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!

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