Saturday morning, the Book Club ventured into the Misty Mountains to discuss chapter 4, “Over Hill and Under Hill.” It was chilly up there with Bilbo’s old traveling companion Gloin, but at least we had as warm a fire as even Kili or Fili could have made!
Gaiagil, Lindorieh, Fuinador and Lennidhren gathered round the fire, but we also had several kinmates sending their thoughts to us from afar via the /lmbbookclub chat channel. Nathegar, Halcaric, Isilwren, and maybe one or two others that I didn’t catch, were there in spirit if not in person!
Our main topic of discussion was GOBLINS! We talked about whether goblins and orcs are different things (as in game) or the same (as is the general impression in Tolkien’s writings, though he tends to call them goblins in The Hobbit and orcs in LOTR…). We talked about what kind of culture/society they have, and how they were able to recognize Glamdring and Orcrist – whether that implies that they have long lives like the Elves or whether it was information passed down by tradition. We discussed whether passing down such traditions implies an ability to read and write, and whether they would recognize the Elven runes on the swords. Along with literacy, we wondered if goblins have art – we allowed that they do have songs, at least, as we see such a fine example in this chapter! Perhaps they also have visual arts by which the swords had been represented for future goblin generations. As for their song, we did not get to hear it at this meeting, but Lindorieh and Gaiagil are working on an interpretaion to be shared at Ales and Tales. (And if anyone has a spare goblin mask…let them know. )
We also talked about Gandalf’s role in the story. He comes close to being a deus ex machina…er, Maia Ex Machina?…but as the narrator says in my favorite quote from this chapter, “Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight corner.” Of course it’s when the wizard is off on other business in later chapters (as well as earlier with the trolls) that we get to see Bilbo and the dwarves stretched to greater feats of heroics themselves. That is the way of a mentor or wizard! You can’t have them doing everything for the heroes.
For the rest…well, I remembered to log the chat this week. So perhaps I shall add it to this post: once I have taken out all the emotes, regional/advice chat, kinchat etc. It’s a bit overwhelming as is.
No meeting next week: Be merry with your families for Christmas! I for one shall be traveling and not sure if I can get in game that weekend anyway, so we will have our next meeting the weekend of New Year’s. As always, watch the LMB forums for the chapter 5 discussion thread and meeting time poll.
Signing off with Gaiagil’s suggestion of a Book Club farewell phrase: “Not for the last time!”