Session 3 Summary

Tony Meade

New Member

The Long-Expected Party itself was not the point of having the party; it was to give up the Ring.
  • Bilbo is the only person ever to give up the Ring willingly after claiming it for himself.
  • Sam also gave up the Ring, but he also did not claim ownership it.
  • Note: Only the family dinner party sees the disappearance. The rest of the Hobbits go on with the party as normal.
Bilbo in Bag End:
  • Chapter 1 of The Lord of the Rings is carefully paralleling Chapter 1 of The Hobbit.
  • The green hood and the sword are examples of what we would now call “fan service”, referring to artifacts from The Hobbit, for readers of that book.
  • It’s important that Bilbo has not only preserved these things but kept them to be used.
  • Bilbo has prepared all the relics of his old adventure in advance to go on his new adventure.
  • The Ring is being singled out as the one thing being left behind.
Bilbo and Gandalf’s conversation:
  • Why does Gandalf make a flash appear when Bilbo puts on the Ring?
  • Bilbo wanted to disappear and let them see the magic. The flash makes it looks like just an illusion or parlor trick. If real magic is suspected, the flash will make them attribute it to Gandalf and not Bilbo.
  • Gandalf is drawing suspicion to himself and away from the Shire and the Hobbits. Gandalf is also protecting Bilbo’s legacy and memory among the Hobbits. Gandalf is playing the long game.
  • Bilbo is annoyed by the interference but accepts Gandalf’s wisdom. Gandalf emphasizes the wisdom of keeping the Ring secret but doesn’t mention anything more ominous about it.
The statement “I’m glad to find you visible” could have a double meaning.
  • Is Gandalf suggesting that Bilbo might not take off the Ring again, or might be fading permanently?
  • Gandalf seems to be implying discomfort with Bilbo’s invisibility in general.
  • Gandalf seems to doubt if Bilbo intends to complete the plan of leaving (and giving the Ring away).
How is Bilbo feeling right now?
  • Bilbo is absolutely sure about leaving the Shire for good.
  • Bilbo is yearning for the mountains now, but he was afraid of them in The Hobbit.
  • Bilbo scoffs at being called “well-preserved”. He feels old, and definitely changed, despite appearances.
  • The bread and butter are a very Hobbitish metaphor. (“Preserves” might also be part of that metaphor.) Bilbo compares himself to the butter, and time/life is the bread.
  • In The Hobbit, he longed for home. Now, he longs to leave home.
  • Bilbo knows that something isn’t right, but he doesn’t connect it to the Ring, only to himself and his age. Gandalf acknowledges that his concern is valid.
Gandalf’s observations:
  • The second “no” in Gandalf’s acknowledgement seems to be him clarifying his thoughts.
  • This implies that he possible thought Bilbo’s plan was bad, but he’s now changed his mind.
  • Gandalf may have initially resisted Bilbo leaving the Shire, as he would be out of sight.
  • Gandalf could also be worried that Bilbo might run off into the wild with no plan.
  • This conversation heavily implies previous discussions on this topic.
Gandalf and the Ring:
  • Gandalf first mentions the Ring only when Bilbo reveals that he’s left everything to Frodo.
  • Bilbo’s resistance to leaving the Ring behind is the first indication that the Ring is having some kind of effect on Bilbo. It’s also troubling that he doesn’t remember keeping it.
  • The “gleam” in Gandalf’s eyes shows this is significant, but Gandalf is not letting on why.
  • Gandalf is being deliberately gentle in his attempt to influence Bilbo to leave the Ring behind. This is at odds with Gandalf’s usual way of interacting with Bilbo.
Bilbo’s self-reflections:
  • He acknowledges the oddness of his forgetting that the Ring was in his pocket.
  • He recognizes his own ambivalence about leaving the Ring behind.
  • He starts off by lumping the Ring in with the other artifacts of his journey.
  • Bilbo now moves to suspicion and annoyance with Gandalf. Gandalf is now revealed to have been thinking and talking about the Ring throughout this conversation.
Gandalf and Bilbo’s confrontation begins:
  • Gandalf mentions Bilbo’s lie in the original story about how he acquired the Ring.
  • He also feels a need to defend his interest in the Ring as innocent.
  • He encourages Bilbo to leave the Ring as it is no longer needed.
Bilbo escalates the argument:
  • The first red flag appears when Bilbo gets angry at Gandalf for asking questions.
  • Bilbo immediately begins to justify his ownership of the Ring.
  • His words echo Gollum’s, up to calling it his “precious”. This is the danger zone.
  • Gandalf never questioned Bilbo’s ownership. This is all Bilbo’s reaction.
  • Gandalf is still attempting to placate Bilbo, while Bilbo continues to become more defensive and hostile.
Gandalf acts to save Bilbo:
  • Gandalf attempts to reason with Bilbo by pointing out that he sounds like Gollum.
  • Bilbo takes this as another challenge to ownership and rationalizes his words.
  • Gandalf changes his approach, becoming stern and direct, though gently.
  • Gandalf advocates directly for leaving the Ring behind, emphasizing the danger to Bilbo.
  • Gandalf uses his height and voice to take a position of authority over Bilbo.
Gandalf puts forth his power:
  • He emphasizes all the reasons Bilbo had given for leaving and encourages him to remember those as reasons for leaving the Ring behind.
  • Gandalf first attempts to increase the benevolence of his position. He tries to get Bilbo to do as he asks as a favor to a friend, and to keep his promises.
  • Bilbo’s move toward possible violence towards Gandalf are protective of the Ring. He assumes that Gandalf is making a move to take the Ring from him.
  • Gandalf’s display of power and threat of revealing his true nature is the moment of Gandalf finally putting forth his will to overcome the Ring’s influence over Bilbo.
  • Gandalf acts with authority and out of necessity, not anger. He’s also showing restraint.
  • The use of “uncloaked” and speaking of himself in the third person shows that Gandalf’s image among the Hobbits is just a façade and that he is something much greater and more important.
Bilbo is freed:
  • Bilbo relaxes after Gandalf’s display, and becomes less aggressive and more pleading.
  • He is still obsessed about ownership but looks to Gandalf for confirmation.
  • Bilbo finally comes back to himself and acknowledges the effects of the Ring without fully understanding them, including the “eye”.
  • Bilbo can feel the hold of the Ring, and Gandalf’s act is to break that hold.
  • Bilbo recognizes that there is another will at work in the effect of the Ring.
  • Gandalf once again puts forth his will in using the imperatives.
Back to normal:
  • Gandalf begins teasing Bilbo again, which is their usual way of speaking to each other.
  • Bilbo comes back to his original plan and begins to act like himself again.
  • Bilbo’s acknowledgement of his forgetting to leave his other documents along with the Ring shows how integral the leaving of the Ring was to his whole plan.
  • The final spasm of anger and the involuntary movement of his hand shows that this is a final flash of the effect of the external will on him.
  • Bilbo has genuinely chosen to leave the Ring behind, so he offers it Gandalf as means to do this.
  • Gandalf refuses the Ring, but picks up the envelope after it falls, and in doing this helps Bilbo to give it up for good.
  • Bilbo is relieved immediately after the final flash of anger. He’s back to normal.