Chapter Of The Week: LotR: The Prologue Part 1 - Concerning Hobbits

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AC

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Jan 11, 2004, 8:20:26 PM1/11/04
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Chapter of the Week
The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 1. Concerning Hobbits

Having successfully completed The Hobbit, we now go on to The Lord of the
Rings. A larger endeavor, it should also prove to be very interesting.
Again, I would like to thank Dr. Ernst for this idea, which has proven very
successful and has generated a lot of positive debate.

An apology for the length of this, but being an essay rather than a
narrative, the Prologue can only suffer so much boiling down. Due to
the length, I am dividing this into four posts rather than one. If anyone
has any other points to make (I'm sure I've missed quite a bit), don't
hesitate to post them.

To read previous Chapters of the Week, or to sign up yourself for one, go to
http://parasha.maoltuile.org/ . Long time and new posters are invited to
take on a chapter.

Synopsis
--------
The Prologue opens with a detailed essay on Hobbits. We first learn of
the Red Book of Westmarch, which Bilbo's own story "There and Back
Again" makes up the first part.

We learn that Hobbits are an unobtrusive and very ancient people, whose
numbers have now dwindled. They like well-tended countrysides, and
have little liking or understanding for most machines, though they are
skilful with tools. They are shy of the Big Folk, and quick of hearing
and sharp eyed, and though they tend towards being overweight, are
nimble in their movements. They can disappear quickly and quietly,
though the skill is not magical in nature.

Hobbits were apparently taller in the past, but now rarely reach three
feet tall. As a famous exception is Bandobras Took, the Bullroarer,
who was four foot five and capable of riding horse. Two other tall
hobbits are hinted at, but one will have to read the rest of the book
to learn of that matter.

Hobbits dress in bright colors (particular yellow and green), rarely wear
shoes, since they are in possession of thick curly hair on their feet.
Despite no particular expertise in the area of shoemaking, they are good
with tools. As to their faces, they are "good-natured rather than
beautiful, broad, bright-eyed and red-cheeked", and again we are reminded of
their particular fondness of food and drink.

Hobbits are relatives of Men, far nearer to us than Elves and Dwarves.
They spoke the languages of Men and shared their likes and dislikes.
Though their origins are lost in the Elder Days, they had managed to
live quietly in Middle-earth without much notice.

Hobbits lived largely where they still linger today; in the North-West
of the Old World, east of the Sea. They have no great love of learning
(other than geneaology), but apparently the more important families
owned books and gathered news from Elves, Dwarves and Men. They
themselves had no records before the founding of the Shire, and their
legends don't extend farther back than their Wandering Days. It can be
gathered that Hobbits (like so many others) moved Westward, and at one
time dwelt in the upper vales of the Anduin. Their legends speak of
their moving when Men began multiplying, and a shadow fell upon
Greenwood the Great and it became Mirkwood.

We learn that Hobbits were divided into three major breeds; the Harfoots,
Stoors and Fallohides. The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller and
shorter, beardless and preferred highlands and hillsides. Fallohides were
fairer of skin and of hair, taller and slimmer and loved trees and
woodlands. The Harfoots had much to do with Dwarves in ancient times, and
lived in the foothills of Mountains, but moved westward early, wandering in
Eriador. They represent the average Hobbit, being the most numerous, and
preserved the ancestral habit of living in holes. The Stoors were broader
and heavier in build, preferring flat lands and riversides, and apparently
could grow something of a beard.

Though it seems, despite differing times for their migration, much
mingling occured between the Hobbitian branches, they were later
mingled, though the Fallohidish strain was still strong in the greater
families, such as the Tooks and Brandybucks.

Though most of the Hobbits earliest settlements in Eriador were long
abandoned, Bree survived to Bilbo's time as an important settlement.
It was in these early days that Hobbits learned to read and write from
the Dunedain, and adopted Westron, though keeping a few words of their
own.

In the year 1,600 of the Third Age, the Fallohide brothers Marcho and
Blanco received permission from Argeleb II at Fornost to cross the
Baranduin. This is the beginning of the Shire Reckoning, as the
Hobbits took all the land between the Baranduin and the Far Downs as
theirs, providing they do little more than keep the road in repair and
acknowledge the King's lordship. When the last king died, the Hobbits
took one of their own chieftains as Thain, and though there were a few
troublesome periods, the Hobbits largely prospered. Though the Hobbits
forgot it, however, they were sheltered, and they ceased to worry about
the outside world.

Hobbits were not a warlike people, though they could defend themselves,
as at the Battle of Greenfields in SR (Shire Reckoning) 1147, the scene
of Bandobras Took's great victory over the Orcs. Most of their weapons
ended up at the Mathom-house at Michel Delving. Despite apparent
softness, Hobbits were tough, able to survive rough-handling, and still
preserved some ability with arms.

All Hobbits had originally lived in holes, but in later times only the
very poor or the very rich still maintained the tradition. Houses were
common, built in Hobbitish fashion, and were favored especially by
tradesmen. The craft of building may have come from Elves or Men, but
Hobbits developed it in their own way. Round windows and round doors
were still a peculiarity of Hobbit architecture.

Hobbit houses and holes were usually large, and occupied by large
families. Hobbits remained a clannish people, and thus were
preoccupied with familial relations, making detailed family-trees.

Points of Interest
------------------
- It has often been pointed out, but Hobbits seem to marvelously echo
the likes and prejudices of their creator. They have no skill or
desire for big, complicated machines, but rather like an ordered
countryside of wilderness and farmland.

- It is interesting that Hobbits themselves have dwindled (after a
fashion), originally being much taller, but in the hypothetical now,
rarely achieving three feet tall.

- It is a wonder, in a way, that this peculiar branch of Atani managed
to stay so very unnoticed, not really even entering any records until
they entered the realm of Arnor.

- The Prologue has some importance for me in the respect that it was on
my third or fourth re-reading that the location of the Shire, in the
North-West of the Old World, first hit fully home and I realized that
Tolkien intended Middle-Earth to be our world. This was long before I
read Silm and HoME, so it was quite a revelation.

- Has anybody tried to determine, from the descriptions of the Hobbits
we meet, which had the heaviest strains of Stoor, Harfoot or Fallohide?

- The Hobbits must have spent at least some time in close assocation
with the Dunedain to learn their letters from them. I wonder if there
were a few who ended up as courtiers and the like at Fornost.

- The later kings were very generous to the Hobbits, letting them have
some of the finest and most fertile land in Eriador for the price of
tending a bridge, aiding messengers and recognizing their lordship.

- Despite a few bad points, it is hard not to admire a people who manage
to live in a relatively small corner of the world, keeping it and their
affairs so well-ordered, that weapons become little more than museum
pieces.

- We get a hint of how severe the insular nature of Hobbit culture is by
the end of the Third Age. Despite living so close to such fabulous
places as the three Elf-towers and the Grey Havens, they seemed not to
have had any interest in going there, and in fact, even came to
distrust Elves or those that had dealings with them.

- It is obvious that Hobbits are clannish in nature, which explains at
least in part why they managed to stay so well-ordered. It also seems
to have generated an obsession with geneaologies.

--
Aaron Clausen

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

AC

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Jan 11, 2004, 8:33:07 PM1/11/04
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Chapter of the Week
The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 2. Concerning Pipe-weed

Synopsis
--------
Not a terrible amount to this section, but this is one very large claim to
fame of Hobbits, and one that seems to have found itself wound up in the
affairs of the Great and the Wise. Much of this section is from a
commentary of one Meriadoc Brandybuck, later Master of Buckland.

It is with great pride that Hobbits claim the smoking of pipe-weed as their
invention. It seems a little sticky as to which Hobbits; Shire-born or of
Bree, who first actually put the herb in his pipe and smoked it, but Master
Meriadoc obviously claims it for Tobold Hornblower of Longbottom in the
Southfarthing, which remained a source of the best pipe-weed. Naturally,
the Hobbits of Bree claim it as their own, thus producing what likely
amounts to one of the greater rivalries among Hobbits. Master Meriadoc does
admit that Bree is the center of the artform, and that Prancing Pony is the
home.

Master Meriadoc Brandybuck then goes on to trace its geographical origins in
Gondor, and likely originally from Numenor. The Numenoreans, apparently
deficient in this particular area of knowledge, called it sweet galenas and
esteemed it only for the fragrance of its flowers. Again we are reminded
that this artform is of Hobbitish origins, though apparently a certain
Wizard had some renown in the smoking of pipe-weed.

Points of Interest
------------------
- Me thinks that only Professor Tolkien would have made tobacco into a
matter of earth-shattering importance.

- While the Hobbits may be proud of spreading the "art" of smoking
pipe-weed, I would imagine that nowadays the Shire might be the seen of many
a class action lawsuit.

- It has been noted by others that tobacco is a New World plant. I doubt
that it came from Numenor, but I think it is possible that, after the
Downfall, when the Numenoreans sailed far and wide in the west, they might
have brought this particular herb back.

- I don't know about anybody else, but I find that it feels quite right that
the Prancing Pony should be the center of the smoking of pipe-weed.

AC

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Jan 11, 2004, 8:33:57 PM1/11/04
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Chapter of the Week
The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 3. Of the Ordering of the Shire

Synopsis
--------
Here we get a good deal of information on the geographical divisions and the
political makeup (such as it is) of the Shire. It was divided into four
Farthings (North, South, East and West) as well some outlying territory; the
East and West Marches, Buckland and (after SR 1462) the Westmarch. The
Farthings themselves were further divided into folklands, such as Tookland,
though that rule apparently no longer held true for many families, such as
the Bagginses.

The Shire had, at best, a very loose government. Laws, or as they were
called by the Hobbits, The Rules, were attributed to the king of old. For
the most part, Hobbits seemed to have been able to manage their own affairs
with few if any real problems.

The Tooks held a special place in the Shire, for they held the office of
Thain (passed to them from the Oldbucks). The Thain (the chief Took) was as
close as it got to a military command and head of state, though that doesn't
seem to have meant very much by Bilbo's time. Still, the Tooks were
accorded special respect, despite supplying a few Hobbits in each generation
who had queer habits, some of which even had an adventurous temperment. The
head of the Took family had enough eminence that he was called The Took, and
when required, a number was added to his name (ie. Isengrim the Second).

The Mayor of Michel Delving was the only real official in the Shire, elected
every seven years, and responsible for presiding over banquets given at
Shire holidays (which apparently were fairly common throughout the year), as
well as holding the position of Postmaster and First Shirriff. The
Messenger Service was the larger of the two, since literate Hobbits wrote a
considerable number of letters.

The Shirriffs, as the police of the Shire were called, were considerably
smaller in number (three in each Farthing), and spent more time finding
stray beasts than people. Shirriffs wore no uniform, but could be
recognized by a feather in their caps. A larger body, of varying size
(depending on the need) "beat the bounds" making sure strangers didn't cause
problems. Apparently these "Bounders" had increased greatly in size as the
story opens; the first sign of troubles to come.

Points of Interest
------------------
- It is interesting to see that some older layer of Hobbit society, the
folklands had survived, though it appears to have been waning by the end of
the Third Age.

- It has been pointed out before, but is worth mentioning again, that
Hobbits were an exceedingly co-operative people to survive with a police
force of twelve individuals, and with very little in the way of central
government. I rather wonder if the authority of the chiefs of families,
such as The Took, were responsible for this, managing their families'
affairs to minimize trouble.

- Upon rereading this section, I was struck for the first time by the notion
that Hobbit legal traditions were attributed originally to the Dunedain.
Was this attribution to the king merely to lend some authority to The Rules,
or did Hobbits owe them to the Numenoreans?

- To fit Shire government into a more modern political understanding, it
seems to me that the Thain was a head of state and commander and chief while
the Mayor was head of government. I imagine this has been obvious to
others, but I never really thought about it that much before. I wonder
whether the Mayor's election every seven years at the Free Fair on the
White Downs was a general election or not.

- How fitting in this little utopia that the busiest branch of government
were the mail men.

- I find it a little amusing to imagine a bunch of Hobbits running around
the countryside making sure the odd Dwarf and Wizard behaved themselves.

AC

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Jan 11, 2004, 8:35:05 PM1/11/04
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Chapter of the Week
The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 4. Of the Finding of the Ring

There isn't too much point in creating a detailed synopsis of this section,
as there is much more detail in The Hobbit as to the events that lead to
Bilbo's finding the Ring, and of the Gollum and the Riddle Game. So I will
dispense with that for this section and just list a few interesting points.

Points of Interest
------------------
- It is important to remember that, when Tolkien's conception of Bilbo's
ring finally came to the point that it was the Ruling Ring of Sauron the
Great, the story in the pre-LotR editions of the Hobbit did not fit well at
all. Here we see Tolkien rewriting a little history, and also using the
change of story to show something of the Ring's effect upon its owner.
Still, I have to admit I've always found it a little clumsy, though I could
not see any better way for Tolkien to have done it.

- It seems pretty strange that Gollum would be the inspiration of Bilbo's
story of the Ring being a present. I can see why the original story made
Gandalf more than a little suspicious.

- Bilbo's romantic side certainly shines through. The old cloak and hood
were preserved so carefully, while Darvish mail that we later learn in is
worth more than the Shire is lent to a museum.

- I realize that Bilbo did do some wandering, but I'm amazed that he stayed
put for the most part for sixty years after his Adventure.

On Shire Records
----------------
An interesting section to review some important points.

- It is interesting to see that the Shire becomes something of a center of
scholership after the War of the Ring. Considering the provincial nature of
its inhabitants prior to the War, it is a somewhat surprising role.

- We learn that the Red Book of the Westmarch began as Bilbo's diary, which
Frodo brought back to the Shire. The most important version is the copy
made of the Thain's Book (kept in Minas Tirith and written by one Findegil)
which resided at Great Smials. It was in Gondor that The Tale of Aragorn
and Arwen was added (attributed to Barahir, grandson of Faramir).

- It is Findegil's copy of the Red Book that the Silmarillion apparently
comes from (I'm assuming that is what Bilbo's "Translations from the Elvish"
is).

- Meriadoc and Peregrin, as well as becoming the pre-eminent Hobbits in the
Shire (and likely all of Middle Earth), became, to some degree scholars
themselves. They brought many volumes, due to their contacts in Gondor and
Rohan. Meriadoc seems to have been something of a Renaissance Hobbit (so to
speak), composing on such diverse topics as Herblore of the Shire and
Reckoning of Years, not to mention a linguistic treatise (Old Words and
Names in the Shire).

- Peregrin may not have been quite the scholar, but he was certainly a
patron. Most notable to me is that the Shire comes to hold so much of the
histories of the Numenoreans, including the most extensive materials on
Numenor and the arising of Sauron.

- Rivendell remained, at least for a time, an important center of lore, even
after Elrond's departure. His sons stayed there, as well as what must have
been the last Noldor.

- Celeborn dwelt there as well. It is interesting to note that it is said
that when he sought the Grey Havens, the last living memory of the Elder
Days departed. This is a little funny, because, unless I'm wrong, Cirdan
remained, and he saw at least as much (if not more) of the Elder Days that
Celeborn, including the Great Journey from Cuivienen (see PoME p.390 note
29).

Henriette

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Jan 12, 2004, 10:17:48 AM1/12/04
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AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message news:<slrnc03tip.1rc....@namibia.tandem>...

> Chapter of the Week
> The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 1. Concerning Hobbits
>
> Due to the length, I am dividing this into four posts rather than one.

(snip) Great job done AC, and a brilliant synopsis, thank you!

Now I may appear as capricious as my starsign wants me to be, but I
simply cannot skip the author's Foreword and hop to the Prologue
without quoting some phrases. To show my good will I'll skip the other
Forewords, the Maps, and the notes of the translator in my Italian
edition.

Prof. Tolkien:
Quote1 (On LOTR)"It had to be typed, and re-typed by me; the cost of
professional typing by the ten-fingered was beyond my means".........
Quote2 "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" [...}.
*In this Foreword for the world to read, JRRT explicitly denies LOTR
is an allegory of or even inspired by WWII. Most of us know this,
still the question keeps popping up.
Quote3: "To them, and to all who have been pleased by this book,
especially those Across the Water for whom it is especially intended,
I dedicate this edition". Lovely.

(snip)


> Hobbits dress in bright colors (particular yellow and green)

Like Tom Bombadil. JRRT must have liked clothes in bright colours,
although he, living in his day and surroundings, was most likely not
often able to wear them himself.

> Hobbits [...] have no great love of learning (other than geneaology),

"Chuckle-moment": (hobbits)"liked to have books with things that they
already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions".
>
> Points of Interest
> ------------------
(snip AC's points and substitute them for my own......)
This quote I dedicate to Raven: "the wolves that had once come
ravening"(...)

Who am I? But is this grammatically correct: "Indeed, few Hobbits had
ever seen or sailed upon the Sea"?

This I find a strange contradiction: "for sport killing nothing that
lived" and: "If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get
quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well".!

Henriette

Gregg Cattanach

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Jan 12, 2004, 11:31:18 AM1/12/04
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"Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:be50318e.04011...@posting.google.com...

> Who am I? But is this grammatically correct: "Indeed, few Hobbits had
> ever seen or sailed upon the Sea"?
>
I can't imagine what would be wrong with that sentence, other that 'Sea'
being capitalized, which is probably right in ME where there really is only
one sea.

> This I find a strange contradiction: "for sport killing nothing that
> lived" and: "If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get
> quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well".!
>

They could throw stones with great accuracy, apparently, but not to hunt for
sport or to kill, but to scare intruders away, etc.

Gregg C.


Jette Goldie

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Jan 12, 2004, 4:13:21 PM1/12/04
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"Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote

> This I find a strange contradiction: "for sport killing nothing that
> lived" and: "If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get
> quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well".!
>


They don't kill for sport - but do hunt for food and
kill beasts/vermin in defence. (of self and of their
livestock/crops)


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


zett

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Jan 12, 2004, 8:55:22 PM1/12/04
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AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message news:<slrnc03tip.1rc....@namibia.tandem>...
> Chapter of the Week
> The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 1. Concerning Hobbits

[massive snip]

> We learn that Hobbits were divided into three major breeds; the Harfoots,
> Stoors and Fallohides. The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller and
> shorter, beardless and preferred highlands and hillsides. Fallohides were
> fairer of skin and of hair, taller and slimmer and loved trees and
> woodlands. The Harfoots had much to do with Dwarves in ancient times, and
> lived in the foothills of Mountains, but moved westward early, wandering in
> Eriador. They represent the average Hobbit, being the most numerous, and
> preserved the ancestral habit of living in holes. The Stoors were broader
> and heavier in build, preferring flat lands and riversides, and apparently
> could grow something of a beard.
>
> Though it seems, despite differing times for their migration, much
> mingling occured between the Hobbitian branches, they were later
> mingled, though the Fallohidish strain was still strong in the greater
> families, such as the Tooks and Brandybucks.
>

[snip]

> - Has anybody tried to determine, from the descriptions of the Hobbits
> we meet, which had the heaviest strains of Stoor, Harfoot or Fallohide?

[snip]

I haven't thought about it to any huge degree, but I had a few musings
over it, and this is what I came up with: (just my opinions, I didn't
dig through texts or anything for this)

Like the book says, there was mingling, so just think of this as the
strain with the probably highest percentage of blood:

Pippin: Fallohide by virtue of being a Took
Frodo: Harfoot and Fallohide, with the Fallohide strain winning out,
apparently. :)
Bilbo: ditto
Merry: Harfoot
Sam: Harfoot
Farmer Maggot: Stoor (who else just loves Farmer Maggot?)
Lobelia: Harfoot
Ted Sandyman: Stoor
Fatty Bolger: Harfoot
I won't go list everyone at the Birthday Party. ;)

I do have an observation about the "breeds" and the migration...since
the Fallohides were supposedly more bold and adventurous than the
other strains, it doesn't quite jibe that they'd be the last to cross
the Misty Mts...

Also a (probably really stupid) question. Many things are written in
the prologue in the present tense...is it referring to our present
time, or the time of the composition of the Red Book? I think it means
late 3rd Age/Early 4th...but it would be cool to think that maybe,
just maybe, there *could* still be a few Hobbits quietly and
unobtrusively toodling around Western Europe.

zett

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Jan 12, 2004, 9:49:54 PM1/12/04
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AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message news:<slrnc03uai.1e4....@namibia.tandem>...

> Chapter of the Week
> The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 2. Concerning Pipe-weed

I forgot to say this in my post to Part 1, but let me take the
opportunity to say now: Well done! Four posts' worth. You're a brave
and hardy soul. :)
[snip]

>The Numenoreans, apparently deficient in this particular area of
>knowledge, called it sweet galenas and esteemed it only for the

>fragrance of its flowers. [snip]

I always found this line odd- I had to help grow tobacco at one time,
but I don't recall the flowers having much, if any, smell. Of course
there are more strains of tobacco than the Burley I dealt with...the
flowers are pretty, though.


>
> Points of Interest
> ------------------
> - Me thinks that only Professor Tolkien would have made tobacco into a
> matter of earth-shattering importance.

:chuckle:

>
> - While the Hobbits may be proud of spreading the "art" of smoking
> pipe-weed, I would imagine that nowadays the Shire might be the seen of many
> a class action lawsuit.

LOL! Do you suppose they would retain counsel from the firm of Grubb,
Grubb and Burrowes?


>
> - It has been noted by others that tobacco is a New World plant. I doubt
> that it came from Numenor, but I think it is possible that, after the
> Downfall, when the Numenoreans sailed far and wide in the west, they might
> have brought this particular herb back.

Just a general comment about anachronism nit-picking (not directed at
anyone in particular). Here you have given a plausible explanation for
how a New World plant could have gotten to Middle-earth. If, as
happened in the real world, horses could get re-introduced to the New
World, why can't New World things be introduced (re-introduced) to the
Old? I dunno, I just never was one for worrying about anachronisms.
It's fantasy, go with the flow, I always say.


>
> - I don't know about anybody else, but I find that it feels quite right that
> the Prancing Pony should be the center of the smoking of pipe-weed.

You are not the only one. I feel the same way.

AC

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Jan 12, 2004, 10:00:27 PM1/12/04
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On 12 Jan 2004 17:55:22 -0800,
zett <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> I do have an observation about the "breeds" and the migration...since
> the Fallohides were supposedly more bold and adventurous than the
> other strains, it doesn't quite jibe that they'd be the last to cross
> the Misty Mts...

Well, it would be pretty bold to remain so near to Greenwood the Great after
it became Mirkwood.

>
> Also a (probably really stupid) question. Many things are written in
> the prologue in the present tense...is it referring to our present
> time, or the time of the composition of the Red Book? I think it means
> late 3rd Age/Early 4th...but it would be cool to think that maybe,
> just maybe, there *could* still be a few Hobbits quietly and
> unobtrusively toodling around Western Europe.

I think that was Tolkien's point when he talks about Hobbits having dwindled
in size, meaning that now (as in our time) they would, if they actually
existed, be of smaller stature than they had been. Perhaps he was trying to
link them, like he had to Elves, to real-world legendary creatures such as
pixies and the like.

TeaLady (Mari C.)

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Jan 12, 2004, 10:25:35 PM1/12/04
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held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote in
news:be50318e.04011...@posting.google.com:

> This I find a strange contradiction: "for sport killing nothing
> that lived" and: "If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was
> well to get quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew
> very well".!
>
>

The thrown stone could be aimed to startle, or provide just enough
"ouch" to convince the trespasser to move on, quickly, without
killing it.

--
mc

~ Q ~

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Jan 13, 2004, 9:48:30 AM1/13/04
to
zett - typed:

> Just a general comment about anachronism nit-picking (not directed at
> anyone in particular). Here you have given a plausible explanation for
> how a New World plant could have gotten to Middle-earth. If, as
> happened in the real world, horses could get re-introduced to the New
> World, why can't New World things be introduced (re-introduced) to the
> Old? I dunno, I just never was one for worrying about anachronisms.
> It's fantasy, go with the flow, I always say.

The problem of how far to take deconstruction is a matter of opinion but
I agree that many take it far too seriously. A problem with doing so is
that one can forget that there's a world of storytelling beyond Tolkien
which would be fruitful & enjoyable to read instead. It also helps put
Tolkien in perspective by comparison to older fiction.

Did Tolkien make life far more difficult for contemporary fantasy
writers? Some jumped on the bandwagon with pitiful results. Some have
said that Tolkien plundered so much from so many myths & legends, it's
almost impossible to write fantasy without being accused of undue
influence. My view is that's there's a grain of truth but underestimates
our imaginations. I would accuse Tolkien of upping the ante rather than
plundering - hardly a sustainable accusation at that!

--
The map is not the territory


Henriette

unread,
Jan 14, 2004, 2:42:55 AM1/14/04
to
"Gregg Cattanach" <gcattana...@prodigy.net> wrote in message news:<qZzMb.56117$Xo2....@newssvr31.news.prodigy.com>...

> "Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:be50318e.04011...@posting.google.com...
> > Who am I? But is this grammatically correct: "Indeed, few Hobbits had
> > ever seen or sailed upon the Sea"?
> >
> I can't imagine what would be wrong with that sentence, other that 'Sea'
> being capitalized, which is probably right in ME where there really is only
> one sea.

I thought it might be better to write: "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever
seen the Sea or sailed upon it". It has to do with the word "upon"
(seen upon?, sailed upon). But as nobody reacts shockedly here and
Prof. Tolkien's works have been thoroughly revised, I am most likely
either mixing up English and Dutch grammatical rules or just simply
mistaken.


>
> > This I find a strange contradiction: "for sport killing nothing that
> > lived" and: "If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get
> > quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well".!
> >
> They could throw stones with great accuracy, apparently, but not to hunt for
> sport or to kill, but to scare intruders away, etc.

OK, thank you, I see. I realise now the implications of the word
"trespassing" had somehow escaped my notice.

Henriette

Igenlode Wordsmith

unread,
Jan 15, 2004, 10:18:06 PM1/15/04
to
On 12 Jan 2004 Gregg Cattanach wrote:

> "Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:be50318e.04011...@posting.google.com...

> > This I find a strange contradiction: "for sport killing nothing that


> > lived" and: "If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get
> > quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well".!
> >
> They could throw stones with great accuracy, apparently, but not to hunt for
> sport or to kill, but to scare intruders away, etc.
>

Reading this, I was a little puzzled: having gone to such lengths to
establish Hobbits as deadly marksmen, Tolkien doesn't ever use this in
the actual book, does he? The Battle of Bywater, perhaps... but it's
scarcely a crucial trait for any of the four hobbits among the
Fellowship. Hobbits are skilled archers - but they don't get bows from
Galadriel, they get brooches :-)
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Lurker Extraordinaire

But we must not be hasty; for it is easier to shout 'stop!' than to do it.

Pradera

unread,
Jan 16, 2004, 3:55:20 AM1/16/04
to
On 16 sty 2004, Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@
[127.1]> scribbled loosely:

> Reading this, I was a little puzzled: having gone to such lengths to
> establish Hobbits as deadly marksmen, Tolkien doesn't ever use this in
> the actual book, does he? The Battle of Bywater, perhaps... but it's
> scarcely a crucial trait for any of the four hobbits among the
> Fellowship. Hobbits are skilled archers - but they don't get bows from
> Galadriel, they get brooches :-)

There is a difference between being a sport marksman, or even a good
hunter, and a combat archer. Hobbits just can't fight, usually - at least
not before they walk across half of ME and back again ;), so giving them
bows would just mean they'd hurt somebody in the heat of a battle out of
anxiety.
Take a sports archer from the olympics and tell him to shoot at a band of
charging orcs...

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

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

Bill O'Meally

unread,
Jan 16, 2004, 10:08:21 AM1/16/04
to


"Igenlode Wordsmith" <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote
in message news:2004011606470...@gacracker.org...


> On 12 Jan 2004 Gregg Cattanach wrote:
>

> > They could throw stones with great accuracy, apparently, but not to
hunt for
> > sport or to kill, but to scare intruders away, etc.
> >
> Reading this, I was a little puzzled: having gone to such lengths to
> establish Hobbits as deadly marksmen, Tolkien doesn't ever use this in
> the actual book, does he?

Bill Ferny with the apple in the schnozolla.

--
Bill

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


AC

unread,
Jan 16, 2004, 11:59:43 AM1/16/04
to
On Fri, 16 Jan 2004 03:18:06 GMT,
Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[> wrote:
> On 12 Jan 2004 Gregg Cattanach wrote:
>
>> "Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:be50318e.04011...@posting.google.com...
>
>> > This I find a strange contradiction: "for sport killing nothing that
>> > lived" and: "If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get
>> > quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well".!
>> >
>> They could throw stones with great accuracy, apparently, but not to hunt for
>> sport or to kill, but to scare intruders away, etc.
>>
> Reading this, I was a little puzzled: having gone to such lengths to
> establish Hobbits as deadly marksmen, Tolkien doesn't ever use this in
> the actual book, does he? The Battle of Bywater, perhaps... but it's
> scarcely a crucial trait for any of the four hobbits among the
> Fellowship. Hobbits are skilled archers - but they don't get bows from
> Galadriel, they get brooches :-)

When Sam nails Bill Ferney with an apple, I always attribute that to Hobbit
marksmanship.

Biloba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jan 16, 2004, 4:47:19 PM1/16/04
to
On two occasions, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote (combined
posts):

> But is this grammatically correct: "Indeed, few Hobbits had

> > ever seen or sailed upon the Sea"?...I thought it might be better to write:
>"Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen the Sea or sailed upon it". It has to do with the word "upon"
>(seen upon?, sailed upon). But as nobody reacts shockedly here and
>Prof. Tolkien's works have been thoroughly revised, I am most likely
>either mixing up English and Dutch grammatical rules or just simply
>mistaken.

No, it's a good question, if one thinks about it a bit, especially in
light of the professor's confession that his grammar was not that
good.

I'm no grammarian, so this is open to discussion, but I think you are
correct in the technical sense, and JRRT should not have used "upon"
here. "Upon" is a preposition and starts the prepositional phrase
"upon the Sea," which serves here, if I understand this correctly, as
an adverb describing where few Hobbits had ever sailed (why did the
theme to "Star Trek" just run through my mind - g).

Anyway, as there is no direct object, JRRT is clearly using "sailed"
here as an intransitive verb.

However, he is just as clearly using "seen" as a transitive verb, and
"the Sea" is its direct object. Yet I think "the Sea" is already
locked into the prepositional phrase started by "upon" and thus can't
be used correctly for anything else. Technically he should have
dropped the preposition and used "sailed" as a transitive verb to
match the other verb in the sentence: "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever
seen or sailed the Sea." Of course, he could also have used exactly
the construction you describe.

Artistically, however, the "upon" is perfect because it opens the door
to so many connotations. Just one obvious one comes to mind: "seen or
sailed the Sea" is almost business-like and tends to equate
proficiency in seeing with proficiency in sailing or at least possible
acquaintance with some seafarers; however, one can just hear Sam
saying something like, "What? Me sail upon the Sea? I don't think!"
There's that whole "venturing out into the unknown" mindset; also, it
sounds more old-fashioned and so fits the overall tone of the books.

I could easily be wrong here, but this might be one of those
situations where JRRT stepped out the rules, wittingly or
unconsciously, for artistic effect.

Barb

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Jan 16, 2004, 5:13:00 PM1/16/04
to

As any farmer who has had to contend with marauding deer, rabbits,
groundhogs, blackbirds, etc. can testify, the restraint of the hobbits
was actually remarkable. :)

`Morgoth's Curse

mg

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 7:27:48 AM1/17/04
to

"Bill O'Meally" <OMea...@wise.rr.com> wrote in message
news:F7TNb.85884$fq1...@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com...

>
>
>
> "Igenlode Wordsmith" <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote
> in message news:2004011606470...@gacracker.org...
> > On 12 Jan 2004 Gregg Cattanach wrote:
> >
>
> > > They could throw stones with great accuracy, apparently, but not to
> hunt for
> > > sport or to kill, but to scare intruders away, etc.
> > >
> > Reading this, I was a little puzzled: having gone to such lengths to
> > establish Hobbits as deadly marksmen, Tolkien doesn't ever use this in
> > the actual book, does he?
>
> Bill Ferny with the apple in the schnozolla.


He did establish it in the Hobbit while Bilbo was in the old forest and
wacks the spiders off the branches. But I can't think of any others besides
the apple throw.

MG

John Jones

unread,
Jan 16, 2004, 3:51:13 PM1/16/04
to
"Pradera" <pra...@pradera.prv.pl> wrote in message
news:Xns947264E0C9454p...@130.133.1.4...

> On 16 sty 2004, Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@
> [127.1]> scribbled loosely:
>
> > Reading this, I was a little puzzled: having gone to such lengths to
> > establish Hobbits as deadly marksmen, Tolkien doesn't ever use this in
> > the actual book, does he? The Battle of Bywater, perhaps... but it's
> > scarcely a crucial trait for any of the four hobbits among the
> > Fellowship. Hobbits are skilled archers - but they don't get bows from
> > Galadriel, they get brooches :-)
>
> There is a difference between being a sport marksman, or even a good
> hunter, and a combat archer. Hobbits just can't fight, usually - at least
> not before they walk across half of ME and back again ;), so giving them
> bows would just mean they'd hurt somebody in the heat of a battle out of
> anxiety.
> Take a sports archer from the olympics and tell him to shoot at a band of
> charging orcs...
>
The ones I know would probably do it ... to get to the top of a sport means
that you are very tough-minded.
The hobbits were simply too small to be useful soldiers; that is probably
why none of the archers who went to Arvedi's war returned.

Pradera

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 10:55:09 AM1/17/04
to
On 16 sty 2004, "John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> scribbled
loosely:

> "Pradera" <pra...@pradera.prv.pl> wrote in message
> news:Xns947264E0C9454p...@130.133.1.4...
>> On 16 sty 2004, Igenlode Wordsmith
>> <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@ [127.1]> scribbled loosely:
>>
>> > Reading this, I was a little puzzled: having gone to such lengths
>> > to establish Hobbits as deadly marksmen, Tolkien doesn't ever use
>> > this in the actual book, does he? The Battle of Bywater, perhaps...
>> > but it's scarcely a crucial trait for any of the four hobbits among
>> > the Fellowship. Hobbits are skilled archers - but they don't get
>> > bows from Galadriel, they get brooches :-)
>>
>> There is a difference between being a sport marksman, or even a good
>> hunter, and a combat archer. Hobbits just can't fight, usually - at
>> least not before they walk across half of ME and back again ;), so
>> giving them bows would just mean they'd hurt somebody in the heat of
>> a battle out of anxiety.
>> Take a sports archer from the olympics and tell him to shoot at a
>> band of charging orcs...
>>
> The ones I know would probably do it ... to get to the top of a sport
> means that you are very tough-minded.

Okay, perhaps that wasn't a good example. Especially since many of the
sport marksmen in archery or pistols or riffles come from military or
para-military organizations (at least it used to be like that, I don't
know if it's still these days?)

> The hobbits were simply too small to be useful soldiers; that is
> probably why none of the archers who went to Arvedi's war returned.

Where 'too small' might mean simply they were too weak to use combat-
effective bows, and without use of composite shortbows, also too short. I
imagine hobbit bows are good enough for hunting rabbits and birds, but to
be effective in combat they would have to be movie-legolas-level, always
shooting their foes in the eye.
I suppose the elves could prepare some special, magic-enhanced bows for
the Company on their stay in Lorien, that would be easy to pull and yet
effective against armor - like their light-but-strong ropes and cloaks -
but apparently they chose not to. And I think they chose wisely: who
knows what would happen to Merry & Pippin if they angered the orcs with
thier darts. Or with Gollum, if Sam had a decent bow & arrow at hand.

--
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/

Conrad B Dunkerson

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 2:44:03 PM1/17/04
to
"zett" <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:4bb40450.04011...@posting.google.com...

> Also a (probably really stupid) question. Many things are written in
> the prologue in the present tense...is it referring to our present
> time, or the time of the composition of the Red Book?

Definitely our present time... or rather the time at which Tolkien was
writing it. Both in the Prologue and Appendixes Tolkien speaks as himself.
He refers to the Hobbits being like 'us' rather than Elves or Dwarves, talks
about 'our world', et cetera. The Lord of the Rings was supposed to be set
in a 'mythical time' within our own world. And yes, Tolkien intended to
imply that there were still hobbits about - hidden in the countryside.

Henriette

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 3:26:09 PM1/17/04
to
Biloba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message news:<0nkg00hdpisq7naij...@4ax.com>...

> On two occasions, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote (combined
> posts):
>
> > But is this grammatically correct: "Indeed, few Hobbits had
> > > ever seen or sailed upon the Sea"?...I thought it might be better to write:
> >"Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen the Sea or sailed upon it". It has to do > > with the word "upon"(seen upon?, sailed upon). (snip)

>
> I'm no grammarian, so this is open to discussion, but I think you are
> correct in the technical sense, and JRRT should not have used "upon"
> here. (snip)

> Artistically, however, the "upon" is perfect because it opens the door
> to so many connotations. (snip)
>
Thank you Barb, for your answer and your very interesting analysis.
Indeed, when we have to choose from: "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever
seen the Sea or sailed upon it", "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen or
sailed the Sea" or "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen or sailed upon
the Sea", I would also take the latter, correct or not. And I do think
expression is more important than technical correctness in literature
(and the arts and music), still technics can be very interesting.

Henriette

zett

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 8:43:18 PM1/17/04
to
AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message news:<slrnc06nqb.1a0....@namibia.tandem>...

> On 12 Jan 2004 17:55:22 -0800,
> zett <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > I do have an observation about the "breeds" and the migration...since
> > the Fallohides were supposedly more bold and adventurous than the
> > other strains, it doesn't quite jibe that they'd be the last to cross
> > the Misty Mts...
>
> Well, it would be pretty bold to remain so near to Greenwood the Great after
> it became Mirkwood.

I did think of that, about 1 second after I clicked "post message." Heh.>

> >
> > Also a (probably really stupid) question. Many things are written in
> > the prologue in the present tense...is it referring to our present
> > time, or the time of the composition of the Red Book? I think it means
> > late 3rd Age/Early 4th...but it would be cool to think that maybe,
> > just maybe, there *could* still be a few Hobbits quietly and
> > unobtrusively toodling around Western Europe.
>
> I think that was Tolkien's point when he talks about Hobbits having dwindled
> in size, meaning that now (as in our time) they would, if they actually
> existed, be of smaller stature than they had been. Perhaps he was trying to
> link them, like he had to Elves, to real-world legendary creatures such as
> pixies and the like.

Thanks, that makes sense.

zett

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 8:57:38 PM1/17/04
to
"Conrad B Dunkerson" <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message news:<7ggOb.1914$4P6....@nwrdny01.gnilink.net>...

> "zett" <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:4bb40450.04011...@posting.google.com...
>
> > Also a (probably really stupid) question. Many things are written in
> > the prologue in the present tense...is it referring to our present
> > time, or the time of the composition of the Red Book?
>
> Definitely our present time... or rather the time at which Tolkien was
> writing it. [snip] And yes, Tolkien intended to

> imply that there were still hobbits about - hidden in the countryside.

Thanks. That is what I thought the first couple (ok, 5 or 10 times) I
read LoTR, but one, I started overthinking the Tolkien as translator
bit and two, even in Tolkien's day Europe was pretty heavily populated
and built over so I thought there would be no where for Hobbits to
hide so I started thinking I misunderstood the passages. But I prefer
to think that yes, our furry footed brethren are out there,
somewhere...

zett

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 10:24:43 PM1/17/04
to
"~ Q ~" <m...@privacy.net> wrote in message news:<bu10fo$c4mhp$1...@ID-173588.news.uni-berlin.de>...

> zett - typed:
> > Just a general comment about anachronism nit-picking (not directed at
> > anyone in particular). Here you have given a plausible explanation for
> > how a New World plant could have gotten to Middle-earth. If, as
> > happened in the real world, horses could get re-introduced to the New
> > World, why can't New World things be introduced (re-introduced) to the
> > Old? I dunno, I just never was one for worrying about anachronisms.
> > It's fantasy, go with the flow, I always say.
>
> The problem of how far to take deconstruction is a matter of opinion but
> I agree that many take it far too seriously. A problem with doing so is
> that one can forget that there's a world of storytelling beyond Tolkien
> which would be fruitful & enjoyable to read instead. It also helps put
> Tolkien in perspective by comparison to older fiction.

You're right. Ever so often I have read some comment on these ng's
like "Tolkien invented fantasy." and I wince and pray that someone has
posted to them about William Morris, at least. And looking back and
saying JRRT did have literary forebears doesn't diminish his
accomplishment at all. I know folks on this ng don't have a great
opinion of Lin Carter's "A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings" but I am
glad he put it out, just for all the authors and stories listed in the
back. I don't know if I would have discovered Lord Dunsany otherwise.
At least it would have taken me longer.

BaronjosefR

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 10:38:12 PM1/17/04
to
>> I think that was Tolkien's point when he talks about Hobbits having
>dwindled
>> in size, meaning that now (as in our time) they would, if they actually
>> existed, be of smaller stature than they had been. Perhaps he was trying
>to
>> link them, like he had to Elves, to real-world legendary creatures such as
>> pixies and the like.
>

But didn't Gandalf, at the end, point out that Merry was taller than Pippen and
that eventually they would grow, evolve into man-sized people?

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 10:45:15 PM1/17/04
to
In article <20040117223812...@mb-m13.aol.com>,
baron...@aol.com says...

Yeah, but that was RotK the TV movie.

--
Tar-Elenion

Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.

BaronjosefR

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 10:55:56 PM1/17/04
to
>baron...@aol.com says...
>> >> I think that was Tolkien's point when he talks about Hobbits having
>> >dwindled
>> >> in size, meaning that now (as in our time) they would, if they actually
>> >> existed, be of smaller stature than they had been. Perhaps he was
>trying
>> >to
>> >> link them, like he had to Elves, to real-world legendary creatures such
>as
>> >> pixies and the like.
>> >
>>
>> But didn't Gandalf, at the end, point out that Merry was taller than Pippen
>and
>> that eventually they would grow, evolve into man-sized people?
>>
>
>Yeah, but that was RotK the TV movie.
>
>--
>Tar-Elenion

Ah, yes. You are correct. However, there are instances of reference within the
trilogy whcih do point to that effect. Pippen is greeted with the phrase "who
is that young giant with the booming voice", even though he was never described
as a giant of a hobbit.

The movie shows something of the magical water in the domicile of Treebeard. I
forget whether this is something directly out of the book.

AC

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 10:58:00 PM1/17/04
to
On 18 Jan 2004 03:38:12 GMT,

Could you provide a citation for this?

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Jan 17, 2004, 11:16:41 PM1/17/04
to
In article <20040117225556...@mb-m13.aol.com>,
baron...@aol.com says...

Ent-draught, it's out of the book.

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jan 18, 2004, 12:42:26 AM1/18/04
to
"zett" <yze...@yahoo.com> wrote:

[snip]

> You're right. Ever so often I have read some comment on these ng's
> like "Tolkien invented fantasy." and I wince and pray that someone has
> posted to them about William Morris, at least. And looking back and
> saying JRRT did have literary forebears doesn't diminish his
> accomplishment at all. I know folks on this ng don't have a great
> opinion of Lin Carter's "A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings" but I am
> glad he put it out, just for all the authors and stories listed in the
> back. I don't know if I would have discovered Lord Dunsany otherwise.
> At least it would have taken me longer.

"The King of Elflland's Daughter" is a wonderful book. And of course,
Tolkien had read Lord Dunsany's writings; he seems to have been very amused
by a story about two pompous old gods called Chu-Bu and Sheemish whose idols
shared the same temple. He refers to it twice in "Letters", on the second
occasiomn (in a letter written in 1972), he writes: "Being a cult figure in
one's own lifetime I am afraid is not at all pleasant. However I do not find
that it tends to puff one up; in my case at any rate it makes me feel
extremely small and inadequate. But even the nose of a very modest idol
(younger than Chu-Bu and not much older than Sheemish) cannot remain
entirely untickled by the sweet smell of incense!"

Öjevind

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jan 18, 2004, 12:53:34 AM1/18/04
to
"AC" <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote:

[snip]

> I think that was Tolkien's point when he talks about Hobbits having
dwindled
> in size, meaning that now (as in our time) they would, if they actually
> existed, be of smaller stature than they had been. Perhaps he was trying
to
> link them, like he had to Elves, to real-world legendary creatures such as
> pixies and the like.

When Tolkien talks about them in the prologue, his phrasing about them makes
it pretty cear that he is speaking from a 20th century perspective: "Hobbits
are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they
are today", "now they avoid us with dismay" and so on. That he *is* speaking
from a modern perspective is, in my opinion, definitely proved by the fact
that in Part II: "Concencing Pipe-weed", he says that pipeweed was "a
variety probably of *Nicotiana*". Such a statement would be impossible to
make before the Linnaean system of the 18th century, and of course there is
no reason to believe that Tolkien for some reason pretended to write from an
18th century perspective.
By the way, Aaron, I see your newsreader has once more removed
alt.fan.tolkien from the followup. Fie!

Öjevind


Michelle J. Haines

unread,
Jan 18, 2004, 7:11:54 PM1/18/04
to
In article <Xns9473AC0C1BD5Bp...@130.133.1.4>,
pra...@pradera.prv.pl says...

>
> Okay, perhaps that wasn't a good example. Especially since many of the
> sport marksmen in archery or pistols or riffles come from military or
> para-military organizations (at least it used to be like that, I don't
> know if it's still these days?)

Don't know about the bulk, but the top rated woman archer is a
homeschooled girl from Cheyenne, 20 years old, and has studied and/or
taught dance at my daughter's dance school for years. :) Jenny
Nichols is her name.

Michelle
Flutist

--
Drift on a river, That flows through my arms
Drift as I'm singing to you
I see you smiling, So peaceful and calm
And holding you, I'm smiling, too
Here in my arms, Safe from all harm
Holding you, I'm smiling, too
-- For Xander [9/22/98 - 2/23/99]

Igenlode

unread,
Jan 18, 2004, 5:22:34 PM1/18/04
to
On 12 Jan 2004 AC wrote:

[cross-post restored]
> Chapter of the Week
> The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 3. Of the Ordering of the Shire

[snip]

> - To fit Shire government into a more modern political understanding, it
> seems to me that the Thain was a head of state and commander and chief while
> the Mayor was head of government. I imagine this has been obvious to
> others, but I never really thought about it that much before. I wonder
> whether the Mayor's election every seven years at the Free Fair on the
> White Downs was a general election or not.
>

More like choosing a May Queen, I should have thought. Or a vote by
general acclaim.

Who gave the banquets at which the Mayor presided, and where? There
must have been a fair bit of organising involved, and not, apparently,
by the Mayor! (All part and parcel of the hobbits' general fondness for
entertaining and giving each other presents, I dare say.)


> - I find it a little amusing to imagine a bunch of Hobbits running around
> the countryside making sure the odd Dwarf and Wizard behaved themselves.
>
One wonders if calling them 'Bounders' was a little in-joke by the
author at the hobbits' literal-minded expense :-)


Adventurous temperament being tolerated among those rich enough to be
allowed their eccentricities - do you suppose Sam, with his dreams of
meeting Elves and fondness for ballads of the old days, counts as
having an adventurous temperament? But then his daily life scarcely
permitted him to indulge it, as Tolkien says; 'old Mr Bilbo', who as an
acknowledged eccentric encouraged him, was a special case.


--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Lurker Extraordinaire

** I 'grew up' once. Didn't like it, so I gave it up. **

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Jan 18, 2004, 10:32:49 PM1/18/04
to
In article <200401190237...@riot.eu.org>, Use-Author-Supplied-
Address-Header@[127.1] says...

> On 12 Jan 2004 AC wrote:
>
> [cross-post restored]
> > Chapter of the Week
> > The Lord of the Rings - Prologue - 3. Of the Ordering of the Shire
>
> [snip]
>
> > - To fit Shire government into a more modern political understanding, it
> > seems to me that the Thain was a head of state and commander and chief while
> > the Mayor was head of government. I imagine this has been obvious to
> > others, but I never really thought about it that much before. I wonder
> > whether the Mayor's election every seven years at the Free Fair on the
> > White Downs was a general election or not.
> >
>
> More like choosing a May Queen, I should have thought. Or a vote by
> general acclaim.
>
> Who gave the banquets at which the Mayor presided, and where? There
> must have been a fair bit of organising involved, and not, apparently,
> by the Mayor! (All part and parcel of the hobbits' general fondness for
> entertaining and giving each other presents, I dare say.)

JRRT made an interesting comment/comparison in Letter 156:
"I am answering at once, because I am grateful, and because only letters
that I do treat so ever get answered, and most of all because your parcel
has arrived when having done all my 'prep' - ordering all the minutes and
resolutions of a long and argumentative College-meeting yesterday (there
being no fellow of ill-will, and only 24 persons of the usual human
absurdity. I felt rather like an observer at the meeting of Hobbit-
notables to advise the Mayor on the precedence and choice of dishes at a
Shire-banquet) -"

<snip>

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Jan 20, 2004, 10:29:34 PM1/20/04
to
A belated thanks for the intros to the Prologue, AC. On closer examination,
I note with embarassment that my Ch. 1 intro covered some of the same
points.

I wonder how the habit of smoking anything, let alone pipeweed, comes into
being? Perhaps ancient Hobbit farmers burned some trash and noticed certain
plants gave a pleasant-smelling smoke? Or would it go back to
hunter-gatherers looking for something to feed the campfire?

I agree that the strong Hobbit traditions of clan loyalty and social
networks may have produced such a strong sense of community that a
functioning government would be almost superfluous.

Henriette's comment on Hobbit fondness for books of trivial records reminds
me of a PBS series called "The Day The Universe Changed" in which the host,
James Burke, comments on rich people and their libraries: "They didn't read
much, but you had to have one."

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


Henriette

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Jan 22, 2004, 4:01:25 AM1/22/04
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<ymmPb.199331$X%5.158475@pd7tw2no>...

>
> Henriette's comment on Hobbit fondness for books of trivial records reminds
> me of a PBS series called "The Day The Universe Changed" in which the host,
> James Burke, comments on rich people and their libraries: "They didn't read
> much, but you had to have one."

I remember a family which bought several meters (they were sold per
meter....)of books at an auction, which they thought looked quite nice
in their library. When I asked them which writers they were by, the
lady replied, "Oh, I think Shakespeare".

Henriette

TT Arvind

unread,
Jan 22, 2004, 9:11:06 AM1/22/04
to
žus cwęš Biloba Grubb from Stock:

> However, he is just as clearly using "seen" as a transitive verb, and
> "the Sea" is its direct object. Yet I think "the Sea" is already
> locked into the prepositional phrase started by "upon" and thus can't
> be used correctly for anything else.

AFAIK, "few Hobbits had ever seen, or sailed upon, the Sea" is
grammatically correct, if the commas are included. I don't know if the
commas could be validly dropped under the New Comma Rules(TM), because
I'm not too familiar with them.

--
Meneldil

Having children is hereditary: If your parents didn't have any, then you
probably won't either.

Neil Cerutti

unread,
Jan 22, 2004, 9:38:53 AM1/22/04
to
In article <MPG.1a79ea59e...@News.CIS.DFN.DE>, TT Arvind wrote:
> žus cwęš Biloba Grubb from Stock:
>
>> However, he is just as clearly using "seen" as a transitive verb, and
>> "the Sea" is its direct object. Yet I think "the Sea" is already
>> locked into the prepositional phrase started by "upon" and thus can't
>> be used correctly for anything else.
>
> AFAIK, "few Hobbits had ever seen, or sailed upon, the Sea" is
> grammatically correct, if the commas are included. I don't
> know if the commas could be validly dropped under the New Comma
> Rules(TM), because I'm not too familiar with them.

It is good grammar. Strunk & White would criticize it based on
the non-parallel construction, but that is an issue of style.

--
Neil Cerutti
*** Life is a function returning void. ***

Brenda Selwyn

unread,
Jan 26, 2004, 6:07:36 PM1/26/04
to
>AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote:

>- Me thinks that only Professor Tolkien would have made tobacco into a
>matter of earth-shattering importance.

Earth-shattering perhaps, yes. However, in "Voyage of the Dawn
Treader" C. S. Lewis describes Eustace's parents, who the reader is
obviously supposed to dislike, as "vegetarians, teetotallers and
non-smokers".

Brenda

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

"If we were 'grown up' and 'had a clue' we wouldn't be wasting our time
posting here." - The Softrat

Brenda Selwyn

unread,
Jan 28, 2004, 7:02:30 PM1/28/04
to
>AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote:

Sorry, I am two chapters behind everyone else - the story of my
life:-)

>Hobbits are relatives of Men, far nearer to us than Elves and Dwarves.
>They spoke the languages of Men and shared their likes and dislikes.
>Though their origins are lost in the Elder Days, they had managed to
>live quietly in Middle-earth without much notice.

One sentence from this section struck me on re-reading: "Only the
Elves still preserve any records of that vanished time, and their
traditions are concerned almost entirely with their own history..."
"Still preserve"; "are concerned". Present tense. I could be wrong,
was under the impression that the prologue is intended to be as
written by Prof. Tolkien as translator, in the middle of the 20th
century. So, how does the Professor know the Elves still preserve
these records? Is he in regular contact with Elves? And if the Elves
have faded, and become wild, why hasn't this learning been lost?

Similarly, in the "Note on the Shire Records" Tolkien says a great
deal about the history of the Red Book, but not how he came by either
this information, or the copy from which he made the translation. Of
course it would be nice to think that it's because he numbered a
couple of Hobbits among his personal friends. Perhaps he is just
being discreet in not naming his sources.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jan 28, 2004, 7:49:59 PM1/28/04
to
"Brenda Selwyn" <bre...@matson.demon.co.uk> wrote

> Similarly, in the "Note on the Shire Records" Tolkien says a great
> deal about the history of the Red Book, but not how he came by either
> this information, or the copy from which he made the translation. Of
> course it would be nice to think that it's because he numbered a
> couple of Hobbits among his personal friends. Perhaps he is just
> being discreet in not naming his sources.


Or maybe he *was* a hobbit (in all but size)!


TeaLady (Mari C.)

unread,
Jan 31, 2004, 3:06:42 PM1/31/04
to
Brenda Selwyn <bre...@matson.demon.co.uk> wrote in
news:2bjg105509htk4d2u...@4ax.com:

>>AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote:
>
> Sorry, I am two chapters behind everyone else - the story of my
> life:-)
>
>>Hobbits are relatives of Men, far nearer to us than Elves and
>>Dwarves. They spoke the languages of Men and shared their likes
>>and dislikes. Though their origins are lost in the Elder Days,
>>they had managed to live quietly in Middle-earth without much
>>notice.
>
> One sentence from this section struck me on re-reading: "Only
> the Elves still preserve any records of that vanished time, and
> their traditions are concerned almost entirely with their own
> history..." "Still preserve"; "are concerned". Present tense.
> I could be wrong, was under the impression that the prologue is
> intended to be as written by Prof. Tolkien as translator, in
> the middle of the 20th century. So, how does the Professor
> know the Elves still preserve these records? Is he in regular
> contact with Elves? And if the Elves have faded, and become
> wild, why hasn't this learning been lost?
>

Perhaps it is an allusion to the "translator" having been allowed,
at some point, to travel the Straight Road and speak directly with
the Eldar and view their records ?

> Similarly, in the "Note on the Shire Records" Tolkien says a
> great deal about the history of the Red Book, but not how he
> came by either this information, or the copy from which he made
> the translation. Of course it would be nice to think that it's
> because he numbered a couple of Hobbits among his personal
> friends. Perhaps he is just being discreet in not naming his
> sources.
>

A "chance" discovery, perhaps. Or information gained while
traveling to places most men never get to go (see above). He could
have been told where to find the Red Book, or found it first (quite
by accident, I'm sure) and then was permitted to travel West in
order to properly document and report on the "true" history of the
world.


--
mc

Tamfiiris Entwife

unread,
Feb 6, 2004, 1:06:22 PM2/6/04
to
in the ancient scrolls it is said that Henriette wrote:

> Thank you Barb, for your answer and your very interesting analysis.
> Indeed, when we have to choose from: "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever
> seen the Sea or sailed upon it", "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen or
> sailed the Sea" or "Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen or sailed upon
> the Sea", I would also take the latter, correct or not. And I do think
> expression is more important than technical correctness in literature
> (and the arts and music), still technics can be very interesting.

assuming we could have raised Tolkien from the grave (and would have
wanted to), i think we could have suggested "Indeed, few Hobbits had
ever set eye or sailed upon the Sea". that way we could have retained
the expression and still keep alert grammarians from jumping in their
arm-chairs.

then again, even grammarians need exercise.

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

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

Henriette

unread,
Feb 7, 2004, 4:36:11 PM2/7/04
to
Tamfiiris Entwife <fighti...@a-spamfree.world.invalid> wrote in message news:<MPG.1a8dc0143...@news.online.no>...

> assuming we could have raised Tolkien from the grave (and would have
> wanted to), i think we could have suggested "Indeed, few Hobbits had
> ever set eye or sailed upon the Sea". that way we could have retained
> the expression and still keep alert grammarians from jumping in their
> arm-chairs.

Brava! (claps. Excellent solution!)
>
HeÑriette

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