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How did Gandalf...

Sting99

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How did Gandalf know that Bilbo would play such big parts in the events involving the ring, the end of Smaug, and such? Did he just guess or what?
 

Gothmog

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There are probably two answers to this question. In the first writing of the Hobbit, there was no intent to carry on into Lord of the Rings and so he may well have guessed. But with the revision to make it fit with LotR it may be that Tolkien thought that Gandalf, who was a Maiar would have some ability to sense those who would play a part in his task. Although I doubt that he would have complete knowledge of who would do what. After all, Gandalf did not know for sure that Bilbo had the One Ring until he tested it in the fire of Bilbo's home.
Probably he would just have a feeling about someone that he met.
 

Rosie Cotton

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I don't really have anything to say that Gothmog didn't already say, just welcome to the forum Sting! :D
 
H

HAMFAST

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GREETINGS,


This being my first post, I'd really just like to say "hi," to everyone.

That said, I would like to point out that Gandalf's forsight in sending Bilbo on the adventure with the dwarves wasn't the last such premonition. He was also convinced of Gollum's importance in the upcoming task of the fellowship. I wouldn't think one would need to be clairvoyant as much as to be keenly aware of the simple fact that the wise "cannot see all ends." Such cautions should tend to focus one on the seemingly insignificant details and varibles that the "wise" constantly overlook. Afterall, this is exactly the hope on which all of Gandalf's plans were based when he sent Frodo into MOrdor.

thanks
 

Ancalagon

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Good-Day Master Hamfast and Master Sting99.

Gandalf seemed to enjoy meddling in the affairs of Hobbits long before most knew of their existence. It seems to me that his insight of these strange inhabitants of the Shire had a profound impact on his designs for middle-earth and it unwinding story. Having knew 'the stuff they are made of' he had decided that Bilbo needed a gentle push into adventure. Although he had no idea what his input may be, he probably felt the time for Bilbo to see the world outside the Shire was long overdue.
A gentleman of leisure with an adventurer trying to get out!

I imagine he saw the potential of Bilbo long before he decided to invite a party of Dwarves to his door. Likewise, he saw the potential in Frodo, but by that time, Frodo's fate had been sealed by the knowledge Gandlaf had of the ring.

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of time;
Some with massive deeds and great;
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

-Longfellow, The Builders
 

Tulkas

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To add to Gothmog's statement there is a passage in Unfinished Tales titled The Quest of Erebor. In it it says Gandalf had a forsight. You can read some more details on the situation if you like.
 

Tar-Steve

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I always thought it was simpler than that. The dwarves couldn't go on the road with 13 as their number and they had to get a 14th. They obviously didn't have a 14th dwarf to go with them. They were going to pass right through The Shire on their way East. Gandalf may have just set up the first healthy, single & unattached, Hobbit he could find ... preferably one with a little Took blood in him. Bilbo, being at his age and still single somewhat of an oddity, may have been the obvious choice from all of The Shire. And, ... Gandalf probably knew more about Bilbo than Bilbo himself did.
 
H

HAMFAST

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Gandalf's wisdom

Thanks to all for the words of welcome.

Tar-Steve,

Not that your point is invalid, yet I don't think Gandalf often let things go to "chance." Please don't ask me to quote the sources or the places that I'm thinking of here, because I can't and I don't have my books close at hand to check.

That said, I believe it is in the apendices of the Return of the King where Gandalf, in discussing his meeting with Thorin in Bree, almost with a mix of wry humor and implied sarcasm, calls the meeting one of "...chance, as we say in Bree."

I believe it is in the same place where Gandalf tells of his growing concern about Smaug and the role this drake could play in the hands of Sauron, or the Necromancer, as he was calling himself at the time. Without the time or even the resources to raise an army-- a course which (I believe) he clearly thinks has less chance of success than a plot of a much smaller scale, he wishes to find the Grand-son of the King under the mountain and use the desire for revenge and the growing weariness of being homeless as the motivation to convince Thorin that his time was approaching.

In all that plotting it seems rather certain to me that Gandalf also saw the approach of the time of the Halflings. I do not mean that He envisioned the role Bilbo would actually wind up playing in the greater events of the time-- namely, finding and 'bringing out' the One Ring, but it does seem clear that Gandalf saw much wasted potential lying about in the Shire.

Certainly, Bilbo was a very good candidate for an "adventure," as has been noted. But I'd bet Gandalf felt he would have found several likely candidates in the confines of the four farthings. After all, he had no intention of laying all of his cards on the table and coming right out and proposing that any hobbit, least of all Bilbo, actually sign up for an adventure. Rather his plan, executed quite proficiently, was to manipulate and embarass (sp) Bilbo into a situation in which he simply couldn't refuse. Even then Gandalf had to come remind the poor hobbit the next morning to hurry and make his appointment with the dwarves.

Sorry it's so long--- the question actually has more appeal to me than I first thought.
 

Greymantle

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Hamfast- just noticed your sig. I had that very thing (a direct quote) as my sig here for 150 posts, I think. Let me see if I can remember it...
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."
Something like that. :)

Note: This is the edited version. I had a couple words wrong, but this is the actual word-for-word quote.
 
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H

HAMFAST

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SIG

Greymantle,

Thanks for giving the whole quote. When I first wrote it I had it all screwed up and couldn't figure out how to fix it. I also swore I would look in "Fellowship" and get it exact, but had not done that either.

In all seriousness I think it is one of the most profound statements I've ever come across. I do not remember whether, on my first reading of "Fellowship" (over 20 years ago), I even noticed it then. I do remember the words, or some form of them coming when I was having a rather heated argument with some friends about the death penalty.

Thanks again for giving us the whole quote.

Hamfast
 

Greymantle

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Yes, it's a very appropriate quote. Unfortunately, quoting Tolkien hasn't changed any of my friends' minds regarding the death penalty... :rolleyes:
I'll look it up this evening to make sure I got all the words right..
 
H

HAMFAST

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Being pretty new here, don't know how far we can stray from the topic, but I will say that I think you've pretty much nailed the quote. There are implications to the quote that as I'm sitting here thinking about are very much the same as my feelings regarding Gandalf's premonition in this thread.

He says these words in reply to Frodo's horrified response to Gandalf's lament regarding gollum's "salvation." Frodo replies that gollum deserves death and not salvation.

In this response Gandalf is, once again, saying that we do not know all ends or outcomes and therefore we have no business making such weighty judgements.

Hamfast
 

Rosie Cotton

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Welcome Hamfast! :D Don't worry about straying from the original post topic, it happens on all the threads here sooner or later. :rolleyes: :D
 
H

HAMFAST

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Thanks Rosie,

I stumbled across this forum a few days ago and began posting without realling reading through any of the threads to see how things go here.

Thanks again.
 

Tulkas

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Yea I need to change my quote. Although mildly amusing it has nothing to do with LOTR.

Anyway, I encourage all of you to read that passage (if you haven't already). It is a big link to The Hobbit and LOTR.
 

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