On page 36 in Return of the Shadow (The History of Middle-earth vol. 6), Christopher Tolkien writes:

We come now therefore to a further stage, where the 'long-expected party' is still Bingo's, not Bilbo's, but Bingo is his nephew, not his son, and Bilbo's marriage (as was inevitable, I think) has been rejected.

(Emphasis mine).

This remark struck me as odd, and I was wondering if anyone might have an idea as to why he wrote that. Perhaps something written elsewhere in HoMe or other sources sheds some light on this?


1 Answer 1


This strikes me just as CT seeing what the plot requirements are. Bilbo basically needs to be a bachelor in order to be able to leave the Shire without complications. Bilbo needs to be someone in the Shire, but also not quite of it - everyone thinks he's a bit of a weirdo - and a spouse would complicate that. It also allows him to leave Bag-end to Frodo (and do the humorous distribution of his goods to relatives).

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