Bilbo’s longevity

Brandon Minich

New Member
I was recently reading through Chapter 1 of Fellowship again, which we obviously didn’t spend enough time on. I noticed that the way Bilbo is introduced is very interesting. Basically, the chapter introduces him by giving a brief overview of the fact that he went on an adventure that was written about previously. However, the first new information we get about Bilbo is, to quote the book, “And if that wasn’t enough for fame, there was his prolonged vigor to marvel at! Time wore on, but it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety-nine, they began to call him well-preserved; but unchanged would have been nearer the mark. There were some that shook their heads and thought this was too much of a good thing . . .”

The next paragraph has this: “’It will have to be paid for,‘ they said. ‘It isn’t natural, and trouble will come of it.’”.

I am struck by how the idea of Bilbo being long lived, and people thinking it unnatural is introduced almost immediately. I never realized this was a part of Fellowship from the very beginning, and that the book is priming you to see that something wrong connected to something Bilbo got from the Hobbit adventures is happening, and that this is going to be important. It’s a great bit of foreshadowing that is there planting a seed, even if you don’t realize it.
 

Kate Neville

Active Member
I was recently reading through Chapter 1 of Fellowship again, which we obviously didn’t spend enough time on. I noticed that the way Bilbo is introduced is very interesting. Basically, the chapter introduces him by giving a brief overview of the fact that he went on an adventure that was written about previously. However, the first new information we get about Bilbo is, to quote the book, “And if that wasn’t enough for fame, there was his prolonged vigor to marvel at! Time wore on, but it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety-nine, they began to call him well-preserved; but unchanged would have been nearer the mark. There were some that shook their heads and thought this was too much of a good thing . . .”

The next paragraph has this: “’It will have to be paid for,‘ they said. ‘It isn’t natural, and trouble will come of it.’”.

I am struck by how the idea of Bilbo being long lived, and people thinking it unnatural is introduced almost immediately. I never realized this was a part of Fellowship from the very beginning, and that the book is priming you to see that something wrong connected to something Bilbo got from the Hobbit adventures is happening, and that this is going to be important. It’s a great bit of foreshadowing that is there planting a seed, even if you don’t realize it.
I don't think it was so much his age (he is related to the Old Took, who lived to 131?), but the fact that he continues to look like, and have the energy of, a hobbit in his prime. Very Dorian Gray of him.
 

Brandon Minich

New Member
I don't think it was so much his age (he is related to the Old Took, who lived to 131?), but the fact that he continues to look like, and have the energy of, a hobbit in his prime. Very Dorian Gray of him.
Agreed. In his 90s is when they noticed he didn’t look older. And most Hobbits reached that age no problem.
 
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