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Old 07-08-2004, 10:57 AM   #41
Boromir88
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1420! Credit due

Quote:
Bilbo is the only person to willingly give up the ring (with some help from Gandalf).
Saucepan, yes I agree, and I did also give credit to Gandalf, if it wasn't for him Bilbo would have kept it.
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Old 07-08-2004, 01:59 PM   #42
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Boots They also serve ...

I think it is Fordim who has cottoned on to what was bothering me about Servant Sam and Flip Pip--Fordim with his literary eye. I shall have to work harder to reach you literalists who love to quote the Letters! Sauce and Aiwendil and Silmiel, it is how the Edwardian structures were presented by Tolkien which drew my questions, not simply the purported historical references to the social organisation of the time. Remember, in On Fairey Stories Tolkien suggested that stuff gets into the Cauldron of Story not because it is historicallly true and verifiable(which it may be), but because the story demands it.

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As the book goes on, of course, we move into an older and more fuller and richer form of the master-servant relationship: lord and vassal; leige and thane; King and subject. Tolkien wishes in the book to recover (and I'm using this word in his sense of it) that older form of bonds between socially differentiated people. These bonds were (ideally, at least) based on love and respect, mutual regard and a two-way recognition of the duty each owed the other (the King owes the subject protection and guidance, the subject owes the King obedience). It's precisely this kind of relationship that Aragorn forges with the people who come to love him.

So perhaps we are meant to be disturbed by Sam's fawning and Pippin's callow mindedness, for these are things that are going to be transformed by a better and fuller form of relationship by the end of the book?
Exactly! It is the reciprocity of the relationships among all the orders which I think is missing here. In, as you say, its ideal form. This was Tolkien's point about overmod in Beorhtnoth's folly at Maldon. He acted out of personal challenge--chivalry--and forgot the heroic ideal, what he owed his people. As did Beowulf. Squatter has made this point so much better than I. I shall return later to add the link to his very fine essay.

Seen from this perspective, I think it is quite right that we are made uneasy (or at least I am) by all this 'sirring'. It 'sirs' the pot for later...

But about this evolution of evil, Fordim, well, I don't want to get mixed up with your Monster thread. But Frodo's first 'meeting' with the Black Rider, when he overhears the Gaffer's conversation, well, we don't really get the full significance of that until later when Sam repeats the Gaffer's story to Frodo, after the two other near meetings the Rider, do we? To me, that is one of the finest parts of this chapter: only at the end does the reader begin to understand that overheard scene. Or upon rereading. Tolkien, a brilliant bit of story structuring!
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Old 07-08-2004, 02:16 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Bêthberry
But Frodo's first 'meeting' with the Black Rider, when he overhears the Gaffer's conversation, well, we don't really get the full significance of that until later when Sam repeats the Gaffer's story to Frodo, after the two other near meetings the Rider, do we?
Doesn't that reinforce my point? The first encounter (really, a close encounter) with the Black Rider is the most banal of all -- it's eerie and oddly disquieting for Frodo, but that's all. It's just a strange voice asking for him, it could easily be a Sackville-Baggins for all we know at that point. Closer to the end of the chapter though, we learn who the voice belonged to, so in that sense, there has been tremendous 'growth' in the evil and the terror, from the actual, banal experience to the chilling thrill of recognition of how close Frodo came to failing in his quest right outside his front door! And this chill only gets worse as the book goes on: for all that happens afterward, this moment is the closest Sauron gets to reclaiming the Ring!

So it just occured to me: Middle-Earth is saved by the Gaffer!
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Old 07-08-2004, 07:40 PM   #44
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Seen from this perspective, I think it is quite right that we are made uneasy (or at least I am) by all this 'sirring'. It 'sirs' the pot for later...
Well that just goes to show that you literary types have too much knowledge for your own good. I always though that it was simply credible characterisation.


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Closer to the end of the chapter though, we learn who the voice belonged to, so in that sense, there has been tremendous 'growth' in the evil and the terror, from the actual, banal experience to the chilling thrill of recognition of how close Frodo came to failing in his quest right outside his front door!
Indeed. This ties in with the way that Tolkien develops our understanding of the Black Riders by adding additional details and signs of unease with each successive encounter: from mysterious (possibly Hobbit) visitor asking after Mr Baggins to large man in a black cloak sniffing out travellers on the road to shadowy figure crawling through the trees towards Frodo. Even when Sam makes the link between the Gaffer's visitor and the cloaked rider, we do not fully appreciate the danger that they are in. It is only in the closing passages, when the rider becomes the threatening shadow and Gildor then confirms that they are Servants of the Enemy that we can finally appreciate just how portentious the Gaffer's "misunderstanding" concerning the time of Frodo's departure was.
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Old 07-11-2004, 12:33 AM   #45
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Just a quick note on the use of 'sir'

When Sam uses such terms as 'sir' and 'Mr Frodo' in the beginning of the book it is because he is regarded as no more than a servant and a friend of Frodo, though he could hardly be considered a close friend of him, unlike Merry, Pippin and Fatty Bolger. However, this is all used to show the transition all the characters - hobbits in particular - go through as the story eventuates.

Later when Sam calls Frodo 'Mr Frodo' and 'sir' we don't see it as he is doing it because of a class division, but he is actually using it as a term of affection to show that he has become a true best friend of Frodo and has transcended the barrier of class divisions though it may not appear so to others who don't know them so well. After all, the relationship between Frodo and Sam at the end of the story is much more than servant and master; and this shown through the term 'Mr Frodo', which we all find 'cute' about Sam's personality- it becomes rather like an affectionate nickname that you would give to someone close to you like your brother or sister.
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Old 07-11-2004, 01:17 AM   #46
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I think we also have to remember that Frodo is older than Sam. I can imagine Sam first meeting Frodo as a young child, helping his dad in Bilbo's garden. Probably he was introduced to him as 'Mr. Frodo', & had called him that from then on.

I can't help wondering also, in the Light of Mark 1230's comments on the significance of Frodo's dreams in the last chapter, if there's any significance in the last paragraph:

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Frodo felt sleep coming upon him, even as Gildor finished speaking. 'I will sleep now,' he said; and the Elf led him to a bower beside Pippin, and he threw himself upon a bed and fell at once into a dreamless slumber
Why doesn't Frodo dream when he's with the elves? And more importantly, why does Tolkien feel its important to point it out? Its the last thing we're left with, the final image of the chapter.

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Old 07-11-2004, 05:22 AM   #47
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I think we also have to remember that Frodo is older than Sam.
That's an excellent point, davem! I wonder, are we all so affected by the movie Frodo and Sam, where Sam is somewhat older than Frodo, that we forget that the age difference was the other way around?! We don't even have to go to England, class differences, and Tolkien's time to find something similar - when I was growing up in Midwest US some years ago, we wouldn't have dreamed of calling people our parents' age by their first names - it was Mr. and Mrs., definitely. I know things have changed, with college profs being first-named by their students, but that is a fairly recent development, and not the case all over the world - certainly not here in Germany, unless the person involved explicitly permits it.
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Old 07-11-2004, 10:43 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Estelyn
when I was growing up in Midwest US some years ago, we wouldn't have dreamed of calling people our parents' age by their first names - it was Mr. and Mrs., definitely. I know things have changed, with college profs being first-named by their students, but that is a fairly recent development,
And without jumping too far ahead, in the next Chapter, Farmer Maggot is always called so, or Mr Maggot by Frodo, Merry & Pippin. I think its too easy to blow the 'class' system of the Shire out of all proportion. Master was also often used simply as a term of respect (as Bilbo does of Sam's father, Master Hamfast), & a recognition of authority (ie Head master). My own feeling is that Sam was in awe of Frodo, not in subjection to him. Of course, he believed Frodo was 'better' than him, but that's down to Sam, & I can't see Frodo ever turning on him & 'putting him in his place' if he'd 'slipped' & called him simply 'Frodo'.

And, yes, I know he calls the others Mr Merry & Mr Pippin & they call him Sam, but I'd still put that down to the way they were probably introduced to each other. I accept there is an acknowledgement of 'roles' within hobbit society, but I think this is more to do with their love of order. They do have an obsession with having a place for everything & everything in its place. I suspect they were all playing that game. More a case of Mr Bilbo lives at Bag End & Master Hamfast lives in Bagshot Row.

Also, I suspect that when Sam was married with a family of his own he would have been generally referred to as Mr Gamgee by all but his friends.
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:51 AM   #49
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slightly off topic

I have to draw on my own resources to give you an analogy, even if I stray a bit off Tolkien

When I mused upon the subject in my own time, it struck me as really like to form of social nomenclature we employ down here, that is in (the country of) Georgia. It is the custom to call everybody by their first name (only politicians use family names, and at that in third person, not in direct speech). The honorific 'batoni/o' (relative to 'Master' rather than 'Mister') is applied to superiors by status or elders by age, but it also depends on how people are introduced to each other. To give personal example - the director I'm assistant to is called by me 'batono David' (i.e. Master David), but simply Dato (short form of David, to go in between friends) by a chap who's assistant to me and is younger than me too. Likewise, office driver is referred to as Master Tamaz by my superiors, though he be their subordinate, and I do not use honorific as we are close to each other.That is, if one tries to compare the titulage employees use to their hierarchical status, one would not find any connection.

But it is not thing to which one pays heed to at all. If I were to slip and call my superior merely Dato, it would pass unnoticed (It would not with General Director, but not because he is General Director, but as he is megalomaniac and an exeption at that). Even if I'm appointed General Director (ha-ha), and become superior to everyone else, I would still use 'Master David' in case of my director, and personal names withouth honorific in other cases, as it is already formed into my personal custom. And all those (even mere acquaintances) who now call me simply George, would not change their habit because the change of my status.

I'm near to what I'm driving at: the use of honorific is not strictly defined in hobbit society by any rules or social laws. It is very much dependent on the level of intimacy and/or on personal relationship between speakers, but also is dependent on the tradition already formed in certain circles. So, as Sam is in less proximity to Merry and Pippin, and they are at the same time friends to his employer, he feels obliged to use Mr when referring to them. In this, he underlines his respect for Frodo even more than in calling Frodo master. On the other hand, as Merry and Pippin are used to hear Frodo calling Sam merely Sam, they adopt the habit not to underline their superiority, but following Frodo's custom, and so it seems natural to them to call Sam Sam - it is the tradition of the circle, not more, not less.

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Old 07-11-2004, 02:17 PM   #50
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1420! Just another example

This is just another example of Tolkien making the obvious connections between Frodo and Bilbo, maybe even the most important/peculiar one. I would have to go upstairs to get the exact quote but bottom line is Gildor says he saw Bilbo at the very spot where Frodo, company, and Gildor's elves were at.
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Old 07-12-2004, 01:24 AM   #51
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to save the trouble of exercise...



here is the quotation:

Quote:
Tell me, Gildor, have you ever seen Bilbo since he left us?’
Gildor smiled. ‘Yes,’ he answered. ‘Twice. He said farewell to us on this very spot. But I saw him once again, far from here.’ He would say no more about Bilbo, and Frodo fell silent.
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Old 08-17-2004, 07:09 PM   #52
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Silmaril

I know this has nothing to do with what any of you are discussing at the present moment, but I would just like to put a short input in on this chapter. Before two weeks ago, I had only read the books one time, which was over two years ago. I, for one, had forgotten most of the minor events in the book, seeing I was drawn into a long "movie-only" phase. I had forgotten all of the pleasures that the books brought out, but I had not forgotten one fact.

I remember when I was reading the books that I initially fell in love with Pippin's character. This changed, however, when I began to watch the movies, and I over time forgot why I loved Pippin so much. This all became a reality when I started reading the Fellowship two weeks ago. In this chapter mainly, I see how comical Peregrin Took actually is, but don't get me wrong, I am not only meaning "comical" in the fool-of-a-Took sort of way. Pippin Took is, as I find it, somewhat intellectual and comical all the same. What made me come to this conclusion are all of the quarrels Pippin and Frodo get into on their journey through the Shire...well, not always quarrels, but also just brief conversations between the two. Such instances such as the remarks on heavy and light packing just as they start out:

Quote:
"I am sure you have given me all the heaviest stuff," said Frodo. "I pity snails, and all that they carry their homes on their backs."
"I could take a lot more yet, sir. My pack is quite light," said Sam stoutly and untruthfully.
"No, you don't, Sam!" said Pippin. "It is good for him. He's got nothing except what he ordered us to pack. he's been slack lately, and he'll feel the weight less when he's walked off some of his own."
In my opinion, Pippin is actually saying something rather wise, for Frodo's sake, yet it made me laugh inside. Also just a page or two later, Frodo and Pippin make remarks to each other about whether they are going to sleep or not, and then later about going to fetch water: both instances very short, but both still lightly comical. It is not only the arguments though that made me recall the past love of Pippin. It is also his great, and outspoken, need for food when he is the slightest bit hungry, and also the fact that if he is tired, he makes sure Frodo knows it. For instance,

Quote:
"I'm so sleepy," he [Pippin] said [to Frodo], "that soon I shall fall down on the road. Are you going to sleep on your legs? It is nearly midnight."
Quote:
"The road goes on for ever," said Pippin; "but I can't without a rest. It is high time for lunch."
Quote:
Frodo:"...'It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door, he used to say. 'You'd step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'..."
"Well, the road won't sweep me anywhere for an hour at least," said Pippin.
It was short and sudden times as these that are found constantly throughout the books that made me love the character, and the story, this much. If not for this, there would be too many dramatic events and no time of laughter to heal from all of the seriousness. I have now finally realized the importance of comical relief.
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:27 AM   #53
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davem, re your question
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Why doesn't Frodo dream when he's with the elves? And more importantly, why does Tolkien feel its important to point it out?
I believe Tolkien points this out to show how safe and comfortable Frodo feels with the Elves. Think back to what happened to Frodo that day. Almost accosted twice by a black rider. He could well have had a nightmare that night because of what he had gone through. But because of the elves proximity he feels safe. just swap the word dreamless for nightmare-less.......
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Old 08-19-2004, 01:50 AM   #54
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Sting

So does that mean that Frodo fells safe or does Frodo does not have nightmares due to some power the elves possesses?
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:48 PM   #55
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Could be either or both ....... both Rivendell and Lorien are places where restful sleep are found and while they ARE perhaps the safest places in Middle Earth due to the power of Galadriel and Elrond to protect them - there may be more to it than that ... I think when they arrive in Lorien Galadriel tells them that they will sleep in peace despite the grief at the loss of Gandalf .... and it maybe that the elves have some power beyond providing a safe environment. I read somewhere in HoME maybe ...... that the finest elvish singers could make their listener "see" what they were singing about ...... but since Elvish sleep and dreams are apparently rather different to mortals ..... it is perhap a hard matter to judge on..
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Old 08-19-2004, 11:33 PM   #56
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Sting

Ya I think Mithalwen is right ,elves must have some power over peaceful sleep,otherwise we can't explain why all the members of the company slept peacefully only when they were in the land of elves or the elves near them.
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Old 08-20-2004, 02:54 AM   #57
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Fordim, re your earlier point
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So it just occured to me: Middle-Earth is saved by the Gaffer!
I mooted this point on the 'The importance of Tolkien's Minor Characters' thread I raised a while back
http://www.forum.barrowdowns.com/sho...nor+characters

The way we can take one of a multitude of 'minor' characters from the story, and the plot totally changes, shows what an intricate and complex storyline Tolkien dreamt up. No gafffer, no Lord of the Rings (well 100 pages or so!)
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Old 09-19-2005, 02:13 PM   #58
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If anyone has the Houghton Mifflin version of the Fellowship of the ring, on page 82 could anyone find me an example of an Elvish aphorism?
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Old 01-27-2008, 04:22 PM   #59
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"Three is company" is another of Tolkien's quirky changes of sayings - the actual proverbial saying goes "two's company, three's a crowd". But I also thought of it as a foreshadowing of the ending of the book at the Grey Havens; Gandalf says, "It will be better to ride back three together than one alone." Additionally, it reminds me of a passage in the Bible, Ecclesiates 4, that begins, "Two are better than one", goes on to elaborate about the situations in which it is good to have another person to help and ends "and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

Right at the beginning is another of those lines that takes on a sinister meaning when I think of it in connection with the Ring; Gandalf says, "Of course you mustn't vanish!" Then there's the "there and back again" comparison, with Frodo being hesitant to leave the Shire because he thinks he won't be returning. Of course, we know that his journey will be a "there and back" trip, just going farther in both a literal and a spiritual sense than Bilbo did.

This is the chapter that raised a question for me that could only be solved by beginning to write a story (which, alas, I have sadly neglected) - my fan fiction that answers the question, "Whatever happened to Folco Boffin?" He's never again mentioned, though he is here said to be one of the four closest friends. I must continue it soon...

This chapter also repeats the poem that is most important to me, "The Road goes ever on". It has accompanied me on many journeys, and as I know it by heart, I have frequently written it in guest books of friends. I do, however, use Bilbo's version with "eager feet", not Frodo's "weary feet" - I love to travel! In Hammond and Scull's Reader's Companion, they suggest that the difference between the two hobbits and the reason for their alternate poem version is primarily caused by the burden of the Ring, which responsibility Frodo already feels. Bilbo left home all the lighter for having given that burden away.

I also noticed the early version of the poem that Bilbo recites on the way to the Grey Havens at the end of the book - "Still round the corner". This version sounds curious, the later one poignant. The first part of the third stanza is sung by Pippin in the RotK movie - in Denethor's court.

The closing part of the chapter, with Frodo's talk with Gildor, is full of quotable sentences! "The wide world is all about you..."; "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards..." (always good for parody versions like the one with ketchup!); "Go not to the Elves..."; "Advice is a dangerous gift..."; and "Courage is found in unlikely places...", to name the most important lines.

Oh, by the way, Hammond and Scull suggest that the line Frodo uses to call Sam away from the beer barrel at the beginning of this chapter could purposely be similar to that heard in an English pub at closing time!

They also point out that information given by Tolkien in the song cycle The Road Goes Ever On tells us why Elves could be regularly travelling though this area of the Shire; they could be returning (since they are going eastwards, not westwards to the Havens) from the Towers, where the palantír was.
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On such visits they were sometimes rewarded by a vision, clear but remote, of Elbereth, as a majestic figure, shining white, standing upon the mountain Oiolosse.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:09 AM   #60
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This is the chapter that raised a question for me that could only be solved by beginning to write a story (which, alas, I have sadly neglected) - my fan fiction that answers the question, "Whatever happened to Folco Boffin?" He's never again mentioned, though he is here said to be one of the four closest friends. I must continue it soon...
I must say I was never that troubled concerning Folco (probably like many others I just ignored him as a minor character), but since you alerted me of it some (longer) time ago, I started to think about it more. And I think you should return and continue that story, if you have time (and inspiration, mainly), because it's great!

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This chapter also repeats the poem that is most important to me, "The Road goes ever on".
Actually, this chapter is stuffed with poems, resp. songs, as it is in several of the following chapters (the most, of course, with Tom Bombadil) - these are the merry walking tunes before we end up in the silent and unfriendly wilderness (though even there we are going to hear some songs, like Sam's song about the troll or the Fall of Gil-Galad or the bit from Beren and Lúthien's tale). You have "The Road goes ever on", then this marching song, and praise for Elbereth. All these songs are beautiful and when I read them, it recalls the memories of my first readings of the book - I don't know how to explain that, probably the songs "preserve" the most the original feeling. Or it has maybe something to do with the fact that when I was some 9 years old, I read and sang (with my own melody that I invented at the very moment) all the songs from the beginning of the book till the end of chapter 6, and I still have them recorded on tape.

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The closing part of the chapter, with Frodo's talk with Gildor, is full of quotable sentences! "The wide world is all about you..."; "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards..." (always good for parody versions like the one with ketchup!); "Go not to the Elves..."; "Advice is a dangerous gift..."; and "Courage is found in unlikely places...", to name the most important lines.
True indeed. This is also the first time since Elrond or the Elven King in the Hobbit when we meet a significant Elf character, and so he can provide us with information in the Elven fashion. Anyway, Gildor is a great character and he would deserve more, or, better said, he stimulates one to think more about him in person - he seems very complex even though his role is still minor; at least to me.

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Oh, by the way, Hammond and Scull suggest that the line Frodo uses to call Sam away from the beer barrel at the beginning of this chapter could purposely be similar to that heard in an English pub at closing time!
Hooray!
Or it was unintentional byproduct of Tolkien's subconscious

Anyway, as for overall feeling of this chapter, I just glimpsed davem's post at the beginning on this thread where he said this chapter contains a transition from one world to another. I wholeheartedly disagree. Even the Elves and Gildor still belong to the Shire for me, even the Rider chasing the Hobbits, despite Frodo's debate with Gildor about that "this is not their own Shire". We are still in the, so to say, kindergarten-stage (with no negative meaning), it is a pleasant Shire and I always had the feeling that this could happen to me everyday during a walk - simply because this is our own Shire. In other words, one Black Rider during the day and a group of elves in the night is what is the thing closest to experience even in the most mundane circumstances, because the hobbits also experienced it in the most mundane circumstances.
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"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:14 PM   #61
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Evenin' all,

Some specific, some more general thoughts here.

First, Gandalf stayed at Bag End for two or three weeks. Did Gandalf and Frodo plan any more deeply than 'head for Rivendell'? And if not why on earth not? I guess maybe to avoid alerting the reader to what might transpire!

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Bag End seemed sad and gloomy and dishevalled. Frodo wandered round the familiar rooms and saw the light of the sunset fade on the walls, and shadows creep out of the corners. It slowly grew dark indoors
For me this perfectly sums up the thoughts one has on leaving a house, everything is packed away, the old place looks bare, and its time to remember the joy and sorrows that took place in your old home.

Then

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The sky was clear and the stars were growing bright. 'It's going to be a fine night,' he said aloud. 'That's good for a beginning, I feel like walking
This is the start of The Journey, and it begins with a night-time walk through the Shire, how perfect! It makes me think of walks through well-known countryside on a clear night when the world seems full of possibilities and the road could so easily sweep one away to an unknown destination.

On the Curious Fox, there was some concern that he broke the translator conceit, however maybe just possibly Gildor or one of his pals made some joking remark regarding the fox's thoughts later on?

On Pippin's peremptory commands, I think he's extracting the michael here and Sam is too sleepy to see it, Frodo gets revenge by pulling Pippin's blankets off.

As for 'Sam!, Time!' the traditional cry of the bartender on the dread toll of the bell is 'Time gentlemen please, time at the bar, haven't you got homes to go to?' which is doubly appropriate here!
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:05 PM   #62
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Leaf

I was struck by the elves' laughter. "There came a sound like mingled song and laughter." And, " Come! Come! Now is the time for laughter and merriment!"

I am far too serious.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:18 PM   #63
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I was struck by the elves' laughter. "There came a sound like mingled song and laughter." And, " Come! Come! Now is the time for laughter and merriment!"

I am far too serious.
I think Gildor's company was meant to harken to the Elves, as they were represented in The Hobbit.

In "A Short Rest" one might view the Rivendell Elves' song on the tired dwarven travellers bordering on insulting. Although the tone reads in more of a jesting manner. Gildor's barbs about hobbits being dull company, might come off insulting, but Frodo retorts back about you shouldn't go to Elves for advice because they will say both "Yes and No."

This probably doesn't fit with the later manner of the Elves, but the whole story gets more serious as the journey progresses; Elven fate of departing Middle-earth and their gloomy battle to "fight the long defeat," as Galadriel puts it.
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Old 09-25-2016, 05:28 AM   #64
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And the project continues! I feel like I should say at this point that Boro or anyone else out there willing to discuss the chapters can feel free to go on even if Legate and I are not posing anything yet - we'll catch up. But whenever I'm not to busy, I think I'll roughly aim to read a chapter a day, that's a nice pace.

So, Three Is Company. It's a nice chapter, further introducing our heroes, introducing the antagonists Black Riders that will shadow our heroes for several chapters to come, and it's of course also the beginning of a journey. A very important chapter then. It also has one of my favourite dialogues - that between Frodo and Gildor.

On this reread, however, there was hardly anything "new" I paid attention to - the chapter was to me as it ever was, no great moments of insight here. Do you guys feel the same? Like, sometimes when you reread LotR you discover hidden gems and catch great undercurrents and themes in between the lines, and sometimes the book just is. Maybe you know every paragraph and sentence, or maybe there are cool details and implicatons but you've already noticed them a thousand times, so you end up somehow just flying through the chapter, enjoying it but not very profoundly? That's what happened to me today.

Some notes, however -

When I was a kid, I always felt a bit bummed out that Merry is not part of the company because he was one of my favourites. As a teenager, I wondered why Tolkien left him out of this pivotal introduction of the hobbits. But of course, there's a reason why Merry - unlike Pippin - is already introduced in A Long-Expected Party, and then later he has a prominent role in A Conspiracy Unmasked. Now I also appreciated the dynamics of the Frodo - Pippin - Sam trio, and the space each of them gets in this combo.

I feel like I only became aware of the class distinctions in Tolkien's works a couple of years ago, and the relationship between Pippin and Sam is very interesting in that light. Pippin talks to Sam as to a servant - "is my bath ready?" - but there seems to be nothing strange about them doing chores together and in practice they're very equal. I also notice Pippin affectionately mocks Sam but Sam never returns the treatment. Subtle class division or a question of personality? Who knows. I can't help to think that Pippin - and later also Merry's - attitude towards Sam is a little patronizing.

Another thing I thought of were the Elves. They throw really weird parties. First they just sit around, then when their favourite stars appear starts singing and eating and drinking that goes on long into the night. I wonder if they always sleep in and travel late because of that. Like, I'm not complaining. Walking and looking at the stars and singing and good food sounds excellent to me but I somehow never considered High Elves to be so... laid-back? chill? in their activities.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:17 AM   #65
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Another thing I thought of were the Elves. They throw really weird parties. First they just sit around, then when their favourite stars appear starts singing and eating and drinking that goes on long into the night. I wonder if they always sleep in and travel late because of that. Like, I'm not complaining. Walking and looking at the stars and singing and good food sounds excellent to me but I somehow never considered High Elves to be so... laid-back? chill? in their activities.
I think you'll find in these instances (and in the Silvan Elves' feast that disappears a couple times in The Hobbit), Tolkien hearkening back to Faery and the folklore of Elvish races and their appearance under the moon to lonely travelers in desolate places. The mythology of the British Isles is full of such occurrences and chance meetings in the dead of night.
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Old 09-25-2016, 12:29 PM   #66
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Just commenting, I can't commit to a full reread right now, but I may add my two farthings every now and then. (And I just almost wrote 'fartings'; blame narfforc and his book.)
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Another thing I thought of were the Elves. They throw really weird parties. First they just sit around, then when their favourite stars appear starts singing and eating and drinking that goes on long into the night. I wonder if they always sleep in and travel late because of that. Like, I'm not complaining. Walking and looking at the stars and singing and good food sounds excellent to me but I somehow never considered High Elves to be so... laid-back? chill? in their activities.
They didn't sleep in - they were gone by the time Frodo awoke next morning. (Yes, I'm cheating, that's in the next chapter.) They may not have slept at all like we do. In LotR Book III, The Riders of Rohan it is said that
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[Legolas] could sleep, if sleep it could be called by Men, resting his mind in the strange paths of elvish dreams, even as he walked open-eyed in the light of this world.
I'm sure Gildor & company did the same, at least while travelling.

Singing and good food is also what we see Elrond's people in Rivendell spending a good part of their time on when they're not busy sitting in council about the fate of Middle-earth. Maybe there comes a time when you've studied and discussed all the ancient lore there is ever so often and it just gets boring (especially considering you may have written some of it yourself), but songs and good food just never get old.
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Old 09-25-2016, 01:51 PM   #67
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I think you'll find in these instances (and in the Silvan Elves' feast that disappears a couple times in The Hobbit), Tolkien hearkening back to Faery and the folklore of Elvish races and their appearance under the moon to lonely travelers in desolate places. The mythology of the British Isles is full of such occurrences and chance meetings in the dead of night.
That's actually an interesting notion - now that I think of it, this chance meeting is probably the closest Tolkien gets to the traditional Faery mythology, barring the Lay of Leithian of course. And time passing strangely in Lórien. I should probably look up separate threads about this.

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They didn't sleep in - they were gone by the time Frodo awoke next morning. (Yes, I'm cheating, that's in the next chapter.) They may not have slept at all like we do. In LotR Book III, The Riders of Rohan it is said that
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[Legolas] could sleep, if sleep it could be called by Men, resting his mind in the strange paths of elvish dreams, even as he walked open-eyed in the light of this world.
I'm sure Gildor & company did the same, at least while travelling.
And does it say what time Frodo awoke? Seriously though, silly me for forgetting the Elves' disturbing sleeping habits. That kind of explains why they stay up so late... I don't envy them though; I love sleeping.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:07 PM   #68
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In this chapter, I really like sketching out of the relationship between the hobbits in question (including all the interesting "class dynamics" and other things Lommy mentioned - I really think in Sam's case, it's partly a question of personality, but that personality had been a little influenced by his status). And this time, I really enjoyed the first moment the Nazgul appeared - in the name of all, it is Khamul, you know, it is just super-creepy and supercool that he is so close to Frodo. In fact, being quite a bit conscious about the timing and everything, Frodo just missed being caught, the Riders are only hours (in the case of meeting Gaffer, minutes) off. Talk about narrow escapes.

This also brings in my mind a horror-scenario we once discussed with Lommy, sometime ages ago: of course the first thought, when one starts to imagine "what ifs", is "what if the Riders arrived a few hours earlier" and found Frodo still in Bag End - helpless, obviously. But what we thought about was what if the Riders arrived only a bit later - for example the day after. Imagine.

*knock knock* The new master of Bag End, Lotho Sackville-Baggins, opens the door. "Does Baggins live here?" "Y-yes, that is me..."

It would make for a brilliant and terrifying horror movie, when the family after years and years of waiting finally inherits the house they always desired, only instead of a happy ending, they get this...

Anyway: back to the merry hills of the Shire, what I actually love the most about this chapter are the descriptions of the landscape. They are all so vivid, so beautiful. One funny thing I noticed this time: I imagine the Shire landscape (the very same, specific places or scenes I have pictured in my mind many times over) differently when reading in different languages (obviously the first time I read LotR, it was in my native language, as well as many times after, but of course I have read it also in English, but I alternate between those a lot). Currently I am reading it in English, and it struck me that one specific scene - the first waking up when Frodo goes to look for water, or actually doesn't - is painted vividly red in my mind (the sunrise and mist Frodo sees), as opposed to when reading in Czech, I imagine it much more yellow and not as bloody red. The translation does not differ in any significant way, in fact, it is pretty much the same - but I guess it has to do with the sound of the words or maybe the syntax or something. A random observation.

But anyway, yes, this is mostly about the landscapes (and "skyscapes", too - I love the part about stars rising when the Hobbits meet the Elves), and that is actually why I like this chapter a lot - I would probably rank it about my favourites. Hard to say how high, but high.
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:39 AM   #69
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And the project continues! I feel like I should say at this point that Boro or anyone else out there willing to discuss the chapters can feel free to go on even if Legate and I are not posing anything yet - we'll catch up. But whenever I'm not to busy, I think I'll roughly aim to read a chapter a day, that's a nice pace.~Lommy
The problem is, I started a week before you and you're already caught up to me. All summer I made sure to dedicate reading time every day. And while the stack of books to read keeps getting higher, I've knocked out more reading than I've done in a long time. I'm making sure I continue this in the fall, even if it turns out only being 20 mins of reading in the day, I feel great.

In the Chapter 2 thread H-I mentions how the first 3 chapters of Book I parallel the first 3 chapters of Book II. The tone and general plot line are the same.

Long Expected Party - Many Meetings, on the surface there is celebration and happiness, but underneath there is an unanswered question about the Ring. The Ring is in the background to Bilbo's party and then in Many Meetings when Frodo reunites with Bilbo.

Shadow of the Past - Council of Elrond. I think these are the 2 longest chapters of the entire book. Both long exposition and dialogue where the ring is now "the One Ring." It becomes the main character in each chapter, as The Ring and what to do with it gets debated.

Three is Company - The Ring Goes South. It's been decided what to do with the Ring and these are the actions taken with the Ring. The company was three, and then it's nine.

I'm curious to see if the rest FOTR follows the same pattern when it comes the chapters getting paired up like the first three in each book. Now, Book I has 12 chapters and Book II has 10, so I don't think we'll get the same direct pairing. I have some vague ideas, but I'm just really curious to continue the reread with partnered chapters in mind. Does A Shortcut to Mushrooms follow the same pattern as A Journey in the Dark? A Conspiracy Unmasked to the Bridge of Khazad-dum? I guess we'll find out.
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:19 AM   #70
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I feel like I only became aware of the class distinctions in Tolkien's works a couple of years ago, and the relationship between Pippin and Sam is very interesting in that light. Pippin talks to Sam as to a servant - "is my bath ready?" - but there seems to be nothing strange about them doing chores together and in practice they're very equal. I also notice Pippin affectionately mocks Sam but Sam never returns the treatment. Subtle class division or a question of personality? Who knows. I can't help to think that Pippin - and later also Merry's - attitude towards Sam is a little patronizing.
I agree. They are mocking him, in a humorous way sure, but knowing he'll never dare to return the favour makes the laughter stick in my throat. In contrast Frodo never makes fun of Sam in a demeaning way as far as I can recall, though he certainly smacks Merry and Pippin with as many few punch-lines as they do with him.

For the duration of the book, Sam does not for a second step away from his subservient role. Mr Frodo on the other hand never orders him to do anything either as far as I remember. It's a very idealized Master and Servant relationship, one based on mutual love and respect but still a vertical and not horizontal one.

Beth, Esty and others have some excellent points about these relationships earlier in thread by the way.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:12 PM   #71
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Last November I had the chance to go on a long hike through one of our National Forests in Mississippi. Two friends and I covered a distance of 42 miles over the course of 3 and a half days. While there were plenty of rolling hills, they were mostly wooded and there were no surprise meetings with a company of Elves to feed us a late dinner.

Throughout the course of our hike, I thought often about this chapter and the following one. Some of it is definitely because I was travelling with two other companions. Some of it was because of the pretty, green (though fading) evnironment.

But mostly, I think it was because when you are travelling on foot, you have the chance to appreciate your environment and surroundings in a way that faster, mechanized modes of transportation rob you of entirely. You really get to know a landscape when you walk through it. There is an intimacy you just don't get through a car or train window.

Walking is also a great way to remind ourselves how big the world actually is. Airplanes, cars, and trains have made us forget this fact. They fool us into not seeing the world around us. We think of the world as being composed of effectively empty space between our starting point and destination because it all passes by so quickly. Mechanized transportation is a wonderful thing in many ways, but it also decieves us, makes us think of the world on a different scale than the reality we are missing all around.

To me, this chapter embodies this idea. In The Hobbit, we have no real concept of the Shire. We don't get much description of it at all actually. Bilbo lives in a village of some kind and all the place names are rather vague. Once the journey begins we are told, almost in passing, that at first Thorin's company travels through Hobbit lands. Otherwise, everything is glossed over until we get to the Trolls! (I understand why, it's a children's book after all).

But in The Lord of the Rings, things are quite different. Here, Tolkien firmly establishes the Shire as a PLACE. There is an entire forward devoted largely to its history, geography and people. Essentially the entirety of the first four chapters are spent within its borders. While the Hobbits are walking through the Shire to Crickhollow, the reader is also going at a walking pace, in a literary sense. Here, we have the chance to explore the Shire as we get to know it through its people, some of its history, and through the land itself.

That's what the early parts of Fellowship are about to me - getting to know the Hobbits and the land they come from.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:00 PM   #72
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Sting

Rereading this old thread, not because I have anything that cropped up on my reread to say, though that is why I read it, but because I have something to say one the very old topic of Sam and Pippin and "sir."

Namely, two things:

First, it gets mentioned in the thread that Sam is younger than Frodo (contra what we see in the movies) and has probably always known him as "Mr. Frodo," which is a combination of therefore of deferential age and deferential status. What *didn't* get mentioned is that Pippin is even younger still: he's only 29, not yet even come of age. Granted, I don't know if we can say that makes him as fool as a teenager, but he's definitely more adolescent than the other hobbits we see up close.

I think this is relevant, not because it explains why Pippin gets "sir" and Sam doesn't--that is presumably adequately explained by Pippin being the only son and heir of the Took himself--but because it helps explain some of the cringiness of the interaction. And it *is* cringy, once you're listening for it. I don't personally think the cringiness lasts--maybe it goes as far as the House of Tom Bombadil? After that, though Sam certainly maintains a sense of what he would no doubt consider good hobbit decorum, Pippin (possibly being influenced by Merry as well) becomes rather more Frodo-esque.

True, we don't see the same Frodo-Sam-Pippin trio close-up after they make it Crickhollow, but I think it's also true that the initial response of the Hobbits as they venture out into the wide world in all its wonder is to have a sort of flattened egalitarianism. Next to the Bombadils and Striders and Glorfindels--to say nothing of the Elronds or Galadriels beyond, the distinctions between the Hobbits seem minor and they naturally band together a little more.

It's noted earlier in the thread that the "true" relationship of lords and thegns, masters and bondsmen is a theme of the book, but the direct relationship of this to Pippin wasn't quite sewn up, and I think it's important here: both Pippin and Merry end up declaring fealty to great lords, but it's noteworthy that Pippin gets the far more difficult master: Merry serving Théoden is almost as idyllic as Sam serving Frodo; Pippin serving Denethor is not.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:45 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
It's noted earlier in the thread that the "true" relationship of lords and thegns, masters and bondsmen is a theme of the book, but the direct relationship of this to Pippin wasn't quite sewn up, and I think it's important here: both Pippin and Merry end up declaring fealty to great lords, but it's noteworthy that Pippin gets the far more difficult master: Merry serving Théoden is almost as idyllic as Sam serving Frodo; Pippin serving Denethor is not.
If the War of the Ring does serve, as Gandalf intimates, to "train" the hobbits of the Fellowship, it makes sense that Pippin might need the more difficult "lesson".
Merry was eight years older, but seems to me as mature as Frodo himself. Certainly, he handles the preparations for the journey from the Shire pretty well, and performs solidly in the Old Forest, at least until the Willow incident.

I think Pippin being placed in Minas Tirith, in the very eye of the storm, basically alone, forced him to grow up very quickly.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:19 PM   #74
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Random, but 2 major thoughts on this chapter:

The amount of times in this chapter Frodo, Sam and Pippin rest underneath or inside trees. Or the amount of times the hobbits use trees for protection when avoiding the Black Rider(s). It's really setting me up for the "when trees go bad" chapter of the books.

The amount of times Gandalf's disappearance, or Gandalf not leaving with Frodo is brought up. I'm thinking about the joke thread on Bombur's characterization in the Hobbit. It felt like every time Bombur got mentioned in the books it's with "fat." It's like "In case you didn't know, Bombur is fat." And this chapter it's "Hey did you hear? Gandalf is missing."

I'm not saying that as it's a bad thing though! I quite like it, because it's not like we are unfamiliar with Gandalf's disappearing acts. He does it quite randomly in The Hobbit, but I think the purpose for these constant reminders in Three is Company that Gandalf is indeed, not there is to reinforce Gandalf's not being with Frodo at this time is different then the handful of times he disappeared from Thorin's company.

Gandalf left Thorin's company, and they get into a sticky situation with trolls. Gandalf comes back in the nick of time to save them, and tells them he left to scout out their path ahead.

He makes a quick exit to avoid being captured by goblins and comes back to save the dwarves.

He leaves them before entering Mirkwood and tells the dwarves he'll meet them before entering the mountain and in this instance Gandalf is not there when he says he will be. So, we start to think alright something bad happened to Gandalf to not be there.

It's not Gandalf's disappearing, coming and going, that is troubling, because we should be aware that's what Gandalf "the wizard" does. The reminders that Gandalf is not there is meant to make us concerned this is more like his leaving the dwarves at Mirkwood and not being there to meet them before entering Erebor. Something has prevented Gandalf from being where he said he would be and we are meant to be worried about his disappearance this time! This is hammered home towards the end of the chapter when Gildor says: "I do not like this news,...That Gandalf should be late, does not bode well."

One thing for certain is when Gandalf is not there with our "green" adventurers, bad things happen. The question is, will Gandalf return in the nick of time to help our hobbits? And if not, who will?
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:16 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
It's not Gandalf's disappearing, coming and going, that is troubling, because we should be aware that's what Gandalf "the wizard" does. The reminders that Gandalf is not there is meant to make us concerned this is more like his leaving the dwarves at Mirkwood and not being there to meet them before entering Erebor. Something has prevented Gandalf from being where he said he would be and we are meant to be worried about his disappearance this time! This is hammered home towards the end of the chapter when Gildor says: "I do not like this news,...That Gandalf should be late, does not bode well."
This is a good point, and I think this actually shows that a line the movies invented and made popular was actually in keeping with the books: "A wizard is never late, nor is he early: he arrives precisely when he means to." At the very least, such a line could well-describe The Hobbit's version of Gandalf, and it is the contrast with this that is disquieting--because he does NOT arrive when he means to.

(Which, interestingly enough, actually doesn't really get any play in the movie--Gandalf is missing, but it's not something that is commented upon as the book comments, and the viewer of the movie knows where he went, the reader of the book is left with the same lack of knowledge as the Hobbits.)
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:23 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
Random, but 2 major thoughts on this chapter:

The amount of times in this chapter Frodo, Sam and Pippin rest underneath or inside trees. Or the amount of times the hobbits use trees for protection when avoiding the Black Rider(s). It's really setting me up for the "when trees go bad" chapter of the books.

The amount of times Gandalf's disappearance, or Gandalf not leaving with Frodo is brought up. I'm thinking about the joke thread on Bombur's characterization in the Hobbit. It felt like every time Bombur got mentioned in the books it's with "fat." It's like "In case you didn't know, Bombur is fat." And this chapter it's "Hey did you hear? Gandalf is missing."

I'm not saying that as it's a bad thing though! I quite like it, because it's not like we are unfamiliar with Gandalf's disappearing acts. He does it quite randomly in The Hobbit, but I think the purpose for these constant reminders in Three is Company that Gandalf is indeed, not there is to reinforce Gandalf's not being with Frodo at this time is different then the handful of times he disappeared from Thorin's company.

Gandalf left Thorin's company, and they get into a sticky situation with trolls. Gandalf comes back in the nick of time to save them, and tells them he left to scout out their path ahead.

He makes a quick exit to avoid being captured by goblins and comes back to save the dwarves.

He leaves them before entering Mirkwood and tells the dwarves he'll meet them before entering the mountain and in this instance Gandalf is not there when he says he will be. So, we start to think alright something bad happened to Gandalf to not be there.

It's not Gandalf's disappearing, coming and going, that is troubling, because we should be aware that's what Gandalf "the wizard" does. The reminders that Gandalf is not there is meant to make us concerned this is more like his leaving the dwarves at Mirkwood and not being there to meet them before entering Erebor. Something has prevented Gandalf from being where he said he would be and we are meant to be worried about his disappearance this time! This is hammered home towards the end of the chapter when Gildor says: "I do not like this news,...That Gandalf should be late, does not bode well."

One thing for certain is when Gandalf is not there with our "green" adventurers, bad things happen. The question is, will Gandalf return in the nick of time to help our hobbits? And if not, who will?
I think Gandalf would have been too much of a distraction for this chapter.

As it stands, we get to see the Shire through the eyes of the hobbit characters alone. We also see the Black Riders from their perspective and feel the sense of mystery and dread that they feel. We feel the sense of wonder of the serendipitous appearance of the elves in the nick of time.

With Gandalf around, you don't get as much of that - he has all the answers! He knows what the Black Riders are and would likely be aware that they were very near to one of the elf roads that crossed the Shire. No mystery, no wonder, and no long farewell to the green, idyllic home that our primary heroes are leaving.

Don't get me wrong - I love Gandalf as much as any LoTR fan. But I think these early chapters of the journey are better off without him.
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