Archive for the ‘1 – A Long-expected Party’ Category

I spent most of the day talking to skaters and various other counter-culture peers of mine on the phone!

Swag, dude!

So, sorry if I drop some words that seem out of place, bro.

End of chapter! Hoorah! Today’s post will probably be a little short, because we don’t have any First Mentions or Words My Computer Didn’t Like, plus the text is only like half a page.

On today’s (half) page, Gandalf continues talking about how he’s going to leave Bag End, and that he’ll be back as quietly as possible. (Without all the pomp and circumstance that was involved in Bilbo’s party.) He understands that some hobbits are rather suspicious of him. Some even think he spirited Bilbo away somehow. Frodo knows how ridiculous this sounds, and is really starting to wish that he could leave the Shire himself. Gandalf says his good-bye, and goes off, with Frodo watching him out the door into the night.

Yeah, you just know all of Frodo’s wishes are going to come true. Want to see Bilbo again? It’ll happen. Want to leave the Shire and go on an adventure? That will most CERTAINLY happen.

Yay adventure!

Also interesting is that Frodo admits that he would give the Sackville-Bagginses Bag End if he were able to go see Bilbo again. I don’t recall what happens to Bag End at the very end of the book, but do they steal it from Frodo just like they did to Bilbo? Whichever, these hobbits just suck in every which way, but Frodo is still willing to give them Bag End if he were to leave? That’s just not fair. They don’t deserve it. At least in my opinion.

And so, end of Chapter 1, A Long-expected Party. Bilbo and Gandalf have left, and Frodo remains with Bag End and this mysterious ring…

“Frodo did not see him again for a long time.”

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Gandalf knows all.

He got you Frodo! Yes he did! So, Frodo, hiding from the knock at the door, is caught by Gandalf. You don’t keep a wizard waiting, dude. Frodo explains that he was specifically hiding from Lobelia (who Gandalf happened to see on the road, looking especially sour). Frodo continues on about how he wanted to use Bilbo’s ring to disappear instead of deal with all the hobbits crowding around him all day. (Hey! I was right! The ring was what he was playing with in his pocket.) Gandalf pushes on with his warning to Frodo that he try never to use the ring, and gets curious. He asks Frodo what Bilbo told him about the ring, and Frodo replies that Bilbo told him the truth, not what the dwarves knew, and not what Bilbo wrote in his book. It is implied that Gandalf also knows this truth, and they agree that it was very unlike Bilbo to lie. Gandalf tells Frodo he is leaving immediately, but will return.

Just like that.

If this were the movie, we’d be hit with that really epic shot of Gandalf riding to Minas Tirith right here. We’re definitely getting ready for that wonderful cliffhanger between chapters, as tomorrow is the last page of A Long-expected Party (Chapter 1). Why is Gandalf leaving? I mean, I know why, but that’s what the cliffhanger is all about. Is he afraid of the ring? (Um…yeah.)

Okay, question: what is the lie that Bilbo told the dwarves? To be honest, I don’t remember it from The Hobbit, although that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Something about a present? Does he say that Gollum gives him the ring as a present instead of saying how he picked it up from the ground and used it to deceive Gollum? Whatever it is, it’s certainly a way of showing how the ring’s power over people makes them deceitful and untrustworthy.

There isn’t really a lot going on with this page other than this dialogue between Frodo and Gandalf, but we’re starting to get that mystery that surrounds the ring.

Oh yeah, Google search for "dramatic tension"!

And yeah, no First Mentions. I wouldn’t expect the end of a chapter to really have any. Pages with dialogue actually tend to have less of them too, not to mention new words. None here of those either.

As stagnant as they can be, I like moments like this where we’re about to move on to new territory! Right? Anyone?

“‘I did mean to – but I have had to change my mind. I may be…'”

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…and that is that the Sackville-Bagginses are terrible people.

Okay, that’s not how the quote ends, but I wish it did. Otho and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins keep tormenting Frodo on this page. I mean, seriously, Frodo’s adopted father just left him, presumably for good, and all these people care about is their lost inheritance? Come on, people. They insist on seeing Bilbo’s will, and when it is proved to be valid (we’ll get into the weirdness of hobbit wills later), Otho storms out. Lobelia, who seems to follow, is spotted later by Frodo with numerous small items hidden on her person. He throws her out of Bag End, and she attempts (poorly) to insult him.

People I imagine in my mind who must look like Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.

Frodo and Merry go around Bag End kicking out hobbits who are (literally) digging for buried treasure in the walls and floors, and finally relax with some tea. A knock comes at the door which Bilbo ignores, assuming it must be Lobelia, back with a more thought-out insult. Instead, Gandalf pokes his head in the window.

First Mentions:

-Sancho Proudfoot: Odo Proudfoot’s (“ProudFEET!” guy) grandson. Was caught by Frodo digging a hole in the Bag End pantry.

Sancho? Like Sancho Panza?

Hey look! A Don Quixote reference! How topical for this blog!

Yeah, I can’t really stay away from making the Don Quixote connection here, considering this blog’s relation to “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote“.

Anyway, I could go on about how Spanish of a name Sancho is, while it is generally believed that the Shire is analogous to England. It’s not really worth it, as we’ve already established that hobbit names follow no distinct pattern in their weirdness.

So, a breif diatribe about hobbit wills. It is said that they are quite strange, and our only example is that a valid will is required to have seven (SEVEN!) signatures of witnesses in red ink. First of all, seven is RIDICULOUS. Why in the world would you ever need seven witnesses? This seems like a ploy put down by greedy hobbits like the Sackville-Bagginses. And also, why specifically red ink? Does that make it more official? We’ve heard so much in today’s society about how teachers have had to stop using red ink to grade papers because it makes kids feel bad.


Perhaps red ink is hard to come by? It makes the Sackville-Bagginses feel bad, and I’m okay with that.

Anyway, no Words My Computer Didn’t Like today. BUT, we’re almost done with the first chapter! Two more pages (and days) of A Long-expected Party before we move on!

“Suddenly the wizard’s head appeared at the window.”

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Yeah, so last night I went to this big party. Today just feels lamer. Note that I’m not hungover or anything, but nothing can really be as exciting as that. Guess what? That’s where Frodo finds himself today! We’re in day-after-Bilbo’s-party mode, and Frodo is really left picking up the pieces.

You might think you don't know the song, but trust me, you know the song.

More labeled gifts are given out, and there are in fact some that aren’t jokes. Those are for the poorer hobbits, like the Gaffer. They get really good things. Rory Brandybuck gets apparently excellent wine. However, no wealth is seen. All those rumors about Bilbo? Apparently false. As the day wears on, Bag End essentially becomes a hobbit-looter’s paradise. Uninvited hobbits swarm in, and take (or try to take) anything they can. The whole place becomes a mess, and Frodo goes to rest in the back room, leaving Merry Brandybuck (Merry!) in charge.

OH GOD CHARLIE NOOOOOOO!!! Wait...not Lord of the Rings.

Because they’re the closest thing we have to an antagonist at this point, the Sackville-Bagginses show up, and demand to see Frodo. Merry stalls them, but they ultimately get led to a frustrated and busy Frodo. They offer him bad prices for unlabeled things, and he declines.

First Mentions:

-Old Winyards: A strong red wine, made in the Southfarthing. The bottles given to Rory Brandybuck were originally bought by Bilbo’s father.

-the Southfarthing: See the Westfarthing. Replace “west” with “south”.

-Merry Brandybuck: Friend of Frodo. Not brought up on this page, but his full first name is Meriadoc.

Hey! If you’re keeping score at home, that’s four members of the Fellowship mentioned so far! (The others being Frodo, Gandalf, and Sam.) We’re like so getting there.

Here’s something: when the Sackville-Bagginses find their way to Frodo, he is said to be “fidgeting with something in his pocket”. Ring? Really? Already? I feel like this has to be leading us in the direction to think that Frodo is going the exact same way as Bilbo in caring for the ring. I mean, we know he gets attached to it come the end of all things, but you would never think that it could start to happen in the span of less than 24 hours. I guess, you know, the ring is trying to get back to its master.


Unlike children.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:





Fun facts I come across while researching things as a result of writing this blog: Billy Boyd (Pippin) has a band named Beecake. Dominic Monaghan (Merry) named it so when he sent Boyd a picture of a cake covered in bees.

Eddie Izzard's favorite band?

“…they said the whole affair was very fishy.”

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What? Why I am posting at like 3 in the morning? Oh, work. Right. You get home late when you work the Office Max corporate fashion show after-party.

Not even kidding.

So, anyway, I knew that I would get to this blog at some point, and here we are! Commence!

The morning after the party, with Bilbo gone, Frodo takes command of Bag End. Swarms of hobbits show up snooping around, and Frodo is tasked with giving out the remaining things that Bilbo left for his relatives. There are numerous random things, and all of them are jokes in some way or another. For example, Bilbo gives an empty bookcase to a hobbit who borrowed (and never returned) a number of his books. Lobelia Sackville-Baggins gets silver spoons, because Bilbo had always suspected she stole his spoons while he was out journeying. Those sorts of jokes. Most hobbits are unhappy, but they still take their things and go. You see, Bilbo’s hole had gotten rather filled with things over the years, and this was a way to get rid of them once he left.

First Mentions:

-Adelard Took: Stole Bilbo’s umbrella. Gets an umbrella.

-Dora Baggins: Wrote advice pieces (columns?) over the years. Gets a trash can. Also, Drogo’s sister, and oldest living female related to Bilbo and Frodo.

-Milo Burrows: Never answered letters. Gets a pen and an ink bottle.

-Angelica Baggins: Narcissistic young hobbit. Gets a mirror.

-Hugo Bracegirdle: Kept borrowed books. Gets the bookcase.

Anyone ever notice the odd assortment of hobbit first names? We have our Bilbo and Frodo, along with such names as Adelard and Odo. Then we get Milo, Angelica, and Hugo. Not normal names, but at least actual names in the real world! Are we going with strange names or weird ones? It’s like having two guys in the same universe, one with a normal name, say, Luke. Let’s name the other one Han!

Harrison Ford: "Don't worry, kid. I'm sure your career will be HUGE after this series!"

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:






I was confused why Baggins and Sackville-Baggins showed up as not-words again. I think it’s because they’re capitalized (as they are in the original text). Thus, I wanted to clarify that they are in fact capitalized. Weird. Get with it, computer! Also, mathoms? I looked it up, and apparently it’s a word that Tolkien completely made up, meaning useless things that hobbits keep around anyway. Essentially, all the stuff that crowds up a house. Tolkien himself also used this word in his own life to mean this exact same thing. Handy, huh?

And now, what I must believe will be the strangest quote you will ever see, out of context. But, it is the last sentence on the page…

“The old hole was now being cleared a little.”

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So, song? Yes? That’s where we left off yesterday. You probably weren’t expecting that, were you?

On this page, Bilbo does finally trot off, away from Bag End. Gandalf says goodbye, knowing that they will see each other again. Of course, you have to presume, even if you didn’t know the rest of the plot of the novel, that Gandalf would in fact see Bilbo again, although under less save-the-world pressure. Gandalf is a traveler, and he would likely know where to find Bilbo. While Bilbo says goodbye to everyone in the Shire for good, (or so he thinks that he will never see Frodo again) he definitely knows that this is not a final goodbye to Gandalf.

Frodo comes back to Bag End (we previously saw him sneaking off from the party) and finds Gandalf sitting, deep in thought. Gandalf directs Frodo to the envelope that Bilbo put together, with the ring and Bilbo’s will. Frodo takes it, and Gandalf recommends that he does not try to use the ring. And, of course, Gandalf tells Frodo to “keep it secret, and keep it safe!” I imagine in the book this is less dramatic than what we see in the movie. Gandalf goes to bed, and Frodo is left with the responsibility of sending everyone home from the party.

In the morning, hobbits (after a long sleep) come by the field to clear everything away.

It does mention gardeners removing some hobbits in wheelbarrows.

Once again, we are without First Mentions on this page!

Talk about movies accelerating the dramatic pace of a novel! Here, we get Gandalf’s warning to keep the ring secret and safe, and in the movie, he immediately bolts out of Bag End. In the book, that same warning that (in the movie) is filled with such haste and worry is followed by “Now I am going to bed.” What? Beddy time for Gandalf? Who are you, Link?

I know I should be saving Hyrule, but look! Chickens!

So this is clearly a case where movie-Gandalf sees the dire importance of the ring right away, and the audience feels suspense. Book-Gandalf really doesn’t know for sure yet. I mean, it would just be a terrible waste of time to send Frodo all the way to Mordor when it wasn’t even the right ring.

And also, my computer was totally fine with this page. Sad?

The exciting thing is, you can feel that the book is transitioning. The party is over, and now it’s time to get to Frodo. This part really does feel like an homage to The Hobbit, and we get to see Bilbo’s final parting from the Shire, going back to doing what he loves, adventuring. We like that image, but it’s not what this book is going to be about.

Bon voyage, Bilbo. Forward Frodo!

“…and the uneaten food (a very small item).”

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Yes! Today is the day you get a new feature! However, we’ll get to that at the end.

...but I want it NOW!

Anyway, this page? Bilbo starts to leave, but Gandalf reminds him that the ring is still in his pocket. Bilbo takes it out and puts it in the envelope. When he goes to put it on the mantelpiece, a strange force causes his hand to jerk away, and the envelope falls on the floor. Gandalf quickly grabs it (note: the envelope, not the ring) and puts it where it should be. Bilbo, suddenly angered, then feels relieved. The dwarves staying at Bag End help him out, and he goes down the lane, saying goodbye and singing.

I’m going to be blunt today: No First Mentions, no Words My Computer Didn’t Like. This is all building up to the reveal of our newest feature! (I mean, I guess you could just scroll down, but that would ruin the fun!)

Here, we can get into something that I always wonder about. Why can’t Gandalf touch the ring? It’s something about the ring’s evil power being used through him, but I never understand that. On this page, he specifically tells Bilbo that he cannot take the ring. However, he is able to pick up the envelope with the ring inside it. Is the ring also similar in some way to a Palantir in that you can see into it if you touch it? Would Sauron see Gandalf? Or is it just that Gandalf would instantly be corrupted by the ring’s power, and go on a rampage across Middle-earth?


So, what is this new feature? I think it’s about time. Announcing…

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

Yeah, songs. Tolkien puts quite a few songs into his books, and I was always disappointed that I had no idea how they sounded. I would make them up in my head, but they were bad. I mean bad. So, I’m taking the time to teach you how the songs might go, using popular music!

You see, I can’t really write music for myself. What I’ve done is taken the lyrics to Tolkien’s song, put them to the tune of a song you (hopefully) know, and given the title a funny Lord-of-the-Rings-inspired twist. Then, I record it. (One track ukulele, one track singing.) Now you can imagine what the song would sound like if it happened to have the same-ish melody of a popular song.

LEGAL NOTE: (Do I need this? I just want to be sure.) I did not write the melody. I did not write the lyrics. I just put them together.

Bilbo sings this song at the very bottom of this page, just as he’s going out down the road, away from Bag End.

So, here’s what Tolkien wrote:

“The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.”

Without further ado, I present:

Little Hobbit Man

(Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons)

It is actually incredibly difficult to find the right song to pair with the lyrics that Tolkien wrote, but very rewarding when you find it. It is equally confusing to put together the SoundCloud file and embed the player. But, it worked! Huzzah!

Do we get it? I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading/listening/nerding out with me day after day.

And whither then? I cannot say.”

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