LMB Book Club: The Hobbit Ch. 3, A Short Rest

This week the Book Club had a restful meeting in the lovely Hall of Fire as we discussed Bilbo and company’s stay in Rivendell in chapter 3. Six attended: Five from the Lonely Mountain Band – Phaenethdre, Lindorieh, Gaiagil, Tinki, and Lennidhren, plus a friend from the Council of the Secret Fire, Zogskald. Oh, and we had a special guest: Master Bilbo Baggins, the Author himself, now a resident of the Last Homely House, joined us in the Hall of Fire to hear our talk about his first visit to that house!

We discussed the mystery of the map’s moon-letters and what they imply about the importance of Fate or Serendipity in this book. We talked about the restorative powers of Rivendell and how they seemed to be connected to the merry songs of the elves there. And most of all, we discussed this first glimpse of the elves and how unusually jolly they are at their first appearance – to the point that one might understand why the dwarves think them foolish! We talked about how different elves seem in LOTR, so serious and grim, and discussed why this might be. Phaenethdre also pointed out how his people in Mirkwood, even in The Hobbit, are quite more perilous to Bilbo’s group than the laughing Rivendell elves. In the end we realized that elves have greater depth than most people tend to be aware of, that they have both merry and solemn aspects. Why, even Galadriel sings “Tra-lally” as she sweeps out her flet, or so her cousin Gaiagil reported to us! We can only assume that Elrond too sings merrily when he is cleaning out the Hall of Fire.

We did not, however, give in to the urge to jump up and start sweeping that Hall when Gaiagil and Lindorieh performed a lively rendition of the “Tra-la-la-lally” song for us…

We did dance a bit though. 🙂 Then Gaiagil read aloud the passage right after the elves’ tra-lally song, and Lennidhren recited another “Elvish Song in Rivendell” from Tolkien’s unpublished manuscripts, as found in The Annotated Hobbit:

ELVISH SONG IN RIVENDELL
Come home, come home, ye merry folk!
The sun is sinking, and the oak
In gloom has wrapped his feet.
Come home! The shades of evening loom
Beneath the hills, and palely bloom
Night-flowers white and sweet.

Come home! The birds have fled the dark,
And in the sky with silver spark
The early stars now spring.
Come home! The bats begin to flit,
And by the hearth ’tis time to sit.
Come home, come home and sing!

Sing merrily, sing merrily, sing all together!
Let the song go! Let the sound ring!
The moon with his light, the bird with his feather:
Let the moon sail, let the bird wing!
The flower with her honey, the tree with his weather:
Let the flower blow, let the tree swing!
Sing merrily, sing merrily, sing all together!

And that wraps up this week in the Book Club. On to chapter 4 for next week!

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