A Rubiyat of a Birthday

A Lore of the Ring contest quiz for September, written by Primula

All questions come from, and the answers to said questions can be, found in the books (TH, FOTR, TTT and ROTK), but that the questions may come from any part of the books (the text, the maps, the songs, the poems, the appendices, the indexes, etc.), and that use of the books is not only permitted, but encouraged, along with any other reference source you have. Also note that use of the movies as an aide is discouraged for they may lead you astray in your search.  No go! Bread out the cake and the party horns, it's time to go to a certain Birthday!

Highlight under each to see the answers, and the part of the books they came from.  Supplied page numbers are from the earliest paperback Ballantine editions with the wacky surreal emus and such on them.


For September:  A Rubaiyat of the Birthday Party



No one else ever made them quite right,

These colorful objects of every height,

Legendary and wrought with skill,

Adding the sparkle with pictures of light.


What did Gandalf bring to the Party?


Answer: Firecrackers

“The fireworks were by Gandalf: they were not only brought by him, but designed and made by him…” - FotR, chapter 1, p. 51


Somewhere hidden deep beneath the Hill,

It is rumored that heaps of these do fill,

For surely not only silver or gold did he weigh,

When wealth was ground from a Dragon’s mill.


They hear there’s gold up there and…what else?


Answer:  Jools /jewels

“All the top of your hill is full of tunnels packed with chests of gold and silver and jools, by what I’ve heard.” – FotR, chapter 1, p. 46.


The Farewell Party, O what a fabulous way

For Bilbo to take leave of those who would stay,

But tell me, dear reader, can you recall

In the week where it landed, on just which day?


Which day of the week was the Party?


Answer: Thursday

“Anyway, I mean to enjoy myself on Thursday, and have my little joke.” - FotR, chapter 1, p. 49


A bushel of invites, what a passel to call,

A gob, or a gather, of wax the whole ball,

Specially picked, yes this is how many,

Though the insulted guests didn’t like it at all.


What is the term for that particular number of guests?


Answer: One Gross

Together we score one hundred and forty-four. Your numbers were chosen to fit this remarkable total: One Gross, if I may use the expression.  No cheers. This was ridiculous.” -  FotR, chapter 1, p. 55


Calling for silence with intelligence canny,

An ale-drenched group were repeating this many,

And many and many a time did they speak,

Though did any obey what they said? Not any!


What did the guests call out, repeatedly?


Answer:  “Hear Hear Hear!”

“’Hear! Hear! Hear!’ they shouted, and kept on repeating it in chorus, seeming reluctant to follow their own advice.” – FotR, chapter 1, p. 53


Three Purposes stated for this fine speech,

Three reasons they’d gathered from every reach,

There were other motives, but these were those said,

Can you name the Second, the one that we seek?


What is the Second Purpose?


Answer: To celebrate the Birthday.

“Indeed for Three Purposes…secondly, to celebrate my birthday.” - FotR, chapter 1, p. 55


Into great surprise were the Hobbits led,

When the birthday speaker so suddenly fled,

He vanished! He did with a flash and a bang!

Effects all thought up by an old friend’s grey head.


Who was responsible for the surprising special effects?


Answer: Gandalf

‘Yes, I do,’ said Bilbo. ‘Though that flash was surprising: it quite startled me, let alone the others. A little addition of our own, I suppose?’ ‘It was.’  – FotR, chapter 1, p. 57


Folded away from the pegs where they hang,

This cloak from the days when he with Dwarves sang,

Taken for one last journey, but oh what a smell!

It was scented of something, a particular tang.


What did Dwalin’s old cloak smell like?


Answer:  Moth-balls

‘From a locked drawer, smelling of moth-balls, he took out an old cloak and hood.’ – FotR, chapter 1, p. 57


Along with the items he planned to pack well,

There was one piece of gold he never would sell,

A circle so shiny, so magic, bright yellow,

But when he called it this, Gandalf knew it was Fell.


What did Bilbo call the Ring?


Answer:  His precious.

‘It is mine, I tell you.  My own. My precious.  Yes, my precious.’

The wizard’s face remained grave and attentive, and only a flicker in his deep eyes showed that he was startled and indeed alarmed. - – FotR, chapter 1, p. 59


While some gift recipients did mutter or bellow,

One gent after swigs of his gift was quite mellow,

Old Winyards for him, he was soon in the pink,

Indeed, he called Bilbo a “capital fellow”.


What lucky hobbit was given bottles of Bilbo’s Old Winyards?


Answer: (Old) Rory Brandybuck

‘Old Rory Brandybuck, in return for much hospitality, got a dozen bottles of Old Winyards… Rory quite forgave Bilbo and voted him a capital fellow after the first bottle.” – FotR, chapter 1, p. 65


They said he was just a bit odd, with a wink.

But when birthday time came again he didn’t sink,

So heavy a name for next year’s birthday meal,

Where they say it even snowed food and rained drink.


What did Frodo call this continued birthday celebration?


Answer: The Hundred-weight Feast

“He gave a party in honour of Bilbo’s hundred-and-twelfth birthday which he called a Hundred-weight Feast…and there were several meals at which it snowed food and rained drink, as hobbits say.” – FotR, chapter 2, p. 70


A much smaller birthday later appealed,

‘Round table near emptied by Hill-selling deal

This was their number, including the host,

Just before the S-Bs into Bag End did steal.


How many attended Frodo’s farewell birthday?


Answer:  Five

“In the evening Frodo gave his farewell feast; it was quite small, just dinner for himself and four helpers…” – FotR, chapter 3, p. 102


A busy year followed, more frenzied than most,

Great deeds were done and crownings to boast,

But afterwards Baggins and Baggins once more

Met in this location, shared their birthday toast.


Where was this birthday held?


Answer:  Rivendell / Imladris

“At last one evening they came (to)…Rivendell…the hobbits went in search of Bilbo… ‘Hullo, hullo!’ he said. ‘So you’ve come back? And tomorrow’s my birthday too. How clever of you!” – RotK, book 6, chapter 6., p. 326


Broad-spreading boughs of greenery it wore

When hung with bright lanterns and birthday décor,

It sadly was lopped before we learned its name,

The name that Sam gave it when grieved to the core.


What was the name for this tree?


Answer: The Party Tree

‘They’ve cut it down!” cried Sam. ‘They’ve cut down the Party Tree!’ – RotK, book 6, chapter 8, p. 366


One hobbit was known to quite some fame

For the number of years to his illustrious name,

But in historic listing he was defeated

When Bilbo was pleased to win that game.


Who did Bilbo pass up?

Answer:  The Old Took

‘Then Bilbo woke up and opened his eyes. ‘Hullo, Frodo!’ he said. “Well, I have passed the Old Took today! So that’s settled.”’ – RotK, book 3, chapter 9, p. 382


Tie Breakers



Now one last birthday, when evil’s retreated,

And side by side old and young now desire to be seated,

They’ll journey away, but the Hill stands well filled,

For before the leaves fell to Sam it was deeded.


Where did this birthday journey travel to?

Answer:  Mithlond/ The Grey Havens

“Yes, I am coming. The Ring-bearers should go together.’

‘Where are you going, Master?’ cried Sam, though at last he understood what was happening.

‘To the Havens, Sam.’ - – RotK, book 3, chapter 9, p. 382



A special small box, with grey dust it was filled,

Each grain placed to help, where growing was willed,

But only one other small item enclosed,

That when placed in the ground did a miracle build.


What did Sam put in the ground where the Party Tree used to be?


Answer:  A silver nut / Mallorn seed 

“The little silver nut he planted in the Party Field where the tree had once been; and he wondered what would come of it.” - – RotK, book 3, chapter 9, p. 375




It must have been a good year, we suppose,

Two born, steadfast in the paths that they chose.

Loyal though frightened, helping start off the race,

Two upstanding people in the same year bestowed.


Which two conspirators were born in the same year?


Answer:  Samwise Gamgee and Fredegar Bolger

Fredegar Bolger and Samwise Gamgee, both born 1380 (2980 SA) - RotK, appendices C, Took of the Great Smials family tree, p. 475,  and the Longfather Tree of Master Samwise, p. 477.



She was a young hobbit with a quite shapely face,

And well Bilbo knew that this was the case,

Reflecting that vanity was her parlance,

For he left her this gift with her name-tag in place.


What was the vain girl’s name, and what was her gift?


Answer: Angelica, a mirror

“For ANGELICA’S use, from Uncle Bilbo; on a round convex mirror.  She was a young Baggins, and too obviously considered her face shapely.” - – FotR chapter 1, p. 64



Strike up the music! Give your partner a glance,

Then jump on the table with effervescence,

Pretty the pace, though vigorous rather,

A wild birthday moment, a hobbity dance.


What was the name of the dance at Bilbo’s party, and who danced it?


Answer: The Springle-ring danced by Everard Took and Miss Melilot Brandybuck

“Master Everard Took and Miss Melilot Brandybuck got on a table and with bells in their hands began to dance the Springle-ring; a pretty dance, but rather vigourous. – FotR, chapter 1, p. 54