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Old 09-23-2016, 09:56 AM   #87
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I guess always whenever reading this part I have been preoccupied by thinking about what Bilbo is saying: connecting it in my mind already to the future, thinking about how the story ends, about Frodo's wounds which never heal and so on. This time, really for the first time, I paid attention to what Gandalf is saying. He is so wrong, for one, and secondly, he is talking about us. About the people who are reading this book. I think that's brilliant, also from the writer's part. As we know, Tolkien was all about "living the story" and this makes us part of the story even more, because here we are being talked about. By Gandalf! And what more, by Gandalf who claims we don't exist! O he of little faith.~Legate
It's fascinating that no matter how many times you read this book there's always some little detail or comment that grabs your attention in a way that hadn't happened previously. And it creates a different reaction, different perspective.

This time for me it was Gandalf's fireworks. I mean from a hobbits POV it is Gandalf's most distinguishable characteristic. And I've always been focused on the grand firework, Gandalf's homage to Bilbo's adventure from The Hobbit. This time through I was actually picturing the small novelty fireworks he distributed:

...But there was also a generous distribution of squibs, crackers, backarappers, sparklers, torches, dwarf-candles, elf-fountains, goblin-barkers and thunder-claps.
Tolkien weaves in real life novelties that kids can use (squibs, crackers, backarappers, sparklers, torches) and adds in fantasy novelty fireworks that were distributed to hobbit children (dwarf-candles, elf-fountains, goblin-barkers and thunder-claps). He uses real life examples that everyone's used...who isn't familiar with squibs or lighting sparklers? Then he adds fireworks that are made up, but we can imagine how they work and look. Dwarf-candles, well probably a more extravagant version of roman-candles. Elf-fountains, a tube with a fuse you light and out shoots jets of gold and silver sparks. Goblin-barkers and thunder-claps, the really loud and obnoxious crackers that parents hate if someone gives their children. I'm not sure if you get this image if the passage just reads:

"But there was also a distribution of dwarf-candles, elf-fountains, goblin-barkers and thunder-claps."

Some additional comments...

As has been discussed multiple times this chapter parallels the first chapter of The Hobbit. We return to Bag End and are meant to make the connection to The Hobbit. Not only in the two parties and Bilbo's sudden disappearance again, but in slightly different settings and circumstances A Long Expected Party takes you through a rough outline of Bilbo's adventure 60 years ago.

After establishing the parallel, we get first introduced to the protagonist, Bilbo's heir, Frodo, and we learn Frodo's parentage and how he came to Bag End. Gandalf arrives and the last time this happened Bilbo quite mysteriously disappeared. At the party, The description of Gandalf's fireworks culminating in the final nod to Bilbo's adventure with the lonely mountain and dragon. Bilbo mentions during his speech how he arrived in Esgaroth with such a bad cold all he could say was "Thag you very buch." Then we come to the Ring, how it was most unusual in Bilbo altering the story, and Bilbo even becoming very much like Gollum in "It's mine. My precious." Bilbo leaves again, and on the next day when various hobbits came busting into Bag End to pillage, raid and try to bargain for Bilbo's stuff, I was reminded of Bilbo returning in the middle of the auction. So, under a slightly tweaked setting, Tolkien includes a basic run down of events from The Hobbit. He sets these events into a different story, and while there are parallels to the earlier book, we know this is going to be a different sort of tale. Frodo's journey is not going to be like Bilbo's.
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Last edited by Boromir88; 09-23-2016 at 11:40 AM.
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