Bilbo's Farewell Party

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Bilbo's Farewell Party
Event Information
Other namesBilbo's Birthday Party
LocationParty Field, Hobbiton
Date22 September T.A. 3001
ParticipantsSee below
ReferencesThe Fellowship of the Ring, "A Long-expected Party"

Bilbo's Farewell Party was a grand celebration held by Bilbo Baggins on his 111st birthday in the Party Field, on 22 September, T.A. 3001. It was, coincidentally, also the 33rd birthday of his nephew, Frodo Baggins. Another significant number of the day was the sum of Bilbo and Frodo's years. Added together, the ages of the two equatated to one gross. For that reason, a portion of the party was "invitation only" with 144 guests.

History

Preparations

In T.A. 2989, Bilbo took his orphaned younger cousin, Frodo Baggins, under his wing. The two shared a birthday, and they celebrated with lively parties in Bag End each year. As the years passed, however, Bilbo began to feel weary (possibly because of his use of his magic ring), and around T.A. 3001 he decided to leave his homeland the Shire. Bilbo planned to execute his departure as a mysterious and flashy "disappearance", which he would achieve with the help of his aforementioned ring.

The year came when Bilbo would celebrate his 111st birthday–—in addition to Frodo's coming-of-age——and the old hobbit announced "a party of special magnificence", which caused a sensation in the vicinity due to his eccentricity and wealth. Indeed, since T.A. 3000 he had ordered special gifts from Erebor and Dale, and Dwarves of Erebor had started arriving with wagons full of packages. Another stir came when the "conjurer" Gandalf, famous for his fireworks in Gerontius Took's parties years ago, also arrived.

During the following days, Bilbo was kept busy writing and sending invitations, managing his list and packaging the gifts. He turned away many curious folk who pretended they came to help, but really were only interested in the goings-on at the famous Bag End. The post-offices of Hobbiton and Bywater were overwhelmed by the number of invitations and responses, and his catering from miles around Hobbiton had depleted the stocks of most storerooms and storehouses.

In the days leading up to the party the large field in front of Bag End was repurposed for the needs of the feast; ropes, poles, lanterns, tents, pavilions and a new gate to connect the field to the road were all constructed.[1]

Party

A Long Expected Party by Inger Edelfeldt

It was a huge and expensive celebration, attended by most hobbits in the area. Bilbo welcomed the attendees in person at the new white gate, handing out a present to each visitor——though some secretly exited by a back way and came in again by the gate to get a second gift.

Plenty of eating and drinking followed, as was customary for Hobbits. Moreover, there was music, as well as songs and dances. Many children came by parental permission (this permission was easy to aquire——especially since they were fed a free meal). At lunch and tea the guests sat to eat together. Finally, at six-thirty, Gandalf began a show with all kinds of fireworks. The last one was designed and made especially to honor Bilbo: a figure of a mountain which spouted a lifelike fire-drake that roared and whizzed three times over the crowd before flying and exploding above Bywater. And that was the signal for the supper.

The Springle-ring by Miriam Ellis

After the last meal, Bilbo began giving his inevitable and much-dreaded speech, but the guests were already satisfied and full of good food and good drink, and they felt they could tolerate anything, cheering with every word. As Bilbo began his speech, talking about his age and thanking them for coming, they thought he had said what was necessary and started playing with the musical crackers and dancing the springle-ring. Bilbo blew a horn in order to silence them. Then he revealed to them that they were there for three reasons: to tell them that he was fond of them, to celebrate the birthdays of Frodo and himself, and to say farewell as this would be "the end."

Then, suddenly, Bilbo disappeared (he used the Ring for that effect, and Gandalf improvised a flash). The old hobbit then passed behind the surprised guests, who were mumbling and gossipping and seeking comfort in more food, and returned to Bag End. He was joined there by Gandalf, and the wizard persuaded him to leave the Ring in Frodo's keeping, after which Bilbo departed for the east[1] with three Dwarf companions.[2]

Aftermath

As the host's heir, Frodo had the duty of comforting the shocked guests and feeding them well. Around midnight, carriages came to take the important guests home, and those who were too drunk or heavy were taken by gardeners on wheelbarrows.

The next day, workers were ordered to clean up the Party Field. The installations, the decoration, the leftover food, the dishes and forgotten items like bags, gloves and handkerchiefs. The news of Bilbo's prank alarmed everyone, and Bag End was flooded by the guests, who demanded a logical explanation and to collect the presents Bilbo left for them.

The guests were so full that the next weeks there were almost no purchases of provisions throughout the district.

Attendees

Bilbo's party in the The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I.

Everyone around Hobbiton and Bywater was invited, even from Buckland. Some were distant relatives living in faraway parts of the Shire. A few were overlooked by accident, but they came anyway.

A select 144 from the extended families of Bilbo and Frodo (including Gandalf and other special guests) joined the exclusive family dinner-party, held in the great pavilion by the Tree.

In alphabetical order:

Notes

  1. They are marked as guests in older editions of the Appendix C, but unmarked in later editions; not known if it is a typographical error or a correction.

References