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4

‘Either way’ modifies ‘first and second cousin’, so that first and second cousin, once removed either way means first cousin, once removed, and second cousin, once removed See Wikipedia for an explanation of the relationship terminology. There are Baggins, Took and Brandybuck family trees in Appendix C of The Return of the King, which allow us to ...


2

This is from the last sentence of the first part of the Prologue in The Fellowship of the Ring, subtitled "Concerning Hobbits". Tolkien wrote this section as a bridge between the light storytelling style of The Hobbit and the more serious style of The Lord of the Rings. It serves as a bit of character development, characterizing the stodgy, phlegmatic ...


2

Doughty means "brave and persistent". At bay means "Forced to face or confront one's attackers or pursuers; cornered." The meaning of "killing nothing" would be clear; but instead of absolutely "nothing", Tolkien writes "nothing that lived": in other words, they do not kill anything that is alive. (This is actually a pleonasm, since if you kill something it ...


2

A comparable situation today: Canadians are in name the subjects of Queen Elizabeth of England, but are in fact ruled by their own parliament and prime minister. The meaning is the Queen is their ruler only as long as she doesn't try to actually rule them. (The same is more or less the case in England itself, but is even more clear in Canada)


11

They were de jure (officially, supposedly, on paper, in theory) ruled over by the king. There are many terms to express this meaning. From Merriam Webster on "in name": used with a following statement to say that something is so by name or title but that is not the way things really are Nowadays, the Latin term de jure (as opposed to de facto meaning "...


1

It means they started to record their history and the passing of time. From Lexico (powered by Oxford Dictionaries) on "reckoning": The action or process of calculating or estimating something. This fits with the rest of the sentence: "legend [...] first becomes history" when the telling of stories about past events and heroes becomes more concrete by ...


1

Quality literature is rarely about the plot, but instead the plot serves to deliver a message (and perhaps to engage the reader long enough to get the message). Other elements besides the plot also serve to deliver the message (e.g. places, names, auxiliary characters, etc.) The Lord of the Rings is full of messages - about Truth, war and peace, virtue, ...


8

Bombadil is also part of the world-building. He's part of the world, and his whole purpose in it is something that nobody short of Eru fully understands. Tolkien mentions things like this in passing. Gandalf, after his returning from his trip Outside, mentions some creatures at the very nadir of his fall in Moria: Far, far below the deepest delving of ...


5

One reason that Bombadil does not really "fit" in the narrative may be that The Lord of the Rings was originally a sequel to The Hobbit. At that time, The Hobbit was only indirectly connected to the world of the Silmarillion and was "only" a children's story with ogres speaking in cockney accents and other silly things. So the adventures until the hobbits ...


5

I'm reading Fellowship (again) right now, and I had a similar thought when I reached the Forest/Barrow section, and I thought for a long while why it might be. I found my answer ('my' rather than 'the' because it's just an opinion) when the Council are discussing what to do about the ring. Bombadil is suggested as a solution - in fact the suggestion veers ...


69

Tolkien said that Bombadil represented a sort of passive pacifism, which was important to represent in the story but couldn't play much of a role in the actual plot. From Tolkien's Letters, letter #144: Tom Bombadil is not an important person – to the narrative. I suppose he has some importance as a 'comment'. I mean, I do not really write like that: he ...


8

This is opinion: I have no way to back it up. I believe Tolkien introduced Tom Bombadil as a symbol of mankind before the fall, a sort of creature of pure, unadulterated nature. (Others have speculated this as well.) Think of him a bit like Adam, of the Adam and Eve in Genesis, before it all went south. He lives in harmony with nature and has some control ...


0

If I remember correctly, Shelob the sentient spider has a few inner-monologue moments. Also, if you're interested about regular animals showing sentience in general, in The Hobbit, a Thrush and a Raven communicate with the Dwarves when on the Lonely Mountain. The Raven, if I recall correctly, tried to communicate and wasn't understood by the dwarves, but ...


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