Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Riddles in the Dark

One of the best chapters and scenes in both the book and the first movie is without a doubt Bilbo's interaction with the mysterious character Gollum. What transpires here will have tremendous effects on the adventure of The Lord of the Rings.

The previous chapter concludes with Bilbo falling away from the fellowship in their attempted escape from the goblins. So for the first time in the story, Bilbo is alone (the very thing he desires) and in danger (the very thing he fears). The scene begins by describing the stark darkness of Gollum's lair and it is only with Sting, Bilbo's elvish blade, that he is able to see anything. It is here that he encounters the strange creature.

I trust we are familiar with the scene. Bilbo discovers the magical ring that dominates Tolkien's trilogy and puts it in his pocket. The two engage in an entertaining riddle game. If Bilbo wins, Gollum must lead him out of the mountains. If Gollum wins, Bilbo becomes dinner!

If Tolkien wanted us to compare the goblins with the dwarves, it seems he wanted us to do the same between Bilbo the Hobbit and Gollum. For all their similarities, they could not be more different. Gollum's backstory remains a bit of a mystery, but his original form (before being consumed by the ring) was a Stoor Hobbit. The ring has led him to pursue isolation and wickedness and now that Bilbo bears the ring, he runs the risks of going down the same path.

Comparing the two riddles is fascinating but will go beyond the purposes of this brief blog. Gollum's riddles reflect his dark life and nature. Bilbo, on the other, chooses riddles that reflective his more sunny (and hungry) worldview. Yet the risk Tolkien wants us to see is the power of the ring (especially for those who have already read The Lord of the Rings) to transform this Baggins-Took into a confused and wicked creature that lies under the mountain.






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  
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