Imagine Tolkien was sitting across you shortly after the publication of LOTR and The Hobbit. What would you ask?
Of course I would start by thanking him for all the work that he did in building a legendarium that has impacted many of us – me, you…
Then we would get on to the questions. They are mainly based on the lore.
Of course – there are definitely more than just three – or one – but we will be sticking to the three that are based on lotr lore, for today.
Where were the dwarves during the war of the ring?
We get a glimpse of Balin – and Gimli obviously who was part of the fellowship. Unfortunately, Balin died in TA 2994 – and by the time of the Fellowship, we are left with his tomb in Moria where he discovered Durin’s Axe.
But while we don’t know about the other six remaining dwarves from the hobbit, fans including myself have been speculating – what had happened to the dwarves in this time period.
My hunch is that most of them hung around in The Lonely Mountain or Moria during this time.
Who was your favorite character? Or rather, was any character a reflection on you?
In Letter # 213, he says:
“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees, and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food…I like…ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour,…I go to bed late and get up late…I do not travel much. I love Wales…and especially the Welsh Language.”
So it seems based on this quote, many believe that Tolkien penned Bilbo based on himself. Though it seems he could talk about any of the large number of hobbits.
Maybe he would be talking about the hobbits who were in the fellowship.
Additionally, many of the story elements in Frodo’s life – especially the beginning – seem to mirror Tolkien’s life, in being orphaned at an early age, being raised by a lone father figure, and going to war against his will.
However – the latter is sort of arguable, as Frodo eventually chooses to take the Ring to Mordor in the Council of Elrond.
Though it does seem to many that Bilbo represented much of who Tolkien was. While not allegorical – there is merit in this speculation. After all, Bilbo would pass along his writings to Frodo, then to Sam, and Elanor, much like Tolkien would later have his son publish the works he had started. However, it is unknown whether Tolkien knew at time of writing whether he would pass along his works to his son.
Furthermore, Sam is also described in various literary reviews as a Batman – which had resemblance of Tolkien’s time in the war.
Why did Frodo refuse to fight Saruman?
Okay…this one – at first I thought he was just done. I get it: he just got back from Mordor and probably just didn’t want to fight Saruman in the Battle of Bywater in the Scouring of the Shire.
However, as I looked more into it, I thought there was more to it than just being done – maybe it was just providing another angle to what a heroic tale entails – and very impressive that Frodo swore off violence.
It is also the kind of pattern we see from Frodo throughout the series – with this compassion and desire to tame and spare Gollum being a very significant part.
Or it could be something that Tolkien had intended as a reflection on his own life and christian beliefs.
Or it could be all of them. But I found it interesting how Saruman just later acknowledged this.
Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King, “The Scouring of the Shire”
As a result – Merry and Pippin eventually were said to be “chief fighters” of this battle.
In the beginning though, Saruman initially goes by the pseudonym “Sharkey,” before getting caught, and Lotho called himself “Chief.”