Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Roast Mutton

"Blimey, Bert, look what I've copped!" said William.

"What is it?" said the others coming up.

"Lumme, if I knows! What are yer?"

"Bilbo Baggins, a bur - a hobbit, " said poor Bilbo, shaking all over, and wondering how to make owl-noises before they throttled him.

"A burrahobbit?" said they a bit started. Trolls are slow in the uptake, and mighty suspicious about anything new to them.

"What's a burrahobbit got to do with my pocket, anyways?" said William.

"And can yer cook 'em?" said Tom. (34)

We come now to discuss the second chapter of J. R. R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit. Here, Bilbo and the dwarves find themselves battling three hungry, ignoramus trolls. For me personally, the scene with the trolls is one of my favorite episodes in the story.

The chapter is not as lengthy as the first and is largely straightforward. Bilbo discovers the trolls eating roast mutton and tries to prove his ability as a burglar. He is caught by one of the trolls and the dwarves seek to come to his rescue only to be captured themselves. The trolls are controlled by their appetites and only see Bilbo and company as a means to filling their stomachs.

The chapter ends with Gandalf, who had left the company earlier, remaining in the shadow and mimicking the other trolls creating turmoil between them. Eventually, he exposes them to the sun and they are turned into stone and Thorin's company is saved by the gray wizard.

The notable section of the chapter comes near the end when Thorin quizzes Gandalf regarding his whereabouts during the episode.
"Where did you go to, if I may ask?" said Thorin to Gandalf as they rode along.

"To look ahead," said he.

"And what brought you back in the nick of time?"

"Looking behind," said he. (41)
There is a real beauty here and it is striking that this is Thorin and Gandalf speaking. Both are the respected leaders of the company but are different types of leaders. Thorin is the heir to the throne that the dragon stole and he seeks to take what is rightly his. He leads, we could say, from the ground. He never leaves the company but is always leading from the front. Gandalf, on the other hand, has no right to any throne and his motivation is different. His concern is long term. We learn in the appendices that Sauron is rising and Gandalf fears what the Dark Lord would do if the dragons sided with him. To him, this is the first move that will culminate in the Lord of the Rings narrative. Thus Gandalf is a visionary leader who is always ten steps ahead of the company.

So Gandalf is absent because he is preparing the company for what is coming next - something that Thorin cannot do while marching with the dwarves. The danger, however, is when leaders stay ahead and do not return to bring those in whom he's leading with him. So as I see it, Gandalf and Thorin embody true leadership in this narrative. Gandalf is looking ahead and is prepared for what is next but does not forget to look behind. At the same time there is Thorin, who never leaves the side of the ones he is leading.

Something to consider.


"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - An Unexpected Party
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Roast Mutton
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - A Short Rest
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Over Hill and Under Hill
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Riddles in the Dark
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Queer Lodgings
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Flies and Spiders
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Barrels Out of Bond
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - A Warm Welcome
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - On the Doorstep
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Inside Information
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Not at Home
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Fire and Water
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Gathering of the Clouds
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - A Thief in the Night
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Clouds Burst
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Return Journey
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - The Last Stage


For more:
"The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review
A Few Thoughts on The Battle of the Five Armies
"The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Two Towers" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Return of the King" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
Longing for Eden: Tolkien's Insight into the Longing of Every Human Soul
An Encouraging Thought: Gandalf on Providence
How to Read J. R. R. Tolkien
Clash of the Gods: Tolkien's Monsters Documentary
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Dramatized Audio
"Beyond The Movie": A National Geographic Documentary on the Lord of the Rings   
Post a Comment