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Old 03-29-2007, 08:36 AM   #1
ninja91
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Silmaril Gold, silver, and jools

Especially in the first few pages of A Long Expected Party in FOTR, there seem to be many rumors and myths concerning Bilbo's wealth and where it is located.

In the very first paragraph Tolkien states that

"The riches he had brought back from his travels had now become local legend, and it was popularly believed, whatever the old folk might say, that the Hill at Bag End was full of tunnels stuffed with treasure."

Later on, there are conversations among Hobbiton residents, including the Gaffer. This is some of what they said.

"There's a tidy bit of money tucked away up there, I hear tell, All the top of your hill is full of tunnels packed with chests of gold and silver and jools, by what I've heard."

This was stated by a traveler from Michel Delving, and obviously shows that the stories about Bilbo's wealth have traveled much farther than just Hobbiton.

Also:

"I know nothing about jools. Mr. Bilbo is free with his money, and there seems no lack of it; but I know of no tunnel-making... And in the middle of it all Mr. Bilbo comes up the Hill with a pony and some mighty big bags and a couple of chests. I don't doubt that they were mostly full of treasure he had picked up in foreign parts, where there be mountains of gold, they say; but there wasn't enough to full tunnels."

This was stated by the Gaffer, Sam's father, who is a prominent elder among the Hobbits in Hobbiton. I, personally, do not doubt his wisdom here. But there does seem to be alot of rumors... to many, for my reckoning.

What do you think?
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:49 AM   #2
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It's interesting that there seems to be a kind of reverse snobbery here...Bilbo is sneered upon by most people not because he is poor, but because he is well-off. When we think of the trouble between rich and poor, it's generally of a snooty rich person nastily putting down an honest, 'normal' generally kind working class person. But in the Shire it seems to be the reverse - Bilbo who is well-off is treated with disdain by most of the 'normal' people, despite the fact that he isn't actually that rich and is quite generous with his money.
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:53 AM   #3
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Well, I think he took two small chests, one with silver and one with gold after the Battle of the Five Armies, also the bags of gold taken from the trolls.
Also, as said in the end of the Hobbit, "his gold and silver was largely spent in presents" (for example he now had real gold buttons for his coat). Anyway, clearly the money did last for a long time, and I you must consider that for The Shire this was indeed a huge treasure. They weren't used to such things, unlike the Dwarves, so they probably exagerated about Bilbo's wealth.
As much of the earlier treasure was spent, I doubt more then a chest was left at the time he left Bag End.
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:54 AM   #4
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You know how rumors grow. Personally, I would have to go with what the Gaffer says. He was, after all, an eye witness.
And it wouldn't surprise me if at the start of those rumors about excessive wealth and tunnels full of "jools' you found a certain Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.

But you didn't hear that from me...
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Old 03-29-2007, 09:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROTK, Many Partings
To Sam he gave a little bag of gold. Almost the last drop of the Smaug vintage, he said.
A cursory search of FOTR regarding Bilbo's departure from the Shire did not turn up any mention of Bilbo carrying away anything like a chest full of cash, and even if he did it seems hard to imagine that Elrond was charging him room-and-board while he stayed at Rivendell.

It looks to me (and I am certainly open to correction) that he had pretty much spent of given it all away -- and a good portion of what he had left at the beginning of FotR was probably spent on the massive expenses to throw the Long-Expected Party. By the coronation of Aragorn, all he had left was a small bag of gold which, in his typical generous fashion, he gave to Samwise to help start his family.

Of course, he says "almost" the last drop, so perhaps he has a bit more laid by to pay for busfare to the Havens...
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Old 03-29-2007, 09:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Kohran
Bilbo who is well-off is treated with disdain by most of the 'normal' people, despite the fact that he isn't actually that rich and is quite generous with his money.

Bilbo wasn't treated with distain because of what he brought back from his journey but because he went off with the Dwarves in the first place. It was his eccentricity, not his wealth, that normal Hobbits disliked.

Bilbo was different and difference always attracts wild rumors. Consider how, in our own world, some sections of the mass media continually generate and propagate stories about celebraties.
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Old 03-29-2007, 09:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selmo
Bilbo wasn't treated with distain because of what he brought back from his journey but because he went off with the Dwarves in the first place. It was his eccentricity, not his wealth, that normal Hobbits disliked.

Bilbo was different and difference always attracts wild rumors. Consider how, in our own world, some sections of the mass media continually generate and propagate stories about celebraties.
.
You beat me to the post. This is exactly what I was going to say.
The point is made more than once that the Hobbits have no use for the wider world and distrust travelers.
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:10 AM   #8
Hilde Bracegirdle
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I could have sworn that Bilbo's wealth or rather lack there of, was mentioned somewhere toward the end of LotR. Or then again, maybe Bilbo mentioned it when giving Frodo the mithril shirt? I wish I had my books with me, so I could start looking for it. As it is, I have an unsettling feeling that I am imagining it.

Last edited by Hilde Bracegirdle; 03-29-2007 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:52 PM   #9
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Pipe

This all leads to the question of local economies, and how things were paid for. The only mention of money I can find other than what has been said of Bilbo's treasures is that of a 'penny' and 'silver pennies' in Bree.
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:11 PM   #10
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Also, whatever happened to Frodo's inherited wealth after he set off on his quest? He sold Bag End to Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, but what happened to all his money and his house at Crickhollow?
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