Dienstag, 18. Juli 2017

Monday, 16 July 2941 T. A.: Forebodings of a dreadful autumn

An autumn-like mist white upon the ground
(Morning Mist Glen Atholl, by Gordon Scott)
On this day, in 2941 T.A., Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves woke before sunrise to "an autumn-like mist white upon the ground and the air was chill". At the peak of summer, this premature reference to autumn - not his first- seems to tell more about Bilbo's inner state of mind than about the actual climate of Rhovanion.

On the other hand, autumn is approaching on more rapid feet than we think. And while Tolkien decided to accept dates, originally stated according to the Gregorian calendar, as actual references to the Shire Calendar during his 1960 revisions, he did nothing to modify the seasons, which would have meant a much greater effort. They are still those of the first-edition "Hobbit" - and not quite
those that we might expect,  much to John Rateliff's dismay.
Still, after sunrise, the mists quickly dissipated and "morning dawned bright and fair again". And daytime became yet summerly hot, as Bilbo indirectly tell us when he mentions "
small herds of red deer browsing or sitting at noon in the shade". The company rode on all day and camped for the second time, seeing "nothing save grass and flowers and birds and scattered trees".