Mister Baggins

One of the great pleasures I have taken in joining the ranks of Tolkien scholarship is meeting and working collegially with such wonderful folks as Emily Austin, a scholar and visual artist.  Ms. Austin is in the middle of a project considering when Bilbo is called “Mr. Baggins” in the narrative, and I think she has caught on to something.

Ms. Austin, here are all the instances of “Mr. Baggins” (or the possessive form, or “Mister Baggins”) in the work. I think that with the help of the Hobbit Paragraph Index, your instinct is going to pay off.  Look to see who is calling him that – is it almost always Gandalf?  and not the narrator?

If you’d like the list of “Baggins” with or without “Mister”, or the list of “Bilbos”, I am, dear friend, at your service.

  • 1.012 said our Mr. Baggins,
  • 1.016 Mr. Bilbo Baggins.
  • 1.017 that Mr. Baggins was not quite so prosy
  • 1.043 Throng!’ thought Mr. Baggins.
  • 1.050 but poor Mr. Baggins said he was sorry so many times,
  • 1.058 thought Mr. Baggins,
  • 1.083 and very quickly he was plain Mr. Baggins
  • 1.090 Gandalf, dwarves and Mr. Baggins!
  • 1.091 To the estimable Mr. Baggins,
  • 1.096 Then Mr. Baggins turned the handle
  • 1.099 and I chose Mr. Baggins.
  • 1.100 I have chosen Mr. Baggins
  • 2.004 “What message?” said poor Mr. Baggins
  • 3.016 What brings Mister Baggins
  • 4.042 and here’s Mr. Baggins: fourteen!
  • 4.045 said poor Mr. Baggins bumping up
  • 5.009 in Mr. Baggins’ place,
  • 5.019 I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins.
  • 6.006 leaving Mr. Baggins
  • 6.018 Mr. Baggins,’
  • 6.024 Mr. Baggins has more about him than you guess.’
  • 6.05 near Mr. Baggins’ hole at home,
  • 6.056 and give Mr. Baggins a hand up!’
  • 7.022 Don’t be a fool Mr. Baggins if you can help it;
  • 7.03 Come on Mr. Baggins!
  • 7.039 That is Mr. Baggins,
  • 7.079 that Mr. Baggins had been mislaid.
  • 7.088 Mr. Baggins saw then how clever Gandalf had been.
  • 7.121 and he poked Mr. Baggins’ waistcoat most disrespectfully.
  • 7.136 Mr. Baggins’ eyes are sharper than yours,
  • 7.142 and I am sending Mr. Baggins with you.
  • 7.149 Mr. Baggins.
  • 8.016 Mr. Baggins is talking about.’
  • 8.041 Poor Mr. Baggins had never had much practice
  • 8.062 I shall send Mr. Baggins alone first to talk to them.
  • 8.076 made a great difference to Mr. Baggins.
  • 8.104 but Mr. Baggins was
  • 8.125 From which you can see that they had changed their opinion of Mr. Baggins very much,
  • 8.127 Mr. Baggins?
  • 9.011 Poor Mr. Baggins –
  • 9.012 it would have to be done by Mr. Baggins,
  • 9.015 until in fact the remarkable Mr. Invisible Baggins
  • 9.036 said Mr. Baggins to himself.
  • 9.061 In this way at last Mr. Baggins came to a place
  • 10.004 It might have been some comfort to Mr. Baggins
  • 10.016 and Mr. Baggins.
  • 10.016 Mr. Baggins.
  • 10.023 and Mr. Baggins who has travelled with us out of the West.’
  • 10.040 though doubtless Mr. Baggins remained a bit of a mystery.
  • 10.045 dwarves, Mr. Baggins,
  • 11.013 Mr. Baggins had more than the others.
  • 12.002 Now is the time for our esteemed Mr. Baggins,
  • 12.026 Get inside Mr. Baggins12.036 Mr. Baggins?’
  • 12.078 Mr. Baggins’ one idea was to get away.
  • 12.092 Mr. Baggins!’
  • 12.095 Mr. Baggins,
  • 13.010 At length Mr. Baggins could bear it no longer.
  • 13.017 Mr. Baggins was still officially their expert burglar
  • 13.036 Mr. Baggins!’
  • 13.039 All the same Mr. Baggins kept his head
  • 16.014 Mr. Baggins,
  • 16.022 I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins,’
  • 16.043 Well done! Mr. Baggins!’
  • 19.037 The return of Mr. Bilbo Baggins
  • 19.037 before Mr. Baggins was
  • 19.042 that Mr. Baggins’ waistcoat was more extensive
  • 19.047 Mr. Baggins,

S-s-s-s-s

Sometimes it is spelled strung together with no hyphens.  Sometimes it is spelled with double Ss and spaces.  Twice, however, it is spelled with hyphens, and if I’m trying to be scrupulous about the hyphens, then here we are – Gollum’s signature sound:

  • 05.066 S-s-s-s-s,’ hissed Gollum.
  • 05.070 S-s-s-s-s,’ said Gollum

Both of these sounds are in the 1937 edition of The Hobbit, for those of you who have been tracking the differences between the elder and younger editions with me.

Were-worm

This word escaped our original edition of the concordance because I lemmatized it under “worm”, a common word.  But now that we’re thinking about hyphens, I’ve returned to rescue this delightful word from the shadows.  If anyone knows of a good paper about were-worms, I would love to link it here –

  • 01.097 and fight the wild Were-worms

The word does not appear in OED.

Hobbit-smell

A one-of-a kind scent, I’m sure!  This tells us about the refinement of Smaug’s olfactory sense and the distance of Lonely Mountain from The Shire.

  • 12.062 that there was one smell he could not make out at all, hobbit-smell;

Although “Hobbit” is listed in OED – and an invention of Tolkien’s – no hyphenated forms are.

“hobbit, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/87449. Accessed 14 September 2017.

Hobbit-legs

This is one of the clearest clues that these hyphenated words are Tolkien’s putative translation artifacts.  If I were decsribing this scene about a person of my own species, I would say that the steps were not made, all the same, for a child’s legs, or for a middle-aged woman’s legs…

[13.044] The steps were not made, all the same, for hobbit-legs, and Bilbo was just feeling that he could go on no longer, when suddenly the roof sprang high and far beyond the reach of their torch-light.

I believe that “hobbit-legs” indicates a single word like “shank”, in Westron, meant to convey “the legs of a hobbit” – a very specialized word indeed.  The passage takes place as Bilbo and the dwarves clamber through the Mountain to the chamber of Thror.

  • 13.044 for hobbit-legs,

Although “Hobbit” is listed in OED – and an invention of Tolkien’s – no hyphenated forms are.

“hobbit, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/87449. Accessed 14 September 2017.

Hobbit-lands

The best way to become familiar with the hobbit-lands is with The Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad, a professional cartographer who turned her skills to charting the maps of fictional worlds based on close reading of the texts.

  • 02.028 At first they had passed through hobbit-lands,

Although “Hobbit” is listed in OED – and an invention of Tolkien’s – no hyphenated forms are.

“hobbit, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/87449. Accessed 14 September 2017.

Hobbit-hole

And that means comfort!

  • 01.001 it was a hobbit-hole,
  • 01.005 built the most luxurious hobbit-hole for her
  • 01.005 in the beautiful hobbit-hole built by his father,
  • 01.070 and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill.
  • 01.110 and only of hobbit-holes).
  • 03.004 in his hobbit-hole,
  • 03.031 right back to his hobbit-hole without trouble.
  • 04.002 and his little hobbit-hole.
  • 04.017 and again for his nice bright hobbit-hole.
  • 04.045 “Why, O why did I ever leave my hobbit-hole!”
  • 08.074 of his far-distant hobbit-hole
  • 09.012 in my hobbit-hole
  • 11.020 in his hobbit-hole,
  • 11.022 and his hobbit-hole under it.
  • 15.035 in Bilbo’s little hobbit-hole.
  • 19.037 in his nice hobbit-hole so very much.

Although “Hobbit” is listed in OED – and an invention of Tolkien’s – no hyphenated forms are.

“hobbit, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/87449. Accessed 14 September 2017.