Trilingual Hobbit Reread

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 7 (first post)

Chapter 7 of The Hobbit gives us Bilbo and his friends picking up from being rescued by the Eagles! And this is the chapter where we get to see Beorn!

General notes:

As we start off the chapter, it’s amusing to see that Bilbo’s propensity for whinging about having no proper breakfast hasn’t really diminished, but at least he’s starting to learn to keep it to himself. And all it took was riding on an Eagle!

“Farewell wherever you fare, till your eyries receive you at the journey’s end!” Another thing I remember from the Rankin-Bass Hobbit. (heart)

Oh hey, and here we have the first mention of the forthcoming Battle of Five Armies. Not even really foreshadowing, just an outright narrative hint that this Big Important Thing is on the way. I don’t know if it really counts as foreshadowing if the narrator outright says “But as that comes in at the end of this tale we will say no more about it just now.”

Gandalf warning the dwarves he’s about to bail on them provides a nice clear jumping-off point at which I must inevitably wonder–and what exactly will Gandalf be doing in the movie version, while Bilbo and the dwarves are in the house of Beorn? It’ll be fun to find out!

It does make you go “aww” a little bit when Bilbo weeps over Gandalf’s imminent departure, though. Thus establishing a fine tradition of Bagginses being sorry to lose their pointy-hatted wizards. And dammit, now I’m totally imagining Martin Freeman looking about as tragic-faced as Elijah Wood!

We do see the dwarves carrying Bilbo around a lot, don’t we? Though it doesn’t specify, not in this chapter, if poor Dori got saddled with that duty again. It also makes me suspect we’re not going to be seeing so much carrying in the movie–if nothing else just because they can work wonders now with making full-sized actors look like they’re hobbit- or dwarf-sized, but it’d still be difficult for those same actors to be taking turns carrying the good Mr. Freeman on set!

Oh wow, I’d totally forgotten about Beorn’s giant bees. I wonder if those will be in the movie?

And it’s a bit annoying to get the tale of the fight with the goblins all over again–but at least in this case, it’s serving the purpose of introducing all the dwarves to Beorn. Which, I have to admit, is cute. Also, +10 for the mention of Radagast in this conversation!

Beorn growls a lot of his dialogue, doesn’t he? And this character’s definitely going to be in the movie, so it’ll be fun to see how he’s treated. Here, though, ‘growled’ seems to be his default dialogue tag! Kind of adorable how he calls Bilbo “little fellow”. Also kind of adorable how Gandalf is totally on top of the entire encounter, and reels him right in with the story and the spaced arrival of the dwarves. I can totally see Ian McKellen playing this completely deadpan, save for a suspicious twinkle in his eye when Beorn isn’t looking!

French notes:

As the Eagles are carrying the party off and the dwarves are promising to pay back the Lord of Eagles if they ever can, I’m noting “jamais” used again here in the sense of “ever” rather than “never”. As previously observed can be the case, earlier in this edition!

Note to self: “les pics” here are “the peaks”. Not “pics” in the Internet sense of “GIFS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!”

Ooh, new verb, keying off a verb I already know: “rouvrit”, conjugation of rouvrir, which is in turn keying off of ouvrir. I’ve seen in SuperMemo that as with English, if you stick re- in front of a French verb, it has the connotation of “do this thing again”. So rouvrir, “re-ouvrir”, is of course “reopen”. Neat!

And here’s the Eagles’ farewell, in French: “Bonne chance ! où que vous alliez, jusqu’à ce que vos aires vous reçoivent à la fin du voyage !”

In French, the Lord of the Eagles’ destined future title comes through as “le Roi de Tous les Oiseaux”. Pretty much a straight translation of “the King of All Birds”. Ditto for “la bataille des Cinq Armées”; I note here, though, that “la bataille” is not capitalized as part of the name.

Ah, I spotted Gandalf telling the dwarves nous n’avons pas de vivres–“we have no food/supplies/provisions”. Noting this because of my prior familiarity with vivre being as the verb “to live”, of course. It doesn’t surprise me to see it used in the noun context, here.

Interesting as well that when Gandalf tells the party that they don’t know where they are, he says vous ignorez òu vous vous trouvez–“you don’t know where you are”. Ignorer is the verb of interest here, and it would be easy to mistake it for the English “ignore”. But it actually means “to not know, be unaware of”, rather than “to deliberately not pay attention to”. Good to know, and it’ll help me remember this if I think of it in connection with “ignorant”.

Gandalf leads into telling the others about Beorn by referring to a Somebody, and in the French, that comes through as Quelqu’un. And as he describes Beorn as a “skin-changer”, that renders as un changeur de peau.

And apparently ours is the French word for “bear”, both singular and plural! Another example of a word that’s valid in both English and French, yet with completely different meanings. I’ll have to be careful to mind the associated articles, to try to pick up on when the word is singular and when it’s plural, in context.

In the category of “words that look almost like English words, but aren’t”, I think I’ve remarked before on orage, “storm”. Not to be confused with orange, which is indeed valid in both English and French!

Ha, I begin to find that I can follow long conversations in French a bit more easily than I can long chunks of narrative. This is not terribly surprising, given that conversations–depending of course on the author–tend to have shorter and less complex sentences.

Beorn throws “Salut!” as a greeting at the dwarves, where in the English he says “Hullo!” I know just enough about greetings in French to get that this is a good choice to reflect Beorn’s general lack of formality.

German notes:

Chapter 7 in the German edition is called “Ein sonderbares Quartier”, which strikes me as particularly odd since “quartier” is also a valid word in French! Yet, the French edition calls this chapter “Un curieux logis”. Go fig.

I like the word Teekessel, “tea kettle”. If nothing else because it reminds me of “Kessel Run” from Star Wars.

Gandalf’s reply to the Eagles as they part ways renders thusly in German: “Möge der Wind unter euren Schwingen euch dorthin tragen, wo die Sonne zieht und der Mond wandert”. I’m not entirely sure that the verbs here match up with Tolkien’s “where the sun sails and the moon walks”, but I think the gist is more or less the same.

And here, the Battle of Five Armies becomes “der Schlacht der fünf Heere”.

The German edition sticks in another unexpected scene break just after Gandalf finishes springing the idea of Beorn on them, and just before they set off again to head to his house. Which does make for a good place to break, it must be said. Especially given German’s propensity for gigantic blocks of gigantic words. It’s a nice visual pause!

Fun German verb of the chapter, thus far: überquerten, meaning “crossed”. It makes me think of super-ultra-uber keyboards!

Ooh, German renders “skin-changer” as a particularly chewy word: Pelzwechsler. Man, I can barely pronounce that one slowly, and never mind at conversational speeds!

It’s amusing, too, to see the differences in how Gandalf facepalms at Bilbo’s asking if Beorn is a furrier. In English, it’s “Good gracious heavens, no, no, NO, NO!” In French, it’s “Seigneur! Mon Dieu! Non, non, NON, NON!” And in German, we get, “Guter Gott im Himmel, nein, nein, nein!” Only three “no’s”, and no capitalization! Apparently the German translator felt three was enough to get the point across.

Dornhecke is a neat word, meaning “thorn hedge”. Though of course as an English speaker, it sounds like to me like it ought to be a swear word!

Point of interest: Gandalf calls Bilbo “Mister Beutlin”. Not “Herr Beutlin”! This is actually the first time I’ve noticed this so far, going through the German edition. Any German speakers out there want to take a crack at why I see “Mister” here and not “Herr”? I’d have thought that would have been translated!

Überwurf, despite what it sounds like, is NOT in fact a noise made by a giant dog. In context, it appears to be the word for Beorn’s woolen tunic, as in this bit: “Er trug einen wollenen Überwurf hinab bis zu den Knien”.

Another example of a German word that starts with Q: Quere, which appears in Beorn asking Gandalf why they went anywhere near the goblins: “Warum seid ihr ihnen denn in die Quere gelaufen?” Die Quere here appears to be “the way”.

This section, at least in the German, appears to be all about various characters using verbs that make them sound like they’re making animal noises! Like “put in Gandalf” rendering as warf Gandalf ein. I had to do a bit of word juggling to figure out that that is actually coming out of the verb einwerfen, “interject”.

Beorn keeps calling the dwarves jack-in-the-boxes, which comes through in German as Stehaufmännchen. If I’m getting this right, this more or less means “tumbler” or “acrobat”.

I like the appearance of the word “Plumps”, to describe how Balin and Dwalin come in and flop down on the floor, not daring to be offended by Beorn’s gruff manner. And “flop/plop” appears to be pretty much what “plumps” means, as it appears in this sentence: “Plumps, saßen sie auf dem Boden und schauten ziemlich überrascht dabei aus.”

Here’s a nice long crunchy word: “Abhandengekommener”! It seems to mean “mislaid one”, where Beorn is yet again quibbling with Gandalf’s count of the party: “Das macht elf (plus ein Abhandengekommener) und nicht vierzehn”.

And yeah, after all that storytelling (well, on the part of Gandalf, anyway, and all the popping-in on the part of the dwarves), Beorn’s right: they deserve some dinner!

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