Posts Tagged ‘Bilbo’

This ends now.

Home again.

Home again.

Sam, Merry, and Pippin ride home in silence. Merry and Pippin ride on ahead once they arrive back in the Shire, and Sam returns to Bag End. Rosie is waiting for him with dinner and his daughter. All is well.

That’s the end.

Admittedly, I find this post more difficult than what I have planned for tomorrow, because I’ve been thinking about those thoughts for quite a while. Today is, after all, just another normal post. Like the end of many chapters, it’s not even a full page, and the action is rather simple. If it weren’t the end of the book, there wouldn’t be much more to say. However, because it is the end, there’s more meaning.

I find the style of the narrative at the end very interesting. “And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within,” it goes. There’s a lot of “and” this, “and” that, and it feels like someone rambling on about unimportant events. It’s the start of Sam’s new life – the happy life he’s always wanted at home in the Shire. Things aren’t dramatic or epic. He can settle down to live happily.

This is part of the reason why Frodo had to leave. Frodo (like Bilbo) had a flair for adventure. Once dragged into the journey, he let it consume him. He learned an immeasurable amount about himself, but he was never able to shake the restless nerves that he grew to live with over the course of the tale. Frodo accepted that he must take the ring, and even volunteered to do so at the Council of Elrond. Sam, on the other hand, never really did that. He got lumped in with Frodo when Gandalf discovered him listening in, and Sam’s thoughts to keep him in good spirits on the road were almost always of home. He has an easier time slipping back to his good life at peace.

And so, the end isn’t a big deal. It’s the beginning of a new tale, but not one that will keep us gripped with excitement. We leave our heroes here.

...is the beginning.

…is the beginning.

Of course, this isn’t quite my end. I have a retrospective conclusion planned for tomorrow. What have I learned? What was it like? What are some cool/fun facts? What’s next? I’m going to post a big long bunch of thoughts tomorrow to say a lot about this experience.

Just over two and a half years ago, I sat down to write a blog. It went by incredibly fast. I regret to announce that – though, as I said, two and a half years is far too short a time to to write among you – this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!

No one dies today.

“‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”

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I started to feel the first pangs of emotion when reading/typing today’s page. This probably won’t be startlingly hard for me, but something feels so final about this. Two more.

Frodo, Sam, Bilbo, and the elves ride up to the Grey Havens, where Círdan, the shipwright, greets them. Standing by a white boat is Gandalf, dressed in white and with his ring showing. Merry and Pippin ride up quickly behind the group, having been summoned by Gandalf. He doesn’t want Sam to ride back alone.

Friends are good!

Friends are good!

The time comes for those leaving to sail away. The ship dwindles into the horizon, and Frodo sees the white shores approach sometime in the night through the rain clearing into a sunrise. Sam stands back at the Grey Havens with Merry and Pippin long into the night.

First Mentions:

-the Far Downs: Hills far to the west of the Shire. Downs are all over the place.

-Narya: Gandalf’s ring of the Three, the Ring of Fire. “Wielder of the Flame of Anor!”

I’m a little struck by the timeline here, but I think it’s purposefully contracted. The narrative makes it seem like Frodo’s journey across the sea takes but one night. I don’t think that can be possible, but it could be true…with some magic. All things are well in the word, after all, and the winds and waves should be with them.

And one line has always stood with me from this page: “…he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.” For some reason, I had always thought that those were the last lines of the book. They’re not; I learned that some time ago, but it always feels more final than what the end truly is. In truth, there’s somewhat of a short “epilogue” to follow with Sam returning to the Shire, but I guess I feel like the story ends with Frodo’s departure.

Some people argue that Sam is the real main character in this huge story of many. I don’t disagree, but I just like that line so much. It does feel like the end to me, and it’s what made me just a touch emotional today.



Okay, okay, I wasn’t crying or anything, but it felt…weird.

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How cool is it, on the second to last page, that we’re still finding new things? Novel from beginning to end, this…um, novel.

We end tomorrow. (Conclusion to follow that.)

No one dies today.

“Beside him stood Merry and Pippin, and they were silent.”

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Yes, one more journey. No, we won’t be following it closely. Frodo’s leaving.

Appropriate James Van Der Beek moment.

Appropriate James Van Der Beek moment.

Having never found true happiness back in the Shire, Frodo intends to leave Middle-earth on a ship with the elves and Bilbo. As ring-bearers, they are allowed to join. Frodo wishes for Sam to ride with them, at least to the Grey Havens, before returning home. He has so much more to live for back in the Shire, and Frodo wants him to go live his life to its fullest.

And so, they ride, passing through the Shire hardly noticeably.

First Mentions:

-Frodo: A future child of Sam’s, when he finally does have a boy.

-Rosie: Another future Gamgee, named for her mother.

-Merry: Sensing a pattern?

-Goldilocks: What?! That’s not someone we know.

-Pippin: Okay, Sam does eventually name his children after all his friends.

So…no one can see them? I see this one way: Galadriel’s ring still has some of its power. We learned earlier (MUCH earlier) that her ring, Nenya, has the power of hiding things its owner wishes to keep hidden. Is she using it now? Unfortunately, the power is leaving the Three as the One Ring has been destroyed, but perhaps there’s enough left in there to help the band along their way. I actually totally see the value in going about unnoticed. This wouldn’t be a good time for random hobbits to be running up to Elrond and Galadriel, wanting to hang out with some elves.



Anyway, just like Bilbo planned his departure from the Shire, it looks like Frodo has been thinking about this for quite a while. He doesn’t have the things keeping him there like Sam does. Frodo even takes a theoretical glimpse into Sam’s future, seeing more children and Sam being elected Mayor. All of these things eventually come true.

(Sam and Rosie end up have 13 children in total, in case you were curious.)

No one dies today.

“And when they passed from the Shire, going about the south skirts of the White Downs, they came to the…”

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So, when I thought we had our last song, and a nice bit of symmetry, I was wrong. Frodo sings softly to himself, followed by a response from elves in the forest. Sam watches a whole band, led by Elrond and Galadriel, emerge out of the trees. Bilbo rides just behind the lead. They greet Frodo and Sam, and Lady Galadriel remarks that Sam has used her gift (the soil and mallorn seed) well.

These hands are too clean.

These hands are too clean.

First Mentions:

-Vilya: Elrond’s ring of the Three. Gold with a blue stone.

I’m not sure what Vilya’s power is, but it’s known also as the Ring of Air. Wind power? Nah, too Captain Planet.

And we have one last song…

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

This is an interesting one. Technically, it’s two songs, but I figured it would make more sense to be combined into one. And…well, let’s look at it.

Frodo sings the beginning:

“Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate;

And though I oft have passed them by,

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

Look familiar? I’ll get to it. Frodo is answered by the following from the elves:

“A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!

silivren penna míriel

o menel aglar elenath,

Gilthoniel, A! Elbereth!

We still remember, we who dwell

In this far land beneath the trees

The starlight on the Western Seas.”

Finally, I present:

And In The End

(Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire, Clocks – Coldplay, Mykonos – Fleet Foxes)

In semi-Beatles Abbey Road medley fashion, it’s the last track, one would assume. I thought that it made sense, considering that all three “sections” of lyrics are heavily taken from earlier songs, but with minor changes. Frodo’s stanza calls back to “Keep the Walk Going”, all the way back on pages 77 and 78. The first bit of elven singing comes from “Elrocks” on page 238, and the second is from “Valinos”, page 79.

I found it fun to combine the last two songs, and they worked pretty well together. I felt that made some sense. Gildor (the elf who Frodo, Sam, and Pippin met in the Shire) rides with Elrond and Galadriel, and, though not implicitly stated, I could see his group singing the “Valinos” lines while Elrond’s house sings “Elrocks”. And it worked!

Get it.

Get it.

With that, I’m running out of steam for the night. I definitely didn’t see this song coming, so I had to spend some time this afternoon getting everything put together. Thank goodness I didn’t have to adapt the songs from total scratch. I’m okay with some repeating.

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I keep combining Gandalf’s ring (Narya) with Vilya in my mind, creating Varya, the Russian Chekhov ring of sadness.

No one dies today.

“‘So that’s settled. And now…'”

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This page moves by fast. Frodo and Sam are looking at the Red Book, full of Bilbo’s and Frodo’s stories. Its title page is a mess of scratched out ideas.

Because sometimes you change the title.

Because sometimes you change the title.

Frodo’s story is unfinished, and a few pages are left blank at the end. Frodo will give the book to Sam, and now it’s Sam’s turn to write.

Frodo and Sam set out from Bag End on September 21st (the day before the big birthday day). They ride out through the Shire, seeing parts of it that they saw at the very beginning of their great journey.

First Mentions:

-Strider: Frodo’s pony, the very one that bore him all the way home from Minas Tirith. It’s no secret who he’s named after.

-the Stock Road: A road through the Shire, undoubtedly to Stock.

And, I mean, about half this page is taken up with the numerous titles, subtitles, and parenthetical additions to the titles of the Red Book. It was quite the tale, and the story’s changed since Bilbo first put it down. I think some of his edits are in there, but also those that Frodo changed or added once his story became a part of the whole. Once again, I’ll bring up that this is technically the framing device of the whole book. If you want to think of it this way, we’re reading the Red Book right now.

Or, don’t think of it that way. Sometimes it feels more like an adaptation of the Red Book. It has been mentioned that many editions are made throughout the following years and years, so it’s possible that someone eventually fleshed out this great tale from the ramblings of the two hobbits.

Well, Tolkien did that, I guess. META.

Sly dog.

Sly dog.

Finally, I want to touch on one sad note. According to the Internet (well, according to…life), the horse who played Shadowfax in the films, Blanco, has died. He fell ill some time ago, and the decision was made today to put him out of his suffering. While unfortunate, I’m sure many horses couldn’t have ever dreamed (if horses do that) of being such a beautifully prominent character on screen. And I’m sure that he lived as good a life as a horse can.

But in our story…

No one dies today.

“‘It seems like a dream now.'”

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Kids! Sam has a kid! Little Elanor Gamgee is welcomed into the world on March 25th, which is odd. It’s also the date that the ring was destroyed. Sam and Frodo note the coincidence.

Life goes on, and Elanor is nearly six months old when Frodo tells Sam that Bilbo’s (and Frodo’s, too) birthday is coming up once again. He’s going to be 131, making him the oldest known hobbit ever to live.

But still awesome.

But still awesome.

Frodo has something up his sleeve. He asks Sam if Rosie will be alright with him going away for a bit, but not for long. Sam assumes that Frodo means to go visit Bilbo in Rivendell.

First Mentions:

-Elanor: Sam’s firstborn daughter! Named after the flowers of Lothlórien.

This, friends, this is our endgame. Frodo’s going away. He finishes writing/editing his and Bilbo’s book, and gives it to Sam. He also gives Sam the keys to Bag End. Just like Bilbo at the very beginning, Frodo’s decided that it’s time to go now. Not much longer, and this is the last plot point.

In happier news, Sam and Rosie wanted to name their child Frodo, but…well, Frodo isn’t a girl’s name. I’m pretty sure that they don’t have the technology yet in the Shire to know if a baby’s going to be a boy or a girl, and I guess the Gamgee family just assumed that a boy was coming. They were wrong. However, Frodo’s the one to suggest that they name her after a flower, as many hobbits do when naming baby girls. Sam picks a beautiful flower from his journey, and one that no other hobbit is sure to know.

Thank goodness they didn't name her after one of these.

Thank goodness they didn’t name her after one of these.

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Sam, what’s that? Beautifuller? I’ve made concessions for your ruralisms before, calling them quaint or whatever, but this may just be too far. You have a daughter now! Teach your child to speak!

No one dies today.

“At the beginning there were many leaves covered with Bilbo’s…”

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Tonight, I was able to sit down and count out how long we have. I hadn’t done that yet, and frankly, I was a little scared to do so since I screwed up royally with my estimations earlier. So, I know when we end. I’ll keep it a secret, though, just to be fun.

In that vein, I realized I need to commit to this a little harder. To say it mildly, I’ve been using the blog as a procrastination method for a while now. In my mind, I can’t sleep until the blog’s done, so it’s an excuse to stay up later and later doing…well, nothing at all. In the end, that results in a shorter, stranger, and weaker post than I would like or than the situation deserves. There’s not much further to go, and I’m going to commit to making a point of this during my day. Besides, I have so many serious things to say when I conclude.

Always has been.

Always has been.

Sam replants the Shire on today’s page. He goes around, sprinkling soil in places where important or beautiful trees once stood. One nut or seed-like thing is in Galadriel’s box, and Sam plants it in the field where Bilbo threw his great birthday party to replace the tree that was taken down from there. Come spring, Sam’s new trees flourish.

They grow swiftly, and the tree planted in the party field is a mallorn, one of the great stock of Lothlórien. It is the only one of its kind anywhere nearby, and travelers flock to see it as the years go by. Sam’s efforts are a wild success.

The following year is plentiful in the Shire. Not only are Sam’s trees thriving, but other plants as well. Harvests are good, specifically of pipe-weed, and hobbit children born in this year are especially fair and happy. It’s a good time to be a hobbit.

We do get one specific note that the only hobbits unhappy are those who have to cut the grass. And what a problem that is! Business is probably booming for them, even as much as they might grumble about it. You can’t turn down money. (I should say that I have no idea how the Shire economy runs…)

I assume that most fictional worlds use the Duck Tales method of banking.

I assume that most fictional worlds use the Duck Tales method of banking.

Speaking of swimming in non-swimmable materials, it is said that crops are so bountiful that hobbit children are practically bathing in strawberries and cream. While I do not doubt the excitement that could be derived from a dip in such a mixture, I must say that I don’t think it would be very conducive to bathing. Maybe that’s just me. Somebody, try it out and let me know.

That wasn’t too serious, was it? Nah, we talked about Duck Tales. Should be fine.

Here’s to writing this earlier tomorrow!

No one dies today.

“In the Southfarthing the vines were laden, and the yield of ‘leaf’…”

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For a brief moment, I entertained the idea of starting today’s post off with some admission that I’m actually Mark Zuckerberg or something, and this has all been an elaborate social media experiment. April Fool’s! But no, I decided not to do that.


Please, be my friend.

Please, be my friend.

I’m not. Let’s talk about Lord of the Rings.

The four hobbits arrive at Bag End, but not before Ted Sandyman accosts them with mockery. The profiteer off the new mill laughs at them, calling Sam soft, and hiding behind his friendship with “the Boss”. He cowers when the full escort of hobbits march up behind Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, and that’s that. They approach Bag End, its yard filled with rubbish and hastily built huts.

One more thing: Sam notices that they cut down Bilbo’s party tree.

Gasp! The party tree! I have a special place in my heart for this tree, because one of my roommates, on a trip to New Zealand in college, collected a pinecone from the enormous tree that the scene in the movie was filmed under. We had it in our apartment for quite some time. It was awesome.

You know the tree.

You know the tree.

Meanwhile, Ted Sandyman fills in as one of our early antagonists who continues to suck. He’s benefited greatly from the changes in the Shire, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Thankfully, he’s just as cowardly as all the ruffians (well, Bill Ferny, at least), and backs down at the first sign of trouble. Too easy.

No one dies today.

“The place stank and was full of filth and disorder: it did not appear to have been used for some time.”

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No, no, not the book and everything. We still have two more weeks of that. What’s over? Just this battle. The Battle of Bywater! Epic.

The page begins with the cleanup of the battle. Some 70 (70!) ruffians were killed, along with 19 hobbits. The ruffians are buried unceremoniously in a pit, and the hobbits in a grave that would later be marked with a stone and garden. Hobbits like gardens.

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin ride back to Bywater with the Cottons, and discuss their next steps over lunch. It’s clear that they must now strike out against Sharkey, and Farmer Cotton prepares an escort to bring them to Bag End. The road there is depressing, with familiar buildings in disarray or completely torn down, and new ones rising bleak from the rugged earth. The Shire is in a bad way.

Sometimes, that one new building just doesn't fit in with the rest.

Sometimes, that one new building just doesn’t fit in with the rest.

First Mentions:

-the Battle Pit: The mass grave of the ruffians, which gets a way cooler name than it deserves.

-the Battle of Bywater: That was this battle! It has a name now, so it’s official.

-the Greenfields: A battle in the Shire some 300 years ago. It was here that, through victory, Bullroarer Took invented the game of golf.

-the Red Book: What a meta moment! The Red Book of Westmarch is the volume in which Bilbo and Frodo’s adventures are detailed. This is the first time we’ve heard about it in a direct, official sense.

-the Old Grange: A granary in Hobbiton that’s been torn down.

As I noted above, the mention of the Red Book of Westmarch is a strangely meta-textual moment. On the page, we’re talking about the way that the hobbits remembered the participants in the Battle of Bywater, which becomes legend. The names of all present are written in the book, and historians vow to commit them to memory. Of course, the book is much more than that. Bilbo’s “first edition” contained his story of the journey to the Lonely Mountain, edited in part to detract from the importance and treachery of the ring, which he was keeping secret from many at the time of his writing. He entrusts this book to Frodo at their last meeting in Rivendell in hopes that he will edit things up a bit. (We saw this not too long ago!) A second edition is created, this time with Frodo’s story added. Numerous other editions are made and passed down, until supposedly the book (or a copy of it) comes into J.R.R. Tolkien’s keeping. He translates it to English, and these great stories are told.

The cover of Bilbo's book is indeed subtly red.

The cover of Bilbo’s book is indeed subtly red.

Of course, this is all a fiction. The stories came from Tolkien’s imagination, not an ancient book in a strange language. However, there’s nothing wrong with finding some magic in it.

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I mean, after all, what if it were true?

No one dies today.

“Bagshot Row was a yawning…”

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The ruffians are bad enough that they can even make Lobelia Sackville-Baggins a pitiable victim. That’s no small feat. Let’s learn how.

In short, logic has been used seldom in the takeover of the Shire. Lotho’s plans originally seemed to be making things run more efficiently, even if they meant lost jobs and destruction of trees and homes. Some people were fine with changing their ways. Others weren’t. However, things have only gotten worse since the arrival of the mysterious “Sharkey”. Pollution is growing, and more and more hobbits find that distasteful.

You tell 'em.

You tell ’em.

Even Lobelia Sackville-Baggins has some concerns. She sees some ruffians one day heading up to Bag End, and gives them some scolding. She ends up getting hauled away just like all the other agitators, but I think that Lotho is powerless at this point to help his own mother.

Would Bilbo find this funny? Yeah, probably. He really hates those Sackville-Bagginses. They were our first true antagonists, remember.

This seems to bring to an end the story being told by Farmer Cotton. In fact, it’s his son Tom who brings up Lobelia’s predicament. It was a nice story-time while it lasted.

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It’s very, very important to note that “umbrella” has an extra syllable in the Shire. I have no idea how this would translate into a hobbit-Rihanna cover, but I would assume that concessions would have to be made.

No one dies today.

“‘They’ve took others we miss more, but there’s no denying she showed more spirit than most.'”

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