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Minas Tirith Forums » The Hobbit » Galion the Alcoholic Wood-Elf (Page 1)
Author Topic: Galion the Alcoholic Wood-Elf
Roll of Honor Gna
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As a character in the prequel to a morally upright (some might say uptight) series of books, King Thranduil's butler Galion has always bothered me a little. After all, he's an alcoholic, and displays many characteristics of a problem drinker.

1. He's meant to be choosing wines from the cellar to serve at the King's table, but actually rationalizes "sampling" the wines, to prepare for an evening of work.

2. The wine (from Dorwinion) he chooses is meant to be served in small bowls, yet he serves himself and his friend in "great flagons".

3. After the chief guard nods off, Galion drunkenly talks and laughs to himself. Classic alcoholic behavior, often considered amusing at parties and such.

4. When the other wood-elves arrive at the cellar, Galion is difficult to rouse from his drunken stupor. Once he is awake, he lies about his drinking, and claims to have fallen asleep while waiting for the others to show up. D-E-N-I-A-L.

5. Galion accuses the others of heavy drinking:

quote:
There is nothing in the feeling of weight in an idle toss-pot's arms.
So, is Galion ready for a Twelve Step Program, or is he just a benignly merry wood-elf?
From: Andustar | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Lugbúrz
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A truly out of character elf, but what can one do if one waits on the best wines in the world and has to serve them to the king? It's an occupational hazard with no way out.
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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quote:
There is nothing in the feeling of weight in an idle toss-pot's arms.
Is he accusing others of heavy drinking? I have always thought he was saying that simple barrel-tossers (which was their task) couldn't be expected to tell a full barrel from an empty one.
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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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quote:
1. He's meant to be choosing wines from the cellar to serve at the King's table, but actually rationalizes "sampling" the wines, to prepare for an evening of work.
That makes him a thief, but not necessarily an alcoholic. A sip here, a sip there, for all we know.

quote:
2. The wine (from Dorwinion) he chooses is meant to be served in small bowls, yet he serves himself and his friend in "great flagons".
It's possible he doesn't know that it's meant to be served in small bowls. He might think it's like a light beer or something (I don't know how alcoholic beer is, so bear with me).

quote:
3. After the chief guard nods off, Galion drunkenly talks and laughs to himself. Classic alcoholic behavior, often considered amusing at parties and such.
How many people who aren't alcoholics do that after getting drunk? Probably quite a few.

quote:
4. When the other wood-elves arrive at the cellar, Galion is difficult to rouse from his drunken stupor. Once he is awake, he lies about his drinking, and claims to have fallen asleep while waiting for the others to show up. D-E-N-I-A-L.
Again, doesn't make him an alcoholic. He's just trying to save his patookie, like anyone caught drinking on the job would. It could be his first alcoholic spree in years and he'd do the same thing.

quote:
5. Galion accuses the others of heavy drinking
That just makes him a hypocrit.

[]

Yes, he is quite different from Elrond, Legolas, and Thranduil. But then, so are the "Tra tra la lally" elves.

[ 09-13-2006, 12:36 AM: Message edited by: Neytari Took-Baggins ]

From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Gna
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Thorin -

quote:
Is he accusing others of heavy drinking?
According to The Annotated Hobbit, yes-a "toss-pot" is defined as a heavy drinker or a drunkard.

Neytari-

quote:
That makes him a thief, but not necessarily an alcoholic.
Galion knows that the wines are intended for the king, and he doesn't just sample them with a sip here and a sip there. He and his friend get falling-asleep-on-the-job drunk.

quote:
It's possible he doesn't know that it's meant to be served in small bowls.
He's the king's butler; it's his job to know about wines and such.

If there had been lampshades in Mirkwood, Galion would have been prancing around with one on his head. []

[]

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Roll of Honor Thorin
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You know, I bought the new edition of The Annotated Hobbit practically on it's release date, lent it to a friend the ?next? day, and have never seen it again. Of course, my friend is on the wrong side of the Atlantic so it's not easy to return. I need to buy another copy. I'm missing valuable Hobbit info!
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Thingol of Doriath
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First of all... yes Galion is ready for a 12 Step Program. [] He shows definite(and classic) signs of alcoholism. What's interesting is that Tolkien wrote this before 12 step programs existed and probably before alcoholism was considered a disease and its tell tale signs discussed openly.

quote:
Yes, he is quite different from Elrond, Legolas, and Thranduil. But then, so are the "Tra tra la lally" elves.

You know... those tra-la-la Elves always bothered me. I thought that they didn't fit in with Tolkien's later depiction of Elves. But recently I changed my mind. I noticed other Elves in tLotR who behaved in a likewise manner:

quote:
‘The meaning of it, fair people,’ said Frodo, ‘is simply that we seem to be going the same way as you are. I like walking under the stars. But I would welcome your company.’
‘But we have no need of other company, and hobbits are so dull,’ they laughed. ‘And how do you know that we go the same way as you, for you do not know whither we are going?’

"Three is Company"

quote:
The chanting ceased. Frodo opened his eyes and saw that Bilbo was seated on his stool in a circle of listeners, who were smiling and applauding.
`Now we had better have it again,' said an Elf.
Bilbo got up and bowed. `I am flattered, Lindir,' he said. 'But it would be too tiring to repeat it all.'
'Not too tiring for you,' the Elves answered laughing. 'You know you are never tired of reciting your own verses. But really we cannot answer your question at one hearing!'
`What!' cried Bilbo. 'You can't tell which parts were mine, and which were the Dúnadan's?'
'It is not easy for us to tell the difference between two mortals' said the Elf.

-"Many Meetings"

The same laughing-at-someone-else's-expense sense of humor as the tra-la-la Elves had. It is interesting to note that Elves act like this when they are feeling safe... in the woods of the Shire or in Rivendell. The Silvan guards in Lórien aren't as "merry"... and Gildor's Elves stop acting like this when the Black Riders are mentioned.
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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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quote:
Of course, my friend is on the wrong side of the Atlantic so [my book] is not easy to return.
Yeah, if only there was an international program whereby you could entrust a package to a government agency, and the agency would (through intermediaries if necessary) deliver your package to its intended recipient for a reasonable fee. That would probably solve your problem.

Maybe someday. []

[ 09-13-2006, 07:40 AM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]

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Roll of Honor Athene
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And because you're moving it from place to place, we could call it the "post" after the Latin postium.
[]
That's a really good idea, WT, you should write to the government.

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Captain of Gondor
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I third it. He can't keep it. That could be considered stealing.
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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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Ok, weary of playing devil's advocate.

Governments = Not trustworthy. I wish for a reliable private shipping company that doesn't cost me my firstborn.

From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Gna
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I think that the USPS is one of the best deals going, but then I'm a Luddite and still exchange a fair amount of snail-mail and packages with old friends and former housemates scattered across the US.

The only problem I had was when I mailed that handmade Afghan, just like the one my Chinese friend Ji had, to Thingol, who lives in a free-thinking liberal socialist European country. []

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LyraLuthien Tinuviel
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Behold, another thread has been hijacked.
How you went from the tipsy butler to USPS is just astounding.
*refrains from comment on alcoholism, being a teetotaller*

From: GreyHavens via Puget Sound | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Gna
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LyraLuthien Tinuviel
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What did I ever do to you?
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Roll of Honor Lugbúrz
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quote:
handmade Afghan, just like the one my Chinese friend Ji had
C'mon! That's the kind of sentence Galion would have found funny, chuckling at all the abundant wit. There's something amusing about a tipsy storyteller regaling us with mildly amusing anecdotes punctuated with guffaws and winks between the stressed phrases.

If Galion laughed at his own jokes, that would be another sign of a habitual drunk.

From: Middangeard | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Gna
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quote:
There's something amusing about a tipsy storyteller regaling us with mildly amusing anecdotes punctuated with guffaws and winks between the stressed phrases.
Ha! For that little quip in an e-mail, I was forced by Homeland Security to spend 24 hours in Supta Virasana, with no props. [] I still can't feel my ankles.

And I haven't been tipsy in years.

But anyhoo, I think Galion's dishonesty about his drinking on the job is one of the most telling signs of his alcoholism. Maybe such behavior was much more acceptable in Tolkien's time, or in his social circle. I've had several professors throughout my education who were alcoholics (and showed up at work, or even lectured, while drunk), and depending on their status in the university, they often escape any punishments or interventions.

EDIT: Lyra, why post in the thread if you have nothing to contribute on the topic?

I don't understand the compulsion of some citizens to post cr@p in threads that they're not remotely interested in. Why not just ignore those threads?

[ 09-13-2006, 10:08 PM: Message edited by: Gna ]

From: Andustar | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LyraLuthien Tinuviel
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The thread had been hijacked. Why didn't you [] at the citizens who hijacked it?
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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Off-topic: Yeah, he could probably mail it to me. But it would probably be almost as cheap to just buy a new one. I just bought a book from the American Amazon for $19.99 and had to pay $35 in shipping!

On-topic: You know, this thread really opens up a large can of worms that I didn't know existed. If Galion was actually an alcoholic, this must change our conception of elves: Elves were not subject to disease!

However, I can think of some ways to rectify this. One, the Professor may not have considered Galion as an alcoholic in the first place. Or two, Tolkien may not have considered alcoholism as a disease (I think that is a fairly modern concept).

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Roll of Honor Gna
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[off-topic]
quote:
The thread had been hijacked. Why didn't you [] at the citizens who hijacked it?
The off-topic posts were made while I was at work. I seldom have time to post much from work. Government employee, yadda yadda yadda. And why point out that the thread had been hijacked? I wasn't particularly bothered to do so when I got home from work.

I used the plural "citizens" deliberately; the compulsion to use threads as litterboxes to express disdain for people you don't like isn't unique. [/off-topic]

Thorin-

quote:
One, the Professor may not have considered Galion as an alcoholic in the first place. Or two, Tolkien may not have considered alcoholism as a disease (I think that is a fairly modern concept).
There's a line in the Galion episode about how it takes a potent wine to make a wood-elf drowsy, so perhaps Elves weren't meant to be as susceptible to the foibles of alcohol overindulgence as were mortals. There's another exceptional Elf-a fat, squat, and lazy one- in the HoMe series... Saeros maybe?

I think it's likely that Tolkien and his colleagues didn't consider alcoholism to be a disease, but I'll try to find out when the medical community recognized it as such.

[ 09-14-2006, 07:11 AM: Message edited by: Gna ]

From: Andustar | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Q
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Who was that one elf whose "wife" and biological son ran away to Gondolin?

I bet a little wine went a long way with him. []

[ 09-21-2006, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

From: LOS ANGELES, CA. | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amárië
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That was Eöl.

And I don't think he drank. []

From: Mishawaka, IN | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Q
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Could have fooled me.

Every chance he's offered to change, he acts suicidal.

He even goes after his wife and son so fast that, I think, he forgot to saddle his horse. But...since he could stay on an unsaddled horse, I guess he wasn't drunk, persay.

But then, all that lonely time without a wife or kid might have made him drink.

[ 09-21-2006, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

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Eluchil
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Actually, Elves usually ride on unsaddled horses, according to Tolkien.
From: Menegroth, deep under the sea | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pelranius
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I always pictured Eol to look a bit like Oliver Cromwell, for some reason.
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