Thorin and Company ride out of Hobbiton at 11:00 am
Somewhere behind the grey clouds the sun must have....
© Alan Lee.
Today is the day that Bilbo Baggins, after his second breakfast, ran out his door without washing up and arrived huffing and puffing at the Green Dragon to join Thorin and Company, without a pocket handkerchief. That he did so was probably more a surprise to him than it was to us, and he spent many an hour on his uncomfortable and dangerous adventure wondering what had possessed him to run out of his door so precipitously. Let's explore some possibilities:
1. In the first chapter of The Hobbit, Tolkien makes much of Bilbo's "Tookish" side, suddenly brought to life, as we read yesterday.
2. Gandalf: he pretty much shoved Bilbo out the door.
3. It was 'meant' to be. We all know that this is Tolkien's shorthand for the mysterious action of the Valar. Gandalf's intuitions into Bilbo's role in future events can be chalked up to the same source.
4. There is more to hobbits than meets the eye: often deeply buried courage.
The answer, really, is "All of the above". Tolkien almost always deals with causality thus. While he has created his mythology and the motivation of the Valar such that we know that they are always at work behind the scenes, they also have ultimately chosen to allow the free will of creatures, within the contexts of the natural tendencies of their various kinds and the bloodlines of their ancestors, to play a role.
Bilbo makes it to the Green Dragon in time, Gandalf catches up to supply pocket handkerchiefs and pipe, of course, Dwalin lends him a dark green hood, and they are off! The journey starts merrily enough, but soon, "Not far ahead were dreary hills, rising higher and higher, dark with trees. On some of them were old castles with an evil look, as if they had been built by wicked people."
© Middle-earth Journeys. Images © Alan Lee.