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Old 05-09-2017, 08:21 PM   #1
Balfrog
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The Hobbit Trolls - A Clever Parody?

Well eighty years have passed – and I haven't ever seen a decent explanation published on why Tolkien named The Hobbit trolls – 'Bill, Bert and Tom'. Ms. Seth has come up with a brand new idea and claims it was based on a parody of three Elizabethan playwrights: William Shakespeare, Robert Greene & Thomas Nashe - apparently reflecting a famous incident. There are certainly strengths to the proposition; but I'll let the reader decide whether her solution “fits like a glove”!

https://priyasethtolkienfan.wordpres...lorful-pair-4/
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:10 PM   #2
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The essay has been further updated to include much more evidence regarding the parody theory. In particular it discusses the role of the Elizabethan playwright Robert Greene and his ‘Coney-catching’ pamphlets, and how aspects of these became part of the troll scene with Bilbo. Also speculated upon is the reason behind why Tolkien much preferred to use ‘rabbit’ instead of ‘coney’ in The Hobbit, despite the fact that ‘rabbit’ is a later word in historical evolution terms.
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:52 AM   #3
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Interesting article- though I would say the sheer commonness of the names is a point against the theory. Also, might Tolkien have used "rabbit" in preference to "coney" in "The Hobbit" simply because the latter word is archaic enough to be potentially confusing for children?

Good catch on "Huggessen". And I agree that the treatment of troll section of "The Hobbit" seems to have much in common with English fairytales about ogres and giants - even though the trolls do show their traditional weakness of turning to stone in sunlight. (It should be remembered, however that supernatural beings in folklore are generally much less defined and codified than in literature and modern popular culture).

"Ogres" as such, though mentioned as figures in Hobbit folklore, seem not to actually exist in Middle-earth- perhaps they were too much of a fairytale element?
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:33 PM   #4
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To your first point - possibly, but I think it’s actually a positive for the theory. Given The Hobbit is littered with unfamiliar names - Bill, Tom & Bert stand out like a sore thumb. Why? – one might ask oneself.

And then of course there could have been a host of additional short names chosen. Why not Ted or Ben or Fred or Jim etc. etc. ? Why these particular three?

Mere chance? If chance you call it!


As for the 'rabbit issue' - your logic appears reasonable – yet Tolkien does use the word coney (actually ‘conies’). And thus we have to deal with it. So why use it all? And to add to the matter he employs it in a confusing manner – namely involving squirrels. Given that - the inquisitive child would have had to look up the definition in a dictionary any way.

Ms. Seth doesn’t bring this point out strongly enough – but ‘conies’ is associated to a ‘furrier’ by Bilbo. And a ‘furrier’ is one who is involved in ‘skinning’. It’s a nasty trade that makes me think Tolkien was in a way poking fun of the same terminology used by Elizabethan coney-catchers.

My own feeling is that the Roast Mutton Chapter is a piece of Tolkien genius. The whole troll episode looks carefully contrived. Again Ms. Seth does not bring this out – but if one were to review the drafts (see John Rateliff’s: The History of the Hobbit), there are very few made against the Troll scene compared to say similar length sections in other chapters. It’s almost as if Tolkien drafted and practically perfected it out separately and then just neatly slotted it in.

I’m sure you would agree that if Tolkien wanted to create a parody – he was well capable of doing so. The troll scene is a comic masterpiece – and I just have this feeling that it’s just a touch out of place. Let’s just say, there’s an awful lot of individual coincidences if it isn’t a parody and all that Ms. Seth pointed out is purely accidental.

"Huggessen" - Thanks – my proof-read second time round!

I don't have any problem with the rest of your views. Yes I agree - Ogres don’t make much of a showing. But Bilbo does mention them in The Hobbit. So presumably there they existed within 'The Hobbit mythology'.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:31 PM   #5
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Actually, the trolls, profound thinkers that they were, were named after the great scholastic philosophers Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus and William of Ockham. Legend has it that there was a 4th troll, a female named "Betty", named after Boethius. But that was perhaps merely a joke among the Inklings.

P.S. The Huggins surname derives from the Old French "Hugh" and was brought over to England by the Normans after 1066. It would evidently delight Tolkien the philologist to no end to consider that a troll was of Norman stock.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:20 AM   #6
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Boots Thick but very dangerous

Balfrog, I agree with you that the scene with the trolls is 'a comic masterpiece'; because Tolkien still made them very dangerous despite them being 'thick'. While their stupidity was obvious, and was later exploited by Gandalf to ensure they turned into stone, Tolkien made it clear that once anyone got into their clutches, that person would later end up in their stomachs... If Gandalf hadn't been there...
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:04 PM   #7
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I absolutely agree with everything you said. But the question is whether Tolkien employed parody in the 'Troll scene'.

He certainly employed parody within his works. If if I recall correctly – somewhere in a letter he stated the toponymy of the Shire was a parody.


Morthoron

How hilarious! What wonderful trollery! And now we're all hoping you show us how Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus and William of Ockham lived in the same era, knew of each other and were friends and rivals. Perhaps we'll see how their works are embedded in the scenes and text of The Hobbit. It'll be interesting to compare the strength of both parody theories; and of course we are all waiting with bated breath to hear more about 'Betty'!
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:48 PM   #8
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Morthoron

How hilarious! What wonderful trollery! And now we're all hoping you show us how Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus and William of Ockham lived in the same era, knew of each other and were friends and rivals. Perhaps we'll see how their works are embedded in the scenes and text of The Hobbit. It'll be interesting to compare the strength of both parody theories; and of course we are all waiting with bated breath to hear more about 'Betty'!
Perhaps if you knew history rather than regurgitating someone else's work, you would know that of the three scholastic philosophers, Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus did indeed know each other and worked together at the General Chapter of the Dominicans at Valenciennes in 1259. William of Ockham was born within 10 years of the other two's deaths. I would suggest he knew their work intimately. We know the average lifespans of medieval man, however, we are not informed on the longevity of trolls and what the relative ages of the three in question were. Aquinas was fat enough to be a troll, perhaps if he had a troll's longevity, he would be discussing Betty with Bill.

In any case, I made up my parody in under five minutes. I didn't bother to make it a several paragraph treatise to garner clicks on the internet, although I have certainly made a full blown parody of the trolls discussing philosophy. It is certainly funnier than the one you propagate:

Chapter 5: Roast Mutton

Bilbo set off to discover the source of the strange light in the woods, followed for a bit by the dwarves, who wished neither to appear cowardly, nor miss a chance to bag some easy swag, if the proper circumstance presented itself. Needless to say, after a long trek through the bracken and brush (and grumbling all the way), the dwarves stopped a goodly distance from their goal, leaving Bilbo the burglar to practice his appointed profession without their interference, but not until Thorin gave Bilbo some sage advice.

“Now, be careful, but do not hesitate,” Thorin whispered hoarsely.

“Yes,” Bilbo replied.

“Just get a lay of the land, so to speak, and then come back.”

“Alright then.”

“But don't take overlong.”

“Certainly.”

“If trouble should arise, make three short warbles like a rosebreasted grosbeak, and then a series of mating calls like the male piping plover.”

“And we shall answer,” Balin added, “in the antiphonal duetting of a bobwhite quail.”

“Ummm...huh?” Bilbo was bebothered and flummoxed. “Do what with a which?”

“Off you go then,” Thorin smiled reassuringly, patting Bilbo on the back.

Bilbo slunked stealthily through the woods towards the mysterious light, not even daring to breathe. As he approached the clearing, Bilbo indeed saw a roaring bonfire and three figures of giant stature gnawing on great, greasy legs of roast mutton. Even though he had never seen one, Bilbo was convinced these were trolls based on their tremendous size and their gruff voices speaking in a vulgar language that was almost foreign to Bilbo. Even now, the trolls were engaged in an argument.

The troll Bilbo later indentified as William was growling and grunting: “...but Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, with its reverent Platonism, certainly had a direct effect on Thomistic Scholasticism and even on the works of Chaucer.”

Another troll, Bert, was obviously being disagreeable: “Yes, yes, you and your Neo-Platonist platitudes. Boethius' work has been largely rejected for a more Aristotelian view, and a modern emphasis on material productiveness.”

And it seemed the third troll, Tom, sided with Bert: “Not to mention Boethius' inward looking virtues -- quite foreign these days.”

“Yes, that's precisely what I am saying,” Bert nodded with a satisfied air.

William would not back down. “Yet it is noble to eschew worldly goods such as money and power, and to seek instead internalized virtues.”

But neither did Bert. “But nobility will not feed an empty stomach, Bill m'dear; the more practical applications of Aristotle and the rational search for meaning found in his scientific method...”

“Bah!” William spat. “The scientific method! Just another means by which the military-industrial complex foists its technocracy on the proletariat, subjugating the masses in industrial thrall with the nodding consent of the pretentious bourgeoisie!”

“Bloody Marxist Franciscan swine!” bellowed Bert.

“Capitalist Jesuit hyena!” William countered and stuck his greasy thumb in Bert’s eye.

The trolls then started bashing each other with branches and rolled about near the fire. While the mayhem ensued, Bilbo saw a chance to practice his burgling skills. He had noticed that a large purse was hanging enticingly from William's pocket. Summoning up every ounce of courage he possessed, Bilbo snuck into the circle of light.

“Easy now, Bilbo,” the hobbit said to himself, “just slip the purse from the pocket and sneak back to the dwarves, no worse for the wear...”

But, as we all know, trolls’ purses are enchanted (how we know that, I am not sure, but it seems plausible). Suddenly the purse, in a voice reminiscent of Maurice Chevalier, shrieked in patois, “Vat ees thees? Eet seems I am being -- how you say -- purloined by un petit burglar sans hauteur! Mon dieu! L'aide, je suis volé!”

In a twinkling, William had roughly picked Bilbo up by an ankle and suspended him in mid-air. “Well, well, my dear chaps,” the troll laughed, “look who's come for dinner!”

“Hmmm, he seems a bit on the smallish side, Bill,” Tom said thoughtfully. “Perhaps we should stuff him in a capon l'orange met sous verre, garnished with leeks and pimento.”

Bert shook his head. “Nonsense, Thomas, he is obviously a hors-d'oeuvre -- a finger food, if you will.”

“Fingers and toes, my dear Bertram,” Tom chuckled, “fingers and toes!”

“Ah, your wit is delicious, brother Tom,” Bert replied.

“Enough of this idle banter, lads!” William growled. “We need to find out exactly what this creature is, and furthermore, if there are more of his ilk skulking about.” The troll gave Bilbo a jarring shake and said harshly, “Now, little fellow, what have you to say for yourself?”

“Yes, what are you exactly?” Bert asked suspiciously.

Being suspended upside did not aid Bilbo in this interrogation. The blood was rushing to his head and the ashes from the fire had got in his eyes. All he could do was sputter, “I...I...am a bur...a hobbit.”

“Burrahobbit?” Tom hissed incredulously. “What species is that precisely? An insect?”

“He appears more mammalian,” Bert deduced. “Perhaps a rabbit with mange -- what with fur only about his head and toes.”

“Never mind all that,” William groused, “are there more of you about?”

Bilbo could not think clearly. “Many...None. There are none.”

“Now that's a bit paradoxical,” said Tom.

“I should say!” Bert agreed.

William was taking a dim view of Bilbo’s dissembling. “Now look, my mammalian appetizer, what do you mean by 'many and none'?”

Just then, Balin walked into the midst of the camp, and faster than one could say, “Boy, am I in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the dwarf was quickly scooped up and bagged by the trolls.

“Never mind searching for these silly little burrahobbits, my dear fellows,” William roared, “there are dwarves about. I can smell ‘em.”

“I just thought you had gas, Bill,” Bert said sympathetically. “You know how mutton disagrees with your digestion.”

“Well, rest assured we won't be having any more mutton,” William replied with a lascivious grin. “Tonight, I shall prepare Dwarf a la Guillame in a nice bordelaise sauce.”

And so, as each dwarf crept warily into camp, the lurking trolls popped them into sacks. Soon, all thirteen were enveloped in smelly burlap, wriggling and mumbling helplessly by the campfire. Bilbo and the dwarves now found themselves in a fine stew (or would be stewed presently), and what of little Nell? Will she find Grandfather before the evil Taskmaster Moriarity sells the farm to her priggish cousin, Deacon Sprague? And will her delicate condition be revealed to her beau, Geoffrey DeBourgeron-Heathcliffe-Wellsley? How will she explain the drunken troop of Portuguese sailors and the trapeze in her boudoir? All these questions and more shall be answered in the next thrilling installment.

ooOOooOOoo

When last we left our band of intrepid questers, Bilbo’s feet were near crushed by the wicked trolls and the dwarves were all in sacks, individually wrapped for a busy homemaker's convenience. Just pop them in boiling water, heat and serve. Voila! You have a tasty and economical meal for even the most trollish of appetites...

“HMMMMPPPPHHHMMMMPPPHHH!” Thorin said from his sack.

Right. Sorry. The unsuspecting trolls were gleefully preparing for their meal, but they never expected [cue menacing music]...THE SPANISH INQUISITION! Ha-ha-ha, just had to throw that one in there!

“HMMMMPPPPHHHMMMMPPPHHH!” Thorin continued, not at all amused at the narrator’s callousness.

Yes, yes, hold your sack on. As I was saying, little did the unwitting trolls know that even now Gandalf had returned -- just in the nick of time!

“HMMPH-MMH!” Thorin said gratefully.

You're welcome.

As the trolls were preparing their dwarvish repast, a voice like Bert’s was heard to say, “It was Thomas Jefferson who rightly said, ‘Take from Plato his sophisms, futilities and incomprehensibilities, and what remains? His foggy mind.’”

William, who thought Bert was speaking, snarled, “Don't start that argument all over again, Bert, or it'll take all night!”

Bert, who thought it was William speaking, replied angrily, “Who's arguing, I should like to know? I thought you had an epiphany and were finally agreeing with Tom and me regarding the modern rejection of Plato.”

“I'll give you an epiphany all right!” William barked. “Stop arguing, you lout!”

“I was not arguing,” Bert said, “and I demand you retract you assertion!”

“I shall not!” William answered indignantly.

A voice like Tom's interrupted, “Well, Friedrich Nietzsche did say ‘Plato is a bore.’”

William, who thought it was Tom speaking, sighed, “See? Now you've got Tom in on it, with his boorish asides!”

Tom, who thought it was Bert speaking, shot back, “I'm not in on nothing! But Bert's got a point about Nietzsche's appraisal...and what do you mean by boorish asides?”

“Nietzsche? Bah!” William spat. “A syphilitic mental-case mumbling nihilistic aphorisms!”

A voice like Bert's then spoke, “Well, Thomas Aquinas was so grossly obese he should have named his philosophy Elasticism rather than Scholasticism!”

William, who thought it was Bert speaking, said sarcastically, “Oh, very clever, Bert! Did you think that one up all by yourself, or did you confer with the other buffoon?”

Bert, who thought it was William speaking, yelled, “Who's the buffoon? You're the idiot arguing with himself, like some contradictory schizophrenic!”

And so, the philosophical battle of intellectual giants (well, trolls, actually) raged on through the evening, and into the night, and right up to the break of day, when...

“And isn't that just like an existentialist,” William bellowed in exasperation, “trying to get the last posit in...”

But that was the last word poor Will or his troll brothers ever uttered. As the sun peeked over the hills, they froze in their positions, their rhetorical semantics forever suspended in mid-retort.

“Well, would you look at that,” Bilbo shouted in relief, “the trolls have turned to stone!”

“Of course they turned to stone, dear Bilbo,” Gandalf said as he popped out from behind some bushes. “Trolls can't take the sunlight.”

“I get a rash myself,” Bilbo replied, recalling his solar intolerance. Then the hobbit, finally noticing Gandalf's unexpected arrival, said, “Gandalf! Then it was you throwing your voice that caused the trolls to argue. Brilliant!” But a hint of annoyance crept into Bilbo’s greeting and he glared at Gandalf. “Hey, wait a minute!” the hobbit hissed. “Where have you got off to? We nearly drownded in the rain, froze without a fire and were about to be fricasseed by pretentious trolls!”

Gandalf was rather taken aback. “Errrmm...I had to run an important errand. Yes, an errand that could not wait.”

Gandalf’s mind wandered back to the day spa at Rivendell, with Elvish maidens massaging him in a hot tub. But this pleasant reverie was rudely interrupted by Bilbo, “An important errand? Out here in the wilderness?”

Clearing his throat, Gandalf adopted his ‘compassionate and wise wizardly mien’ and said earnestly, “Never you mind, Bilbo. You are, after all, a small person in a large world; while a wizard's toil is great and never ends.”

“Well, yes...of course,” Bilbo said abashedly, “Forgive me.”

“Think nothing of it, dear boy,” Gandalf smiled. “But let us make haste and get these dwarves out of their sacks. They're near to suffocation, I'd wager.”

“HMMPH-MMH!” Thorin said enthusiastically.

“My pleasure,” Gandalf answered.
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Old 09-08-2017, 12:42 AM   #9
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Morthoron

I actually enjoyed your fancy parody. Unfortunately your creation is of little value. But if it only took 5 minutes to do – imagine how little time and effort it would have taken Tolkien to create one for The Hobbit!

Anyway – you are wrong – the first thing I checked was your trio's birth and death dates using Wikipedia. I immediately realized that William of Ockham could not possibly have been known by A.M. & T.A. So to some quick scoring:


Proposed 'Troll' Figures ...............................Ms. Seth's Parody..........................Morthoron's Parody

(a) Of the same era............................................... .Yes.............................................. .Yes
(b) Of the same profession/background.......................Yes.............. .................................Yes
(c) Known to each other..........................................Yes ................................................No
(d) Connection to 'cockney London'............................Yes............ ...................................No
(e) Works - connection/tangencies to The Hobbit text...Yes (10+)........................................No
(f) Connections to remarks in Tolkien's Letters.............Yes........................... .....................No
(g) Known to Tolkien........................................... ...Yes............................................ ..Probably
(h) In a field actively studied by Tolkien......................Yes.................. ............................Possibly


Hmm … doesn't look like your effort stacks up very well. Can you have another go and find a different threesome that improves the standing? Or perhaps you can dig-out some more on the current three that will up the score and thus boost the credibility of your proposal?
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:34 PM   #10
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Morthoron

I actually enjoyed your fancy parody. Unfortunately your creation is of little value. But if it only took 5 minutes to do – imagine how little time and effort it would have taken Tolkien to create one for The Hobbit!

So to some quick scoring:


Proposed 'Troll' Figures ...............................Ms. Seth's Parody..........................Morthoron's Parody

(a) Of the same era............................................... .Yes.............................................. .Yes
(b) Of the same profession/background.......................Yes.............. .................................Yes
(c) Known to each other..........................................Yes ................................................No
(d) Connection to 'cockney London'............................Yes............ ...................................No
(e) Works - connection/tangencies to The Hobbit text...Yes (10+)........................................No
(f) Connections to remarks in Tolkien's Letters.............Yes........................... .....................No
(g) Known to Tolkien........................................... ...Yes............................................ ..Probably
(h) In a field actively studied by Tolkien......................Yes.................. ............................Possibly


Hmm … doesn't look like your effort stacks up very well. Can you have another go and find a different threesome that improves the standing? Or perhaps you can dig-out some more on the current three that will up the score and thus boost the credibility of your proposal?
First of all, I was joking; second, sadly, it seems you are in earnest regarding an hypothesis by your Sethian alter-ego that resorts to possibility puddle-jumping and an otherwise pretzel-logic twisting leap of faith to force a coney-ish conclusion on the trolls. By the way, they are not necessarily speaking cockney, but more like Mancunian, given that Tolkien would be more acquainted with guttural Manchester accents, having lived outside of Birmingham as a child and serving in the Lancashire Fusiliers in WWI. His brushes with London cockney would be limited.

Humorously enough, you're saying that the scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas, and Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, were only "probably" known to Tolkien? One of the great Catholic authors of the 20th century who had the theological acumen to convert C.S. Lewis to Christianity, but scholasticism was only "possibly" part of a field he "actively studied"?

Obviously, you are completely unaware of the theological studies of Tolkien and his friends C.S. Lewis and C.K. Chesterton. Nor are you aware that T. Shippey makes the statement that Tolkien knew and loved King Alfred's translation of Consolation of Philosophy. You are also utterly unaware of the serious research, theses and books, regarding Tolkien and the scholasticism propounded by Boethius, Aquinas, Ockham and Albertus Magnus. At the very heart of The Lord of the Rings are the Thomistic ideals of Justice and Mercy (which are viewed as inseparable).

In addition, Tolkien had "cordially disliked" Shakespeare and never mentioned Greene or Nashe at all. There are literally no connections, imaginary or otherwise, to Shakespeare, Greene or Nashe elsewhere in The Hobbit.

Besides, Tolkien's writings are littered with his disdain for Shakespeare, including his damnable diminution of Elves: “the word [elves] to be understood in its ancient meanings, which continued as late as Spenser—a murrain on Will Shakespeare and his damned cobwebs.”

According to his biographer Humphrey Carpenter, during a debate in school Tolkien “poured a sudden flood of unqualified abuse upon Shakespeare, upon his filthy birthplace, his squalid surroundings, and his sordid character.”

Yet Tolkien, who even disliked Macbeth's walking army of fake trees, and who exhibited no love at all for any Elizabethan prose or poetry (preferring Middle English and Anglo-Saxon predecessors), would suddenly plop 3 playwrights from London into one of his books? My point by adding 3 trollish scholastic philosophers was that your Sethian click-bait does not in any way persuade more than any other casual (or in this case, sarcastic) guess regarding anything in Tolkien's corpus.

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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Anyway – you are wrong – the first thing I checked was your trio's birth and death dates using Wikipedia. I immediately realized that William of Ockham could not possibly have been known by A.M. & T.A.
Am I wrong, or are you merely incapable of proper reading comprehension? I suggest you reread what I wrote regarding William of Ockham. Perhaps reciting it aloud will aid in your understanding. Take your time. Read it very slowly.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:54 PM   #11
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Hallelujah! Is there actually a point you're willing to agree on with Ms. Seth – namely Tolkien's seeming disdain for Shakespeare? In an ever so roundabout way are you actually entertaining the possibility Tolkien might have poked fun at the Bard by casting him as a Troll? Well I never – may miracles never cease to occur!

Really by now – I would have thought the: 'I know more than you' thing, and the 'lack of comprehension' thing, would have been dropped. It's a little puerile – and I'm sure off-putting to readers of this thread wishing to enhance their knowledge of Tolkien's works. In all probability I know a lot more than you think and you know a lot less than I think. And by the way – I asked for evidence where your Tom, Bert & Bill knew of each other and were friends and rivals. I didn't make a big deal about your 'lack of comprehension' in providing a comedy where the three characters obviously historically didn't.

Nonetheless your parody was highly amusing. There's definitely some talent there. If only you could harness and hone it to be more objective about Ms. Seth's works.

Anyway – the bottom line is that it's probably possible to find three 'famous' cohorts possessing the names of the Trolls – but it's near impossible to find allusions (of any decent amount) to the same buried within Roast Mutton. Especially to the depth exhibited by Ms. Seth's three Elizabethan playwrights. Which makes me believe Ms. Seth's theory is quite a strong one!

As to:

By the way, they are not necessarily speaking cockney, but more like Mancunian, given that Tolkien would be more acquainted with guttural Manchester accents, having lived outside of Birmingham as a child and serving in the Lancashire Fusiliers in WWI. His brushes with London cockney would be limited.


Tolkien's knowledge of the English Language and dialects was vast. It would be wrong to belittle him. John Rateliff, probably, the most knowledgeable scholar on The Hobbit – calls the Trolls' accents 'cockney' (see The History of The Hobbit).

By the way your words sound remarkably like Eledhwen (a Special Educational Needs Teacher) from The Tolkien Forum some 12 years ago (thread: about trolls' accents). When I type in on Google search: 'trolls cockney' – the first thing that comes up is:

That particular aspect of the trolls' accent seems more Mancunian (Manchester) to me than Cockney. Tolkien will have been more familiar with the accents of the West Midlands and the North West than Cockney, as he lived just outside Birmingham as a child, and served in the Lancashire Fusiliers in WW1, where he would have encountered such speech among the enlisted men.


Tolkien wrote The Hobbit while in Oxford. Oxford to London is a mere 50 miles. It's far too presumptive to assume the Manchester connection. However I could be persuaded if, with your obviously deep acquaintance of English dialects, you could point out in a Manchester dialectal dictionary, the words:

Lumme, Blighter, Copped etc.
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Old 10-29-2017, 01:13 PM   #12
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Hallelujah! Is there actually a point you're willing to agree on with Ms. Seth – namely Tolkien's seeming disdain for Shakespeare?
Seeing as you evidently sprang fully-formed from the head of Priya Seth like Athena from Zeus, I will forgive your lack of common knowledge regarding Tolkien while you sycophantically preen under the watchful gaze of your mistress. The aversion to Shakespeare has been known and discussed for decades. Known for decades -- a common theme in this discussion....

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As to:

By the way, they are not necessarily speaking cockney, but more like Mancunian, given that Tolkien would be more acquainted with guttural Manchester accents, having lived outside of Birmingham as a child and serving in the Lancashire Fusiliers in WWI. His brushes with London cockney would be limited.


Tolkien's knowledge of the English Language and dialects was vast. It would be wrong to belittle him. John Rateliff, probably, the most knowledgeable scholar on The Hobbit – calls the Trolls' accents 'cockney' (see The History of The Hobbit).
Lazy scholarship is nothing new, even on the part of Rateliff. Besides, Rateliff is from Arkansas and is not a philologist.

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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
By the way your words sound remarkably like Eledhwen (a Special Educational Needs Teacher) from The Tolkien Forum some 12 years ago (thread: about trolls' accents). When I type in on Google search: 'trolls cockney' – the first thing that comes up is:

That particular aspect of the trolls' accent seems more Mancunian (Manchester) to me than Cockney. Tolkien will have been more familiar with the accents of the West Midlands and the North West than Cockney, as he lived just outside Birmingham as a child, and served in the Lancashire Fusiliers in WW1, where he would have encountered such speech among the enlisted men.
You quoted a post from Eledhwen from 12 years ago. Are you aware that the Internet has been around since the 1990s and the trolls' accents have been discussed at length that entire time, and on websites and forums now unfortunately defunct? Are you also aware that Eledhwen and I were both Middle-earth fan-fiction writers, such as on the now defunct Middle-earth Fan-fiction Awards (MEFA) and fanfiction.net? Eledhwen is also a moderator over at TheOneRing.net (of which I am also a member). We have had interactions and discussions for years. We have come to the same conclusion (and previous to the post you referred to).

How interesting you should imply I borrowed from another post when you obviously haven't a single, original idea in your head, given you spend months and years quoting nothing but Priya Seth, advertising for Priya Seth and defending every written word from the Gospel of Priya Seth. We wonders if you aren't one in the same, eh? Yes we do, Precious-s-s.

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Originally Posted by Balfrog View Post
Tolkien wrote The Hobbit while in Oxford. Oxford to London is a mere 50 miles. It's far too presumptive to assume the Manchester connection. However I could be persuaded if, with your obviously deep acquaintance of English dialects, you could point out in a Manchester dialectal dictionary, the words:

Lumme, Blighter, Copped etc.
Your apparent lack of knowledge regarding the insular nature of Oxford in the early 20th century is astounding. Tolkien would have little to no relational basis with anyone speaking Cockney from a life experience standpoint, particularly since he despised big, sooty cities full of noisome and blaring automobiles with a passion. He spent WWI in the trenches with a Lancashire regiment, where he would pick up the patois of his fellow soldiers on an intimate and unfiltered basis. Where, exactly, would Tolkien garner a knowledge of Cockney? In between classes at Merton College?

He spent his childhood outside Birmingham. He went from King Edward's School in Birmingham right to Exeter College, Oxford, finished his degree, and then promptly joined the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1915. Once demobilized and recuperated from his injuries (in a cottage 25 miles north of Birmingham, and also stationed in Yorkshire), he worked as a reader at the University of Leeds (again in Yorkshire), and then back to Pembroke College at Oxford in 1925. When, precisely, did Tolkien speak at first hand with lower class Londoners for any length of time?

As for slang, the term "blimey" (as in "Mutton yesterday, mutton today, and blimey, etc.") has been used in Mancunian slang since the 19th century (and a sort of winter dress cap worn in WWI was referred to as a "Gor Blimey" by all rank of British soldiers), and "lumme" (Lord love me), was in regular use in Lancashire in the early 20th century. For instance, here is a monologue in which blimey and lumme are used by the famed British comedian Robb Wilton (1881-1957), know for his dry Lancashire accent:

http://monologues.co.uk/Robb_Wilton/...errminated.htm

As far as "blighter" and "copped", I see as many references to the terms in Lancashire or Manchester as elsewhere in Britain. They are not necessarily Cockney in derivation. In any case, Tolkien is on record as regretting using conventional English names for the trolls:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 153: To Peter Hastings (Draft), September 1954
I might not (if The Hobbit had been more carefully written, and my world so much thought about 20 years ago) have used the expression 'poor little blighter', just as I should not have called the troll William.
Therefore, any extravagant literary pun regarding Elizabethan playwrights, with so much jumping through hoops of allusion and allegory, seems nonsensical, given that Tolkien never mentioned such an arduous and overwrought bit of whimsy, and would rather have stricken the name(s) from the story if he had the chance.

The very tenor of the sentence emphasized in parentheses: "if The Hobbit had been more carefully written, and my world so much thought about 20 years ago", indicates he did not, in fact, give the naming conventions of the trolls much thought at all. Certainly not something as ornate as your demi-goddess of click-bait commands.
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:05 AM   #13
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How I look forward to your posts – wondering what slurs will ensue and how you'll denigrate me next. Apparently there is 'click-baiting' going on, and Ms. Seth's my 'mistress'. And then supposedly – I'm Ms. Seth herself!

Well, well. Chuckle, chuckle. Please continue with the entertaining nonsense. Your nice and beautiful personality shines fully through, and I'm sure is winning over many admirers!

Back to business. Your last post is again full of self-righteous: 'I know best – and you're ignorant'. Sorry – but the stuff you spew on Tolkien's history is elementary knowledge that I first became aware of some 30 years ago. Of the factual stuff - you told me nothing I didn't already know.

Most amusingly - apparently you have more expertise than arguably the premier expert on The Hobbit: John Rateliff. And to boot – on one count – even more than Tolkien himself. You're unsubstantiated belittling of an Oxford University professor for a supposed lack of knowledge about a London dialect of the English language, is positively cringe-worthy.

Tolkien could not possibly have known any Cockney – really???
Being in all probability the most recognizable and famous dialect in all of England, I have to shake my head – but not in despair – more in pity.

How interesting you should imply I borrowed from another post

Despite the above – I was interested in how you both came to the same conclusion about the Trolls accents having a Manchester origin. I am interested in the strength of the evidence – and couldn't give a hoot whether you plagiarized or not. I asked specifically for a Manchester dialectal dictionary where such words we are debating (e.g. blimey, blighter, lumme) exist. Unsurprisingly you provided none.

Instead a Liverpudlian comedian – who no doubt had traveled over much of Britain (Southend, Yarmouth, Aberdeen as talked about in those sketches - and picked up who knows what when) is the basis of your Mancunian argument. What tosh.

Just because I've heard a Yorkshire-man shout out 'Sacre-bleu' - doesn't make him French. Seriously, the evidence presented was beyond feeble. To be honest, it was quite pathetic.

I recommend you take note of another well respected scholar's opinion. Mark Atherton states in 'There and Back Again' the following:

'Certainly, Bill Huggin's magic talking purse with its 'ere 'oo are you? ' has the unmistakable Cockney h-dropping … Tolkien's use of of the dialect of London in The Hobbit; it is more or less intelligible', and amusing, for everyone in Britain knew about Cockney as an English accent … there was a tradition of depicting Cockney speakers in novels. At the same time, Cockney would be amusing in The Hobbit because of the sheer element of surprise: readers do not expect to hear it here.'
Oxford wasn't so 'insular' as you claim (of course as usual - without any proof). And as to:

When, precisely, did Tolkien speak at first hand with lower class Londoners for any length of time?

Why would he need to? One avenue Tolkien would have picked up knowledge of Cockney – is 'books' (as Atherton suggests). Below are examples from a couple of masterpieces:

From Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist:

The Artful Dodger – a pick-pocket (very appropriately ) is named "lummy Jack" (lummy ~ lumme)

From James Joyce's Ulysses (1922):

“God blimey if she aint a clinker.”

Now of course with your philological qualifications (which we would all love to see) – you know better than both Rateliff and Atherton. And because your philological knowledge obviously exceeds Tolkien's when it comes to dialects - is it okay if I refer to you as Professor Morthoron from now on?

Take a look at Tolkien's essay: 'Chaucer as a Philologist: The Reeve's Tale', which was submitted in 1931 – in the same time period of The Hobbit's construction. One definitely comes away with the impression Tolkien knew at the very least – something of Cockney.

And by the way - have you ever listened to Tolkien's own voice recording of 'Roast Mutton'? Can you tell us how Tolkien being so well-acquainted with Mancunian accents having served with the Lancashire Fusiliers – couldn't imitate one?

Perhaps you should re-read Ms. Seth's article and pay particular attention to Note 4. It's certainly in line with Rateliff's and Atherton's assessments. And I'd take their opinions and the uses of Cockney by Dickens and Joyce – way over your opinion and the dubious offering by way of Robb Wilton. Maybe the light-bulb will finally go on. I have a funny feeling though: yer 'ed aint workin like it awt ta !
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:09 PM   #14
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Morthoron

How I look forward to your posts – wondering what slurs will ensue and how you'll denigrate me next. Apparently there is 'click-baiting' going on, and Ms. Seth's my 'mistress'. And then supposedly – I'm Ms. Seth herself!


Well, well. Chuckle, chuckle. Please continue with the entertaining nonsense. Your nice and beautiful personality shines fully through, and I'm sure is winning over many admirers!

Back to business. Your last post is again full of self-righteous: 'I know best – and you're ignorant'. Sorry – but the stuff you spew on Tolkien's history is elementary knowledge that I first became aware of some 30 years ago. Of the factual stuff - you told me nothing I didn't already know.
Who are you then but a cipher, Balfrog? You are either Seth or a Seth sycophant incapable of sentient separation from the mother's mottled teat.

In either case you neither post of your own volition, nor do you ever disagree with anything far-fetched from the specious Seth. You not only spam the Barrow-Downs with every article Seth disembogues from her faulty font, you do the exact same thing on the Lotrplaza.com site. You do not post on your own, you do not post to be a part of this forum. You spam, and then argue with anyone who happens to disagree with Priya's Preposterous Pronouncements. You are shilling for Seth, not contributing in any meaningful manner on the sites you encounter. You subvert the spam protocols of the forum. You are an advert.

If I show disdain for your posts it is because they are not your posts, or, worse, they are in fact your posts using a sham name to further your own interests as Seth.

Having seen you spammed yet another article from Seth today, I find it better to recuse myself from further dialogue with you as the surrogate-Seth, before things get truly ugly.

And for the record, Tolkien never mentioned his Trolls spoke Cockney; in fact, in perusing Tolkien's work I can't find him using the term "Cockney" in any manifestation. Never. Ever. The rest is conjecture. Perhaps learned conjecture, but conjecture nonetheless.

I will not reply further.
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