Hobbit chapter of the week: Chapter 18

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Taemon

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Dec 29, 2003, 2:28:23 AM12/29/03
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Chapter Eighteen: The return journey

Synopsis: Bilbo wakes up on an empty battlefield. Still wearing
the ring, he wasn't found before (which is a delicate irony).
Turns out he's back in camp just in time to say goodbye to
Thorin, who is dying from battle wounds. Bilbo is very sad;
although the battle is won, the losses are high.

Matters of payment are finally settled and Bilbo and Gandalf
assume the journey home. The chapter ends with a last look on
Lonely Mountain.

Comments

- This chapter is full of beautiful proza. Actually I feel
tempted to quote it all. Since it's a very short chapter I
could probably do that and still not post an overly long post
but then again, the Tolkien Estate might sue me. Maybe I can
get away with "Victory after all, I suppose! Well, it seems a
very gloomy business."

- "... he was now weary of his adventure. He was aching in his
bones for the homeward journey." 'Now' weary? Seems to me he
never enjoyed it in the first place.

- The Eagles are not being very deus ex machinical, for a
change. It's perfectly plausible that they kept an eye on
events and decided to show up. Beorns appearance, on the other
hand, is on the unlikely side of possible events. How did he
show up in time? It is _quite_ a journey from Carrock to Lonely
Mountain and he doesn't fly. I daresay he doesn't even have
wings. Did he run after the goblins all that time, waiting for
an actual battle before attacking them?

- Beorn carries a dying Thorin out of the battle. A touching
gesture (one that would look great in a movie) but why is he so
concerned about Thorin all of a sudden? "Swiftly he returned
and his wrath was redoubled." Thorin might have been a guest
but Beorn never really liked dwarves, did he?

- Beorns appearance seems to tip the scale of the battle. That
seems strange to me. Even though he is big and beary and busts
Bolg, he is still a single berson. Er, person.

- "Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of
the North perished on that day." I am probably the only person
who feels sorry for the goblins.

- They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast. Begging
pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.

- The remaining dwarves stay with Dain "for Dain dealt his
treasure well". What kind of reason is that?

- Why did Bard sent so much of his treasure to the Master?

- Cute, how Bilbo gives a necklace to the Elven King,
stammering like a schoolboy.

- The chapter ends with "I wish now only to be in my own
arm-chair!" Again I say, has it been any different throughout
the tale? Seems to me he hated the adventure from the beginning
to the end.


Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 29, 2003, 9:07:47 AM12/29/03
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in <bsol2m$ej685$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de>,
Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> Beorns appearance, on the other hand, is on the unlikely side
> of possible events. How did he show up in time?

We've learned of his hatred of the Goblins, and we've got some
good evidence that he follows their actions with some interest.
I don't see why he couldn't have learned about the gathering of
the Goblins in much the same way as he learned that Gandalf's
story was true.

> It is _quite_ a journey from Carrock to Lonely Mountain and he
> doesn't fly.

And his hatred for the Goblins is _quite_ strong ...

> I daresay he doesn't even have wings.

;-)

> Did he run after the goblins all that time, waiting for an
> actual battle before attacking them?

I would imagine that he got off a bit late and didn't catch up
with them until the battle had started. One of these
'coincidences' that sometimes seems the life-blood of fantasy ;-)

> - Beorn carries a dying Thorin out of the battle. A touching
> gesture (one that would look great in a movie) but why is he so
> concerned about Thorin all of a sudden? "Swiftly he returned
> and his wrath was redoubled." Thorin might have been a guest
> but Beorn never really liked dwarves, did he?

I never really thought it odd that Beorn reacted as he did, but
trying to rationalize this lack of wonder, this is what I came up
with:
Beorn did seem to appreciate Thorin's party quite a lot better
after he had validated their story and Beorn also seems to me to
be of the old kind - having extended his welcomes and his aid to
this group once, he is their friend.

> - Beorns appearance seems to tip the scale of the battle. That
> seems strange to me. Even though he is big and beary and busts
> Bolg, he is still a single berson. Er, person.

I'd say it's the killing of Bolg that does it; "Then dismay fell
on the Goblins ..."
It's not an uncommon theme in literature that the loss of a strong
leader will cause the collapse of an army - I don't know how
realistic it is, but still ... ;-)
It seems more justified at Sauron's fall at the end of LotR as he
seems to have been driving his troops far more directly. I can't,
at the moment, recall other similar instances in Tolkien (though
I think that there is some).

> - "Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of
> the North perished on that day." I am probably the only person
> who feels sorry for the goblins.
>
> - They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast. Begging
> pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.

Nah - the Arkenstone is made for hoarding; not for trade. How
better to hoard it than to bury it with a hero and a sharo sword ;-)
(and of course it's meant as an honour to Thorin).

> - The remaining dwarves stay with Dain "for Dain dealt his
> treasure well". What kind of reason is that?

For Dwarves? The very best reason imaginable, I think ;-)
The Dwarves appear to me to take quite a lot of interest in wealth,
and the way a ruler dealt with his wealth would be a major bechmark
for them.

> - Why did Bard sent so much of his treasure to the Master?

That almost begs the question of whether one can be so noble that it
becomes disabling ;-)

> - The chapter ends with "I wish now only to be in my own
> arm-chair!" Again I say, has it been any different throughout
> the tale? Seems to me he hated the adventure from the beginning
> to the end.

Hasn't there been some short periods which he enjoyed?
On another level I'd say that his capacity for adventure was spent -
he was now unable to rouse himself for even one more daring deed
such as those which he had, to the surprise of everyone (himself
included) accomplished several times.

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

Stan Brown

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Dec 29, 2003, 10:35:50 AM12/29/03
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In article <bsol2m$ej685$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de> in
rec.arts.books.tolkien, Taemon wrote:

>- "... he was now weary of his adventure. He was aching in his
>bones for the homeward journey." 'Now' weary? Seems to me he
>never enjoyed it in the first place.

He very much enjoyed the beginning of it, jogging along in the May
sunshine on a pony.

And wouldn't _you_ have enjoyed dictating terms to a King of the
Elves, a Dwarf King, and a leader of Men, all of them twice your
height and leaders of more Big People?

Sure, there were many points where Frodo was homesick or frightened.
But there were other moments he liked.

I read "now weary of his adventure" as meaning that he had done
(beyond hope) what he came to do, and more, but now he found that
the reward wasn't really worth the having. Like Frodo (though not so
much, perhaps), he found that his adventure had changed him, shown
him the dark side of the world, aged him.

"I'm done, and I don't feel like hanging about with nothing really
to do. When does the next Hobbiton pony leave?" That I think summed
up his feeling "weary of his adventure".

>- Beorn carries a dying Thorin out of the battle. A touching
>gesture (one that would look great in a movie) but why is he so
>concerned about Thorin all of a sudden? "Swiftly he returned
>and his wrath was redoubled." Thorin might have been a guest
>but Beorn never really liked dwarves, did he?

I think he hated goblins with a thoroughgoing hatred. He wasn't fond
of Dwarves in particular, but he did seem to like Thorin and Company
when he fund out they had killed the Great Goblin.

>- Beorns appearance seems to tip the scale of the battle. That
>seems strange to me. Even though he is big and beary and busts
>Bolg, he is still a single berson. Er, person.

I agree, it seems strange to me too.

A possible partial explanation: In a battles, especially a hand-to-
hand battle like the B5A, sometimes morale is a determining factor.
Perhaps a 20-foot-high Beorn[1] made the goblins believe that they
couldn't win, in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

[1] All we're told is "giant size". We know his normal size is such
that his tunic clears the ground by at least 3 feet, so he would
have been 9 feet or so unless the tunic was ordered from Fredericks
of Rivendell.

>- "Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of
>the North perished on that day." I am probably the only person
>who feels sorry for the goblins.

Yes, I think so. They put themselves into the battle, and they were
the only folks involved who didn't have even a shadow of a claim to
the treasure.

>- They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast. Begging
>pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.

The Arkenstone would have been one of the crown jewels of the
Kingdom under the Mountain. Crown jewels are usually kept in some
sort of treasury, possibly in a display case. (We know that Thorin's
sword[2] was watched to see whether enemies were approaching;
therefore his body must have been lying permanently in state in some
guarded room. The Arkenstone would then of course have been in that
same guarded room.

What did you have in mind should have been done with the Arkenstone?
It's doubtful that it could have been sold. Even setting aside the
sentimental value to the House of Thror, I doubt the Elvenking would
have traded his entire treasury for the one gem. And who else around
could even possibly have bought it?

[2] Bilbo's dagger and Thorin's sword are supposed to be of the same
kind, both from Gondolin, and therefore both glow when enemies are
near. In "Riddles of the Dark" we are told that Bilbo's sword glows
only very faintly when goblins are simply a few corridors away; yet
here we are told that Thorin's sword glowed when enemies were
approaching the Mountain, obviously at a much greater distance.
Either the larger sword has a more powerful "amplifier", or there's
an inconsistency here.

>- The remaining dwarves stay with Dain "for Dain dealt his
>treasure well". What kind of reason is that?

What else would you have them do?

N.B. "Dealt his treasure well" could have two meanings: (a) he gave
liberal gifts to his followers, thus buying their loyalty; or (b) he
spent it prudently, thus showing that he would be a good king and
worthy of followers.

>- Why did Bard sent so much of his treasure to the Master?

He wanted to relieve the distress of his former fellow citizens, and
the Master was all the government there was.

With all the wisdom(!) of latter days, the US generally does the
same thing with famine relief and medical aid, and foreign
governments more often than not skim off most of the shipments.

--
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
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Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/tech/faqget.htm

Henriette

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Dec 29, 2003, 10:45:28 AM12/29/03
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"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:

(snip)


> - This chapter is full of beautiful proza.

Proza even:-) I'm sorry. Actually, your English is amazing!


>
> - "Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of
> the North perished on that day." I am probably the only person
> who feels sorry for the goblins.
>

Yes. You and Raven, since Bagronk has left us.

> - They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast. Begging
> pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.
>

Creatures need rituals. This is beautiful!


>
> - The chapter ends with "I wish now only to be in my own
> arm-chair!" Again I say, has it been any different throughout
> the tale? Seems to me he hated the adventure from the beginning
> to the end.

His Tookish side had a good time and he loved the Elves and Beorn's
flowers, but now his Baggin's side was getting the better of him.

Thank you Taemon, you found a lot of interesting points!

Henriette

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 29, 2003, 2:04:26 PM12/29/03
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"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote

> - This chapter is full of beautiful proza. Actually I feel
> tempted to quote it all. Since it's a very short chapter I
> could probably do that and still not post an overly long post
> but then again, the Tolkien Estate might sue me.

Only two quotes! I'd like to quote the Bilbo and Thorin exchange at Thorin's
deathbed, but it is a bit long. I like the way Thorin's impending death
changes his attitude towards silver and gold, and leads him to recognise
Bilbo's good qualities above his own. Tolkien's writing about Bilbo's
reaction expresses Bilbo's sorrow very well.

> - The Eagles are not being very deus ex machinical, for a
> change. It's perfectly plausible that they kept an eye on
> events and decided to show up. Beorns appearance, on the other
> hand, is on the unlikely side of possible events. How did he
> show up in time? It is _quite_ a journey from Carrock to Lonely
> Mountain and he doesn't fly. I daresay he doesn't even have
> wings. Did he run after the goblins all that time, waiting for
> an actual battle before attacking them?

It is a bit strange. I thought it strange that Gandalf got injured.

> - Beorns appearance seems to tip the scale of the battle. That
> seems strange to me. Even though he is big and beary and busts
> Bolg, he is still a single berson. Er, person.

But "nothing could withstand him and no weapon seemed to bite on him".
Can't explain it, but that would tip the scale of the battle and demoralize
the orcs.

> - "Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of
> the North perished on that day." I am probably the only person
> who feels sorry for the goblins.

"Three parts" of how many parts? Makes no sense to me.

One other bit I always notice, for its evoking of different values and
cultures, is the reference to Fili and Kili "defending [Thorin] with shield
and body, for he was their mother's eldest brother." Is that some reference
to shield brothers or something?

Christopher

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Replace spamgard with isengard to reply


Raven

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Dec 29, 2003, 2:56:14 PM12/29/03
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"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i en meddelelse
news:_U_Hb.1162$SQ6.9...@news-text.cableinet.net...
> "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote

> > - "Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of
> > the North perished on that day." I am probably the only person
> > who feels sorry for the goblins.

> "Three parts" of how many parts? Makes no sense to me.

Three fourths.

> One other bit I always notice, for its evoking of different values and
> cultures, is the reference to Fili and Kili "defending [Thorin] with
> shield and body, for he was their mother's eldest brother." Is that
> some reference to shield brothers or something?

When the orcs swung their swords at Thorin and jabbed their spears at
him, Fili and Kili put their own shields before him to protect him, as well
as their own bodies. Just as a mother may jump in front of a flying
projectile, shielding her baby with her own body. Their reason was that
they loved and revered him above their own lives, because of this kinship.

Rabe.


zett

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Dec 29, 2003, 4:32:05 PM12/29/03
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"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:<bsol2m$ej685$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de>...
[snip]

"Victory after all, I suppose! Well, it seems a
> very gloomy business."

Tolkien the realist strikes again. I love it when he puts in these
bits.


>
> - "... he was now weary of his adventure. He was aching in his
> bones for the homeward journey." 'Now' weary? Seems to me he
> never enjoyed it in the first place.

I think though that here he is hating it even more than usual. It is
another one of those "dreaming of eggs and bacon" moments, but written
a bit larger because we are in the more serious parts of the story,
and nearing the end.


>
> - The Eagles are not being very deus ex machinical, for a
> change. It's perfectly plausible that they kept an eye on
> events and decided to show up. Beorns appearance, on the other
> hand, is on the unlikely side of possible events. How did he
> show up in time? It is _quite_ a journey from Carrock to Lonely
> Mountain and he doesn't fly. I daresay he doesn't even have
> wings.

BWAHAHAHAHA!


Did he run after the goblins all that time, waiting for
> an actual battle before attacking them?

No, he was biting them on the butts as he went. ;) I thought bears
could cover a lot of ground rapidly when they want to. If he started
not long after the dwarves left him and kept up a steady pace...


>
> - Beorn carries a dying Thorin out of the battle. A touching
> gesture (one that would look great in a movie) but why is he so
> concerned about Thorin all of a sudden? "Swiftly he returned
> and his wrath was redoubled." Thorin might have been a guest
> but Beorn never really liked dwarves, did he?

Beorn is a lot nicer than he acts, IMO. I think he liked these
particular Dwarves more than he let on. Besides, I figure his sense
of honor would make him want to help- and he really really hates
goblins after all.


>
> - Beorns appearance seems to tip the scale of the battle. That
> seems strange to me. Even though he is big and beary and busts
> Bolg, he is still a single berson. Er, person.

LOL! I note that Tolkien does this a lot; there can be a big battle,
and supposedly the odds are terrible, but if the right guy takes a
hand (think of how easily Aragorn seems to beat enemies)the baddies
just seems to wimp out and give up, especially if somebody puts the
smackdown on their leader. I guess it is JRRT's way of saying evil
doesn't have any real courage.

[snip]


> They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast. Begging
> pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.

Eh, they had plenty of other treasure, and besides, maybe they were
afraid Thorin would haunt them if they didn't. ;)


>
> - The remaining dwarves stay with Dain "for Dain dealt his
> treasure well". What kind of reason is that?

A Beowulfian reason?

[snip]

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 29, 2003, 5:42:39 PM12/29/03
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"Raven" <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote

> When the orcs swung their swords at Thorin and jabbed their spears at
> him, Fili and Kili put their own shields before him to protect him, as
well
> as their own bodies. Just as a mother may jump in front of a flying
> projectile, shielding her baby with her own body. Their reason was that
> they loved and revered him above their own lives, because of this kinship.

But neither Fili and Kili were Thorin's mother. I would have expected Thorin
to protect his sister's children. Though maybe Thorin and Fili and Kili were
all that was left of that part of the family. They would have all protected
each other I suppose.

I was also wondering if there was some Norse/Anglo-Saxon tradition being
used here? I vaguely remember some similar thing being used in The
Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son (a verse written by Tolkien
describing the Battle of Maldon in Essex between the English and the 'Danes'
(Norwegians) in 991).

<grabs book>

In 'The Homecoming...' verse, and the preceding commentary by Tolkien, there
is a mention that the commander of the English army, a duke who was named
Beorhtnoth, had a 'household' (heorowerod) or 'bodyguard' that included
members of his own family, and they all fought on to the death beside their
lord. Looks promising.

Then in the actual verse itself (written by Tolkien in imitation of
fragments found describing the Battle of Maldon), we have one of the two
speakers saying (as they search a battlefield strewn with mutilated bodies):

"Tidwald:
Here! lend a hand! This head we know! //// Wulfmaer it is. I'll wager aught
//// not far did he fall from friend and master. ////
Torthhelm:
His sister-son! The songs tell us, //// ever near shall be at need nephew to
uncle."

Which is a clear link with Fili and Kili's relationship to Thorin, though by
the sound of it, also a general 'rule' in the culture at the time. Anyone
know anything more about such Anglo-Saxon rules? I did find a reference to
relationships historically being particularly close between uncles and
nephews in Germanic countries.

There is a further link between the Battle of the Five Armies and the Battle
of Maldon, albeit a more tenuous one, in that Beorhtnoth made a strategic
blunder and allowed the 'Danes' to cross a causeway and fight from a
stronger position. This reminds me of the strategic blunder made by Thorin
that was pointed out by Igenlode Wordsmith in the discussion on the previous
chapter. This is where Thorin sallies forth from the Lonely Mountain and
calls his allies down from their positions of strength higher up on the
mountain. This does have more in common, as Igenlode said, with the
situation at the Battle of Hastings, but the dwarves do end up making a
"last stand about their lords".

So I would hypothesize that Tolkien's inspiration for the Fili/Kili
relationship with Thorin, and their heroic defence to the death of Thorin,
is straight out of Anglo-Saxon history (which includes the Battle of Maldon
and the Battle of Hastings) with Anglo-Saxon bodyguards that included
family, and especially nephews, fighting to the death.

This would be obvious to any Anglo-Saxon scholar, and has probably already
been pointed out, but couldn't find anything on Google Groups, so I can
always hope this is (fairly) original and not too obvious.

What I would be interested in knowing, is whether Tolkien worked on texts
about the Battle of Maldon, or indeed even wrote 'The Homecoming..." before
he wrote The Hobbit. The Hobbit was published in 1937. My copy of 'The
Homecoming...' says 1975, but he wrote it earlier as this is a post-humous
date. Does anyone know when and which came first?

Christopher

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AC

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Dec 29, 2003, 8:37:28 PM12/29/03
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On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 08:28:23 +0100,
Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
>
> - They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast. Begging
> pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.

It was an heirloom of Thorin's house, not of Dain's. Besides, what more
fitting place than with Thorin, who had paid the ultimate price just to get
it.

>
> - The remaining dwarves stay with Dain "for Dain dealt his
> treasure well". What kind of reason is that?

He was a fair person, and by the sounds of it, considerably wiser than
Thorin.

--
Aaron Clausen

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

Glenn Holliday

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Dec 29, 2003, 10:17:26 PM12/29/03
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Taemon wrote:
>
> - Why did Bard sent so much of his treasure to the Master?

This one has always seemed both interesting and straightforward.
The relationship between Bard and the Master was a political
dance. It's clear that Bard is the better leader, but the
Master still holds the power. The Master is likely to feel
threatened by Bard as war hero. Bard is buttering up the
Master, reassuring him that Bard recognizes his authority
and will give the Master no reason to lay plots to take
down the returning hero. The balance of power will shift
later, but Bard does not want to do it by usurpation.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

the softrat

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Dec 29, 2003, 10:23:05 PM12/29/03
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On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 22:42:39 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>What I would be interested in knowing, is whether Tolkien worked on texts
>about the Battle of Maldon, or indeed even wrote 'The Homecoming..." before
>he wrote The Hobbit. The Hobbit was published in 1937. My copy of 'The
>Homecoming...' says 1975, but he wrote it earlier as this is a post-humous
>date. Does anyone know when and which came first?
>
Tolkien studied Anglo-Saxon and Norse Language and Literature before
college and during college (he graduated in 1916), so he had the
ancient Germanic 'sister-son' thing down cold. I believe that 'The
Homecoming....' was written in the late 1930's or early 1950's, well
after _The Hobbit_ was written. _The Hobbit_ was started about 1928
and finished about 1936 for publication in 1937. 'The Homecoming ...'
was broadcast on British radio while Tolkien was still alive, in the
late 1940's or 1950's. Tolkien died in 1973.


the softrat
"LotR: You've seen the epic. Now experience the Whole Story!"
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
Help wanted: Telepath. You know where to apply.

Odysseus

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Dec 30, 2003, 2:59:16 AM12/30/03
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote

>
> > - "Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of
> > the North perished on that day." I am probably the only person
> > who feels sorry for the goblins.
>
> "Three parts" of how many parts? Makes no sense to me.
>
"N parts" is an old-fashioned way of expressing fractions where the
remainder is understood to be one part, i.e. meaning N/(N+1). So here it
means three out of four, or 75%.

--
Odysseus

Hoss

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Dec 30, 2003, 6:19:45 AM12/30/03
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You have way too much time on your hands dude.
"AC" <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message
news:slrnbv1lmo.1jk....@namibia.tandem...

Taemon

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Dec 30, 2003, 7:20:49 AM12/30/03
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Troels Forchhammer:

> I'd say it's the killing of Bolg that does it; "Then dismay
fell
> on the Goblins ..."
> It's not an uncommon theme in literature that the loss of a
strong
> leader will cause the collapse of an army - I don't know how
> realistic it is, but still ... ;-)

In a battle like that, news doesn't spread quickly. I think
it's weird.

> It seems more justified at Sauron's fall at the end of LotR
as he
> seems to have been driving his troops far more directly.

Yes, and his troops immediately knew he was gone. Not so with
Bolg (or so one might assume).

> > - They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast.
Begging
> > pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.
> Nah - the Arkenstone is made for hoarding; not for trade. How
> better to hoard it than to bury it with a hero and a sharo
sword ;-)

It's not for hoarding, it's for admiring and showing off. I
would have displayed it at the head of the tomb or some such.

T.


Taemon

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Dec 30, 2003, 7:28:28 AM12/30/03
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Stan Brown:

> >- The remaining dwarves stay with Dain "for Dain dealt his
> >treasure well". What kind of reason is that?
> What else would you have them do?

Stay because they now have what they fought for - the Kingdom
under the Mountain.

> N.B. "Dealt his treasure well" could have two meanings: (a)


he gave
> liberal gifts to his followers, thus buying their loyalty; or
(b) he
> spent it prudently, thus showing that he would be a good king
and
> worthy of followers.

Ah! That sounds more like making it understandable to poor
Taemon (who tends to shy away a bit from aft these days, hence
my short replies).

> >- Why did Bard sent so much of his treasure to the Master?
> He wanted to relieve the distress of his former fellow
citizens, and
> the Master was all the government there was.

I say he didn't need the Master for that.

T.


Jette Goldie

unread,
Dec 30, 2003, 8:56:08 AM12/30/03
to

"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote

> - Beorn carries a dying Thorin out of the battle. A touching
> gesture (one that would look great in a movie) but why is he so
> concerned about Thorin all of a sudden? "Swiftly he returned
> and his wrath was redoubled." Thorin might have been a guest
> but Beorn never really liked dwarves, did he?


Hospitality - which Beorn did give to Thorin - has strong
and lasting ties on both sides.


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


Stan Brown

unread,
Dec 30, 2003, 11:21:13 AM12/30/03
to
In article <4bb40450.03122...@posting.google.com> in
rec.arts.books.tolkien, zett wrote:
(quoting)

>> "Victory after all, I suppose! Well, it seems a
>> very gloomy business."

>Tolkien the realist strikes again. I love it when he puts in these
>bits.

Yes, I agree this is one of his better lines.

I can picture him, as a young officer in WW1, looking out over a
battlefield after the British had "won", and saying something just
like this. More than once in /Letters/ he talks about the blow of
losing almost all his friends in WW1.

Stan Brown

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Dec 30, 2003, 11:22:04 AM12/30/03
to
In article <bsrr1a$om82$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de> in
rec.arts.books.tolkien, Taemon wrote:
>Stan Brown:
>> >- The remaining dwarves stay with Dain "for Dain dealt his
>> >treasure well". What kind of reason is that?
>> What else would you have them do?

I wrote only part of the above. Please get your attributions right,
so that you don't put words in people's mouths.

AC

unread,
Dec 30, 2003, 12:31:36 PM12/30/03
to
On Wed, 31 Dec 2003 00:19:45 +1300,
Hoss <ho...@outlaws.com> wrote:
> You have way too much time on your hands dude.

Did you have a point to make or have you snuck into your parents room to act
stupid on a newsgroup?

Barber

unread,
Dec 31, 2003, 4:15:31 AM12/31/03
to

<all snipped>

Easily the funniest post I have read here in many a year.

But of course Beorn had wings. "Beorn" has exactly 3 letters that
appear in the word "Balrog." That's 50% or, as we can all clearly see --
one wing. Coincidence?

I think not.

Henriette

unread,
Dec 31, 2003, 11:01:20 AM12/31/03
to
"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:<bsrr1a$om82$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de>...

>
> Ah! That sounds more like making it understandable to poor
> Taemon (who tends to shy away a bit from aft these days, hence
> my short replies).
>
So I noticed. Why is that? Look, in a reaction to your Chapter 18 post
what Babar writes:

"Easily the funniest post I have read here in many a year".

You are appreciated, also by me!

Henriette

Taemon

unread,
Dec 31, 2003, 12:03:54 PM12/31/03
to
Barber:

> <all snipped>
>
> Easily the funniest post I have read here in many a year.

<bows and blushes, much like Bilbo giving the necklace to the
Elf King>

> But of course Beorn had wings. "Beorn" has exactly 3 letters
that
> appear in the word "Balrog." That's 50% or, as we can all
clearly see --
> one wing. Coincidence?
>
> I think not.

Are you saying he has one wing? I can imagine how that would
frighten the goblins.

T.


Taemon

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Dec 31, 2003, 12:06:20 PM12/31/03
to
Henriette:

> Taemon:


> > Ah! That sounds more like making it understandable to poor
> > Taemon (who tends to shy away a bit from aft these days,
hence
> > my short replies).
> So I noticed. Why is that?

Too much of a good thing, my precious. But I'm finally
up-to-date and trying to keep it that way.

> You are appreciated, also by me!

<bows again but this time without the blushing - it's amazing
how quickly one can get used to compliments>

T.


TeaLady (Mari C.)

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Dec 31, 2003, 6:04:07 PM12/31/03
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in
news:6dr1vvosbsr845hvr...@4ax.com:

> Tolkien studied Anglo-Saxon and Norse Language and Literature
> before college and during college (he graduated in 1916), so he
> had the ancient Germanic 'sister-son' thing down cold. I
> believe that 'The Homecoming....' was written in the late
> 1930's or early 1950's, well after _The Hobbit_ was written.
> _The Hobbit_ was started about 1928 and finished about 1936 for
> publication in 1937. 'The Homecoming ...' was broadcast on
> British radio while Tolkien was still alive, in the late 1940's
> or 1950's. Tolkien died in 1973.
>
>

I know I've seen other authors do the "sister-son" thing - Tolkien
did it more naturally, IMO, and for me that made it easier to
understand - yet for the life of me I can't think of any examples
of specific books or authors. Mayhaps I am conflating the reading
of mythology and other writings, but I'm sure I have seen it in
other works of fantasy and sci-fi.

I've also read, in various "amateur" historical writings, that the
Highland Scots fostered sister's sons, with a result very like the
Germanic ways. I don't know if any of those books were really all
that accurate, but they made a good presentation and at the least,
attempted a scholarly treatment.

--
mc

Jette Goldie

unread,
Dec 31, 2003, 7:27:19 PM12/31/03
to

"TeaLady (Mari C.)" <spres...@yahoo.com> wrote

>
> I've also read, in various "amateur" historical writings, that the
> Highland Scots fostered sister's sons, with a result very like the
> Germanic ways. I don't know if any of those books were really all
> that accurate, but they made a good presentation and at the least,
> attempted a scholarly treatment.


Well, the Highland clans did fostering of the sons of allied
clans.

But until fairly late on, there was no automatic assumption
that the first born son of the Clan Chief would inherit his
father's position - the post was elected from all the male
relatives of the Chief - sons, nephews, sons-in-law, cousins,
brothers and uncles - by the clan council.

So a sister's son could very well be the heir.

Igenlode Wordsmith

unread,
Dec 31, 2003, 4:01:45 PM12/31/03
to
On 29 Dec 2003 zett wrote:
[snip]

> I note that Tolkien does this a lot; there can be a big battle, and
> supposedly the odds are terrible, but if the right guy takes a hand
> (think of how easily Aragorn seems to beat enemies) the baddies just

> seems to wimp out and give up, especially if somebody puts the
> smackdown on their leader. I guess it is JRRT's way of saying evil
> doesn't have any real courage.
>
It's a staple of heroic literature (single combat between leaders
resolving the battle) but has more than a little truth in historical
reality, I think. Take the Battle of Bosworth, for example (England,
1485 - end of Wars of the Roses, mainly because one of the opposing
houses was all but exterminated, and on winning the battle then
proceeded to exterminate all the potential heirs of the other side as
well, thus leaving no-one to fight for...) The turning point of the
battle was when the reigning king personally led a charge towards the
rival claimant to the throne with the aim of swinging the outcome of the
fight by killing him with his own hand, thus causing all resistance to
crumble.

If he had succeeded, the history of England would have been very
different (I've heard it argued that a Plantagenet king would probably
have agreed to finance Christopher Columbus when he came to England for
backing before approaching Castile, for example, thus implying that
'Latin' America would probably have been Anglophone; and it's likely
that the Protestant Reformation and all its consequences might not have
taken place either). Because the King was killed in that charge instead
of his rival, it was his side that lost heart and gave in ("and all for
the want of a horse-shoe nail", as the nursery rhyme[1] goes.)


In the case of a battle for the throne, where the opposing armies are
indeed fighting on behalf of their own candidate and, if he is killed,
there is quite simply nothing left to fight for, a single leader's life
can obviously be all-important. But in the case of many bodies of men,
whether conscripted into war by their rulers or enticed into it by some
charismatic ideal, they are basically only fighting the enemy because
their leaders or their officers are pointing them in the right
direction and urging them on. The sensible response for any given
individual would be to down arms and run away - and, when there is
abruptly no-one left to fear or to follow, this is exactly what tends
to happen.

That's why it was so important to 'keep the standard flying' - to show
your followers how far the front had got and give them something to
follow. If the standard-bearer was killed (which they often were, since
they had a heavy banner to manage which both made self-defence
difficult and marked them out as a prime target for anyone on the other
side) it was imperative that someone else should catch up the standard
before it could be captured or trampled underfoot. Otherwise the
foot-soldiers would find themselves adrift in a heaving sea of
combatants with no idea where they were or what was going on, and very
likely lose heart altogether.

In the case of the goblins of the Misty Mountains, I assume that Bolg
both lured them on with promises of easy victory and spoils and
intimidated them into following him with threats and violence. Both
ways, once their leader had been vanquished, I imagine that winning
suddenly seemed a lot less important and getting away with a whole hide
much more attractive. (Unfortunately, in this type of battle, turning
your relatively unarmoured back and running away is usually a cue for
massacre - death-tolls during 'the pursuit' are often far greater than
those who actually fall on the battlefield.) As soon as the goblins
stopped fighting as a cohesive force, they would have lost very quickly.

Generally speaking, in any contest (electoral, managerial, debate...) a
handful of individuals can be seen to have an influence quite out of
proportion to their number. Sway these, and the rest will follow. The
same is true of mediaeval-type melee (as to modern warfare, I can't say
- it's possible that in taking out a single command centre, you can
cripple an entire army, or the individual units may have been given a
high degree of autonomy).

So on balance I don't think Tolkien's writing is unrealistic in that
respect.


[1]
"For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For the want of the shoe, the horse was lost.
For the want of the horse, the rider was lost.
For the want of the rider, the battle was lost.
For the want of the battle, the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horse-shoe nail!"

(Actually, so far as we know, a lost horse-shoe at some critical moment
didn't have anything to do with it... the horse went down in battle...)
--
Igenlode Wordsmith

The Gentleman's guide to Usenet - see http://curry.250x.com/Tower/GENTLE.TXT

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Jan 1, 2004, 12:14:30 AM1/1/04
to
Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message:
> For more information on this project, see
> http://parasha.maoltuile.org/.
>
> Chapter Eighteen: The return journey

Thanks Taemon, for Ch. 18

> - "... he was now weary of his adventure. He was aching in his
> bones for the homeward journey." 'Now' weary? Seems to me he
> never enjoyed it in the first place.

It's interesting to note that this chapter sums up in a single paragraph the
adventures Bilbo, Gandalf and Beorn had skirting the northern fringe of
Mirkwood on the way home, even though that journey was physically longer
than the way forward. Although Bilbo was no longer in "great danger" on that
leg of the journey, it was still not as safe or peaceful as Rivendell or
Beorn's house, and therefore presumably worth writing about. Does anyone
miss reading about those adventures, or do you share Bilbo's apparent
weariness of adventure and haste to return home?

> - They bury Thorin with the Arkenstone on his breast. Begging
> pardon, but that seems quite a waste to me.

Besides being a display of respect, I think this is a symbolic return of the
Mountain's heart, as well as a symbolic joining of the Dwarves (especially
the House of Thror) to that heart.

Thorin's farewell to Bilbo is perhaps the most emotional passage in the
book. There isn't a dry eye after reading that part.

> - Cute, how Bilbo gives a necklace to the Elven King,
> stammering like a schoolboy.

Tolkien is careful to ensure that everyone receives their due from the
treasure. Bilbo even remembers to repay the Elvenking for his thievery! As
we shall see, he really should have taken more than two chests for himself.
He certainly earned his share. Maybe if the Dwarves had a more sophisticated
economy, they could have held it for the Baggins family in trust, and
allowed them to withdraw from it at their convenience from the Blue
Mountains Dwarves? But that of course would be out of character for a
Hobbit. The Baggins were already comfortable for Hobbits, and all that
wealth would only have spoiled them, and probably caused inflation in the
Shire economy.

Still, the largest part goes to the surviving Dwarves of the company. They
are rich beyond their wildest dreams, and could retire to underground
mansions or wherever Dwarves retire. Obviously rich and important Dwarves
remain active, as we see in LOTR when Balin attempts to re-establish Moria.

One chapter to go! Happy New Year to everyone in AFT and RABT, and
especially the participants of our series.

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


Taemon

unread,
Jan 1, 2004, 7:47:31 AM1/1/04
to
Igenlode Wordsmith:

> In the case of the goblins of the Misty Mountains, I assume
that Bolg
> both lured them on with promises of easy victory and spoils
and
> intimidated them into following him with threats and
violence.

Why do you assume so?

T.


Bill O'Meally

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Jan 1, 2004, 1:44:25 PM1/1/04
to


"Glenn Holliday" <holl...@acm.org> wrote in message
news:3FF0EE40...@acm.org...

Well, the Master was also supposed to use the money to help the injured
townspeople and to prepare for the oncoming winter. Shouldn't have been
too much of a surprise to Bard when he ran off with it though.
--
Bill

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


Bill O'Meally

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Jan 1, 2004, 1:58:55 PM1/1/04
to


"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message
news:W0OIb.888840$6C4.310338@pd7tw1no...

Although Bilbo was no longer in "great danger" on that
> leg of the journey, it was still not as safe or peaceful as Rivendell
or
> Beorn's house, and therefore presumably worth writing about. Does
anyone
> miss reading about those adventures, or do you share Bilbo's apparent
> weariness of adventure and haste to return home?

I too have often wondered about the 'many hardships and adventures'
eluded to during the home journey. They couldn't have been anything
compared to what Bilbo recorded, or he would have mentioned them.

It is stated that "the Wild was still the Wild, and there were many
other things in it in those days besides goblins." What could these
things be? Sauron had been expelled (or fled) from Dol Guldur. The
Nazgul were at Minas Morgul. More spiders perhaps? Trolls? Stone Giants?

Odysseus

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Jan 1, 2004, 3:42:05 PM1/1/04
to
Taemon wrote:
>
> Troels Forchhammer:
>
> > I'd say it's the killing of Bolg that does it; "Then dismay
> fell
> > on the Goblins ..."
> > It's not an uncommon theme in literature that the loss of a
> strong
> > leader will cause the collapse of an army - I don't know how
> > realistic it is, but still ... ;-)
>
> In a battle like that, news doesn't spread quickly. I think
> it's weird.
>
Specific "news" may not (even where long-range signalling systems
like bugles or flares are available), but a failure of morale
certainly can, in a sort of 'domino effect': first the leader's own
unit, then the adjacent ones (at first perhaps only to protect their
flanks), then more and more, falter or fall back until a minor
setback becomes a general retreat and then a rout. I don't think such
events were particularly uncommon in mediaeval battles, especially
those fought mainly over the leaders' own interests and far from the
soldiers' hearth and home. I should think goblin formations
particularly vulnerable, as they seem to lack individual initiative,
fighting as much out of fear of their chiefs as hatred for their enemies.

--
Odysseus

Odysseus

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Jan 1, 2004, 3:52:01 PM1/1/04
to
Jette Goldie wrote:
>
> But until fairly late on, there was no automatic assumption
> that the first born son of the Clan Chief would inherit his
> father's position - the post was elected from all the male
> relatives of the Chief - sons, nephews, sons-in-law, cousins,
> brothers and uncles - by the clan council.
>
This practice and process is known as "tanistry". Where a chief was
elderly or infirm the heir-designate or "tanist" would often assume
some or all of his duties.

> So a sister's son could very well be the heir.
>

And considering that paternity is harder to verify than maternity,
might even be thought to have closer blood-ties to his predecessor
than would a brother's son.

--
Odysseus

Stan Brown

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Jan 1, 2004, 7:06:16 PM1/1/04
to
In article <P5_Ib.27051$fq1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com> in
rec.arts.books.tolkien, Bill O'Meally wrote:

>I too have often wondered about the 'many hardships and adventures'
>eluded to during the home journey. They couldn't have been anything
>compared to what Bilbo recorded, or he would have mentioned them.
>
>It is stated that "the Wild was still the Wild, and there were many
>other things in it in those days besides goblins." What could these
>things be? Sauron had been expelled (or fled) from Dol Guldur. The
>Nazgul were at Minas Morgul. More spiders perhaps? Trolls? Stone Giants?

I would think wolves, perhaps cougars or bears -- just ordinary wild
animals, none of them magical IMHO. There might be a troll in those
hills, but traveling by day and staying away from the hills the
party would be unlikely to meet them.

I always figured Bilbo's "hardships" were eating short meals, and
his "adventures" were the occasional cry of a wild animal disturbing
his sleep. Presumably Gandalf would have made a campfire every
night, which should have kept most beasts away.

Bill O'Meally

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Jan 2, 2004, 9:27:33 AM1/2/04
to


"Stan Brown" <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote in message
news:MPG.1a5e80034...@news.odyssey.net...

> I always figured Bilbo's "hardships" were eating short meals, and
> his "adventures" were the occasional cry of a wild animal disturbing
> his sleep. Presumably Gandalf would have made a campfire every
> night, which should have kept most beasts away.

I think you're probably right Stan!

Henriette

unread,
Jan 3, 2004, 2:27:43 AM1/3/04
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<W0OIb.888840$6C4.310338@pd7tw1no>...
>
> (snip) One chapter to go! Happy New Year to everyone in AFT and RABT, and

> especially the participants of our series.

Happy New Year to you Dr Ernst! and thank you for your continuing
efforts to review every chapter thread at the end of the week, which
is really nice.

Henriette

Igenlode Wordsmith

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Jan 4, 2004, 4:34:02 PM1/4/04