Chapter IX: Barrels Out of Bond
Down the swift dark stream you go
Back to lands you once did know!
Leave the halls and caverns deep,
Leave the northern mountains steep,
Where the forest wide and dim
Stoops in shadow grey and grim!
Float beyond the world of trees
Out into the whispering breeze,
Past the rushes, past the reeds,
Past the marsh's waving weeds,
Through the mist that riseth white
Up from mere and pool at night!
Follow, follow stars that leap
Up the heavens cold and steep;
Turn when dawn comes over land,
Over rapid, over sand,
South away! and South away!
Seek the sunlight and the day,
Back to pasture, back to mead,
Where the kine and oxen feed!
Back to gardens on the hills
Where the berry swells and fills
Under sunlight, under day!
South away! and South away!
Down the swift dark stream you go
Back to lands you once did know!

I have returned! For now.

So on to the next predicament that Bilbo has to save the dwarves from. I am really beginning to see the need for the fallout that happens at the end of this book. If this story just ended with them slaying the dragon and gaining their treasure, this would be a far too simple and actually unrewarding book. The dwarves cowardice and greed needs to be answered. And it will be. If it was left unanswered Mr. Tolkien would have a terrible book.

"The other dwarves quite agreed when they got the message. They all thought their own shares in the treasure (which quite regarded as theirs, in spite of their plight and the still unconquered dragon) would suffer seriously if the Wood-elves claimed part of it, and they all trusted Bilbo."

As long as they saw a way to keep their treasure they would hold on to it, even though really all it did was leave Bilbo with the pressure of doing something about it. The dwarves just got to sit and wait for their hobbit to rescue them.

And again luck saves the day, though at least in this instance the luck serves Bilbo's plan he has already brewed, it does not save the plan, or make a plan fall into his lap. "For he saw at once that luck was with him and he had a chance at once to try his desperate plan."

Also, the reader gets to see the true nature of the dwarves' trust in Bilbo:

'Upon my word!' said Thorin, when Bilbo whispered to him to come out and join his friends, 'Gandalf spoke true as usual. A pretty fine burglar you make, it seems, when the time comes. I am sure we are all for ever at your service, whatever happens after this. But what comes next?'

Bilbo saw that the time had come to explain his idea, as far as he could; but he did not feel at all sure how the dwarves would take it. His fears were quite justified, for they did not like it a bit, and started grumbling loudly in spite of their danger.

'We shall be bruised and battered to pieces, and drowned too, for certain!' they muttered. 'We thought you had got some sensible notion, when you managed to get hold of the keys. This is a mad idea!'

The bolding was of course my own emphasis. The dwarves are quick to turn on their burglar friend as soon as their own comfort and safety is put into danger, despite their words of honoring the fellow. They are quite a selfish lot. Although, truth be told, I am not so certain they would have honestly survived the hobbit's plan, so perhaps they have a point.

Another thing that jumped out at me was the similarities between the image of the ruined Dale and Laketown with the image of the ruins of Ithilien and Osgiliath next to Minas Tirith in The Lord of the Rings. The image of the ruin of the once beautiful is a common thing in Tolkien's writing and it is a powerful image. I do not mind the repetition. I found the plight of Laketown and Dale to be a pleasant addition to the book from my experience with the cartoon.

Favorite Quotation: I could have sworn I had a better one than this in my first read through, but I had to do a second since it has been so long and I still felt I should post. One of the reasons this stood out was the omniscience of the narrator. It is not a new thing in the book, but it reminds me of the beauty of information Tolkien throws out in The Lord of the Rings.

"In a great hall with pillars hewn out of the living stone sat the Elvenking on a chair of carven wood. on his head was a crown of berries and red leaves, for the autumn was come again. in the spring he wore a crown of woodland flowers. In his hand he held a carven staff of oak."

Not as good a post... Hopefully I can get my rhythm and flow back.


Skip said...

What's this? I turn my head and all of a sudden there are posts again.

Anyway, it will flow again. Oh and let it flow.

AedonTor said...

Maybe you should keep your head turned...