Mittwoch, 15. November 2017

Monday, 15 November 2941 T. A.: The Ring and the Arkenstone

Two days more to march? Oh, dear!
(Illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1905)
Presumably on this day, in 2941 T. A., Thórin Oakenshield learned that Dain and the Dwarves from the Iron Hills were only two days' marches away from Dale at this point, with "winter and snow hastening behind them"; Roäc was apparently speaking of the weather here, not of calendar seasons of which he, being a raven, would anyway know nothing.  

There is no specific evidence of this date, hence, it is derived from Karen Fonstad's estimate of Dain's travel speed in "The Atlas of Middle-earth", despite her setting Durin's Day and all subsequent events one week later, ignoring the evidence of the lunar phases. The assumption is superficially supported by Bilbo's observation, though, that there was no moon after sunset: it was the 24th day of the first month of the dwarvish year, the moon was in its last quarter and would rise only long after midnight. In the eyes of John Rateliff, meanwhile, the Dwarves must have traveled in a convoy of lorries, for his general misconception of placing Durin's Day in December throughout "The History of the Hobbit" rendered it impossible for him to reconcile travel times in Middle-earth with the seemingly too short time left till Yule 2941 T. A.

The timetable of the crucial events that evening is more distinct. The sun was setting at about 18.00 hours, according to a note by Tolkien given in "The History of The Hobbit" - this well matches the season and latitude of Erebor -, but Bilbo left Bombur at the outpost at 19.00 hours, with "about five hours before him" till their watch would be shifted. Despite having put on the Ring, he was discovered by the Wood-elves at the pool about 90 minutes later and at 21.00 hours, Bard and Thranduil were ready to listen to him. He may have left from there at 21.30 hours, recognising Gandalf in the army camp in the passing, was back to the outpost "well before midnight", say, at 23.30 hours, and woke Bombur on time for changing the shift.

There is a curious reference to "Thorin's letter that had been put under the clock on his mantelpiece in May" in this chapter of "The Hobbit". Of course, this had been put in April. The reference to May derives from the early manuscript drafts and has escaped correction in all published editions.