A Tolkien Virgin: Chapter 5 - The Journey Continues
How much luck is really involved with finding Gollum's precious?
Chapter 5 - Riddles in the Dark
What a sad, twisted, creature Gollum is! I like how Tolkien writes so well that I felt, while reading, what Bilbo felt, pity mixed with revulsion and fear. I kind of wish Bilbo had killed Gollum, bringing a merciful end to his miserable existance. I thought that maybe Tolkien didn't have Bilbo kill Gollum because it is a children's book, but then a bunch of Goblins just got killed as well as fair white pony. Then I got to thinking that killing Gollum would've been too easy. It's far more complex/adult a story element to leave Gollum to an even more miserable existence than to slay him--maybe this isn't just a children's book. Then maybe I'm just reading too much into everything.
By the end of Riddles in the Dark, I can see how Bilbo may have an adventurer in him yet. His leap over Gollum and his escape from the Goblins, although aided by the ring, was more than that fat Bilbo from a few chapters back would have even dreamed...or even had nightmares about (okay so he's still fat, but still!)! Character development. I like that.
Now, I'm left wondering how he's ever going to meet up with the rest of his party...assuming that some of the Dwarves and Gandalf made it out alive.
Okay so there is no chapter titled "Luck" as far as I know, but I wanted to bring it up. You see, I'm not too crazy about how much the story has depended on luck at this point. I'm not going to pick on it too much, but here's a list:
Luckily Bilbo finds the key to the Trolls cave--luckily the key fell out of the Troll's pocket before the sun turned him (and ostensibly his clothing and everything in his pockets) to stone. Luckily, the Trolls had the two Goblin-slaying swords and a dagger for the party to discover. Luckily Elrond discovered the moon-letters on the map. Luckily it was exactly the right moon by which to see the moon-letters. Luckily Bilbo awoke from his dream in time to warn Gandalf of the Goblins. Luckily, Bilbo discovered the ring in total darkness. Luckily, Bilbo's new dagger glowed just enough for him to see by. Luckily, Bilbo answered the "time" riddle correctly. Luckily Golem accepted the challenge of Bilbo's accidental non-riddle. Luckily Bilbo put the ring on and discovered its effect. And last but not least, luckily Gollum led Bilbo to the way out.
Like I said I don't want to make a big deal out of it. I mean, it's just a fantasy story for children, right? But, let me just say that if Tolkien continues to rely on that much luck to make everything work out in the end, I'll be a little disappointed.
Okay, well, before I close let me just say that I'm really enjoying the Hobbit and I can't wait to see what happens next.
Till next time,