Sansukh Re-read Ch.5
“We are going home!” she cried in her ringing voice of diamond and mithril, and a mighty cheer rose up from every throat. Turning, Dís began to walk away from the worked-out mines and the crumbling halls of Belegost that had sheltered them in their poverty, and raised her face to the East. She did not look back. Wagons rumbled along in her wake as she began to march.
As much as I love Dain, can we take a minute to appreciate the awesomeness of Queen Dís, if she had taken the throne? It makes sense why she wouldn’t want to, that throne had cost the lives of her sons and brother, but it’s something I thought of after I finished reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings the first time. King Dain is just as awesome, though.
His reunion with Mizim, Gimrís and Gimli upon his arrival at Ered Luin had been nothing short of spectacular. Glóin had wrapped himself around his wife and held onto her tightly, burying his face in her pale hair. She put her hands either side of his head and drew it back, tracing the old scar over his brow with her thumb before kissing him deeply and gently. “Hello, you old bear,” she said softly, her hands slipping into his mane of wild red hair. “You’re late.”
“Jewel,” he said, and his eyes misted over. “More lovely than ever you are, Mizim, crown of my life, light of my heart.”
I wonder when Mizim started calling Glóin a bear. His nickname for her makes sense, since her name means jewel, but I wonder if it’s just something that she came up with randomly and liked, or if there’s a funny story behind the nickname. But also this, the two fo them reuniting? Adorable!
He took her hands and kissed them one after the other before turning to his children – and his mouth slowly formed the shape of an ‘O’.
Thorin privately thought his expression was hilarious. Frerin, of course, didn’t keep such things private. His brother keeled over backwards, laughing his head off.
I’m with Frerin. I probably wouldn’t have fallen over, but I’d have definitely been laughing.
Glóin had gawked for a moment longer before Gimrís was hurling herself at her 'adad and Gimli was doing likewise, and Glóin was buried beneath the bodies of two mostly-grown Dwarves and groaning.
“Oof! You are too heavy for me now, off with you!” he wheezed, and Thorin chuckled at the sight of the bristly and imposing old warrior spluttering and choking for breath.
Glóin survived trolls, goblins, orcs, spiders, stone giants, and elves, but it’s his kids that knock the breath out of him. I can’t help it, I laugh every time I read that.
Bombur’s reunion with his family had been far louder. Alrís didn’t even have a chance to greet her husband before a veritable horde of Dwarflings swarmed Bombur and Bofur, shouting at the top of their lungs. Bombur’s children buried themselves against his warm and hefty body, snuggling close, investigated his walking staff with curious and grubby fingers, pulled at 'Uncle Bofur’s’ hat and begged for a song and a sweet and a story. Bombur tried to kiss and tickle all of them at once, his seldom-heard booming laugh ringing out over the din. The oldest of the tribe patiently pulled the smaller ones away, and finally Alrís was able to give her husband a smacking kiss and show him the new baby, now two years old – a boy she had named Albur. He was a chubby, chuckling little thing with brown hair and eyes that danced like sunlight on water. Bombur gave the little one a whiskery buss on the top of the head, and then wrapped one arm around Alrís again and pulled her against him for another ringing kiss.
Everything about Bombur’s reunion with his family. Like, if I had to pick a family from Sansukh to visit, it would either be Orla and Dwalin’s or Bombur and Alrís’. Bombur’s love for his family is something I love about this interpretation of him (one of many things, really).
“What have you done to your leg?” she said breathlessly.
He shrugged. “Got poisoned. Don’t recommend it.”
“Poisoned, Daddy?” gasped one of his middle children, his eyes wide as saucers.
“Don’t get too close to orcs,” Bofur said succinctly, and a chorus of 'ooooh’s rose from the crowd of children.
“Hospital food,” Bombur said in disgust, and Alrís threw her head back and laughed and laughed.
Only Bombur could play off the fact that he got poisoned by talking about how horrible hospital food is. Another reason to love Bombur.
“That’s an Elf?” Gimli said, wrinkling his nose. “And here I thought they were supposed to be fair and glorious! Hmmph. They’re all stretched and faded.”
Bofur chuckled. “Don’t be fooled. They might look like skinny, insipid twigs, but they’re stronger than they appear and their eyesight is much better than ours in daylight. An Elf will put an arrow through your eye as soon as look at you.”
“No beards at all,” Gimli muttered under his breath, and shuddered.
But no, if Bofur remembers this and brings it up at some point to Legolas, I can see the both of them laughing about it and teasing Gimli who’s all embarrassed because he was just a kid then and it was the first time he’d seen elves.
“Is that a Hobbit?” whispered Gimrís to her brother.
“Again, no beard!” Gimli said, and shook his head in sympathy.
I love Gimli. 'Elf? No beard, not fair and glorious at all’, 'Hobbit? No beard at all, poor thing’.
“You should hear the ruckus down at the Green Dragon,” Bilbo was saying. “Poor old Odo is convinced it’s an invasion and has the whole pub in an uproar. Half of Brandy Hall – that’s the Brandybucks, by the way – want to come out and see for themselves. The other half want to sound the Horn-call of Buckland. The Bracegirdles are wringing their hands and fainting, the Grubbs are calling it none of our business, the Boffins are trying to organise a welcoming party, and the Tooks are giggling up their sleeves and egging everyone on indiscriminately.”
“And the Bagginses?” said Bombur, smiling.
Bilbo laughed gaily. “Are pretending they’ve never even heard of Dwarves, or dragons, or adventures, or rich mad cousins. Whenever someone brings it up they begin talking loudly about the weather or about pie-eating contests or Farmer Maggott’s dogs or some such. It’s terrifically funny.”
I love how the various groups of hobbits are reacting, especially the Tooks. And the fact that Bombur remembers enough about Bilbo’s family to know that his family would be the funniest group of the lot is amusing too.
“Here, Bilbo,” Bombur said into the ensuing silence. “You should meet my family! That’s Barís, my eldest, and over there’s Bomfur, Bolrur, and Bofrur, my terrible little trio of redheads, and the two big dark-haired lads there are Barum and Barur; then there’s Alfur and Alrur and Alfrís and Bomfrís tormenting that poor pony. Barum, stop that lot, would you, before the pony dies of nerves? And over there is my lovely wife Alrís, and our two littlest ones, Bibur and Albur.”
Alrís sketched a bow, her arms filled with squirming child. “At your service,” she called cheerfully.
Thorin was a little dizzy after all those names.
Bilbo seemed to have no trouble with such a crowd, and bowed to Alrís, smiling. “At yours and your family’s – although I may be a little pressed to accommodate so many. Good gracious me, Bombur! I’d think you were part-Hobbit!”
Changing the subject like a boss. Take notes, Bilbo. And Bilbo thinks the same thing I do, that Bombur and Alrís are part hobbit. Alrís being able to bow while still holding onto two squirming kids is cool, though. I love Thorin’s reaction to all of the names, though. I had the same reaction at first, I had to re-read that paragraph to make sure I’d gotten all of the names right.
Bilbo perked up. “Yes, yes, quite right! I brought a few little things for us to share, though now I hope they’ll stretch far enough…”
“We’ve seen how Hobbits eat,” said Glóin dryly. “I’m fairly sure we’ll do fine, laddie.”
“And just think, Bilbo! No washing up!” Bofur nudged him. Thorin wished everyone would stop touching the Hobbit.
Bilbo rolled his eyes theatrically. “Thank heavens!”
Now I’m imaginging 'Blunt the Knives’ only with dwarflings as well as four adult dwarves and dwarrowdams.
“Here now! First you have to meet my set,” said Glóin. “This is my lad Gimli, and my lass Gimrís. Over there tying down the cart is my darlin’ Mizim. Mizim, come here! Come meet our Burglar!”
“I’m a little busy, you daft old bugger,” she snapped, “in case you haven’t noticed!”
Glóin gave them a sheepish grin. “She’s the jewel o’ my life, she is.”
Have I mentioned how much I love Glóin and Mizim’s relationship? Because I do, so much.
“Doesn’t your face get cold?”
Bilbo burst into giggles.
Glóin tugged at his own beard to hide a smile. “Ah, Gimli m'boy, Hobbits don’t grow beards.”
“Oh, some do, but only those of Stoor families,” Bilbo said, still giggling. “Even then, it’s nothing for a Dwarf to boast of. I remember catching you all staring at me for the first couple of weeks when you thought I wasn’t watching. And for the record, not one of you is any good at being sneaky – well, except Nori, but the rest of you were not exactly subtle about it. Was it my poor naked chin, then?”
“That and your riding, laddie,” Glóin said, and then snorted at the Hobbit’s expression of half-amusement, half-exasperation.
“Were we that rude?” said Bofur, grinning.
“You barged into my house, pillaged my pantry, drafted me into an adventure and sang an extremely insulting song,” Bilbo said, poking Bofur in the side. “Staring was the politest thing any of you did!”
“Ah, my apologies?” mumbled Gimli, scratching at his head.
Poor Gimli, he’s so confused. Just let them bicker, they’ll sort themselves out and it’s a bit amusing to watch too.
“Here.” He pushed a bundle of papers into Bombur’s hands. “All my mother’s recipes. She was a Took, you know, and collected recipes from all over the Shire, all the way as far east as Midgewater.”
Bombur looked down with wide eyes at the crushed bundle and then pressed it protectively against his chest. “Bilbo!” he said, and his mouth opened and closed like a fish.
Perfect gift for Bombur. He’s already been working on hobbit style recipes, now he’s got recipes to do even more of them. If he wasn’t already king of the marketplace, this would seal it.
He handed Bofur a strange configuration of sheepskin and dyed leather, with neat little stitches in the Shire-fashion around the edges. “It’s your hat, do you see,” Bilbo said, anxiously wringing his hands. “I bought the skins from the Proudfeet, and I had it copied by Bell Gamgee. Yours was such a wreck, after all, and I thought you might like to have a new one. I do hope I haven’t upset you?”
Bofur slowly opened up the folded brim of the new hat, dyed a handsome red-brown, and suddenly smiled. He pulled it onto his head, lifting his chin and tugging at the flaps. “What do you think, lads?”
“Oh, thank Mahal, I was going to burn the old one in his sleep,” said Bombur with relief.
Again, I love Bombur. Him, Dori, and Bifur are my favorite canonical dwarves.
Thorin growled under his breath. Would nobody stop touching the Hobbit?
Thorin, your married is showing.
“Glóin, this is for you.” Bilbo handed him a polished wooden box, its lid and sides carved with leaves and grapes. Glóin admired the carving for a moment, and Bilbo huffed. “Well, woodworking is probably the only Hobbit craft that you fellows might appreciate. Still, it’s not empty. Open it.”
Glóin cracked it open, and Gimli peered over his father’s shoulder to look inside. “Pipe-weed?”
“Not just any pipe-weed, my dear Dwarf. That is Longbottom Leaf. It’s the year of '32 – a very good year indeed!”
“My dear Hobbit!” Glóin said, and eyed the box with new appreciation. “I am deeply in your debt!”
Bilbo knows what Glóin likes.
“Now,” Bilbo said, straightening his coat, “the inks are for Ori, and the bottles are delicate, so be careful! These herbs are for Óin. So are these notes. I translated a couple of healing texts from the Elvish - and it was a lot of work, so don’t you dare throw them away! Ah, this is for Dori. It’s an embroidery pattern-book from my Aunt Hildigard, and some of those patterns are old enough to impress even Dori, I dare say. I hope he can get some use out of it.”
Bofur opened the little book and smiled down at the curling designs with their friendly motifs of flowers, leaves and vegetables. “Who knows? Perhaps Hobbit stitching will become the new exotic fashion. You could start a trend!”
“I fervently hope my trend-setting days are done, thank you very much,” said Bilbo dryly.
I love how Bilbo knows well enough to tell them to not throw away the notes just because they came from Elvish healing texts. He knows them all so well. And Dori and Ori’s presents are perfect for them both. Granted, dwarves seem to favor geometric shapes and designs, but hobbit stitching would be exotic and a new challenge for Dori to master.
“Now, this is for Nori, from one Burglar to another.”
Bombur’s forehead creased as he took in the candlesticks, the cheese-knife and the little silver gravy-boat. “What’s this?”
Bilbo rubbed a hand through his hair and smiled a trifle wickedly. “I discovered after I got back that it wasn’t only my frightful relatives who were a little too free with my belongings. A certain light-fingered chap had made off with a few small things on the night of the party. I thought he might like the rest of the set, with my compliments.”
Nori’s going to be so irritable! But he’ll also be a bit proud, probably. Bilbo learned his lessons well, he knew when Nori stole versus when Lobelia did.
“Did he faint?” asked Bombur, leaning forward eagerly.
A wheezing little sound of glee came from under Bofur’s hat.
Bilbo paused, and then he sighed. “Yes.”
This is one of my favorite bits in this chapter. Conkers is a bit higher on the list, but this? Especially Bilbo’s little 'nope’ and them all laughing again? I laugh every time I read it.
“An’ being Hobbit and all, it’d seem pretty special and out of the ordinary,” Bofur said, smoothing down his ruffled moustache. “Wonder if we could make a model Bag End?”
“Oh no. Oh, no, no, no, no, no! If I have an entire generation of Dwarves trooping through my house, I will hunt you down and sting the pair of you!” Bilbo said sternly.
Bombur closed his mouth with a snap, but Bofur looked entirely too innocent to be believed.
Bifur’s going to love his toy, but I wouldn’t trust Bofur’s innocent look. That’s probably the same look that he had when he told Dwalin that he wouldn’t make a Dwalin warrior toy.
“Traditional Hobbit weaponry,” Bilbo said, a gleam in his eye. “I in particular have some skill at it. If you must know.”
“No,” said Bofur in disbelief.
“Not…?” said Glóin.
“Conkers?” Thorin said, utterly incredulous.
Traditional hobbit weaponry at it’s finest. Although I always wondered why, in canon, Bilbo never told the dwarves how good at throwing and aiming hobbits are. They would’ve taught him to use a bow, probably, he might have taken to it faster than he took to the sword…again, I need to stop before I give myself more ideas.
Bilbo leaned back, sighing with satisfaction and slapping his knees. “And that’s the game to me!”
“Are all Hobbits so good at throwing and aiming at things?” Bofur said, staring dismally at his halved horse-chestnut. He hadn’t won a single round.
Bilbo shrugged. “Bit of a hobby, really.”
Poor Bofur, you’ll get better with practice. Gimrís seems pretty good at the game, maybe she’ll help you out.
Many of the other Dwarves sent curious glances over to the Hobbit and his odd little game, his bare face and furry feet. Thorin bristled at their interest and barely restrained himself from barking at them to show their Burglar the proper respect.
Thorin, your married is showing again.
“Dís, daughter of Frís, I make known to you Bilbo Baggins of the Shire. He’s a Hobbit,” he added unnecessarily.
“I can see that, akhûnîth,” she said, her mithril-pure voice lilting with amusement, though her face barely moved. “Dís. At your service.”
Bilbo pulled himself upright and tried to look as dignified as a Hobbit can whilst holding a horse-chestnut painted bright yellow. “At yours and your family’s.”
Dís smiled at that, rather sadly. “You already have been.”
There was an awful silence, and then Bilbo burst out, “You look so much like him.”
She froze, and then she dropped her eyes.
This always kills me. If Thorin had lived, this meeting probably would have been a lot happier. As it is, Dís is meeting the little creature who left his comfortable home to help dwarves that he had never met before that night. It’d be worse if she knew how much Bilbo had loved Thorin, but I don’t think she knew that yet. But just…this whole bit right here is so sad and full of feels.
The young Dwarf shifted his weight between his feet for a moment, looking uncertain. Then he said, “Mister Baggins was showing us a Hobbit game, Aunt Dís.”
All heads turned to him, and he flushed as red as his hair, before ploughing on bravely. “It’s a mite tricky to get the hang of it, but I was starting to see how it was done. D'you want to try it?”
Bilbo can take notes from Gimli about how to change the subject, but Gimli needs to take notes from Bombur.
“Here,” said Glóin and handed Dís the red horse-chestnut, his hands gentle as he gave up his place. “Sit down, cousin. I’m going to see if I can find Bombur a chair.”
“Oh, don’t bother on my account!” Bombur protested, but tucked by his side, young Barís nodded vigorously. Bombur grunted and poked his daughter in the shoulder, and she wrinkled her nose.
“Your leg’s going to get all cramped sitting like that, Dad. Best to stretch it out.”
I love Barís. She’s not my favorite OC (that’s undoubtedly Orla), but she’s lovely, an amazing singer, apparently a good daughter and big sister, and she seems pretty witty too. There’s a lot to love about all of the OCs in this.
“Aunt Dís?” Gimli said softly, and she hesitated for a moment before sitting down beside her young cousin and patting his knee.
“Don’t fret about me, young one,” she said. “Time for your sister to watch her back.”
Where’s Nori when you need him? My money’s on Dís winning this round.
“Yes, well,” Bilbo sighed, straightening slightly and resting his head against his hand. “I should really trade in that 'lucky number’ title of mine, shouldn’t I? I had all the luck in the world, but it wasn’t enough.”
“Never is,” Bofur said in a voice that was nearly a whisper.
“You won’t need luck, I swear it,” Thorin vowed fiercely. “Mahal be my witness! You won’t need luck. You’ve got me.”
Thorin is 100x better than luck, apparently, because with his help, things end up mostly okay for Bilbo.