Chapter VI: Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

"You ought not to be rude to an eagle, when you are only the size of a hobbit, and are up in his eyrie at night!"

The chapter also known as Dori's redemption. Okay that isn't true. I did find it funny that Tolkien made sure to give Dori a chance to save Bilbo after dropping him a couple chapters previous.

I do think Tolkien makes a mistake in pacing in this chapter. It was especially noticeable last night when reading it, because my mind was a bit more... wandering than normal. It was not your usual tiredness head-nodding state, but my mind certainly was not at optimal precision. If it ever is, is a question for another day. But, in this chapter the party gets chased up into trees, and then left there for a number of pages while the narrator moves about wandering his merry way. It is not especially bad, but I think it leaves the reader to lose focus because he wants to know the resolution to the characters being stuck in trees while you are learning about the plans of Wargs and Goblins against the encroaching woodsmen.

This is not to say this is a bad chapter, I actually rather enjoy it. That note just kinda stuck out to me last night, but again, my mind was not quite in the game.

I want to talk more about the Eagles, but it has more to do with what is developed about them in The Silmarillion and the part they play in The Lord of the Rings... so I suppose I need to wait on those notes. They certainly have a knack for swooping in and saving the day. Which is why I have heard them called Deus Ex Machinas, but again, more so in The Lord of the Rings, so I have to wait on this discussion. In The Hobbit they just form a new and exciting facet to the world Tolkien is revealing, and he creates a simple enough explanation for their coming to the rescue.

Additional Notes:

The term warg is a Norse name for wolf, especially referring to Fenrir. So Tolkien takes the name and brings it into the more common fantasy vernacular. I greatly dislike the take Peter Jackson had on Wargs in The Two Towers. I prefer wolves over hyenas.

I wonder if Tolkien would have revised Gandalf's part in this chapter after he more fully created the character. It is funny to think of him making his last stand by kamikaze-ing out of a tree to kill a few pesky goblins. Again, Gandalf may strike people as not especially powerful in magic skill. And yet this would be one of his grander displays of power in all the books.

Aw, no more fire-starting for Oin and Gloin!

The goblin song in this chapter is another song that comes to mind when I think about the Rankin/Bass cartoon. I don't know why I like it:
"Fifteen birds in five firtrees,
their feather were fanned in a fiery breeze!
But, funny little birds, they had no wings!
O what shall we do with the funny little things?"

Favorite Quotation: I hinted at a somewhat new-found interest in the use of dreams in novels. And here is a great example of why. What precisely Tolkien is referring to is open to interpretation, which is probably why I disliked dreams of this sort when I was younger.

"But all night he dreamed of his own house and wandered in his sleep into all his different rooms looking for something that he could not find nor remember what it looked like."

1 comment:

Skip said...

Are you taking notes while you read or typing these up after?

I never thought about any literary elements when I read through (it was the first thing I really read through anyhow) so it will be interesting to go back through it at some point. Your interest in the dreams and the death and rebirth symbolism had me thinking back to what I can remember of what I read.