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?
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