Dienstag, 26. September 2017

Tuesday, 25 September 2941 T. A.: Thag you very buch

The Master of Lake-town,
by Horus Engels, 1957
On this day, in 2941 T. A., Bilbo Baggins had only slightly improved from the severe cold he had caught at the huts of the raft-Elves, and was still confined to a rest indoors, delaying the plans of the Dwarves to head for the Lonely Mountain while they were invited to many a banquet by Lake-men who hoped in one way or another to benefit from the unexpected arrival of the King under the Mountain (aka. Thorin Oakenshild). For several more days, Bilbo's speech would be limited to "Thag you very buch".  

Samstag, 23. September 2017

Saturday, 22 September 2941 T.A.: Birthday on the floating raft

The barrel-rider illustrated by Horus Engels, 1957
The Greater Bear over the Long Lake on 22 September,
simulated in the "Stellarium" freeware
Sorry, guys, you are celebrating at the wrong day. Since the months of the Shire calendar do not have the same length as those of our Gregorian calendar, Bilbo's (and Frodo's) birthday was not yesterday, but it is today, on 22 Halimath = 23 September, see the table below.

Anyway, on this day, in 2941 T. A., Bilbo just managed to get, invisible, on the raft that the Elves had made out of their barrels. Despite his worsening health condition, he spent the day on-board until, after sunset, the raft arrived at Lake-Town. Once all Dwarves had been released from their barrels, they entered Esgaroth officially and requested shelter, which was willingly granted by the men of Esgaroth.   

Since the weather was fair, a very young moon, about two days old, will have been visible in the west at sunset. This was exactly one lunation (one full cycle of the lunar phases) before Durin's Day of 2941 T. A. When Bilbo released the Dwarves, he noticed the Greater Bear in the sky at late night but no moon any more. The text of "The Hobbit" is fully consistent with the lunar phases here.

P. S.: Happy Hobbitday to you all!

Days in the Gregorian calendar (white) and in the Shire calendar (yellow)

Freitag, 22. September 2017

Friday, 21 September 2941 T.A.: Roll, roll, roll your barrel gently down the stream ...

Climbing the barrels, illustration by Horus Engels, 1957

On this day, in 2941 T. A., Bilbo Baggins had finally found a way how to escape from the Elvenking's halls. Dorwinion wine was a great help in obtaining the key that unlocked the cells of the Dwarves while Thranduil was once again celebrating upstairs - quite likely the autumnal equinox.

It was in the evening of that day that the barrels were rolled out into the river. Probably less rthan an hour later, all the barrels, full or empty, had floated to the spot where other Elves gathered them and tied them into a raft. Wet as he was from riding his own barrel, Bilbo spend a good deal of the late evening stealing food and drink and catching the beginning of a cold. Sleeping outside in late September did not help improve his health, either.   
Sketch of the forest river; in: Hammond & Skull, image 122
This is the place to remark on an oversight in Hammond & Skull's "J. R. R. Tolkien, Artist and Illustrator". Image 122 in their book shows Tolkien's illustration of the barrel-riding scene under a splendid full moon. While Hammond & Skull correctly note that Tolkien put the moon in the wrong direction - in the north -, they only comment that "the effect of moonlight on water is nicely done ... though the text does not mention a full moon." Of course it doesn't - the moon has been new on 20 September. Image 122 shows it not only in the wrong direction, it should not be there at all!

Mittwoch, 20. September 2017

Thursday, 20 September 2941 T.A.: The second new moon of autumn

The rules in Thranduil's wine cellar were strict and efficient.
On this day, in 2941 T. A., the second new moon of autumn occurred over Middle-earth. Finally, the long imprisonment of the Dwarves was drawing near its end. Bilbo Baggins, still lurking around in the caverns of the Wood-Elves, had finally discovered a possible way out: Thranduil's wine cellar. With that recent delivery of barrels, the perfect opportunity was there. The only question to be answered, was: How to get the Dwarves out of their cells?

Mittwoch, 6. September 2017

Wednesday, 05 September 2941 T.A.: The first full moon of autumn

On this day, in 2941 T. A., the first full moon of autumn rose over Mirkwood.
The first full moon of autumn was shining on the River Running

The situation in the Thranduil's caverns had changed little in the past two weeks. The Dwarves were still imprisoned while Bilbo perpetually hovered at the edge of discovery, trying to find a way how to get the Company out of the subterranean town. It may seem possible that by this time he had already discovered the vault where the barrels of wine were received and released, but certainly he had no idea yet what to do about it.