Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch1: A Long-Expected Party

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Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

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Jan 19, 2004, 9:05:18 AM1/19/04
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Regulars, newbies and lurkers, here is the long-awaited (by me)
introduction of Chapter 1, Book 1 of "Fellowship of the Ring" in our
Chapter-of-the-Week discussion series. The chapter is (very
appropriately!) named "A Long-Expected Party".

The schedule, future unclaimed chapters, and volunteering instructions
can be found at David Flood's schedule webpage:

http://parasha.maoltuile.org

So, without further delay...

/me finishes second breakfast
/me sips cappuccino

CHAPTER SUMMARY:
----------------

The chapter reintroduces Bilbo Baggins of "The Hobbit" and also
introduces his "nephew" (actually first-cousin once-removed) Frodo
Baggins. They are preparing their birthday party, which falls on
September 22. Bilbo turns 111 (an old age even for a Hobbit) and Frodo
turns 33 (the Hobbit coming-of-age.) Everyone remarks how unnaturally
youthful Bilbo looks for his age. The Gaffer (Bilbo's gardener) and
several Hobbits reveal in their gossip how Frodo's parents drowned in
the river, causing Bilbo to adopt the orphan as his heir, earning him
the enmity of the Sackville-Bagginses who always coveted the Bag-End
estate. Bilbo and Frodo are seen by the rest of the Shire as eccentric
bachelors, and the legend of the treasure Bilbo brought back years ago
from the Lonely Mountain quest has been exaggerated to ridiculous
proportions. The insular Hobbits disapprove of the foreign guests Bilbo
entertains, including Dwarves and Gandalf the Wizard.

As the birthday nears, the Hobbits forgive Bilbo his oddness as they
work themselves into a party mood. The children are especially thrilled
at the return of Gandalf with magic fireworks. (What would the
fire-marshal say about those?) Hundreds of invitations are sent and
answered in the Hobbiton region. Tents are erected, furniture and
ornaments are put outside and food is ordered. When the day arrives,
guests are greeted in the Hobbitish tradition with gifts, but instead of
the usual "mathoms" (frequently passed-around items) the guests receive
desirable items of foreign (mainly Dwarvish) manufacture. The day-long
feasting, singing, dancing and games are followed in the evening by
Gandalf's spectacular fireworks. 144 guests** from the prominent Hobbit
families attend a special supper, followed by Bilbo's speech. After some
kind words and a confusing compliment, Bilbo announces his wish to
permanently leave the Shire, and suddenly slips on his Ring and
vanishes, alarming the guests and somewhat spoiling their mood.

Bilbo sneaks home and prepares to leave, deciding at the last minute to
keep the Ring he had originally intended to leave Frodo. Gandalf
intercepts him and insists he leave the Ring behind, and a confrontation
ensues, in which Bilbo displays an uncharacteristic possessiveness
Gandalf finds disturbing. Bilbo is finally intimidated into leaving the
Ring behind, and departs the Shire forever, leaving Gandalf to give
Frodo his inheritance.

Frodo, the new master of Bag-End, dismisses the party guests (not all
leaving under their own power) and regrets not seeing Bilbo off. The
next day Frodo orders the cleaning up of the party mess and distributes
special gifts (with poignant messages from Bilbo) to certain Hobbits.
Many Hobbits show up expecting a giveaway of the whole estate and must
be turned away. The Sackville-Bagginses give Frodo an especially hard
time. After evicting some treasure-hunting children, Frodo is visited by
Gandalf, who announces his own intention to leave the Shire, and tells
Frodo his growing concerns about the Ring and warns him to keep it safe
and use it seldom.

**[the number chosen for twelve dozen (one gross) and also the sum of
Bilbo's and Frodo's ages (111 and 33).]

SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:
--------------------------------

-Why is eleventy-one (111) such a special number to Hobbits instead of a
rounded decimal number like 100? Historical reasons? Could it have
something to do with the way 111 looks in their number system?

-Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin until
the "tweens." Why should this be so? Hobbits are well-nourished (at
least at the time of this Chapter) and presumably Shire-life requires
little growing into, either mental or physical.

-The Old Gaffer tells how Bilbo came to adopt Frodo, who was orphaned as
a child. If Frodo's parents survived, to whom would the Ring-quest have
fallen? I can't imagine a Shire-Hobbit less suited to the task than
Bilbo's heir-apparent, Otho Sackville-Baggins.

-How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
you one more reason to dread your own?

-Although unknown in the Shire, some of the best party favours proudly
bear the name "DALE" referring to the re-established city outside of
Lonely Mountain in the previous book. Apparently the name was once (and
is once more) a sign of fine craftsmanship, rather like "Made in Japan"
is today.

-Were the fourteen families at the supper speech right to feel offended
at being chosen for their number, and especially the way Bilbo abruptly
took his leave of them? Many Hobbits behaved quite coldly toward Frodo
the next day, considering the two Baggins threw the best party the Shire
had seen in a century.

-If Gandalf does not yet know that Bilbo's ring is the One Ring, why is
he so insistent that Bilbo keep to his plan of leaving it behind? Is he
merely disturbed by the possessiveness the Ring instills in Bilbo? Is it
wisdom or precognition that causes Gandalf to seemingly know more than
even himself is aware of?

-Frodo tells Gandalf about Bilbo's fabricated version of how he got the
Ring, referring to it as a "present." Obviously this refers to the first
edition of "The Hobbit", unaltered to fit in with LOTR.

-Even more so than in "The Hobbit", JRRT goes at length to describe the
comfortable life and petty squabbles of the Shire. Is this done in order
to contrast Shire life with the more savage and dangerous world outside?
Does this perhaps make 20th- and 21st-century readers relate to the
Hobbits more than they otherwise would?

-"Silmarillion" readers will also note the introduction of "potatoes",
another New World plant to join the seemingly anachronistic "Pipeweed"
(tobacco.) Are we perhaps to believe that these were introduced to
Middle-Earth by the seafaring Dunedain and subsequently forgotten?

-Even on the map, the Shire looks well-ordered and peaceful. A pleasant
mixture of villages, hills, woods and cleared fields connected by
winding roads. Although the Shire has no natural frontiers (except
perhaps the river Brandywine,) the Hedge in Buckland is the closest
thing it has to a fortification.

-Finally, you are by no means limited to the above topics, so please
share your thoughts on any other subject related to this chapter. The
floor is open.

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


Graeme

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Jan 19, 2004, 9:43:16 AM1/19/04
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>-Frodo tells Gandalf about Bilbo's fabricated version of how he got the
>Ring, referring to it as a "present." Obviously this refers to the first
>edition of "The Hobbit", unaltered to fit in with LOTR.

Yes, and it's why the original version of the Riddle Game should be restored to
The Hobbit, at least as an appendix. Fellowship tells us in 2 or 3 places that
Bilbo told the Dwarves about winning the Ring as a prize in the game, and
putting that version of the story into his memoirs, yet there's no trace of
that story left. Very confusing.

Caeruleo

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Jan 19, 2004, 9:58:20 AM1/19/04
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In article <yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>,

"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:

> -Even more so than in "The Hobbit", JRRT goes at length to describe the
> comfortable life and petty squabbles of the Shire. Is this done in order
> to contrast Shire life with the more savage and dangerous world outside?
> Does this perhaps make 20th- and 21st-century readers relate to the
> Hobbits more than they otherwise would?

As Tom Shippey has explained so well, Tolkien here was intentionally
introducing a more "modern" element into the story so that the reader
can identify with such characters as they, like the reader, discover
more aspects of Middle-Earth from more or less the same point of view as
the reader. It is for this reason that the Shire is portrayed as being
more or less like Victorian or Edwardian-era England, with, for example,
a postal service, which was not in existence in England until 1837
(according to Shippey), & which obviously would have taken a few decades
to become commonly used in England, which contrasts the Shire with the
more "Medieval" remainder of Middle-Earth.

> -"Silmarillion" readers will also note the introduction of "potatoes",
> another New World plant to join the seemingly anachronistic "Pipeweed"
> (tobacco.) Are we perhaps to believe that these were introduced to
> Middle-Earth by the seafaring Dunedain and subsequently forgotten?

Not necessarily, since for all of Tolkien's original conception of this
being an "English" mythology, Middle-Earth is still not quite "our"
world, with exactly the same history. Thus a plant such as the potato
can have a different history in Middle-Earth than it does in our actual
history. Tobacco, on the other hand, Tolkien does specifically suggest
was indeed brought to Middle-Earth by the Dunedain, as in the Prologue
to LOTR, Merry's quoted "documentation" on Pipeweed contains these
words, that the weed "came northward from the lower Anduin, whither it
was, I suspect, originally brought over the Sea by the Men of
Westernesse." But your "anachronistic" observation is again a good one,
since this is yet another example of Tolkien giving the reader a bridge
to Middle-Earth through "modern" characteristics with which it can be
contrasted & through which it can be discovered & observed.

Pradera

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Jan 19, 2004, 11:19:44 AM1/19/04
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On 19 sty 2004, "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> scribbled
loosely:

> -The Old Gaffer tells how Bilbo came to adopt Frodo, who was orphaned as
> a child. If Frodo's parents survived, to whom would the Ring-quest have
> fallen? I can't imagine a Shire-Hobbit less suited to the task than
> Bilbo's heir-apparent, Otho Sackville-Baggins.

Hmm does this mean Frodo's parents' death was yet another example of
'Intervenion'? I wonder if Tolkien ever thought of it this way.

--
Pradera
---
The Greatest Tolkien Fan Ever(tm)
Books are books, movies are movies, PJ's LotR is crap.

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

Stan Brown

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Jan 19, 2004, 12:59:15 PM1/19/04
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Something worth noting, before referring to ESB's specific points,
is the parallelism in chapter titles. Chapter 1 of /the Hobbit/ was
"An Unexpected Party"; Chapter 1 of LotR is "A Long-expected Party".
As we all know, LotR was originally supposed to be a sequel to /The
Hobbit/.

It seems "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien
in article <yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>:


> his "nephew" (actually first-cousin once-removed) Frodo Baggins

Actually, first _and_ second cousin, once removed either way. I
mention this not to be grumpy but because I've always enjoyed
working out the relationships.

Advert: "Relationship Terms",
http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/relation.htm
which does not however use Bilbo and Frodo as examples.

>-Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
>with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin until
>the "tweens." Why should this be so? Hobbits are well-nourished (at
>least at the time of this Chapter) and presumably Shire-life requires
>little growing into, either mental or physical.

It's their nature, perhaps related to the same glandular difference
that makes their height so much less than that of other humans.

>-How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
>giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
>perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
>you one more reason to dread your own?

How it began, I don't know. But it seems self-evidently better to
me. Under the US system, you have to shop for birthday presents many
times a year, and you get them only once. Under the Shire system,
you get presents many times a year, and you have to shop for
birthday presents only once.

>-If Gandalf does not yet know that Bilbo's ring is the One Ring, why is
>he so insistent that Bilbo keep to his plan of leaving it behind? Is he
>merely disturbed by the possessiveness the Ring instills in Bilbo? Is it
>wisdom or precognition that causes Gandalf to seemingly know more than
>even himself is aware of?

I think there may be some "wisdom or precognition" involved. Tolkien
characters generally are given to saying "I feel in my heart that
..." and making predictions about the future taht come true.

But the evidence was to hand: Bilbo _told_ Gandalf that he was
feeling all thin and stretched, like butter scraped over to much
bread; also that the Ring was growing on his mind. These reports of
Bilbo's must have confirmed Gandalf's own vague uneasiness.

--
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

Taemon

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Jan 19, 2004, 1:19:34 PM1/19/04
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Stan Brown wrote:

> Under the US system, you have to shop for birthday presents
> many times a year, and you get them only once. Under the Shire
> system, you get presents many times a year, and you have to shop
> for birthday presents only once.

But you have to buy a lot of presents and get only one every time,
while in our system you have to buy only one present at a time and
receive many of them. So in the end, nothing changes. Tip: buy all
your birthday presents beforehand, in one large shopping-session :-)

T.


Jette Goldie

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Jan 19, 2004, 1:19:24 PM1/19/04
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote

> -How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
> giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
> perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
> you one more reason to dread your own?


Dunno, but British civil servants get to buy the cakes
for everyone else in the office on their birthday.

Good reason to take a holiday on your birthday so you're
not at work to buy said cakes. ;-)


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


Pradera

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Jan 19, 2004, 1:34:14 PM1/19/04
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On 19 sty 2004, Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> scribbled loosely:

>>-Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
>>with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin until
>>the "tweens." Why should this be so? Hobbits are well-nourished (at
>>least at the time of this Chapter) and presumably Shire-life requires
>>little growing into, either mental or physical.
>
> It's their nature, perhaps related to the same glandular difference
> that makes their height so much less than that of other humans.

Well, according to my pet theory this might be another indication of their
Maiar ancestry :)
Smaller organisms have higher metabolism, don't they? That would explain
why the hobbits have to eat constantly. Also, this would mean that their
actual lifespan in 'hobbit years' is much longer than given in sun years,
as their metabolism is faster.

AC

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Jan 19, 2004, 3:14:47 PM1/19/04
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On Mon, 19 Jan 2004 14:05:18 GMT,
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:
> -Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
> with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin until
> the "tweens." Why should this be so? Hobbits are well-nourished (at
> least at the time of this Chapter) and presumably Shire-life requires
> little growing into, either mental or physical.

I've noticed this as well. It must be an oddity of the Hobbit-race.

> -How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
> giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
> perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
> you one more reason to dread your own?

I imagine a lot of recycling of presents goes on.

> -Were the fourteen families at the supper speech right to feel offended
> at being chosen for their number, and especially the way Bilbo abruptly
> took his leave of them? Many Hobbits behaved quite coldly toward Frodo
> the next day, considering the two Baggins threw the best party the Shire
> had seen in a century.

Oh, I do think they had some right to be angry. I personally would feel I
was the butt of a joke.

>
> -If Gandalf does not yet know that Bilbo's ring is the One Ring, why is
> he so insistent that Bilbo keep to his plan of leaving it behind? Is he
> merely disturbed by the possessiveness the Ring instills in Bilbo? Is it
> wisdom or precognition that causes Gandalf to seemingly know more than
> even himself is aware of?

I think it's a bit of all of the above. Certainly a magic ring that made
people invisible was a matter of great curiousity, and of concern.

> -Even more so than in "The Hobbit", JRRT goes at length to describe the
> comfortable life and petty squabbles of the Shire. Is this done in order
> to contrast Shire life with the more savage and dangerous world outside?
> Does this perhaps make 20th- and 21st-century readers relate to the
> Hobbits more than they otherwise would?

I think there was a great deal of intent to contrast the Shire to the world
at large, or at least to show how Hobbits lead a sheltered and (as we later
learn) heavily defended life.

>
> -"Silmarillion" readers will also note the introduction of "potatoes",
> another New World plant to join the seemingly anachronistic "Pipeweed"
> (tobacco.) Are we perhaps to believe that these were introduced to
> Middle-Earth by the seafaring Dunedain and subsequently forgotten?

That is what I believe, anyways.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao_of_cow/\alberni.net (replace /\ with @)

Elwë Singollo

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Jan 19, 2004, 3:38:03 PM1/19/04
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Excellent summary!

> SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:
> --------------------------------
>

>


> -The Old Gaffer tells how Bilbo came to adopt Frodo, who was orphaned as
> a child. If Frodo's parents survived, to whom would the Ring-quest have
> fallen? I can't imagine a Shire-Hobbit less suited to the task than
> Bilbo's heir-apparent, Otho Sackville-Baggins.

Interesting question, but it is always dangerous to start with the "What if"
kind of question.
If Frodo's parent's survived, who knows what would have happened. We could
start an endless discussion, and at the end we would be at the same place
than we started, because nobody knows the answer (Except Tolkien and
Illuvatar maybe...)
>

>
> -Were the fourteen families at the supper speech right to feel offended
> at being chosen for their number, and especially the way Bilbo abruptly
> took his leave of them? Many Hobbits behaved quite coldly toward Frodo
> the next day, considering the two Baggins threw the best party the Shire
> had seen in a century.

Apart the Sackville-Bagginses, the thought that they have been invited to
fill the holes propably didn't reach the mind of the families which were
invited, therefore, I don't think that the fact Bilbo precised why he
invited 144 guests offended the hobbits. His way of leaving, however, was
quite rude, and if I were a hobbit invited to Bilbo's party, I would have
found his manner quite impolite. And maybe it was fear that pushed some
hobbits to behave coldly towards Frodo, when they realized Bilbo didn't
reappear. For them, the Bagginses are definitely queer.


> -If Gandalf does not yet know that Bilbo's ring is the One Ring, why is
> he so insistent that Bilbo keep to his plan of leaving it behind? Is he
> merely disturbed by the possessiveness the Ring instills in Bilbo? Is it
> wisdom or precognition that causes Gandalf to seemingly know more than
> even himself is aware of?

Well, but why did it take so long until Gandalf understood? He knew the one
ring was lost. When Bilbo finds his, why didn't Gandalf wondered what kind
of ring it was? I think his trip to Minas Tirith's library should have been
made right after he left Bilbo at the end of the hobbit. What troubled
Gandalf's wits? Pipeweed ? :-)

>
> -Frodo tells Gandalf about Bilbo's fabricated version of how he got the
> Ring, referring to it as a "present." Obviously this refers to the first
> edition of "The Hobbit", unaltered to fit in with LOTR.

So the first edition of the "Hobbit" is Bilbo's account of the story if I
understand correctly?

>

I just wanted to add that it took me many years to realize that the Hobbit
and LOTR's first chapter had a similar title...

Elwë


Chelsea Christenson

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Jan 19, 2004, 3:50:29 PM1/19/04
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Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld wrote:

> -Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
> with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin until
> the "tweens."

Hobbits come of age at 33, which would be roughly equivalent to the
human 21. It sounds like hobbits live about 30-40 years longer than
humans, on average, so adding about 12 years to each life phase would
even things out.

To get into the realm of biological speculation: For humans, the size
of the head is an important factor in the timing of childbirth and
development. One theory is that infants are, in fact, born about three
months "too soon" because leaving them in any longer would result in
children with heads too big to fit through the birth canal. It's not
until babies are three months old or so that they begin to exhibit
skills for interacting with the world, skills which other mammal
newborns exhibit from birth.

With hobbits, you've got to worry about the heads _and_ the feet. So
it's possible that hobbits have a comparitively short gestation period
(given the complexity and size of the organism) followed by a much
longer phase of initial development.

Raven

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Jan 19, 2004, 2:07:50 PM1/19/04
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> skrev i en meddelelse
news:yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no...

> -Why is eleventy-one (111) such a special number to Hobbits instead of a
> rounded decimal number like 100? Historical reasons? Could it have
> something to do with the way 111 looks in their number system?

It looks funny in our number system as well. This is a matter of
opinion, of course.

> -How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
> giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
> perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
> you one more reason to dread your own?

I find that, once I have completed the uncomfortable task of *finding*
suitable Christmas presents, I quite enjoy *giving* them.

> -If Gandalf does not yet know that Bilbo's ring is the One Ring, why is
> he so insistent that Bilbo keep to his plan of leaving it behind? Is he
> merely disturbed by the possessiveness the Ring instills in Bilbo? Is it
> wisdom or precognition that causes Gandalf to seemingly know more than
> even himself is aware of?

We do know that Gandalf knew from the beginning that Bilbo's trove is one
of the Great Rings. For all he knew it might have been one of the
Dwarven-rings.

Marghvran.


Bruce Tucker

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Jan 19, 2004, 4:59:17 PM1/19/04
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"Elwë Singollo" <elwe.s...@doriath.me> wrote

> > -If Gandalf does not yet know that Bilbo's ring is the One Ring, why
is
> > he so insistent that Bilbo keep to his plan of leaving it behind? Is
he
> > merely disturbed by the possessiveness the Ring instills in Bilbo?
Is it
> > wisdom or precognition that causes Gandalf to seemingly know more
than
> > even himself is aware of?
>
> Well, but why did it take so long until Gandalf understood? He knew
the one
> ring was lost. When Bilbo finds his, why didn't Gandalf wondered what
kind
> of ring it was? I think his trip to Minas Tirith's library should have
been
> made right after he left Bilbo at the end of the hobbit. What troubled
> Gandalf's wits? Pipeweed ? :-)

I think Gandalf probably assumed it was one of the many lesser rings not
named in the rhyme. He knew it wasn't one of the Three, the Seven, or
the Nine, which were all accounted for, and in any case were all set
with stones. He knew the One was lost, yes, but I don't think it
occurred to him at first that it would turn up with Bilbo Baggins of all
people, or with a strange Gollum-creature deep under the roots of the
mountains quite far from where it had been lost. Everyone assumed the
One was still in the river somewhere near the Gladden Fields, or had
washed downstream. Look at it this way: Gandalf's been around for 2,000
years now and the One's never turned up before, whereas from the casual
way he speaks of them it's likely he's seen lesser rings turn up from
time to time before.

I imagine, too, one thing that allayed any suspicions he had in that
direction was the lack of more visible malign affects on Bilbo - anyone
other than a Hobbit would undoubtedly have been much more affected by
keeping and using the Ring, and Gandalf may have subconsciously been
saying to himself something like, "Could it be... no, of course not,
little chap isn't turning wraith-like or seeking to dominate everyone
around him, surely if it were THAT I'd see the effects on him." It might
be that only much later did he realize that what he was seeing was the
way the Ring affected a Hobbit.

As to why he grows concerned for Bilbo even before he suspects it's the
One Ring, he says later that the lesser rings might have been trifles
for the Noldor but they could be dangerous for any mortal.

--
Bruce Tucker
disinte...@mindspring.com


Tamim

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Jan 19, 2004, 5:04:30 PM1/19/04
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In alt.fan.tolkien Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

> I think there may be some "wisdom or precognition" involved. Tolkien
> characters generally are given to saying "I feel in my heart that
> ..." and making predictions about the future taht come true.


Didn't he at that time guess that it was one of the rings of power but
didn't yet know which one? Or was that a later occurrence?

snip

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 19, 2004, 5:19:55 PM1/19/04
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote

<snip excellent summary>

> SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:
> --------------------------------

You forgot to mention how the style of writing is much like The Hobbit
and can put some people off. I hardly ever reread this chapter anymore
(but did enjoy it just now). I would almost advise first-time readers to
skip the chapter. Is that desirable?

> -How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of
honour
> giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
> perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
> you one more reason to dread your own?

Tolkien wrote at length (7 pages) about hobbit birthday customs in
Letter 214. It really is worth having a look at it for its comments on
possible reasons why Smeagol/Gollum expected to _receive_ a birthday
present from Deagol (instead of giving a present), and for explicit
details of hobbit birthday customs, as well as inheritance rules
relating to Smeagol's family being ruled by a matriarch. Best of all is
the tale of the Took families and of Lalia the Great (or Fat) and Pearl,
Pippin's sister. Hilarious!

For those who have read 'Letters', can I ask if I am correct in my
impression that Tolkien was inspired by that reader's question (about
Gollum expecting to receive a present), inspired to invent the hobbit
birthday customs there and then? Or had he already elsewhere written
much of what he put in the letter. I prefer to think that we are
witnessing pure creativity on Tolkien's part, his imagination running
riot.


Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard


Een Wilde Ier

unread,
Jan 19, 2004, 6:11:01 PM1/19/04
to
Jette Goldie wrote:

> "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote
>
>>-How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
>>giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
>>perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
>>you one more reason to dread your own?
>
>
>
> Dunno, but British civil servants get to buy the cakes
> for everyone else in the office on their birthday.
>
> Good reason to take a holiday on your birthday so you're
> not at work to buy said cakes. ;-)

Which you would never do ;-)

Conrad B Dunkerson

unread,
Jan 19, 2004, 6:32:16 PM1/19/04
to
"Bruce Tucker" <disinte...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:buhk3j$qmm$1...@mailgate2.lexis-nexis.com...

> I think Gandalf probably assumed it was one of the many lesser rings not
> named in the rhyme. He knew it wasn't one of the Three, the Seven, or
> the Nine, which were all accounted for, and in any case were all set
> with stones. He knew the One was lost

I think the question is... WHEN did Gandalf know all these things?

I'd guess the sequence might be something like;

Huh, invisibilty... must be one of the lesser rings.
Bilbo isn't getting older... could it be a Great Ring?
Are all the Seven (and Nine) accounted for? Time for research.
Research says the Great Rings each had a stone. Could it be the One?
Bilbo was acting very strange, frightening... need more research!
Scroll says there was writing... this one has writing. Oh damn.


If Gandalf has known that all the Great Rings except the One had stones
and only the Great Rings prevented aging from the start he'd have known
Bilbo had the One as soon as it became clear that Bilbo wasn't getting
older... decades before he actually figured it out.

loisillon

unread,
Jan 19, 2004, 6:47:15 PM1/19/04
to
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote in message news:<MPG.1a75e4fd4...@news.odyssey.net>...

> Something worth noting, before referring to ESB's specific points,
> is the parallelism in chapter titles. Chapter 1 of /the Hobbit/ was
> "An Unexpected Party"; Chapter 1 of LotR is "A Long-expected Party".
> As we all know, LotR was originally supposed to be a sequel to /The
> Hobbit/.
>
> It seems "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien
> in article <yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>:

>

> >-If Gandalf does not yet know that Bilbo's ring is the One Ring, why is
> >he so insistent that Bilbo keep to his plan of leaving it behind? Is he
> >merely disturbed by the possessiveness the Ring instills in Bilbo? Is it
> >wisdom or precognition that causes Gandalf to seemingly know more than
> >even himself is aware of?
>
> I think there may be some "wisdom or precognition" involved. Tolkien
> characters generally are given to saying "I feel in my heart that
> ..." and making predictions about the future taht come true.
>
> But the evidence was to hand: Bilbo _told_ Gandalf that he was
> feeling all thin and stretched, like butter scraped over to much
> bread; also that the Ring was growing on his mind. These reports of
> Bilbo's must have confirmed Gandalf's own vague uneasiness.

At Bilbo's anniversary, Gandal knows the existence of this Ring for a
long time. What worries him, is obviously the obsession which Bilbo
expresses for this Ring. But Gandalf has a problem: the expert in
this point, is Saroumane, the one who could know anymore. And
Gandalf, from the very start, does not rely on Saroumane, it seems to
me. It Thus, Gandalf tries, to get an opinion about the Ring by
questioning Gollum (see later "the shadow of the past").

Shanahan

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Jan 19, 2004, 7:29:05 PM1/19/04
to
"Chelsea Christenson" <Chelsea.C...@nospam.com> wrote:
> To get into the realm of biological speculation: For humans, the size
> of the head is an important factor in the timing of childbirth and
> development. One theory is that infants are, in fact, born about three
> months "too soon" because leaving them in any longer would result in
> children with heads too big to fit through the birth canal. It's not
> until babies are three months old or so that they begin to exhibit
> skills for interacting with the world, skills which other mammal
> newborns exhibit from birth.
> With hobbits, you've got to worry about the heads _and_ the feet.

Is that really true? I don't believe that hobbits had big feet, I think
that's an invention of the illustrators from 'way back (curse you,
Hildebrant brothers!). I don't recall any of Tolkien's own illustrations or
descriptions showing big feet. Furry, yes.

Anyone else know for sure?

-- Shanahan


Emma Pease

unread,
Jan 19, 2004, 8:37:37 PM1/19/04
to
In article <4OZOb.60$ro4...@nwrdny02.gnilink.net>, Conrad B Dunkerson wrote:
> "Bruce Tucker" <disinte...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
> news:buhk3j$qmm$1...@mailgate2.lexis-nexis.com...
>
>> I think Gandalf probably assumed it was one of the many lesser rings not
>> named in the rhyme. He knew it wasn't one of the Three, the Seven, or
>> the Nine, which were all accounted for, and in any case were all set
>> with stones. He knew the One was lost
>
> I think the question is... WHEN did Gandalf know all these things?
>
> I'd guess the sequence might be something like;
>
> Huh, invisibilty... must be one of the lesser rings.
> Bilbo isn't getting older... could it be a Great Ring?

But his maternal relations are well-known to be long-lived

> Are all the Seven (and Nine) accounted for? Time for research.

Saruman has said the One has rolled down the Anduin to the Great Sea
and as the expert he should known. I don't think Gandalf and most of
the Council except Saruman were expecting the ring to show up again
until the lands under sea rose again. They probably did keep an eye
on whether corsairs were engaged in massive dredging operations near
the mouths of the Anduin.

We are jumping ahead a chapter, but, I would guess that Saruman's
opinion was enough to delay Gandalf doing anything in regards to the
ring until Bilbo's party (Gandalf had plenty of other concerns to
worry about).

After the party, Gandalf finally made finding out about the ring a
priority item.

> Research says the Great Rings each had a stone. Could it be the One?
> Bilbo was acting very strange, frightening... need more research!
> Scroll says there was writing... this one has writing. Oh damn.

> If Gandalf has known that all the Great Rings except the One had stones
> and only the Great Rings prevented aging from the start he'd have known
> Bilbo had the One as soon as it became clear that Bilbo wasn't getting
> older... decades before he actually figured it out.

Emma


--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht

Count Menelvagor

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Jan 19, 2004, 11:58:25 PM1/19/04
to
Pradera <pra...@pradera.prv.pl> wrote in message news:<Xns9475C714A7F63p...@130.133.1.4>...

> On 19 sty 2004, Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> scribbled loosely:

> Well, according to my pet theory this might be another indication of their

> Maiar ancestry :)
> Smaller organisms have higher metabolism, don't they? That would explain
> why the hobbits have to eat constantly. Also, this would mean that their
> actual lifespan in 'hobbit years' is much longer than given in sun years,
> as their metabolism is faster.

Indeed, some of us have theorized that Hobbits might be Balrogs that
were horribly warped and mutilated by Gandalf.

Steuard Jensen

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 12:38:16 AM1/20/04
to
Quoth "Conrad B Dunkerson" <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> in
article <4OZOb.60$ro4...@nwrdny02.gnilink.net>:

> I think the question is... WHEN did Gandalf know all these things?

I agree.

> I'd guess the sequence might be something like;

Generally looks good... but I'd throw in one extra step (and an extra
hesitation):

> Huh, invisibilty... must be one of the lesser rings.
> Bilbo isn't getting older...

...how much did those lesser Rings do? Time for a little research.
Research says only the Great Rings extend life...

> ...could it be a Great Ring?

[Or is his family just long lived? Not urgent yet.]

> Are all the Seven (and Nine) accounted for? Time for research.
> Research says the Great Rings each had a stone. Could it be the One?
> Bilbo was acting very strange, frightening... need more research!
> Scroll says there was writing... this one has writing. Oh damn.

You've left out the Gollum-hunt here, too, which certainly came before
the "Oh damn" moment that you've listed. :) I'd also suggest that the
"Not urgent yet" that I've listed above could easily have pushed back
all of the research that either of us mentioned until after the
Party.

In fact, that seems fairly likely to me: if Gandalf was worried enough
to start looking into things carefully, he probably wouldn't stop
until he found something that made him less worried instead of more.
But the only piece of evidence he ever got that Bilbo's Ring wasn't
the One was Saruman's strong claim that the One had been swept into
the Sea. I don't recall when exactly that was; it's possible that it
was in that pre-party gap (heck, Gandalf's desire for research at that
point may have been what prompted the Council to discuss the Rings at
that time). Anyone have the direct dates of these things at hand?
(It may even be in Appendix B, or possibly described in the essay on
the Istari in UT... among other places. :) )

> If Gandalf has known that all the Great Rings except the One had
> stones and only the Great Rings prevented aging from the start he'd
> have known Bilbo had the One as soon as it became clear that Bilbo
> wasn't getting older... decades before he actually figured it out.

As Gandalf himself mentioned at some point, he was willing to overlook
Bilbo's lack of aging because of his long-lived ancestry... at least
for a while. But I still generally agree with you here: if Gandalf
had known all tht Saruman knew about the Rings from the start (or even
just all that you've listed), he probably would have guessed the
situation sooner.
Steuard Jensen

Insane Ranter

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 1:16:41 AM1/20/04
to

"Count Menelvagor" <Menel...@mailandnews.com> wrote in message
news:6bfb27a8.04011...@posting.google.com...

Do they have wings?


Hasmonean Tazmanian

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:13:33 AM1/20/04
to


No those were care-bears.

Some Balrogs swallowed the palantirs, causing the emergence of a new
stock: teletubbies.

Hasam

Graeme

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 1:42:02 AM1/20/04
to
>>Hmm does this mean Frodo's parents' death was yet another example of
'Intervenion'? I wonder if Tolkien ever thought of it this way.

--
Pradera
---
>>

I doubt it. If not Frodo, Bilbo would have adopted someone else, most likely,
and probably would have made another good choice.

Graeme

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 1:52:17 AM1/20/04
to
>I think the question is... WHEN did Gandalf know all these things?
>
>I'd guess the sequence might be something like;
>
>Huh, invisibilty... must be one of the lesser rings.
>Bilbo isn't getting older... could it be a Great Ring?
>Are all the Seven (and Nine) accounted for? Time for research.
>Research says the Great Rings each had a stone. Could it be the One?
>Bilbo was acting very strange, frightening... need more research!
>Scroll says there was writing... this one has writing. Oh damn.

A pretty good sequence, except, as you'll remember, it took him a long time to
decide whether Bilbo really was aging or not. As a descendant of Gerontius,
Bilbo might look young for quite some time.


>>If Gandalf has known that all the Great Rings except the One had stones and
only the Great Rings prevented aging from the start he'd have known Bilbo had
the One as soon as it became clear that Bilbo wasn't getting older... decades
before he actually figured it out.
>>

He tells Frodo in Chapter 2 that it was plain from the start that Bilbo's ring
was a great ring, but that has to be an error. He probably didn't really know
that until he came back and told Frodo everything.

Jesse

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 3:24:51 AM1/20/04
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>...

>
> SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:
> --------------------------------
>
> -Why is eleventy-one (111) such a special number to Hobbits instead of a
> rounded decimal number like 100? Historical reasons? Could it have
> something to do with the way 111 looks in their number system?

It dates back to an old hobbit by the name of Nelson...

(non-cricket fans, please ignore ;p)

Jette Goldie

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Jan 20, 2004, 12:51:05 PM1/20/04
to

"Een Wilde Ier" <theu...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:buho65$hv5b3$4...@ID-121201.news.uni-berlin.de...

of course not - my birthday was on a Sunday last year -
that I happened to be in Ireland the next day was just
co-incidence!

Bill O'Meally

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:16:18 PM1/20/04
to

"loisillon" <lois...@libertysurf.fr> wrote in message
news:d1eee332.0401...@posting.google.com...

But Gandalf has a problem: the expert in
> this point, is Saroumane, the one who could know anymore. And
> Gandalf, from the very start, does not rely on Saroumane, it seems to
> me.

Quite the opposite. Gandalf, as well as the entire White Council were
falsely reassured by Saruman that the Ring had long ago rolled to the
sea. This was one of the major reasons for Gandalf's delay. They did not
yat suspect that Saruman was seeking the Ring for himself, and as we all
know, Saruman could be *very* persuasive.
--
Bill

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


Henriette

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:23:56 PM1/20/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<fKYOb.4259$6R5.56...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

>
> You forgot to mention how the style of writing is much like The Hobbit
> and can put some people off. I hardly ever reread this chapter anymore
> (but did enjoy it just now). I would almost advise first-time readers to
> skip the chapter. Is that desirable?
>
My eldest brother, whom it took me so much time to convince to try to
read LOTR, and who did not read TH, said he was very sceptical when he
started reading until his attention was really caught by the
unexpected disappearance of Bilbo. So, apart from my sense of
systematism which screams NO, I would say: don't skip.

Henriette

Bill O'Meally

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:19:59 PM1/20/04
to


"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message
news:yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no...

> -Why is eleventy-one (111) such a special number to Hobbits instead of
a
> rounded decimal number like 100? Historical reasons? Could it have
> something to do with the way 111 looks in their number system?

It's just so much more fun to say "eleventy-one" than "one-hundred".
No, seriously, living to 100 was relatively commonplace for Hobbits and
therefore nothing special.

Henriette

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:27:57 PM1/20/04
to
AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message news:<slrnc0oele.1ag....@namibia.tandem>...

> On Mon, 19 Jan 2004 14:05:18 GMT,
> Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:
>
> > -How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
> > giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
> > perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
> > you one more reason to dread your own?
>
> I imagine a lot of recycling of presents goes on.
>
You are told a lot of recycling goes on: remember the "mathoms"?

Henriette

Bill O'Meally

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:25:38 PM1/20/04
to


"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message
news:yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no...

> -Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
> with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin
until

> the "tweens." Why should this be so?

Story externally, it adds to the idyllic atmosphere of Hobbit life. Here
is a group of people with little strife, essentially no crime, the most
rudimentary government (yet able to manage their own affairs
efficiently), who eat *six* meals a day, and have an extended childhood!

Bill O'Meally

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:41:20 PM1/20/04
to


"Steuard Jensen" <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote in message
news:c93Pb.37$Y4.1...@news.uchicago.edu...

> As Gandalf himself mentioned at some point, he was willing to overlook
> Bilbo's lack of aging because of his long-lived ancestry... at least
> for a while. But I still generally agree with you here: if Gandalf
> had known all tht Saruman knew about the Rings from the start (or even
> just all that you've listed), he probably would have guessed the
> situation sooner.

I think we're jumping ahead here, but it's hard to put the blinders on
and pretend we've only read the first chapter :-).

Gandalf saw the effect on aging the Ring had on Gollum, and knew that he
was of 'Hobbit-kind'. He knew it was a Great Ring, therefore. However,
he had been reassurred by Saruman that it couldn't be the One, so he let
it be. I agree that Saruman was a big reason for Gandalf's delay.

Henriette

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 1:53:27 PM1/20/04
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>...
>
Thank you, Dr Ernst, a very good beginning of a new round!

> (snip) The day-long feasting, singing, dancing and games are followed in the
> evening by Gandalf's spectacular fireworks.

What dances and what games am I supposed to think of? What "obviously
magical toys" am I to think of, or do I have to make that up
completely by myself?

> After some
> kind words and a confusing compliment, Bilbo announces his wish to
> permanently leave the Shire, and suddenly slips on his Ring and
> vanishes, alarming the guests and somewhat spoiling their mood.

"Chuckle moment":"It was generally agreed that the joke was in very
bad taste"
>
> (snip)intercepts him and insists he leave the Ring behind, and a confrontation
> ensues, in which Bilbo displays an uncharacteristic possessiveness
> Gandalf finds disturbing. Bilbo is finally intimidated into leaving the
> Ring behind,

Even though Gandalf insists later it was important Bilbo left the Ring
behind of his "own free will".....
>
> -Finally, you are by no means limited to the above topics, so please
> share your thoughts on any other subject related to this chapter. The
> floor is open.

1) Sancho Proudfoot. What an unusual name! Is the professor winking at
us and thinking of Sancho Panza?

2)Up till now I thought Gandalf was clairvoyant, but on re-reading
Chapter I of LOTR I think he may be bluffing:
To Bilbo, at their parting, he says mysteriously: "Until our next
meeting!". Next day, when Frodo wonders if he will ever see Bilbo
again, Gandalf replies: "So do I!"!!!! He also says to Bilbo about his
book: "But nobody will read the book, however it ends".......!

"Chuckle moment 2": "All[...]guests[...]rather dreaded the
after-dinner speech of their host[...]. He was liable to drag in bits
of what he called poetry[...]"

Henriette

Henriette

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Jan 20, 2004, 1:57:42 PM1/20/04
to
Menel...@mailandnews.com (Count Menelvagor) wrote in message news:<6bfb27a8.04011...@posting.google.com>...

> Pradera <pra...@pradera.prv.pl> wrote in message news:<Xns9475C714A7F63p...@130.133.1.4>...
> > On 19 sty 2004, Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> scribbled loosely:
>
> > Well, according to my pet theory this might be another indication of their
> > Maiar ancestry :)
> > Smaller organisms have higher metabolism, don't they? That would explain
> > why the hobbits have to eat constantly. Also, this would mean that their
> > actual lifespan in 'hobbit years' is much longer than given in sun years,
> > as their metabolism is faster.
>
> Indeed, some of us

I.e. We, Count Menelvagor,

> have theorized that Hobbits might be Balrogs that
> were horribly warped and mutilated by Gandalf.

Henriette

Pradera

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 2:29:41 PM1/20/04
to
On 20 sty 2004, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) scribbled loosely:

> 1) Sancho Proudfoot. What an unusual name! Is the professor winking at
> us and thinking of Sancho Panza?

I think he just ran out of names ending with '-o', since he decided it
would be most common male ending in translation from Westron...

--
Pradera
---
The Greatest Tolkien Fan Ever(tm)
Books are books, movies are movies, PJ's LotR is crap.

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

Bruce Tucker

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 5:10:47 PM1/20/04
to
"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote
>
> "Steuard Jensen" <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote

>
> > As Gandalf himself mentioned at some point, he was willing to
overlook
> > Bilbo's lack of aging because of his long-lived ancestry... at least
> > for a while. But I still generally agree with you here: if Gandalf
> > had known all tht Saruman knew about the Rings from the start (or
even
> > just all that you've listed), he probably would have guessed the
> > situation sooner.
>
> I think we're jumping ahead here, but it's hard to put the blinders on
> and pretend we've only read the first chapter :-).
>
> Gandalf saw the effect on aging the Ring had on Gollum, and knew that
he
> was of 'Hobbit-kind'. He knew it was a Great Ring, therefore. However,
> he had been reassurred by Saruman that it couldn't be the One, so he
let
> it be. I agree that Saruman was a big reason for Gandalf's delay.

But he didn't see Gollum until some years after the party, right?
Presumably all he knew of Gollum to begin with was what Bilbo described
in the first edition of The Hobbit: some sort of odd, unknown creature
that lived in the dark.

And how long had it been before the party since Gandalf had seen Bilbo?
If it had been some years he may not have realized just how unnaturally
"well-preserved" Bilbo was getting to be until right around the party
itself.

Need to go back to the Tale of Years and check the dates, I suppose.

--
Bruce Tucker
disinte...@mindspring.com


Conrad B Dunkerson

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 6:42:00 PM1/20/04
to
"Shanahan" <poq...@redsuspenders.com> wrote in message
news:400c...@news.netacc.net...

> Is that really true? I don't believe that hobbits had big feet, I think
> that's an invention of the illustrators from 'way back

Right you are. There is nothing in the books saying they had big feet and
Tolkien did not draw them that way... yet it seems to be one of the few
things most people think they 'know' about hobbits.

Conrad B Dunkerson

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Jan 20, 2004, 7:11:43 PM1/20/04
to
"Graeme" <graem...@aol.compost> wrote in message
news:20040120015217...@mb-m10.aol.com...

> He tells Frodo in Chapter 2 that it was plain from the start that
> Bilbo's ring
> was a great ring, but that has to be an error. He probably didn't
> really
> know that until he came back and told Frodo everything.

Yeah, if we take that statement to mean 'from when Bilbo first got it'
then Gandalf is obviously an idiot. However, it could be taken to mean
'from the start of my investigations into the matter'.

zett

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 9:33:49 PM1/20/04
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>...

[snip]


> -Why is eleventy-one (111) such a special number to Hobbits instead of a
> rounded decimal number like 100? Historical reasons? Could it have
> something to do with the way 111 looks in their number system?

I don't think the number itself was important, that is just the age
Bilbo was when Frodo came of age, allowing Bilbo to more comfortably
turn his affairs over to him. Or like someone else posted, it is more
fun to say eleventy-one than it is to say one hundred. And we know how
important the mood evoked by a word sound was to JRRT...


>
> -Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
> with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin until

> the "tweens." Why should this be so? Hobbits are well-nourished (at
> least at the time of this Chapter) and presumably Shire-life requires
> little growing into, either mental or physical.

Since growing up is not urgently required in the Shire, it not being
exactly a dog-eat-dog kind of place, seems to me that would make the
inhabitants more biologically likely to grow up slowly.
>
> -The Old Gaffer tells how Bilbo came to adopt Frodo, who was orphaned as
> a child. If Frodo's parents survived, to whom would the Ring-quest have
> fallen? I can't imagine a Shire-Hobbit less suited to the task than
> Bilbo's heir-apparent, Otho Sackville-Baggins.

I agree with you about Otho. I somehow think that Providence would
have found a suitable Ringbearer, maybe it would have still been Frodo
even if his parents lived- but then again, if he hadn't been an orphan
maybe he wouldn't have been one of the worst young rascals in the
Buckland and one of the best Hobbits in the Shire. :) It seems to me
that Tolkien has lots of orphans in his stories. I wonder how much his
own life as an orphan had to do with it- but I am aware that having
orphans as heroes is a long tradition in fairy stories/folktales.

> -How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of honour
> giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
> perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
> you one more reason to dread your own?

I don't how it started with the Hobbits. I know there is some RL
culture that gives presents on birthdays, but I don't remember
who...the Chinese??

[snip]

boggit

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Jan 20, 2004, 9:29:08 PM1/20/04
to

"Graeme" <graem...@aol.compost> wrote in message
news:20040120014202...@mb-m10.aol.com...

Ironic though that Frodo should leave Middle-Earth the same way as his
parents, by boat.


Henriette

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Jan 21, 2004, 5:16:03 AM1/21/04
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yze...@yahoo.com (zett) wrote in message news:

>
> I don't how it started with the Hobbits. I know there is some RL
> culture that gives presents on birthdays, but I don't remember
> who...the Chinese??
>
There are some relatively new traditions in the Netherlands: giving
each other presents at Christmas, bachelor parties, Halloween, and the
traditions the Muslims have brought along. Another new one is, that
seldom a child leaves another child's birthday party without a (usualy
relatively small) present.

Henriette

Trychydts

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Jan 21, 2004, 7:35:14 AM1/21/04
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On 19 Jan 2004 20:14:47 GMT, AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote:

>On Mon, 19 Jan 2004 14:05:18 GMT,

>Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:
>> -Apparently Hobbits live on average longer than full-sized humans, but
>> with a longer childhood, and apparently adolescence does not begin until
>> the "tweens." Why should this be so? Hobbits are well-nourished (at
>> least at the time of this Chapter) and presumably Shire-life requires
>> little growing into, either mental or physical.
>

>I've noticed this as well. It must be an oddity of the Hobbit-race.


I think not; I think this thing refers only to social traditions.
Merry and Pippin _are_ adults and have the adult's rights: Merry buys
Frodo's house, they can travel freely etc.

I rather think that at the age of 33 a hobbit only becomes a
"well-respected" adult who can marry, can be the head of his house or
can be elected to major, for example.

Trychydts

Graeme

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Jan 21, 2004, 4:26:36 PM1/21/04
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"Conrad B Dunkerson" <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message news:<3tjPb.2196$ro4...@nwrdny02.gnilink.net>...

> Yeah, if we take that statement to mean 'from when Bilbo first got it'
> then Gandalf is obviously an idiot. However, it could be taken to mean
> 'from the start of my investigations into the matter'.


That's what he must have meant, but it's still a bit convoluted.
Gandalf was interested in the Ring from the moment he first learned
about it, and strained their friendship by demanding to know the true
story of how Bilbo found it. If "the start" was years after that,
then the statement becomes a tad circular.

Tamzin

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Jan 21, 2004, 4:43:24 PM1/21/04
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"zett" <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:4bb40450.04012...@posting.google.com...

> "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message
news:<yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>...
>
> [snip]
>
>
> > -Why is eleventy-one (111) such a special number to Hobbits instead of a
> > rounded decimal number like 100? Historical reasons? Could it have
> > something to do with the way 111 looks in their number system?
>
> I don't think the number itself was important, that is just the age
> Bilbo was when Frodo came of age, allowing Bilbo to more comfortably
> turn his affairs over to him. Or like someone else posted, it is more
> fun to say eleventy-one than it is to say one hundred. And we know how
> important the mood evoked by a word sound was to JRRT...

So do you think that 122 would be said Twelvety two?

Tamzin


Piggy

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Jan 21, 2004, 11:37:47 PM1/21/04
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"Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:be50318e.04012...@posting.google.com...

[snip]

> 2)Up till now I thought Gandalf was clairvoyant, but on re-reading
> Chapter I of LOTR I think he may be bluffing:

> [snip] He also says to Bilbo about his


> book: "But nobody will read the book, however it ends".......!

> [snip]

I also find Gandalf's assertion odd, if only for its ambiguity.
I suspect Professor Tolkien slid in a message or a subtle hint
that is never explained anywhere in the LOTR. Does 'nobody'
refer to people in Middle Earth in the Fourth Age and beyond
or does it refer to people in our world? If the professor implied
that no one in Fourth Age Middle Earth would, after all that care,
read Bilbo's book, then I have to say that strikes a somewhat
sad note--almost a bittersweetness to match the end of the tale.

Perhaps Gandalf is something of a seer after all. Obviously, if
Gandalf was Professor Tolkien's mouthpiece in this sentence
and the 'nobody' was us then he was certainly wrong.

Hi.
----
Piggy


TeaLady (Mari C.)

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Jan 21, 2004, 11:55:24 PM1/21/04
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held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote in
news:be50318e.0401...@posting.google.com:

There were Native Americans (Indians) on the west coast of America
- I can't remember for sure, but I think Canadian coast - some of
whom would give a feast and give away all of their belongings.
Called a potlatch (or something like that - potlatch is english-ed
version ??). Not quite the same, as it wasn't an annual birthday
thing.

http://www.peabody.harvard.edu/potlatch/default.html

--
mc

TT Arvind

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Jan 22, 2004, 7:07:07 AM1/22/04
to
žus cwęš Henriette:

>
> yze...@yahoo.com (zett) wrote in message news:
> >
> > I don't how it started with the Hobbits. I know there is some
> > RL culture that gives presents on birthdays, but I don't
> > remember who...the Chinese??
>
> There are some relatively new traditions in the Netherlands:
> giving each other presents at Christmas, bachelor parties,
> Halloween, and the traditions the Muslims have brought along.
> Another new one is, that seldom a child leaves another child's
> birthday party without a (usualy relatively small) present.

It is a Tamil tradition for hosts to give presents to all guests after
any celebration - whether it was a child's naming, a birthday, a wedding,
a coming-of-age, or a funeral (OK, maybe celebration isn't the best word
after all). The tradition is still very much alive. The presents are
pretty straightforward, though. We usually give a set of traditional
clothes to respected elders (or jewellery if they're *very* respected and
the hosts are rich), and cloth for stitching shirts or blouses to others.
Small silver religious utensils are sometime added.

For less-well-off people, there is an option of just giving a package
containing a coconut, betel leaves, a particular type of nut for which I
don't know the English name, a piece of turmeric root, and (sometimes) a
yellow thread dyed in turmeric.

This comes from an older custom that a host must give every guest a
custom. This is dying out, although most people will give still special
guests (such as a newlywed couple, or a child) presents.

--
Meneldil

If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain
silent?

Troels

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Jan 22, 2004, 4:44:25 PM1/22/04
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<yuROb.168843$JQ1.85163@pd7tw1no>...

-Snip-

> -Finally, you are by no means limited to the above topics, so please
> share your thoughts on any other subject related to this chapter. The
> floor is open.

Hello,

Just a little thought. If the answer is in the text and I didn't catch
it, i'm sorry, but here goes..

Where did Gandalf sleep?

I thought he was a guest at Bag End. It seems to be so when, the night
after the party, he says to Frodo: "Now I am going to bed." But then
the next day in the afternoon he knocks on the door, and Frodo is glad
to see him... did he simply wake up early that day and leave Bag End
before the hobbits started to show up for the things that Bilbo left
them, and then went back later?

Anyway, just wondering..

Kind regards
Troels Møller

loisillon

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Jan 22, 2004, 5:19:15 PM1/22/04
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"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message news:<SfePb.95641$fq1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com>...

> "loisillon" <lois...@libertysurf.fr> wrote in message
> news:d1eee332.0401...@posting.google.com...
>
> But Gandalf has a problem: the expert in
> > this point, is Saroumane, the one who could know anymore. And
> > Gandalf, from the very start, does not rely on Saroumane, it seems to
> > me.
>
> Quite the opposite. Gandalf, as well as the entire White Council were
> falsely reassured by Saruman that the Ring had long ago rolled to the
> sea. This was one of the major reasons for Gandalf's delay. They did not
> yat suspect that Saruman was seeking the Ring for himself, and as we all
> know, Saruman could be *very* persuasive.

There is an "institutional" subordination of Gandalf to Saruman. But
you will notice that Saruman reproaches Gandalf "for having carried
out his own survey" about the Ring without referring about it to him.
What suggests that Gandalf is wary. He did not explain all at
Elrond's Council. But what Gandalf reports about his meeting with
Saruman suggests also that Gandalf was not particularly surprised by
the attitude of the White Wizard.

In "The shadow of the past", Gandalf says to Frodo : "I could consult
Saroumane, but something made me reluctant"

(Sorry, but I read FOTR in French and I re-translate)

Pradera

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Jan 22, 2004, 5:33:54 PM1/22/04
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On 22 sty 2004, tro...@e-mail.dk (Troels) scribbled loosely:

Interesting question. As Gandalf goes to sleep, the party is still on -
the guests start leaving after midnight. Then, 'the hobbits rose late',
so Gandalf had plenty of time to wake up and go on with his business...
It would seem strange and unhospitable for Frodo to keep entire Bag End
to himself and let a visitor sleep somewhere else...
On his way back, Gandalf meets Lobelia going to Bywater, so the
alternative version could be that Gandalf slept at Green Dragon.
I wonder what business did Gandalf have early in the morning in Hobbiton.
Could he have gone to see Bilbo one more time, as he was travelling away
from Shire?

Hamlet

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Jan 22, 2004, 7:29:29 PM1/22/04
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"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in
news:fKYOb.4259$6R5.56...@news-text.cableinet.net:

> "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote
>

> <snip excellent summary>


>> -How do you suppose the Hobbitish tradition began of the guest of
> honour
>> giving away presents at her/his own birthday? It causes people to
>> perhaps look forward to someone else's birthday, but wouldn't it give
>> you one more reason to dread your own?
>

> Tolkien wrote at length (7 pages) about hobbit birthday customs in
> Letter 214. It really is worth having a look at it for its comments on
> possible reasons why Smeagol/Gollum expected to _receive_ a birthday
> present from Deagol (instead of giving a present), and for explicit
> details of hobbit birthday customs, as well as inheritance rules
> relating to Smeagol's family being ruled by a matriarch. Best of all
> is the tale of the Took families and of Lalia the Great (or Fat) and
> Pearl, Pippin's sister. Hilarious!
>
> For those who have read 'Letters', can I ask if I am correct in my
> impression that Tolkien was inspired by that reader's question (about
> Gollum expecting to receive a present), inspired to invent the hobbit
> birthday customs there and then? Or had he already elsewhere written
> much of what he put in the letter. I prefer to think that we are
> witnessing pure creativity on Tolkien's part, his imagination running
> riot.
> Christopher

And, perhaps subconsciously or not, Tolkien attempted to
teach children (and anyone else who read it)
that it's "better to give than to receive" :-)

AC

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Jan 22, 2004, 8:37:51 PM1/22/04
to
["Followup-To:" header set to rec.arts.books.tolkien.]
On 22 Jan 2004 14:19:15 -0800,

This subordination would be, at best, through the White Council. In UT the
Istari are said to be free agents.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao_of_cow/\alberni.net (replace /\ with @)

Count Menelvagor

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Jan 23, 2004, 1:52:15 AM1/23/04
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"Insane Ranter" <wh...@hooo.me> wrote in message news:<4z3Pb.28156$0t4....@bignews5.bellsouth.net>...
> "Count Menelvagor" <Menel...@mailandnews.com> wrote in message
> news:6bfb27a8.04011...@posting.google.com...

> > Indeed, some of us have theorized that Hobbits might be Balrogs that


> > were horribly warped and mutilated by Gandalf.
>

> Do they have wings?

Gandalf clipped them off and used them to make Velveeta. Nor was this
the worst of his crimes.

Henriette

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Jan 23, 2004, 3:36:20 AM1/23/04
to
žus cwęš TT Arvind :

>
> It is a Tamil tradition for hosts to give presents to all guests after
> any celebration - whether it was a child's naming, a birthday, a wedding,
> a coming-of-age, or a funeral (OK, maybe celebration isn't the best word
> after all).

From the Last Will of Professor Prabodh Chandra Sen, written a few
hours before his death:

"After my death, let there be no ceremonies prescribed in scriptures,
no rites and rituals, no devotional gatherings or ‘sradha' (a Hindu
religious ceremony, performed 10-12 days after a person's death). I
have enjoyed a long, peaceful and fulfilling life. There is no cause
to grieve at my death. Indeed, there is cause for joy."

(snip)


> For less-well-off people, there is an option of just giving a package
> containing a coconut, betel leaves

What are they again?

> , a particular type of nut for which I
> don't know the English name, a piece of turmeric root, and (sometimes) a
> yellow thread dyed in turmeric.
>
> This comes from an older custom that a host must give every guest a
> custom. This is dying out, although most people will give still special
> guests (such as a newlywed couple, or a child) presents.

Nice!

Henriette

Henriette

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Jan 23, 2004, 3:49:55 AM1/23/04
to
"TeaLady (Mari C.)" <spres...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<Xns9477F36...@130.133.1.4>...

>
> There were Native Americans (Indians) on the west coast of America
> - I can't remember for sure, but I think Canadian coast - some of
> whom would give a feast and give away all of their belongings.
> Called a potlatch (or something like that - potlatch is english-ed
> version ??). Not quite the same, as it wasn't an annual birthday
> thing.
>
> http://www.peabody.harvard.edu/potlatch/default.html

On the site you supply, the Potlatches amongst some tribes are
described as: "extremely competitive, with hosts bankrupting
themselves" (!), while amongst other tribes such an attitude was
considered very wrong. What is new under the sun?

Henriette

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 23, 2004, 3:54:38 AM1/23/04
to
in <slrnc10unf.184....@namibia.tandem>,
AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> enriched us with:

>
> ["Followup-To:" header set to rec.arts.books.tolkien.]
> On 22 Jan 2004 14:19:15 -0800,
> loisillon <lois...@libertysurf.fr> wrote:
>>
>> In "The shadow of the past", Gandalf says to Frodo : "I could consult
>> Saroumane, but something made me reluctant"
>
> This subordination would be, at best, through the White Council. In
> UT the Istari are said to be free agents.

I suppose that Loisillon is referring to this, from LotR I,2 'The Shadow
of the Past':

"I might perhaps have consulted Saruman the White, but
something always held me back.'
'Who is he?' asked Frodo. I have never heard of him before.'
'Maybe not,' answered Gandalf. 'Hobbits are, or were, no
concern of his. Yet he is great among the Wise. He is the
chief of my order and the head of the Council. "

My impression here was one of "first among peers," though the following
text certainly suggests a great pride and Saruman's own opinion might be
different. In II,2 'The Council of Elrond' Gandalf says that "Saruman the
White is the greatest of my order," which, to me, seems a little less
ambiguous than the use of 'chief' in the earlier chapter.

In III,11 'The Palantír', however, Merry explains to Pippin that,
"Remember Saruman was once Gandalf's superior: head of the
Council, whatever that may be exactly. He was Saruman the
White."

This might, of course, just be Merry's misunderstanding of somethink like
what Gandalf explained above, Merry might have mistaken a 'first among
peers'
position for one of real authority.

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

Henriette

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Jan 23, 2004, 4:06:28 AM1/23/04
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"Piggy" <Ho...@chop.net> wrote in message news:<vsIPb.2564$jc4.1...@news2.news.adelphia.net>...

> "Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:
>
> > [snip] He also says to Bilbo about his
> > book: "But nobody will read the book, however it ends".......!
>
> I also find Gandalf's assertion odd, if only for its ambiguity.
> I suspect Professor Tolkien slid in a message or a subtle hint
> that is never explained anywhere in the LOTR. Does 'nobody'
> refer to people in Middle Earth in the Fourth Age and beyond
> or does it refer to people in our world? (snip)

It reminds me of what Professor Tolkien wrote in his Foreword to LOTR
(in my edition):
"I wished first to complete and set in order the mythology and
legends of the Elder Days, [...]I had little hope that other people
would be interested in this work[...]. When those whose advice and
opinion I sought corrected little hope to no hope, I went back to the
sequel[...]"

> Perhaps Gandalf is something of a seer after all. (snip)

Yes, IMO ofcourse he is. But the two examples I provided, are not
really consistent with that fact. But that is fine with me. A seer
does not necessarily see *everything*.

Henriette

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 23, 2004, 8:29:14 AM1/23/04
to
in <7c108558.04012...@posting.google.com>,
Troels <tro...@e-mail.dk> enriched us with:
>

Hi, a bit of surprise at seeing your handle - for a moment there I
thought someone was poking fun at me ;-)

> Where did Gandalf sleep?

My first guess would be that he had been up early and out trying to
gather news, communicate with some of the wise (by thought) or
something like that (I don't have Ósanwe-kenta - 'Enquiry into the
Communication of Thought' - with me, but is there any indication of
how a general commotion such as could be expected in Bag End that
morning would have affected the communication?).

aelfwina

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Jan 23, 2004, 9:12:37 AM1/23/04