unfurled three times and the faery magic will always save the clan. They've used it twice so far,

'In 1490 the MacLeods were engaged in a desperate battle against the MacDonalds They unfurled the flag and immediately the tide of battle turned. Many of the MacDonalds were killed and victory went to the MacLeods.
The second time was at Waternish in 1520. Again the MacDonalds, of the Clanranald branch, were the enemy and the MacLeods were hopelessly outnumbered. The Fairy Flag was unfurled and the MacDonalds were beaten.'

So this sort of tale seemed perfectly normal to me and not really absurd either.

Another more general question now, The Hobbit has infamously few female characters named or featured in the story (even in the background) by far the most prominent is Bilbo's mother, whilst this doesn't effect the story in any major way, should this be considered problematic, or frowned upon? Or was Tolkien simply a man of his time writing for a male audience?



He was a man of his time in that he based it on a bedtime story for his young boys, so made the lead male. Wizards traditionally were always male so that role was going to be male. And the rest of the main cast was to compromise of an anomalous blob of dwarven miners, fighters ect and Thorin, who is cast as grumpy old man with a moby dick complex, Dori, who is mainly used for comedy relief interactions with Blbo, having to carry him and being blamed for losing him ect, and Balin. Only these last two Tolkien are really broad enough character types to be female. But because the dwarves are pretty much a group character there is no actual narrative reason to do it.
Tolkien began the story as a tale to males, his children, but as he naturally as a storyteller drew on his own likings the themes draw on his Catholicism in the sense that they are universal. That combined with the lack of a narrative imperative to include female characters in the story line of group of dwarves try to recover gold from a dragon, means it should neither be frowned upon nor considered problematic (but sticking female characters in there for no other reason than to make up the numbers is!)
The joy in the hobbit the adventure, the fun, the wonder, the scares, and the messages overall are not reliant on what's in any of the characters trousers (despite what PJ tried to convince us of in his version).

Some have put forth the idea that Bilbo represents Tolkien himself, an academic man torn between A) the kind of mature and dignified respectability his bank manager Tolkien father or co workers would have approved of, and the routine and comfort of home, and B) a childlike love of poetry,folklore and fantasy (and the yearning to escape the trappings of home) that is more prominent in his Suffield Mother's side of the family (and perhaps influenced by his Mother's teaching as a child), would you agree with this? Is The Hobbit in any way a biographical comment on Tolkien's character or life?


Influences when writing come from all over the place I think, some without the author even realising they are at the time. I think if Tolkien did see himself in the Baggins/Took question he would have come out in the Baggins side- if the motor car had ever come to the Shire I imagine it would be the Tooks tearing up the countryside in them whilst the Baggins shake their head in disapproval, like Tolkien did. So I am not sure Tolkien did have any yearning to escape his trappings, but rather to make them more comfortable.



Whooo! Finished at last! Buckie time!!! drunken ......What do you mean there's more?!!! Mad Mad }}}}}

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Post by malickfan on Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:31 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:
Endearing, and necessary. In LotR's Tolkien makes the reader feel comfortable and in familiar settings through his descriptive use of the Shire and its inhabitants before the dark stuff starts to happen. He doesn't have that luxury to the same extent in TH, not just for time reasons but because he is introducing hobbits for the first time. The narrator is used instead to offers the reassurance and the sense of being in a familiar place and in safe hands before the dark stuff hits that gives the young reader the sense its ok to read on.


Good point Nod drip feeding information to the reader, and interrupting the story withe these cosy asides helps keep the story grounded on a bedtime story level, whereas LOTR felt like you were reading a historical record or being dictated to by the author of the 'red book', in The Hobbit we get the narrator's point of view on things, it adds more personality to the story (and in universe it shows how humble Bilbo was if he can make fun of himself like that)

So hobbits didn't share the same sort of stories or the same characteristics.

No probably not, I suppose they stand out because they appear so ordinary but as juxtaposed against the fairytale aspects and adventures rather than actively being part of that world (does that make sense?)

I always saw hobbits 'magic' as a version of that, naturally stealthy and good at disappearing from sight- I've properly walked right by more deer lying right next to me in long grass than I have ever seen. It ain't magic, and it ain't an invisibility cloak- but it may as well be.

That's a nice way of looking at it Nod It's not magic per se, merely a ingrained ability/nature of Hobbits, interesting point about Dwarven Magic being technical...would this mean they learn it, or are born with the ability?

Tolkien has a thing for remarkable women in their own class- he gets stick for putting his women on a pedestal and for not having enough strong female characters, but thats to forget the ones he gives us in the other classes, we have Belladonna here (lower upper- to upper class), who seems to have a reputation for something rather exciting, we have Lobelia in LotR's (middle-upper middle class), who defies Saruman's men and afterwards recognises her previous treatment of others was off and corrects it,


On the other hand could you argue that is equally problematic? i.e could elevating even the minor female characters to such an important level could make them seem too remarkable and less believable to some readers? People identify with The Hobbits because they are ordinary folk with responsibility thrust on them out of the blue...

I like to think the mutterings and rumours about Belladonna Took were discussed at the Green Dragon by Ted Sandyman and co...

'In the drawing room of Dunvegan Castle is the most precious treasure of the MacLeods. It is a flag, rather tattered, made of faded brown silk and carefully darned in places. This is the MacLeods’ Fairy Flag. '

To cut a long story short the chief of the Macleods makes a deal with the King of the Faeries after falling in love with, basically a sort of elf (in the Tolkienish sense) one of whats known as 'The Shining People'.

The flag that marks this tale however is real and is still in the Macleod Chiefs castle to this day, its said it can be unfurled three times and the faery magic will always save the clan. They've used it twice so far,

'In 1490 the MacLeods were engaged in a desperate battle against the MacDonalds They unfurled the flag and immediately the tide of battle turned. Many of the MacDonalds were killed and victory went to the MacLeods.
The second time was at Waternish in 1520. Again the MacDonalds, of the Clanranald branch, were the enemy and the MacLeods were hopelessly outnumbered. The Fairy Flag was unfurled and the MacDonalds were beaten.'

Interesting...I must say, I'm not overly familiar with any English Folklore...

The joy in the hobbit the adventure, the fun, the wonder, the scares, and the messages overall are not reliant on what's in any of the characters trousers

Exactly Nod

I think if Tolkien did see himself in the Baggins/Took question he would have come out in the Baggins side- if the motor car had ever come to the Shire I imagine it would be the Tooks tearing up the countryside in them whilst the Baggins shake their head in disapproval, like Tolkien did.

The irony being Tolkien was, by all accounts, a terrible driver...in some ways Mr Bliss would probably be more autobiographical...

Not that I am saying there was anything outwardly rabbit like about hobbits bar hairy feet, but they live in green countryside in holes in hillsides.

Simple and too the point, but I'd not quite looked at like that before, Hobbits are also quite skittish and stealthy and rabbits rarely stick around after they'd been spotted...

The opening line its also a statement of two halves- one we know about one we don't- everyone knows what living is and everyone knows what a hole in the ground is- but we haver no idea when we first read of what a hobbit is. The reader is immediately hooked therefore by being intrigued to find out what a hobbit is. And drawing your reader in is the aim of an opening line.

The entire opening chapter seems a statement of two halves to me, the comfort of home and stable routine juxtaposed with the unknown and yearning for adventure.

and scale is not necessarily always his strong point

Agreed:

The Hobbit: A Chapter by Chapter readthrough, Chapter One: An Unexpected Party - Page 2 J.R.R._Tolkien_-_The_Hall_at_Bag-End%2C_Residence_of_B._Baggins_Esquire

(Does he stand on the chair every time he wants to open or close the door scratch )

Frodo also grows potatoes in large enough quantities to fill sacks (its my personal belief Bilbo and Frodo also makes an income of selling them, hence the significance of Bilbo's gift of some sacks of potatoes to the Gaffer).

...That is a great fan theory Nod

its completely wrong in style, look and size, and obviously the grass problem Mad )

Laughing Sofa

its not so much the class he is satirising as the rules, the ridiculous social etiquette of English polite society- if someone does go off on a adventure they arent talked about in polite society, it'd all frowned upon, ideally covered up so as not to embarrass the family name.

That would be a better way of looking at things, Tolkien faced severe criticism from some of his fellow scholars and lecturers for spending so much time on his fiction when he could have spend that on scholarly works, so I wonder if this could be implying him working out some his frustrations bu concentrating them into a satrical fictional work...

I am tempted to think the thinking here on Tolkiens part is WW1. In that he states outright the purpose of the story- which is not will Bilbo make it back, the answer to hat is n the subtitle of There and Back Again, but who mentally and spiritually will make it back?- what will Bilbo be like, what will his experiences have done to him, how will they have changed him? These seem to me a way of looking at the purpose of the tale from a perspective coloured by the experience of coming home from war, never the same again, and knowing friends and fellow soldiers who came back and were never the same again, suffers of shell shock and the like. I dont think Tolkien is interested in the tale of does Bilbo live or die because I reckon he might think there is a fate worse than dying, and that's surviving but completely destroyed by your experiences. Living on a ruined shell of the person you were- thats the stakes for Bilbo, not if he makes it but what will it do to him?

Hmm...that might be reading too much into things, but a very interesting reading of the text Nod

All good points Petty.

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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by malickfan on Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:50 am

Orwell wrote:38. Somehow I didn't find the depictions of Bombur as being cruel. Maybe because he seemed quite happy (and uncomplaining) about bring fat. He appeared to have worked at it his whole life as a labour of love. Later depiction (at the Council of Elrond) indicate he was so fat he needed to be carried by several dwarfs. No suggestion he was unhappy about it or that anyone had anything but affection for him. Just a thought.

Plenty of other things of interest above, but I'll continue to read things as they come, and cherry pick the things that particularly capture my interest and demand a comment, methinks. Very Happy

Hmm, weirdly I had always read it as Bombur being teased by the other Dwarves, but in my head I had always imagined him as something of a jolly old fat guy, the films captured that dynamic rather well I think, I like the idea of stuffing his face for years being a labour of love Laughing

Fair enough Orwell, feel free to comment, argue, ask questions or merely read the discussion as and when you want to...

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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by malickfan on Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:21 am

As tea, supper and the cleaning-up have finally finished, Thorin calls for music, the dwarves each produce a instrument, some plausibly (fiddles in bags, flutes inside coats) and some absurdly (a drum, viols as big as the dwarves, and a golden harp). Not only were none of these instruments mentioned or seen before (you would have thought the Drum and harp would have got damaged in the pile up at the door...) they are never mentioned again in the story (presumably they were left at Bag End, possibly becoming one of the many birthday presents Bilbo later gave away in his long life or Stolen by the Sackville Bagginses)

46. Is this sudden appearance of instruments dwarven magic? A plot hole in the story? Or whimsical, absurdist comedy that doesn’t have to explain itself? Isn't it a little odd the Dwarves carry instruments, but no weapons are mentioned? (though in fairness the quest in the book seems more concerned with getting the gold than killing Smaug)

Absurd plot hole or not (it was certainly something Tolkien wanted to address in the 1960 Hobbit), when the music begins, there is a definite switch in Bilbo's personality and the Dwarves character, the song that follows also heavily foreshadows events in the latter half of the book. Thorin’s golden harp and the other instruments music sweep Bilbo out of his hole and into “dark lands under strange moons.” (reminds me of Aragorn’s comment about the Kand and Harad ‘where the stars are strange’) far away...Then the dwarves begin to sing to the music, “deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes.”:

“Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gloaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.
Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light,

The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!”

47. Do the lyrics come across as 'magical' or ominous? Why would you want to go to a deep dungeon, or 'cavern old'?

48. What is a “gloaming golden hoard”?

49. This song both summarizes past history and anticipates future events in the novel, is there anything else you notice about the language of the poem?

50. The dwarves start with the personal “WE must away…” but then the song shifts to tell the tale of the dwarves in the third person, i.e., “The dwarves of yore…” and “They shaped and wrought”, why the change in perspective?

51. Oddly it implies the dragon trampled or crushed the Dwarves to death, rather than burning them, what, if anything does this imply about Smaug's character?


This song has always seemed to me to be a distorted folklore passed down from father to son, rather than a literal record, sung for comfort or reassurance in social gatherings, given the rhyming and musical tone of the poem I was always a little confused whether it was more of a song or poem. The song also seems to imply the quest is being done purely for greedy purposes, “To win our harps and gold from him!” evidently the Dwarves place even small material possessions such as Harps above reclaiming their homeland...

An important moment now occurs:

''the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick...''

52. In debating the One Ring, readers often speculate whether the Ring makes one evil, or merely awakens or furthers an evil that is already within the bearer in question. Here is a similar question with a slightly different moral perspective, one of the major themes of the book is the nature of greed and power the gold has over the hearts of Thorin's company, is Bilbo's sudden urge here 'real', or only brought to the fall by the power of the Dwarves’ music? How does this relate to his later actions with the treasure hoard?

53. Can we assume  any other 'tookish' hobbit would act the same, or is Bilbo a special case? (in both TH and LOTR it is hinted that several Tooks have disappeared mysteriously over the years)

The sight of a wood-fire lighting up in the distant wood (I’ve always assumed this was one of the travelling parties of Elves from Lindon) shakes Bilbo out of his mood. He internally debates with himself whether to sneak away from the danger and hide until the dwarves leave. But the music suddenly stops, and Thorin seems to guess what Bilbo was thinking.

The dwarves refuse Bilbo’s apologetic request for a little light, saying they are doing ''dark'' business in the dark. Bilbo takes an accidental fall into the fireplace fender, Gandalf tells him to shut up (albeit in politer words than that) and introduces Thorin, who begins to outline the meeting's purpose.

54. The music ends quite suddenly with the Dwarves staring at Bilbo, their eyes 'shining' in the Dark, a figure of speech, or reference to something more, perhaps this is showing the song awakened something else in them as well?

55. It isn't entirely clear why the music ends, was it time for Thorin to speak? Had they seen Bilbo fall under it's enchantment? (and then try to sneak off) or was the song simply drawing to a close?

Thorin begins to speak. He proves to be a self important, pompous know it all (well, someone who thinks he knows it all which is rather different). His speech seems heavily prepared, overly detailed, and needlessly long, in short he's full of himself. The narrator agrees: “he was an important dwarf…he would probably have gone on like this until he was out of breath, without telling anyone there anything that was not known already.”

56. Upon being called a ''fellow conspirator'' Bilbo 'wags his mouth in protest', seemingly too shocked to make a sound, whilst this clearly signifies speechlessness, does anyone actually open their mouth to express surprise, and try to speak, without succeeding? (does this strike anyone else as a very Martin Freeman esque thing for Bilbo to do...)

Bilbo finally speaks, infact he shrieks “it burst out like the whistle of an engine coming out of a tunnel.” before having something of a nervous breakdown quaking “like a jelly that was melting and then falls “flat on the floor … calling out ‘struck by lightning, struck by lightning!’”

57. Is the reference to a train engine an “anachronism''? Or can we simply assume the narrator had used a then modern invention as a contrast?

58. Can a melting jelly (British definition) quake? wouldn't it simply just drip into a puddle?

59. Tolkien spent a substantial period of time in military hospital during WW1 recovering from illness, although he only saw limited combat, I think it is highly likely some of this imagery was inspired by cases of shellshock, would you agree

60. Why “struck by lightning”?


The Dwarves take Bilbo away and dump him on the sofa in the drawing room, with “a drink at his elbow” (presumably some of the wine from the table)

Gandalf is obviously embarrassed (or disappointed), and tries to defend Bilbo's actions “excitable little fellow…gets funny queer fits…but as fierce as a dragon in a pinch.” This leads to a comic injection from the narrator, who tells the story of the hobbit Bullroarer Took, large enough to ride a horse and route an army of Goblins at the Battle of Greenfields. He knocked off the head of the goblin king, Golfimbul, which flew 100 yards through the air and went down a rabbit hole, thus “the battle was won and the game of Golf invented at the same moment.”

61. Greenfields, Mount Gram? Does this match the geography of Middle Earth as later established in LOTR? What do you think of the joke about Golf?

The dwarves strongly disagree, pointing out, it was obviously a shriek of terror, not an accident or the kind of noise a professional burglar can afford to make while burgling a dragon’s lair. Gloin asks if there hasn’t been some mistake of address, given Bilbo’s bewildered and confused behavior: “He looks more like a grocer than a burglar!”

Bilbo has recovered, and overhears this last insulting exchange. The Took side of his character, briefly dominant during the Misty Mountains returns and takes over completely. He steps forward. Bilbo denies knowing anything about any of the business at hand, and suggests that they have indeed come to the wrong address (took him long enough to say something!). Nevertheless, as a matter of wounded pride, he will do whatever they have in mind for him: “Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert.”

62. As foolhardy as this sounds (given Bilbo's less than impressive character so far), is it simply wounded pride alone that is speaking? Or has Bilbo realised/decided he is actually interested in an adventure?

63. The East of east… looking at the later information from LOTR, should we assume its a reference to Khand or Rhun, or simply a hobbit expression?

64. What do we suppose 'Were Worms are'? a hobbit legend, or a rustic way of saying 'dragon'?

The dwarves remain dubious. They do defend their thronging of Bilbo’s hole: the mark of a “Burglar” or “Expert Treasure Hunter” requesting a job and lots of excitement was definitely on the door. Gandalf stops the argument, defending Bilbo once more, The Dwarves asked him to find them a Burglar, and he has done so, without Bilbo they can risk the bad luck a company of 13 brings , or even abandon the quest and go back to digging coal.

65. Gandalf admits Bilbo may not seem a burglar yet, but he will be “when the time comes.”, he has more in him than he knows himself...did Gandalf chose Bilbo partly for his own good?

66. ''When Bilbo tried to open his mouth to ask a question, he turned and frowned at him and stuck out his bushy eyebrows, till Bilbo shut his mouth tight with a snap''...is this simply a case of Gandalf's imposing nature, or an example of his wizardry?

67. Isn't it a little odd Gandalf feels he has a right to be angry at the dwarves’ suspicion of the hobbit, when Gandalf didn't inform Bilbo of their arrival prior to the event, and admits Bilbo shows no outward signs yet of being right for the job?

In the next section Thrain’s map is revealed, and the company finally get down to business and start planning (or not as the case turns out) how to deal with Smaug and recover their Gold.

_________________
The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by malickfan on Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:33 am

halfwise wrote:

It's quite clear that Tolkien was working very hard to make this a kid's fairy tale at the beginning, and then it got away from him as he kept injecting notes of reality.  The beard colors were never mentioned again, and most readers in my experience never really noticed them the first time.  I think Tolkien enjoyed the atmosphere he was creating and never could bring himself to edit it out as incidental.


I agree with you there Halfy, when Tolkien tried to remove alot of this whimsy and atmosphere in the 1960 Hobbit rewrite, the changes, though relatively minor sort of killed it for me, for better or worse I think the (at times nonsenical) fairytale atmosphere is essential to The Hobbit's popularity, and it would be a mistake and detrimental to both books if readers were always determined to force them completely together i.m.o...

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The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:13 pm

On the other hand could you argue that is equally problematic? i.e could elevating even the minor female characters to such an important level could make them seem too remarkable and less believable to some readers?- Malick

{{{Personally I would say no. And the reason for that, oddly enough, is they are so minor that they only stand out very slightly from the general background of all the females that must be there. And Tolkien does mention them, there are female hobbits name-checked at Bilbo's party, some of them get up on tables and dance- so we get a great enough sense of females being there a spart of the fabirc of the Shire that the minor female characters Tolkien gives these greater deeds too, are still minor enough to seem to be one of many from this backdrop of ordinary femininity in the world.
Had there been no other mentions of females, if Tolkien had not so well managed to convey their presence in the Shire and their influences on it so well without needing to focus solely on that aspect, then it might be troublesome.

' I'm not overly familiar with any English Folklore...'

ENGLISH!!!! Extremely Crabbit

'Hobbits are also quite skittish and stealthy and rabbits rarely stick around after they'd been spotted...'

Thats quite true, something I had not looked at that way before.

'that might be reading too much into things'

Perhaps, though there is some basis for it in that it was clearly on Tolkiens mind regards Frodo post his return and before he leaves. Its there in that mix.
Also it is interesting that he chooses, right at the start to tell the reader the tale is not about if he will survive an adventure, but how will it change him, if at all? A question Tolkien leaves hanging at the start with a we shall see. }}

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Post by malickfan on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:22 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:

' I'm not overly familiar with any English Folklore...'

ENGLISH!!!! Extremely Crabbit


I meant I was largely unfamiliar with any of my part of the Countries folkore, comparing my lack on knowledge/interest to yours, I wasn't saying England=Scotland/Britain, as such ignorance massively p*sses me off (though as posh southerner I probably have a accent close to the mystical non existent all encompassing British accent certain tourists seem so fond of) , I am English but have Welsh relatives and mostly identify as British.

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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:49 pm

{{{{ You should dive in some time- there are great folktales on these isles- admittedly its probably easier to hear them living somewhere like I do, where there are ruined castles all over the place standing stones dotted all over the place and place-names like The Faery Glen. }}}

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Post by malickfan on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:54 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{{{ You should dive in some time- there are great folktales on these isles- admittedly its probably easier to  hear them living somewhere like I do, where there are ruined castles all over the place standing stones dotted all over the place and place-names like The Faery Glen. }}}

Well, I've heard alot of strange things about people on the Isle Of Wight does that count? Laughing Razz

(On a serious note, it's supposedly the most haunted county in Britain...)

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The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
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Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by halfwise on Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:11 am

60. Why “struck by lightning”?

61. Greenfields, Mount Gram? Does this match the geography of Middle Earth as later established in LOTR? What do you think of the joke about Golf?

I never liked the 'struck by lightning' or the golf joke.  The mention of Mt Gram is something I never thought about, but there's boatloads of Misty Mountains to name.  I don't suppose hobbits from the Shire would make it that far, and there don't seem to be any mountains closer than that.  Quite odd.

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Post by malickfan on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:07 pm

Continuing with the chapter.

Finally Gandalf calls for a light, and the company, including Bilbo get down to the real business of the quest. “On the table in the light of a big lamp with a red shade he spread a piece of parchment rather like a map …” Gandalf lays out a plan of the mountain on the table, the dwarves are at first quite excited, but soon conclude that it has little new information. Gandalf points out the SECRET ENTRANCE on Thror's map. But the map seems to have been drawn solely to disclose the information about the secret entrance, (making the dwarves seem a little...stupid i.m.o). The big hand and text box as illustrated are clearly pointing to it, and the west side of the mountain, where the entrance is, faces the viewer. The map also acts as a useful reference point for the whole surrounding area that plays a part in the quest that follows.

68. The final version of “Thror’s Map”, as included in the book...is it simply a Map, or is it fair to say it doubles as a illustration for the book?

The dwarves remain fairly unimpressed, and Gandalf presses harder pointing out the passageway is too small for “Old Smaug” to use or see (this being the first mention of the Dragon's name in the story) Bilbo “squeaks” that the hole (five feet high, and about seven feet wide) seems large to him, he also asks the rather obvious question of how an entry that large in the side of the mountain could be kept a true secret.

69. This raises an important point i.m.o...are we given any indication that there is really such a big difference in size between a hobbit and a dwarf?, Bilbo but not the dwarves thinks it is a large hole, but surely a Dwarf can't be that big...why isn't a Dwarf (at least some of them are familiar with the layout of the lonely mountain) considered a small, quiet enough candidate for a burglar?

Gandalf informs the reader that dwarf doors are usually (and conveniently) “made to look exactly like the side of the Mountain.” Thorin confirms this: “Quite right”. Gandalf then adds “I forgot to mention…” and produces the small silver key to the secret entrance! He gives it to Thorin right there, and Thorin puts it on “a fine chain that hung about his neck and under his jacket.” Thorin doesn't even bother to say thank you.

70. Thorin strikes me as oddly passive at this point in the story, did he know that Gandalf was going to produce the map and this key at this point, so that this entire party has been staged to show off to the company? (another example of his pomposity?)

...if not it would render the meeting rather pointless as Thorin goes to declare that they have now how a much stronger chance of success. He admits that their 'plans' up to this point had been no more advanced than to travel slowly several hundred miles to the mountain, hoping that the roads eastward were safe (evidently he wasn't counting on encountering Goblins in the mountains, or even worse near or in Mirkwood), then after arrival sneak up to the front entrance of the mountain, and try to get in without encountering the dragon and take things from there, hoping things just happen to turn out ok...

71. Tolkien's Dwarves as depicted in the wider Middle Earth canon as a fierce, obstinate, secretive and crafty race and these dwarves may well have stood a chance against the dragon, but is it fair to say that nothing in this opening chapter really paints them as their warlike kindred in the other books? When you look at the history of Durin's line as described in the LOTR Appendices etc, does their behavior in this chapter still make sense?

Gandalf states that they cannot tackle the dragon without “a mighty Warrior, even a Hero.” he tells them of his search for one for this quest (but gives us no indication of where he looked). The warriors are “fighting one another in distant lands” and heroes cannot be found in “these parts” (other than the Rangers Of The North...). He draws a rather comic picture of the peaceful district where Bilbo lives, with weapons mostly blunt or unused, and dragons existing only in legend.

72. As Gandalf went far afield to look for 'heroes' can assume the Dwarves live nearby? Surely there are more than 13 Dwarves willing to go on the quest...

73. The Dwarvish songs imply that Thorin's company are closer to merchants and craftsmen, rather than fighters or explorers, does it seem a little odd they took it upon themselves to undertake the quest so ill prepared, even before Gandalf intervened? (Or does this simply reinforce how greedy they are as a race?)


Gandalf concludes that a direct assault on the mountain is out of the question, due to lack of assaulters, and points out that that is why he has found them a burglar, i.e., Mr. Baggins, “especially when I remembered the existence of a Side-door.”

74. What inspired Gandalf to “remember” the side door? How long did he search the area for a hero, or enquire in foreign lands for a warrior?

75. Obviously in the “Quest for Erebor” in Unfinished Tales, written years later to tie TH closer to LOTR, we get a lot of answers to questions posed in this chapter, and more information about Thorin and Gandalf's friendship, however from the context of The Hobbit alone, what do we think of Thorin and Gandalf’s relationship in putting this adventure together? Is Gandalf a hired consultant of sorts?

Thorin concedes Gandalf’s logic – except for the part about Bilbo being an expert burglar, which he clearly isn't (so far at least). Thorin mockingly asks Bilbo to step forward and start doing his job: coming up with a plan for burgling the dragon’s lair using the hidden entrance.

Bilbo protests that he just doesn’t know enough yet about the adventure. Thorin is surprised: hasn’t the hobbit been paying attention to the proceedings of the past several hours? (given how long winded Thorin's speeches seem to be, I can't blame him for not paying attention) But Bilbo puts on his 'business manner' and insists on hearing the story of “the gold and the dragon, and all that, and how it got there, and who it belongs to, and so on and further.'' once more. From the point of view of a first time reader, the story of the dragon and the gold hasn't yet been told in straight forward manner, no matter what Thorin thinks. As re-readers familiar with the novel, the previous, teasing references are easier to pick up on, but this is a chance for a straightforward recap, for younger readers which follows.

76. Bilbo is the audience surrogate, but is clearly quite confused at this point by the finer details (or more) of the quest, is the reader at a similar level of understanding at this point, i.e do you think Tolkien has balanced tension and humour, with clarity and detail so far in the story?

Thorin recounts the History and fall of the Mountain and some of his family lineage. He makes the connection between his father’s escape from the dragon, with the map that Gandalf has held those many years: “‘I have often wondered about my father’s and my grandfather’s escape’”

77. Doesn't it seem a little odd that neither his father, or grandfather told Thorin (heir to the kingdom) about the hidden entrance?

Thorin demands to know why Gandalf has the map that should have “come down to me, the rightful heir.” Gandalf resents the implication that he has offended Thorin’s rights, and recounts how he came to possess it. Thorin’s grandfather was killed “in the mines of Moria” by Azog the goblin (not Azog the Albino Fork Monster), and his father Thrain disappeared on a journey on the rather comically precise “a hundred years ago last Thursday”. Gandalf reveals that Thrain passed the map to him after he discovered him in the dungeons of the Necromancer, but Gandalf did not then know who Thrain was, much less that he had a son Thorin, so the delay in returning the map to Thorin was not entirely Gandalf’s fault.

Gandalf states he met Thrain in the dungeons of the Necromancer, where the dwarf King had ended up after “lots of adventures of a most unpleasant sort”, we learn in later writing by Tolkien that Thrain had been tortured into insanity:

78. Is it believable that A) Gandalf could get any sense out of Thrain, and that B) The Necromancer (aka Sauron) wouldn't discover the map and key concealed on Thrain's person, surely he'd be at least vaguely aware of the fall of Erebor, and have some curiosity to search Thrain more closely? Or should we assume it was just arrogance on the Necromancer's part, thinking he'd never be discovered...

79. Balin and Dwalin were later noted to have accompanied Thrain during his wanderings before he disappeared near Mirkwood, isn't it a little strange that they never told Thorin what happened to his father?


Thorin and the Dwarves shudder and shiver at the name of the Necromancer. Gandalf says he was there “finding things out, as usual” (though what these 'things' are we aren't given many direct clues) and admits that “even I, Gandalf, only barely escaped.” He says that Thorin was “witless and wandering” and could not be rescued from death. Only the map and the key remained in his head, and he gave them to Gandalf to pass on to his son, forgetting to tell him who son was before he died.

Up to now, Gandalf has arguably come across as more of a consultant or facilitator to the company, rather than a hero or active 'warrior', here we learn there is rather more to the 'old man' than first appears.

80. But what is a wizard anyway, and what do we suppose they normally do? And who or what is a necromancer, and evil wizard or something else?

Thorin muses that the dwarves now owe the Necromancer payback, just as they got revenge on the goblins of Moria and intend to do so to Smaug. Gandalf tells him the Necromancer, whoever he is, “is an enemy quite beyond the powers of all the dwarves put together.” He reminds Thorin that the dragon is his current “more than big enough” job. Bilbo agrees, and of course the dwarves insist on hearing what he has to say. He advises them to go to the mountain, find the side door, and “sit on the doorstep” (foreshadowing a later chapter) until they think of the next step in the plan. He suggests they all go to bed because it is late, and then get up, have some breakfast on him, and start off on their adventure at last. He speaks of them, not himself as the participants in the Quest, but Thorin corrects him: “Aren’t you the burglar? Isn’t sitting on the door-step your job?” Bilbo doesn’t answer.

(It is worth noting that at this point in the story Bilbo has yet to see or sign a contract nor have his ''business question'' been answered, so technically he hasn't 'officially' been engaged as their employee!)

The dwarves give Bilbo even more orders for custom-cooked breakfasts, and he hard to find them all beds or places to sleep in. He is once more angry and when he finally retires to his own bed, he doubts he wants to go on the journey after all, or decides not to cook his ungrateful guests their breakfasts. As he falls asleep, he hears Thorin humming “Far over the Misty Mountains cold” in the next room; and Bilbo does not wake up until quite late the next morning.

81. What do you think is going through Thorin’s mind at this point in the story?

82. This chapter builds to a quiet conclusion and ends with all the characters going to sleep, making it very satisfying and somewhat cosy read for a parent or small child, but do you think it is too long or uneven to be read in one sitting as a bedtime story?

83. Even after all of Bilbo's dithering and Thorin's meandering speeches and plans, and despite his newly awakened curiosity, we end this chapter with no confirmation that Bilbo is actually going on the adventure, is this a satisfying ending?

84. For those who have read any of the early/alternate draft versions of this chapter published in 'The History Of The Hobbit' (or even the 1937 1st Edition and 1951 2nd Edition versions of the chapter) how does the final version compare? Do any of the major alterations or additions strike you as improvements, or mistakes?

85. This chapter has been widely illustrated by many notable artists (including Tolkien himself), do you have any favourites?

86. What thoughts, if any, do you have on how the various adaptations tackled this chapter?


And with that last question, we are done with the first chapter of The Hobbit...

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Post by halfwise on Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:25 pm

69. This raises an important point i.m.o...are we given any indication that there is really such a big difference in size between a hobbit and a dwarf?, Bilbo but not the dwarves thinks it is a large hole, but surely a Dwarf can't be that big...why isn't a Dwarf (at least some of them are familiar with the layout of the lonely mountain) considered a small, quiet enough candidate for a burglar?

Hobbits were explicitly stated to be between 2 and 4 feet high; dwarves I'm assuming were between 4 and 5 feet high. so 3 versus 4.5 feet averages are a 50% difference. that's like comparing a 6 foot man to a 9 foot man: yes, very different.

Gandalf then adds “I forgot to mention…” and produces the small silver key to the secret entrance! He gives it to Thorin right there, and Thorin puts it on “a fine chain that hung about his neck and under his jacket.” Thorin doesn't even bother to say thank you.

Never noticed this before! Does seem to fit in with the pomposity.

70. Thorin strikes me as oddly passive at this point in the story, did he know that Gandalf was going to produce the map and this key at this point, so that this entire party has been staged to show off to the company? (another example of his pomposity?)

I would suspect Gandalf clued him in that he had something up his sleeve.


71. Tolkien's Dwarves as depicted in the wider Middle Earth canon as a fierce, obstinate, secretive and crafty race and these dwarves may well have stood a chance against the dragon, but is it fair to say that nothing in this opening chapter really paints them as their warlike kindred in the other books? When you look at the history of Durin's line as described in the LOTR Appendices etc, does their behavior in this chapter still make sense?

Like most racial stereotypes, only extreme behavior gets noted. Acts that made dwarves rise to historical prominence are all we get. Personal history is quite different.

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Post by Eldorion on Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:01 am

John D. Rateliff wrote a really interesting essay about how Tolkien's conception of the dwarves changed largely because of The Hobbit and became much more positive. It can be found in Brad Eden's The Hobbit and Tolkien's Mythology; he also wrote an essay looking at the relationship between TH and "The Silmarillion" in the other direction which is available for free online.

http://www.tolkiendil.com/essais/tolkien_1892-2012/john_d_rateliff
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Post by malickfan on Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:44 am

Eldorion wrote:John D. Rateliff wrote a really interesting essay about how Tolkien's conception of the dwarves changed largely because of The Hobbit and became much more positive. It can be found in Brad Eden's The Hobbit and Tolkien's Mythology; he also wrote an essay looking at the relationship between TH and "The Silmarillion" in the other direction which is available for free online.

http://www.tolkiendil.com/essais/tolkien_1892-2012/john_d_rateliff

I'll make a note to check that out at some point study

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Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Orwell on Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:53 am

Hey! I liked Thorin on the Book. You aren't getting confused with his depiction in The Movies that Won't be Named?

He seemed serious, more so than the other dwarves, but nonetheless I always liked him. Pompous? Arrogant? I always thought he was one like me, a Respected Leader type, easy to love but quick to anger - especially when people question The Hobbit in any way.

Proceed.

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NB I have never forgiven Tolkien trying to LotR The Hobbit. What business did he have trying to do that to my favorite book?!?¡?!

NBB I have never had trouble depending disbelief through both the comic and the serious with this book. I read it like a we eyed child and an old and incredibly wise middle aged man.

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Post by malickfan on Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:17 am

I agree with you Orwell, I too liked Thorin more in the books (I think it was Eldo who once said something like 'Thorin in the films is a blandly heroic cliched tragic hero rarely deserving on the endless hero worship heaped on him by the script') and as I said at the start of this thread prefer to think of The Hobbit as a mostly stand alone children's fairytale.

As for Read through's of future chapters, I'd like to do more at some point, but no solid plans/dates yet...

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I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by malickfan on Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:26 pm

I might start making notes for the next chapter soon if anyone is still interested

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Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:31 pm

{{{{ Oh yes do crack on Malick- don't mind me plodding on a few chapters behind, I will get there- eventually, probably, maybe}}}}

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Post by halfwise on Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:33 pm

This shouldn't plod to an end so quickly, though I think the detail is bogging it down.  Dissecting it on this level is fun even if we've taken 4.5 months to do a single chapter. Shocked

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:18 pm

{{we are just thorough Halfy Nod }}}

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Post by malickfan on Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:50 pm

malickfan wrote:I might start making notes for the next chapter soon if anyone is still interested

Laughing

:facepalm:

One day perhaps...

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Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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