The name's Luna.
24/Los Angeles/wannabe blogger & researcher
Just another freak in the Freak Kingdom.
A place for me to ramble about books I love... also probably the only blog I'll ever have that will keep its theme. I don't want my page to be a mess so I'm only going to shelve books starting with what I've read in the past year.
I'm not always eloquent, and I'm certainly not pretentious. I am just a huge nerd who lurks in used bookstores and likes to read and do research for fun.
[Sorry these are so miserably late! I hope they're still enjoyable!]
Chapter 7 - Queer Lodgings
This was another chapter that made me long to go on my own adventure. A ride on the back of a giant eagle followed by a peaceful rest in a beautiful cabin surrounded by flowers and waited on by intelligent animals? Sign me up!
I think Beorn is my favorite minor character. I have a fondness for characters like him- big, tough men who might be a little suspicious of you at first, but are actually incredibly kind-hearted. Hagrid-like characters, I suppose. The party finds their way to his house in desperate need of help. Fifteen people showing up uninvited and begging for food and shelter probably wouldn't go over too well no matter the time or place, but of course Gandalf has a plan.
His telling of bits of their adventure is one of my very favorite scenes in the book. Beorn is like a child in his amusement at their tale and the constant appearance of more dwarves. I love that he rewards them for the tale even though he isn't sure that it's true, just because he enjoyed it so much. It's very much like something out of a fairy tale. Like The Last Homely House in Rivendell, it's a refuge that reminds the party of the beauty and kindness in the world before another great and dangerous journey. They are nourished, Gandalf smokes his pipe and blows smoke rings, the dwarves sing- these things seem to always be connected to restful, kind places.
I actually read the description of Beorn's cabin a couple of times because I enjoyed it so much (none of the pictures I've found do justice to what it looked like in my head though). I would love to be able to take a vacation there. I love that Beorn, this big hairy bear-man* lives off of mostly sweet things like bread with honey and cream.
As the party sleeps and spends the day pleasantly in the cabin, Beorn goes off to find out if their story was true. He's gone the two nights and a full day, and when he returns, having found out their tale was true, he likes them immensely. He even says that he will think more kindly of dwarves now that he knows they killed the Great Goblin. After spending a couple of pages reading about friendly animals who help with housework, a beautiful cabin surrounded by flowers, and vegetarianism, some readers may begin to wonder how fierce Beorn really is. After their friendly breakfast, he reminds us all-
"A goblin's head was stuck outside the gate and a warg-skin was nailed to a tree just beyond. Beorn was a fierce enemy. But now he was their friend, and Gandalf thought it wise to tell him their whole story and the reason of their journey, so that they could get the most help he could offer."
And so Beorn sends them off with food and ponies to get them to the edge of the forest. Once again they are saved by the kindness of a stranger. Gandalf leaves them at the edge of Mirkwood, telling Bilbo to "look after all these dwarves" and informs them that "with a tremendous slice of luck you may come out one day". This doesn't leave the party feeling too confident, but they head into the forest to face "the most dangerous part of all the journey".
*an interesting side-study would be the appearance of shape-shifters in European folklore... maybe I'll look into shape-shifter lore for a Halloween post. :]
Ch. 8 - Flies and Spiders
So the party is now making their way through Mirkwood. It's a beautiful but unsettling place, its beauty lost in all the danger that lurks there. Bombur falls into a magical river that makes him forget everything that has happened and puts him into a deep sleep. They're making their way along very wearily, carrying Bombur and low on food, when they see a light off the path. It's obviously a gathering of some kind and they're desperate enough to ignore the very insistent advice Gandalf gave them to never stray from the path. When they try to get to the lights they disappear, and the party gets separated in the darkness. Bilbo is left alone and he rests against a tree to wait for the darkness of the forest night to give way to the slightly less dark forest day. He wakes to what is probably everyone's worst nightmare- a giant spider, wrapping him up to take home and eat!
To sum up the rest of the chapter: Bilbo kicks some giant spider ass!!
I seriously wanted to cheer out loud for Bilbo. In Chapter 6 he "found his sword", and now he is the master of it. He struggles for only a moment before remembering his sword, and then he comes at the spider with no hesitation and stabs it right in the eyes! This is the moment that Bilbo feels the most badass and confident- before, in the goblin tunnels, he had escaped and survived but only because of the magic ring- this time it's just him and his sword, and he triumphs.
"Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath.
'I will give you a name,' he said to it, 'and I shall call you Sting.'"
I think the naming of his sword and the feeling of confidence that came with this incident is probably the biggest turning point for Bilbo. He is now not only an adventurer, but a warrior. Or at least a fierce spider-killer, which is, in my humble opinion, a perfectly respectable thing to be.
In the following pages Bilbo locates the spider nest and kills the shit out of some spiders. Here he uses his ring, but rather than slipping away he uses it to draw the spiders away from the dwarves. He helps cut the dwarves down but they're all poisoned and weak from being the spiders' captives, so it's Bilbo and Bilbo alone that saves the day. He slashes and slices all over the place and mows down spiders as they make their escape.
Bilbo's rescue is so impressive that the dwarves begin looking to him for answers- at this moment, he is their fearless leader. He tells them about the ring and the truth about how he got past Gollum, but it doesn't make them think less of him at all as he had feared, "for they saw that he had some wits, as well as luck and a magic ring- and all three are very useful possessions."
It is only after hearing Bilbo's story and regaining a bit of their wits that they realize that their original leader- Thorin- is missing.
It feels good to be hanging out with Bilbo and the gang again. :] I'm going to do my best to have Chapter 9 up by tomorrow night, off to do school stuff for the rest of today.
Happy Hobbit Sunday everyone,