Forum: Hobbiton

Discussing: I love Hobbits

I love Hobbits

If you love Hobbit stories, here is the place to extol their virtues. Let us know what it is you find so lovable about them.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I love Hobbits but I agree with Ithilwen that they are too often badly written.

I guess good Hobbit stories have a vicarious appeal that the other races don't.

Elven immortality sounds tiresome. A finite lifespan truly is the Gift of Illuvatar. Elves also seem rather colder than Hobbits.

I love the sun too much to be a dwarf tho the M/F ratio is attractive.

Humans are fine but I'm surrounded by them already.

I like the relative simplicity of Hobbits. I prefer when writers treat adult hobbits as adults, not perpetual 13 year-olds. I must confess I also felt an instant affinity for Hobbits the first time I saw the movie and Pippin listed off all the meals. That's exactly how I ate during my years as an athlete. I even called my 8am meal 'second breakfast' tho I had not yet read the book.


 

 

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When I was 14 years old (so very long ago) I fell head-over-heels in love with Pip. His curiousity, his bravery, his kindness, his determined brightness won my heart.

But it's not just Pip. After all, he more or less comes in a package with Merry. And Sam's final moment in RotK brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Poor Frodo is harder to simply like. It's so tempting to slap him for his give-up-all-is-lost attitude in Mordor.

Anyway, I know JRRT said not to treat it as allegory, but I can't help but see the hobbits as those young men who so very much weren't warriors who went out to France in 1914-18, and beyond that all 'ordinary' people caught up in conflict.

There's much not to love in hobbit society. Its class system, its innate insularity and conservatism. But in our four hobbits I see all these things challenged. They wake up to so much.

Oh, and yes it's annoying when they get treated like children in fics. Unless they are fics about the hobbits as children. Then it's ok.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I must read some of the oddest fanfic alive - or maybe when a piece starts treating hobbits like children, I stop reading. Either that, or I just don't remember stories that are like that.

Slap Frodo!?!?! !!! OME... It amazes me how many different interpretations of the character people can come away from these books with. I was tempted to slap EW's (that's Elijah Wood's ) Frodo for his performance in TTT, but I have NEVER felt that way about book Frodo. I also read the books when I was 14 and he was the character I fell for. I just related to his story, his courage and his sacrifice. It's not childlike at all and I never saw him that way. Perhaps that is why I never wrote or saw the hobbits as children.

Ariel

 

 

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Heh, heh. Just to clarify, I don't dislike Frodo, and I never would really slap him, unless it would help get him to set off back down Mount Doom. I just find that it's a more complex reader-character relationship and while I think that in while literary terms he's the more interesting character, I know that in real life I get on better with the Pips of this world (I guess I'm a Merry rather than a Sam).

BTW I did see a review that described EW's performance as having a "just-been-slapped look".

snowballjane

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I agree very much with what you've said about the allegory- it always seemed clear to me that Tolkein was very much affected by WWI in his writing (although that's my own interpretation, not particularly fact based) and I always felt that was best reflected in the "Scouring of the Shire". The idea that these 4 hobbits have gone off to fight evil, only to come home and discover that their friends and relatives have ruined what they were fighting for in the first place- well that seemed like a veterans complaint to me.

Frodo, to me, was a much more difficult character to like. And like yourself I have been occasionally tempted to give him a shake and say "get OVER it already!"

But I was always a bit enamored of hobbit society- probably because of my love of early modern England.

Personally, I would rather read well written stories about the Shire and the hobbits than anything on the elves- who always seemed quite staid and boring to me.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I love Hobbits!

I have to admit that I had never read the books until I saw FOTR, although I had tried on a couple of previous occasions and am a sci-fi/fantasy fan of long standing. I was initially less than thrilled with EW's deer-caught-in-headlights acting style, and my reaction to my first viewing of the film was, "Now I know why Dungeons and Dragons was invented."

However, I was apparently interested enough to find out what would happen to the Ring that I forced myself to slog all the way through all three books, though I found the prose style stilted and was quite uncomfortable with the apparent relationship between Frodo and Sam, especially since I had not seen any hint of any such thing in the movie.

I don't really know what changed, but somehow, somewhere a switch was turned on and suddenly I was a rabid Tolkien fanatic. I decided to just embrace the Frodo/Sam slash angle, and I decided that Tolkien was actually trying to accomplish something with his language choices, and I also decided that (if you've read the books, anyway) it's possible to determine all the angst that's happening behind those stunning blue eyes.

Anyway, I really love hobbits. A lot of people in fandom really seem to love elves, but I just don't feel any connection to elves at all. Hobbits are so charming and full of life, and they're so cuddly! I don't think that my predilection for hobbits is based entirely on the fact that I fancy Elijah Wood; but I think my preference for hobbits may stem from the fact that of all the characters in the books or the movies, the hobbits seem to be the ones I would like to meet and spend time with, if they actually existed.

And, there is a lot of bad Frodo/Sam slash out there, so I have decided to do them and fandom a favor by never writing any of my own. I'm picking away at a Frodo romance with a female character, but since starting it I have been attacked by plot bunnies for other things.

Yay hobbits!

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

However, I was apparently interested enough to find out what would happen to the Ring that I forced myself to slog all the way through all three books, though I found the prose style stilted and was quite uncomfortable with the apparent relationship between Frodo and Sam, especially since I had not seen any hint of any such thing in the movie.

I have to say there isn't any hint of 'it' in the book either. You are looking at it from the POV of a modern day viewer - you have to consider the time in which this story was written. The good professor himself would I am sure be mortified that so many people would assume that the bond between his characters was a sexual one just because in this day and age, such closeness would be looked at as unusual. I very much doubt the thought ever crossed his mind.

Frodo, to me, was a much more difficult character to like. And like yourself I have been occasionally tempted to give him a shake and say "get OVER it already!"

I find this attitude quite enlightening - especially since it's so apparently prevalent. To me, there WAS no other character in this book! I fell head, heels and teacups over all for Frodo and that was all there was to it. Hard to like? Why? Admittedly, the movie Frodo is a bit more doe-eyed and less stoic and brave than his book counterpart, but if you've read the book, how could you not adore him?

Admittedly, there are only a handful of us who love Frodo - but those who do have loved him since their first reading and the attitude was not modified for the movie (although many thought 'Frolijah' added a certain lustful angle to a character they already loved... - yeah, so what, he's young enough to be my son, but who's counting?)

Personally, I would rather read well written stories about the Shire and the hobbits than anything on the elves- who always seemed quite staid and boring to me.

Absolutely! That is exactly what I have always felt too.

Ariel

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I love hobbits. Always have.

I only slowly converted to elves -- never to full elf-hood, perhaps, but a "well, perhaps I like elves too" position. I'd love to be able to say that my early love for hobbits was based on a profound sociological analysis of their culture, but I'm afraid it had more to do with Tolkien's prose style than with anything else. I first read the books when I was twelve, and the prose in the hobbit sections was (at the time) more accessible to me .

Tolkien switches consciously between very different styles -- lots of them, actually, but the most noticable for me in my long-lost youth were the "hobbit" style -- very like his voice in "The Hobbit" -- and what he sometimes calls the "high" style that he uses to describe the elves and Aragorn in some of the later sections. ("Fair she was . . .") In my first several readings of Tolkien the "high" style was totally outside my experience as a reader and I found it very frustrating. For that reason it took me much longer to warm up to characters described in that way. I have warmed up now, both to the style and the characters. Now Tolkien's "high" style absolutely blows my mind. But I still have this deep secret comforting love for the language of the hobbit sections.

Of course some readers respond in the opposite way. Someone on the HA list posted a link to a book review by Michael Moorcock in which he said he hated Tolkien's "nursery room" style (I may be misquoting there; I stupidly failed to download the article. ) And I've heard from other readers who never made it past page fifty of FOTR that they just couldn't stand the way the prose *sounded*.

Of course there are many differences between elves and hobbits, but is one of them the way we hear them?

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I was thinking last night that what I wrote about being uncomfortable with Frodo and Sam's apparent relationship in the book might have come across wrong. I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, homophobic. I think my discomfort sprung, as was previously suggested, from the fact that I _knew_ Tolkien couldn't have meant it to come across that way, yet that was how it did come across to me as a modern reader.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I think my discomfort sprung, as was previously suggested, from the fact that I _knew_ Tolkien couldn't have meant it to come across that way, yet that was how it did come across to me as a modern reader.

I think you are absolutely right in that. Most of my own irritation comes from the fact that I love the innocence and purity of their friendship - I would love it even if they were male and female characters - and the fact that their bond transcends sex is very poignant to me. That many people in today's society would view such closeness as meaning their must be a sexual relationship makes me sad.

In any work of literature, you have the right to interpret the characters as you see fit. Tolkien is a wonderful writer in that his work is timeless and can be interpreted in many different ages in many different times. I have no problem with people interpreting a slash relationship between his characters, but I do get irritated when people insist that it MUST have been the author's intention. If people have the right to assume a slashy relationship between them, then I have the right to assume their love was not carnal - but agape in nature. To me the later is much more moving.

Tolkien switches consciously between very different styles -- lots of them, actually, but the most noticable for me in my long-lost youth were the "hobbit" style -- very like his voice in "The Hobbit" -- and what he sometimes calls the "high" style that he uses to describe the elves and Aragorn in some of the later sections. ("Fair she was . . .")

I always thought of that as Tolkien's 'theme music' for the book. Just as each character has a certain 'voice' and manner of speaking, each location has a particular character of writing. You would never see 'the fox' outside of the Shire, for example. It's particularly moving at the end while Tolkien, using his 'high voice' describes the hobbits' reception at Cormallen. I love those passages. He mixes styles there so wonderfully.

Ariel

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Ariel wrote (sorry, I'm italics-challenged):
"It's particularly moving at the end while Tolkien, using his 'high voice' describes the hobbits' reception at Cormallen. I love those passages. He mixes styles there so wonderfully. "

Yes, it's like a symphony! And Tolkien mixes styles often toward the end with the hobbits, for what has happened to them has become so complicated that one style simply will not do. Compare this:

"But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow on the waters that was soon lost in the West."

-- which practically scans like poetry, to this:

"Well, I'm back," he said.

-- the most brilliant last line ever, IMHO, for many, many reasons but at least in part because of its deliberate and resolutely hobbitish flatness. Of all the different "musical themes" Tolkien could have used in his ending, this is the one he chose. The hobbit voice is the last one we hear. (And since some of us are reaching for our twelfth Kleenex at that point in the story, the hobbit voice takes on deep sentimental associations that would be about as hard to eradicate from the reading experience as kudzu.)

Teasel

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

...but at least in part because of its deliberate and resolutely hobbitish flatness. Of all the different "musical themes" Tolkien could have used in his ending, this is the one he chose. The hobbit voice is the last one we hear.

And it is of course the same voice is used at the very beginning of FoTR, so it gives a sense of closure.

Tavia

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I've read quite a few times in this thread now that what people dislike is the hobbits being written like children. But I'm not sure that anyone has actually identified the way this is done and why.

Of course people tend to write them as children rather than adults simply because Tolkien, to some extent, and Peter Jackson, to an even greater extent, did portray them as such.

Look at the evidence:-

1. They are very small
2. They grow no beards
3. They tend to be naïve, particularly demonstrated by their resistance to the Ring
4. They have "young" sounding names – e.g. Merry, Pippin, Bilbo, Frodo etc.
5. They are very concerned with eating
6. They run around bare-footed
7. They have long curly hair

They look like children, they behave like children. Yes, we know they are not because we are told they are chronologically adults, but if it walks like a duck and quacks etc.

Then there is the way that they are treated by the other characters in both book and film.

Pippin is frequently "told off" as if he is a child by Gandalf in the book. Could you imagine Tolkien writing, "You fool of a Gondorian!" Gandalf snapped at Boromir.

Of course not. In the same way the hobbits have to behave almost petulantly and childishly to be included in the Fellowship in the first place. Legolas doesn’t stamp his foot (yes all right, metaphorically) and tell Elrond that he'll have to tie him up and send him home in a sack if he can't go with Frodo.

Peter Jackson pulls no punches on this score, and most people agree (I think) that his interpretation of the book is fair to middling. To start with he cast all four main hobbits as very young looking, Frodo may be 50 in the book, but film Frodo would certainly be asked for ID in a bar.

We first meet Frodo jumping into Gandalf's arms like a three year old. We are initially introduced to Merry and Pippin stealing a firework and setting it off and then being punished like small children.

Our next meeting finds them scrumping vegetables and being chased by a farmer, an activity which they then draw Frodo and Sam into, so that all four are running away. It's hardly adult behaviour.

In the pub, Merry and Pippin behave like adolescents, buying pints for the first time and getting excited by the prospect of too much drink.

In both book and film Pippin drops a stone/knocks a skeleton in the well and is shouted at by Gandalf, although in the book it is Boromir who throws a stone into the water, not Merry and Pippin. But he does not get a row from the "adults", just a request from Frodo not to disturb the water.

I am not saying that I personally object to any of the above – I find it most appealing and entertaining, but yes – the hobbits are treated and portrayed as very childlike. I thought that was supposed to be a major character trait of hobbits and a large part of their appeal.

Heddwch!
Llinos

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I'm a big fan of well-written hobbit fic. I do alternate between appreciating the returning-hero tales, and the more childlike ones. My favorite author of hobbit fic, so far, is Shirebound, who has a really good take on Pippen's youthful mentality (don't forget, he's the equivalent of a very immature 17-to-18-year-old) and Frodo's burden.

Goldenwolf had a great early-Frodo story (The Heir, IIRC) over at ff.net, but it's since been taken down. Bummer, because it wasn't done yet!

Another favorite hobbit fic that I'm very disappointed in because it hasn't been updated since last summer is Nilramiel's Sam's Tale, which takes place between the Scouring and the Grey Havens.

As for PJ's take on the hobbits, I see his Frodo as being the same as Merry, a couple of years older than Pippen, and actually younger than Sam, which makes sense if the span of time between Gandalf leaving ("Keep it secret...keep it safe") and return ("Is it secret? Is it safe?") is more like one year or less instead of seventeen. The other hobbits are the age they are at the beginning of the quest in the book, and Frodo has just been made younger.

I'm working on my first fanfic now, and it's a take on how the Ringbearers' legend develops between their rescue from Mt. Doom and their awakening at Cormallen. I really like getting outsider perspectives on hobbits, instead of reading the more Shire-specific tales.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Since this topic is supposed to be for recommending good hobbit fics, I would like to give stupid mad props to Anglachel for Legacy and On Merry Yule, which are so amazing that I am powerless to describe exactly how amazing I find them.

I wanted to respond to Llinos' comment on Merry and Pippin at Bilbo's party (movie style), and then babble incoherently about some other observations. Assuming the book's timeline (and it's really never clear whether the movie's timeline is incompatible with this), Merry and Pippin _are_ children at Bilbo's party. Merry would be 19, not even a tween, and Pippin only 11 - clearly a child even by human standards. With this in mind, I consider Merry's behavior just after the party - turning out Sackville-Bagginses and such - remarkably mature for his age.

Maybe Tolkien forgot that Merry was so young by hobbit standards in this scene. Maybe he didn't intend hobbit aging to progress in quite the same way that human aging progresses. Maybe Merry _is_ remarkably mature for his age (that would be book!Merry, not movie!Merry).

As for the assertion that movie!Frodo would get asked for ID in the bar (EW was not of legal drinking age when he made this movie) I present the following passage:

"Outwardly he retained the appearance of a robust and energetic hobbit just out of his tweens." - one presumes, due to the influence of the Ring, which also kept Bilbo remarkably well-preserved.

meh, I think that's enough babbling for now - hopefully food for thought or more discussion...

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I also like the way that hobbit society is similar to old english society, as I'm interested in history.

When I first read the books I skipped the first halves of TTT and RoTK, partly because I only had a week to read them in (FoTR took me 3 weeks to get through) but also because they didn't have Sam or Frodo in.

For me, Lord of the Rings was always about the relationship between Frodo and Sam. I love seeing intense friendship stuff where one of the people involved would give up their lives for the other.

Which is not to say other members of the Fellowship wouldn't necessarily do the same, its just not so intense between two people without being sexual in any way.


paranoidangel

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Paranoidangel, I wasn't going to say this before, but now I have to, if only to assure you that you're not the only one. I've read the parts of TTT and ROTK with Frodo and Sam in them at least twice as often as I've read the other parts...

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Hmm, this is a good point, Llinos. There is much that is child-like about Hobbits. Their behavior is remarkably similar to precocious children at certain times, and their Big Person companions often treat them according to their height, not their intellect. Pippin *is* if not precisely a child, at least an adolescent on the Quest, so I expect him to be a bit goofy at times - just like the behavior my brothers would exhibit in their adolescence. And well into offical adult-hood. ;-)

I don't think that emphasizing the child-like qualities of Hobbits is a problem in and of itself. The stories I object to fall into two types:

Where Hobbits are portrayed as infantile or stupid, and often as utterly helpless. These are often found in hurt/comfort stories, and are just about the sole characterization in Hobbit/Big Person slash. It just creeps me out no end to see Hobbits described in the same terms as human children, and with having the (imagined) reactions of human children to being threatened, hurt, seduced, or otherwise subjected to unpleasant treatment.

The sub-set of this is Hobbits as comic midgets, little roly-poly walking one-liners or butts of humor. Ick.

The second type of story that bothers me is the Hobbit as unwordly-innocent, usually Sam or Frodo, and the emphasis is on a saccharine "little angel" portrayal. This is very much at odds with Frodo's threat to cut Gollum's thoat, after all. They *are* unworldly (though Frodo has a broader view of the world than most Rohirrim, quite frankly), but they are not untouched by the concerns and troubles of mortal life. Gollum was just an ordinary Hobbit, too, at one point. This reflects (to me) a certain attitude towards children that they are pure and innocent that doesn't acknowledge the ways in which even very young children can be savage and cruel at times, as Lord of the Flies should remind us. Heck, visit your local playgoround.

So, when I complain about portraying hobbits as children, I am usually thinking about these types of portrayals - which do not strike me as accurate portrayals of actual children, either.

Ang

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I've always loved the hobbits best of all the LOTR characters -- to the extent that it's been a joke at our house for years, that we're really all hobbits: short and fond of six meals a day when we can get them! (We hope we're brave in a pinch and resilient in trouble, with a strong devotion to the Good -- but hobbit-like, we don't talk about that!)

I love the hobbits for those things, and also because they're so *real* -- they're not out to impress anybody. If they're sad, they cry. If they're scared, they aren't ashamed to admit it -- and yet they're brave and strong enough to stand up to their fear and keep on going. I keep thinking of Frodo's warning during the Scouring of the Shire, "No hobbit has ever killed another in the Shire on purpose, and it is not to begin now." That's quite a testimony -- especially when you remember that it's not that they all get along wonderfully all the time (consider the Sackville-Bagginses, or Ted Sandyman!). But they don't try to destroy each other.

They're not childish, but in some ways they are child-like, a very different thing. I think part of Frodo's wounding is that he loses that; he becomes world-weary, he loses the buoyant optimism and innocence that seems to be part of hobbit nature.

Frodo and Sam. When I think I love Frodo best, I remember Samwise...... and then I think I love him best, till I remember Frodo.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Why do I love Hobbits?

The easy answer is: they are us. They are, height and furry feet nonwithstanding, our, the reader's, representants in Middle-earth. Their country is close to an idyll, their lifestyle is appealing, their language is close to our own, they live everyday lives. Hobbits are easy to identify with, and we follow them gladly from their small country to a wide and adventurous world.

But there is much more to them than being a tool for identification.
The Hobbits are what turns LotR from a good adventure book into a masterpiece of literature.
What is left from LotR if we take the Hobbits away? (And I incude Gollum in the term "Hobbits".)
A bunch of valiant warriors, wise mages, mighty rulers and cold and distant elves, who fight the Dark Lord and his minions with sword and magic. All very traditional types of heroes with ancient artefacts and glorious battles. That has been done many times in fantasy literature before and after Tolkien.
But the hobbits change all. Unlikely heroes, all of them, lacking almost all skills save the ability to hide themselves - not exactly heroic. And Gollum is the most unlikely of them all, the most anti-heroic and most tragic character.
Another author might have invented hobbits, complete with furry feet and everything, but chances are they would have ended as supporting sidekicks for the lead hero, most likely Aragorn.
Tolkien was more ingenious.
Frodo/Sam /Gollum are not just an addition to the plot, they are the plot. They are the heart and core of LotR, and they are what makes it an outstanding book, why I and so many other readers are moved so much that we read it over and over again.
They are not doing it all alone, of course. But all the actions of the warriors and heroes of the Ring War depend on Frodo and Sam - and, unknowingly, on Gollum. Their deeds are heroic, their battles and victories are glorious, but they can not decide the fate of Middle-earth. And, what never fails to move me, Gandalf, Aragorn & Co know it. They know that the best they can do is no more than a diversion, to draw Sauron's eye to themselves and away from Frodo and the ring. It adds a humbleness to all their decisions and actions that I find admirable.
On some level, they are the supporting sidekicks for Frodo and Sam.

And all hope depends on two small, exhausted men crawling trough a waste land, struggling against despair. Such a different kind of courage compared to a soldier's valour in battle. Very civilian. The kind of courage that refugees need, women, victims of war, not warriors. Come to think of it, my Grandmother had it, when she fled during world War II from Poland to western Germany with her two little children. Hobbit-like, she always was very humble about it.

And in the end all courage and love is not enough and Frodo fails in his quest. He did his very best, and it was not enough. Gollum, the little greedy anti hero, had to do it for him.

I have never really understood why, but some critics are easily blinded by all the shining heroes doing glorious deeds. They see Aragorn, unhumanly noble and fearless, they see blond knights ride singing into battle and death, they see the conflict between god and bad acted out in military terms. Racism! Black and white oversimplification! Glorification of war! People who love that book must be hopelessly backward-minded! A book about swordswinging heroes written in the middle of the twentieth century? It must be trivial! Cheap adventure stuff for male adolescents - and so on, we know that.
All those critics ignore the role of the Hobbits, or misinterpret it as irrelevant. and I have never seen one of the racism!critics say a word about Gollum.
This is not a story about throwing down evil with power. It is about not using power, giving it away. And Tolkien sends Hobbits on this quest, to make his point.

Silmarillion lovers will kill me but I say it nevertheless: wide parts of the Silm are Bible/Nibelungen/BeowulfEdda (and so on) fanfic. Nothing more, nothing less. Tolkien wrote excellent fanfic, of course, but still.
But the Lord of the Rings is another matter. The Hobbits and what they represent are what makes it an outstanding book of the twentieth century and Tolkien an outstanding author. Without them it would indeed be what many critics say: an outdated pastiche of old myths and sagas, not relevant for our time. But fact is, you cannot take the Hobbits out, because they ARE the book.
And that's why I love them.

Dagmar

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Another favorite hobbit fic that I'm very disappointed in because it hasn't been updated since last summer is Nilramiel's Sam's Tale, which takes place between the Scouring and the Grey Havens.

Nilramiel is a haremite and is currently publishing 'Sam's Tale' on our harem archive - Frodo's Harem Fanfiction Archive. Perhaps if you came over and reviewed it, you'd spur her into an active fire for that thing.

Kathy - if you'd like to see another take on the time period you are writing about, you might like to take a look at a piece I did called , The Gift of Iluvatar. It covers the time frame you are talking about writing so you may want to read it only after yours is finished.

The Hobbits and what they represent are what makes it an outstanding book of the twentieth century and Tolkien an outstanding author.

Oh, BINGO, Dagmar! You are exactly right! Thank you for that post! I 'run' with a group who are so hobbit centered, coming to this board with its overwhelming elf focus was a bit of a shock. I never realized people DIDN'T view the hobbits as the center of the story - but you have illustrated very well why I feel so connected to hobbits in general! Thank you!
Ariel

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I have never really understood why, but some critics are easily blinded by all the shining heroes doing glorious deeds. . . . All those critics ignore the role of the Hobbits, or misinterpret it as irrelevant.

This is not a story about throwing down evil with power. It is about not using power, giving it away. And Tolkien sends Hobbits on this quest, to make his point.


Oh, yes! And Tolkien worked out his timeline day by day so that all the "glorious" adventures could do the only thing that in Tolkien's mind they are capable of doing: distract Sauron's attention at crucial moments from the "real" quest: Frodo's.

Such a different kind of courage compared to a soldier's valour in battle. Very civilian. The kind of courage that refugees need, women, victims of war, not warriors.

I've never thought it was an accident that in a hobbit-centered book such as this, the most elaborately described military encounter (between two individual named opponents, that is) involves a woman who fights, among other reasons, because "you stand between me and my kin." The witch-king is defeated by an alliance between two "weak" characters (Merry & Eowyn) who are both fighting for love, not for glory. And even then chance -- or is it grace? -- plays an important role: much of the work is done by the barrow-blade. So much for military prowess! It's simple hobbit-like determination in the face of impossible odds that gets the job done.


 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Excellent post Dagmar. I can only say hear hear.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

So, when I complain about portraying hobbits as children, I am usually thinking about these types of portrayals - which do not strike me as accurate portrayals of actual children, either.

Yes, this is one of my problems with many hobbit fics too.

Tolkien does give his hobbits a certain warm and contagious emotional spontaneity which I think it is hard to get just right in a story – too easy to slip over into the saccharine. I’m thinking, for instance, of Merry’s response to Aragorn’s joking in the Houses of Healing. I always think that if Pippin had had another couple of days to work on Denethor he might have succeeded in thawing even him out.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits


"The witch-king is defeated by an alliance between two "weak" characters (Merry & Eowyn) who are both fighting for love, not for glory. And even then chance -- or is it grace? -- plays an important role: much of the work is done by the barrow-blade. So much for military prowess! It's simple hobbit-like determination in the face of impossible odds that gets the job done. "

Good point, Teasel. And I would vote for grace, not chance.

Dagmar

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I love hobbits.

I love the simplicity of their lives, I love the way they interact, and I love the feeling of belonging they give. I love the idea of hobbit children, but not the idea of grown hobbits being treated as children. The scene in the movie where Boromir ruffles Frodo's hair always gets to me. If the Ring hadn't been involved, I'd like to believe that Frodo would have smacked Boromir.
I love the idea of hobbits getting the drop on their larger "noble" counterparts, which is probably why I enjoyed Treehugger's "In the Hall of the Wood Elf King" so much.
I love the idea that Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin break their known social boundaries and are friends with one another. I like the fact that Sam *can* be such wonderful friends with Frodo and the others and that he has the right to become Mayor of the Shire in his later years.
I love the relationship between Sam and Frodo. I appreciate it for the love it has. You can write it as platonic or sexual; as long as it's good, I'll read it.
I love hobbit lasses and hate that almost no one writes a decent hobbit lass story. They can be interesting too. Rosie Cotton did manage to claim Sam's heart too, you know. In fact, some of my favorite writing is Mary Borsellino's "Pretty Good Year", which features Frodo/Sam/Rosie and is about hobbits through and through. The adult hobbits are no children in her stories.
In the end, I just love hobbits, a lot.

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

I guess one of the things that annoys me in some hobbit fics is excessive and unnecesary focus on their diminutiveness. Yes hobbits are small compared to humans but we are small compared to mountain gorillas. Unless a mountain gorilla appears in a human story we would never dream of talking about the 'tiny' hands of a normal size adult. I hate it when someone writes something like "Sam held Frodo's small form in his arms". Hello! Frodo is probably as tall or taller than Sam. (End rant.)

Quick plug for my hobbit story
What Dreams May Come

Jodancingtree has a good story begun in beta (Hope you don't mind the plug Jo)
Sam's Rose

Also check out Ariel's stuff

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

Mind, nothing! Thank you very much, all the more so for putting in the link!

Jo

 

 

Re: I love Hobbits

The Hobbits are what turns LotR from a good adventure book into a masterpiece of literature.
What is left from LotR if we take the Hobbits away? (And I incude Gollum in the term "Hobbits".)
A bunch of valiant warriors, wise mages, mighty rulers and cold and distant elves, who fight the Dark Lord and his minions with sword and magic. All very traditional types of heroes with ancient artefacts and glorious battles. That has been done many times in fantasy literature before and after Tolkien


Dagmar, what a great post! I completely agree with your assessment of why the Hobbits are so important to the power and uniqueness of Lord of the Rings.

I'm not terribly familiar with most fantasy literature, and my days of reading epic legends are in the remote past, but I always feel that the Hobbits were Tolkien's true invention. Whenever I'm in the world of the Elves, or Men, or even of Dwarves, as wonderfully as Tolkien describes them, I still feel as if I'm in "familiar territory." As Dagmar said, these are traditional characters. Only when I'm reading about Hobbits do I feel as if I've chanced upon something truly new, truly magical.

I find that some critics of Hobbits (in Tolkien, in Peter Jackson's movies and in fanfic) are simply dismissing our Shire-dwellers because they are such uncommon characters. It can be easy to look upon them as annoying, twee little creatures who should be skimmed over so that one can get back to "the good stuff"--- epic battles, kingly quests, Elvish grandeur and so on. What a pity! There is so much more to Hobbits than just furry feet and quaint customs; indeed, dismissing Hobbits prevents a reader from absorbing much of Tolkien's spirit and message. Tolkien begins and ends his story in the Shire, and this alone should be enough to tell us that the Hobbits are at the heart of his saga.

Sadly, after the release of The Two Towers I begin to feel that Peter Jackson is leaning towards an anti-Hobbit bias. Perhaps it is more cinematic to show great battles, but shortchanging Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin is weakening and trivializing the story. I'm concerned that he will keep up this approach for Return of the King, devoting great amounts of screen time to BlockbusterMovieMoments like the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and (shudder) Arwen's Royal Princess Wedding, while Frodo's quietly tragic heroism gets shunted to the side.

 

 

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