Thorin and Company in the Snow
Each dwarf has his own reaction to the snow.
The younger ones (Fili and Kili) are ABSOLUTELY EXSTACTIC about the snow.
Like, they’re out there at first light, running around, lobbing snowballs at each other and challenging each other to sled races.
But the older dwarves aren’t as excited about it.
Some of them do enjoy it, though.
Some of them get in on the snowball fight.
Others take walks through the snow, enjoying the scenery.
Thorin’s the one that has to wrangle them all up at some point.
But he lets them enjoy it for a while.
He knows how hard they work and that they deserve a break and a chance to have some fun.
But when it’s time to come inside, he isn’t afraid to use his “I’m In Charge and I Need You to Listen” voice.
It works great on most of them.
But Fili and Kili take some extra...reinforcement to come back inside since they’re so happy about the snow.
Bombur is having absolutely none of it.
He stays inside all day, eating food.
He makes some food for the others (I think he might be a good cook somewhere deep down) for when they come back inside.
But some of it is eaten in the process.
Bilbo doesn’t really want to get in on the antics.
But it’s guaranteed that he’s going to get hit in the face with a snow ball at some point.
Then it’s over.
All that pent up rage that we all know is in there somewhere that he’s tried to kept hidden for so long comes out.
As a result, he’s surprisingly good at snowball fights.
And this anger is because of the Sackville-Bagginses and the AUDACITY they had at stealing auctioning his stuff.
Overall chaotic day.
Bilbo may be now shiny and cosmopolitan, but there was a (recent) time when it wasn’t so: it was a town full of industries and pollution. After the hunger years that followed the Spanish Civil War came the 50s, an era dedicated to rebuild a destroyed country, which translated into growing companies and a huge need of workers.
So people left the empoverished Spanish countryside with all the few possessions the had and moved to industrial cities - mostly Bilbo and Barcelona - looking for a job and a better future. Just some data to make you understand how many people left the inner area of Spain: in just 25 years (1950-75) Bizkaia doubled its population, and it’s reckoned that around 5M people left their rural homes.
Of course with this massive income of immigrants from other regions came one big problem: it was impossible accomodate them all. So they waited for a flat making their own homes and towns, where and how they could, as you can see in the pictures.
With their hard work, they got to leave those precarious buildings and move to their own flat, and give their kids an education. Most of the grandchildren of these workers that initially survived in wooden houses and a little vegetable garden, got to study at university.
At first, the most radical side of Basque nationalism - still following the old racist concepts of Arana - called these people maketoak, a very derogatory word that means non-Basque. Luckily this changed and just the old-fashioned right wing uses it sometimes to imply Basque people are racist or non-inclusive. Basque people are very aware that these workers from other regions (mostly from Castile and León, and Galiza, btw) helped not just rebuild, but make Euskadi richer and more properous for us all; in fact, a high percentage of Bilbo-born people share these humble origins that we wanted to remember with this little post.
so late in returning
Dew gathered cold over the hair on Bilbo’s toes. The stars were bright, except where the crescent moon lay. Beneath the white moon, the dew shone. It shone even in the shadows, though fainter. Elves sang.
Bilbo stuck his hands in his pockets.
‘I didn’t think it could be as beautiful as I remembered,’ he said to Elrond. ‘I thought I must have imagined some of it, or dreamt it lovelier.’ He looked over his shoulder with a smile. ‘That was a fool’s thinking. It’s lovelier than I could have ever dreamt.’
Elrond smiled, but it was just a quick rise of his lip in the corner. He had been quite solemn all night, but then, so had Bilbo.
Elrond had his child in his arms, with the boy’s head resting on his shoulder.
Elrond had three boys. He was catching up with the hobbits, Bilbo had joked. Elrond had just shaken his head.
This boy was the youngest. He had gentle sweeps of brown hair falling past his shoulders, and glittering, curious eyes, and he smiled at Bilbo whenever he saw him. He liked Bilbo’s fur, he’d said, touching his feet, and he did cartwheels for Bilbo or danced on the green grass.
Now he was asleep in his father’s arms, dressed in spring green and silver. Elrond kissed his son’s hair.
Bilbo knew what his name meant. It was lovely, but piercing at the same time.
‘He’s asleep even with all this singing,’ Bilbo said.
‘I think you might be the only one that it keeps up,’ Elrond said. He rocked Estel. The moon lit them both. Behind them the fire burnt golden through the many windows of the house.
‘That boy has some long legs,’ Bilbo said. ‘He’ll be catching up with you in no time.’
Elrond smiled again, and this time it reached his eyes. He kissed Estel’s hair.
‘He’s my little vine—long and thin and climbs everything.’ Elrond pressed his face to the top of Estel’s head.
‘Does he still smell like a baby to you?’ Bilbo asked.
‘Mhm.’ Elrond stroked Estel’s back and legs where he held him. ‘Always my baby.’
‘I never wanted children,’ Bilbo said. ‘Or marriage or any of that.’ He looked up into Elrond’s gentle grey eyes. ‘But you could make almost anyone change their mind, I’m sure.’
Elrond smiled over Estel’s head. ‘Is that a confession, Mr Baggins?’ his voice was light with mirth.
Bilbo snorted. ‘No, no, you brat,’ he said, forgetting for a moment who he was speaking to. Or maybe not forgetting. It all slipped out so easily.
Bilbo looked away from Elrond and Estel, over the valley. He watched the river as it ran silver, trailing away. It laughed as it ran. The sound echoed through the valley.
‘That’s how you find the valley, isn’t it?’ he said, musing out loud. ‘You follow the river.’
‘Yes,’ Elrond said. ‘If I want you to find it.’
‘Well, that’s a very mysterious answer.’ Bilbo fiddled with the Ring in his pocket. He whistled, and it matched the elves’ melody, but just a bit sadder. His grief was fresh, after all.
‘You will always find your way here,’ Elrond said, and his voice was kind but solemn again.
Bilbo watched the river turn its way about white quartz stones that seemed to glow in the night. They glittered for a moment, but Bilbo blinked away his tears.
‘Will home be the same?’ he asked Elrond, or maybe the stars, or they might be one and the same.
‘No, I’m afraid.’
‘That’s what Gandalf said.’
‘I’m sorry.’ The wind carried off Elrond’s words, hiding them in the early leaves.
‘But he doesn’t have a home or family, does he?’ Bilbo said.
He turned when he felt Elrond’s hair sweep over him. Elrond’s face was now close to his. He knelt on the wet grass, holding Estel close with one arm. The other he wrapped around Bilbo.
‘He does,’ Elrond said. ‘I promise.’
‘Or rather you force him to have a home, I’m sure,’ Bilbo said, and laughed once.
Elrond’s eyes glimmered.
‘Do you really think anyone could force Gandalf to do anything?’
‘I think you could,’ Bilbo said. ‘You’d just have to look at him with those big grey eyes, and you’d melt his heart.’
Elrond titled his head.
‘You paint a very flattering picture of me, Bilbo Baggins.’
Bilbo laughed again. ‘Just wait until I write my book.’
‘I will then.’ Elrond squeezed Bilbo’s shoulder.
Bilbo stroked Estel’s cheek.
‘He’s such a beautiful boy.’
Elrond drew Bilbo closer, even when Bilbo huffed out of habit, and kissed the top of his head.
‘You’ll find your child someday.’
‘Oh, I doubt that,’ Bilbo said, fiddling with his buttons, watching their shadows on the grass.
‘No,’ Elrond said. ‘I know you will.’
‘Oh, nonsense.’ Bilbo kept his voice quiet. He didn’t want to wake Estel.
‘It’s not nonsense,’ said Elrond. ‘It’s foresight.’
Bilbo shook his head. ‘That’s just elvish nonsense.’
‘Half-elvish nonsense then.’
Elrond pouted. ‘I’m trying to comfort you.’
‘And I’m trying to see how much it takes for you to smack me.’
Elrond’s clear laugh was like the sound of the stars in winter. Estel stirred and Elrond let go of Bilbo to hold him with both arms again.
‘Hush, little one.’ Elrond kissed his Estel. ‘You’ve already fallen asleep.’ He stood and rocked him. ‘I should put him to bed before his mother finds out I’ve let him out barefoot.’
‘He needs some good woollen hair on those toes.’ Bilbo patted Estel’s ankle. ‘But I guess half-elves don’t grow that?’
‘Mmm,’ Elrond murmured. ‘Good night, Bilbo.’ Elrond went towards the door into the house but stopped just outside it. ‘Bilbo,’ he said, ‘try to sleep.’
‘I’ll try, I’ll try. But damn all that singing.’ Bilbo turned away from Elrond as the whole valley glittered again before his eyes. He let out a shuddering breath when the door shut behind him. He stared out over the valley. The river flowed. The stars burnt.