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 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.