Monday, November 6, 2017
Another LOTR Read-Along: A Long-expected Party (FOTR 1, 1)
This chapter delights me. I love learning about the customs and day-to-day life of other cultures, and every culture in Middle Earth is so thoroughly thought-out that they seem completely real. Sometimes I almost forget this is fiction and not a sort of sociologically and linguistically inclined history.
Aren't Hobbits just the best? On their own birthdays, they give other people presents. They know How Not To Be Seen. They're good at gardening and farming. I want to be Hobbit, I admit it. (I also want to be one of the Rohirrim, but we haven't gotten to them yet.)
Did you notice all that foreshadowing going on in this chapter? The Gaffer warns Sam Gamgee that he'll land in trouble too big for him, Gandalf's real business is described as "more difficult and dangerous" than conjuring cheap tricks, etc. Very subtle and nicely done.
Don't you want to see some of Gandalf's fireworks? They sound magnificent, and way better than even what they conjured up in the movies.
I don't know how many of you have read The Hobbit, but just thought I'd mention a random cool thing. The first chapter of The Hobbit is called "An Unexpected Party." The first chapter of this is "A Long-Expected Party." So fun.
Before long the invitations began pouring out, and the Hobbiton post-office was blocked, and the Bywater post-office was snowed under, and voluntary assistant postmen were called for (p. 26).
The art of Gandalf improved with age (p. 27).
"I might find somewhere where I can finish my book. I have thought of a nice ending for it: and he lived happily ever after to the end of his days" (p. 32).
"I am as happy now as I have ever been, and that is saying a great deal" (p. 35).
"It was a compliment," said Merry Brandybuck, "and so, of course, not true" (p. 38).
"Look out for me, especially at unlikely times!" (p. 40)
Frodo, Bilbo, and Sam are all unlike other hobbits. What are some clues in this chapter that tell us that? How do other hobbits view them?