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Author Topic: chapter 11: On the Doorstep  (Read 1031 times)

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May 11, 2013, 11:46:55 PM

merrythought

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chapter 11
On the Doorstep

As winter approaches, Thorin’s company reaches the Lonely Mountain, where they encounter a bleak and unnaturally still landscape which includes the remains of a town savaged by the dragon; all this does nothing for the group’s already low spirits.  Finding a little door in the side of the mountain is not initially helpful, as they can’t get it to open; so they encamp themselves in front of the door for some time - although Dwalin peevishly suggests they send “the burglar” round to the front door. That night, an apprehensive Bilbo sits up, worrying about his future, when a bird catches his attention by cracking snail shells against the door.  Something about the bird’s action makes Bilbo realize how they can enter the mountain.  He wakes the dwarves, and they all gather at the door, when a loud cracking sound is heard.  Simultaneously, a keyhole appears in the door, and Bilbo reveals that they finally have need of the key Gandalf gave Thorin, back in the Shire.  The key indeed opens the door, and the cavern beyond is vast and dark.

*There are times when the dwarves still treat Bilbo as an expendable, second-class citizen.  Are they just using him?  Do they recognize his worth?

*Some may point out how this chapter is brief and lacking in action, or that it is mainly transitional.  Does the chapter add anything significant to the story overall?

*The central image in this chapter is that of the threshold.  What figurative thresholds are present in the novel at this point?


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May 14, 2013, 07:22:22 PM
Reply #1

Evreka

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*Some may point out how this chapter is brief and lacking in action, or that it is mainly transitional.  Does the chapter add anything significant to the story overall?
Good question... I think one thing it shows is that the dwarves are now relying on Bilbo to fix their problems. When they have no great ideas of their own they expect him to fix it.

I also found it interesting that the dwarves, apparently, are not having a sense of waiting for something to happen; yet it is their adventure, their ancestors; their treasure - and they too learned of the back door only showing itself in a particular kind of light. It is also quite amazing that the dwarves aren't aware of the right day getting nearer, or so it seems. Curious, don't you think?

Another thing I find interesting is if this (realising the importance of all map details and remembering important pieces of info) might be why Gandalf chose him in the first place. Wise as Gandalf is, I find it hard to believe that he would know that Bilbo would achieve a ring to turn him invisible - so there must be another reason he was brought along in the first place. What do you think?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 07:24:00 PM by Evreka »
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June 02, 2013, 12:56:39 AM
Reply #2

ss19

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*There are times when the dwarves still treat Bilbo as an expendable, second-class citizen.  Are they just using him?  Do they recognize his worth?

The dwarves always meant for Bilbo to be a business partner, not a friend or kin to them.  So in that sense it's out in the open that they're using him to achieve their purposes, except they're not just using him without intending to pay him for his trouble.  I'm OK with this kind of arrangement and with the dwarves not treating Bilbo as one of their own.  Often times people who enter business relationships do end up developing a friendship and a certain level of loyalty to each other, but to me that would be a bonus and not part of the original bargain.

In the beginning, the dwarves questioned Gandalf's choice in Bilbo to the point of making Gandalf angry, but by this point their respect for and expectations of Bilbo seem to have risen quite a lot.  Even before Bilbo helped them figure out how to open the side door, they probably already realized that Bilbo has again and again gotten them out of trouble.


Another thing I find interesting is if this (realising the importance of all map details and remembering important pieces of info) might be why Gandalf chose him in the first place. Wise as Gandalf is, I find it hard to believe that he would know that Bilbo would achieve a ring to turn him invisible - so there must be another reason he was brought along in the first place. What do you think?

I've been wondering why Gandalf chose Bilbo.  All of Bilbo's accomplishments so far are of the unpredictable variety, not something that Gandalf could have foreseen.  Bilbo also hadn't seen Gandalf for a long time when Gandalf came by Bag End that one day, to the point of not being able to recognize Gandalf, so I don't know how Gandalf even knows what Bilbo is like these days, since people do change as time goes by and different things happen to them.  Unless wizards in Middle Earth can be seers?  :trelawney:
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June 02, 2013, 06:21:54 AM
Reply #3

Evreka

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Another thing I find interesting is if this (realising the importance of all map details and remembering important pieces of info) might be why Gandalf chose him in the first place. Wise as Gandalf is, I find it hard to believe that he would know that Bilbo would achieve a ring to turn him invisible - so there must be another reason he was brought along in the first place. What do you think?
I've been wondering why Gandalf chose Bilbo.  All of Bilbo's accomplishments so far are of the unpredictable variety, not something that Gandalf could have foreseen.  Bilbo also hadn't seen Gandalf for a long time when Gandalf came by Bag End that one day, to the point of not being able to recognize Gandalf, so I don't know how Gandalf even knows what Bilbo is like these days, since people do change as time goes by and different things happen to them.  Unless wizards in Middle Earth can be seers?  :trelawney:
Well... if we take events hinted at in the LOTR trilogy into account, .....
Spoiler
... they probably are. We know that the elves could see events both in the past and the future through a kind of mirrors. We also know that they considered Gandalf to be a wise advisor about the future. Further, as Gandalf is friend with horses and eagles and are regarded as very wise by any kind of good being on two legs, I think it is very probable that he has some means of seeing into the future. Or, perhaps not the future as such, but to interpret signs of what to do about the future, that, when followed, proves to be excellent advices.

(There isn't much of a spoiler in here, but I'm building a circumventive argument for him to possibly have some such talents, or similar ones, based on events outside of the scope of The Hobbit.)
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 06:26:07 AM by Evreka »
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June 02, 2013, 11:43:21 PM
Reply #4

HealerOne

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(There isn't much of a spoiler in here, but I'm building a circumventive argument for him to possibly have some such talents, or similar ones, based on events outside of the scope of The Hobbit.)

My initial take on why Bilbo was picked by Gandalf was that the wizard was betting on Bilbo's linage as a Took (= as in someone who takes). Somehow Gandalf was aware that Bilbo possessed the makings of a Hobbit that could think on his feet and devise alternate plans when the first plan didn't work out. The Hobbits ability of being soundless as they moved around was a great advantage to being a thief. I think also Bilbo's attention to detail was another attractive characteristic that Gandalf saw in him immediately on seeing and entering his home. We also see that Bilbo is not one to be talked into things easily. That may be why Gandalf just barges in and takes the Hobbit by his feet and makes him join the adventure! One other thing that may have made Bilbo such an attractive Hobbit to pick for this adventure - his apparent satisfaction with his life. Could Gandalf have seen that deep down this Hobbit was longing for adventure (Even if Bilbo wasn't able to recognize that himself)?

But since you bring up LOTR, it is notable that Tolkien re-wrote parts of The Hobbit to make it interface better with LOTR, after LOTR was written.
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June 09, 2013, 06:23:18 PM
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Evreka

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But since you bring up LOTR, it is notable that Tolkien re-wrote parts of The Hobbit to make it interface better with LOTR, after LOTR was written. [/color]
Is it known which parts of The Hobbit that were re-written?
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