The Hobbit, part six
Posted by: Sam Bosma
Book: The Hobbit
“Farewell!” they cried. “wherever you fare, till your eyries receive you at the journey’s end!”
Chapter VII: Queer Lodgings
After escaping the from the tunnels of the goblins and besting Gollum in a riddle contest, Bilbo and the dwarves arrive on the other side of the Misty Mountains. They are chased up some trees by a new troop of goblins, who then set the trees aflame. Just as the fire is about to consume the party, the lord of the eagles and his flock swoop down and save them. The eagles deposit Bilbo and the dwarves in their mountaintop eyrie before winging them away to the border of Mirkwood forest.
For me, this is one of the stranger parts of the story. In both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, the eagles sort of show up and then are gone. They seem a lot like deus ex machina in both stories, arriving at the nick of time to save our heroes when nothing else can. They rescue the party from a flaming copse of trees in this story and then pluck Frodo and Sam from the bowels of an erupting volcano at the end of Lord of the Rings. I have heard that Tolkien wrote these stories chapter to chapter without a real outline, and the inclusion of the eagles makes me wonder if that’s not true. It seems like in both instances he sort of wrote himself into a corner (or up a tree or into a volcano) with no way out but to fly.
Despite all that, I like the eagles a lot. They only do good in the stories but Tolkien is very careful to not make them cute. They are still giant raptors that steal livestock and might hunger for a hobbit-sized snack at any time. Bird of prey of any size are frightening
As always, visit my blog at http://sambosma.blogspot.com for more information about this piece and this project in general, as well as detail shots and notes about the process.