Chapter of the Week - The Hobbit, Chapter 4

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RoRowe

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Sep 22, 2003, 1:01:26 AM9/22/03
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This is number four in the Chapter of the Week series on aft and rabt.
For more information or to sign up to do a chapter, refer to:

http://parasha.maoltuile.org/

The Hobbit - Chapter 4 - Over Hill and Under Hill

1. Synopsis

Chapter 4 finds our troop on its way across the Misty Mountains after
a restful, informative and profitable stay at the Last Homely House
a.k.a. Rivendell. Not unexpectedly, the dwarves left Rivendell in an
optimistic mood about their continuing journey toward Erebor. However
the discomforts and dangers of traveling through high mountain trails
filled Bilbo and the dwarves with gloomy thoughts.

One night a violent storm broke out while the travelers were high up
in a narrow place. The storm was actually a thunder battle that
included driving rain and lightning-flashes in addition to stone
giants hurling rocks at one another for a game. The company, sought
shelter from the storm in a cave that was dry and large enough to hold
everyone including their ponies. Even though they explored the cave
from end to end by the light on Gandalf's wand, it turned out that the
cave was not safe after all.

While they were asleep, a crack opened in the back of the cave and
many goblins seized the dwarves and Bilbo along with their ponies.
Gandalf managed to get away by some magic art that caused a terrific
flash, smelled like gunpowder and killed several goblins. The dwarves
and Bilbo were taken through long dark tunnels to a chamber and
presented to the Great Goblin.

Thorin tried to tell the Great Goblin that they were mere travelers on
the way to visit their kin. But the Great Goblin (who recognized
Thorin) did not believe him once he heard about the flash in the cave.
When he saw Thorin's sword which came from the Troll's lair, the Great
Goblin lost his temper and lunged at Thorin. Just then, another flash
occurred, a great commotion took place and the Great Goblin was killed
by Gandalf's sword. The dwarves (carrying Bilbo) managed to run away
into the tunnels following Gandalf's lead.

The goblins chased the travelers and were about to overtake them when
Gandalf and Thorin turned to fight. wielding Orcrist and Glamdring,
the dwarf and the wizard killed several goblins and terrorized the
others. The dwarves continued on into the dark tunnels of the goblin's
realm. However, the goblins sent their fastest runners after them
wearing soft shoes so they could run silently. At the end of the
chapter, the lead goblin grabbed Dori (who was carrying Bilbo) from
behind in the dark. Dori shouted and fell and Bilbo rolled off his
shoulders, bumped his head and remembered nothing more.

2. Topics for Discussion

*** What do we know about the stone giants? Tolkien could have been
using the image of giants hurling rocks about to dramatize the
intensity of the storm. But comments by Thorin and Gandalf make me
think the giants were physically there. Does this reference cast light
on other instances in Middle-earth where weather seems to be more than
just weather? (Caradhras and the days without sun before the Battle of
the Pelennor)

*** Gandalf "lit up his wand ... and by its light, explored the cave
from end to end" After such a search, how was it that Gandalf didn't
suspect there were goblins nearby? Why didn't he check to see if his
sword was glowing?

*** There are interesting comments in this chapter about goblins as a
race. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.
They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled
dwarves..." and "It is not unlikely that they invented some of the
machines that have since troubled the world...especially devices for
killing large numbers of people at once…". How do these statements
square with information we have from other sources about orcs?

*** How did the Great Goblin recognize Thorin? Was the GG at the war
outside Moria where Thorin got his name?

*** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
they killed many goblins hence their names Goblin-cleaver, Foe-hammer,
Biter, Beater and the like. But how did the recognize them? Was it the
fact that they glowed when goblins were nearby or something else?

*** Did anyone else think it was weird when the goblin runners
"slipped on soft shoes" in order to run silently? What kind of track
shoes would goblins use?

RR

Morgil

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Sep 22, 2003, 11:26:37 AM9/22/03
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RoRowe kirjoitti viestissä ...

>*** Gandalf "lit up his wand ... and by its light, explored the cave
>from end to end" After such a search, how was it that Gandalf didn't
>suspect there were goblins nearby? Why didn't he check to see if his
>sword was glowing?

My guess is that Goblins were not yet near, and
the solid rock might also have distrupt the swords
goblin-sensors. Gandalf was wet and tired just
like all of them, which might be why he did not
notice anythimng strange about the small crack
at the wall, or maybe there wasn't anything to
notice until it opened to a door.

Would it be possible that the door was originally
made by Dwarves, with same technology as the
doors of Moria, so it was virtually invisible? Or
maybe it was a goblin imitation of dwarven doors,
which would explain why there was even that crack
to be seen?

Morgil


Adrienne Hendrickson

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Sep 22, 2003, 12:50:34 PM9/22/03
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"RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com...

> This is number four in the Chapter of the Week series on aft and rabt.
> For more information or to sign up to do a chapter, refer to:
>
> http://parasha.maoltuile.org/
>
> The Hobbit - Chapter 4 - Over Hill and Under Hill
> *** Did anyone else think it was weird when the goblin runners
> "slipped on soft shoes" in order to run silently? What kind of track
> shoes would goblins use?
>
> RR

Hadn't really thought about this, now I have this mental picture of a group
of goblins wearing shoes with the Nike 'swoosh'!

Seriously though, IIRC, didn't The Twin Towers talk about hard hobnailed
type of shoes for orcs? Maybe these were soft leather, like a slipper or
like the shoes Legolas wore (described when he was running across the snow
at Caradhas).
Adrienne


The American

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Sep 22, 2003, 1:35:03 PM9/22/03
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"Adrienne Hendrickson" <ah...@virginia.edu> wrote in message
news:bkn9ca$9q3$1...@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU...

Why wouldn't Orcs wear shoes?
Even Hobbits wore shoes and boots.

T.A.


AC

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Sep 22, 2003, 2:00:48 PM9/22/03
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On 21 Sep 2003 22:01:26 -0700,
RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
> 2. Topics for Discussion
>
> *** What do we know about the stone giants? Tolkien could have been
> using the image of giants hurling rocks about to dramatize the
> intensity of the storm. But comments by Thorin and Gandalf make me
> think the giants were physically there. Does this reference cast light
> on other instances in Middle-earth where weather seems to be more than
> just weather? (Caradhras and the days without sun before the Battle of
> the Pelennor)

Possibly, but I still think the more likely explanation is that Bilbo is
adding a bit of fanciful story-telling.

>
> *** Gandalf "lit up his wand ... and by its light, explored the cave
> from end to end" After such a search, how was it that Gandalf didn't
> suspect there were goblins nearby? Why didn't he check to see if his
> sword was glowing?

Gandalf isn't omnipotent, as we see much later at the Hollin Gate.

>
> *** There are interesting comments in this chapter about goblins as a
> race. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.
> They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled
> dwarves..." and "It is not unlikely that they invented some of the
> machines that have since troubled the world...especially devices for
> killing large numbers of people at once…". How do these statements
> square with information we have from other sources about orcs?
>

I think that this, coupled with what we see of them in LotR, indicate pretty
heavily that, whatever their particular corruptions, they were an
intelligent people capable of organizing themselves and producing goods.

> *** How did the Great Goblin recognize Thorin? Was the GG at the war
> outside Moria where Thorin got his name?

I would think that the name of Thorin Oakenshield would be known by every
Orc in the Misty Mountains.

>
> *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
> they killed many goblins hence their names Goblin-cleaver, Foe-hammer,
> Biter, Beater and the like. But how did the recognize them? Was it the
> fact that they glowed when goblins were nearby or something else?

An interesting point, and an argument, in my opinion, for Orcs being
immortal. I think the glowing was probably a pretty good signal as to the
identify of the swords.

>
> *** Did anyone else think it was weird when the goblin runners
> "slipped on soft shoes" in order to run silently? What kind of track
> shoes would goblins use?

Had forgotten about it. I'm assuming we're talking about soft leather or
something along those lines.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Bill O'Meally

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Sep 22, 2003, 2:30:25 PM9/22/03
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"Adrienne Hendrickson" <ah...@virginia.edu> wrote in message
news:bkn9ca$9q3$1...@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU...

> Seriously though, IIRC, didn't The Twin Towers talk about hard


hobnailed
> type of shoes for orcs?

Er, that would be *Two* Towers dear. The Twin Towers are no more.
--
Bill

"Wise fool"
Gandalf, THE TWO TOWERS
-- The Wise will remove 'se' to reply; the Foolish will not--


Bill O'Meally

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Sep 22, 2003, 3:40:11 PM9/22/03
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"RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com...

<snip synopsis>

> 2. Topics for Discussion
>
> *** What do we know about the stone giants? Tolkien could have been
> using the image of giants hurling rocks about to dramatize the
> intensity of the storm. But comments by Thorin and Gandalf make me
> think the giants were physically there. Does this reference cast light
> on other instances in Middle-earth where weather seems to be more than
> just weather? (Caradhras and the days without sun before the Battle of
> the Pelennor)

Giants are also eluded to at various other points throughout the book in
a matter-of-fact sort of way. IIRC, they are also mentioned in the first
or 2nd chapter of LotR. Personally, I have thought that they were
everything from ents to fabrications by Bilbo (favoring the latter).

>
> *** Gandalf "lit up his wand ... and by its light, explored the cave
> from end to end" After such a search, how was it that Gandalf didn't
> suspect there were goblins nearby? Why didn't he check to see if his
> sword was glowing?

Did he know the blades out of Gondolin had that ability? One would think
he'd know and would have checked for the presence of Orcs.

>
> *** There are interesting comments in this chapter about goblins as a
> race. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.
> They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled
> dwarves..." and "It is not unlikely that they invented some of the
> machines that have since troubled the world...especially devices for

> killing large numbers of people at once.". How do these statements


> square with information we have from other sources about orcs?

I think they are additions by the translator (keeping perspective here).
Bilbo wouldn't have known about the machines that have 'since troubled
the world'. Such devices seem to be more the work of fallen wizards,
dark lords or humans, rather than orcs who don't seem to create a heck
of a lot.

>
> *** How did the Great Goblin recognize Thorin?

Why wouldn't he recognize a Dwarf-lord in exile.

Was the GG at the war
> outside Moria where Thorin got his name?

Possibly.

>
> *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
> they killed many goblins hence their names Goblin-cleaver, Foe-hammer,
> Biter, Beater and the like. But how did the recognize them? Was it the
> fact that they glowed when goblins were nearby or something else?

They were famous enough orc-banes to have earned the names. Is it
surprising that they'd be recognized?

No.

>
> *** Did anyone else think it was weird when the goblin runners
> "slipped on soft shoes" in order to run silently?

What kind of track
> shoes would goblins use?

Pink high-tops.

put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru

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Sep 22, 2003, 4:29:15 PM9/22/03
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RoRowe wrote:
[...]

> The Hobbit - Chapter 4 - Over Hill and Under Hill
>
> 1. Synopsis
[...]

> While they were asleep, a crack opened in the back of the cave and
> many goblins seized the dwarves and Bilbo along with their ponies.
> Gandalf managed to get away by some magic art that caused a terrific
> flash, smelled like gunpowder and killed several goblins...
A side note: if it smelled like a gunpowder, worked like a gunpowder,
then in all likelyhood it *was* gunpowder. Another idea: if it had the
stench of sulphur, what would we think about Gandalf?

A question is in order: how did Gandalf escape? If his hand grenade
killed several goblins, and stunned the rest, did it give him enough time
to hide/rush into the tunnel?
[...]

> ...But the Great Goblin (who recognized


> Thorin) did not believe him once he heard about the flash in the cave.

Would he believe Thorin otherwise?

[...]


> 2. Topics for Discussion
>
> *** What do we know about the stone giants? Tolkien could have been
> using the image of giants hurling rocks about to dramatize the
> intensity of the storm. But comments by Thorin and Gandalf make me
> think the giants were physically there. Does this reference cast light
> on other instances in Middle-earth where weather seems to be more than
> just weather? (Caradhras and the days without sun before the Battle of
> the Pelennor)

The Darkness in the LotR is a natural phenomenon with a supernatural
primary cause (Sauron's "magic" making Orodruin belch fumes and shifting
clouds in the right direction).

Although Steuard has quite a good essay on TB _and_ stone giants, I do
not subscribe fully to such a view. We never actually see such a giant;
while writing the first chapters of LotR (and linking them to the Hobbit)
Tolkien did not mention stone giants. Or maybe he did? The idea of evil
Ents (later changed) may fit here. This is an open question, and I feel
my imagination too amorphous to work on it. I hope others will make a
much more significant contribution to the discussion on the issue.

> *** Gandalf "lit up his wand ... and by its light, explored the cave
> from end to end" After such a search, how was it that Gandalf didn't
> suspect there were goblins nearby? Why didn't he check to see if his
> sword was glowing?

Speaking story-internally, wasn't it sheathed? From a story external
viewpoint, your solution would make Gandalf's figure much less realistic.
What's more, he did not know what to look for.



> *** There are interesting comments in this chapter about goblins as a
> race. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.
> They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled
> dwarves..." and "It is not unlikely that they invented some of the
> machines that have since troubled the world...especially devices for
> killing large numbers of people at once…". How do these statements
> square with information we have from other sources about orcs?

For one thing, the Orcs in the Hobbit are an allegory [ducks] of modern
military technology. Other Tolkien ans may disagree, but the Hobbit
implicitly links Middle-earth (non-existent in 1937) with our Earth,
suggesting continuity between the worlds.



> *** How did the Great Goblin recognize Thorin? Was the GG at the war
> outside Moria where Thorin got his name?

I have no information to speculate upon.



> *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
> they killed many goblins hence their names Goblin-cleaver, Foe-hammer,
> Biter, Beater and the like. But how did the recognize them? Was it the
> fact that they glowed when goblins were nearby or something else?

Something else: JRRT tells us the Goblins actually could positively
identify the swords. So it is here that we learn much about the Orcish
lore and oral traditions that allowed them to carry such detailed
information through ~6500 years. Impressive from a savage uncultured
tribe with high reproduction rates and low life expectancy, isn't it?

> *** Did anyone else think it was weird when the goblin runners
> "slipped on soft shoes" in order to run silently? What kind of track
> shoes would goblins use?

Hobbit skin, I'm afraid (think PJ's prosthetics).

Archie

--
"Education is like a communicable sexual disease:
it disqualifies you from certain jobs,
and you have the urge to pass it on."

Terry Pratchett

Pradera

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Sep 22, 2003, 5:18:37 PM9/22/03
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On 22 wrz 2003, "Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> scribbled
loosely:

>> *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
>> they killed many goblins hence their names Goblin-cleaver, Foe-hammer,
>> Biter, Beater and the like. But how did the recognize them? Was it the
>> fact that they glowed when goblins were nearby or something else?
>
> They were famous enough orc-banes to have earned the names. Is it
> surprising that they'd be recognized?
>
> No.

After five thousands years? At first sight?

Yes. Would you recognize Excalibur if some random band of adventurers
flashed it before you today?

I read this, like AC, as a proof of orcs immortality, together with
numerous other instances of orcs recognizing something from distant past
in LotR (Helm's Horn, for example). Of course, story-external, this might
indicate that Hobbit was supposed to be set not much after Silmarillion
events.

--
Pradera
---
'Ronald Reagan once said that a great leader is simply an
average man who surrounds himself with the best.
That's why I never vote Republican'
Scott Summers, 'Cyclops'

http://www.pradera-castle.prv.pl/
http://www.tolkien-gen.prv.pl/

Bill O'Meally

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Sep 22, 2003, 9:33:42 PM9/22/03
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"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message
news:veIbb.16827$eX1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com...


Oops. Didn't mean to answer my own question. The format should have
been:

> They were famous enough orc-banes to have earned the names. Is it
> surprising that they'd be recognized?
>
>
> >

> > *** Did anyone else think it was weird when the goblin runners
> > "slipped on soft shoes" in order to run silently?
>

> No.

Bill O'Meally

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Sep 22, 2003, 10:03:00 PM9/22/03
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<put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> wrote in message
news:MPG.19d923e2b2...@news.mtu-net.ru...

> while writing the first chapters of LotR (and linking them to the
Hobbit)
> Tolkien did not mention stone giants. Or maybe he did?

'All right,' said Sam, laughing with the rest. 'But what about these
Tree-men, these giants, as you might call them? They do say that one
bigger than a tree was seen up away beyond the North Moors not long
back.'
FotR 'The Shadow of the Past'

Not necessarily *stone* giants. I think this is the only instance in
LotR where giants are mentioned. Whether they are intended to be the
*stone giants* of TH is unclear.

The idea of evil
> Ents (later changed) may fit here. This is an open question, and I
feel
> my imagination too amorphous to work on it. I hope others will make a
> much more significant contribution to the discussion on the issue.

It seems that *Tree-men* are equated with *giants*, at least in Sam's
mind. They don't seem as much evil as ominous by his description. I
don't know if Tolkien ever meant to expand on these Tree-men in the
north of ths Shire (and I really wish he had!), or whether they were
meant to be Ents (or Entwives?). You'd think Merry and Pippin would have
heard about Tree-men walking in the Shire, and would have relayed this
to Treebeard when he stated that the Entwives would have liked the Shire
and asked them if they'd heard any tale of them.

But I digress...

Henriette

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Sep 23, 2003, 3:28:56 AM9/23/03
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AC <tao...@alberni.net> wrote in message news:<slrnbmue6f...@clausen.alberni.net>...

> On 21 Sep 2003 22:01:26 -0700,
> RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
> >
> > *** There are interesting comments in this chapter about goblins as a
> > race. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.
> > They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled
> > dwarves..." and "It is not unlikely that they invented some of the
> > machines that have since troubled the world...especially devices for
> > killing large numbers of people at once?". How do these statements

> > square with information we have from other sources about orcs?
> >
>
> I think that this, coupled with what we see of them in LotR, indicate pretty
> heavily that, whatever their particular corruptions, they were an
> intelligent people capable of organizing themselves and producing goods.
>
According to this chapter, they even have "poetry" and songs!

Henriette

Adrienne Hendrickson

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Sep 23, 2003, 8:10:34 AM9/23/03
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> Er, that would be *Two* Towers dear. The Twin Towers are no more.
> --
> Bill
>
> "Wise fool"
> Gandalf, THE TWO TOWERS
> -- The Wise will remove 'se' to reply; the Foolish will not--
>
Oops!!
Monday strikes again. (and after a weekend of no power)
Adrienne


Linards Ticmanis

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Sep 23, 2003, 10:00:03 AM9/23/03
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Bill O'Meally wrote:
> Giants are also eluded to at various other points throughout the book in
> a matter-of-fact sort of way. IIRC, they are also mentioned in the first
> or 2nd chapter of LotR. Personally, I have thought that they were
> everything from ents to fabrications by Bilbo (favoring the latter).

Isn't Middle Earth supposed to be a fantastical world? As opposed to one
where everything fits into nice little mental drawers?

--

Linards Ticmanis

The Master said, "The business of laying on the colors follows the
preparation of the plain ground."


Bill O'Meally

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Sep 23, 2003, 10:25:44 AM9/23/03
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"Linards Ticmanis" <ticm...@coli.uni-sb.de> wrote in message
news:bkpjl3$3p4qg$2...@hades.rz.uni-saarland.de...


> Bill O'Meally wrote:
> > Giants are also eluded to at various other points throughout the
book in
> > a matter-of-fact sort of way. IIRC, they are also mentioned in the
first
> > or 2nd chapter of LotR. Personally, I have thought that they were
> > everything from ents to fabrications by Bilbo (favoring the latter).
>
> Isn't Middle Earth supposed to be a fantastical world? As opposed to
one
> where everything fits into nice little mental drawers?

Quite the contrary. ME is supposed to be *our* world in a different
time.

AC

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Sep 23, 2003, 10:47:10 AM9/23/03
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On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 16:00:03 +0200,
Linards Ticmanis <ticm...@coli.uni-sb.de> wrote:
> Bill O'Meally wrote:
>> Giants are also eluded to at various other points throughout the book in
>> a matter-of-fact sort of way. IIRC, they are also mentioned in the first
>> or 2nd chapter of LotR. Personally, I have thought that they were
>> everything from ents to fabrications by Bilbo (favoring the latter).
>
> Isn't Middle Earth supposed to be a fantastical world? As opposed to one
> where everything fits into nice little mental drawers?

If that were the case, then Tolkien would not have gone to so many pains
trying to perfect it. He even went so far as to write a number of essays of
a philosophical nature.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

RoRowe

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Sep 23, 2003, 11:24:41 AM9/23/03
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"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message news:<veIbb.16827$eX1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com>...
> "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
> news:a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com...
>
> <snip synopsis>

<snip>


>
> I think they are additions by the translator (keeping perspective here).
> Bilbo wouldn't have known about the machines that have 'since troubled
> the world'.

I have a question about Bilbo as translator of TH. When the text reads
"Gandalf said" or "Elrond said" do we attribute the statement to
Gandalf or Elrond or do we assume Bilbo was paraphrasing?

How much literary license do we attribute to Bilbo in general?

AC

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Sep 23, 2003, 11:57:47 AM9/23/03
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On 23 Sep 2003 08:24:41 -0700,

I have a feeling when he was discussing his own adventures, he used quite a
bit.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Bill O'Meally

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Sep 23, 2003, 12:49:59 PM9/23/03
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"RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com...
> "Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message
news:<veIbb.16827$eX1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com>...
> > "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
> > news:a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com...
> >
> > <snip synopsis>
>
> <snip>
> >
> > I think they are additions by the translator (keeping perspective
here).
> > Bilbo wouldn't have known about the machines that have 'since
troubled
> > the world'.
>
> I have a question about Bilbo as translator of TH. When the text reads
> "Gandalf said" or "Elrond said" do we attribute the statement to
> Gandalf or Elrond or do we assume Bilbo was paraphrasing?
>
> How much literary license do we attribute to Bilbo in general?

You misunderstand me.What became TH is Bilbo's memoirs,
translated/transcribed by Tolkien. I was saying that a statement such as
'that have since troubled the world' must have been a modern editorial,
and added by Tolkien-as-translator. (Yes, yes we all realize it's a work
of fiction and that he wrote the whole thing).

Brian

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Sep 23, 2003, 1:34:26 PM9/23/03
to

In fact, in the Unfinished Tales, Tolkien writes from Gandalf's
perspective; that had the story(There And Back Again) been written by
Gandalf it would have been entirely different. Bilbo didn't know much
of what was going on behind the scenes.


----------------------------------------------
Brian Howe
------------
Information is power.
Thanks to all who empower me
----------------------------------------------

zett

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Sep 23, 2003, 8:36:50 PM9/23/03
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roro...@netscape.net (RoRowe) wrote in message news:<a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com>...

[intro and summary snipped]

> 2. Topics for Discussion
>
> *** What do we know about the stone giants? Tolkien could have been
> using the image of giants hurling rocks about to dramatize the
> intensity of the storm. But comments by Thorin and Gandalf make me
> think the giants were physically there. Does this reference cast light
> on other instances in Middle-earth where weather seems to be more than
> just weather? (Caradhras and the days without sun before the Battle of
> the Pelennor)

I agree that the giants are real, based on those comments. I don't
know if the reference bears on other weather stuff in LoTR, except to
wonder if when Tolkien put the Fellowship in the Misties, he
remembered the imagery from The Hobbit and wanted to use something
similar.

> *** Gandalf "lit up his wand ... and by its light, explored the cave
> from end to end" After such a search, how was it that Gandalf didn't
> suspect there were goblins nearby? Why didn't he check to see if his
> sword was glowing?

Well, he searched it and didn't find anything- not even a hole that
looked big enough for a goblin to get through, so why would he have
checked the sword?

> *** There are interesting comments in this chapter about goblins as a
> race. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.
> They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled
> dwarves..." and "It is not unlikely that they invented some of the
> machines that have since troubled the world...especially devices for

> killing large numbers of people at once?". How do these statements


> square with information we have from other sources about orcs?

I haven't thought about this in terms of how it squared with other
information we have about orcs, but I am struck by the
anti-industrial, anti-war tone. And does that last bit strike anyone
else as something rather grim to be telling kidlets as an aside in a
story? I don't think it would scar them or anything :chuckle: but I
think he got on the soapbox just a step there, eh? It is the little
bits like that help keep this story from being dull to adults, IMO.

[more snipped]

> *** Did anyone else think it was weird when the goblin runners
> "slipped on soft shoes" in order to run silently? What kind of track
> shoes would goblins use?

I didn't think it was weird...I think definitely Nikes. The goblins
probably crack the whips in the sweatshops where they are made, too.
;)

Jordan179

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Sep 23, 2003, 9:33:25 PM9/23/03
to
held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote in message news:<be50318e.03092...@posting.google.com>...

> AC <tao...@alberni.net> wrote in message news:<slrnbmue6f...@clausen.alberni.net>...
>
> > I think that this, coupled with what we see of them in LotR, indicate pretty
> > heavily that, whatever their particular corruptions, they were an
> > intelligent people capable of organizing themselves and producing goods.
> >
> According to this chapter, they even have "poetry" and songs!

An "unreliable narrator" problem? Tolkien's "sources" on Orcs all come
from Elves or from Eldar-allied beings such as Dunedain and Hobbits.
They all _hate_ Orcs (and to avoid being _too_ even-handed, they have
good and just cause in the nature of Orcs themselves). They might not
want to think of Orcs as anything but bestial, because the thought of
Orcs as creatures possessing a true and complex culture AND being that
atrocious is, ultimately, even more horrible.

Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

Jordan179

unread,
Sep 23, 2003, 9:38:39 PM9/23/03
to
> RoRowe wrote:
>
> > While they were asleep, a crack opened in the back of the cave and
> > many goblins seized the dwarves and Bilbo along with their ponies.
> > Gandalf managed to get away by some magic art that caused a terrific
> > flash, smelled like gunpowder and killed several goblins...
> A side note: if it smelled like a gunpowder, worked like a gunpowder,
> then in all likelyhood it *was* gunpowder.

It's certainly within the known technology of the Istari: while the
movie version of _TTT_ made it _obvious_ that Saruman blew the breach
into Helm's Deep with black powder or some similar incendiary, the
book always at least implied it. I wonder if the Elves know about
gunpowder but avoid it for aesthetic reasons?

(The Valar, of course, fight with forces that dwarf atomic bombs, let
alone gunpowder).

Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

coyotes morgan mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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Sep 23, 2003, 9:52:09 PM9/23/03
to
> > *** What do we know about the stone giants? Tolkien could have been
> > using the image of giants hurling rocks about to dramatize the
> > intensity of the storm. But comments by Thorin and Gandalf make me
> > think the giants were physically there. Does this reference cast light
> > on other instances in Middle-earth where weather seems to be more than
> > just weather? (Caradhras and the days without sun before the Battle of
> > the Pelennor)
>
> I agree that the giants are real, based on those comments. I don't

theres also gandalfs comment later
that he will ask a more or less friendly giant
to stop ip the back porch

RoRowe

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Sep 23, 2003, 11:27:33 PM9/23/03
to
"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message news:<XQ_bb.20745$eX1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com>...

> "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
> news:a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com...
> > "Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:<veIbb.16827$eX1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com>...
> > > "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
> > > news:a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com...

> > > I think they are additions by the translator (keeping perspective


> here).
> > > Bilbo wouldn't have known about the machines that have 'since
> troubled
> > > the world'.
> >
> > I have a question about Bilbo as translator of TH. When the text reads
> > "Gandalf said" or "Elrond said" do we attribute the statement to
> > Gandalf or Elrond or do we assume Bilbo was paraphrasing?
> >
> > How much literary license do we attribute to Bilbo in general?
>
> You misunderstand me.What became TH is Bilbo's memoirs,
> translated/transcribed by Tolkien. I was saying that a statement such as
> 'that have since troubled the world' must have been a modern editorial,
> and added by Tolkien-as-translator. (Yes, yes we all realize it's a work
> of fiction and that he wrote the whole thing).

Ah, yes. Now I get it. Thanks.

AC

unread,
Sep 23, 2003, 11:28:11 PM9/23/03
to
On 23 Sep 2003 18:33:25 -0700,

Except that in later writings, we discover that the Elves were supposed to
treat Orcs who had been taken prisoner with a certain degree of decency.
Tolkien grappled with the issues surrounding Orcs and never came up with a
final solution.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Henriette

unread,
Sep 24, 2003, 5:06:03 AM9/24/03
to
JSBass...@yahoo.com (Jordan179) wrote in message news:<374990d6.03092...@posting.google.com>...

> held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote in message news:<be50318e.03092...@posting.google.com>...
> > >
> > According to this chapter, they even have "poetry" and songs!
>
> An "unreliable narrator" problem? Tolkien's "sources" on Orcs all come
> from Elves or from Eldar-allied beings such as Dunedain and Hobbits.
> They all _hate_ Orcs (and to avoid being _too_ even-handed, they have
> good and just cause in the nature of Orcs themselves). They might not
> want to think of Orcs as anything but bestial, because the thought of
> Orcs as creatures possessing a true and complex culture AND being that
> atrocious is, ultimately, even more horrible.
>
Several people have the idea JRRT does the Orcs injustice (Bagronk the
Happy Orc comes to mind)and people have tried to tell parts of LOTR
from the Orcs´
(or Shelob´s or the Balrog´s!)point of view....

Henriette

James

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Sep 24, 2003, 7:02:14 AM9/24/03
to
Pradera <pra...@pradera.prv.pl> wrote in message news:<Xns93FEED1969FCAp...@130.133.1.4>...

> On 22 wrz 2003, "Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> scribbled
> loosely:
>
> >> *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
> >> they killed many goblins hence their names Goblin-cleaver, Foe-hammer,
> >> Biter, Beater and the like. But how did the recognize them? Was it the
> >> fact that they glowed when goblins were nearby or something else?
> >
> > They were famous enough orc-banes to have earned the names. Is it
> > surprising that they'd be recognized?
> >
> > No.
>
> After five thousands years? At first sight?
>
> Yes. Would you recognize Excalibur if some random band of adventurers
> flashed it before you today?
>
> I read this, like AC, as a proof of orcs immortality, together with
> numerous other instances of orcs recognizing something from distant past
> in LotR (Helm's Horn, for example). Of course, story-external, this might
> indicate that Hobbit was supposed to be set not much after Silmarillion
> events.
An alternative might be that orcs have a _very_ strong and detailed
racial memory. Perhaps the orcs have sagas in which they pass on
details of fearful weapons, which they all need to beware of. This is
hardly likely, though.

Can you imagine a family tableau? all the cute little baby orcs are
sitting around the campfire, munching on something unspeakable*, and
Mummy Orc frightening the little orcs with tales of nasty old
Glamdring?

Possibly the swords had more distinguishing features than just glowing
in the dark - particularly ornate hilts with recognisable runes on
them, perhaps.

IDHTBIFOM, but possibly Bilbo misunderstood the shouts of the goblins,
and maybe their shouts were simply generic terms for large,
dangerous-looking Elvish swords?

James

* probably mini battered Elves in tomato sauce, something like that.

Troels Forchhammer

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Sep 24, 2003, 7:17:43 AM9/24/03
to
in <slrnbmue6f...@clausen.alberni.net>,
AC <tao...@alberni.net> enriched us with:

>
> On 21 Sep 2003 22:01:26 -0700,
> RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>> 2. Topics for Discussion

<snip>

>> *** There are interesting comments in this chapter about goblins as a
>> race. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.
>> They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled

>> dwarves ..." and "It is not unlikely that they invented some of the
>> machines that have since troubled the world ... especially devices for
>> killing large numbers of people at once.". How do these statements


>> square with information we have from other sources about orcs?

I also noted this passage when I read the chapter. I find it
interesting on several levels.

This is of course an example of the prejudices of Tolkien, the author,
influences the role of Tolkien, the translator. Tolkien's antipathy for
machines etc. should be well-known, and here we see how that attitude
influences him to use the Orcs' fondness for the same as an emphasis of
their evil.

This of course also (as Bill also commented upon) makes one think of the
narrative device in the book. There are three different narrative voices,
Bilbo (the imaginary author), Tolkien the translator (more active/obvious
in TH, but especially in LotR this role seems to be only semi-imaginary),
and of course Tolkien the author.

The translator is, as I mentioned, far more outspoken in TH, but he also
pokes forth his head in a few places in LotR - particularly in the first
chapters (the 'express train').

This particular passage is interesting in this respect as it is clearly
the translator speaking ("that have since troubled the world"), but he
must (within the narrative device) be basing his explanation on
information from Bilbo (or the Red Book in general), as there is nowhere
else he could have got any information about Orcs. At the same time we see
the translator expressing the opinion of Tolkien the author.

This short passage then contains elements of all three narrative voices -
something I found quite interesting (but then I am very fascinated with
the narrative device - the tribunal of voices, the possibilities this
gives him and how he uses it).

> I think that this, coupled with what we see of them in LotR, indicate
> pretty heavily that, whatever their particular corruptions, they were
> an intelligent people capable of organizing themselves and producing
> goods.

Quite.
The inventiveness in particular is, IMO, interesting. This is, I believe,
inconsistent with any version of the automaton.

In conjunction with especially the conversation between the Gorbag and
Shagrat it reveals a more complex society with at least some cultural
values as well as a rude form of art (the song - serving to scare and
humiliate, which are apparently worthwhile pursuits in Orc society).

>> *** How did the Great Goblin recognize Thorin? Was the GG at the war
>> outside Moria where Thorin got his name?
>
> I would think that the name of Thorin Oakenshield would be known by
> every Orc in the Misty Mountains.

But Thorin had, at that time, only introduced himself by his first name -
his lineage or byname hadn't been mentioned. Would there be only one
'Thorin' among the Dwarves at any one time? Or did the Great Goblin
actually recognize Thorin's likeness?

Thorin was quite young at the Battle of Nanduhirion (he was 43 - in
comparison Gimli was 62 at the time of the Quest of Erebor and he was left
at home due to his young age [do I remember wrong - is this only assumed
or is it stated somewhere?]). It seems somehow unlikely that the Great
Goblin - even if he had been in the batte (which is not unlikely) - would
be able to recognise in the older Dwarf the youngster he had seen 142
years earlier.

>> *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
>> they killed many goblins

[...]

I wonder. Elrond's description in the previous chapter suggests, IMO, that
the swords haven't been used since Gondolin fell, and that is quite some
time for the Orcs to remember them. However, Elrond also suggests that the
swords "must have come from a dragon's hoard or goblin plunder, for
dragons and goblins destroyed that city many ages ago," and if the Trolls
did get them from goblin plunder, then it might be that some of the
goblins had seen them there before the Trolls took them. That of course
also suggests some quite interesting things about Orc society - if they
are capable of saving and remembering such items for several thousand
years.

>> But how did the recognize them? Was it the fact that they glowed when
>> goblins were nearby

Sting did that as well. For all we know (IIRC ...) it might have been a
quite common quality for the swords the Noldor made in the first age.

> An interesting point, and an argument, in my opinion, for Orcs being
> immortal.

That would certainly seem so to me as well - especially when remembering
Gorbag mentioning 'the Great Siege'. Not that I think the question is
settled, but this is one of the arguments in favour of Orc immortality.

> I think the glowing was probably a pretty good signal as
> to the identify of the swords.

It probably helped, but, as I said above, I don't think it was sufficient
- there must have been some other indicators as well.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk

Troels Forchhammer

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Sep 24, 2003, 7:45:08 AM9/24/03
to
in <719ffc3d.03092...@posting.google.com>,
James <james_...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> Can you imagine a family tableau? all the cute little baby orcs are
> sitting around the campfire, munching on something unspeakable*, and
> Mummy Orc frightening the little orcs with tales of nasty old
> Glamdring?

Or Mummy and Papa Orc taking their little Orclings to the place
of great goblin plunder to see the nasty swords ...

And then three ugly brutes named William, Bert and Tom came along
and robbed the museum. Dreadful loss to society - a hard blow for
the cultural memory of the race ;)

I can't imagine anyone keeping the spoils of war on display for ages
and ages, can you ... <innocent whistle>

> IDHTBIFOM, but possibly Bilbo misunderstood the shouts of the goblins,
> and maybe their shouts were simply generic terms for large,
> dangerous-looking Elvish swords?

It is specifically mentioned that it was Orcrist that the Orcs called
Biter and Glamdring which was called Beater.

The relevant passages are:

"They knew the sword at once. It had killed hundreds of
goblins in its time, when the fair elves of Gondolin hunted
them in the hills or did battle before their walls. They had
called it Orcrist, Goblin-cleaver, but the goblins called it
simply Biter. They hated it and hated worse any one that
carried it."

and

"This sword's name was Glamdring the Foe-hammer, if you
remember. The goblins just called it Beater, and hated it
worse than Biter if possible"

Both from chapter four of the Hobbit.

Jordan179

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Sep 24, 2003, 6:37:29 PM9/24/03
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message news:<8tfcb.24$hz....@news2.nokia.com>...

>
> It is specifically mentioned that it was Orcrist that the Orcs called
> Biter and Glamdring which was called Beater.
>
> The relevant passages are:
>
> "They knew the sword at once. It had killed hundreds of
> goblins in its time, when the fair elves of Gondolin hunted
> them in the hills or did battle before their walls. They had
> called it Orcrist, Goblin-cleaver, but the goblins called it
> simply Biter. They hated it and hated worse any one that
> carried it."
>
> and
>
> "This sword's name was Glamdring the Foe-hammer, if you
> remember. The goblins just called it Beater, and hated it
> worse than Biter if possible"
>
> Both from chapter four of the Hobbit.

Incidentally, I think it's a testimony to the effectiveness of the
"deep background" method of creating a story universe that _The
Hobbit_, published in the 1930's contains references to things that
weren't published until the release of _The Silmarillion_ in the late
1970's. For some four decades, only Tolkien and his friends would have
had the slightest idea of what "Gondolin" was (though I think it's
also mentioned in the Appendices to _LOTR_).

Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

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Sep 24, 2003, 9:40:21 PM9/24/03
to
"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message:
> "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message:

>
> <snip synopsis>
>
> > 2. Topics for Discussion
> >
> > *** What do we know about the stone giants? Tolkien could have been
> > using the image of giants hurling rocks about to dramatize the
> > intensity of the storm. But comments by Thorin and Gandalf make me
> > think the giants were physically there. Does this reference cast light
> > on other instances in Middle-earth where weather seems to be more than
> > just weather? (Caradhras and the days without sun before the Battle of
> > the Pelennor)
>
> Giants are also eluded to at various other points throughout the book in
> a matter-of-fact sort of way. IIRC, they are also mentioned in the first
> or 2nd chapter of LotR. Personally, I have thought that they were
> everything from ents to fabrications by Bilbo (favoring the latter).

I'm intrigued by the idea that the Stone-Giants are more of Bilbo's
embellishment. Although I want to believe that Bilbo & Co. really did see
Giants. As long as the extent of their mischief is throwing rocks in the
storm, they need not have any other major role in LOTR or the other tales of
Middle-Earth. After all, they are not any more fantastic than some other
creatures in the book.

<pins>

> > *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords? Sure,
> > they killed many goblins hence their names Goblin-cleaver, Foe-hammer,
> > Biter, Beater and the like. But how did the recognize them? Was it the
> > fact that they glowed when goblins were nearby or something else?

I doubt the argument for the immortality of Orcs, or at least that any
remained alive who saw Glamdring and Orcrist in action. The swords were no
doubt famous in Orc-lore from the days when they were used with deadly skill
in Noldor hands. If the Orcs are partly of Elvish origin, they may have some
of the Elvish skill for storytelling (in a warped form) and the detail and
terror of those tales would be almost as good as seeing the real thing.
(They might even recognize Fingolfin or Gil-galad if they returned from
Mandos.) And, as pointed out, the swords might have been recently acquired
from an Orc-hoard.

I might add that the Goblin interrogation of the Dwarves has the air of a
"mock trial" as much for their amusement as to gain information. They of
course have no intention of letting their captives go, no matter what they
say, and the Dwarves know this, and the Goblins know they know this. The
Great Goblin makes it clear to Thorin that the most they can hope for is
less harsh treatment, and that also is probably a false hope. Of course,
when Beater and Biter are revealed, the Great Goblin's behavior suggests
that he's made up his mind to have all the Dwarves tortured to death. How
could the other Goblins be satisfied with less? To carry such weapons
deserves special punishment.

--
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pęlluin,) Ph.D., Count of Tolfalas


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Sep 25, 2003, 3:24:07 AM9/25/03
to
in <9Ircb.14398$I36.12981@pd7tw3no>,
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> I doubt the argument for the immortality of Orcs, or at least that any
> remained alive who saw Glamdring and Orcrist in action.

I think that Aaron is right that it is an argument in favour of Orc
immortality, though certainly not proof (I doubt that the latter is
possible to find - if it were it would have been presented now ;-)

James

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Sep 25, 2003, 4:14:29 AM9/25/03
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message news:<8tfcb.24$hz....@news2.nokia.com>...
> in <719ffc3d.03092...@posting.google.com>,
> James <james_...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:
<snip>
> The relevant passages are:
>
> "They knew the sword at once. It had killed hundreds of
> goblins in its time, when the fair elves of Gondolin hunted
> them in the hills or did battle before their walls. They had
> called it Orcrist, Goblin-cleaver, but the goblins called it
> simply Biter. They hated it and hated worse any one that
> carried it."
>
> and
>
> "This sword's name was Glamdring the Foe-hammer, if you
> remember. The goblins just called it Beater, and hated it
> worse than Biter if possible"
>
> Both from chapter four of the Hobbit.

Well, that's pretty clear, isn't it?

The reference to fighting outside the walls of Gondolin is curious
though. It implies that this was a routine kind of fighting (as
opposed to the more final kind at Gondolin's fall). How does this
square with the idea that Gondolin's location was secret?

Jim Deutch

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Sep 25, 2003, 11:32:20 AM9/25/03
to

^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^

Godwin's Law invoked: thread over.

Jim Deutch
--
Home improvement is futile. Our superior nervous systems reveal
that your colour schemes all clash. You will be co-ordinated.
-- Niall McAuley

johnj

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Sep 24, 2003, 3:21:37 PM9/24/03
to
"zett" <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:4bb40450.03092...@posting.google.com...

>
> I haven't thought about this in terms of how it squared with other
> information we have about orcs, but I am struck by the
> anti-industrial, anti-war tone. And does that last bit strike anyone
> else as something rather grim to be telling kidlets as an aside in a
> story? I don't think it would scar them or anything :chuckle: but I
> think he got on the soapbox just a step there, eh? It is the little
> bits like that help keep this story from being dull to adults, IMO.
>
Think of when it was written: relatively few years after Tolkien had fought
in the Battle of the Somme.

Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
Sep 27, 2003, 2:28:18 PM9/27/03
to

You call 14 years "relatively few"?

Battle of Somme: 1916
Beginning of The Hobbit: 1930 (approximate date, according to Carpenter)

--
Kristian Damm Jensen | If you can't take the trouble to
damm (at) ofir (dot) dk | make your posting readable, I
| can't take the trouble to read it.

johnj

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Sep 28, 2003, 9:08:59 AM9/28/03
to
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <REdam...@ofir.dk> wrote in message
news:bl4mpn$883jm$1...@ID-146708.news.uni-berlin.de...

> johnj wrote:
> > "zett" <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> > news:4bb40450.03092...@posting.google.com...
> >
> >>I haven't thought about this in terms of how it squared with other
> >>information we have about orcs, but I am struck by the
> >>anti-industrial, anti-war tone. And does that last bit strike anyone
> >>else as something rather grim to be telling kidlets as an aside in a
> >>story? I don't think it would scar them or anything :chuckle: but I
> >>think he got on the soapbox just a step there, eh? It is the little
> >>bits like that help keep this story from being dull to adults, IMO.
> >>
> >
> > Think of when it was written: relatively few years after Tolkien had
fought
> > in the Battle of the Somme.
>
> You call 14 years "relatively few"?
>
Yes - it must have been the sort of overwhelming experience which is
engraved in your mind for ever.

Steuard Jensen

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Sep 30, 2003, 12:56:03 AM9/30/03
to
Better late than never, right? :)

Quoth roro...@netscape.net (RoRowe) in article
<a0dc4d0a.03092...@posting.google.com>:


> *** What do we know about the stone giants?

For the record (and since nobody happened to cite it while this thread
was active), my Tolkien Meta-FAQ includes an entry on this very
topic; the specific entry is at

http://tolkien.slimy.com/faq/Creatures.html#Giants

I used to be fond of the "Bilbo made them up" explanation myself, but
further research and a fair bit of discussion here convinced me that
they're as "real" and "trustworthy" as anything else in _The Hobbit_.
(The FAQ entry outlines why.)

As for what I think they are, someone else already mentioned the fact
that my essay on Tom Bombadil includes a substantial discussion of a
possible explanation for them that I find very appealing: that they
were "nature spirits" associated with the Mountains, who were
"awakened" by violent weather. (I _think_ the essay also includes at
least as much "general" discussion of them as my FAQ does.) Those who
are interested can find the relevant part of my Bombadil essay either
from the outline or from the condensed version, both found at

http://tolkien.slimy.com/essays/Bombadil.html

> *** How did the Great Goblin recognize Thorin? Was the GG at the war
> outside Moria where Thorin got his name?

I would actually be surprised if any chief Orcish leaders of the Misty
Mountains _weren't_ at the Battle of Azanulbizar, and the example of
Bolg shows that at least some Orc chieftains could easily live that
long. The Great Goblin's recognition of Thorin thus strikes me as
confirmation of that idea.

> *** How did the goblins recognize Thorin and Gandalf's swords?

Again, just to provide a reference, my FAQ mentions this as one
possible piece of evidence showing that Orcs were naturally immortal;
the URL is

http://tolkien.slimy.com/faq/Creatures.html#OrcDeath

Another significant point mentioned there is that Bolg, son of Azog,
was at least 140 years old when he led the Goblins in the Battle of
Five Armies.

On a lighter note, I parodied the idea that the Goblins recognized
these swords so easily in a thread on this topic back in Feb. 2000:

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=K%25lm4.92%24I3.1288%40uchinews

Just for fun, I'll quote the relevant bit here. The humor raises a
serious objection to the "oral history" idea, but the idea even raises
substantial questions about 5000 year old memories, too.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Brady Severns wrote:
> > Third question: ...how did the Goblins of Goblin Town _know_ to
> > call them Beater and Biter _on sight?_

Quoth Michael O'Neill <o...@indigo.ie>:
> They was there nicknames for them and they had presumably passed
> into Goblin Lore.

I can certainly believe that "Beater" and "Biter" could have passed
into Goblin Lore, but I have trouble believing that an exact
description sufficiently precise to distinguish them from every other
elven blade at the time would have survived.

Goblin 1: Oh no! Beater and Bonker!

Goblin 2: No, no, Ugduf, Bonker has _three_ red jewels in the hilt.
That blasted dwarf's sword only has two. See that helix
engraved on the blade? That's _Basher_.

Goblin 3: You're both wrong. Two red jewels and a helix, yes, but
the helix is _right_ handed, not left. That means it's
Biter!

Goblins 1 & 2: Oh, good point.

Goblins 1, 2, and 3: Oh no! Beater and Biter!

Thorin: <Stab! Stab!>

Gandalf: <Swoosh.>

Goblins 1, 2, and 3: Ah! Ugh! Glug...

I just don't buy it. Of course, the only other real alternative is
that Orcs were immortal just as Elves were, and while I find that idea
intriguing, I'm hesitant to decide on it unconditionally.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

For the record, I _still_ don't like the "immortal Orcs" idea, even
though I've been more or less convinced that it's true. (I halfway
suspect that Tolkien would feel the same way, based on the late essay
quoted in the FAQ entry on the topic.)

Steuard Jensen

Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
Sep 30, 2003, 4:25:56 AM9/30/03
to
"johnj" <jo...@classicfm.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:3f786...@mk-nntp-1.news.uk.worldonline.com...

But now you are arguing that the number of years really doesn't matter,
right?

Not that I disagree with that. The experiences of WWI and the loss he
suffered clearly influenced all of Tolkiens works.

In fact, IIRC, Tolkien himself aknowledged that WWI had been a major source
of inspiration for his descriptions of the lands of Mordor.


--
Kristian Damm Jensen

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Sep 30, 2003, 6:09:18 PM9/30/03
to
"Steuard Jensen" <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote in message:

> Better late than never, right? :)

Absolutely!

<pins good discussion and references>

The weight of evidence does seem to support Thorin & Co. observing the
tangible existence of Giants, or something Giant-like. Now I am also leaning
toward being convinced. Thanks.

> Goblin 1: Oh no! Beater and Bonker!
>
> Goblin 2: No, no, Ugduf, Bonker has _three_ red jewels in the hilt.
> That blasted dwarf's sword only has two. See that helix
> engraved on the blade? That's _Basher_.
>
> Goblin 3: You're both wrong. Two red jewels and a helix, yes, but
> the helix is _right_ handed, not left. That means it's
> Biter!
>
> Goblins 1 & 2: Oh, good point.
>
> Goblins 1, 2, and 3: Oh no! Beater and Biter!
>
> Thorin: <Stab! Stab!>
>
> Gandalf: <Swoosh.>
>
> Goblins 1, 2, and 3: Ah! Ugh! Glug...

LOL! "Monty Python's 'The Hobbit?'"
I can imagine Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones as those three
Goblins!

AC

unread,
Sep 30, 2003, 6:54:01 PM9/30/03
to
On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 22:09:18 GMT,
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:

<snip>

I'd just like to thank you for the idea of a Chapter a Week. It has
rekindled my fading interest in RABT and AFT, and has certainly created some
interesting threads. The Hobbit is sometimes overlooked and this is giving
me a fresh interest in the book. I've even taken a deep (and hopefully not
fatal) plunge and volunteered to do the Prologue to LotR.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Sep 30, 2003, 11:56:14 PM9/30/03
to
"AC" <tao...@alberni.net> wrote in message:

You're very welcome. Thank you, David, Pradera, RoRowe, Zett and everyone
else for contributing to a successful discussion series.

johnj

unread,
Sep 30, 2003, 12:19:19 PM9/30/03
to
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <REdam...@ofir.dk> wrote in message
news:blbel5$a837e$1...@ID-146708.news.uni-berlin.de...

> "johnj" <jo...@classicfm.net> skrev i en meddelelse
> news:3f786...@mk-nntp-1.news.uk.worldonline.com...
> > "Kristian Damm Jensen" <REdam...@ofir.dk> wrote in message
> > news:bl4mpn$883jm$1...@ID-146708.news.uni-berlin.de...
> > > johnj wrote:
> > > > Think of when it was written: relatively few years after Tolkien had
> > fought
> > > > in the Battle of the Somme.
> > >
> > > You call 14 years "relatively few"?
> > >
> > Yes - it must have been the sort of overwhelming experience which is
> > engraved in your mind for ever.
>
> But now you are arguing that the number of years really doesn't matter,
> right?
>

No, I am arguing that 14 years is relatively few. Of course, if you are 18
then it's most of a lifetime; when you are my age, it's not so long :o(

> Not that I disagree with that. The experiences of WWI and the loss he
> suffered clearly influenced all of Tolkiens works.
>
> In fact, IIRC, Tolkien himself aknowledged that WWI had been a major
source
> of inspiration for his descriptions of the lands of Mordor.
>

In other words, I was right, eh? ;o)


Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
Oct 2, 2003, 2:42:35 AM10/2/03
to
"johnj" <jo...@classicfm.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:3f7b2...@mk-nntp-1.news.uk.worldonline.com...
<snip>

> In other words, I was right, eh? ;o)

Your point was right.

Your argument was wrong. To me.

RoRowe

unread,
Oct 2, 2003, 12:21:30 PM10/2/03
to
AC <tao...@alberni.net> wrote in message news:<slrnbnk2c6...@clausen.alberni.net>...

I agree with AC. I've enjoyed chapter of the week quite a bit and find
myself looking forward to Mondays! I've found the threads to be very
good and the tone of the discussion is more accepting of newbies like
myself. It also gives new people a chance to give thoughtful comments
and ask questions because the focus of the thread is, more or less, on
one chapter of one book.

I, for one, am here to learn. Not get blasted for asking a question or
making a comment. Even after reading all of Tolkien's works that apply
to LOTR several times, there is still so much that I've missed or
forgotten or plain don't understand. CotW helps me study the material
in a methodical way.

So thanks again Dr. Ernest for chapter of the week. I hope we keep it
up through SILM and wrap around and do it again!

Regards,
RR

johnj

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Oct 2, 2003, 3:36:58 PM10/2/03
to
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <REdam...@ofir.dk> wrote in message
news:blghko$c22b6$1...@ID-146708.news.uni-berlin.de...

> "johnj" <jo...@classicfm.net> skrev i en meddelelse
> news:3f7b2...@mk-nntp-1.news.uk.worldonline.com...
> <snip>
> > In other words, I was right, eh? ;o)
>
> Your point was right.
>
> Your argument was wrong. To me.
>
I'm not sure what you mean by this. My argument was that Tolkien's
experiences in the Great War were so shattering that a mere 14 years would
not be enough for him to forget. You seemed to agree with this.

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Oct 3, 2003, 5:33:05 PM10/3/03
to
"RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message:
> AC <tao...@alberni.net> wrote in message:

Odd. I posted "You're Welcome" and my own thanks to AC, David, Pradera,
RoRowe, Zett and all the other volunteers a couple of days ago, but now I
don't see it. I guess I'm having server trouble too. Oh well, here it is
once more. It's the effort of all the participants who make the series fun
and keep it going.

Made you look forward to Mondays? Oh my! What have I done? <wink>

Although we're just five weeks into it, I think it's safe to predict that we
will complete The Hobbit. When I came up with the idea, it sounded so good
that I wondered why it wasn't tried before. Maybe when we get through the
Silmarillion, we can wrap back to The Hobbit (best for newbies) and start
over. Or continue on with the HoME series. Or both. For now I just hope we
can get a different host for every chapter of The Hobbit so that no one has
to do two chapters. Of course, it's okay if it works out that way. I'm still
waiting to see David's page fill up with LOTR volunteers. But as Steuard
said, it's best not to commit too far in advance.

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Oct 3, 2003, 7:02:39 PM10/3/03
to
"RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:

[snip]

> I, for one, am here to learn. Not get blasted for asking a question or
> making a comment. Even after reading all of Tolkien's works that apply
> to LOTR several times, there is still so much that I've missed or
> forgotten or plain don't understand. CotW helps me study the material
> in a methodical way.

I agree that it really is rude (and unnecessary) to attack someone for
asking a question or discussing a subject one happens to feel finished with
oneself. I don't see the point of that at all. (Except for the dread
discussions of b*lr*g w*ngs.)

Öjevind


put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru

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Oct 3, 2003, 9:34:48 PM10/3/03
to
Öjevind Lång wrote:
> "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>
[...]

> I agree that it really is rude (and unnecessary) to attack someone for
> asking a question or discussing a subject one happens to feel finished with
> oneself. I don't see the point of that at all. (Except for the dread
> discussions of b*lr*g w*ngs.)
... where b - parameter vector,
lr - angular velocity of Professor's axial rotation,
g - free-fall acceleration,
w - minimum wage,
n - number of AFT/RABT newbie posters,
s - size of the ... yes, the thread.

The proof of equality is left as an exercise to the reader.

Archie

--
Time is never fully on your side.

zett

unread,
Oct 3, 2003, 9:15:13 PM10/3/03
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<lWlfb.11537$pl3.3420@pd7tw3no>...
[mucho snippo]

> Made you look forward to Mondays? Oh my! What have I done? <wink>

You have done a good thing! I look forward to Mondays now too.

[snip]

> for now I just hope we can get a different host for every chapter of The Hobbit so that no one has to do two chapters. Of course, it's okay if it works out that way.

After I saw that I could do a chapter and it turned out ok, I gladly
volunteered to do another. (Dec. 8) If I see that we do make it to
TLoTR (and I think we will) I will do a chapter or two there as well.
I like this chapter of the week thing because it seems to me to make
us more focused on Tolkien's words in a 'getting back to basics' way.
:wonders if that makes any sense:

I agree with what AC, RoRowe and Ojevind said here- and I am very glad
you posed this idea

Henriette

unread,
Oct 4, 2003, 11:06:14 AM10/4/03
to
"Öjevind Lång" <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote in message news:<Vbnfb.3898$d1....@nntpserver.swip.net>...

>
> I agree that it really is rude (and unnecessary) to attack someone for
> asking a question or discussing a subject one happens to feel finished with
> oneself. I don't see the point of that at all. (Except for the dread
> discussions of b*lr*g w*ngs.)
>
Here I feel the need to affirm that Öjevind is very tolerant of /open
towards newbies. I for one, would not still be here but for Ö (as I
was generally ignored at first) even though we did/do not agree on all
subjects (but we do on the b*lr*g w*ngs question). So thank you for
that, Öjevind!

Henriette

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Oct 5, 2003, 6:41:08 AM10/5/03
to
"Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> skrev i meddelandet
news:be50318e.0310...@posting.google.com...

[snip]

> Here I feel the need to affirm that Öjevind is very tolerant of /open
> towards newbies. I for one, would not still be here but for Ö (as I
> was generally ignored at first) even though we did/do not agree on all
> subjects (but we do on the b*lr*g w*ngs question). So thank you for
> that, Öjevind!

Not at all, Henriette. :-)

Öjevind


Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
Oct 6, 2003, 4:29:10 AM10/6/03
to
"johnj" <jo...@classicfm.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:3f7dcaf8$1...@mk-nntp-1.news.uk.worldonline.com...

The word "mere" (or, in you OP, "relatively few") is what bugs me.

Brenda Selwyn

unread,
Oct 7, 2003, 6:36:16 PM10/7/03
to
>"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:

>LOL! "Monty Python's 'The Hobbit?'"
>I can imagine Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones as those three
>Goblins!

Well, Aragorn dispatching Lurtz always reminds me of King Arthur and
the Black Knight.

I find PJ's Sauron vaguely Pythonesque as well, although I'm not quite
sure why.

Brenda

--
*************************************************************************
Brenda Selwyn
"In England's green and pleasant land"

johnj

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Oct 6, 2003, 1:47:22 PM10/6/03
to
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <REdam...@ofir.dk> wrote in message
news:blrbif$f5mqg$2...@ID-146708.news.uni-berlin.de...
Well, you must be younger than me! [59 :o( ]

the softrat

unread,
Oct 8, 2003, 4:38:21 PM10/8/03
to
On Mon, 6 Oct 2003 18:47:22 +0100, "johnj" <jo...@classicfm.net>
wrote:

>>
>Well, you must be younger than me! [59 :o( ]
>
Another mere child posts to RABT/AFT!

[61]


the softrat ==> Careful!
I have a hug and I know how to use it!
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
I am one with the universe - on a scale from one to ten.

Raven

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Oct 8, 2003, 4:52:36 PM10/8/03
to
"the softrat" <sof...@pobox.com> skrev i en meddelelse
news:6ct8ovgvgtdtiog8m...@4ax.com...

> Another mere child posts to RABT/AFT!

> [61]

Centuries or millennia?

Corvus.


Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
Oct 9, 2003, 1:56:23 AM10/9/03
to
"johnj" <jo...@classicfm.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:3f8449fb$1...@mk-nntp-1.news.uk.worldonline.com...

> Well, you must be younger than me! [59 :o( ]

I am. [38]

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