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Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter 1 Summary

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  • steveseg@aol.com
    Matt said: It is interesting that Gandalf is getting involved in this treasure hunt. It does not seem to fit in with his mandate of finding out what Sauron is
    Message 1 of 32 , Nov 28, 2007
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      Matt said:
      It is interesting that Gandalf is getting involved in this treasure
      hunt. It does not seem to fit in with his mandate of finding out what
      Sauron is up to, unless he is using the quest as a ruse to cover his
      activities in Mirkwood. Again, this may be a detail about Gandalf that
      had not been worked out since the being Olorin was not part of
      Tolkien's mythology when The Hobbit was written.

      Steve replies: Revisionist history claims Gandalf/Olorin was trying to shore up the northern lands, east of Mirkwood, so that they could withstand Sauron's assault during the anticipated War of the Ring. Which, they barely did.

      Steve S.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Matt <tea_party@...>
      To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 12:06 pm
      Subject: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter 1 Summary

      Great and engaging summary Steve!

      Those of us who have been reading The Silmarillion should immediately
      note the following from your summary:

      > The dwarves prospered and accrued
      > a huge treasure horde, which ultimately was their downfall,
      > as Smaug got wind of it. He came out of the North and laid
      > waste to both the Lonely Mountain and Dale. Only the father
      > (Thrain) and grandfather (Thror) of Thorin, with a
      > few close retainers escaped (via the hidden passage), to live
      > and tell the tale. Thror was later slain by Azog the Goblin in
      > the mines of Moria. Thrain in turn was captured by the Necromancer
      > and ultimately killed or driven mad. But not before giving Gandalf
      > the map and presumably, the key.

      I wonder how much of this was added to tie The Hobbit into JRRT's then
      unpublished Book of Lost Tales. We know that Melkor bred dragons in
      the North, and that some still roamed Middle-earth after the War of Wrath.

      Evidently, a dragon cannot resist a hoard, as we saw in Menegroth!
      Tolkien did not explain the dragon affinity for gold and jewels. Does
      he talk about it here in The Hobbit? (I guess I'll find out tonight)

      Sauron, in his guise as the Necromancer (a sorcerer that brings the
      dead back to life), captures Thrain. I wonder what he wanted with him.
      Perhaps Sauron was not in control of Melkor's dragons and wanted to
      steal the hoard for himself, or perhaps Tolkien had not yet worked out
      the relationship between Sauron and The Necromancer.

      It is interesting that Gandalf is getting involved in this treasure
      hunt. It does not seem to fit in with his mandate of finding out what
      Sauron is up to, unless he is using the quest as a ruse to cover his
      activities in Mirkwood. Again, this may be a detail about Gandalf that
      had not been worked out since the being Olorin was not part of
      Tolkien's mythology when The Hobbit was written.

      More details to watch for when I read the chapter tonight!

      Matt West

      --- In TolkienDiscussions@ yahoogroups. com, steveseg@... wrote:
      >
      > The first chapter of "The Hobbit" or "There and Back Again" is "An
      > Unexpected Party."
      >
      > The book opens with a description of Bilbo Baggins' hobbit-hole home
      in The
      > Hill, followed by details on hobbits in general. Bilbo's ancestry is
      touched
      > upon with emphasis on the Tookish (adventurous) side.
      >
      > The story proper begins with the wizard Gandalf paying fifty year
      old Bilbo
      > a visit. This was his first time in Hobbiton (and possibly the
      Shire) since
      > the Old Took died and he came upon Bilbo as he was enjoying a pipe
      smoke just
      > outside his door at Bag End. After exchanging pleasantries and
      demonstrating
      > their smoke ring skills, Gandalf gets to the point of his visit. He
      wants
      > Bilbo to join him in an adventure, to which the hobbit responds by
      fleeing
      > inside his home in a panic, but not before inviting the wizard back
      for tea on the
      > morrow.
      >
      > Tomorrow (Wednesday) comes but it is not Gandalf (at first) who
      arrives for
      > tea, ale, wine, tarts, pies, salad, cheese, coffee and cakes, but
      dwarves. In
      > order, they are: Dwalin, Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin,
      Gloin,
      > Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Thorin. The last four were in the company
      of Gandalf.
      >
      > As the dwarves (excepting Thorin) clean up the mess, they sing a
      brief song
      > that puts the fear of Eru into Bilbo, as concerns the fate of his
      dishes,
      > silver ware and leftovers. But they are empty threats and only
      teasing the
      > hobbit. Once the cleanup is done, the dwarves resort to pipe smoking
      and the
      > playing of musical instruments as they sing of the quest before them
      at the Lonely
      > Mountain. Bilbo is moved by the song as his Tookish side steps to
      the fore.
      >
      > Finally, Thorin gets to the point and outlines his proposition. He
      and the
      > other dwarves thing Bilbo is a burglar, for Gandalf was kind enough
      to mark
      > Bilbo's door the previous day with the mark of that profession.
      After a brief
      > swoon, Bilbo learns that Thorin and company want to regain their
      treasure from
      > Smaug the dragon at their ancestral home within the halls of the
      Lonely
      > Mountain. Gandalf produces a map made by Thror, grandfather of
      Thorin, that shows
      > a secret passage to the Lower Halls. Naturally, the wizard has the
      key to
      > the outside door of the passage.
      >
      > Bilbo asks for further details, and the story of how Thorin's
      ancestors were
      > driven out of the far North and led by Thrain the Old, settled at
      and carved
      > out the kingdom of the Lonely Mountain. The nearby town of Dale was
      > populated by mortal men, originally from the South. The dwarves
      prospered and accrued
      > a huge treasure horde, which ultimately was their downfall, as Smaug
      got
      > wind of it. He came out of the North and laid waste to both the
      Lonely Mountain
      > and Dale. Only the father (Thrain) and grandfather (Thror) of
      Thorin, with a
      > few close retainers escaped (via the hidden passage), to live and
      tell the
      > tale. Thror was later slain by Azog the Goblin in the mines of
      Moria. Thrain in
      > turn was captured by the Necromancer and ultimately killed or driven
      mad. But
      > not before giving Gandalf the map and presumably, the key.
      >
      > Bilbo makes sleeping arrangements for the thirteen dwarves and
      wizard and as
      > he falls into a troubled sleep, worrying what the future will bring
      , he is
      > less than comforted by Thorin humming part of an earlier song about
      the Misty
      > Mountains, dungeons, caverns, long-forgotten gold and the like.
      Still, he
      > sleeps long after the break of day...
      >
      > Steve S.
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Rob
      Reading in The Annotated Hobbit tells me that Thrain s name is pronounced Thra In and not
      Message 32 of 32 , Dec 9, 2007
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        <<Sauron would have wanted Thrain in order to get his ring. >>

        Reading in "The Annotated Hobbit" tells me that Thrain's name is pronounced
        "Thra In" and not "Thrane" as I've always pronounced it. As a kid I
        pronounced Oin and Gloin as you would "boil," but as an adult realized it
        would be Glo In, etc. I never thought Thrain's name would be pronounced as
        such, though...

        <<And Gandalf wanted to set up a renewed dwarf kingdom in the North to
        counterbalance Dol Guldur - were his flanks secure, the Necromancer could
        attack his neighbours.>>

        And LotR tells us, though does not show us, that the dwarf kingdom in Erebor
        did split Sauron's forces. I always would have liked for the battle up there
        to bee reported on more. Oh, well.

        Rob
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