Thanks to Chris for creating this report:
SECOND MEETING IN NOVEMBER
Unfortunately Lynn couldn’t join us to day. The meeting went ahead with Ian, Laura, Eileen, Angela and Chris.
Before discussing the next chapter of the Hobbit “Barrels out of Bond” Ian raised a couple of interesting points. The first concerned a tweet about Joseph Wright following the award of a bursary to Leeds University for the study of English dialects. The tweet made clear that the original study had been done by Joseph Wright as this fact seemed to be absent. The second concerned a new book by Tom Holland called Dominion which has a number of references to Tolkien. The book deals with the effect of Christianity on the world over the ages.
The meeting proper began with a discussion of the word “bond” and how the title of the chapter “Barrels out of Bond” had a double meaning indicating the technical use of the word “bond” as a secure warehouse storage system, and the escape of the Dwarves in barrels. Laura said that in Thranduil’s realm trade played an important role not seen in other Elvish locations. She also said that the elves in this realm were not typical of the elvish race, for instance getting drunk.
Chris said that this chapter highlighted the theme of Luck as Bilbo is often described as being very lucky, for instance in managing to organise the escape.
Eileen commented that Bilbo is often described as if he were a type of animal/rodent because he frequently scuttles about.
There was a discussion of the Ring causing the bearer to cast a shadow in sunlight. Eileen felt this could be because the Ring has not taken full effect so a part of the body still exists to cast a shadow. Angela said she couldn’t remember this particular issue in LotR.
Laura again stressed that men and elves are seen working together in the barrel trade and for sourcing the wine, presumably some from men’s vineyards.
Eileen mentioned the singing of the elves when marching the prisoners so felt it must be part of their nature.
Eileen thought it was interesting that Bilbo was sometimes referred to as Bilbo and at other times as Mr Baggins.
Laura thought Thranduil fitted in with nature as he wore a head decoration with appropriate flowers.
Angela said that although Thranduil was a high elf he identified more with the Silvan elves. This is detailed in Unfinished Tales in the “History of Galadriel and Celeborn” chapter.
There was a discussion that Bilbo had now definitely become a burglar with constant pinching of food.
Laura thought that the dwarves felt unhappy as Bilbo often had to do things to help them out whereas originally they thought he was useless.
Laura wondered what Gandalf knew about the service Bilbo would provide to the Dwarves and whether this came from on high. It was as happens in LotR when Gandalf says Gollum has still a part to play. We all agreed that Gandalf couldn’t have had inside knowledge about the finding of the Ring.
Eileen described how Bilbo gains practical skills during this chapter. Chris said it was a nice gesture for Bilbo to put the keys back on the guard’s key-ring.
There was a general discussion of Tolkien and Lewis in a slight digression.
Laura wondered where Tolkien got the idea of the barrels being transported in rivers. Had he seen this somewhere else?
Finally at the end of the chapter Eileen said that Bilbo was no longer interested in dainties – he was just too hungry.
The meeting finished with the decision to do Chapters 10 and 11 at the next meeting