If Chance We Call it…

I’ve been waiting a long time to make this chart of some very special common words.  These are every permutation of “chance”, “luck”, “fate”, and “fortune” found in The Hobbit, from “lucky” to “unfortunately”.  We see some when Bilbo finds the ring, yet more when he brags to Smaug about being named Luck-Wearer and Lucky Number.


Highest peak of all, however, is in Chapter 9.

[09.025] When he heard this Bilbo was all in a flutter, for he saw that luck was with him and he had a chance at once to try his desperate plan.  He followed the two elves, until they entered a small cellar and sat down at a table on which two large flagons were set.  Soon they began to drink and laugh merrily. Luck of an unusual kind was with Bilbo then.  It must be potent wine to make a wood-elf drowsy; but this wine, it would seem, was the heady vintage of the great gardens of Dorwinion, not meant for his soldiers or his servants, but for the king’s feasts only, and for smaller bowls not for the butler’s great flagons.

This graph peaks at three-and-a-half words per thousand, and I note with interest that Chapter 15 has no luck, ill or otherwise, about it.  The threatened war between those who should be allies was entirely their own will.  Now… I’ve lumped “fate” with “luck” here.  Is fate not something to do with the will of divinity?  or with the poetic demands of Story?  Much has been written and more will be – I invite comments, particularly with links to your own work.

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