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How come in TFOTR there is a talking fox. Since when did foxes talk, even in Tolkien? 

Where did you find the fox?In the movie?I don't recall any speaking animals from LotR.

Perhaps it was a nod to his friend C S Lewis.

The fox didn't actually speak in the book if I recall correctly, but the storyteller delves into what it's thinking... a nice enough device among tale-tellers, I think.

Generally there are speaking beasts in Tolkien's Subcreated World of course, but that's a different matter.


I agree with Galin, but there are quite a few beasts which speak in Middle Earth.


There was Huan, the Eagles, the Horse Of Eol the Young, the Ravens of The Lonely Mountain, Smaug and Glauraung and possibly other dragons etc... Big Smile Smilie

.....and then came Cheesey's fox Big Smile Smilie

To me, on the one hand, it seems rather absurd to include talking animals into such a powerful and  harsh world as it were, a world like ours with dreadful realities where life comes and goes as quickly and violently as any world war we have ever known as mortals here on earth. On the other hand, the time period lends itself to the ages of strange and wierd happenings, such as alchemy and shape shifting and other dark or occultic things known on this earth. I keep changing my mind as to what I feel abot it.

Unless my memory has completely abandoned me, the fox didn't actually speak. It was just his mental thought written in spoken form (i.e. quotes).

However, there are many instances of speaking animals other than those already mentioned. The bird at the lonely mountain for instance (Roac I think?), indeed the crebain and the other bird-spies must have been able to communicate somehow also. In fact, isn't one of the abilities of Radagast to speak with most living things?

What was the type of bird that told the man of Dale where to aim to kill Smaug? Was it a thrush or something?

Yes, the thrush was in league with Ro├Ąc.    

Yes...the story gave us insight into the Fox's mental processes; he came across the three hobbits asleep under a tree...I am quoting from memory now....."A fox passing through the wood on business of his own, stopped and sniffed several times..."Hobbits!!....well, i have heard of strange doings in this land...but I never heard of a hobbit sleeping outdoors under a tree!!...three of them!!...there's something might strange behind this...." "He was quite right , but he never found out any more about it"

It is these little touches that make the story so special.......

It seems that Tolkien grants certain language powers to certain characters in all of his books.  Bards ability to understand the Thrush was inherited through his relation to the Men of Dale, who of old along with the Dwarves had the power to understand some of the birds around the lonely mountain.  Crows, Ravens etc are very intelligent birds and some in real life can talk or at least mimic our languages.  Its interesting that the Thrush is described as a giant Thrush...  Perhaps these rather intelligent animal character are somehow inhabited by good spirits or low ranking maia in some way.  Kind of the Wargs and Werewolves are inhabited by those who attached themselves to Melkor in the beginning.  The thrush is not talking in Westron or a discernable Man language, we know this as Bilbo can only hear a series of tweets and chirps.  I find these language cross overs very interesting.  Another example is the Elves ability to understand their horses.

And then there is Treebeard, I know he is a shepherd of the trees but one simply has to allow for foxes and eagles and thrushes if one allows for Treebeard

Yes, Brego,LeeLee, i think you are right...oh , and don't forget the Eagles in the Hobbit talk to Bilbo & The Dwarves....."don't pinch so, it is a fair morning, with a fine wind...what could be better than flying ?"..ha, ha...i love that...oh , and "may your eyries receive you at journey's end....."

oh, The Eagles are so cool......

I always imagined the Eagles speech was more like a psychic speach that you (or Bilbo) can hear without the Eagles having to mouth the words, which I think would look very Disney and not very desirable.

Oh, I see what you mean, Brego...mmm, you could be right there...kind of psychic speech...I wonder how they will it do it in the Hobbit movie...??

It's interesting to note that many more creatures speak in the Hobbit than they do in LotR - you wouldn't catch the cave troll in Moria speaking like the ones around the campfire in Trollshaws. The same could be applied to Shelob, who was depicted more like a very large tarantula in LotR with about the same amount of intelligence, while the spiders in Mirkwood argued about when they should eat the dwarves. Even the Eagles in LotR don't speak at all, but they do in the Hobbit.

Is this perhaps because LotR is more for adults, or some other reason?

I think your correct Fornad, at least in the fact that LOTRs is much more adult and less fairytale than The Hobbit.  I think that PJ will have to enable the Trolls to speak in The Hobbit, perhaps he will achieve this by altering them slightly in appearance and intelligence as these are Stone Trolls not Cave Trolls or Olog Hai like in the LOTR's.  Also just because we didn't hear them speak in TLOTR's doesn't mean they cant speak.  Sauron's Trolls would have spoken the Black Speech and not Westron anyway.  In the Hobbit they are at least speaking a language that Bilbo and the Dwarves can understand meaning it must be Westron.

I think PJ will have a similar problem with the Mountain Wolves (Wargs)  they speak in The Hobbit but didn't in the LOTR's.

I think Gwaehir at least seems to speak in The Lord of the Rings... doesn't he 'say' something to Gandalf, according to Gandalf, upon his rescue from Orthanc?

Yes....he does indeed , Galin..quoting from memory again.....gandalf says "Ever I am fated to be a burden to you, my friend"

"A burden you were, but no longer; you are so light, were I to let you go, i think you would float upon the wind...."

"Do not let me go; how far can you bear me ?"

"Many leagues, but not to the end of the earth"

"Then take me to Lothlorien...."

"That indeed was the command of Lady Galadriel, who sent me..."

Something like that, i think....?

Well you know I wouldn't like it if they were all talking in their minds.I really would want the eagles to turning around and reassuring dear Bilbo and tell him "Don't pinch"Smile Smilie

I want everthing to speak because only then will it be a magic fable.Re-reading The Hobbit after ten years I realize how much of a difference in style,in tone,in narration is there between the LotR and The Hobbit.We shouldn't be comparing the two books because when you read the two books you understand the different age groups for which they are targeted(most of us "adults" here are exceptionsBig Smile Smilie)

I don't think Beorn's animais spoke in the book but it would be fun if they didSmile Smilie

I agree , Odette, I dont have a problem with talking animals; but then i spent my childhood reading the Narnia books!!...ha, ha....well, in the films it depends how it is done, I am sure they will do it brilliantly...oh ,,,I can't wait for the Hobbit...ticking down the,,oh dear, I need to get a life...!!

i have some Aboriginal friends and they have no problems taking a walk in  the forest and sitting down and talking to the river or the trees and expecting answers. If things are done in a tasteful non silly way. and the talking has a point and there is enough of the mystic in the situation, and by that I do NOT mean occult, witchcraft or weird magic, but the possible thought that at one time ages and ages ago in innocence many things could communicate in this world, well then I have no problems with it.

Oi! I  don't have any problems with talking animals especially if they're animated like Bambi or giving lip service like Mr Ed but.... there is a talking purse in The Hobbit.

Ah Withy.Smile Smilie  And you are quite wrong there, it is not a talking purse, only talking capes. If it does turn out anything like Bambi( I am still scarred emotionally) or Talking Mr. Ed. I am heading for Lothlorien, climbing up my flet and never ever coming back down.

I think the purse does say something Leelee : to quote from Tolkiens The Hobbit as Bilbo carefully lifted the purse out of William Troll's pocket.

"Ere, 'oo are you?" it squeaked, as it left the pocket.

If that ain't talking, I don't know what is?

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that talking purse, and William, Bert and Tom, are in the movies, though I'm not optimistic. 

It has to be in, it is how Bilbo gets caught! And its so funny.

Plus it says something about peer pressure, he only decides to do it to prove to the Dwarves he is a burglar and not useless. And it says something about Bilbo, it might be from a smelly troll but it is still stealing, and he gets caught doing it and very nearly harshly punished for it.

And the trolls have to talk, the conversation they have with Bilbo is brilliant "What's a burrahobbit?"

You have given me confidence, Pretty. I'm sure now that these beloved charatcers (and their oracular purse) will be in the movies. Hurrah!

Withy, you are absolutely right, I had forgot. Well done. Do you think that those who have not read the books but love the movies would stand for it though? I mean to them it is one thrilling fight after another and to have the occasional purse or troll or what not talking, would they accept that. For some reason the word purse makes me think instantly of one my little one got at a trendy chidren's toy store, robin's egg blue and adorned with beading. That would be the limit!

It saddens me to think Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is being used as a marketing tool to get folk in through the door, but not for it's actual content. I felt the same about LotR too.  

Of course they are, and I am sure our professor's heart would be wounded and he would be good and angry over it.

Also I think it reads "and the fox said to himself 2 Hobbits how queer!"  or something to that effect.  The fact that he says it to himself does not infer that he or she can actually speak our language....

This is from memory, I could be wrong.

The passage Brego is referring can be found in the LOTR The Fellowship of the Rings, Chapter three.  Fox is musing over the hobbits sleeping under a tree. 

 When Bilbo touched the purse the books goes further to say  'There was a purse in it as big as a bag to Bilbo'. The thought I got about the purse was as a handbag.  This could be a small satchel like wallet.

The Hobbit is a book of humour. There is dark and light humour, ironic and sarcastic, silly humour and the trolls is part of that humour.  It will be interesting to see how Tom, Will and Bert are protrayed in the screen adaption.  There is more verbal confrontion rather than contact.

People who love movies shouldn't have a problem with this 

The question for me is, will PJ dare depict the scene with "personalized" trolls? I fear the talking purse will be too much for him. 

On previous form I cannot see PJ doing it with talking trolls and purses. He did not even have talking Eagles in LotR's. Gandalf has a conversation with Gwahir in the book when he is rescued from Orthanc that PJ excised, as well as the eagle messenger sent to take news of the fall of Sauron to Minas Tirith.

I think we will be lucky to get talking trolls, or ones that do much ore than grunt or utter sentences of two words or less, never mind a talking purse.


And of course if he does remove these seemingly more childish elements he will yet again have shown he has no understanding of the work at all, or why so many of us cherish it.

PJ has his own marketing ideas. He'll use some of Tolkiens ideas but really wants to make his own movie. This is a project to express his own imaginative ideas, the book itself is used as a marketing angle. He'll only keep in enough "Tolkien" to be able to ague it is an "adaptation." An old argument, I know Pretty. He did the same with the LotR movies. Funnily enough, whenever he stuck to the book, both word and atmosphere, he succeeded, and when he went off into his own imagination, he failed. Oh well....     

That is true Orwell, that is why I cannot think of Peter's work and Tolkien's work in the same connection. One is the real thing, the other is someone taking cool ideas and thought from another and using it for a totally different purpose, yet still calling it this and that because that way he wins on both levels, the Tolkien fans hungry for any thing that is a true depiction, the other is the fans that are wowed by the 'adaptations'

and do not feel the need to learn anything much about the real works of the professor. So I judge them as two oppositely differing works and I can get by on that I guess.