The Bee Reads LOTR Episode 2: A Birthday In The Shire

From the heart of the Shire, through the depths of Moria, to the ends of Middle-Earth, it’s The Babylon Bee Reads The Lord Of The Rings! In this episode of The Babylon Bee Reads, Kyle and Dan dive into the book, beginning as most books do, in Chapter 1, with A Long Expected Party. There’s a birthday party of special magnificence, a place worth fighting for, and a wizard puttering down the road with fireworks. There’s something very wrong in Hobbiton though.

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Episode 2: A Long-Expected Party

  • Opening line: When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

  • The subtle magic of Middle-Earth: Bilbo is 111 years old. Frodo/Bilbo having same birthday. Theme of fate introduced.

  • The depiction of the Shire -- a foil for the rest of the adventure’s rising danger.

  • The Shire gives us a place worth fighting for.

  • Gandalf arrives -- we have an instigating event, a catalyst. (Kyle’s G rune tattoo mentioned). Fireworks! Such simple pleasures.

  • Foreshadowing of ill effects of Bilbo’s ring and treasure -- and Bilbo’s planned trick.

    • This chapter never managed to hook my older boys, but I wonder if I tried again at their ages -- 12 and 10 -- they would become interested. It’s a good hook. I suppose it helps if you’ve read The Hobbit. This may be the quintessential example of something where the previous book helps but is still absolutely unnecessary to read to understand.

  • The foreboding ending is perfect: “Frodo saw him to the door. He gave a final wave of his hand, and walked off at a surprising pace; but Frodo thought the old wizard looked unusually bent, almost as if he was carrying a great weight. The evening was closing in, and his cloaked figure quickly vanished into the twilight. Frodo did not see him again for a long time.”

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