Chapter 7 Queer Lodgings
1. What is a skin-changer?
A skin-changer is someone who can change their shape or appearance. Beorn is a skin-changer because he could change to the shape of a bear.
2. What does Beorn eat (p. 116)? Why do you think he chooses to eat this way? What does it suggest about his inherent character traits?
Beorn eats cream and honey. He eats this way because he could turn into the animal he’s eating. This shows that he cares about the animals, which the creature he turns into might not have.
3. How does Gandalf get Beorn to shelter thirteen dwarves?
Gandalf has them come in groups of two while telling him an interesting story.
4. What eventually interests Beorn about the dwarves’ tales? What group of creatues does Beorn seem to dislike?
When the goblins are mentioned it seems that Beorn is more interested.
5. What is the most important advice that Beorn and Gandalf give about Mirkwood? Do you think this advice will be followed? Defend your answer.
The most important advice that Gandalf and Beorn had given was to not drink the water and to stay on the path. I don’t think the advice will be followed because the dwarves are always curious and searching for new things. We see their curiosity when the saw the light of the trolls and went to explore it.
Beorn is another character with fantastical powers, able to transform himself into a bear. As a farmer, his life represents harmony with nature; he does not hunt, but only keeps bees. His appearance is fierce, but his farming and bee-keeping indicate his sweetness and mildness, which is emphasized by the almost child-like attention with which he listens to Gandalf’s story. As a bear, at night, however, he kills Goblins and Wargs, and the power of darkness represented by that nighttime transformation is so threatening that Gandalf warns Bilbo and the dwarves not to go outside the house till morning.
Beorn also fulfills a very practical function by providing the travelers with provisions and ponies for their journey to Mirkwood.
At the end of this chapter, the travelers’ apprehension at going on alone, without Gandalf, is clear. There is a real question as to whether they will be able to survive the rest of the journey without his wisdom.