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RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

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  • Rob
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 10, 2007
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      <<Regardless, it is well hidden and had Gandalf not met that band of elves
      (the ones who warned the wizard of the troll danger), and alerted them to
      the company's arrival, they might never have found Rivendell.>>

      Which strikes me as odd given that Gandalf must well know the way to
      Rivendell seeing as Elrond is one of the White Council, etc. I read the
      passage pretty closely and determined that the wording doesn't really say
      Gandalf is lost or can't find his way.

      "Altogether it was a very slow business following the track, even guided by
      Gandalf, who seemed to know his way about pretty well. His head and beard
      wagged this way and that as he looked for the stones, and they followed his
      lead, but they seemed no nearer to the end of the search when the day began
      to fail. Tea-time had long gone by, and it seemed supper-time would soon do
      the same. There were moths fluttering about, and the light became very dim,
      for the moon had not risen. Bilbo's pony began to stumble over roots and
      stones. They came to the edge of a steep fall in the ground so suddenly that
      Gandalf s horse nearly slipped down the slope.

      "Here it is at last!" he called, and the others gathered round him and
      looked over the edge. They saw a valley far below.

      It seems to me that the narrator is giving Bilbo and the dwarves'
      points-of-view in terms of whether or not they are going to find the proper
      path/opening into Rivendell. Gandalf, meanwhile, is said to know where he is
      going, though certainly, given that daylight is fading and the company are
      all tired and hungry, he seems tired and grouchy when he exasperatedly
      announces "Here it is at last!"

      So I think Gandalf's knowledge of the way to Imladris is safe and
      well-known, it is just the situation and failing light which cause his horse
      (not him) to "nearly slip" and be so peevish.

      <<Treading down the path to the valley, Bilbo and company are accompanied by
      secretive elves who regale them a mocking song.>>

      I also find this odd, despite having read this encounter long before I read
      any of the other tales involving Tolkien's elves. From my first reading I
      thought "these guys sounds like jerks." Elrond is not a jerk. What is the
      deal with these denizens of his realm? Years later after much Tolkien
      reading I will put their actions down to the ill sentiments between dwarves
      and elves (one I've never really understood given that they've never really
      done anything wrong to each other) and youthful immaturity. Had Bilbo and
      Gandalf been in a company of men I doubt these elves would mock as they did.
      Nonetheless, they are still jerks, IMO.

      OTOH, compare the reception of Gimli in Lothlorien when he and a company of
      travellers arrived unexpectedly at the borders of that land. Death threats
      or mocking songs, which is worse?

      Rob
    • Matt
      Much of the ill will goes back to that nasty business about the Nauglamir... of course, even before that, there was tension between Elve and Dwarf that goes
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 10, 2007
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        Much of the ill will goes back to that nasty business about the
        Nauglamir... of course, even before that, there was tension between
        Elve and Dwarf that goes back to the days when the Dwarves came over
        the Mountains and commerced with the sons of Feanor. Those Noldorin
        boys are enough to stir ill will from anyone!

        Matt West


        --- In TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com, "Rob" <rob1138@...> wrote:
        >
        > <<Regardless, it is well hidden and had Gandalf not met that band of
        elves
        > (the ones who warned the wizard of the troll danger), and alerted
        them to
        > the company's arrival, they might never have found Rivendell.>>
        >
        > Which strikes me as odd given that Gandalf must well know the way to
        > Rivendell seeing as Elrond is one of the White Council, etc. I read the
        > passage pretty closely and determined that the wording doesn't
        really say
        > Gandalf is lost or can't find his way.
        >
        > "Altogether it was a very slow business following the track, even
        guided by
        > Gandalf, who seemed to know his way about pretty well. His head and
        beard
        > wagged this way and that as he looked for the stones, and they
        followed his
        > lead, but they seemed no nearer to the end of the search when the
        day began
        > to fail. Tea-time had long gone by, and it seemed supper-time would
        soon do
        > the same. There were moths fluttering about, and the light became
        very dim,
        > for the moon had not risen. Bilbo's pony began to stumble over roots and
        > stones. They came to the edge of a steep fall in the ground so
        suddenly that
        > Gandalf s horse nearly slipped down the slope.
        >
        > "Here it is at last!" he called, and the others gathered round him and
        > looked over the edge. They saw a valley far below.
        >
        > It seems to me that the narrator is giving Bilbo and the dwarves'
        > points-of-view in terms of whether or not they are going to find the
        proper
        > path/opening into Rivendell. Gandalf, meanwhile, is said to know
        where he is
        > going, though certainly, given that daylight is fading and the
        company are
        > all tired and hungry, he seems tired and grouchy when he exasperatedly
        > announces "Here it is at last!"
        >
        > So I think Gandalf's knowledge of the way to Imladris is safe and
        > well-known, it is just the situation and failing light which cause
        his horse
        > (not him) to "nearly slip" and be so peevish.
        >
        > <<Treading down the path to the valley, Bilbo and company are
        accompanied by
        > secretive elves who regale them a mocking song.>>
        >
        > I also find this odd, despite having read this encounter long before
        I read
        > any of the other tales involving Tolkien's elves. From my first
        reading I
        > thought "these guys sounds like jerks." Elrond is not a jerk. What
        is the
        > deal with these denizens of his realm? Years later after much Tolkien
        > reading I will put their actions down to the ill sentiments between
        dwarves
        > and elves (one I've never really understood given that they've never
        really
        > done anything wrong to each other) and youthful immaturity. Had
        Bilbo and
        > Gandalf been in a company of men I doubt these elves would mock as
        they did.
        > Nonetheless, they are still jerks, IMO.
        >
        > OTOH, compare the reception of Gimli in Lothlorien when he and a
        company of
        > travellers arrived unexpectedly at the borders of that land. Death
        threats
        > or mocking songs, which is worse?
        >
        > Rob
        >
      • Rob
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 11, 2007
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          <<Much of the ill will goes back to that nasty business about the
          Nauglamir... of course, even before that, there was tension between
          Elve and Dwarf that goes back to the days when the Dwarves came over
          the Mountains and commerced with the sons of Feanor. Those Noldorin
          boys are enough to stir ill will from anyone!>>

          Too true. But the elves and dwarves obviously worked well together in the
          time of Moria's height. Dunno. I guess just like in real life in Middle
          Earth the various races and cultures eye each other prejudiciously (?) and
          with suspicion/fear/dislike.

          You know, now that I think of it, no one really gets along with others in
          Tolkien, do they? The elves fight amongst themselves, the Valar fight
          amongst themselves, the elves fight with the dwarves and men, the men fight
          amongst themselves, the eagles don't mix with others, etc. Everyone in ME
          must perpetually wake up on the wrong side of the bed....


          Rob
        • Bruce Alan Wilson
          Too true. But the elves and dwarves obviously worked well together in the time of Moria s height. Dunno. I guess just like in real life in Middle Earth the
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 12, 2007
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            Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

            "Too true. But the elves and dwarves obviously worked well together in the
            time of Moria's height. Dunno. I guess just like in real life in Middle
            Earth the various races and cultures eye each other prejudiciously (?) and
            with suspicion/fear/dislike.

            You know, now that I think of it, no one really gets along with others in
            Tolkien, do they? The elves fight amongst themselves, the Valar fight
            amongst themselves, the elves fight with the dwarves and men, the men fight
            amongst themselves, the eagles don't mix with others, etc. Everyone in ME
            must perpetually wake up on the wrong side of the bed....

            Rob"

            JRRT was a Christian (RC) and therefore believed that we lived in a fallen, sinful world; of course his story reflects that belief.


            Bruce Alan Wilson

            "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

          • Peter Chapman
            Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three SummaryI m sure even most Christians don t believe that original sin nonsense. L-o-H ... From: Bruce Alan Wilson To:
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 12, 2007
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              Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary
              I'm sure even most Christians don't believe that original sin nonsense.
              L-o-H
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 6:47 PM
              Subject: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

              "Too true. But the elves and dwarves obviously worked well together in the
              time of Moria's height. Dunno. I guess just like in real life in Middle
              Earth the various races and cultures eye each other prejudiciously (?) and
              with suspicion/fear/dislike.

              You know, now that I think of it, no one really gets along with others in
              Tolkien, do they? The elves fight amongst themselves, the Valar fight
              amongst themselves, the elves fight with the dwarves and men, the men fight
              amongst themselves, the eagles don't mix with others, etc. Everyone in ME
              must perpetually wake up on the wrong side of the bed....

              Rob"

              JRRT was a Christian (RC) and therefore believed that we lived in a fallen, sinful world; of course his story reflects that belief.


              Bruce Alan Wilson

              "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

            • Rob
              I believe it. I do not know what the Church s official doctrine or stance on it is
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 12, 2007
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                <<I'm sure even most Christians don't believe that original sin nonsense.>>

                I believe it.

                I do not know what the Church's official doctrine or stance on it is (nor do
                I care), but my take on it from an objective, non-dogma P.O.V. is that every
                human being I have ever known has both good and evil inside them. From an
                infant to an old man everyone has negative qualities and urges inside them
                which we reveal or satisfy in various ways, etc.

                In other words, man is not a perfect creation from the word go. And no
                matter how much we may try to be perfect we never are and never will be. The
                best of us will still always have selfish desires or bad attitudes or
                prejudices, or whatever your particular thing is and we will all do evil -
                oftentimes borne directly out of what we THOUGHT was us trying to do
                something good! So intentionally or unintentionally we all do evil and have
                evil parts of our composition.

                Sounds to me like a fallen world in which all denizens have an "original
                sin" as part of their makeup.

                I care not a jot for dogma on the issue nor do I wish to debate how one
                alleviates this condition (or if it needs alleviating, should be celebrated,
                or whatever). But I would be hard pressed to believe anyone who said mankind
                does not exist in such a condition - one marked by both the angels and
                demons in our nature.

                Of course my interpretation and the RC concept or doctrine of original sin
                may be different, but for my P.O.V. that term is as good as any.

                Catholics call it "sin."

                Buddhists call it "dukkha." (I believe the spelling is right.)

                Zealots call it "everyone else."

                I call it human nature.

                Rob
              • Donald and Tracy Franklin
                being a Christian, I d have to disagree. Tolkiens stories are steeped in his belief. No matter your faith, it shows through in a writers work. ... From: Peter
                Message 7 of 15 , Dec 12, 2007
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                  being a Christian, I'd have to disagree.
                  Tolkiens stories are steeped in his belief. No matter your faith, it shows through in a writers work.
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 2:40 PM
                  Subject: Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

                  I'm sure even most Christians don't believe that original sin nonsense.
                  L-o-H
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 6:47 PM
                  Subject: [TolkienDiscussions ] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

                  "Too true. But the elves and dwarves obviously worked well together in the
                  time of Moria's height. Dunno. I guess just like in real life in Middle
                  Earth the various races and cultures eye each other prejudiciously (?) and
                  with suspicion/fear/ dislike.

                  You know, now that I think of it, no one really gets along with others in
                  Tolkien, do they? The elves fight amongst themselves, the Valar fight
                  amongst themselves, the elves fight with the dwarves and men, the men fight
                  amongst themselves, the eagles don't mix with others, etc. Everyone in ME
                  must perpetually wake up on the wrong side of the bed....

                  Rob"

                  JRRT was a Christian (RC) and therefore believed that we lived in a fallen, sinful world; of course his story reflects that belief.


                  Bruce Alan Wilson

                  "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

                • Rob
                  Message 8 of 15 , Dec 12, 2007
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                    <<being a Christian, I'd have to disagree.>>

                    Probably a Protestant. They are ALWAYS protesting everything. It's right
                    there in the name!!! ;)

                    <<Tolkiens stories are steeped in his belief. No matter your faith, it shows
                    through in a writers work.>>

                    I agree 100% and especially with Tolkien. His values and beliefs as well as
                    his psychology are all over the pages. I find that is true of any art,
                    heck... even hack work to some degree (though far, far less so, natch).

                    But I made the comment about every race not getting along together not even
                    thinking about any "original sin" idea or grand doctrinal statement on his
                    part. I just thought it showed Tolkien's own curmudgeonliness (sp?). Tolkien
                    struck me as a rather ornery, cantankerous fellow much of the time.

                    Rob
                  • John Davis
                    Hi, ... I m not sure I d agree with that. I know plenty of non-religious people who swear that there is no influence of Christianity in LotR, and who dismiss
                    Message 9 of 15 , Dec 13, 2007
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                      Hi,

                      > Tolkiens stories are steeped in his belief. No matter your faith, it shows
                      > through in a writers work.

                      I'm not sure I'd agree with that. I know plenty of non-religious people who
                      swear that there is no influence of Christianity in LotR, and who dismiss
                      the concept of the 'unseen force for good' as a neat way of explaining away
                      coincidences. Many religious ones as well, come to think of it - just read
                      his Letters and you'll hear from Catholics condemning the work as pagan.

                      I think that what his writing is steeped in is humanity, an understanding of
                      the good and evil in men. If you are Christian, it is natural to interpret
                      that as a reflection of his beliefs. Equally, many Wiccans, Pagans (not
                      pagans!), etc., see his writing as an affirmation of their. And if you are
                      agnostic, atheist, humanist, or any combination of those, I think you are
                      likely to see in it simply the actions of men, and results of those actions.

                      Personally, on reading his works, I think I see the struggle of a Christian
                      writer who loves pre-Christian works trying to show those aspects of
                      Christianity that are shared by pre-Christian socieites and are therefore
                      not exclusively Christian. But even that could just be because I'm now
                      influenced by Shippey's opinions!

                      So in the end, what is left and definitely seen is 'simply' an exploration
                      of man, being a mixture of good and evil, struggling to do what is right.
                      And in a way, this would be diminished were any hand of god overtly seen to
                      be helping out.

                      John

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Donald and Tracy Franklin" <hisqueen@...>
                      To: <TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 8:00 PM
                      Subject: Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary


                      being a Christian, I'd have to disagree.
                      Tolkiens stories are steeped in his belief. No matter your faith, it shows
                      through in a writers work.

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Peter Chapman
                      To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 2:40 PM
                      Subject: Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary



                      I'm sure even most Christians don't believe that original sin nonsense.
                      L-o-H
                    • Peter Chapman
                      Pretty much I agree with this. But I prefer to think he was unhampered by his indoctrination. L-o-H ... From: John Davis To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                      Message 10 of 15 , Dec 13, 2007
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                        Pretty much I agree with this. But I prefer to think he was unhampered by his indoctrination.
                         
                        L-o-H
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 9:50 AM
                        Subject: Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

                        Hi,

                        > Tolkiens stories are steeped in his belief. No matter your faith, it shows
                        > through in a writers work.

                        I'm not sure I'd agree with that. I know plenty of non-religious people who
                        swear that there is no influence of Christianity in LotR, and who dismiss
                        the concept of the 'unseen force for good' as a neat way of explaining away
                        coincidences. Many religious ones as well, come to think of it - just read
                        his Letters and you'll hear from Catholics condemning the work as pagan.

                        I think that what his writing is steeped in is humanity, an understanding of
                        the good and evil in men. If you are Christian, it is natural to interpret
                        that as a reflection of his beliefs. Equally, many Wiccans, Pagans (not
                        pagans!), etc., see his writing as an affirmation of their. And if you are
                        agnostic, atheist, humanist, or any combination of those, I think you are
                        likely to see in it simply the actions of men, and results of those actions.

                        Personally, on reading his works, I think I see the struggle of a Christian
                        writer who loves pre-Christian works trying to show those aspects of
                        Christianity that are shared by pre-Christian socieites and are therefore
                        not exclusively Christian. But even that could just be because I'm now
                        influenced by Shippey's opinions!

                        So in the end, what is left and definitely seen is 'simply' an exploration
                        of man, being a mixture of good and evil, struggling to do what is right.
                        And in a way, this would be diminished were any hand of god overtly seen to
                        be helping out.

                        John

                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Donald and Tracy Franklin" <hisqueen@...>
                        To: <TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 8:00 PM
                        Subject: Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary


                        being a Christian, I'd have to disagree.
                        Tolkiens stories are steeped in his belief. No matter your faith, it shows
                        through in a writers work.

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: Peter Chapman
                          To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 2:40 PM
                          Subject: Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary



                          I'm sure even most Christians don't believe that original sin nonsense.
                          L-o-H



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                      • Bruce Alan Wilson
                        In the LETTERS JRRT said that LOTR was a profoundly Christian and Catholic work, and explains what he means by that expression. Bruce Alan Wilson The
                        Message 11 of 15 , Dec 14, 2007
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                          Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

                          In the LETTERS JRRT said that LOTR was a 'profoundly Christian and Catholic work,' and explains what he means by that expression.


                          Bruce Alan Wilson

                          "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

                        • John Davis
                          Hi, Yes, but it seems possible to me that this was an attempt to justify the work to Christians, and perhaps imbue it with something that wasn t necessary
                          Message 12 of 15 , Dec 17, 2007
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                            Hi,

                            Yes, but it seems possible to me that this was an attempt to justify the
                            work to Christians, and perhaps imbue it with something that wasn't
                            necessary there. Even if one accepts that an author is the best person to
                            say what influenced, or what might be found in, their own work, which seems
                            by no means certain...

                            John
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Bruce Alan Wilson" <bawilson@...>
                            To: <TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 3:34 AM
                            Subject: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary


                            >
                            > In the LETTERS JRRT said that LOTR was a 'profoundly Christian and
                            > Catholic
                            > work,' and explains what he means by that expression.
                            >
                            >
                            > Bruce Alan Wilson
                            >
                            > "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms
                            > of
                            > transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in
                            > heart."--Iris Murdoch
                            >
                            >
                          • Jack
                            Do you suspect that sometimes Tolkien doesn t tell the entire truth in his letters? Or that sometimes he is simply unaware of all the implications of what he
                            Message 13 of 15 , Dec 17, 2007
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                              Do you suspect that sometimes Tolkien doesn’t tell the entire truth in his letters?

                              Or that sometimes he is simply unaware of all the implications of what he has written?

                               

                              :o)
                              Jack
                              ...


                              From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com [mailto: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of John Davis
                              Sent: 17 December 2007 13:59
                              To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

                               

                              Hi,

                              Yes, but it seems possible to me that this was an attempt to justify the
                              work to Christians, and perhaps imbue it with something that wasn't
                              necessary there. Even if one accepts that an author is the best person to
                              say what influenced, or what might be found in, their own work, which seems
                              by no means certain...

                              John

                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Bruce Alan Wilson" <bawilson@citynet. net>
                              To: <TolkienDiscussions@ yahoogroups. com>
                              Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 3:34 AM
                              Subject: [TolkienDiscussions ] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary

                              >
                              > In the LETTERS JRRT said that LOTR was a 'profoundly Christian and
                              > Catholic
                              > work,' and explains what he means by that expression.
                              >
                              >
                              > Bruce Alan Wilson
                              >
                              > "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms
                              > of
                              > transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in
                              > heart."--Iris Murdoch
                              >
                              >

                            • John Davis
                              Hi Jack, ... Hmm. Perhaps a little of both, to an extent. The former, in that no one can ever tell the entire truth, let alone in a letter. What is told is a
                              Message 14 of 15 , Dec 18, 2007
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                                Hi Jack,

                                > Do you suspect that sometimes Tolkien doesn't tell the entire truth in his
                                > letters?
                                > Or that sometimes he is simply unaware of all the implications of what he
                                > has written?

                                Hmm. Perhaps a little of both, to an extent. The former, in that no one can
                                ever tell the 'entire' truth, let alone in a letter. What is told is a
                                truncated, abbreviated truth, a version of the truth, a summary of, for him,
                                half a lifetime of thought. Though this is absolutely not to say that he is
                                in any way lying. Besides, if, as in the letters (or at least, the one I'm
                                recalling), he is defending LotR against criticisms of it being un-Catholic,
                                obviously he is going to show how the book might be perceived in a Catholic
                                light.

                                And the latter to perhaps a larger extent. For I think that no writer is
                                ever aware of all the implications of what they have written. They can't be,
                                for these are formed by both writer and reader, affected by culture, time,
                                and a host of other aspects besides. And even if one only considers the
                                writer themselves, a work will draw on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of
                                different influences, many unconscious, not recognised at the time and
                                possibly not even later. A writer can certainly say that they think
                                influenced them, and what they think is contained in their work, and what
                                they think the implications may be. But I'm not sure they will necessarily
                                be correct!

                                John


                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: "Jack" <jack@...>
                                To: <TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Monday, December 17, 2007 6:17 PM
                                Subject: RE: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Three Summary


                                > Do you suspect that sometimes Tolkien doesn't tell the entire truth in his
                                > letters?
                                >
                                > Or that sometimes he is simply unaware of all the implications of what he
                                > has written?
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > :o)
                                > Jack...
                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.