FoTR - A Long-expected Party: Bk I, Chapter I

A chapter by chapter as well as general discussion of Tolkien's masterpiece
Philipa
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FoTR - A Long-expected Party: Bk I, Chapter I

Postby Philipa » Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:06 am

A Long-expected Party


Image
The Party Tree

© Riv Res



We will start our journey together but not until we’ve had a bit of drink, food, laughter and some fireworks too irresistible to forget. Here starts our chapter by chapter discussions for The Lord of the Rings. All creatures of Middle-earth are invited and we hope you join us here.

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Last edited by Philipa on Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:25 pm

Happy Birthday, dear Bilbo! You have given us much joy.

One of the things that I find most entertaining in the first chapter is the voices and thoughts of the hobbits: e.g., Gaffer telling his drinking buddies that it was Bilbo who taught Sam his letters, and hoping that no harm would come of it.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Postby Cassandra » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:33 pm

Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo! :cake:

While in the Prologue the charcterization of the Hobbits is more a matter of fact, we now get to see the community come to be alive. You feel all the love Tolkien has for those simple Hobbits, that you just have to love them, too. I also like the part, where Gandalf helps Bilbo to let the ring go by scaring him. We see, that there is more about him than a simple wizard.

Cassandra
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Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:00 pm

Indeed...Happy Birthday to Bilbo and Frodo!! :cake:

I think that the thing that struck me the most about this chapter as I started to read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, was the decided change of tone from the beginning of the chapter discussing the mundane everyday life of the Shire and the rather silly Hobbits (especially the Sackville-Bagginses and their jealousy of Bilbo and Frodo)...to Gandalf's stern confrontation with Bilbo as he eventually lefy the Ring behind and the hint of suspicion that Gandalf starts to reveal about the Ring.

Upon the first reading (and having little if any knowledge of the importance of magic rings in Norse mythology), I think I was initially as dumb as a post hardly suspecting that this Ring was going to be so powerful and dreadful....and...truly the plot of the whole story.

All I know is that I have always felt that the very last paragraph in the chapter is one of those keys to Tolkien's literary (story telling) prowess in that he leaves you in this idyllic setting of the Shire, yet also leaves you feeling anxious and unsettled because you just know something else is coming...

Frodo saw him to the door. He gave a final wave of his hand, and walked off at a surprising pace; but Frodo thought the old wizard looked unusually bent, almost as if he was carrying a great weight. The evening was closing in, and his cloaked figure quickly vanished into the twilight. Frodo did not see him again for a long time.


After the merriment and silliness surrounding the birthday party...what a masterful way to let you know that the times they are a changin'. :wink:

Thoughts :?:
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Postby bruce rerek » Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:29 pm

Its a very rich chapter in both lore and wit. I find several lines to be wonderfuly penned:
"You know best" (Bilbo)
"I do - when I know anything at all." (Gandalf) (A tad of Aristotle I warrent)
"Nobody will read the book, however it ends." Only a few million and of those several times over.
The presents are still wickedly funny. My favorite is the waste can for advise followed by the bookcase for the borrower who never returns books.
The narrative allows us to feel a sense of ease and comfort but not without a shadow of doubt. We see that Bilbo feels the hand of age on him and the perdition of the ring has altered his otherwise gregarious soul. He leaves Frodo, a youth really quite unprepared to assume any kind of position of authority. One might say the Professor was using his memories of being orphaned and not among the most welcoming of relations. I understand Bilbo's yearning to see ountains, to re-experience wonder again and not feel the dread that has been his for 60 years.
And yes, the wizard who doesn't quite know what to make of such things but instictively knows the peril is not far from those he loves.
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Bruce
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Postby Iolanthe » Sat Sep 24, 2005 3:06 pm

I love the way the chapter is full of merriment and also foreboding. We don't really know what's afoot, Gandalf tries to be reassuring to Frodo, but by the end of the chapter we can guess it's bad as Gandalf hurries off, as Riv pointed out 'unusually bent'.

I also love Gandalf's parting shot to Frodo 'Look out for me, especially at unlikely times!' Doesn't that just sum Gandlaf's appearances up? Especially turning up in Fangorn when he's supposedly dead. I wonder if Tolkien even had that in mind when he wrote this chapter. Did he know himself at this point just how bad things really were or was he, like Gandalf, 'wondering many other things' as the story started to unfold in his mind?

I really enjoy all the wonderful hobbit names we're treated too as the party guests arrive. I've even met a Bracegirdle myself but she wasn't in the least like a hobbit :lol: .
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Postby Philipa » Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:09 pm

Would anyone want to move on to The Shadow of the Past? Let me know and I will make the thread.

The first chapter will remain open to catch discussions at anytime the mood strikes our members.
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bruce rerek
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Postby bruce rerek » Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:37 pm

Please do Philpa I have my notes ready and espcially good pasages highligted.
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Bruce

Mornie utlie

Believe and you will find your way

Mornie alantie

a promise lives within you now

Philipa
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Postby Philipa » Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:08 pm

bruce rerek wrote:Please do Philpa I have my notes ready and espcially good pasages highligted.


Fantastic Bruce...I'll be posting it this evening after 8 P.M. EST. :wink:
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Merry
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Postby Merry » Sun Nov 12, 2006 5:36 am

Whew! A little cold and musty in this room! But I just had an little insight into a line from the chapter. Maybe it was perfectly plain to all of you, but I can't believe I didn't see it before:

During Bilbo's long discussion with Gandalf in this chapter, he says that he had thought of an ending for his book: "and he lived happily ever after to the end of his days." Not very original, is it? But as I was reading this today, it finally dawned on me: since Tolkien has set for himself the task of writing the mythology for England, the parent mythology from which all English fairy tales and myths were derived, this really is the original! This is why all the other fairy tales end this way! Of course.

Am I the last one in the room to have gotten this? :oops:
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

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Postby Riv Res » Sun Nov 12, 2006 5:43 am

:oops: :oops: LOL...no Merry. Brilliant discovery! It has always bothered me as to why he wasn't more original there. I always chalked it up to him throwing a bone to the childrens tales and having a sense of humor. Looks like the laugh was on us. :oops: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Philipa » Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:43 pm

Hmmm someone left a light on....

Oh, Merry what a good insight to something so plain and simple. Was this his intent I wonder. If not, why not?
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Sun Nov 12, 2006 7:59 pm

I really like that idea, Bilbo being the originator of the classic fairy tale ending! It certainly never occurred to me before. It seems clear to me Tolkien intended it or else he wouldn't have presented it as something Bilbo had finally come up with after much thought.

It's also very ironic because the ending of Tolkien's own book is very different for its main character. There's no 'happily ever after' for Frodo and the end of LOTR is bitter sweet.
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Philipa
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Postby Philipa » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:28 pm

Iolanthe wrote:
It's also very ironic because the ending of Tolkien's own book is very different for its main character. There's no 'happily ever after' for Frodo and the end of LOTR is bitter sweet.


But than again, if you have read the true endings to those long ago fairy tales they didn't have happy endings either. Also mythology never ends well for the human being (or non God or Goddess) did they.
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Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:51 pm

Shippey in J.R.R.Tolkien, Author of the Century...

The closer the myths of Middle-earth approach to the Christian one, it seems, the sadder (because the more finally inadequate) they become. Tolkien's pre-Christian Limbo contains no evil heathens, but it has no scope either for a Divina Commedia, a divinely inspired happy ending. Some of its characters, and not only the failing ones like Denethor but also the victorious ones Frodo or Fangorn, seem to be on the edge of a situation of existential despair. Yet this is not the impression the work makes as a whole.


Yes, I think it can be said that every word and phrase in all of Tolkien's works are thought out and express his own personal themes, and he cleverly intertwines applicability (as opposed to allegory). :wink:
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