A Question of History: 2. Notes

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2. Notes

This story grew out of a conversation with two long-time friends. They pointed out the quote Pippin and Sam are discussing here, and asked how it could be reconciled with stories like that of Lalia the Fat. The quote Pippin and Sam are discussing is from a conversation between all four hobbits, when they are trying to decide how to clear the Shire of the Ruffians. Pippin and Merry want to lead the hobbits into a battle, and Pippin is even looking forward to "destroying" Lotho Sackville-Baggins for all the harm he's done. But Frodo cautions against needless violence:

"But remember: there is to be no slaying of hobbits, not even if they have gone over to the other side. Really gone over, I mean; not just obeying hobbits' orders because they are frightened. No hobbit has ever killed another on purpose in the Shire, and it is not to begin now. And nobody is to be killed at all, if it can be helped. Keep your tempers and hold your hands to the last possible moment!" ("The Scouring of the Shire," The Lord of the Rings)


As for Lalia, her story is only found in Tolkien's letters. Lalia the Fat outlived her husband, the thain Fortinbras II, by twenty-two years and ruled the Tooks as "a great and memorable, if not universally beloved, 'matriarch'". She was wheelchair-bound for her last years, and so she was not at Bilbo's party, though she didn't die until the next year. Here is all Tolkien says of her death:

Lalia, in her last and fattest years, had the custom of being wheeled to the Great Door, to take the air on a fine morning. In the spring of SY 1402 her clumsy attendant let the heavy chair run over the threshold and tipped Lalia down the flight of steps into the garden. So ended a reign and life that might well have rivalled that of the Great Took.

It was widely rumoured that the attendant was Pearl (Pippin's sister), though the Tooks tried to keep the matter within the family. At the celebration of Ferumbras' accession the displeasure and regret of the family was formally expressed by the exclusion of Pearl from the ceremony and feast; but it did not escape notice that later (after a decent interval) she appeared in a splendid necklace of her name-jewels that had long lain in the hoard of the Thains.


As you can see, there is room for the reader to decide what "really" happened. It could have been an accident, or it may have possibly been the hobbit equivalent of manslaughter, as I have Sam suggest. The gift of the necklace, combined with the fact that her son Ferumbras "had no wife, being unable (it was alleged) to find anyone willing to occupy apartments in the Great Smials," might lead some gossips to believe Ferumbras was in on things somehow, which would require a plan to intentionally kill Lalia. Whatever the truth of the situation, the rumors would seem to argue against Frodo's statement.

 (All Lalia quotes taken from Letter #214, written to the reader C.A. Nunn.)

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Marta

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 4th Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 02/08/11

Original Post: 07/31/10

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WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

A Question of History

Larner - 23 Nov 11 - 2:33 AM

Ch. 2: Notes

Lalia has always been a bit of an enigma, hasn't she?  But I've always subscribed to the idea that her death was an accident involving a chair that was threatening to fall apart anyway due to Lalia's weight as much as faulty breaks and too high a threshold for the one pushing the chair, and that the rumors were the product of nasty imaginations anyway.  But I love the debate here. 

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