Happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! On this day in 1401 S.R., Bilbo disappears at his "long-expected" 111th birthday party. 17 years later (1418 S.R.), Frodo is turning 50, and about to leave Bag End on a journey to destroy the Ring.

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(Reposted because of typos, yikes)

Today in 3018 (1418 S.R.): having escaped Orthanc just under a week ago, Gandalf is swiftly travelling west on Shadowfax, hoping to catch up with Frodo (who is taking the Ring east to Rivendell).

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Meanwhile in the Shire, Frodo, Sam, and Pippin hide from a Black Rider as they are hiking from Hobbiton to Buckland. In the evening, they encounter a company of Elves led by Gildor.

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(For those following along, this brings us to the end of book 1, chapter 3, "Three is Company".)

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Today in LOTR (Sept. 25, 3018): Frodo, Sam, & Pippin take a short cut across Farmer Maggot's land. He tells them a Black Rider has been by, and drives them to the ferry over the Brandywine River. (Book 1, chapter 4, "A Short Cut to Mushrooms")

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Merry meets them at the ferry, and they arrive at the new house, Crickhollow. After (2nd) dinner, Merry, Sam, & Pippin reveal they know all about Frodo's plans and the Ring, and are going to go with him. They will leave for Rivendell at dawn. (1.5, "A Conspiracy Unmasked")

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Today in LOTR (Sept 26, 3018): the hobbits leave Crickhollow and cut through the Old Forest on their way to Bree in order to avoid the East Road. They are ensnared by Old Man Willow and rescued by the jolly but enigmatic Tom Bombadil, who they stay with today and tomorrow.

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Once I read a review of King's Quest VI that criticized the tonal mismatch—like, there's an island that is Alice in Wonderland-themed, but there's also catacombs & the Land of the Dead. For me that's part of what made the game so magical. Tom Bombadil's kind of like that.

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In LOTR, this goofy fairytale shit exists alongside the Very Serious high fantasy mythos, and it's supposed to. At heart, this is not a "grimdark" world. That doesn't mean "happy"/"no one dies". It just means it's fundamentally *good*, like Tolkien believed our own world to be.

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Today in LOTR (Sept. 27, 3018): it's raining, so the hobbits stay at Tom Bombadil's. We learn about the Barrow-downs, which the hobbits will have to pass by to reach Bree, in this lovely little passage:

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Also, interestingly, Tom Bombadil does not turn invisible when he puts the Ring on. He can also see Frodo when he's invisible.

One of Elrond's people later says, "It seems he that he has a power even over the Ring." Gandalf: "Say rather that the Ring has no power over him."

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There's a lot of Theories about Tom Bombadil, who doesn't seem to fit neatly into Tolkien's cosmology. One of the wackiest is that he is Eru Ilúvatar (the "God" of Middle-Earth) himself. For more discussion, see the Encyclopedia of Arda:

glyphweb.com/arda/t/tombombadi

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Today in LOTR (Sept. 28, 3018): the hobbits get lost on the Barrow-downs and are captured by a Barrow-wight, but Tom Bombadil rescues them. They get some sick loot. (This brings us halfway through 1.8, "Fog on the Barrow-downs".)

Meanwhile, Gandalf has reached the Brandywine.

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By the way, I count 13 different songs/poems so far. (Not counting different iterations of "The road goes ever on and on".)

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Today in LOTR (Sept. 29, 3018): the hobbits arrive in Bree and stay at the the Prancing Pony, where they meet the mysterious Strider. The innkeeper gives Frodo a letter from Gandalf, meant to be sent back in June, telling him to leave ASAP. (1.9-1.10)

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Today in LOTR (Sept. 30, 3018): in the wee hours, Nazgûl attack the house at Crickhollow and, in Bree, the rooms the hobbits were supposed to be sleeping in. Strider and the hobbits manage to get a pony and leave Bree. Gandalf learns this when he reaches Bree in the evening.

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Some notes on today's section. This bit is probably a reference to when wolves entered Paris in 1420 over the frozen Seine: johnknifton.com/2016/02/14/the

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This chapter made a big impression on me when I first read it as a child of 11 or so, where a couple of suspicious characters are specifically described as "swarthy", "sallow" and "squinty" or with "sly, slanting eyes".

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So let's briefly talk about colour, race, the Middle Ages, racism, and Tolkien.

As you should already know, the concept of race as we know it has not always existed. As far as I know, it developed in the Modern era with the colonization of the Americas and Atlantic chattel slavery.

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But at the same time it did not appear out of nowhere. The conceptual framework was laid over centuries in medieval Europe. There's a LOT of scholarship on this already, as well as a lot of exciting new work happening under : acmrs.asu.edu/RaceB4Race

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@nev "Hey dol, merry dol, ring-a-ding-dillo"

New theory: Tom Bombadil is Ned Flanders (who is also jacked).

@nev one theory not addressed here that I just invented... is he the author?

@nev shit pitch: Tom Bombadil was Tolkien setting himself up a light comic spinoff series, much in the way of Frasier after Cheers!

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