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Thread: Humour in The Hobbit

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Gandalfs Beard suggested on another thread that the humour in The Hobbit is whimsical, largely or in part. Actually, I was not really paying attention to what GB wrote, but the minute I saw the word [i:395zaiu7]"whimsy"[/i:395zaiu7] used in a 'The Hobbit' context I saw red and ran over here (netophorically speaking) to start this new thread! :x

My challenge to you all is:

[color=#FF0000:395zaiu7][i:395zaiu7]Name ONE whimsical part in The Hobbit![/i:395zaiu7][/color:395zaiu7]
I find it funny when Bilbo taunts the Spiders in Mirkwood with "Attercop! Attercop! Attercop!" <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />

Maybe that's just myself that finds it funny though. <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' /> :oops:
It is funny - but not whimsical, I feel. Mind you :lol: you've immediately hit me with a hard one, Durin! :shock: On first glance, it might seem whimsical, but on closer scrutiny I don't think it is.

If you examine the words (nouns, in fact: i.e. 'names') he uses, they are derived from old words for arachnids. Tolkien shows himself here as linguist with a sense of humour. Bilbo is name calling. Please don't take what I say next further than it needs to, but to the spiders (who are clearly sentient - having a reasonably developed power of thought and speech) it would be like a white calling a black by a derogatory name, and, of course, vice versa. That's the joke (in mildest form),[i:3o9uw8ab] nasty [/i:3o9uw8ab]name calling. It's why the spider's get so angry. Bilbo has insulted them. Not being the smartest of sentient beings, they respond with a violence all out of proprtion to the actual insult.

Think of the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." Tolkien knows that, but he also knows people can act very violently to name calling. He points out this human condition and says, "Well, it is a bit silly to get so het up over something like this." But people have killed for lesser insults! He is also using it as a credible reason for the spiders to run off after Bilbo - which is of course Bilbo's intent. Funny and realistic, all at the same time. The humourous aspect of the scene works best because of the underlying realism of what is occurring. The scene is not absurd, nonsensical or whimsical - it's outright funny because it is so realistic. Some aspects of life can seem ridiculous, and are, depending on your perspective. (I have not even mentioned Bilbo's stones here! Just remember, Bilbo's insults sting as much as the stones he throws!)

The spiders are not the smartest tools in the shed, so when they get tricked into getting angry and rush off all in a tiz, it is funny but believeable. The only wise spider - a very old one - stays back. Maybe he is too old to exert himself, but maybe he is too old to be offended anymore by name calling either - especially when it is an opportunity to start the feast early. (That bit sends a chill up my spine!)
Hmmm, fine. I shall accept this challenge.

*Reaches up and brings down his Hobbit book.*

:mrgreen: :ugeek:
Excellent, Durin! This is a very important issue, for to me it underlies how the movie should be made. This is all about [i:39g3ad4j]tintacks[/i:39g3ad4j] not [i:39g3ad4j]generalities[/i:39g3ad4j] anymore! I am prepared to take off the gloves! :ugeek:
Well, I don't know if you would call Smaug's name itself meaning "to squeeze through" (or something along those lines :?) being either interesting or whimsical, because the Dwarves in the beginning of the book talk and wonder how he was able to "squeeze through" the Lonely Mountain, or something like that. I find that rather whimsical. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />


Something else I found rather amusing is this passage, "Whistles blew, armour clashed, swords rattled, goblins cursed and swore and ran hither and thither, falling over one another and getting very angry."

:lol: I imagine a large war party, things going on, Goblin captains commanding Goblin peons to do things, swords being swiftly taken off of racks, shields clanking, torches flaring in the darkness, and then all of a sudden, everyone tripping over each other. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />

I find that to be whimsical. :roll:
Rubbish! Smaug - if what you say about 'squueezing' is correct - is just an indication of how names are formed. Smith, after all, is derived from Blacksmith or Goldmith etecetera. If Smaug was named because he was 'worm-like' in a sense in his 'squeezíng' through halls and tunnels, how is that exactly a 'whimsical' idea? It's 'linguistics' not "whimsy."

[quote="Durin":1fr9vvke]"Whistles blew, armour clashed, swords rattled, goblins cursed and swore and ran hither and thither, falling over one another and getting very angry."[/quote:1fr9vvke]

That is [i:1fr9vvke]realistic[/i:1fr9vvke] and [i:1fr9vvke]believeable [/i:1fr9vvke]in the context of the scene. I'm a cop (in another aspect of my personality! :? ) and under the pressure of the "unexpected" and the "critical incident" all sorts of funny things can happen - funny to those who look back from the Armchair of Retrospect. (The power of retrospect would be a wonderful attribute - a very useful attribute in fact - if it was an attribute you had [i:1fr9vvke]before [/i:1fr9vvke]you did something, rather than [i:1fr9vvke]after [/i:1fr9vvke]you did something! :lol: )

Durin, I assume here that you're talking about Bilbo's escape through the "Back door" of the goblin's under-mountain realm? I agree there are comical aspects to it, just as you note, but it is their inherent realism that lends it humour. Even Bilbo's buttons popping off is funny but only when seen in tandem with the danger he is in, along with his desperation to escape! The humour of the scene works on several levels - but all of it depends on the inherent realism of the scene, not on any suggestion of 'whimsy' or 'absurdity'. Tolkien puts you in the middle of the action and the humour is actually secondary, though it actually assists the scene in its believeabilty! Under extreme pressure folk do funny things, trust me, but those things are only humourous when seen through the lens of retrospect!

You know, I think Tolkien's main success is in the way he applies realism to The Hobbit.

EDITS: Sorry for edits. My grammar and spelling was just not good enough the first two times!
Bleeeeeh.

I find it whimsical.
You'll have to get them to put another meaning in the dictionaries then. It might happen. The meanings of words do morph and change. English is an evolving language. But I started this thread using the current meaning of the word "whimsy" as a predicate of sorts, not on the basis of possible future meanings of the word! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />
From the "Who should direct the Hobbit" thread:
[quote:juqekrog]Oh the IRONY! The Master of Absurdism and Whimsy speaks .

I think you are operating under the entirely mistaken notion that Absurdism or Whimsy = Nonsense. Oh no indeed. [b:juqekrog]Absurdism is a form of Surrealism.[/b:juqekrog] I agree no-one would consider Dr Seuss, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The 5 Children and It, or The Hobbit is Nonsense, but none can deny the [b:juqekrog]Humorous/Satirical Surrealist, (i.e. Whimsical)[/b:juqekrog] aspects of any of those stories.

Very few directors are capable of dealing in Whimsy, but the few I've mentioned are among the best at it.[/quote:juqekrog]

Pippi Longstocking, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Wizard of Oz, Dr Dolittle, many Joan Aiken books, Edward Lear, almost ANY Roald Dahl book, and even the Harry Potter series also have Absurdist Elements.

Indeed, we've already discussed many of the Whimsical Aspects of the Hobbit on other threads and how they could be handled without seeming ridiculous.

1) The Songs--Odo, oh Odo, My Dear, Dear, Foolish Deluded Odo. You have Raged and Pontificated ad infinitum that the Songs should be preserved in ALL their Whimsical Glory :P .
2) Talking Animals Serving Tea at Beorn's House--The Very Definition of Whimsy.
3) The "Cockney" Trolls--Whimsy
4) The Dwarves' colourful Beards--Whimsy
5) The entire introductory scenes at Bilbo's Hobbit Hole, meeting Gandalf and the Dwarves--Whimsy, Whimsy, and more Whimsy.
6) Carousing, Drunken, Snarky Oscar Wilde Elves "Bilbo the hobbit on a pony, my dear! Isn't it delicious!"--WHIMSY :P
7) The Riddle Game with Gollum--Whimsy
8) And So On...

Nearly The Entire Book right up through Bilbo's conversation with Smaug is Whimsical. The Tone doesn't really change until around the killing of Smaug and the Battle of 5 Armies--which I have repeatedly stated since before Ady even started this forum in the comment sections on his blog.

Odo, how YOU, of all people can deny the Whimsy of the Hobbit after arguing tirelessly against the Earnest, Dramatic LotRizing of the Hobbit's Whimsy is beyond me :roll: . I suspect that perhaps you are up to your instigating tricks again <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . Or maybe you just really misunderstood what Whimsy meant :? .

Petty wasn't quite sure either, but at least he got the point after I listed some of the directors most well known for their whimsy. Indeed many people, some of them Highly Educated Scholars and Literary Critics don't understand the distinction between Whimsy and Nonsense either.

Even Tolkien was occasionally at odds with himself, particularly in his abandoned attempt to Silmarillionize the Hobbit. His regrets at "writing down" to children demonstrate that he didn't quite realize the Pure Magical Wonder and Delight that is to be found in Whimsy.

[quote:juqekrog][b:juqekrog]Merriam Webster:[/b:juqekrog] (a DICTIONARY <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> )
Main Entry: whim·sy
Variant(s): also whim·sey ?hwim-z?, ?wim-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural whimsies also whimseys
Etymology: irregular from whim-wham
[b:juqekrog]Date: 1605[/b:juqekrog]
1 : whim, caprice
2 : the quality or state of being whimsical or fanciful <the designer's new line showed a touch of whimsy>
[b:juqekrog]3 : a fanciful or fantastic device, object, or creation especially in writing or art[/b:juqekrog][/quote:juqekrog]

[quote:juqekrog][b:juqekrog]Oxford Online Dictionary:[/b:juqekrog]
whimsy
(also whimsey)

• noun (pl. whimsies or whimseys) 1 playfully quaint or fanciful behaviour or humour. 2 a fanciful or odd thing. 3 a whim.

— ORIGIN probably from archaic whim-wham ‘trinket, whim’.[/quote:juqekrog]

[b:juqekrog]GB[/b:juqekrog]

PS: Absurdism in Art and Literature is distinct from Philosophical Absurdism, which is a form of Nihilism.
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":20f4e4qt]1) The Songs--Odo, oh Odo, My Dear, Dear, Foolish Deluded Odo. You have Raged and Pontificated ad infinitum that the Songs should be preserved in ALL their Whimsical Glory .
2) Talking Animals Serving Tea at Beorn's House--The Very Definition of Whimsy.
3) The "Cockney" Trolls--Whimsy
4) The Dwarves' colourful Beards--Whimsy
5) The entire introductory scenes at Bilbo's Hobbit Hole, meeting Gandalf and the Dwarves--Whimsy, Whimsy, and more Whimsy.
6) Carousing, Drunken, Snarky Oscar Wilde Elves "Bilbo the hobbit on a pony, my dear! Isn't it delicious!"--WHIMSY
7) The Riddle Game with Gollum--Whimsy
8) And So On...[/quote:20f4e4qt]


Humourous in their own way, but they are [i:20f4e4qt]NOT [/i:20f4e4qt] at the [i:20f4e4qt]whimsy [/i:20f4e4qt] end of the humour spectrum! Yes, 'whimsy" is one kind of humour, sharp of you to notice, but it's not what Tolkien is doing in any of your examples. Tolkien's humour is rooted in the real and believeable. "Whimsy" is rooted in the lightweight and fleeting, and yes, [i:20f4e4qt]fanciful[/i:20f4e4qt] in all it's lightweightedness and fleetingness.

(1) Every song is [i:20f4e4qt]pointed[/i:20f4e4qt] and serious if somewhat farcial in presentation. Deep meanings for the deeper of thought. NOT whimsical!
(2) Talking Animals. Rooted in deep Achetypal folk history. Of themselves anything but " whimsical". They are Magical to a degree, but firmly sentient beings, dare I say, [i:20f4e4qt]humans[/i:20f4e4qt] in animal bodies. NOT whimsical!
(3) The "Cockney" Trolls. Humourous. But their accents are used to give colour, not to give them a 'whimsical' quality. They're monstrous humans. Achetypes. They have their own speech, which WE find amusing. Does Tolkien suggest they should not be feared, no! WE laugh because WE'RE watching from a safe distance. NOT whimsical!
(4) Colourful Beards. Not colourful in the cartoon dwarf sense, colourful within the limits of REAL hair colour! NOT whimsical!
(5) The Elves show some whimsicality in their humour. Why not? They're not cardboard cut out Elves, they have personalities! The scene and their right to make jibes is NOT whimsical - even if they don't mind a bit of whimsy in their jokes! (The jokes are barely whimsical anyhow, [i:20f4e4qt]pointed[/i:20f4e4qt] I'd say! Yes, spikey!)
(6) Rubbish! Rubbish! Rubbish! All humourous - nowhere near the 'whimsy' end of the spectrum!
(7 The Riddle Game is an ancient one, where the Rules of engagement are taken seriously (at least in Middle-earth). A game of life and death. Whimsical? Now, [i:20f4e4qt][size=150:20f4e4qt]really[/size:20f4e4qt][/i:20f4e4qt]!
(8) Oh.. A host of other examples? Too many to bore us with? Please tell me more (said sarcastic like! :x )

Is this best you can come up with, Gandalfs Beard Stormcrow!? :roll:
Self Denial isn't pretty Odo <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

You wanted one example, I gave a bunch.

You presumed you knew the dictionary definition. I posted them.

You can try to argue semantics all you want, but the semantics actually supports MY position. :ugeek: :mrgreen:

[b:fynjpaij]GB[/b:fynjpaij]
No it doesn't!

Whimsy = a form of humour, yes, in broad terms. There are various forms of humour. Tolkien displays various forms of humour. To suggest "whimsy" is "humour" per se is plainly wrong. A form of humour, yes, but a form of humour as a general term. Whimsy is not Sarcasm, or Satire, or Parody, or Absurdism, or Nonsense - but they can all at times be [i:21p2zd4x]forms [/i:21p2zd4x]of humour. We may as well say all those scenes you carelessly selected are [i:21p2zd4x]sarcastic [/i:21p2zd4x] - after all, sarcasm is a form of humour like [i:21p2zd4x]whimsy[/i:21p2zd4x] is! :ugeek:

I do worry about you sometimes, Dear Beard. Whose the deluded one now? Hmmmm...????
No! Apparently you are selectively reading my posts. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> You can't so easily wriggle off the hook you baited for me (only to catch yourself) with Red Herrings such as Sarcasm and "other forms of humour".

Whimsy is primarily [b:2tg3vgn4]Fantastic, or Surreal[/b:2tg3vgn4], often secondarily including "playful", "humourous", or Satirical Elements. No Sarcasm involved. And I never said "Whimsy = Humour". I essentially said Whimsy is a suffusion of Surreal and Humourous elements.

None of the points I brought up (excepting perhaps Smaug's part of the dialogue) have any Sarcastic elements. And I certainly didn't imply that they did. I simply correctly applied a CORRECT definition of Whimsy to The Hobbit.

Odo, it would seem YOU are the one attempting to redefine Whimsy after-the-fact. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> No point digging your hole any deeper, and I have definitively made my case. All that remains is to let others weigh in on the subject.

[b:2tg3vgn4]GB[/b:2tg3vgn4]

PS: Odo, you certainly have a superior ability with Prose and Poetry than my own 8-) (and I bow to you and your Whimsical Creativity :mrgreen: ), but you should know better by now than to challenge me when it comes to defining terms :ugeek: .
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":p86pzljp]Whimsy is primarily Fantastic, or Surreal, often secondarily including "playful", "humourous", or Satirical Elements. No Sarcasm involved. And I never said "Whimsy = Humour". I essentially said Whimsy is a suffusion of Surreal and Humourous elements. [/quote:p86pzljp]

I have some doubt about the above statement, but let that pass, I'll address your points as they come. The scenes we talk about are indeed "Fantastic" from our point of view, they are not something you would encounter in the REAL world. And they may in a sense be "Surreal" too. But whether 'Fantastic' or "Surreal", this doesn't immediately make them "whimsical." (I would question your use of 'Fantastic' and 'Surreal' in relation to the scenes too, but let's stick to the discussion of the word 'whimsy' and its relation to Tolkien's scenes!)

The point I made about sarcasm is that sarcasm is often a form of humour (or [i:p86pzljp]kind[/i:p86pzljp] of humour, if you don't like the word 'form', dear GB). Humour is a blanket term. Whimsy has a specific meaning. Just like 'sarcasm' does. Whimsy evokes thoughts of silliness, lightness and harmlessness. The definition of 'whimsy' as being in any way a synonym for 'humour' is specious to say the least. A poodle is a dog. What is the definition of 'dog' , well not 'poodle." Poodle will logically be seen as a [i:p86pzljp]kind[/i:p86pzljp] of dog.

Professor GB at University giving lecture: "The kanine species, also known as 'dogs' or 'poodles'..."

OR what about: "Tolkien displays many kinds of humour throughout The Hobbit..." Or, apparently interchangeably, "Tolkien displays many kinds of whimsy throughout The Hobbit..."

[quote="Gandalfs Beard":p86pzljp]PS: Odo, you certainly have a superior ability with Prose and Poetry than I do (and I bow to you and your Whimsical Creativity ), but you should know better by now than to challenge me when it comes to defining terms [/quote:p86pzljp]

Very generous of you to say, but as to "defining terms", well, define them properly next time if that's the case! I almost suspect you care more about winning arguments than you do about recognizing that I am right about this! I always seek the Truth, never a Debating Club victory... err....it is only coincidence that I'm never wrong about anything... pure coincidence! :x
*Sips morning coffee, even though it is technically night for him.*

This is a good coffee thread. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />

Also, I have to agree with [b:30z3kva9]GB[/b:30z3kva9] yet again [b:30z3kva9]Odo[/b:30z3kva9]. You're edging rather close to the No True Scotsman's fallacy. Sort of like [b:30z3kva9]Eldo[/b:30z3kva9] pointed out to be a few threads back ago. :?

[b:30z3kva9]O[/b:30z3kva9]: No where in the Hobbit is there whimsicality.

[b:30z3kva9]G[/b:30z3kva9]: <Insert examples of whimsicality here>

[b:30z3kva9]O[/b:30z3kva9]: Well, that's not [i:30z3kva9]true[/i:30z3kva9] whimsicality.
Gang up all you like. Sensible argument will win out in the end, Durin. You Moderators are clearly a tight bunch! If you must stick your nose in, be prepared to have it punched (netophorically speaking!) If you have a point to make, make it. None of this, "Well, if GB said it, it must be right, who cares how diversionary or specious his tactics or arguments." La de dah! Come on, Durin! Put forward a proper argument, you Son of a Smelly Beard. Otherwise, butt out! :x

(NB I hope you're enjoying that coffee. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> I'm having one myself. Keeps my mind alert for fraudulent arguments. :geek: )
Now you're being whimsical, Durin, which, of course, is nothing like what Tolkien was doing in The Hobbit. Good Man! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> (The coffee is clearly clarifying your thought processes).
Earlier in the thread I do believe I put forward what I thought to be whimsy, which you said wasn't truly whimsy.

I'm merely using [b:r77io55x]GB[/b:r77io55x] as an example.

And oh yes, us moderators have a little Cult, I thought you would've found that out by now. :? :roll:
I agree Odo. I'm not concerned about winning points in a debate. I seek Truth when there is some to be found, and readily admit when a matter is Subjective. But Truth cannot be determined without defining terms.

I defined my terms when we began this discussion on the other thread. You challenged my definition. I provided evidence, you provided (mistaken) opinion. You are welcome to your opinion, but when it comes to defining the terms, the facts are on my side. I need not repost the dictionary definitions that support my view, anyone can go back and read them.

You can continue to protest by choosing to emphasize ONE or the other aspect of Whimsy at the expense of the other. But I did indeed use Whimsy specifically and precisely. It is true that some definitions of Whimsy also include the terms "light", but nearly always in conjunction with "humour", and "Fancy", "Fantastic", or "Capricious". The humour involved in Whimsy need not necessarily be "light" though, it can also be "dark", or satirical (which is Terry Gilliam's stock in trade).

You seem to be operating on the presumption that I am using "Whimsy" in a pejorative sense when nothing could be further from the truth. If you examine more carefully the definition of Whimsy that I am (correctly) employing, you would see that [b:2uoqw1uu]fundamentally you and I agree when it comes to how the Fantastic and Humourous elements are used in The Hobbit.[/b:2uoqw1uu] I don't think we've ever really disagreed on that Odo :mrgreen: . You just got a bee in your bonnet because you disliked my (correct) use of the term Whimsy :roll: .

[b:2uoqw1uu]GB[/b:2uoqw1uu]
However, I strongly agree that the whole scene with the Dwarves and Bilbo is comical. I have the picture of Bilbo being a stressed mess during this whole scene, running around and trying to clean up after the Dwarves, his only relaxation being the instruments that the Dwarves play later on. At one point it sounds like the Dwarves are causing utter destruction around because, on page 15 of my book:

"[i:1qfjdlnn]Chip the glasses and crack the plates!
Blunt the knives and bend the forks!
That's what Bilbo Baggins hates-
Smash the bottles and burn the corks!

Cut the cloth and tread on fat!
Pour the milk on the pantry floor!
Leave the bones on the bedroom mat!
Splash the wine on every door![/i:1qfjdlnn]"

Is that not whimsy? :oops:
No. It is funny to us who are [i:gfr40s72]viewing[/i:gfr40s72] the scene through the lens of Tolkien's camera, but the dwarves are clearly bullying Bilbo, and the poor little hobbit is genuinely concerned that those rather daunting dwarves, all twelve of the brawny brutes, might carry out their threats. That is NOT whimsy. It is comedic in an overbearing sort of way. Poor Bilbo. Fancy being bullied like that - and when he has been such a gracious host considering the unexpected impost their presence has placed upon him!
Well, the Song certainly is Whimsical in the sense that it is both Comical and Capricious. The Comedy alone does not define it as Whimsy.

[b:2yepftm1]GB[/b:2yepftm1]
... *Scratches head.*

Either we have differing definitions of whimsical or these LED lights of my computer are finally getting to my head, or my sleep is catching up with me. :roll:

It's probably a mix of all three.

Going by [i:1s92xz9v]your[/i:1s92xz9v] definition of whimsical, [b:1s92xz9v]Odo[/b:1s92xz9v], I might agree with you that there is no whimsical humor in [u:1s92xz9v]The Hobbit[/u:1s92xz9v].
GB: Whimsy has the connotation of being harmless. Comical? Yes, for us, true. 'Capricious' has a nasty undertone to it. Yes, the song is capricious to a point. Good one GB. Glad to see you've come around to my way of thinking. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />

Durin: Good you've seen the light (or lights :? ?)
[quote="Odo Banks":1k1v2fb8]GB: Whimsy has the connotation of being harmless. Comical? Yes, for us, true. 'Capricious' has a nasty undertone to it. Yes, the song is capricious to a point. Good one GB. Glad to see you've come around to my way of thinking. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />

Durin: Good you've seen the light (or lights :? ?)[/quote:1k1v2fb8]

Of all the Thesauruses I have just looked on, capricious and whimsical are synonyms to each other. So if the song was capricious, would that not be whimsical?

I'm confused. :oops:

It seems like you're going against what most all dictionaries/thesauruses say, [b:1k1v2fb8]Odo[/b:1k1v2fb8]. Correct me if I'm missing something here.
[quote="Durin":3r8zm67s]Of all the Thesauruses I have just looked on, capricious and whimsical are synonyms to each other. So if the song was capricious, would that not be whimsical?[/quote:3r8zm67s]

A Thesaurus gives you a word 'something' like another word. They are not the same word. As I said in my last post, the dwarves song might have a 'capricious' hint to it, a hint of nastiness could well be involved, but if 'whimsical' then our poor little hobbit would not be put out at all. He would know the dwarves were having fun and not fear his property being damaged.

Regarding an earlier comment of yours, GB - I fight for the inclusion of the songs because I see them as making a serious contribution to the tale. The words are rarely funny to the characters, only to us, and then to us, only to a point, and NEVER in a whimsical way, unless we're unwilling to engage thoughtfully with them. They actually add to the drama if you make that engagement. As a child I thought of them as being kind of funny but mostly very dramatic pieces. I still do. I wonder if people have some kind of valve in their brains that they turn on and off when it comes to that kind of poetry. "Oh it's a kids book. Childish. Must be silly or whimsical. Oh yes. Silly song. Ha ha ha. Wizard of Oz. The Hobbit. Yep - kids stuff - must be whimsical." Hey! Read the songs again and think a bit more deeply about their meaning and their context in the story, lads! Open your eyes!
Odo, I keep trying to point out that your [i:2zhslh2h]understanding of the definitions of the term Whimsy are flawed[/i:2zhslh2h] :? , NOT your understanding of how Tolkien employs Humour and Fantasy in the Hobbit (which is entirely correct :ugeek: ).

Again:
[quote:2zhslh2h][b:2zhslh2h]Merriam Webster:[/b:2zhslh2h]
Main Entry: whim·sy
Variant(s): also whim·sey ?hwim-z?, ?wim-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural whimsies also whimseys
Etymology: irregular from whim-wham
Date: 1605
1 : whim, [b:2zhslh2h]caprice[/b:2zhslh2h]
2 : the quality or state of being whimsical or fanciful <the designer's new line showed a touch of whimsy>
3 :[b:2zhslh2h] a fanciful or fantastic device, object, or creation especially in writing or art[/b:2zhslh2h][/quote:2zhslh2h]

And:
[quote:2zhslh2h][b:2zhslh2h]Merriam Webster:[/b:2zhslh2h]
Main Entry: ca·pri·cious
Pronunciation: k?-?pri-sh?s, -?pr?-
Function: adjective
Date: 1601
: governed or characterized by caprice : impulsive, unpredictable[/quote:2zhslh2h]

So you see we are not in disagreement about The Hobbit at all, and the definitions of Whimsy speak for themselves.

To quote Myself again Odo: "It is true that some definitions of Whimsy also include the terms "light", but nearly always in conjunction with "humour", and "Fancy", "Fantastic", or "Capricious". The humour involved in Whimsy need not necessarily be "light" though, it can also be "dark", or satirical (which is Terry Gilliam's stock in trade)."

[b:2zhslh2h]GB[/b:2zhslh2h]
We do agree GB! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />

The Hobbit is never [i:1onjuuf0]whimsical [/i:1onjuuf0]after all! :geek:
[quote="Odo Banks":p48vkcpc]We do agree GB! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />

The Hobbit is never [i:p48vkcpc]whimsical [/i:p48vkcpc]after all! :geek:[/quote:p48vkcpc]

*Rips hair out.*

:ugeek:
[img:3jx6z1ib]http://www.leakylounge.com/style_emoticons/default/headdesk.gif[/img:3jx6z1ib]

Now you're just being Obstinate :roll: .

You know I'm right about the term and it's applications, but simply refuse to admit it :P .

[b:3jx6z1ib]GB[/b:3jx6z1ib]
wow this blew up out of nowhere- when I originally queried your use of the word GB it was because I was not sure if you meant it in the sense of light-hearted, a bit silly. Clearly you meant it in its fuller meaning though.
It wouldn't be my choice of word to describe TH but its a perfectly valid way to do so, sorry Odo but I think the Beard has you on this one. So long as you don't (as I did) assume whimsy to be somehow frivolous of nature or light-hearted its an ok word to apply.
Huh? Maybe I missed something! :? Okay, I'll read back through the posts on this thread and see what you guys mean... I'm not obstinate generally, but neither will I promise anything...
Below is what a quick Google check found me.

whim•sy
? ???w?m zi,?w?m-Show Spelled[hwim-zee, wim-] Show IPA
–noun, plural -sies.
1.
capricious humor or disposition; extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression: a play with lots of whimsy.
2.
an odd or fanciful notion.
3.
anything odd or fanciful; a product of playful or capricious fancy: a whimsy from an otherwise thoughtful writer.

fan•ci•ful
? ??fæn s? f?lShow Spelled[fan-si-fuh l] Show IPA
–adjective
1.
characterized by or showing fancy; capricious or whimsical in appearance: a fanciful design of butterflies and flowers.
2.
suggested by fancy; imaginary; unreal: fanciful lands of romance.
3.
led by fancy rather than by reason and experience; whimsical: a fanciful mind.

ca•pri•cious
? ?k??pr?? ?s,-?pri ??sShow Spelled[kuh-prish-uh s, -pree-shuh s] Show IPA
–adjective
1.
subject to, led by, or indicative of caprice or whim; erratic: He's such a capricious boss I never know how he'll react.
2.
Obsolete . fanciful or witty.



[b:2d6lkusm]Okay - how is The Hobbit in any way like any of the above? Please choose ONE EXAMPLE we can focus on. [/b:2d6lkusm]
I've had a thought: do you guys think the Lord of the Rings is whimsical? If you do, then perhaps I might have an idea where you guys are coming from. BTW I think Tom Bombadil's songs are whimsical, according to my understanding of the word.
MMM- this is one of those tricky ones. Whimsy as GB seems to have meant it in his original post (and as applying to the directors he listed) would seem to be fine- but Odo the definitions you give above are the very thoughts I originally had and which prompted me to ask GB for a clarification of whimsy in the first place. If that is the definition as you give above then I'd have to say TH is not whimsical. But if I take GB's earlier definition, of a type of fantastical humour that can also be dark then it does! I'm confused now! :?
How are the definitions above any different from the definitions I also found using Google Odo? :roll: They are ALL SAYING THE SAME THING THAT I SAID :x [b:4jsz006e]!!![/b:4jsz006e] What is wrong with your reading comprehension? :P The very first definition includes "Capricious", "Humour", "Fanciful" (another word for Fantastic or Fantasy or Surreal), ALL the key elements of Whimsy that I have been hammering on from the VERY START.

The Hobbit fulfills every definition of Whimsy there is on any number of levels. Just because SOME people think Whimsy means NONSENSE, doesn't mean they are right. Any Fantasy with Humourous Elements, "light" or "dark" or otherwise, fulfills the definition of Whimsy. NONE of the definitions contain the word Nonsense, which is how many people incorrectly interpret Whimsy.

Tom Bombadil is a Whimsical element in an otherwise Serious, Earnest Work, i.e."a whimsy from an otherwise thoughtful writer." YOU [b:4jsz006e]ODO[/b:4jsz006e] have argued AGAINST LotRizing The Hobbit, i.e. eliminating the Whimsy. Tolkien himself regretted that he had written The Hobbit in such a Whimsical Manner (and as YOU yourself have said Odo, he was WRONG to have such regrets).

Let's go back to Bilbo meeting the Dwarves and dealing with their belligerent antics. The Whimsy is apparent BOTH to the reader AND to Bilbo. Out of the Blue, seemingly [b:4jsz006e]Unpredictably[/b:4jsz006e], Capriciously a bunch of Fantasy Dwarves with Colourful Beards (Tolkien never specifies that the Beards AREN'T Garish, that is purely our own conjecture which we all agreed would make The Hobbit film seem less "Disney"Wink Smilie arrive in Pairs. Once there, the Dwarves, on a WHIM, Capriciously and Belligerently attack Bilbo's Crockery and Start Singing about it. :lol:

Now I ask you, if a bunch of Dwarves, straight out of a Fairy Tale, with Colourful Beards suddenly appeared in YOUR Middle Class Kitchen, Singing Loudly, and tossing around YOUR Dishes, would that not seem ENTIRELY [b:4jsz006e]ODD, FANCIFUL, CAPRICIOUS, PLAYFUL, SURREAL and WHIMSICAL????????????[/b:4jsz006e] :P

Of COURSE it would. You wouldn't be able to believe your eyes. :shock: You'd think...you'd desperately HOPE (as Bilbo no doubt did)...that it was all some sort of bizarre dream.

Please, post some more definitions of Whimsy :mrgreen: , you've dug a hole SO deep for yourself you'll only get out by owning up at this point.

[b:4jsz006e]GB[/b:4jsz006e]
Oh you with your will to tease and dominate and your superior attitude! :x

:x [quote="Gandalfs Beard":1dpxiucs]How are the definitions above any different from the definitions I also found using Google Odo? They are ALL SAYING THE SAME THING THAT I SAID !!! What is wrong with your reading comprehension? The very first definition includes "Capricious", "Humour", "Fanciful" (another word for Fantastic or Fantasy or Surreal), ALL the key elements of Whimsy that I have been hammering on from the VERY START. [/quote:1dpxiucs]

Yes, I picked out the [i:1dpxiucs]same things [/i:1dpxiucs]you did pretty much. Not to dispute what you presented, but to go over what you were saying, find out how the definitions affected our arguments. Where is there then any suggestion of "Light" or "Dark" whimsy? My point about Tom Bombadil's is apt - to my undertsanding of 'whimsy." Those songs are light, good spirited and not terribly serious in any facet.

Is winning an argument all you care about, GB? :x The Truth is the only loser if your methods of teasing, brow-beating and colourful insulting become the Tools of the so-called Learned! (Me, I would never do anything like that!)

I can see the comical in The Hobbit, the funny aspects et al, but I never thought of the beards being garish. Their arrival was unexpected for Bilbo, but carefully planned. Gandalf carefully chose his man (hobbit) for the job. Maybe having been brought up on the whimsical lollipop cartoons of Disney, GB, you can't think of beards in any other way - perhaps your Disney-drugged imagination can't see Realistic Aspects anymore. I suppose a blue-furred cat would be garish, not deep black with a bluish sheen, "Oh no, no...! Cats are white, brown or black or ginger!" I hear you cry from the Mountain Top. (I can't imagine what kind of outlandish outburst you'd make if you saw a purple cat - or a pink one! :x )

[quote="Gandalfs Beard":1dpxiucs]Of COURSE it would. You wouldn't be able to believe your eyes. You'd think...you'd desperately HOPE (as Bilbo no doubt did)...that it was all some sort of bizarre dream.[/quote:1dpxiucs]

I suppose you'd think the same way if a knife wielding crazed murderer rushed into your house (unexpectedly, of course - and possibly with an untrimmed red beard)... Ahh! Now I get it! "Dark" whimsy! :idea:

[quote="Gandalfs Beard":1dpxiucs]Please, post some more definitions of Whimsy , you've dug a hole SO deep for yourself you'll only get out by owning up at this point. [/quote:1dpxiucs]

What a big bully you are, GB! Oh what an arrogant thing to say! Your brutish vicious put-down manner (while kind of sexy) does undermine the whole atmosphere of this Thread, which was meant to be the Haunt of Clear Thinkers, The Polite, and The Respectable! (Big bully!)

Poor violent deluded GB. One can read books and quote texts until one is blue in the face (and long in the beard) but you still need to apply clarity of thought and breadth of understanding if you wish to discuss important things with [i:1dpxiucs]Mature [/i:1dpxiucs]Hobbit Fans. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> I guess this why you use such a brutal in-your-face debating method. The "Might is Right" attitude! You know you can't win using the Pure Power of Reason, so you employ bully-boy tactics! Mr Tyrant and Durin are clearly frightened of you, to judge from their wishywashy responses on this - they agree with me but fear you and your rapier sharp tongue spruiking all it's violent nastiness, and so are too scared to Come Out, so to speak! You should be ashamed of your forceful, arrogant and threatening behavior, GB (no mater how sexually appealing it might be)!

I preferred this Forum when things were more whimsical and less darkly threateningly whimsical.. sigh...
Oh Please! :roll: Spare me the Histrionics! You can't pull out the Victim Card after all the Threads Worth of "Liberal"-bashing! [img:fd13xlvp]http://l.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/24.gif[/img:fd13xlvp]

If that's all you've got... I rest my case. :mrgreen:

[b:fd13xlvp]GB[/b:fd13xlvp]
I still think my interpetation is the correct one - The Hobbit per se is not a work of [i:e8gxzjxi]whimsy[/i:e8gxzjxi]! Though some of the characters show a whimsical side to their nature here and there. They are CHARACTERS! The book itself is an adventure - like LotR - which, I grant is more often amusing than LotR. It is not a whimsical work in the true sense of the word. It is a deeply resonating piece of fiction and damn good yarn to boot!

Also I find your unwillingness to even re-examine your own arguments or confront the points I make in a analytic manner very [i:e8gxzjxi]revealing[/i:e8gxzjxi] of your method, GB. Yes, if you can't defend your case, go the man. You want to win a debate, not broaden your perspectives! Tush! Shame on you! (((((Bloody Liberals!)))))

Mmm.... I wonder whose side you would have taken over Galileo's Theories...? The Lazy Intellectual Simple-minded view,or the Hard Mental Effort Scientific view? :? I might be on to something here. :geek:
I am quite lost though admittedly very amused by all this banter about the word whimsy. Guys, what was the original point of the discussion? This seemed the best place to ask the question.
It all started because Odo didn't like my use of the word Whimsy to describe some aspects of the Hobbit. Then I defined my terms. Odo still didn't like it. Then I proved my point by posting the dictionary definitions and giving examples. Odo then obstinately has refused to concede the point. :lol:

The funny thing is, Odo and I actually agree when it comes to how we think Tolkien wrote the book. Odo just can't stand it that I was correct in my application of the word Whmsy. :roll:

[b:30n3cp1d]GB[/b:30n3cp1d]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":2y45g98t]It all started because Odo didn't like my use of the word Whimsy to describe some aspects of the Hobbit.[/quote:2y45g98t]

As best I can gather, Odo does not seem to be disputing the idea that Tolkien used whimsy. He seems to think you are saying the whole book is whimsical. Is that right? :?

[quote="Gandalfs Beard":2y45g98t]Odo just can't stand it that I was correct in my application of the word Whmsy.[/quote:2y45g98t]
This seems to me a question of [i:2y45g98t]where[/i:2y45g98t] you apply it, GB, not that it is [i:2y45g98t]actually [/i:2y45g98t]applied. Sorry to seem to be in a sense siding with Odo here, GB, I'm not really, but I am posing questions so as to seek some clarity about your discussion.

I guess you're not helping, Odo! :x I sometimes think you are more interested in being cheeky than you are in having, dare I say, an 'analytcal' discussion. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />

[quote="Gandalfs Beard":2y45g98t]Odo then obstinately has refused to concede the point.[/quote:2y45g98t]

I would sincerely like to know what the point is! :lol:
At last! Someone with commonsense! <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> The point is, Jane, Gandalf is suggesting The Hobbit is a whimsical book - dripping page after page with whimsy. Funnily enough, LotR is not full of whimsy - according to HIM! :roll: I just don't get HIS point! :x He said whimsy was the same as fancy - so then, if we were to follow his reasoning,[size=150:ka5kqs9o] all [/size:ka5kqs9o]fantasy is by that token whimsy!
Is Gandalfs Beard really saying that, Odo?
Yes... :?
I'm a bit exhausted now Jane. :lol: I would just be repeating myself at this point.

But if you read carefully through the posts on this thread, I think my position is quite clear.

Is [i:1n1z5c5v]everything[/i:1n1z5c5v] in the Hobbit Whimsy? Not at all, but quite a lot of it IS Whimsical. It's not that Tolkien himself wrote the book without care and forethought, interjecting random things without rhyme or reason. I concur 100% with Odo on that score. But just because the BASIS for a story is rooted in Myth and Scholarship, doesn't mean that end result is not Whimsical. Indeed it is carefully crafted to APPEAR Whimsical.

Terry Gilliam puts a lot of thought into his films, but they are designed to appear as if they are effortlessly Whimsical. One of the primary definitions of Whimsy is a Fantastical, Odd, or Fanciful concept or image that also evokes humour as it appears in Art and Literature. The Hobbit has that in spades. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />

[b:1n1z5c5v]GB[/b:1n1z5c5v]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":7vns3nvi]Terry Gilliam puts a lot of thought into his films, but they are designed to appear as if they are effortlessly Whimsical. One of the primary definitions of Whimsy is a Fantastical, Odd, or Fanciful concept or image that also evokes humour as it appears in Art and Literature. The Hobbit has that in spades.[/quote:7vns3nvi]

So what you say about TH can equally be said about LotR then, can it?
No, not overall, because it is designed to be (and reads as) a Serious Epic. But LotR did have a few Whimsical elements, most notably Tom Bombadil.

[b:2d6sm1vv]GB[/b:2d6sm1vv]
That is utter rubbish, GB! One may be lighter and more consistently humourousthan the other, but the whimsy (by YOUR definition, not mine) runs strongly through both.The Hobbit isn't an epic? :lol: The LotR isn't filled with the fanciful? Oh fiddlydee! :roll: We do love your whimsical ways. Yes we do! Dear old sillly billy, GB. :lol:
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