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Minas Tirith Forums » The Hobbit » Galion the Alcoholic Wood-Elf (Page 2)
Author Topic: Galion the Alcoholic Wood-Elf
Alcuin
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Like Gna, I was always of the impression that Galion had consumed what he and his friend the captain might have considered an unusually generous portion of what they might normally consume on an evening; the problem was that what they consumed that evening was also unusually potent: they both fell asleep. In that event, chattering and laughing by oneself and failing to notice that your drinking buddy has already conked out might not be a sign of alcoholism as much as an indisputable indication of inebriation: after all, the captain of the guard was already asleep, and Galion the butler soon followed.

I think Elves were fond of wine, though as a rule I imagine they probably avoided drinking to excess. What “to excess” meant to an Elf, however, might be quite different from what “to excess” means to us mere mortals. For one thing, I doubt they suffered from cirrhosis of the liver, although they did seem to have suffered hangovers. (I think that and embarrassment explain Galion’s ill temper.) Perhaps feeling poorly the morning after kept them from overindulging as they grew on in years: it must be pretty disgusting to wake up at age 3,582 (that’s almost 25 yéni, or Elvish long-years) and feel like a cat slept in your mouth overnight for about the half-millionth time.

After I grew old enough to consider the situation, I think the Elves hanging from the trees as Thorin & Co. followed Gandalf into Rivendell were pretty toasted. I have always imagined that Saeros, the Elf in Doriath who taunted Turin so viciously (and got his just desserts) was about half-lit when he made some of his more cutting remarks, but that’s only because I prefer to think that he was not actually evil: if said what he did while he was sober, we have to consider that the shadow of Morgoth had already fallen on some of the Elves of Doriath when Turin arrived, because there was no excuse other than intoxication for the deliberately hateful and hurtful things Saeros said.

We should also consider that even at the time of the American Revolution, if you look at what people drank, it was what we modern folk would call a seriously alcoholic regimen. I’ve seen academic papers on what folks consumed beginning from before breakfast until bedtime, and these folks were seriously blasted from the time they arose in the morning until they went to bed again at night; and yet they seemed sober and rational in their decision-making. The alcohol consumption recorded among monks at English abbeys and monasteries during the Middle Ages accounted for half or more of their caloric intake, which in some cases exceeded 6,000 calories a day. (Fat Friar Tuck was not unusual, but a caricature of a likeable but overweight ecclesiastic, and that at a time in which most people were decidedly thinner than today.)

But when you consider these things, bear also in mind that in most places, water was suspect: if you got a water-born infection, you were doomed: if it didn’t kill you outright, you had a parasite for the rest of your life. Alcohol was how people ensured that their beverages were potable; although in the north of Europe where temperatures were colder after about 1450, people turned to beer and distilled spirits rather than wine because the vineyards died as temperatures fell for 400 years. (If I understand correctly, these past couple of decades mark the first time since the reign of Henry V that wine-quality grapevines have prospered even in southern England; at one point during the Middle Ages, they grew as far north as York.)

Alcohol was extraordinarily important in terms of keeping down disease and parasites: that’s why our ancestors persisted in making it, not merely because it made them tipsy. You should also remember that most beverages were watered down, so that there was just enough ethanol in the mixture to kill the bugs.

But you know, I’ll bet ever after his little escapade with Galion in the cellar, the captain of Thranduil’s guard was careful to Take It Easy, One Day at a Time, so to speak.

BTW Gna, did you really have unpleasant visitors as the result of an overly-effusive post?

[ 10-20-2006, 01:24 AM: Message edited by: Alcuin ]

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Roll of Honor Athene
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Doesn't it specifically say in one version of the story of Turin that the Elf who taunted him had had too much to drink?

I don't have my books about me (damn work!) so I cannot check.

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Roll of Honor Thorin
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I couldn't find anything specifically about Saeros being drunk in UT or the Silm, Athene. However, the famous "taunting episode" occurred during a feast, and Alcuin has pointed out the use of alcohol instead of water.

I had never thought of alcohol playing a part in Saeros's activity before. I really don't think it could have, unless Saeros was constantly drunk - there was a pattern in his behavior to Turin, and it happened in locales other than meals where alcohol may have been served.

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Thingol of Doriath
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quote:
After I grew old enough to consider the situation, I think the Elves hanging from the trees as Thorin & Co. followed Gandalf into Rivendell were pretty toasted.
That would explain the song... []

As for Saeros, The Silmarillion is littered with Elves behaving badly. Jealousy, greed, pride, lust, wrath... I don't think we can blame it all on alcohol.

*searches the Silmarillion for the 2 missing deadly sins*

[ 10-20-2006, 03:54 AM: Message edited by: Thingol of Doriath ]

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Alcuin
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quote:
*searches the Silmarillion for the 2 missing deadly sins*
  1. Pride – plenty of that, from Fëanor to almost every other Elven lord: perhaps Finrod was the exception?
  2. Envy/Jealousy – loads of it! Fëanor’s feelings toward his brothers; and three Kinslayings, just for a start.
  3. Gluttony – there’s the “alcoholism” that’s the subject of this thread.
  4. Lust – Maeglin and the Fall of Gondolin. Celegorm’s lust for Lúthien.
  5. Wrath – an overabundance of wrath, particularly from Caranthir, and Celegorm and Curufin.
  6. Greed – pride and greed were the downfall of Thingol and Doriath.
  7. Sloth – ?
The only Deadly Sin I can’t find among the Elves is sloth. Maybe they were lazy, and I can’t see it.
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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I can! But in The Hobbit, not The Silmarillion.
Elven Economics
[] for Thingy

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I think Sloth is a fitting vice for Salgant, who was "heavy and squat" and the only Elf of Gondolin who rode into battle (rather than walking or running).

[aside] Yes, I stupidly confused Salgant and Saeros in the Password Game-indicative of impending senile dementia, no doubt... [] [/aside]

I think the Wood-Elves' song is a pretty good indication of moderate tipsiness, but to be honest, the line about your ponies need shoeing... always makes me laugh. []

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Alcuin
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Very nice analysis!

Yeah, I guess they were a little lazy.

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Athene, I seem to remember that passage as well - after the taunting incident Mablung asks Saeros, "Are you in wine?" or something like that. But I couldn't find it in UT either. []
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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Rock on, Athene and WT! You're right.

quote:
He [Orgof > Saeros] drew forth daintily... a dear treasure,
a comb of gold... that he kept about him,
and tindered it to Turin;... but he turned not his eyes,
nor deigned to heed... or harken to Orgof,
who too deep drunken... that disdain should quell him...

The Lay of the Children of Hurin, The Lays of Beleriand

We also have this:
quote:
But this fool [Orgof > Saeros] would not give [Turin] peace, making a laugh of his rough clothes and tangled hair... and at length he drew forth daintily a comb of gold that he had and offered it to Turin; and having drunk well, when Turin deigned not to notice him he said...
Turambar and the Foaloke, The Book of Lost Tales II

Edit: And this:
quote:
And as they sat and drank Orgof [> Saeros] spoke across the board to Turin...
Quenta Silmarillion, The Lost Road and other Writings

It looks like drinking was involved with the Saeros / Orgof episode. But I couldn't find your quote, WT.

[ 10-20-2006, 02:44 PM: Message edited by: Thorin ]

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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I thought it was right in this UT passage:
quote:
Then Mablung said to Saeros: "What ails you tonight?
But it's not. Apparently I hallucinated the whole thing. []
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Mithrennaith
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Perhaps he said: "What ales you tonight?", and some scribe misunderstood. []
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Thingol of Doriath
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quote:
Perhaps he said: "What ales you tonight?", and some scribe misunderstood.
[]

Those Vanyar were pretty slothful- sitting for thousands of years at the feet of the Valar. []

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Eluchil
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Vanyar ? I don't get the link ...

Edit : []

[ 10-21-2006, 09:08 AM: Message edited by: Eluchil ]

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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It's a reference to Alcuin's post here.
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Supra
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Him being a heavy drinker kinda contradicts the extended movie when Legolas and Gimli are drinking and Gimli just falls down and Legolas goes like "I think, i am beginning to feel a tingling in my fingers".
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Prince Imrahil
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quote:
Him being a heavy drinker kinda contradicts the extended movie when Legolas and Gimli are drinking and Gimli just falls down and Legolas goes like "I think, i am beginning to feel a tingling in my fingers".
And this is why the movie should not be used as source material. I'm sure WiKi has something more visceral (misspelled) to say in this regard, just thought I'd soften the blow.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
And last and proudest, Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, kinsman of the lord, with gilded banners bearing his token of the Ship and the Silver Swan, and a company of knights in full harness riding grey horses...tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired, singing as they came.

-Minas Tirith

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Hamfast Gamgee
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In a way, however, it probably was a good thing that Galion was Alcholic. If he wasn't Bilbo couldn't have light-fingered his key. He would never have rescued the Dwarves. They couldn't have journeyed over to The Lonely Mountain. Bilbo could never have provocked Smaug into making his rash attack on Lake-town, thereby killing the Dragon. The Wild would be still the Wild. And at the time of the War of the Ring, Sauron with his outstretched right hand would have destroyed the North, including the Shire. All avoided because Galion liked the occasional glass or three of Dorwinion wine while on duty.
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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