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CHAPTER 7  QUEER LODGINGS

The sun was rather in your face bright when the hobbit awoke and went to put the tea on , only to remember that he was alas not home in his cozy hobbit hole in the Shire, but still up on the ledge. There was to be no warm washing up and neither sizzling bacon and fragrant toast.

At least this time his flight with an eagle was not quite so terrifying for he was permitted to be on top of an eagle's back with his hands clinging between its wings. When he had the courage Bilbo Baggins warily opened an eye and saw that the earth was very far below, the mountains far back behind him and he was up very very high. He had no recourse but to hold on even tighter. He was instantly rebuked by his gracious eagle to ordered him to stop pinching.

At last at the place the eagles had agreed to take the company and no further they began to spiral downwards for what seemed a comsiderable time. Bilbo saw the earth and beautiful oak and elm trees, comforting grassland with a stream coming nearer. And as if in tribute to the long left behind mountains there in the middle was a huge rock and it was upon this that the eagles deposited their passengers.

Now began the dignified polite speech. The eagles wish the company well upon their journeys in life until at the end their eyries received them at journeys end.  Gandalf's gracious response was to say in the correct reply "May the wind under your wings bear you where the the sun and the moon walks" and then whoosh the eagles were gone.

In later days the Lord of the eagles would become the King of all the birds and he wore a golden crown, and his fifteen chieftains wore each a golden collar given to them by the dwarves, yet Gandalf did not see them again under the war of the five armies later on, but that does not concern us at the moment.

A worn path lead down from the flat of the rock top and from there a ford of enormous flat stones  led to a fair grassland beyond the stream. And from there was found a good and wholesome cave with pebbly stones for a floor. It was a safe cave and it was about here that a parlay was taken to decide what steps would next be taken.

Sadly Gandalf made it plain that he had never intended in the first place to ever bring the company this far. He congratulated himself on bringing them safely so far and said he might look upon their journey now and then and the dwarves were greatly upset by this statement.

I can only imagine the look on Bilbo's face when the Eagle told him not to pinch. How wonderful it would be to glide on the. Ack of a great eagle. And now for another of Tolkiens Enigmas, the great Beorn and his Carrock.

The little hobbit actually broke down and cried, for he had foolishly hoped against hope that Gandalf would accompany the little part to the very end, but of course it was never meant to be. The wizard now explained that they were to the north of where they would have been had they not had to leave in such a rush due to the goblins.

The dwarves begged and pleaded and finally offered to give a part of their dragon money to their friend and so far, saviour.He declined, adding that surely he already had a right to some of it due to services rendered on their behalf already..

Depressed, the company went into the clear refreshing water by the carrock and by and by they relt revived although hungry again. Bilbo now trotted at the wizards side and questioned him why the big rock was called a carrock in the first place. They were moving along at his urging because he said there was only one from anywhere around that could help them since they had no ponies, no food and had no idea just where they were. He then explained that this person was very very great and warned them to extremely polite when he introduced them, otherwise it could be dangerous for one and all. At this they complained, wondering just why their for now leader could not introduce them to someone less touchy.

Gandalf told them in reply that the person's name was in fact Beorn and he was a skin changer. Curious Bilbo asked him a silly question and Gandalf asked him to not be a fool if he could possibly help it. He told them that while some thought Beorn was a bear, others were sure he was from the line of men that existed ever before the dragons came into that part of the world.

What a wonderful sight The Carrock would be. Streams, rivers, mountains and a great step of rock. I would love to stand on the top and look out up the Eastern side of the Misty Mountains to North. I wonder if you cold see Lorien from there? South I think. Wonderfully put together as usual Lee Lee.

I would say that the chance of seeing Lorien from the Carrock is minimal in the best case scenario. As far as i remember (I have loaned my book to a friend trying to introduce her to the world of tolkien), the Carrock is very close to the east side of the Misty Mountains, far north to lorien and even the mines of Moria. If you were to see a forest from there it would be the pine woods of the Misty mountains or Mirkwood.

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And so Gandalf proceeded to explain things and then implement his plan , one last thing for the company before they separated now until who knew when.

He told them about Beorn's wondrous great house of wood in an oak wood and of the magical almost horses and cattle who speak to Beorn and work for him.And strange but true the great bear ate a diet of almost only cream and honey

To further heighten the mystery the company was about to encounter Gandalf the wizard told of how he himself found the great Beorn sitting quite alone at the top of the carrock when the moon was falling away towards Misty mountains for the night. And the bear spoke, well growl in bear speech. He said that the day would come when they would perish and he  wondered if he himself would go back ; he from that hour on believed that Beorn in fact came from the mountains himself.

It was still quite a journey up hill, down dale, hot sun, clover , clover, clover as well as a multitude of buzzing great sized bees droning across the distance busy at their work. Bilbo Baggins marvelled at them and the Hobbit thought to himself that if one should harm him he would swell up to one again of his size. Gandalf announced that they were drawing close now as they came to the edge of the bee pastures.

Now came a set of rather wierd instructions. The group was to stay put where they were and only come to the house when he whistled and then only in pairs and five minutes apart besides. Bombar had the insult of being instructed to come alone as he had the weight and distribution of such enough for two.

They arrived at a high and broad wood gate and beyond that they could view lovely gardens and a cluster of low wooden buildings .Side by side when the wizard and hobbit and as they approached the house some exceedingly sleek and intelligent looking horses with fine eyes watched them intently then headed for home to announce the arrival of the strangers coming.

Finally came the courtyard where there were three walls formed by the house itself and its two long wings. right in the middle was lying an enormous oak trunk with many lopped off branches beside it.And then came that wondrous moment when they beheld a huge man , thick black beard and hair to match and great arms and legs , the arms bare.His garb went to the knees and was a tunic of fine wool. He was leaning upon a large axe and when he beheld the pair he told them to be off. Then he laughed and put down the axe, coming toward them with the gruff sounding question, 'who are you and what do you want?" (direct quote page 111 The Hobbit.) 

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Beorn demanded to know who it was who was come to his home and the wizard responded "Gandalf".

The hobbit was amazed at the size of Beorn. Gandalf introduced Bilbo Baggins who was embarassed at his lack of hat and vest buttons. Gandalf mentioned his cousin Radagast and Beorn acknowledged that he did and Gandalf said Radagast lived still on the northern borders of Mirkwood.

Beorn, a brusk and no nonsense creature then demanded what the pair wanted with him and the wizard responded that they nearly lost their way, now had no baggage and goblins were mentioned which perked up the ears of the Skinchanger. At that the two were invited in as long as the story concerning goblins was short and to the point.

Inside the building it was wide and in the middle of it was a great fireplace. Past that there was a sort of verandah with wooden benches and it was upon these the three rested their feet. Gandalf talked on while Bilbo swung his feet and observed all the wondrous flowers, a great many he had never in fact seen before and he knew a lot about flowers. And now comes the amusing and clever deception of poor Beorn. Gandalf begins by mentioning one or two companions and in answer to Beorn's bewilderment the wizard whistled and here comes Thorin and Dori who bowed . Beorn was amazed for he expected hobbits not dwarves! Beorn confessed to not much liking dwarves and demanded to know what they were up to. So Gandalf began his apologetic explanation of where the dwarves were bound and how they got far off the track and ended up there.

PAGES 116 to 118)

I apolgize for the long absence, but this waiting daily to know whether my daughter will make it or not has worn me quite down, and now after neurological testing the little one has been found to have soft neurological impairment, we think following a terrible viral illness in which the temperature could not be brought down in time. That has meant speech therapy to bring it back to normal and occupational therapy to bring her spacial sensitivities and such back to normal. A long haul. And finally and it will continue through the summer, i am working on the illustrations and final editing for two children's books. Then the proper bid to the Houses i prefer to buy my books. It is rather daunting but must be finished before fall.

So, I will try my best anyway.

And now comes one of the most amusing segments of the story and in my mind I can see Tolkien sitting by one of the children's bed or in their cozy drawing room telling of how each time Beorn thought that was an end to the calling of dwarves into the house, two more came and two more and it was straining the Skin Changer's patience. Our good wizard told the whole tale, the goblins and such and all their adventures as the dwarves kept coming and bowing . Growling every now and then as pairs of dwarves whom he didn't like any better for being disrupted by them, came trooping in, but without admitting it Beorn had become terribly interested in the part of the story that involved the mountain Gandalf was telling about, he knew it himself. At the telling of the trees and the wargs and such Beorn said he would have given that lot more than fireworks, and they believed him!

When finally the last of the univited guests had made his appearance Bibo realized that , by calling them in at strategic moments the wizard had succeeded in making the Skin Changer interested in what would come next instead of being in an uproar and sending the company on their way with nothing at all.

(page 117 is an illustration of the main part of Beorn's home, with a fire pit in the middle and a hole in the ceiling for the smoke to escape from.

Beorn admitted, as the sun was sinking out the windows that it had been a very good tale. He said Gandalf may have made up the tale but no matter it called for something to eat.

And now in that silent moment magic came to the dwarves, hobbit and wizard, for Beorn now clapped his hands and out trotted four beautiful snow white ponies and long bodied grey dogs and Beorn said something to the creatures in sort of animal language and off they went. The dogs, being capable of walking on two legs set up side boards and trestles near the fire place A ram and a sheep adorned the table with a table cloth and assorted bowls platters, cutlery and at alast, everyone seated, Beorn the host in a big black chair dinner was being assembled and we know how much dwarves and especially hobbits love to eat.

 

 

All blessing to you dear Lee Lee.  I did not realize quite what an awful situation you are facing.  I hope and wish that all will go well with your little one.

Brego.

Everyone in this Middle-Earth and the other have their hour of grief and suffering dearest, i am certainly not unique. That is why The Sil and Unfinished Tales and Eowyn mean so much to me. I know those words came from the heart and mind of some one who knew grief and loss too and could share it through his characters in such a way that you felt you could somehow go on in your own life, because you were placed here in this time and in this place, like Bilbo and Frodo, for a purpose. So thank you , dear gentle heart.

I wonder if I am right outside the Crack of Doom , if so i shall reach out to my Sam, and call upon Eru and wish i had Gandalf with me , but I will be alright. It is not me I grieve for, if you take my meaning,

Everyone in this Middle-Earth and the other have their hour of grief and suffering dearest, i am certainly not unique. That is why The Sil and Unfinished Tales and Eowyn mean so much to me. I know those words came from the heart and mind of some one who knew grief and loss too and could share it through his characters in such a way that you felt you could somehow go on in your own life, because you were placed here in this time and in this place, like Bilbo and Frodo, for a purpose. So thank you , dear gentle heart.

I wonder if I am right outside the Crack of Doom , if so i shall reach out to my Sam, and call upon Eru and wish i had Gandalf with me , but I will be alright. It is not me I grieve for, if you take my meaning,

LeeLee, I didn't know either, that you're going through such a horrible times at this moment.

My thoughts are with you and your family right now, especially your daughter! I wish you strength and faith for both f you. I hope everything will be okay soon!

That's true Dear Lee Lee, however the Eagles are on high having just battled the last of the Dark Ones minions. They are circling the Mountain Of Doom on which you were thrust. But they are waiting to swoop down to pick you up and take you into the clean bright airs of Heaven. I truly hope that they come soon and that joy awaits. Take thought, wisdom and hope in the writings of our Favourite Professor.

 thank you so very much.

 

Every gracious thing, every amenity was seen to. The exauisite ponies rolled up to the tables low round cut logs, sanded and smoothed to a polished glean, even Master Bilbo Baggins of the Shire, acccustomed to good living could not sit at ease at the low table.In the soft glow of flickering torches, they dined and not since they left the care of Lord Elrond did they dine so well.

Beorn, all thru dinner told tales in his deep gruff bear like voice about the stretch of travel still before the company.The dwarves in their turn talked of gold and treasure but the Skin Changer was tired now after the feast and was fighting sleep

After the torches had been put to sleep for the night and all that was left for heat and light was the golden and red flames of the fire pit and as he too felt dozy Bilbo thought or imagined that something like magic was taking place , for her heard high up in the rafters the hoot of owls and the wind sounded strange..

Presently the hobbit was jerked wide awake at the sound of the huge door slamming shut, he saw then that Beorn had gone fearlessly out into the black night. The dwarves after much mead had been siting cross legged and began to sing a long song about the wind and its behaviour all along their journey and beyond.

JRRT's sketch of Beorn's hall has always intrigued me. The fire pit, louvered roof, the benches and of course Tolkiens simple drawing style. The hall must have seemed huge and ominous to The Hobbit. I feel there are parallels between Old Bombodil's house and Beorn's. Both at first scare the Hobbits, then become homely and wonderful.

your descriptions are sheer genius, I love to contemplate them.

Yes that is curious to me, why it starts off so overwhelming and beyond comprehension almost, and then at some point it is important, a thread included in the fabric of their lives. Good point.

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Just when our little hero was drifting off, Gandalf announced in his wizardy, commanding manner,that for all but Beorn it was indeed time to retire for what was left of the night. And he reminded them of Beorn's warning; that they must stay indoors and not venture out until the sun had risen next morning .if they disobeyed it would be to their own harm.

There were a sort of wood platforms between the pillars in the huge room and the wall, and upon these were made ready lovely beds to sleep on. Bilbo enjoyed a tiny mattress of straw and snuggled under delightful wooley blankets, needed though it was summer, for the embers were low in the firepit and it was chill. The hobbit fell asleep easily but woke up when he heard the ominous sound of snuffling just outside the door. He was afraid, afraid he would be eaten by Beorn, now changed magically into the shape of a bear Fearfully Bilbo Baggins dove under the woolen covers and fell asleep. When he awoke he found it was fully daylight and Bofur ordered him to get up for breakfast, for a great deal of it was now in the stomachs of the dwarves.

bilbo did as instructed and though he enquired where the wizard was he did not find him anywhere until the supper hour and then Gandalf was pummelled with questions and everyone wished to know where  Beorn had disappeared to. Gandalf however would not answer until he had the first nourishment of the day.

Although there was much serious stuff to talk over, even the lofty and mysterious Gandalf could not resisit blowing some smoke rings in such a perfect edifice for the game. Then he settled and told of how he had been tracking bear tracks and saw that Beorn could not have possibly made all the ones present.

I think Tolkien expects us as readers to be as full of questions regarding Beorn as Bilbo was. Can Beorn actually physically turn into a great bear or can he somehow utilise the power and strength of a bear when he wants to? Beorn is as much an Enigma as Bombodil in my mind. We really don't know if it is actually Beorn or an actual Bear under his power. Beorn for me reminds me of the ancient American Indians. Their manifestations of Animal spirits is well documented and I think somehow Tolkien was influenced by them in the case of Beorn. Also Lee Lee my dearest. Hope your trials are not piling up on you too serverely. I've been thinking of you lately and hope you are managing.
Please dearest Leelee. I love this thread. Even for those who have read The Hobbit a couple of times, this is lovely. If you have the time and the strength, the rest and the peace for it, please post something. I would love to read those wonderful posts. But I understand if you can't post something for whatever reason. Take care of yourself.

Sigh, some how I should have known I trained you too well! I have been meaning to come back and I will probably monday because I said I would go through it by the time the movie came out and I will. I quit because Desi was in critical condition and the memory of it brings horror to my mind, so I have been cowardly putting it off. Monday then dearest.

Beorn is a skin-changer, and his very name connects (considering etymology) to both 'bear' and 'warrior'.

'He is a skin-changer. He changes his skin: sometimes he is a huge black bear; sometimes he is a great strong black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard.'

While I see little gain in trying to crack open and explain 'skin-changer' I think we can draw the distinction that Beorn is not 'merely' dominating the will of another bear (when we think a given bear is Beorn), nor 'merely' summoning the strength of a bear.

I write not 'merely' as neither of these things would be easy in itself of course, but whatever the magic involved, I think the reader is supposed to imagine a change of form (not just strength) in Beorn himself, and a form that is beyond a mere apparition of course.  

The question raised in the book is whether or not Beorn was a bear or a Man in origin (in a letter Tolkien will refer to Beorn as a Man but a skin-changer). The power is reinforced later in the text.

'Beorn indeed became a great chief afterwards in those regions and ruled a wide land between the mountains and the wood; and it is said that for many generations the men of his line had the power of taking bear's shape,...'

They took the shape of bears, and Beorn came to the Battle of Five Armies in bear's shape, for example.

In the Saga of Hrolf Kraki, the character Bothvar Bjarki lay in trance while his spirit fought in the form of a monstrous bear. While Tolkien was arguably aware of this type of transformation, even this is the spirit of Bjarki present at the battle (not that this is the intended scenario in The Hobbit in any case).

Tolkien was interested in the Native Americans, yes, and I'll just add Old Norse too, as the legendary berserkers are likely a notable inspiration here.

Anyway, here I think we have enough description to reasonably infer that Beorn himself looked like a bear after 'skin-changing', despite the mystery of Beorn in general. 

*smile* Oh dearest. I look out for the day you will post again. It's alright if it's later than Monday, just take your time, dear. Oh poor, poor Desiree. I fully understand that it brings horror to your mind. I pray for her, you know that.

Galin, great and interesting post. The greatest discussions and knowledge are posting by you and dear Brego. It's lovely to read those posts, full of information, knowledge, and wisdom. Go on with posting this kind of things, it's great to read!

Namárië,

Arwen

Dearest Leelee, your posts on this thread really were and still are the ones I always look(ed) forward to to read. It's amazing.
Dear one, I hope you and Hasia, and Travis and Clayton are alright. I pray for all of you.

If you have the time and the strength to post something, please do it. I'm looking forward to see your lovely, amazing words of wisdom back on this wonderful site.

Namarie, may the blessing of Eru shine upon your path.




Arwen
I too would love it if this discussion is ever continued. But only when you can do it Leelee. I don't know what you're going through right now but judging from Arwen's comment it's not good, but may you be better and may your problems lighten up Leelee and we'll be waiting for you Smile Smilie

And dearest Leelee, Please don't feel obliged to come online here or to post something, even if we say we would like to ''hear'' you again. With all my heart, I love you.

And as Beredras said, we will be waiting for you. There is always a place for you at this wonderful planet. And you know I will always wait for you even if it takes years!

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