Tolkien Tuesday #3

18 January 2022

It’s a stunningly beautiful day in the (Bedford)Shire, as I am beginning this. The morning sun is shining, there isn’t a cloud in the cold blue sky, and as I’m writing this week’s Tolkien Tuesday, the temperature is reading 4ºC. Brrrr. Puddles beyond the reach of the winter sun are still icy, and in the air one’s breath billows about like smoke. And, although this is my favourite sort of weather to go out walking in, to admire frosty webs and ice-encrusted foliage that glimmers in the light like minuscule gemstones, it’s also the sort of cold day that begs you to stay indoors, under blankets, with a mug of something hot in one hand and a good book in the other…Today’s beverage of choice: hot lemon and orange, and the book…you guessed it, The Fellowship of the Ring. Well, there really was no surprise there, was there 😉

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

So this week I read: Chapter 1, A Long-expected Party.

Photo by Anna Guerrero on Pexels.com

First, I love (and have always loved) the echoes of the opening chapter of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Party, here. And yet the two chapters couldn’t be more different! In The Hobbit we have an unplanned party and a journey made on a whim, while here we have the most well-planned party in the Shire in recent memory and the host about to embark on a journey he has spent a very long time yearning for. In terms of character arc, we have both a beginning and an ending presented to us. We have almost come full circle.

As I read this chapter, I noticed something I hadn’t quite noticed before: how it serves as a transitioning point, in a number of ways. Until now I had thought of it more in terms of progression and continuity, with a change of main character.

The first is that as we move through this chapter, we are moving from Bilbo’s story to Frodo’s, which is expected. Yet there is a little bit more to this too: we are moving from The Hobbit, which is a children’s book, to The Lord of the Rings, which is not. Elements of the party, especially surrounding the hobbit children felt very much of The Hobbit, but other aspects of it, such as Gandalf’s hastily shared warning and departure hint at something darker and more dangerous. Something unknown. And it’s as if the two types of storytelling or tones of the books are both present in this one chapter, before we let go of The Hobbit-esque passages and continue on with The Lord of the Rings.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

My Middle Earth musings this week were inspired by Bilbo’s awareness, understanding and acceptance of the notion he has outgrown his present environment. He is ready to bring an end to his time in The Shire, to leave Bag End and the majority of his belongings, as well as his nephew and heir, Frodo. He is ready to move on.

This got me thinking, what things in my own life have become stagnant, or no longer serve the purpose for which they were intended? What do I no longer need? And what, if anything, can I do about them?

If you follow my book review blog, you will know that I have spoken (at length!) about having too many books, and that for many years I didn’t think such a thing was even possible. And, even now I know it is possible, and it is a problem I have, I am still buying books at a greater rate than I can read them, even though I am a fast reader. Sigh.

Photo by Guilherme Rossi on Pexels.com | This is how how my house sometimes feels…so many stacks of books…

Combined with my book hoarding, I’m also a craft hoarder (yarn, papercrafts, and fabric, and much more besides), as well as a stationary hoarder. Do you think I might have been a dragon in a past life? And for some reason I’m at a loss to explain, this hoarding stresses me out. As I get older and grow up ( 😉 ) , I am finding I am preferring the spaces I am in to be more clutter-free, probably because they project a soothing atmosphere of calm and order.

And so, as Bilbo and Frodo between them start the task of de-cluttering Bag End, I think I will begin my spring cleaning early, and see what things I have but could live without…

Elsewhere

After reading Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, I returned to The Hobbit to read through the opening chapter, and enjoyed it very much.

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

If you could join the gathering in either the opening chapter of The Hobbit, where Thorin and company descend upon Bag End unexpectedly, or the party for Bilbo’s 111th birthday, which one would you pick?

A tough question but I think I would opt to join Thorin and company. There is something quite atmospheric in that chapter…as the darkness of the evening grows, they begin to play musical instruments, and then they all begin to sing…I think the film captures this very well.

And a quick note: I’m behind in responding to Tolkien Tuesday comments, but I will get caught up over the next couple of days… 🙂

22 thoughts on “Tolkien Tuesday #3

  1. My first thought is to say I’d like to be at Thorin’s party. The unexpectedness of it and informality appeals to me. However, while both adventures that follow are full of mystery, I like Frodo more than I like Bilbo, and I like the idea of a quest to do good as opposed to a quest for monetary fortune. Then again….. I’ll probably change my mind tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very good points, L.K. I hadn’t considered those. I too prefer Frodo to Bilbo, and I prefer the journey in Lord of the Rings over the one in The Hobbit. It seems I may have been a little short-sighted when I made my choice… 🙂

      Thanks for reading and joining in 🙂

      Like

  2. I love the intro you’ve written, it’s details are beautiful and it perfectly sets the mood. You present some great insights in the opening chapters, and you’re absolutely right, I think. I never looked at it quite this way but my next reread will now be completely different and fresh. Thank you for that!
    I hear you on the hoarding, I’m a dragon in disguise as well. I also always thought (and still do) that there is no such thing as too many books, and I would never throw one away. Giving away, yes. Throwing away, never! But I’ve moved a lot in the past and have been planning another move for years, so most of my books are in boxes. I started to buy ebooks and absolutely love them. To have a huge library on the phone or tablet or computer, accessible whenever I want without having to carry around heavy loads? Wonderful. Of course I have too many that I’ll probably never get around to reading again.
    And before I hijack your comment section yet again, the answer to your question: I have a weakness for the dwarves. I’d love to watch them embarrassing Bilbo (whom I like very much).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Gabi. I’ve been trying to improve my creative non-fiction so I’m glad the intro worked for you 🙂

      I could never throw a book away either. When it comes to most objects but especially books, it’s all about rehoming, either donating them to charity or giving them away to friends or family. My collection of ebooks is growing slowly. I love how they don’t take up space and are so portable, but I do miss being able to flick through the pages of an “actual” book.

      Take over the comment section all you want, Gabi. You’re welcome to, as the truth is, I’m so enjoying these discussions, so thank you for joining in 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I opt for the opening chapter of the Hobbit. After years of watching the movie version, there is a well-trodden path of warm escapism. Kind of like Inception. My mind has constructed its own safe getaway in that particular scene in Bag End, soothingly filled with good vibes and a convenient forgetfulness of our own Middle Earth.

    Your writing gave me invitation to revisit Bag End; thanks for that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m coming late to the party here (pun intended, wink wink) but I loved your insights into this chapter, and comparing the two parties that start the two books. I hadn’t thought of it that way before — in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever thought much about the party much at all, just enjoying it as an easy “amuse bouche” before the “real meat” of the story started. So already I am gaining from this plan of your to take it slow and assess every chapter as it comes. Brilliant!

    My thoughts about which party I would like to go to depends on who I am at this party. If I am Bilbo, I’ll take the second party, so that I can plan it out ahead of time. Poor guy was so stressed out! On the other hand, he clearly benefited from that forceful intervention to get out of his old rut and go on an adventure, and I’m embracing that myself lately, so I can relate. On the other hand, there was dancing at the second party, and a lot more cheerful merriment, and I can’t imagine not having fun in the company of so many happy hobbits.

    I laughed at you mentioning that maybe you were a dragon in your past life, how perfect! I have the same problem with my books piling up all over the place. I instituted a system of keeping track of which books I acquire versus which books I read, trying to get my numbers back in the black again. It’s helped somewhat, at least. But like Gabi, I am contemplating moving house and wow, that means a lot of going through books and other boxes to get rid of things I’m not really using. In fact, the plan is to take a load of books to my local library this afternoon. Round one of what I imagine will be a very long boxing (unboxing?) match. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loved the pun, Joy! 😀

      Most of the thoughts and observations I’ve made so far, never much occurred to me prior to this slow read, and I genuinely believe I’m benefiting from the process. At the very least, it is a lesson in patience and to take things easy in this busy world of ours where things never seem to stop. And if I’m lucky, it might help improve my own writing!

      Loved your thoughts on the parties – they both had their merits. I too can’t imagine not having fun at the second party, but equally a forceful nudge to embrace the new can also be helpful.

      It seems moving is the best motivation for decluttering. Which is funny, because we have been considering it for the pass few years, yet it is the fact we are going to have to declutter that makes us put it off…I guess I’m just going to have to tackle it head on if I’m to make any progress, as avoiding it doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean. I’ve been thinking *vaguely* about getting rid of extra stuff for years now, with the general idea that I would be moving “someday”. And yet those tasks never made it to the top of the to-do list, and felt like such a burden to even think about. Now that I’ve decided that I’m REALLY going to move (although details are yet forthcoming) suddenly my attitude has totally changed. I revel in every load of stuff I give away to neighbors or charity, and I’m excited to get rid of all these boxes out of my way. I’m even looking forward to getting to the part where I clean out the closets! Everything must go! Whee!

        Liked by 1 person

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