Did the Ring allow Bilbo to talk to the Mirkwood spiders?

Discussion in '"The Hobbit"' started by BalrogRingDestroyer, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    I don't think Shelob ever spoke in the book (though Gollum appeared to have some alliance with her, so maybe he at least figured out how to communicate with her), and I'm not sure if Ungoliant ever spoke to anyone but possibly Morgoth (who was a Valar and had near divine abilities, perhaps second only to Eru and maybe Manwe).

    The only one that I can recall hearing and understanding the spiders talk is Bilbo. Of note of interest is that not all the North Eastern creatures could be understandable to your average joe that knew just the Common Speech, as, though the language of the Wargs was translated for us, it appears that nobody in the company (maybe save Gandalf), understood exactly what they were saying.

    However, Bilbo DOES understand the spider children of Shelob. However, all of the time he is hearing and even talking to and taunting them, I believe, he is WEARING the Ring. (Could be wrong as I cannot recall every single word in that chapter.)

    So it's possible that the Ring gave him the ability to understand and talk to the Spiders of Mirkwood.
     
  2. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Member

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    That was how it worked in the movies. It made sense to me.

    I just finished a reread of The Hobbit, and I'm pretty sure Bilbo WAS wearing the ring whenever the spiders were understandable.
     

  3. Merroe

    Merroe Active Member

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    What we read in LotR is that the ringbearer's observation skills are improved. Two quick examples ("A Journey in the Dark"):

    "a deep uneasiness, growing to dread, crept over him again. Though he had been healed in Rivendell of the knife-stroke, that grim wound had not been without effect. His senses were sharper and more aware of things that could not be seen. One sign of change that he soon had noticed was that he could see more in the dark than any of his companions, save perhaps Gandalf. And he was in any case the bearer of the Ring: it hung upon its chain against his breast, and at whiles it seemed a heavy weight. He felt the certainty of evil ahead and of evil following; but he said nothing."

    "Yet Frodo began to hear, or to imagine that he heard, something else: like the faint fall of soft bare feet."

    It would therefore appear that the only help from the Ring would be to better hear whatever noises the spiders were making (even though this effect was attributed more to Frodo's past wound than to his Ring). But it is risky to carry conclusions made from LotR into the interpretation of TH since the latter was written long before the former existed.

    TH mentions different languages of the Wargs, of the thrushes and of Beorn's language to talk to his animals. Bilbo could understand none of these. Would that have changed, had Bilbo put his Ring on his finger? I am not aware of any reference that the Ring would make its bearer understand other languages, leave alone speaking languages, that he does not already know.

    I suppose therefore that in the case of the spiders, they were using the Common Speech!

    Who knows, ... Shelob might speak several languages, if you take into account all the different races she had been devouring! :confused:
     
  4. Valandil

    Valandil High King at Annuminas

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    Since The Hobbit was first written as a children's story, Bilbo being able to speak with and understand any creature necessary was just part of the package. But the Ring later becomes a very convenient reason for this... so I think, yes! Perhaps this even led to JRRT's mention that the Ring conveyed the ability to understand and converse with all sorts of evil creatures (however this was worded).
     
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