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Old 03-09-2003, 01:47 AM   #1
Kalimac
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1420! No Long Journey Save One

One minor point I was wondering about; near the end of ROTK, Elrond tells Frodo that Bilbo is old and tired and so forth, and that he will not again "make any long journey, save one."

When I saw that, I was sure that Elrond was referring to death. After all, Tolkien describes death elsewhere as the means by which men and hobbits will pass out beyond the confines of this world, unlike Elves who stay within it (sorry if I'm botching the terminology, I've now read the Silmarillion several times but am still not a native speaker).

But then, of course, Bilbo ends up going to the Undying Lands with Frodo and the rest - a pretty long journey, I'd say. So while it's easy enough to decide that this is what Elrond meant, it still seems like a rather odd way to phrase it, since death is often referred to as "the final journey" or something close to it, and of course we all know Hamlet's remark about "the undiscovered country."

So did anyone else think that when they first read Elrond's remark, or is it just my freak of fancy? [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]. Also, do you suppose Elrond could be using the phrase specifically for its double meaning, so it could be interpreted to mean both things which turn out to be true?
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Old 03-09-2003, 01:56 AM   #2
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Well, in some of the other discussions about if Frodo eventually dies. Some of the people have said that even though they go to the undying lands the hobbits eventually die. So maybe that is what Elrond means. Bilbo will eventually die. I could be confused, there is probably someone else who is more educated in this than me.
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Old 03-09-2003, 09:14 AM   #3
Malva Headstrong
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Sting

Well, Iīm not, but Iīll try anyway [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img].
Quote:
Also, do you suppose Elrond could be using the phrase specifically for its double meaning, so it could be interpreted to mean both things which turn out to be true?
I suppose, that would be right. No mortal died in Eldamar (not by nature anyhow) so Elrond couldnīt know if Bilbo died or not. But he know that he would go into the West so he used the common phrase "long journey". And maybe he didnīt want to scare Frodo.
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Old 03-09-2003, 09:57 AM   #4
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I took it plain and simple to mean a trip to the Grey Havens. Literal "trip". He gets his current body there. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 03-09-2003, 10:12 AM   #5
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In hindsight (for it has been many years since I read that chapter "fresh", not knowing how it would end), I always took Elrond's words as a hint that Frodo and Bilbo would not be separated, and that when Frodo finally accepted that he could no longer live in the Shire, that Bilbo would leave Middle-earth with him.

I did see some hints in others replies that Bilbo and Frodo are not fated to die ("...his current body"). I feel it's necessary to remind people that these characters are never granted immortality. They are in Tol Eressa, not The Undying Lands. So yes, Bilbo has one more "journey" to make after he leaves the shores of M-E, but I doubt that Elrond was referring to it. Elves have no idea what happens to Men after they die - not even Elrond. So I doubt that he was making any reference to what we, the readers, might think of as "a final journey".

[ March 09, 2003: Message edited by: Birdland ]
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Old 03-09-2003, 11:14 AM   #6
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Sting

When I say "his current body" I guess I mean the old Bilbo of Middle Earth. Since I have read lots of theories of what happens to hobbits, and others of Middle Earth after they die (first "level" of death, [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] the body, not the spirit, whatever! ) I don't want to venture there. I just take that bit from Elrond very litererally, as an actual journey to be made, to a "real" place in middle Earth. (The Grey Havens)
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Old 03-09-2003, 01:18 PM   #7
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Sting

Not to be a big stick-in-the-mud, but Arwen is the one who uttered those words to Frodo, not daddy Elrond.

This was a well thought use of words. Because it is not just the line "...and he awaits you, for he will not again make any long journey save one." It is the context, because just prior Arwen elaborates on how now that the Ring is gone all it's works are destroyed, and that Bilbo had it (the ring) longer than he, and that Bilbo is ancient in years now. I most assuredly thought Bilbo's last journey was one to the grave, and was pleasantly surprised at the final chapter of the book.

[ March 09, 2003: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]
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Old 03-09-2003, 01:39 PM   #8
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Yes, that sure was a pleasant surprise! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]I like those! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 03-09-2003, 05:54 PM   #9
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Sting

I certainly thought that Arwen was speaking of Bilbo's death, basically saying that after this parting Frodo would never see him again. For the rest of the book, up to Grey Havens, I was expecting Frodo to receive the bad news. So, as has been said, I was pleasantly surprised when Bilbo was there at the Grey Havens.

But I do think that the double meaning was probably intentional. Maybe it was even a reminder that Bilbo would eventually die, and if I had payed more attention to it then I would've been spared some of the confusion that I faced. (I was so sure that Bilbo and Frodo didn't die, but have since learned better.)

Or maybe it was just a "made you look!" Ha ha, you thought Bilbo was dying. Silly reader.

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Old 03-09-2003, 11:20 PM   #10
Kalimac
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1420!

[smacks self upside head]. Arwen. I KNEW it was Arwen. I was THINKING Arwen. What did I go and write? Elrond. Well, there are disadvantages to posting so late at night [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img].

Thanks for all the perspectives - they're really helpful. Glad I wasn't the only one to think "Oh no! Bilbo's dying!" [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] . I'm inclining now towards the two-meanings-in-one explanation; Bilbo is going to the Undying Lands, it's true, but in a way this is a journey towards the edge of the world; a journey which death will complete. So it's like he and Frodo are dying, just more slowly. (And in this sense, death isn't necessarily a bad thing - wasn't it Iluvatar's Gift to men, after all?).
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