I have been considering the nicknames given to the Masters of Buckland (Brandybuck of Buckland Famiily Tree), and I am wondering about Saradoc's: Scattergold.'
Saradoc's father, the reknowned Rorimac, was called 'Goldfather.' I'm assuming this means he either had a talent for making money or that he horded it. Certainly it seems to imply wealth in any case.
So if Saradoc was tagged 'Scattergold,' does that mean he was wasteful in spending it or benevolent in bestowing it on those less fortunate?
What do you think?
I personally prefer the idea that Saradoc was a very generous hobbit - but not wasteful. I just can't see him squandering the family money. Maybe a lot of that "scattering" went on after the Scouring, when parts of Buckland would have needed to be repaired or even rebuilt? I can see the wealthier families looking out for the poorer ones and chipping in to help them financially.
Thank you for this perspective. I guess it stands to reason, really. Merry is such a stand-up guy, and he wouldn't have be if he hadn't grown up in a house where people modeled such values. I'm with you--I like to think hobbits are decent folk who help each other (with some glaring exceptions!).
I've read a few fics that indicate he was a wastrel, but I believe it was generosity, and several commentators on the scholarly front agree with that. I also believe there was some indication in HoME (Return of the Shadow, I think, because it's fairly recent that I saw it.)
Hard to think of Merry's father being so pitiful, with such a fine son and also such a revered father in Old Rory. I think Tolkien would assume that decency begets decency. But I had to ask, because I didn't have any idea, canon-wise! :)
I take the between road. LOL! My Saradoc loves to be generous and give freely of his money, but he doesn't really have a head for numbers either. He's the type who sees money coming in and so doesn't have any qualms about sending it back out again. So, his brother Merimac is the one in charge of handling the funds and approving any of Saradoc's 'special projects'. ;D
I too have seen something in the HoME, or maybe even the Letters or appendices, regarding the Brandybucks and money. I'll see if I can hunt it down for you.
My Merimac is mostly a fisherhobbit by sport/trade, but I also think that he would have a hand in some part of the Mastership. It makes sense as a back-up plan when Saradoc and Esmeralda aren't there, or if something should happen to them, Valar forbid, for Merimac to know what's going on and how to manage things. His focus is mostly on the money though.
I also see Berilac as being trained to take over his father's duties, and I think that Merry and Berilac would have a similar relationship in the dealing of the Mastership duties as their fathers had.
I feel so bad--I killed them both off in A Secret Gate without giving it a lot of thought past the psychology of Merry's grief. Because I was sticking so closely with regard to known relationships to the parameters of the book--where the only place they are mentioned is in the Family Tree--I just never gave them a lot of thought--because, you see, Tolkien hadn't thought to give them pride of place as he did hobbits like Rosie and the Gaffer and Fatty Bolger and--by geneological suggestion, Diamond and Estella and Goldilocks. Those relationships one has to assume, but before I came to LJ, I really wasn't aware of how much other writers had expanded the basic narrative to include all manner of intense personal relationships among the people on the Family Trees. I love reading all the stories and considering all those relationships now, but I pretty much cooked myself with regard to Merimac and Berilac--though I DID name Berry with the late, lamented Berilac in mind!
Those "pride of place" underlines on the family trees are rather bewildering. IIRC, there's the five main hobbits, Frodo, Bilbo, Merry, Pippin and Sam, and all the others are on the Gamgee tree. This leads me to think this was Sam's doing more than anything else, that he highlighted the hobbits who meant most to him on the trees. As he wouldn't be that familiar with anyone else in the other families, he just underlined his friends and Bilbo. That's just my theory though. I have no idea what Tolkien actually had in mind when he did that, and I haven't been able to find anything that references it.
But don't feel too bad. There's all sorts of things I never consider that I read in other writers' works and go 'dude, that's deep!' ;) Not just relationships, but all sorts of stuff, especially historical customs and the like since that is my least favorite thing to think about.
I didn't explain what I meant by 'pride of place' very well, though you are right to assume that the underlines and capitals in the Family Trees are part of it. What I really meant, though, were people who appear IN the narrative of the book itself--something that gives weight to previous and subsequent relationships with the four main hobbits.
For instance, when he's laying there in Mordor, kind of thinking about how he was never going to get back to the Shire, Sam thinks about Rosie and Tom and his sister Marigold, and before that he thinks about the Gaffer a lot. Tolkien tells us this. That implies a considered relationship in terms of Tolkien's imagination, you know? It means those relationships were integral to Sam's life and his emotional make-up, that they were real and part of the original construct.
This is why I choose to write both Merry and Pippin's romances as coming AFTER they got back--because at no time, when they were in the greatest peril of their lives, did they ever think of those girls! They never thought of ANY girls back home! If Tolkien had decided they had girls waiting at home, don't you think we'd have heard about it? (On the other hand, of course, it's clear the book is Sam-centric in this regard, so a case can be made for the fact that Tolkien's ignoring the others' home-ties isn't so much Intent as lack of it! Though as Dreamflower deconstructs the book, and reminds us that it's Frodo's narrative, we then have to wonder why he didn't see fit to mention the folks at home either...)
A wonderful example of gleaning Author's intent is Fatty Bolger. We hear all about what he did in the beginning (which gives us a basis for assuming he probably did alot of thinking about things after the Travellers had left and that either his sister or his parents were aware of it)--but then in the end, we get that tantalizing clue about him leading a Rebellion! That's really exciting--it says to me that Tolkien had imagined--even if ever so slightly--the backstory there and that our suspicions of the Crickhollow incident being a major event in Fatty's life are right on the money. It is a glimmer of Author's Intent, and it gives him some 'pride of place.' Ted Sandyman also has some 'pride of place.' It's fair to assume Tolkien did a little thinking about him, just as he did Farmer Maggot--who's backstory is really tantalizing once Tom Bombadil comes into it!
Anyway, that's what I meant. Not sure it's defensible in any way, but that was my thinking. :)
Ah, I see what you mean now.
I'm sure Frodo had many such thoughts during the Quest, but I imagine it was difficult enough for him to write the Red Book using just the facts that he really couldn't have borne to write anything more emotional than that. You can tell as the book goes on and the road gets more dark, the narrative gets more and more objective, until Sam finally takes over the narrative going through Mordor and again after the Grey Havens. There's very little written about what anyone might be thinking at any particular time, and Frodo pretty much just glosses right over all the time spent in Minas Tirith, hardly even mentioning himself or his friends.
Hobbits are so family-centric, that I imagine they would be very close to any number of their relations, regardless of whether or not they're given a role within the text of the book or not. And let's face it, there just wasn't the time to write about all those other countless relationships, pity that. ;)
I think if I hadn't already been reading some fan fiction before I started writing myself, I might have done the same thing you did though. In fact, my earliest ficlets were centered around the four main hobbits and Fatty and Folco, with no real thought to anyone else. It wasn't really until I came over to SoA and started reading Dreamflower's stories, and saw how she expanded the universe and made all her fics connected to each other, that it really clicked for me how this fan fiction thing could work. :D
Ok, here's a link to "Scattergold" at Encylopedia of Arda:
And here is the quote I think Dreamflower was thinking of from HoME, "Return of the Shadow", Chapter 1, Version 3 of "Long-Expected Party":
"Folk in Hobbiton did not know much about it [Buckland], or about the Brandybucks either; though some had heard it said that they were rich, and would have been richer, but for a certain 'recklessness' - generosity, that is, if any came your way."
Oh, excellent! Thank you! I really appreciate your knowing where to look for this--I can never find anything in HoME when I'm looking for it, and I didn't even think about there being something at Encyclopedia of Arda. I'm always very happy to get canon I didn't know existed! Many thanks for all your trouble and yikes! I read your new chapter two days ago and I can't for the life of me remember if I reviewed it or not! If I didn't, I will soon! :)
I just checked the index and looked up all references to "Brandybuck". I got lucky, it was the third one. :D
I don't know if I would consider the HoME to be canon, or even really the Letters. For me, the only canon are the books themselves. Everything else is just suggestion. So much of the HoME never made it to light of day, was changed in the process of writing, dropped altogether, or left out for other reasons (like Lewis saying he didn't like hobbits!). This concept of the Brandybucks seems to be one that stuck around though, or at least you could easily make a case for it, given that they are the founding family of Buckland and their family head also holds the title of Master. Plus the nicknames of the Masters also support the idea that they had a certain amount of wealth at their disposal.
Other concepts are more difficult to defend, such as the notion that the gossip-loving, gift-giving, party-having hobbits keep their courtships secret and then disappear to elope somewhere in secret. This was stated in the first draft of the "Long-Expected Party" and was never mentioned again, but I actually know a couple of people who have picked it up and run with it as being canon. They point to LOTR: ROTK as 'support' since it only says in "Grey Havens" that Sam and Rosie get married, not that they have a wedding. However, in one of the Letters (I think the infamous #214, too lazy to look it up) there is a footnote on gift-giving that hobbits begin arrangements for the newlyweds' home up to a year in advance, if they're not going to live in the ancestral home. Now, it would be very difficult for them to do this if no one knows about the courtship and the wedding is held in secret. So there you go.
And I'm just babbling now. :D
I looked up "Goldfather" on EoA also, but it just stated that it was the honorific for Rorimac.
LOL! I'll look forward to your review. ;)
I am a real champion of Author's Intent, and the charm and excitement of HoME and the Letters to me is that you can see Tolkien thinking, working things out, considering and re-considering that vast world of his. You're right to say that HoME isn't always canon, though, particularly if the bit in question is something that was discarded early on and never re-entered in the final text. I do often think of the Letters as akin to canon, because in many cases he explains himself and painstakingly tries to set down in his perspective on things. That's a real gift from an author--I love to know what a writer was thinking and experiencing when s/he was working! (Often makes me feel a LOT better about my own process!) One of my favorite things in Letters is the story of how Faramir came walking out of the woods one day and at first, Tollkien didn't even know who he was! I love that suggestion that what he did in writing was simply uncover the truth that was always there.