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Sam as Frodo's Garner

1stvermont

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Question on Sam as Frodo's garner. Was he paid for this service? did he do it for free? how did it come about?


thanks.
 

Olorgando

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Actually, Sam was Frodo's gardener. Does that come out as "garner" as spoken in the New England dialect(s)? It has been 44 years since I last was there …
"Garner", as per my Oxford E-G / G-E dictionary, is a verb meaning "to collect".
That's what S-eS meant a bit tongue-in-cheek, that Sam collected, meaning information about Frodo's plans for leaving the Shire, until Gandalf caught him doing so under the widow at which Gandalf was talking to Frodo in Chapter II "The Shadow of the Past" of Book One in "Fellowship", right near the end of the chapter.
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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Seriously, though, Sam had taken over from the Gaffer:
Who had taken over from Holman:

And yes, I'm sure all were paid, as Bilbo's father was described in The Hobbit, IIRC, as having been "immensely rich", long before Bilbo's adventure. Frodo, of course, inherited his wealth.

Interestingly, Ted Sandyman's dismissal of Bilbo and Frodo, "Ah, they're both cracked" came from an early draft in which Sam says he took over the gardening at Bag End "now that the Gaffer's getting older and a bit cracked in the knees" -- or words to that effect; I'm not near my library at the moment. That bit was later dropped.
 

Olorgando

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Squint-eyed Southerner

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Walk wide o' the widow at Windsor,
For 'alf o' Creation she owns;
We 'ave bought 'er the same,
with the sword an' the flame,
An' we've salted it down with our bones.


Kipling

:cool:
 
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Olorgando

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But to return to the core of 1stvermont's question:
... Was [Sam] paid for this service? ...
Without a doubt. But as to economic specifics, be they micro, macro or monetary, JRRT remained mostly silent.
We might assume that the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor minted coins, perhaps even had them minted by Dwarves (they would seem to be the "natural bankers" in Middle-earth - except that their tendency to hoard things might run counter to this assumption). But with Arnor and then Arthedain gone, that would seem to put a crimp on "money supply" outside of Gondor. I definitely do not see the Shire Hobbits running a mint! But then the Shire did not seem to have much "import / export" business before Sharkey's agents started buying pipe-weed. Barter would probably, in my guess, have been a major form of trade in the highly agricultural society of the Shire. The historical Bronze Age was the first to exhibit some really serious cross-border trading, at least in the eastern Mediterranean. It did last, by the best guesses I've read about, from maybe 3000 BC to about 1200 BC, which is quite a long time. But this was local beginnings (perhaps centered on the settlement that was later to be called Troy / Ilion) diffusing slowly outwards; the end was quite a sudden crash, though. And that age had not reached "coinage" yet, that honor apparently going to the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century BC.

So perhaps we M-e nerds would sigh that things certainly seem to have gone downhill since the beginning of the Fourth Age. Even the Shire Hobbits might have at least in rudiments been more advanced than ol' Croesus, living as he "did" in almost the last quarter of the Fifth Age … 🤔
 

Olorgando

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Walk wide o' the widow at Windsor,
For 'alf o' Creation she owns;
We 'ave bought 'er the same,
with the sword an' the flame,
An' we've salted it down with our bones.


Kipling

:cool:
This would be Lizzy II's great-great granny, I assume - and Charles's great3, William's (and Harry's) great4, and George's (etc.) great5 ...
 

grendel

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This makes me think of a couple of passages in Book I that had puzzled me...

"He [Frodo] suspected now that he had fallen in with a rascal, and he thought uncomfortably that he had brought only a little money with him." (Chapter 10, Strider)

"Bill Ferny's price was twelve silver pennies; and that was indeed at least three times the pony's value in those parts.... Mr. Butterbur paid for it himself, and offered Merry another eighteen pence as some compensation for the lost animals." (Chapter 11, A Knife In The Dark)

Other than vague references to gold and jools, and peoples' immense wealth, this is the only mention I remember about actual money in M-E. This is odd, because they must have had some financial system. To consider oneself wealthy, there has to be a means of comparing oneself to others who are more (or less) wealthy. I also remember when speaking about the party preparations, orders went out (around the Shire) for all sort of provisions... I assume they had to be paid for in some way? But I guess JRRT did not want to get bogged down in that sort of detail.
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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Right, when you start digging down, questions about the system arise. It's the same with the postal service -- who pays the postmen? Stamps? Who authorises and prints them? How are the Shirriffs hired and paid?

It's a problem with introducing the low-mimetic Shire into a romance: it allows us a comfortably familiar entry into an older literary world, but there's a sort of clash of cultures. Cervantes did a kind of mirror image of this, sending a man steeped in romance into the low-mimetic world. Don Quixote laments that "in a romance, no one asks who pays for the hero's lodging".

Fortunately, as we (and Frodo) travel, both literally and imaginatively, further into the romance world of Middle Earth, such anachronisms begin to recede from our minds and drop away.
 
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1stvermont

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I have a theory I am working on that is why I have asked this question and not put in my opinion and it will be presented later on. But in short, I am increasingly finding connections between the feudal system of medieval Europe and not just the shire, but most of middle earth. I think it explains why money is of little interest or importance in the shire. Money is really a more modern need and essential to life. Even in America going back before the war the South had little need of actual money, the land was wealth. Just like medieval Europe with the feudal system.
 

CirdanLinweilin

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I have a theory I am working on that is why I have asked this question and not put in my opinion and it will be presented later on. But in short, I am increasingly finding connections between the feudal system of medieval Europe and not just the shire, but most of middle earth. I think it explains why money is of little interest or importance in the shire. Money is really a more modern need and essential to life. Even in America going back before the war the South had little need of actual money, the land was wealth. Just like medieval Europe with the feudal system.
I was thinking about this too, really.



CL
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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Land would likely have been the basis of wealth in the more "aristocratic" families, such as the Tooks and Brandybucks, and in a lesser way, for small farmers like Mr. Maggot.

Presumably, Saruman paid for the "wagonloads of stuff" from the Shire with agreed upon amounts of gold or silver, probably mined in the Misty Mountains. It was this which would have allowed Lotho to buy up much land and proto-industries like Sandyman's mill; this reinforces the image of the Sackville-Baggins as nouveau-riches, as indicated also by their pretentious, "Frenchified" name.

There may have been some bartering in the Shire, but we know from the text that a monetary system existed, so daily exchanges would have used this much easier method of payment. I seriously doubt Tolkien envisioned the Gamgees as some sort of "serfs" for Bilbo.
 

Olorgando

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I have a theory I am working on that is why I have asked this question and not put in my opinion and it will be presented later on. But in short, I am increasingly finding connections between the feudal system of medieval Europe and not just the shire, but most of middle earth. I think it explains why money is of little interest or importance in the shire. Money is really a more modern need and essential to life. Even in America going back before the war the South had little need of actual money, the land was wealth. Just like medieval Europe with the feudal system.
I quite agree with you as far as pretty much all of Middle-earth is concerned - with the exception of the Shire, which is quite an anachronism in an otherwise "heroic" world of the literary genre of "Romance".

It goes back to Bilbo's function, as seen by Tom Shippey in his landmark book "J.R.R. Tolkien - Author of the Century" (2000).
Bilbo is "our representative" in Middle-earth, the one character of the company of Thorin whom we can identify with (nowadays one might call him an "avatar").
If one considers that JRRT wrote TH in the 1930s, and that it was published over 80 year ago, "our" ability to "identify" with him be called into question somewhat. Perhaps not so much the old geezers like myself, having been born "only" less than 20 years after its publication, but more those who are themselves not yet "of age" in Hobbit terms, or even "only" Pippin's age or even younger - born after the year 2000, for example. I'm quite ready to accept protests from this age bracket, that they can very much find applicability in JRRT's works for themselves. But I'm quite certain that there will be differences in the applicabilities named.

In a certain sense, matters are even "worse". JRRT was not writing like a 1930s writer (whatever that might be supposed to be), but more like a Victorian / Edwardian one. Bilbo can be placed quite firmly, according to Shippey, as his home is "... in everything except being underground (and in there being no servants), the home of a member of the Victorian upper-middle class of Tolkien's nineteenth-century youth, full of studies, parlours, cellars, pantries, wardrobes, and all the rest." Other "evidence":
Bilbo takes out 'his morning letters' to discourage Gandalf: that form of postal service dates from 1837 in England. The clock on his mantlepiece, under which Thorin left the "contract" for Bilbo's "burglar services". In LoTR, Lobelia's umbrella.

As to Hobbit society, it is utterly English (not British!) and easily recognizable to any (English) reader of 1937.
So with the Shire so firmly defined as Victorian / Edwardian England, and thus a massive anachronism in late Third Age Middle-earth, perhaps JRRT simply assumed, silently, that much (not all, see the comment about the lack of servants above, which certainly rules out the Gamgees beings "serfs" of any kind to the Baggins) of the rest of how society was organized, including monetary matters, was also similar. Now I certainly would not want to press this assumption too far and in too much detail (and Eru forbid that I fall into the trap of inapplicable allegory!), but JRRT did often leave some, I'll call them petty, details unexplained: those "unexplored vistas" mentioned so often. Not that I find the lack of explanation of monetary economics even remotely in the class of hints about Gondolin, the Necromancer, Beren and Lúthien, Gil-galad etc. … :cool:
 
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CirdanLinweilin

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I quite agree with you as far as pretty much all of Middle-earth is concerned - with the exception of the Shire, which is quite an anachronism in an otherwise "heroic" world of the literary genre o "Romance".

It goes back to Bilbo's function, as seen by Tom Shippey in his landmark book "J.R.R. Tolkien - Author of the Century (2000).
Bilbo is "our representative" in Middle-earth, the one character of the company of Thorin whom we can identify with (nowadays one might call him an "avatar").
If one considers that JRRT wrote TH in the 1930s, and that it was published over 80 year ago, "our" ability to "identify" with him be called into question somewhat. Perhaps not so much the old geezers like myself, having been born "only" less than 20 years after its publication, but more those who are themselves not yet "of age" in Hobbit terms, or even "only" Pippin's age or even younger - born after the year 2000, for example. I'm quite ready to accept protests from this age bracket, that they can very much find applicability in JRRT's works for themselves. But I'm quite certain that there will be differences in the applicabilities named.

In a certain sense, matters are even "worse". JRRT was not writing like a 1930s writer (whatever that might be supposed to be), but more like a Victorian / Edwardian one. Bilbo can be placed quite firmly, according to Shippey, as his home is "... in everything except being underground (and in there being no servants), the home of a member of the Victorian upper-middle class of Tolkien's nineteenth-century youth, full of studies, parlours, cellars, pantries, wardrobes, and all the rest." Other "evidence":
Bilbo takes out 'his morning letters' to discourage Gandalf: that form of postal service dates from 1837 in England. The clock on his mantlepiece, under which Thorin left the "contract" for Bilbo's "burglar services". In LoTR, Lobelia's umbrella.

As to Hobbit society, it is utterly English (not British!) and easily recognizable to any (English) reader of 1937.
So with the Shire so firmly defined as Victorian / Edwardian England, and thus a massive anachronism in late Third Age Middle-earth, perhaps JRRT simply assumed, silently, that much (not all, see the comment about the lack of servants above, which certainly rules out the Gamgees beings "serfs" of any kind to the Baggins) of the rest of how society was organized, including monetary matters, was also similar. Now I certainly would not want to press this assumption to far and in too much detail (and Eru forbid that I fall into the trap of inapplicable allegory!), but JRRT did often leave some, I'll call them petty, details unexplained: those "unexplored vistas" mentioned so often. Not that I find the lack of explanation of monetary economics even remotely in the class of hints about Gondolin, the Necromancer, Beren and Lúthien, Gil-galad etc. … :cool:
So, to streamline this...Tolkien put a Victorian society in what seems like a proto-Dark Ages world?


Very interesting.




CL
 

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