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April 26: TA 2941
26 April 2008 04:25:42
The Unexpected Party
He pulled open the door with a jerk....
© Alan Lee.
There is so much going on at this party today that it is hard to keep track of it all.
What was the secret symbol that Gandalf left scratched on the ground at Bilbo's doorstep? It obviously did the trick. Dwarves with blue beards and white beards and yellow beards arrive to Bilbo's surprise, followed by Gandalf and the ever serious Thorin Oakenshield. Playing host to this surprising assembly gets Bilbo far more than he bargained for.
But what is important here? What do we not want to forget about this party?
While Bilbo is a mass of motion waiting on his unexpected guests, we learn that as well as being the attentive host, Bilbo is a conflicted hobbit. The conservative Baggins side of him is almost aghast at the pandemonium inside Bag End, but the adventurous side inherited via his mother, Belladonna Took, is suddenly enticed and ensnared by maps that he loves and the promise of adventures beyond the Shire. There is talk of gold and dragons, and Bilbo is carried away with the excitement of it all. The dwarves christen him their Burglar and he becomes the fourteenth member of the party.
On the table...he spread a peace of parchment....
© Alan Lee.
Tolkien also wastes no time in introducing characters and places that will go on to fill the many pages of his future writings. There is talk of the Mountain, and Mirkwood, and hidden passages to Lower Halls. Here for the first time indeed is the mention of the Necromancer. Here for the first time we learn of a place called Moria. But they remain shrouded in mystery.Far over the misty mountains cold
While none of the dwarves or Bilbo possess any of the famous Middle-earth Rings at this point, Gandalf does present Thorin with a very important and ornate key and we are sure that we (and Bilbo) are truly off on a grand quest.
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To find our long-forgotten gold.
© Middle-earth Journeys. Images © Alan Lee.