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Discussing: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

Blunt, though not graphic, presentation of adolescent sexuality.

In which Frodo translates Elvish, realizes that Bilbo is in love, has a heart-to-heart with one of his cousins, and remembers how he got so good at pleasing others.



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

Ang, this chapter almost broke my heart. Poor Frodo.

I hadn't had a chance to get caught up on OMY until today (am home sick) and have finished it all in one gulp. Great stuff so far. I really like Gilda, although I wonder how much she knows/suspects about her son. Her conversation with Bilbo was fascinating. What could have happened "four years ago"? I've wracked my brain trying to think of what it might be, with no luck.

I am also very amused at the hints you're dropping about Wintermark... can't wait to see whether I've guessed right or whether you're going to pull another rabbit entirely out of your hat.

The only awkward bit I noticed was Frodo thinking of his uncle and Gilda: "Frodo had more attentive the last few days of how the two were when together".



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

Also known as a great fat hairy typographical error.

Gilda and Bilbo will come back to several interesting topics over the rest of the stay, including Sara. Their relationship was something that I had very roughly sketched while doing Legacy, then had it give me a good whap up side the head in OMY and demand to be taken more seriously.

As to what "happened" four yers ago, there will be hints in chapter 10, but it is actually a speculation on my part. Something happened down South is all that can be known for certain. I am going to try to address it in my Denethor fic - if it ever gets written.

Send me a note about what you think will happen at Wintermark - I'd like to see how much is coming through.

The next two chapters are Bilbo - Bilbo, Rory and a little bit of Gilda, and then Bilbo and Dalin.

Toodles - Ang



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

I wonder what kind of cattle they have in the shire: big sized or small sized? Hobbits prefer ponies, because they are more fitting to their own size than horses. Likewise, they might prefer small breeds of cattle, because they are more easy to handle. Maybe like Hinterwälder cattle.

At the tweens table:
One of those hobbitish details I love: One moment they are seriously fighting about position - but once the meal is served, they concentrate wholly on eating.

Frodo, Sara, Esmie:
I was glad to see the you did not delete Sara's and Frodo's bargain concerning Esmie. It sheds a light on both their characters, Frodo being protective towards those he loves and wiling to suffer before he lets harm come to them (a glimpse of the future, again), and Sara ruthlessly exploiting Frodo's virtues as well as his weaknesses.
This bargain is an unguarded backdoor for Frodo, because it is likely to undermine his will to resist Sara.

First glimpse on Tom, from Frodo's pov:
Frodo has a crush on him, but I do not trust him at all. His behaviour towards Frodo reminds me of the relation of a pimp towards a whore. Not conscious and calculated, but still. I wonder if he sees sweets and horsehair ring as gifts or apologies, as Frodo interprets them, or rather as payment. Clearly he does not hesitate to use Frodo for his own end, which is to gain a better position in Bargo's group.
I think he has enough real feelings for Frodo to make himself convincing - and thus he is the more dangerous.



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

I think Hobbits will have smaller versions of most domesticated animals, if only to be able to control them more easily. Sheep, goats, dogs, fowl are probably close to the same size as Big People would have, but horses and cattle will be smaller on average. I have a hard time imagining a hobbit handling a full-sized dairy bull. Though I have confidence someone like Farmer Maggot would figure it out. I imagine the oxen as being larger than the draft ponies, but not by a great amount.

The tweens were fun to write. It was also important to show an environment where Frodo was on more equal footing with the others. One complaint I have about a number of otherwise very good young Frodo fics is that he does not interact with hobbits his own age - only with elders (Bilbo) and young children (Sam). The dynamic is clearly different. He is not cowed by Bargo, though he is wary of Bargo's ability to beat him up. Part of what I wanted to present was the ways in which Frodo is not simply a helpless victim of older bullies. He gives as good as he gets, he isn't afraid of taking on the older tweens, and he's more likely to try to confront rather than to submit. Had he stayed in Buckland, my belief is that Frodo would have turned the tables on Bargo within a year, with Ula's help.

Sara. Sigh. I kept trying to not make him such a bastard, but the character would not cooperate. Frodo's compassion is clear, but his judgment needs work. Bilbo is teaching him that.

Tom as a character changed the most over the course of the story, more than any other. He went from being one of Bargo's nasties to being a true sweetheart to being something more complicated. I think his original feelings for Frodo were affectionate, though opportunistic. He has bigger plans than just Bargo's group. Frodo's compassion, as well as his desire to be loved and not used, gets him in a lot of trouble with Tom. He sees in Tom someone else who is picked on and who needs protecting. His defense of Tom is, in a way, a denial of his own vulnerability. It gets even more complicated a few chapters along.




Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

Highland cattle are surprisingly small. And surprisingly intimidating, for being that small. (And equally, just *adorable,* in spite of being truculent little hairy monsters.) I'm 5'2, and I could easily rest my elbow on the back of a full-grown Highland cow, if they'd put up with it. (They actually can be hand-reared to be quite nice and mannerly.)

I could easily see cattle like that being bred for short-polled and shorter-coated traits, (Highland cattle are said to be closer related to musk-oxen than other breeds of cows)-- these being more suitable for barn-keeping and the more moderate climate of the Shire.



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

Oooh! Good reminder!

Where I grew up in Washington state, there was a local farmer who had a small herd of Highlanders (along with his usual dairy herd). They are *beautiful* cattle, and indeed have a very musk-ox look to their faces. If you ignore the huge spread of horns the bulls sport. They did very well in the NW climate, which is much like the British Isles, though perhaps not quite so cold in the winter.

I think I will provide the Northfarthing with a herd of these in the next story. They would be an excellent addition.





Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

I see I have to break a lance for one of my favorite cattle breeds, too.
I recommend Hinterwaelder from the Black Forest. They are an old breed, extremely rare nowadays, and have not changed much since the Middle ages. They are very small - the smallest breed in Europe - , and unlike Highland cattle they were traditionally used for dairy and work. Their more "civilised" look compared to Highland cattle is well suited for the Shire, a very civilised country.

I could not find a picture with a person and a cow to show how small they really are, but they are about Shetland- or Welshpony height.



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

I like these, too! Your middle link is a great resource for cattle breeds in general - I've just wasted half an hour looking at cows!

Now I think that there will be a few different kinds of cattle in the Shire - all on display at the Free Fair on Lithe. The Hinterwaelder will *definitely* be represented! :-)




Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

The small and deer-like Jerseys are also popular as dairy cows up here in New England. They seem to be very "nice" animals, as opposed to the rather scary Herefords I've encountered, who rather remind me of zombie hordes in bad 50s sf movies.

For some kid-verisimilitude, I can tell you that there are two reasons why Highland Cattle are big hits with the smaller set at fairs. The first is the reason they're popular with everyone -- they're cute as fuzzy caterpillars. The second always brings delighted grossouts from children: like giraffes, they can and often do clean their nostrils with their long and nearly-prehensile tongues. "I wish *I* could do that," -- "I'm glad you can't" is a child-parent exchange I've overheard at the Games.



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

I've got a few in mind.

The Hinterwaelder -type will be popular among folks who live in the wooded regions of the Shire, such as the Woody End and west Marish. The Highland-type will be found in the relatively barren lands up in the northern reaches of Northfarthing. A Jersey-type will be a popular milch cow throughout the central Shire, while a heavy, black cow, similar to a Kerry, will be used as beef animals in the central Eastfarthing and the grasslands of Southfarthing. I'm looking for a swamp cow to be found near marshy areas. There's native Bornean wild cattle that would fit the bill quite well.

I also think that Hobbits will have many different types of sheep and goats, and will be a holdover from their nomadic days - sheep and goats being good flocks to travel with. The Stoors in particular are going to like goats, having been most recently nomadic, and having to take lands where the browsing and grazing may not be that good. Fallohides are horse people, I get the feeling, and the Harfoots are more likely to have cows and sheep. Which is why you find cattle and sheep in the longer settled regions of the Shire. Oh, don't get me going...



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

I said I liked to see that "moonblood bargain" back again. But now I read the story to the end and have doubts about that. Since now one ever speaks or thinks about that bargain again, it seems somewhat out of place. I feel this thread must play a vital part in Sara's and Frodo's dialogues somewhere, or at least in Frodo's internal thoughts. (Why does'nt Sara use it to blackmail Frodo? What does Frodo think will happen to Esmie when he leaves Buckland forever?)
If however you see it as an idea that fits no longer into the story as a whole (which I think is what happened) , why not take it out entirely?



Re: OMY Ch. 8 - Affection

At this point in the story I was absolutely convinced that Wintermark was going to be a Great Rite -- a sex-magick ritual centered on Rory and Gilda. It turns out to be a little less than that, but still a fertility ritual. It's interesting that Bilbo reflects on how Wintermark used to be celebrated all over the Shire, but now remains as ritual only in Buckland, and that this is seen as Not Respectable by the remainder of the Shire. Reminds me of the way Halloween has changed over the course of my own lifetime...



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