Chapter of the Week: The Hobbit, Chapter 9 - Barrels Out of Bond

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Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 26, 2003, 7:06:11 PM10/26/03
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"you cannot count on friends that are packed up in barrels."

welcome to the re-read and weekly discussion of the works of Tolkien!
for more information, please see <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>. feel
free to respond to any point you find interesting (but not those that
you don't), and raise any question i may have forgotten. also, if the
discussion veers too far off topic, please change the subject line.
thanks!


summary:

Bilbo and twelve dwarves stagger hopelessly on in Mirkwood, trying
rather pathetically to find a way out. They are soon surprised by a
multitude of fierce Wood-Elves, sent out to capture them. The Dwarves,
outnumbered and weakened, easily let themselves be taken into bondage,
but Bilbo once more uses the ring to his advantage, and slips away
unnoticed. When the Dwarves are marched swiftly to the mountain-castle
of the Elven King, Bilbo follows closely behind and gets in through its
magic gates. The king interrogates the Dwarves, who reveal nothing about
their purpose, and the king jails them as obnoxious trespassers. Weeks
pass, where Bilbo scouts out the palace, finding the Dwarves all kept in
separate cells, and eventually, a wondrous path out for all of them.
During a great feast, the Dwarves are stowed into empty barrels that are
leaving the castle by river, while Bilbo gets out clinging onto one of
them. The Dwarf-laden barrels end up in some shallows, roped together
and waiting for the morning, and Bilbo ends up with a cold.


tamf's comments & questions:

let's start with the title, Barrels out of Bond. it's actually a very
clever title, which must have made the Professor smile smugly to
himself. why? because it alliterats, like several other chapter titles,
and because it gives the gist of the chapter in four words without
actually giving anything away. i like it!

this portion of the adventure lasts for a long time - several weeks, we
are told. it shows Bilbo losing his... may i call it virginity?... as a
burglar, in that he learns how to steal without remorse. he also learns
to trust himself, as there are no wizards around to help him. and so he
probably grows more courage, which he will really need later.

the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

Bilbo is described as leading a "sneaking sort of life". could this be
an allusion to Gollum? would Bilbo have become more Gollum-like if he
had spent the weeks inside nastier mountains, without any Dwarves to
rescue? and would Gollum have been more like Bilbo if he had decided to
room with Elves instead of with Goblins?

another person who experiences change in this chapter is Thorin. when
approached by Bilbo after a long time in lone captivity, he "was too
wretched to be angry any longer at his misfortune". the departure of
anger may give room for new feelings, such as humility, courage - or
greed, of course.

now, the puzzle of the elves. who are they? the company first meets them
face-to-face surrounded by torches, spears and arrows, and we are
assured that they are very clever marksmen, indeed. they don't appear to
farm, but seem to get their food from hunting. did Tolkien see them as
some kind of noble savages, living off the fat of the land?

later on, we are shown a system that is more feudal - dare i say
medieval? - with the king on top and underlings in specialised,
designated positions - chief guard, butler - beneath him. were the
models rather English Lords? and what exactly is a butler? does his job
description involve moving barrels?

we don't learn much about the Elven King, but we hear that "on his head
was a crown of berries and read leaves", and "In the spring he wore a
crown of woodland flowers". this seems to me to be more an idea of
fairies from English folklore (although i have a notion that this
particular folklore is rather new). or do you recognise some other
source in this description?

the elves ride out to hunt, but also to do "other business" in the woods
and in the East. what business?

the elves are the third people we learn about who live inside a mountain
- the others were dwarves and goblins. does this land have very porous
mountains, or do these people not know how to build dwellings?

the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
significance?

the gates close with a clang, so they must be made from metal. i guess
this means they're not magical doors that turn into unmarked stone when
they're not being used. are the doors really magical, or are the Elves
just the very advanced creators of sliding doors?

i'm fascinated by the Forest River, which functions a bit like a moat
before the castle. how convenient! and the same with the underground
river, which works as such a nice conveyor belt. were these waterways
secret weapons of the elves, or merely random helpers? i'm also curious
to know where the underground river came from. i think Bilbo should have
looked for its source before rescuing the Dwarves!

the escape is a bit too much of a deus ex machina to my liking. there is
no way out - until Bilbo finds a river which conveniently leads the way
they want to go. the butler /and/ the chief guard - what was he doing
there, anyway? - drink too much of a conveniently strong wine and
conveniently go to sleep. Bilbo manages to run off, collect 13 dwarves,
get them all unseen through the castle because the king is conveniently
having a feast, and gets them all into barrels just in time before the
labourers came to push the barrels in. and then everyone becomes too
drunk to care about the extra weight of some of the barrels. couldn't
Bilbo at least have managed to give them the sleeping drought himself?

the wine is also a bit funny. it makes people merry, fine, but then they
start talking to themselves or fall asleep, dreaming pleasantly, before
they wake up apparently without any hangover. this sounds like some
strongish drug rather than a wine, at least in my experience (only with
wine, mind you). they're Elves, maybe they react differently to wine,
and it's from Dorwinion, maybe a very special wine. does anyone know
where Dorwinion is?

the Elves get their booze from their "kinsfolk in the South". what kin
could this be? and how on earth can the elves pay for all their imports?
with furs or carven wood? fairy gold? Bilbo doesn't describe any
splendour in the castle, but maybe the love for gold hasn't yet been
kindled in his heart.

we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them from
a dragon?

Bilbo understands whatever the Elves say amongst themselves. how?

and why must we "hurry on" to the end of the adventure, as the narrator
claims?

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

Many small people who in many small places do many small things
can alter the face of the world.

AC

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Oct 26, 2003, 11:41:49 PM10/26/03
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On Mon, 27 Oct 2003 00:06:11 -0000,
Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no> wrote:

>
> the elves are the third people we learn about who live inside a mountain
> - the others were dwarves and goblins. does this land have very porous
> mountains, or do these people not know how to build dwellings?

Well, I'm assuming that, at least as far as the composition of The Hobbit,
Tolkien was thinking of Menegroth here. The correlations are close enough.
Not that that the Elven king *was* Thingol (I don't think Tolkien intended
that),

> the escape is a bit too much of a deus ex machina to my liking. there is
> no way out - until Bilbo finds a river which conveniently leads the way
> they want to go. the butler /and/ the chief guard - what was he doing
> there, anyway? - drink too much of a conveniently strong wine and
> conveniently go to sleep. Bilbo manages to run off, collect 13 dwarves,
> get them all unseen through the castle because the king is conveniently
> having a feast, and gets them all into barrels just in time before the
> labourers came to push the barrels in. and then everyone becomes too
> drunk to care about the extra weight of some of the barrels. couldn't
> Bilbo at least have managed to give them the sleeping drought himself?

I didn't find anything all that contrived about the scene. It took him a
while to stumble on the notion.

>
> the wine is also a bit funny. it makes people merry, fine, but then they
> start talking to themselves or fall asleep, dreaming pleasantly, before
> they wake up apparently without any hangover. this sounds like some
> strongish drug rather than a wine, at least in my experience (only with
> wine, mind you). they're Elves, maybe they react differently to wine,
> and it's from Dorwinion, maybe a very special wine. does anyone know
> where Dorwinion is?

Or maybe they're just very good at getting the carbon dioxide out of wine.

>
> the Elves get their booze from their "kinsfolk in the South". what kin
> could this be? and how on earth can the elves pay for all their imports?
> with furs or carven wood? fairy gold? Bilbo doesn't describe any
> splendour in the castle, but maybe the love for gold hasn't yet been
> kindled in his heart.

Elvish economics is a pretty big mystery, especially the economics of
Thranduil's kingdom. As to kin, unless there are more Elves in Mirkwood, it
could only be Lorien. But that requires that you explicitely start looking
to LotR for answers. Besides, I just can't picture Galadriel shipping
potent alcohols north to piss-up Thranduil's folk.

>
> we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
> traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them from
> a dragon?

To be honest with you, I don't think any but the oldest gaffers in Esgaroth
believed there was a dragon, or at least they figured the dragon was too
comfortable in his digs to go burning down a town that probably wouldn't be
all that interesting.

>
> Bilbo understands whatever the Elves say amongst themselves. how?

Good question. Must have had a universal translator. Maybe the Ring?

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Michael Cole

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Oct 26, 2003, 11:49:07 PM10/26/03
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Tamfiiris Entwife wrote:
[SNIP]

> tamf's comments & questions:

[SNIP]

> Bilbo is described as leading a "sneaking sort of life". could this be
> an allusion to Gollum? would Bilbo have become more Gollum-like if he
> had spent the weeks inside nastier mountains, without any Dwarves to
> rescue? and would Gollum have been more like Bilbo if he had decided
> to room with Elves instead of with Goblins?

From "Concerning Hobbits" (FOTR) 2nd Paragraph.

"... They possessed from the first the art of disappearing swiftly and
silently, ... and this they have developed until to Men it may seem magical.
But ... their elusiveness is due solely to a professional skill that
heredity and practice, ... have rendered inimitable by bigger and clumsier
races."

> later on, we are shown a system that is more feudal - dare i say
> medieval? - with the king on top and underlings in specialised,
> designated positions - chief guard, butler - beneath him. were the
> models rather English Lords? and what exactly is a butler? does his
> job description involve moving barrels?

The head servant in a household who is usually in charge of food service,
the care of silverware, and the deportment of the other servants. Generally
no, he merely oversees the other servants, and waits personally on the Lord.

> the elves are the third people we learn about who live inside a
> mountain - the others were dwarves and goblins. does this land have
> very porous mountains, or do these people not know how to build
> dwellings?

Actually, the elves lived inside a hill, not a mountain. And in Celtic
legends, the faerie, or sidhe, living in halls inside of hills is common.

> the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> significance?

It is a very "English" tree, and is associated with the faerie.

> the gates close with a clang, so they must be made from metal. i guess
> this means they're not magical doors that turn into unmarked stone
> when they're not being used. are the doors really magical, or are the
> Elves just the very advanced creators of sliding doors?

Or perhaps the locking mechanism is magical.

> i'm fascinated by the Forest River, which functions a bit like a moat
> before the castle. how convenient! and the same with the underground
> river, which works as such a nice conveyor belt. were these waterways
> secret weapons of the elves, or merely random helpers? i'm also
> curious to know where the underground river came from. i think Bilbo
> should have looked for its source before rescuing the Dwarves!

Personally, I would have liked to have seen a plan of the halls - he had
several months there. Surely he could have made better use of his time.
Those plans could have been sold for a pretty penny...

> the wine is also a bit funny. it makes people merry, fine, but then
> they start talking to themselves or fall asleep, dreaming pleasantly,
> before they wake up apparently without any hangover. this sounds like
> some strongish drug rather than a wine, at least in my experience
> (only with wine, mind you). they're Elves, maybe they react
> differently to wine, and it's from Dorwinion, maybe a very special
> wine. does anyone know where Dorwinion is?

East of the general area - around the Sea of Rhun - you can find it on some
of the other maps.

> the Elves get their booze from their "kinsfolk in the South". what kin
> could this be?

Either Lorien or Edhellond is all I can think of. Note that vineyards do
require decent hottish weather.

> we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
> traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them
> from a dragon?

It was probably not fro protection against the dragon, but for protection
against human raiders.

> Bilbo understands whatever the Elves say amongst themselves. how?

Same way that Sean Connery, as a Russian Submarine Commander spoke English
with a Scottish accent.

> and why must we "hurry on" to the end of the adventure, as the
> narrator claims?

Because the travelogue has continued on for long enough. "Dad, where's the
dragon? You said that there was to be a dragon. When do we get to that
part?"

--
Regards,

Michael Cole


coyotes morgan mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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Oct 26, 2003, 11:52:11 PM10/26/03
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> we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
> traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them from
> a dragon?

while the dragon might be able to fly
its primary mode of motion is crawling

Henriette

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Oct 27, 2003, 4:39:37 AM10/27/03
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Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no> wrote in message news:<MPG.1a0671b2b...@news.online.no>...

Thank you lellow Tamf, for a very nice introduction to Chapter 9!
(Snip)


> the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
> time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
> be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

Because it lasted such a weary *long* time, he was "all alone, and
always in hiding, never daring to take off his ring, hardly daring to
sleep", and having to find a solution "alone and unaided". He finds
that "drearier" and "duller" than the other adventures (not
necessarily worse).


>
> Bilbo is described as leading a "sneaking sort of life". could this be
> an allusion to Gollum?

I don't think so, but it is a clever thought.

> would Bilbo have become more Gollum-like if he
> had spent the weeks inside nastier mountains, without any Dwarves to
> rescue? and would Gollum have been more like Bilbo if he had decided to
> room with Elves instead of with Goblins?

I would think: undoubtedly somewhat. But not really, because Gollum
was a very different (nasty) character to begin with.


>
> another person who experiences change in this chapter is Thorin. when
> approached by Bilbo after a long time in lone captivity, he "was too
> wretched to be angry any longer at his misfortune". the departure of
> anger may give room for new feelings, such as humility, courage - or
> greed, of course.

That would not be a new feeling for Thorin, would it?


>
> and what exactly is a butler? does his job description involve moving barrels?

LOL


>
> we don't learn much about the Elven King, but we hear that "on his head
> was a crown of berries and read leaves", and "In the spring he wore a
> crown of woodland flowers". this seems to me to be more an idea of
> fairies from English folklore (although i have a notion that this
> particular folklore is rather new). or do you recognise some other
> source in this description?

To me as well they have a fairie-feeling to them, unlike the elves of
LOTR.


>
> the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> significance?

To the old Germanic tribes (at least in NL) the oak was a sacred tree.


>
> the gates close with a clang, so they must be made from metal. i guess
> this means they're not magical doors that turn into unmarked stone when
> they're not being used. are the doors really magical, or are the Elves
> just the very advanced creators of sliding doors?

I had the idea a spell was set on them.


>
> the wine is also a bit funny. it makes people merry, fine, but then they

> start talking to themselves or fall asleep,(snip)

It does indeed say the "butler went on talking and laughing to himself
for a while", but it also says "without seeming to notice" (i.e., hat
the chief guard had fallen asleep). So he did not realise he was
talking to himself.


>
> Bilbo understands whatever the Elves say amongst themselves. how?

A clever remark.


>
> and why must we "hurry on" to the end of the adventure, as the narrator
> claims?

Because "there is no need to tell you much of his adventures that
night", and we are coming to the *"last and greatest"* adventure.

I have two more remarks:
The first is about the red torch-light inside the passages of the
elven-dwellings. To me red torch-light belongs (unlike siamese cats)
to Mordor.

The second is about the mentioning of "living stone". This JRRT has
mentioned more often. I find it fascinating, but I am not sure wat is
being referred at.

Henriette

Simon J. Rowe

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Oct 27, 2003, 6:59:53 AM10/27/03
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Tamfiiris Entwife wrote:

> Bilbo understands whatever the Elves say amongst themselves. how?

Because he's been in contact with Elves even before this adventure

'Unfinished Tales', 'The Quest of Erebor'

Why, I asked him where he was going, and when he would be back, and I don't
know he says; and then he looks at me queerly. It depends if I meet any,
Holman, he says. It?s the Elves New Year tomorrow

Stan Brown

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Oct 27, 2003, 9:31:58 PM10/27/03
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In article <MPG.1a0671b2b...@news.online.no> in
rec.arts.books.tolkien, Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no> wrote:
>the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
>time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
>be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

He did not say "worst", he said "dullest". To "go on miserably
burgling the same house" _is_ dull.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/tech/faqget.htm

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

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Oct 27, 2003, 10:46:00 AM10/27/03
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Tamfiiris Entwife wrote:
> "you cannot count on friends that are packed up in barrels."
[...]

> summary:
>
> Bilbo and twelve dwarves stagger hopelessly on in Mirkwood, trying
> rather pathetically to find a way out. They are soon surprised by a
> multitude of fierce Wood-Elves, sent out to capture them. The Dwarves,
> outnumbered and weakened, easily let themselves be taken into bondage,
> but Bilbo once more uses the ring to his advantage, and slips away
> unnoticed. When the Dwarves are marched swiftly to the mountain-castle
> of the Elven King, Bilbo follows closely behind and gets in through its
> magic gates. The king interrogates the Dwarves, who reveal nothing about
> their purpose, and the king jails them as obnoxious trespassers. ...
Do Elves need prisons at all?

[...]


> tamf's comments & questions:
>
> let's start with the title, Barrels out of Bond. it's actually a very
> clever title, which must have made the Professor smile smugly to
> himself. why? because it alliterats, like several other chapter titles,
> and because it gives the gist of the chapter in four words without
> actually giving anything away. i like it!

The element of surprise is totally lost in the awkward Russian
translation. Not that I would have time to translate the Hobbit...

BTW Tamfiiris, thank you for drawing attention to the title. Never
occurred to me.
[...]


> Bilbo is described as leading a "sneaking sort of life". could this be
> an allusion to Gollum? would Bilbo have become more Gollum-like if he
> had spent the weeks inside nastier mountains, without any Dwarves to
> rescue? and would Gollum have been more like Bilbo if he had decided to
> room with Elves instead of with Goblins?

Bilbo made a few paces on the road of mischief that Gollum had walked
almost to the end a loong time before - stealing can't be considered a
GOOD (tm) thing, whatever the motives (however, it may be the feasible
and acceptable way out). Thus, Bilbo would have easily become Gollum II
if he went on wearing the Ring.

[...]


> now, the puzzle of the elves. who are they? the company first meets them
> face-to-face surrounded by torches, spears and arrows, and we are
> assured that they are very clever marksmen, indeed. they don't appear to
> farm, but seem to get their food from hunting. did Tolkien see them as
> some kind of noble savages, living off the fat of the land?

If the numbers are right, hunting/gathering may be sustainable. Oh I see,
you're concerned with social structure. The Elven King hunted for the
sport of it, not for meat, it seems. As such, sports of different kinds,
specialised court functions, hierarchy imply large surplus value :-) and
large productivity, unless there is exploitation of fellow Elves.

For the social structure to persist, one needs stable sources of revenue.
Hunting may be just one of them. May I put forth a relatively new idea
(with no corroboration in the late writings):

The Elves of Mirkwood patronized nearby human settlements, extorting
Danegeld :-( Thus they sent back empty barrels, getting full ones in
return.



> later on, we are shown a system that is more feudal - dare i say
> medieval? - with the king on top and underlings in specialised,
> designated positions - chief guard, butler - beneath him. were the
> models rather English Lords? and what exactly is a butler? does his job
> description involve moving barrels?

> the elves ride out to hunt, but also to do "other business" in the woods

> and in the East. what business?
>
> the elves are the third people we learn about who live inside a mountain
> - the others were dwarves and goblins. does this land have very porous
> mountains, or do these people not know how to build dwellings?

Do you mean limestone? MON may advise you on the stuff, I think.

It is actually the king who has his residence under ground. Legolas
speaks about 'leaves in my garden' (IDHTBIFOM), so at least king's heir
spends much time on the surface.

[...]

> i'm fascinated by the Forest River, which functions a bit like a moat
> before the castle. how convenient! and the same with the underground
> river, which works as such a nice conveyor belt. were these waterways
> secret weapons of the elves, or merely random helpers? i'm also curious
> to know where the underground river came from. i think Bilbo should have
> looked for its source before rescuing the Dwarves!

Limestone caves are famous for underground lakes and rivers: water
trickles down easily. (When I was a kid, I read speleology books from
cover to cover. Since then I decided that this particular activity is
No.12-13 on my sports to-do list.)

> ...Bilbo manages to run off, collect 13 dwarves,

> get them all unseen through the castle because the king is conveniently
> having a feast, and gets them all into barrels just in time before the
> labourers came to push the barrels in. and then everyone becomes too

> drunk to care about the extra weight of some of the barrels. ...

I tell you: it was luck as they say in Middle-Earth... (i.e. not a
coincidence as per larger scheme of events).

> ...couldn't

> Bilbo at least have managed to give them the sleeping drought himself?

No. They would just wreck the barrels.

> ...does anyone know
> where Dorwinion is?

Unknown since there are at least two Dorwinions (one in Valinor and the
other next to the Sea of Rhun).

> ...Bilbo doesn't describe any

> splendour in the castle, but maybe the love for gold hasn't yet been
> kindled in his heart.

Or maybe there wasn't any? An important detail that you've already
mentioned: the crown is perfectly natural and not gold. Elves live with
the nature and not above it.

[...]


> Bilbo understands whatever the Elves say amongst themselves. how?

Pointed out by various posters - the Ring. I doubt that Bilbo learnt
fluent Silvan Sindarin while eating buns in Hobbiton.

[...]


> Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

Thank you for a very good article.

Archie

Taemon

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Oct 27, 2003, 12:18:26 PM10/27/03
to
Henriette:

> The second is about the mentioning of "living stone". This JRRT has
> mentioned more often. I find it fascinating, but I am not sure wat is
> being referred at.

"Living rock" is rock that has not been dislodged from the earth. It means
that something is made in or out of rock where it stands.

Greetings, T.


Taemon

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Oct 27, 2003, 12:21:40 PM10/27/03
to
Archie:

> > Bilbo understands whatever the Elves say amongst themselves. how?
> Pointed out by various posters - the Ring. I doubt that Bilbo learnt
> fluent Silvan Sindarin while eating buns in Hobbiton.

This is the first time I hear about the Ring being a Babel Fish and I don't
buy it. Didn't Bilbo study some elvish for fun, back at home?

Greetings, T.


AC

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Oct 27, 2003, 1:05:19 PM10/27/03
to

That's actually an interesting question. I guess since I first read LotR, I
always assumed that Bilbo did his linguistic studies once he returned from
the Lonely Mountain. However, maybe, in keeping with his somewhat hidden
Tookish nature, perhaps he'd taken an interest in such matters long before
Gandalf ever dented his lovely round green door.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

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

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Oct 27, 2003, 1:12:55 PM10/27/03
to

Well, the idea is in the LotR drafts to explain what happened to Sam when
he put on the Ring at Cirith Ungol and how he was able to overhear *and*
understand Orcs' chatting. I reckon the idea has gained informal
popularity after the Osanwe-kenta came out and provided 'theoretical' :-)
basis for cases of LotR telepathy. Speaking about the Hobbit, one has to
explain away spiders talking in Westron (not even conceived at the time
of the Hobbit - but see Notion Club Papers), and Bilbo understanding
Sindarin.

It may well be the case that Belladonna (come on, she's the most Tookish
Took) taught Bilbo some basics of Sindarin in his childhood, or that
Bilbo learnt the language and (as aptly pointed out by Simon Rowe) their
culture, including the calendar. That would contradict my feeling that
Bilbo 'went nuts' after the journey, and not before (i.e. writing poems,
visiting Elves etc.).

Archie

Taemon

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Oct 27, 2003, 1:51:03 PM10/27/03
to
Tamfiiris Entwife:

> the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
> time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
> be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

He's lonely...

> another person who experiences change in this chapter is Thorin. when
> approached by Bilbo after a long time in lone captivity, he "was too
> wretched to be angry any longer at his misfortune". the departure of
> anger may give room for new feelings, such as humility, courage - or
> greed, of course.

Sounds like depression to me.

Greetings, T. <psychologist>


Taemon

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Oct 27, 2003, 1:52:41 PM10/27/03
to
Archie:

> Well, the idea is in the LotR drafts to explain what happened to Sam when
> he put on the Ring at Cirith Ungol and how he was able to overhear *and*
> understand Orcs' chatting.

I know that the orcs that captured Merry and Pippin spoke Westron because
they were a mixed band. What did the Mordor orcs speak?

Greetings, T.


Jette Goldie

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:00:11 PM10/27/03
to

"Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> wrote

>
> the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> significance?


"Oak and Ash and Thorn" - the three "holy" trees of the
British Isles. (Ash being the Mountain Ash = Rowan, and
the Thorn being Hawthorn). You wouldn't make many
archetectural items out of Ash or Thorn, but Oak is strong
and sturdy and lasts a long time.


--
Jette
"Work for Peace and remain Fiercely Loving" - Jim Byrnes
je...@blueyonder.co.uk
http://www.jette.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/


Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:05:22 PM10/27/03
to
Žį kvaš žat AC:

> Elvish economics is a pretty big mystery, especially the economics of
> Thranduil's kingdom. As to kin, unless there are more Elves in Mirkwood, it
> could only be Lorien. But that requires that you explicitely start looking
> to LotR for answers. Besides, I just can't picture Galadriel shipping
> potent alcohols north to piss-up Thranduil's folk.

well, Galadriel knows a lot of things. maybe she "knew" Bilbo would need
some sleepy guards at some point, and started the trade on the basis of
that... }:8)

> To be honest with you, I don't think any but the oldest gaffers in Esgaroth
> believed there was a dragon, or at least they figured the dragon was too
> comfortable in his digs to go burning down a town that probably wouldn't be
> all that interesting.

then why would they stay out there on the water? it sounds quite
inconvenient. why not rebuild and resettle on drier ground?



--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:11:04 PM10/27/03
to
Žį kvaš žat Michael Cole:


> The head servant in a household who is usually in charge of food service,
> the care of silverware, and the deportment of the other servants. Generally
> no, he merely oversees the other servants, and waits personally on the Lord.

i'm starting to doubt "butler" was the right term for him. the king was
having a feast upstairs, remember? and this butler was nowhere near it
to wait on him! some butler.



> Personally, I would have liked to have seen a plan of the halls - he had
> several months there. Surely he could have made better use of his time.

exactly! what was he *doing* in all that time? feeling bored, i suppose.
i thought a hobbit who had lived on his own all his life would been
better at amusing himself than poor Bilbo...

> Those plans could have been sold for a pretty penny...

what for? you want to burgle some oak?

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

Lisp plus toga is of course cinematic shorthand for pure evil.
(Christine Kenneally)

Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:17:17 PM10/27/03
to
Žį kvaš žat Henriette:

> It does indeed say the "butler went on talking and laughing to himself
> for a while", but it also says "without seeming to notice" (i.e., hat
> the chief guard had fallen asleep). So he did not realise he was
> talking to himself.

but even the drunkenest drunks i have had the misfortune to meet have
insisted on some form of affirmation from their listeners - often eye
contact. still - maybe the butler was used to talking to himself,
telling himself how clever he was lining up all those barrels, and so
on.

> > and why must we "hurry on" to the end of the adventure, as the narrator
> > claims?

> Because "there is no need to tell you much of his adventures that
> night", and we are coming to the *"last and greatest"* adventure.

yes, there is a need! /i/ want to know!



> I have two more remarks:
> The first is about the red torch-light inside the passages of the
> elven-dwellings. To me red torch-light belongs (unlike siamese cats)
> to Mordor.

well, they were inside a hill, where you don't get much sunlight. they
had to light up their corridors somehow, and torches were the
conventional method of doing that. and their light is apparently read.
what wouldn't the elves have done for a couple of niiiice silmarils...

> The second is about the mentioning of "living stone". This JRRT has
> mentioned more often. I find it fascinating, but I am not sure wat is
> being referred at.

yeah, i would have thought living stone would be more like lava...

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

Hasdrubal Hamilcar

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:42:07 PM10/27/03
to

Jette Goldie wrote:

> "Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> wrote
>
>
>>the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
>>erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
>>significance?
>
>
>
> "Oak and Ash and Thorn" - the three "holy" trees of the
> British Isles. (Ash being the Mountain Ash = Rowan, and
> the Thorn being Hawthorn). You wouldn't make many
> archetectural items out of Ash or Thorn, but Oak is strong
> and sturdy and lasts a long time.
>

Ash is used for curved furniture, because it is the best wood for curving.

Odin had a spear made of ash I think. I love the way it looks.

Hasan

>

Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:42:33 PM10/27/03
to
Žį kvaš žat put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru:

> > their purpose, and the king jails them as obnoxious trespassers. ...
> Do Elves need prisons at all?

i guess not, but the dwarves were not necessarily locked up in
designated prison cells. a room with a heavy door would do. they were
kept in different parts of the castle, which also speaks against the
elves maintaining a regular prison.

on the other claw, employing a chief guard does suggest that there was
such a thing - unless he'd been made one for the occasion. did the elves
perhaps have a habit of capturing wayfarers, refusing to release them
before they got a proper ransom? hmmm... maybe *this* is where their
money came from.



> > himself. why? because it alliterats, like several other chapter titles,

eeek! the softrat sneaks in where you least suspect it!

> The element of surprise is totally lost in the awkward Russian
> translation. Not that I would have time to translate the Hobbit...

if there's something i hate, it's badly made chapter titles that give
things away. especially if they're listed at the beginning of the book.
that's why i appreciate Tolkien's efforts so much.



> If the numbers are right, hunting/gathering may be sustainable. Oh I see,
> you're concerned with social structure. The Elven King hunted for the
> sport of it, not for meat, it seems. As such, sports of different kinds,
> specialised court functions, hierarchy imply large surplus value :-) and
> large productivity, unless there is exploitation of fellow Elves.

or poor wayfarers who couldn't pay ransom...



> For the social structure to persist, one needs stable sources of revenue.
> Hunting may be just one of them. May I put forth a relatively new idea
> (with no corroboration in the late writings):
>
> The Elves of Mirkwood patronized nearby human settlements, extorting
> Danegeld :-( Thus they sent back empty barrels, getting full ones in
> return.

i wouldn't put it past them! btw, is the village near the Elven hill
populated by Elves or by Men? i couldn't find anything in the text going
either way, but i suspect they were human.

> > the elves are the third people we learn about who live inside a mountain
> > - the others were dwarves and goblins. does this land have very porous
> > mountains, or do these people not know how to build dwellings?
> Do you mean limestone? MON may advise you on the stuff, I think.

well, i know that people do excavate homes in various parts of the world
because the rock is nice and carvable there. i was wondering if the same
was the case with all these swiss-cheese mountains (and hills!).

> Limestone caves are famous for underground lakes and rivers: water
> trickles down easily.

yes! and there would be wonderful stalagm/ctites, too. all the more
reason to explore!

> > ...does anyone know
> > where Dorwinion is?

> Unknown since there are at least two Dorwinions (one in Valinor and the
> other next to the Sea of Rhun).

a ha! clearly, Bilbo received help from the valar. i knew his skill was
overrated.

--

Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold;
What hath quench'd them hath given me fire.

Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:42:35 PM10/27/03
to
Žį kvaš žat Taemon:

> Tamfiiris Entwife:
>
> > the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
> > time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
> > be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

> He's lonely...

but he has 13 wonderful dwarves to talk to - and they're probably dead
eager to talk to him!



> > another person who experiences change in this chapter is Thorin. when
> > approached by Bilbo after a long time in lone captivity, he "was too
> > wretched to be angry any longer at his misfortune". the departure of
> > anger may give room for new feelings, such as humility, courage - or
> > greed, of course.

> Sounds like depression to me.

what? you mean to say that being locked up alone in a cell for a long
period of time doesn't build your character??

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

I'm a clown! That kills children.
But I entertain them first! With entrail-balloon animals.
But I have a funny little car! That I run them over with.
So, basically, it's your call. (Aglami-Jon)

Bill O'Meally

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Oct 27, 2003, 3:02:02 PM10/27/03
to


"Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> wrote in message
news:MPG.1a0671b2b...@news.online.no...

<snip synopsis>


> are told. it shows Bilbo losing his... may i call it virginity?... as
a
> burglar, in that he learns how to steal without remorse. he also
learns
> to trust himself, as there are no wizards around to help him. and so
he > probably grows more courage, which he will really need later.
>
> the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
> time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would
it
> be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?
>
> Bilbo is described as leading a "sneaking sort of life". could this be
> an allusion to Gollum? would Bilbo have become more Gollum-like if he
> had spent the weeks inside nastier mountains, without any Dwarves to
> rescue?

Interesting comments. In retrospect, this is probably the longest period
of time Bilbo wore the Ring on a continuous basis. Knowing that the Ring
gave power to the measure of the wearer, and that Hobbits are naturally
stealthy and quiet, could his increased adeptness (and remorselessness?)
be, in part, a Ring effect? Could the dreariness and dullness
(loneliness aside), be partially explained by the weight of the Ring,
whose power is being increasingly used?

>
> the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> significance?

It's probably just one of the more abundant hardwoods in that area of
the forest.

>
> i'm fascinated by the Forest River, which functions a bit like a moat
> before the castle. how convenient! and the same with the underground
> river, which works as such a nice conveyor belt. were these waterways
> secret weapons of the elves, or merely random helpers?

The Elves just seem to be taking advantage of natural defenses.

Also, see my comments on the previous chapter regarding the Enchanted
River, which seems to have a similar spell as that which affected Bilbo
and Thorin as they entered the clearings where the Elves were feasting.
I suggested that the spell on the river acts as a protection on the
frontier of their realm. The question arose, were the Elves just
mimicking the river's enchantment with their spells or was the river
actually enchanted by the Elves?

i'm also curious
> to know where the underground river came from. i think Bilbo should
have
> looked for its source before rescuing the Dwarves!

Suggesting there might have been an easier way out (or in, for that
matter)? Doubtless the Elves thought of that. Besides, it is easier to
go downstream than up.


>
> the wine is also a bit funny. it makes people merry, fine, but then
they > start talking to themselves or fall asleep, dreaming pleasantly,
before
> they wake up apparently without any hangover. this sounds like some >
strongish drug rather than a wine, at least in my experience (only with
> wine, mind you). they're Elves, maybe they react differently to wine,
> and it's from Dorwinion, maybe a very special wine.

Oh, I think the text explains it quite well. It states that this was the
heady wine meant for the king's small vessels, not the everyday stuff
that the servants were used to drinking from large flagons. It may have
been something akin to a port or some other fortified wine that can be
more than 20% alcohol (as opposed to most table wines that are anywhere
from 8 to 14% -- the average being about 12%). Try drinking a large
glassful of port sometime and see if you change your opinion! :)

--
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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Oct 27, 2003, 3:09:50 PM10/27/03
to


"Hasdrubal Hamilcar" <syed_hasa...@remove.rogers.com> wrote in
message
news:jyenb.31215$7B1....@news04.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com...

> Odin had a spear made of ash I think. I love the way it looks.

How is it that you can look at Odin's spear? :-)

Jette Goldie

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Oct 27, 2003, 3:17:32 PM10/27/03
to

"Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> wrote in message
news:MPG.1a077e22...@news.online.no...

> Žį kvaš žat Michael Cole:
>
> > The head servant in a household who is usually in charge of food
service,
> > the care of silverware, and the deportment of the other servants.
Generally
> > no, he merely oversees the other servants, and waits personally on the
Lord.
>
> i'm starting to doubt "butler" was the right term for him. the king was
> having a feast upstairs, remember? and this butler was nowhere near it
> to wait on him! some butler.
>


A butler doesn't *just* serve food - in a fine household (or a
royal one), a butler would oversee the whole household -
buying provisions (food, wine, etc), including overseeing
the duties of all the other staff. In fact in a royal household
I doubt the Head Butler ever "waits" on anyone, including
the King - he has staff to do that for him.

coyotes morgan mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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Oct 27, 2003, 3:41:01 PM10/27/03
to
In article <%Wdnb.3143$2P7.30...@news-text.cableinet.net>, "Jette
Goldie" <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote:

> "Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> wrote
>
> >
> > the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> > erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> > significance?
>
>
> "Oak and Ash and Thorn" - the three "holy" trees of the
> British Isles. (Ash being the Mountain Ash = Rowan, and
> the Thorn being Hawthorn). You wouldn't make many
> archetectural items out of Ash or Thorn, but Oak is strong
> and sturdy and lasts a long time.

most carpentry is on pine and other softwoods
instead of hardwoods like oak and cherry

hardwoods are sturdier and make better products
but it can take a century to get as much wood out of hardwood
as you can get out of softwood in two or three decades

coyotes morgan mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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Oct 27, 2003, 3:43:04 PM10/27/03
to
In article <iYenb.79478$832....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com>, "Bill O'Meally"
<omea...@wise.rr.com> wrote:

> "Hasdrubal Hamilcar" <syed_hasa...@remove.rogers.com> wrote in
> message
> news:jyenb.31215$7B1....@news04.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com...
>
> > Odin had a spear made of ash I think. I love the way it looks.
>
> How is it that you can look at Odin's spear? :-)

hard times in valhalla
what with christians moving in
and tearing up the flower beds

odin and rest of the aesir needed some extra money
and joined the chippendales

Jette Goldie

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Oct 27, 2003, 4:04:16 PM10/27/03
to

"coyotes morgan mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges"
<mair_...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:mair_fheal-27...@c120.ppp.tsoft.com...

> In article <%Wdnb.3143$2P7.30...@news-text.cableinet.net>, "Jette
> Goldie" <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote:
>
> > "Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> wrote
> >
> > >
> > > the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> > > erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> > > significance?
> >
> >
> > "Oak and Ash and Thorn" - the three "holy" trees of the
> > British Isles. (Ash being the Mountain Ash = Rowan, and
> > the Thorn being Hawthorn). You wouldn't make many
> > archetectural items out of Ash or Thorn, but Oak is strong
> > and sturdy and lasts a long time.
>
> most carpentry is on pine and other softwoods
> instead of hardwoods like oak and cherry
>

It is *now* - but if you ever look at older furniture you'll
find that hardwoods such as oak and cherry were more
common in the past.

> hardwoods are sturdier and make better products
> but it can take a century to get as much wood out of hardwood
> as you can get out of softwood in two or three decades

and in days past this wasn't the problem is is now - our
ancestors had no concept of a shortage of hardwoods
or deforestation. You wanted an oak table, a cherrywood
cabinet, a teak chair, you just cut the tree down - there
were "plenty more" out there, after all.


--
Jette Goldie
je...@blueyonder.co.uk
Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you
still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.


Raven

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Oct 27, 2003, 2:57:57 PM10/27/03
to
"Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> skrev i en meddelelse
news:MPG.1a0671b2b...@news.online.no...

> the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
> time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
> be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

Two types of experience are these: the ones that are dull to remember
afterwards but not so unpleasant to live through, and the type that are
scary to live through but very nice to recall to memory or to talk (or brag)
about later. An example of the latter type is my first skydive.

> Bilbo is described as leading a "sneaking sort of life". could this be
> an allusion to Gollum? would Bilbo have become more Gollum-like if he
> had spent the weeks inside nastier mountains, without any Dwarves to

> rescue? and would Gollum have been more like Bilbo if he had decided to
> room with Elves instead of with Goblins?

More things than one led Gollum to become the wreck that we see in LotR.
He held the Ring for half a millennium. He was a nasty sort to begin with,
unlike the much more decent Bilbo. Bilbo began his ownership of the Ring
with pity and mercy, while Gollum began his with murder. Gollum lived with
orcs for half a millennium while wearing the Ring much of the time - at
least early during his cohabitation with them. Bilbo wore the Ring
constantly for a long period of time once, and that was some weeks together
with elves. This may or may not have had something to do with it.

> now, the puzzle of the elves. who are they? the company first meets them
> face-to-face surrounded by torches, spears and arrows, and we are
> assured that they are very clever marksmen, indeed. they don't appear to
> farm, but seem to get their food from hunting. did Tolkien see them as
> some kind of noble savages, living off the fat of the land?

"Wasicun"? :-) ("Those who take the fat", the Lakota word for white
people, not charitably given.)
Possibly noble savages.

> the elves ride out to hunt, but also to do "other business" in the woods
> and in the East. what business?

This can only be guesses. Perhaps earning money for their imports of
foodstuffs and wine, maybe as hired craftsmen. I should expect them to be
good at carpentry. Perhaps gathering items from the forest, such as edible
plants or wood for craft. Perhaps guard duty - we know from later corpus
that the wood-elves had at first lived in southern Greenwood, but then the
Necromancer took Amon Lanc for his own and built a tower on it; Amon Lanc
became Dol Guldur, and Greenwood became Mirkwood. The wood-elves removed to
the north-east of the forest. Presumably the same fear that had caused them
to move also caused them to maintain a watch on their southern marches.

> the elves are the third people we learn about who live inside a mountain
> - the others were dwarves and goblins. does this land have very porous
> mountains, or do these people not know how to build dwellings?

The elves didn't live in the mountain, they had their strong place in a
hill. Most of the elves lived in the forest.

> the gates close with a clang, so they must be made from metal. i guess
> this means they're not magical doors that turn into unmarked stone when
> they're not being used. are the doors really magical, or are the Elves
> just the very advanced creators of sliding doors?

The clang was not necessarily metallic. Pottery can go "clang" as well.
So can glass. Presumably sufficiently hard stone may ring when tapped.

> we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
> traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them from
> a dragon?

As seen later in the book, Smaug was foiled when the bridges were cast
down. It did not prevent him from strafing Laketown from the air, but it
did prevent him from crawling among the buildings and demolishing them more
efficiently and thoroughly. If he had been allowed to crawl among the
buildings on their stilts, then in the event Bard would likely have been
unable to kill him.
If Laketown had been built on dry land, Smaug would have been better able
to raze it. While a fiery dragon can use water to his advantage, namely by
landing in a stream and causing a great cloud of steam, a whole lake will
quench his fire - as attested in that later chapter. Where we will have to
find out how Bilbo, the narrator, could know what Smaug thought.

Karasu.


Hasdrubal Hamilcar

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Oct 27, 2003, 5:11:17 PM10/27/03
to

Bill O'Meally wrote:
> "Hasdrubal Hamilcar" <syed_hasa...@remove.rogers.com> wrote in
> message
> news:jyenb.31215$7B1....@news04.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com...
>
>
>>Odin had a spear made of ash I think. I love the way it looks.
>
>
> How is it that you can look at Odin's spear? :-)

I meant ash wood. I saw it in a book at the library that had real
samples of each wood included in it. I'll probably buy it for my next
project.

Hasan

Pete Gray

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Oct 27, 2003, 5:13:22 PM10/27/03
to
On Mon, 27 Oct 2003 00:06:11 -0000, Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no>
wrote:

>
>tamf's comments & questions:
>
>let's start with the title, Barrels out of Bond. it's actually a very
>clever title, which must have made the Professor smile smugly to

>himself. why? because it alliterats, like several other chapter titles,

>and because it gives the gist of the chapter in four words without
>actually giving anything away. i like it!
>

'Bond' also describes the condition of goods (and in particular
alcohol) retained in a warehouse (called a bonded warehouse) until
duties are paid. Barrels of goods being held 'in-bond' makes it a pun
as well.

--
Pete Gray
while ($cat!="home"){$mice=="play";}

Raven

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Oct 27, 2003, 4:55:08 PM10/27/03
to
"Jette Goldie" <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> skrev i en meddelelse
news:%Wdnb.3143$2P7.30...@news-text.cableinet.net...

> "Oak and Ash and Thorn" - the three "holy" trees of the
> British Isles. (Ash being the Mountain Ash = Rowan, and
> the Thorn being Hawthorn). You wouldn't make many
> archetectural items out of Ash or Thorn, but Oak is strong
> and sturdy and lasts a long time.

So that's where expressions like "by oak, by ash, by bitter thorn" come
from.

Brân.


yavannadance

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Oct 27, 2003, 5:58:25 PM10/27/03
to
One thing I realized in reviewing this chapter is that Bilbo was
wearing the ring continually for several weeks while Sauron was fairly
close by in Dol Gulder. It was very fortunate that Sauron was
battling the White Council at that time and I find it a little odd
that he didn't at least sense it presence.
If he had felt any hint of the ring surely he would have started
searching for it much sooner.

Een Wilde Ier

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Oct 27, 2003, 6:30:18 PM10/27/03
to
Tamfiiris Entwife wrote:

> "you cannot count on friends that are packed up in barrels."

<snip>


> the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this
> time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
> be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

To a Hobbit, having no-one to talk to would be a misery, I suppose.

> later on, we are shown a system that is more feudal - dare i say
> medieval? - with the king on top and underlings in specialised,
> designated positions - chief guard, butler - beneath him. were the
> models rather English Lords? and what exactly is a butler? does his job
> description involve moving barrels?

Chief administrator of the King's household. It's like the
whatchamaycallthems in Shienar in Robert Jordan's _The Wheel of Time_

> the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> significance?

To the Celts, yes, being one of the five revered trees.

> i'm fascinated by the Forest River, which functions a bit like a moat
> before the castle. how convenient! and the same with the underground
> river, which works as such a nice conveyor belt. were these waterways

> secret weapons of the elves, or merely random helpers? i'm also curious

> to know where the underground river came from. i think Bilbo should have
> looked for its source before rescuing the Dwarves!

If he had gotten into those kind of habits, he might have ended up like
*another* Ringbearer, Precioussss...

> the escape is a bit too much of a deus ex machina to my liking. there is
> no way out - until Bilbo finds a river which conveniently leads the way
> they want to go.

And, they somehow don't suffocate in their barrels.

> the Elves get their booze from their "kinsfolk in the South". what kin
> could this be?

A related question could be "when was Ithilien abandoned by the Elves?".

> we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
> traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them from
> a dragon?

Surely you realise that a Dragon must alight and walk about in order to
devour her prey, O Dragoness! <g>

Count Menelvagor

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Oct 27, 2003, 8:26:12 PM10/27/03
to
Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no> wrote in message news:<MPG.1a0671b2b...@news.online.no>...

> Bilbo and twelve dwarves stagger hopelessly on in Mirkwood, trying

Now, I wd ahve expected you to take on the MURDER of Smaug -- which,
as Oje pointed ount a while ago, is one of the most despicable crimes
in literature.

> tamf's comments & questions:

> the hobbit is safe, warm, and adequately fed, and yet he bemoans this

> time as the "dreariest" and "dullest" part of the journey. why would it
> be worse than trolls, goblins, or spiders?

Acos Elves eat "lembas."

> later on, we are shown a system that is more feudal - dare i say
> medieval? - with the king on top and underlings in specialised,
> designated positions - chief guard, butler - beneath him. were the
> models rather English Lords? and what exactly is a butler? does his job
> description involve moving barrels?

Well, the butler was originally the guy in charge of dispensing wine
("bottler") if memeory serves.



> the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> significance?

Sared to the Druids. The Celts were big on trees. There;'s even a
Welsh poem called "The Battle of the Trees."

> the wine is also a bit funny. it makes people merry, fine, but then they
> start talking to themselves or fall asleep, dreaming pleasantly, before
> they wake up apparently without any hangover. this sounds like some
> strongish drug rather than a wine, at least in my experience (only with
> wine, mind you). they're Elves, maybe they react differently to wine,

> and it's from Dorwinion, maybe a very special wine. does anyone know
> where Dorwinion is?

And do immortals get drunk? Apparently so ... but soemhow it's hard
to imagine either LOTR elves like Elrond etc., or Sil Elves like
Feanor et al., boozin'; they seem too uptight, for oen thing ...



> the Elves get their booze from their "kinsfolk in the South". what kin

> could this be? and how on earth can the elves pay for all their imports?
> with furs or carven wood? fairy gold? Bilbo doesn't describe any
> splendour in the castle, but maybe the love for gold hasn't yet been
> kindled in his heart.

Well, the Galadriel nidea souns goond, even if ex post writing.
Economics is generally wrather underplayed in fantasy, though Tolkien
doesn't ignore it altogether; greed becoems an important theme later
on in TH, and in Mordor Tolkien stops at oen point to have Sam and
Frodo wonder how Sauron feeds his armies, and the narrator refers to
tribute and to the slave plantations around the sea of Nurn.

> and why must we "hurry on" to the end of the adventure, as the narrator
> claims?

It's a fairly old narrative topos, I think. Chrétien de Troyes
interrupts the anrration now and then to ask "Why would I make the
story longer?"

Count Menelvagor

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Oct 27, 2003, 8:28:40 PM10/27/03
to
Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no> wrote in message news:<MPG.1a077f9a7...@news.online.no>...
> Žį kvaš žat Henriette:

> > The second is about the mentioning of "living stone". This JRRT has
> > mentioned more often. I find it fascinating, but I am not sure wat is
> > being referred at.
>
> yeah, i would have thought living stone would be more like lava...

Pseaking of which, I'm trhisty.

(My parents once went to a healthfood store where the guy tried to
sell them "living juice.")

Count Menelvagor

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Oct 27, 2003, 8:29:33 PM10/27/03
to
"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:<bnjphn$11v9ta$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de>...

One of the many dialects of Orkish? And probably also Black Speech.

Bill O'Meally

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Oct 28, 2003, 12:13:14 AM10/28/03
to


"Jette Goldie" <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote in message
news:%Wdnb.3143$2P7.30...@news-text.cableinet.net...

> "Oak and Ash and Thorn" - the three "holy" trees of the
> British Isles.

'Sigh no more Pine, till the wind of the morn!
Fall Moon! Dark be the land!
Hush! Hush! Oak, Ash and Thorn!
Hushed be all water, till dawn is at hand!'

Bill O'Meally

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Oct 28, 2003, 12:16:08 AM10/28/03
to


"yavannadance" <mrev...@excite.com> wrote in message
news:699ca75.03102...@posting.google.com...

I always attributed it to the fact that he was under ground. Similar to
the reason that he didn't sense Gollum's using it, IMO.

Michelle J. Haines

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Oct 28, 2003, 1:20:41 AM10/28/03
to
In article <MPG.1a0671b2b...@news.online.no>,
nos...@nono.no says...

>
> the castle seems to be full of oak - carven oak staff, oak trapdoors,
> erm, i'm sure there's more oak. does this type of wood have a special
> significance?

The forest has a lost of oak? Legolas comments about seeing many
oaks grow from acorn to ruinous age, and even if he's talking
serially, picking that particular probably means they're pretty
common.

Michelle
Flutist
--
In my heart. By my side.
Never apart. AP with Pride!
Katrina Marie (10/19/96)
Xander Ryan (09/22/98 - 02/23/99)
Gareth Xander (07/17/00) Zachary Mitchell
Theona Alexis (06/03/03) (01/12/94, fostered 09/05/01 - 07/23/03)

Michelle J. Haines

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Oct 28, 2003, 1:25:54 AM10/28/03
to
In article <be50318e.0310...@posting.google.com>,
held...@hotmail.com says...

>
> The second is about the mentioning of "living stone". This JRRT has
> mentioned more often. I find it fascinating, but I am not sure wat is
> being referred at.

You usually see it referred to in the context of the stone still
being in place to the bedrock of the earth, it's just carved to make
room for whatever, but not completely cut away.

If I may make a movie reference to illustrate the point: When they
did the Argonath, most of the statues were carved out of the cliffs,
and the top parts were cut building blocks moved into place and then
carved like the rest of the statue. The parts that are original
cliff rock still attached are living rock, the cut and moved blocks
are not.

A real life example, the faced on Mount Rushmore would be "carved out
of living rock."

Henriette

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:51:16 AM10/28/03
to
"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:<bnjk11$124582$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de>...
> Henriette:

>
> > The second is about the mentioning of "living stone". This JRRT has
> > mentioned more often. I find it fascinating, but I am not sure wat is
> > being referred at.
>
> "Living rock" is rock that has not been dislodged from the earth. It means
> that something is made in or out of rock where it stands.
>
Thank you Taemon, that is nice to know!

BTW Your remark about the Ring being a Babel Fish is very funny.

Henriette

Henriette

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:57:44 AM10/28/03
to
Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no> wrote in message news:<MPG.1a077f9a7...@news.online.no>...
> Žį kvaš žat Henriette:
>
> > Because "there is no need to tell you much of his adventures that
> > night", and we are coming to the *"last and greatest"* adventure.
>
> yes, there is a need! /i/ want to know!

This, JRRT did not know, otherwise he definitely would not have
hurried on!


>
> > I have two more remarks:
> > The first is about the red torch-light inside the passages of the
> > elven-dwellings. To me red torch-light belongs (unlike siamese cats)
> > to Mordor.
>
> well, they were inside a hill, where you don't get much sunlight. they
> had to light up their corridors somehow, and torches were the
> conventional method of doing that. and their light is apparently read.
> what wouldn't the elves have done for a couple of niiiice silmarils...
>

The torches that I have seen, gave a nice bright yellow flame, which I
would have thought more fitting for our Elves.

Henriette

Henriette

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Oct 28, 2003, 3:03:17 AM10/28/03
to
Menel...@mailandnews.com (Count Menelvagor) wrote in message news:<6bfb27a8.03102...@posting.google.com>...

>
> (My parents once went to a healthfood store where the guy tried to
> sell them "living juice.")

And there was Melanie (not Melanie B.)who sang: Ring the living bell
(Ring the living bell),
Shine the living light (Shine the living light),
leaving everyone wondering what she meant.

Henriette

coyotes morgan mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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Oct 28, 2003, 3:29:58 AM10/28/03
to
In article <be50318e.03102...@posting.google.com>,
held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:

i got a brand new pair of roller skates
you got a brand new key

yavannadance

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Oct 28, 2003, 8:57:03 AM10/28/03
to
He was wearing the ring above ground when he entered the elve's
dwelling. I don't have the book in front of me but I think he went out
a couple of times for fresh air during that period when he would have
been wearing the ring.

"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message news:<sYmnb.81790$832....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com>...

Jim Deutch

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Oct 28, 2003, 12:02:52 PM10/28/03
to
On 27 Oct 2003 01:39:37 -0800, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:

>
>The second is about the mentioning of "living stone". This JRRT has
>mentioned more often. I find it fascinating, but I am not sure wat is
>being referred at.

Rock shaped and carved in place, as opposed to rock that is hewn from
a quarry and moved to where you want it. There's a connotation that
the rock has deep roots (even that it is part of the bedrock): you
wouldn't call even a very large boulder "living stone".

Jim Deutch
--
The purpose of SAT tests, IQ tests, etc, is to see to what extent you
can think like the test maker. In other words, it's largely a test of
social skills. - Keith F. Lynch

Jim Deutch

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Oct 28, 2003, 12:02:54 PM10/28/03
to
On Mon, 27 Oct 2003 00:06:11 -0000, Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no>
wrote:

>later on, we are shown a system that is more feudal - dare i say

>medieval? - with the king on top and underlings in specialised,
>designated positions - chief guard, butler - beneath him. were the
>models rather English Lords? and what exactly is a butler? does his job
>description involve moving barrels?

These are their roles as seen through Bilbo's eyes. I think it's The
Shire that's modeled on England...

>the wine is also a bit funny. it makes people merry, fine, but then they
>start talking to themselves or fall asleep, dreaming pleasantly, before
>they wake up apparently without any hangover. this sounds like some
>strongish drug rather than a wine, at least in my experience (only with
>wine, mind you). they're Elves, maybe they react differently to wine,
>and it's from Dorwinion, maybe a very special wine. does anyone know
>where Dorwinion is?

The wine is made from poppies. We don't need no steenkin' grapes!

Jim Deutch
--
Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

Taemon

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:14:33 PM10/28/03
to
Tamfiiris Entwife:

> Taemon:
> > He's lonely...
> but he has 13 wonderful dwarves to talk to - and they're probably dead
> eager to talk to him!

Yes, but he's always on the run. No opportunity to sit down with some cakes
and tea and cheese and pastries and have a nice chat about the wheather.
Must be hard for a hobbit.

> > Sounds like depression to me.
> what? you mean to say that being locked up alone in a cell for a long
> period of time doesn't build your character??

Usually it only kills character, but maybe it's different for our brave
dwarf.

Greetings, T.


Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:17:16 PM10/28/03
to
Žį kvaš žat yavannadance:

> He was wearing the ring above ground when he entered the elve's
> dwelling. I don't have the book in front of me but I think he went out
> a couple of times for fresh air during that period when he would have
> been wearing the ring.

maybe the "mirk" in Mirkwood is not merely the absence of light, but a
cloaking spell of some kind. this could explain why the company got so
totally lost and confused in it, and why Sauron's gaze can't penetrate
it.

just randomly musing.

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?

Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:17:17 PM10/28/03
to
Žį kvaš žat Een Wilde Ier:

> To a Hobbit, having no-one to talk to would be a misery, I suppose.

maybe this was when Bilbo developed his taste for solitude? the first
time he saw Lobelia approach after he'd re-settled himself in Hobbiton
he thought back to those blissful, lonely days in Thranduil's palace and
<whoosh>, he was gone.



> > we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
> > traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them from
> > a dragon?

> Surely you realise that a Dragon must alight and walk about in order to
> devour her prey, O Dragoness! <g>

if i heard word about tasty morsels of CHOKLIT hiding out in wooden
buildings on the water, i'd take my snacks in-flight, i think.

Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:18:18 PM10/28/03
to
Þá kvað þat Count Menelvagor:

> Now, I wd ahve expected you to take on the MURDER of Smaug -- which,
> as Oje pointed ount a while ago, is one of the most despicable crimes
> in literature.

<deep sigh> i couldn't possibly take on that chapter... each time i read
it, my heart becomes heavy, my lips start quivering, and lava starts
dripping from my eyes...

> Well, the butler was originally the guy in charge of dispensing wine
> ("bottler") if memeory serves.

a ha! Tolkien made a pun!

(until now, i'd only had a very vague idea of what a butler was. thanks
everyone for eddykating me!)



> And do immortals get drunk? Apparently so ... but soemhow it's hard
> to imagine either LOTR elves like Elrond etc., or Sil Elves like
> Feanor et al., boozin'; they seem too uptight, for oen thing ...

well, some weejuns apparently drink to get rid of their uptightness, so
maybe elves did the same.



> It's a fairly old narrative topos, I think. Chrétien de Troyes
> interrupts the anrration now and then to ask "Why would I make the
> story longer?"

curse them lazy-ass writers...

Taemon

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:21:02 PM10/28/03
to
Henriette:

> BTW Your remark about the Ring being a Babel Fish is very funny.

Yeah, YOU try putting it in your ear!

Greetings, T.


Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:37:30 PM10/28/03
to
Žį kvaš žat Henriette:

> The torches that I have seen, gave a nice bright yellow flame, which I
> would have thought more fitting for our Elves.

i would imagine that torches that burn bright and yellow (like tigers)
have a much hotter flame than reddish ones. i'm not sure the elves had
the technology to make that kind, and even if they could, would they
want it? hotter flames need more fuel, so they'd have to keep replacing
torches in rows upon rows along the corridores. poor elves!

on the other claw, maybe the red torch-light was the reason they were so
grumpy.

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

Pepsi and Sierra Mist, potato chips, burritos,
Nachos fit for salsa dip, cheezos and tostitos,
Roasted peanuts too we have, of any beer shall drink ye,
Junk food brought from Bree-way, from Rivendell a twinkie.
(E-Tom Bombadil)

Raven

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:25:36 PM10/28/03
to
"Tamfiiris Entwife" <nos...@nono.no> skrev i en meddelelse
news:MPG.1a08d1561...@news.online.no...

[...]
> my lips start quivering

What sort of quivering? The sort that is used to contain arrowsing?

Hrafn.


Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 28, 2003, 4:56:58 PM10/28/03
to
Žį kvaš žat Raven:

> > my lips start quivering

> What sort of quivering? The sort that is used to contain arrowsing?

the quivering is much the same as that of my nostrils before they start
flamesing.

--
Tamf, lellow dwagin and CHOKLIT-eater at your service.

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold;
What hath quench'd them hath given me fire.

Tamfiiris Entwife

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Oct 28, 2003, 4:58:29 PM10/28/03
to
Žį kvaš žat Taemon:

> > BTW Your remark about the Ring being a Babel Fish is very funny.
>
> Yeah, YOU try putting it in your ear!

"this way, Sam, they'll never be able to take it away from me - and i'll
never be afraid of accidentally losing it. Sam, why aren't you saying
anything? Sam? have you become a mime?"

Een Wilde Ier

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Oct 28, 2003, 5:41:04 PM10/28/03
to
Tamfiiris Entwife wrote:
> ?? kva? ?at Een Wilde Ier:

>
>
>>To a Hobbit, having no-one to talk to would be a misery, I suppose.
>
>
> maybe this was when Bilbo developed his taste for solitude? the first
> time he saw Lobelia approach after he'd re-settled himself in Hobbiton
> he thought back to those blissful, lonely days in Thranduil's palace and
> <whoosh>, he was gone.

LOL.

>>>we hear about Laketown, a city on stilts. this is a time-honoured
>>>traditon in many countries, but how may it conceivably protect them from
>>>a dragon?
>
>
>>Surely you realise that a Dragon must alight and walk about in order to
>>devour her prey, O Dragoness! <g>
>
>
> if i heard word about tasty morsels of CHOKLIT hiding out in wooden
> buildings on the water, i'd take my snacks in-flight, i think.

Did you sniff in disdain when others here were recentlt mourning another
Queen of the Skies, Concorde?

Kristian Damm Jensen

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Oct 29, 2003, 4:36:27 AM10/29/03
to
"AC" <tao...@alberni.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:slrnbpp8gb...@clausen.alberni.net...

> On Mon, 27 Oct 2003 00:06:11 -0000,
> Tamfiiris Entwife <nos...@nono.no> wrote:
>
> >
> > the elves are the third people we learn about who live inside a mountain
> > - the others were dwarves and goblins. does this land have very porous
> > mountains, or do these people not know how to build dwellings?
>
> Well, I'm assuming that, at least as far as the composition of The Hobbit,
> Tolkien was thinking of Menegroth here. The correlations are close
enough.
> Not that that the Elven king *was* Thingol (I don't think Tolkien intended
> that),

I quite agree on that, but on the other hand he (in later writings in UT)
recognized the similarities to the point of making it clear that Thranduil
was copying Menegroth in a small way.

This happens a lot in Tolkiens writing, he copies from himself: The layout
of Thranduils caves resembles Menegroth, the setup of Celeborn and Galadriel
is borrowed from Thingol&Melian. A list of these parallels (some more
obvious than others) could be fun to assemble.

--
Kristian Damm Jensen
damm (at) ofir (dot) dk


Henriette

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Oct 29, 2003, 4:49:23 AM10/29/03