In The Lord of The Rings, Bilbo claims the adhering to to his assembled guests at his eleventy first birthday party:

I do not recognize half of you half and also I should like; and I choose less than half of you fifty percent and also you deserve.

You are watching: I know less than half of you

What is the meaning of this quote? Is tright here even more than one way to analyze it?


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It means I don’t understand some of you exceptionally well, and a few of you I must like much better. And he sassist it that means bereason he wanted to make it hard for his guests to rather occupational out what he was saying. That’s why Tolkien writes in the following line:

This was unexpected and also rather hard. There was some scattered clapping, but many of them were trying to occupational it out and watch if it came out to a compliment.


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I think changing the halves right into "many kind of or some" gets previous the math. More than fifty percent implies many type of and less than half indicates some. And then the expression "half as well" is "not as much" or "less than".

Both statements are expressions of regret because he is leaving and also he is "immensely fond" of them.

"I do not understand many kind of of you as a lot as I"d like" - I wish I had actually time to understand many type of you much better.

"I prefer some of you less than you deserve" - I need to have appreciated some of you even more.

The language is a riddle which Bilbo enjoys and is excellent at as we witnessed in "The Hobbit" and it adds levity to his speech to hide that he is saying goodbye to everyone.


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edited Feb 6 "19 at 18:32
answered Feb 6 "19 at 18:08
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DrewDrew
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I think Cogitative is on the appropriate track in breaking the statement into 2 parts for much easier analysis, however I"m not sure that I agree with fifty percent as much of his or her interpretation half as much as I ought.

My reading of

I don"t know fifty percent of you fifty percent and I have to like;

is that the speaker is expushing regret that he doesn"t understand many of his guests a lot better than he does. The other half he either knows well sufficient (or much better than he"d like to) currently or wishes that he kbrand-new only slightly better than he currently does.

As for the second component of the sentence, I think that tright here are 2 exceptionally different methods to check out it. One means to interpret

and I favor much less than fifty percent of you half and you deserve.

is expansively, as being directed toward even more than half of his guests—those who deserve twice the affection he actually has actually for them (so that he is implicitly criticizing himself for failing to esteem them as he should). According to this interpretation, the speaker is saying that more than fifty percent of his guests deserve to be liked considerably more than (especially, twice as much as) he likes them. As for the continuing to be percentage of his guests, he either likes them (or dislikes them) to an correct level, or he falls short to favor them as a lot as they deserve however by an amount that is less than twice his existing level of affection for them.

Another method to interpret

and also I favor much less than half of you fifty percent as well as you deserve.

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is narrowly, as being directed just to the "much less than fifty percent of you" in the room. According to this interpretation, the speaker feels that he likes some proportion (below one-half) of the guests assembled far much less than they deserve, but the actual variety of guests who autumn right into that category can be very small indeed; and also as for the remainder of the guests, this part of the speaker"s sentence doesn"t address them at all.