Origins of Hobbits?

Page 2 of 5 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:45 am

Pettytyrant101

Thanks for the in-depth reply Eldorion. I used Stoors deliberately rather than hobbit- as I'm sure you are aware- because I have noted Tolkien seems to do this when he refers to early hobbits- I beleive Smeagols family were ancestors of Stoors and only the Stoors get a mention in appendix A- this has led me to speculate if originally all hobbits were Stoors and the other two branches came later.
As to the real versus creation arguement to be honest I have far more questions about it than I do answers- even speculative ones. I was unaware of Tolkiens own dilemma with it (due to a cash flow crisis and having to cancel a book club membership many moons ago I only got as far as book 2 of the history of middle earth set) but its interesting he saw a problem there himself. Sadly the man needed the lifespan of at least the line of Isildur to finish his work- wish he'd got it. Maybe we should write to Christopher Tolkien and ask him to drop by the forum occasionally to help out on these sorts of matters! Its that or resorting to that tetchy Wise Odo.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:46 am

Odo Banks

As far as the story goes, I assume Intelligent Design as proven . From there evolution might exist (Tolkien was not clear about as we are all aware) but it would seem strange that Hobbits evolved so quickly even under the rules (?) of the Designer Team. Also, there is no recorded reference to inter-breeding between Humans and Hobbits. I can't help thinking this was because it was never considered possible and that neither Humans nor Hobbits ever thought of themselves as the same species. Perhaps this was because they weren't!

As a general thought, I feel sad that Tolkien felt the need to bring The Hobbit and LotR forward, so to speak. LotRizing The Hobbit. Making LotR seem more Real by paying closer attention to the actual Real world, where evolution rules - not mythology-made-real. (I'm with Halfwise here btw. I like to let my Imagination run free in Middle-earth. I pretend it exists - but only while I'm there. In the Real World I believe the physicists; but not those that are intellectual cowards. The let's-pretend-God's-real-because-we-know-death-is-at-our-door- (the long sleep, not the short one before the Rapture) -and-we're-frightened type. The okay-ever-lasting-life-can't-be-proven-scientifically-but-let's-lie-to-ourselves-that-we-can-prove-it-sort-of type. "Hey! Our Faith answers any argument against us even if actual science refutes us" I know the kind of physcists you're talking about, Halfwise! I feel sad for them. No one wants to die).

Hail, I argue from entirely within the conceit (I, like you, realize Tolkien created Hobbits

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:46 am

Gandalf's Beard

Thanks for finding some reference points on Tolkien's views regarding "Creation" and "Evolution" Eldorion (should come in handy in furthering my research). I never really thought Tolkien was "clearly a Creationist", but knew not where the evidence lay. And this discussion is perfectly in keeping with the Title and Nature of this thread. It is indeed a play on Darwin's Origin of Species.

Great catch on the material regarding the Stoors Petty Tyrant. And I love your follow up on that Eldo. I didn't know about the "Gypsy Hobbits" myself. Though I had long assumed that more Hobbits existed than the Shire folk knew, due to Smeagol and Deagol's existence. If I am not incorrect, weren't they essentially "River Hobbits" (aka Hillbilly Hobbits )?

To answer Odo's question regarding Eru and Jehovah/Yahweh: NO, they are not precise Analogues (at least not as Yahweh has long been considered by Literalists for thousands of years). Eru was a Godhead that certainly shares some similarities, but the Cosmology is quite different. Many people refer to the Ainur as Angels, but that misses the distinction that actually makes them "Sub" Gods. They were Co-Creationists with Eru, making them thus a Polytheist Pantheon, as in Pagan and Hindu thought. Only the more Esoteric Monotheists (such as Tolkien himself, and Lewis) might grant that Cosmology to the God of the Bible and His hosts. In the end it is a form of Monism--One in Many, and Many in One.

Tolkien and Lewis were enamoured of Medievalist and Ancient Syncretism, Lewis more-so than Tolkien (who had a more negative view of Pagan "echoes" of the "True" Myth as he called Christianity). In their Syncretic view, the Pagan Gods could still be part of the Imaginal Cosmos, as long as they were Consecrated, or Baptized, in Christianity. These views are anathema to most followers of the three Abrahamic religions. But there are a number of Esotericists within the mainline religions that harbour such views. It's worth remembering that Tolkien and Lewis were both neck-deep in an intellectual milieu that embodied a lot of Syncretic thought, including Theosophy, Ceremonial Magick, and the birth of Wicca and Neo-Paganism.

Back to Hobbits: Odo, your last post seems to indicate that you have already forgotten the evidence from Tolkien's own words Eldorion and I have posted that point to Elves, Men, and Hobbits as being three branches of one species (Hobbits supposedly being "closer" to Man than Elf. If Man and Elf could interbreed then it absolutely follows that Man and Hobbit could). However, it is also abundantly clear that most Humans and Hobbits considered themselves to be too different to intermingle. The fact that no mixing is recorded does not preclude it from ever happening.

GB

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:47 am

Odo Banks

GB, it appears you were writing while I was writing (and editing!)

I still think Hobbits were different to Men. You might already have noticed what good memories the folk of Middle-earth have. If neither Hobbits (nor Men) remember their physical relationship to Man, I'm tipping there never was one.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:47 am

Gandalf's Beard

Eldorion brought up an interesting point on the "pronunciation thread:

I believe Tolkien once said in a letter that the "fell beasts" might have been the last surviving descendants of pterosaurs or other flying dinosaurs.

I think I remember something similar Eldo. But if you can find the reference that would be helpful. It certainly sheds some light on Tolkien's own "evolving" views on his creation. It would suggest that Tolkien did indeed consider his Cosmology on multiple levels, Mythic, Theological ("True" Mythic), and Empirical/Historical. Under these circumstances, we could indeed speculate about the Genetic (i.e. "Physical" Odo ) Evolutionary Past linking Hobbits, Humans, and Elves.

How could we fit in millions of years of Pre-Human (all three branches ) biology into Tolkien's Creation? Perhaps it would take place in the Mythic Twilight period.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:48 am

Odo Banks

I'm beginning to think Eldorion's theory is right! Hobbits from dinosaurs. Who would have thought it? But makes a lot of sense. Radical idea, I know, but weren't Galileo's theories radical at the time? (The naysayers will no doubt call him 'simpleton', no doubt, but I call him a 'genius'!)

Eldorion's a revelation (scienticically speaking) lately, what with his Eldorionics, and now his theory on the Evolution of Hobbits! He's leaving us in his dust, GB. The New generation is always wiser than the Old. Oh aint that the truth!

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:48 am

Halfwise

Wow, I go away and try to do something in the real world for a few hours and the discussion has run all through the intellectual forest. Impressive work, folks!

Eldorian was asking for the abundant clarity of Tolkien's creationism. It starts with his statement of Christianity as the "true myth", stuck together with references he made to the garden of eden and adam and eve as being part of this myth. I'm too lazy to dig them up, but I remember letters to his son containing several references to this material, as well as other interpretive comments he made to various people.

I might be able to accept that his thought processes are complex enough that he could subsume the garden of eden into an evolutionary framework, but to me the simplest argument is that he believed in something close to literal truth of the creation myth. Yeah, Vatican II (or some later writings from the RC church) accepted evolution, but Tolkien hated Vatican II, and I doubt he felt compelled to follow the church down this particular path.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:49 am

Odo Banks

Is that why they didn't make Vatican III?

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:49 am

Gandalf's Beard

The "True Myth" Tolkien referred to was the Story of Christ, not necessarily the Creation Story. Most of my research thus far has been regarding CS Lewis's beliefs, but Tolkien is much intertwined. Lewis, and Tolkien (to the best of my knowledge), did not particularly take Genesis Literally. They saw it as a Creation Myth, and like most intellectuals of their day, factored in the latest scientific knowledge, including Evolution.

What Lewis and Tolkien disliked, was Materialist Reductionism as a Philosophy. But like most Christians who lead an intellectual life, they weren't prepared to abandon Science either. Rather, they took many Bible stories figuratively. Again, Theistic Creation does not preclude Evolution. I would be very surprised to find out Tolkien was a "Creationist" in the Modern sense that American Creationists push. Most European Christians did not (and do not today) take Genesis literally.

When Eldorion finds the letter regarding dinosaurs leading to the Nazgul's winged steeds, this will become even more clear.

GB

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:50 am

Odo Banks

But he's come up with an exciting new theory, what! None of us has yet had the courage to come up with even a modest theory! Bully for you, Eldorion!

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:50 am

Eldorion

About fell beasts and pterodactyls: I actually just moved back to my dorm a few hours ago and left my copy of Letters at home. Some Googling reveals a quote from Letter 211. In general I make a point of not posting Tolkien quotes I found on the Internet without verifying them with my copies, but since that's impossible I'll just copy and paste it. If someone with a copy of the Letters handy could verify it I would be much obliged.

Someone from the Barrow-downs forums
Yes and no. I did not intend the steed of the Witch-King to be what is now called a 'pterodactyl', and often is drawn [...]. But obviously it is pterodactylic and owes much to the new mythology [of the Prehistoric], and its description even provides a sort of way in which it could be a last survivor of older geological eras.

(This is from The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien Letter #211)

This is more or less what I remember, but again, I am unable to verify the quote myself at the time.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:52 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:Thanks for the in-depth reply Eldorion. I used Stoors deliberately rather than hobbit- as I'm sure you are aware- because I have noted Tolkien seems to do this when he refers to early hobbits- I beleive Smeagols family were ancestors of Stoors and only the Stoors get a mention in appendix A- this has led me to speculate if originally all hobbits were Stoors and the other two branches came later.

The history of hobbits begins in the Vales of Anduin east of the Misty Mountains. All three varieties of Hobbits once lived there before migrating westward. The Prologue to TLotR discusses this (and much else about Hobbits) at greater length; it's really a fascinating read.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:52 am

Eldorion

Odo Banks wrote:I still think Hobbits were different to Men. You might already have noticed what good memories the folk of Middle-earth have. If neither Hobbits (nor Men) remember their [i:1a0uc1f9]physical [/i:1a0uc1f9]relationship to Man, I'm tipping there never was one.

The sundering of Hobbits and Men probably occurred before Men reached Beleriand way back in the First Age. The Edain turned their back on their past after they allied with the Eldar, and the Men of Middle-earth had thousands of "Dark Years" to forget about their past. Hobbits, for their part, didn't keep records from that far back at all. I think it's entirely plausible that whatever connection there once was had just been forgotten.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:53 am

Eldorion

Gandalfs Beard wrote:Great catch on the material regarding the Stoors Petty Tyrant. And I love your follow up on that Eldo. I didn't know about the "Gypsy Hobbits" myself. Though I had long assumed that more Hobbits existed than the Shire folk knew, due to Smeagol and Deagol's existence. If I am not incorrect, weren't they essentially "River Hobbits" (aka Hillbilly Hobbits )?

Well, the Stoors of the Vales of Anduin were long gone (where to, I cannot say) by the time of TLotR. For the record though, here's the quote in which we learn about other Hobbits. I was thinking about starting a thread on this since I (re)discovered the quote about a week ago anyway.

At the Sign of the Prancing Pony wrote:The Shire-hobbits referred to those of Bree, and to any others that lived beyond the borders, as Outsiders, and took very little interest in them, considering them dull and uncouth. There were probably many more Outsiders scattered about in the West of the World in those days than the people of the Shire imagined. Some, doubtless, were no better than tramps, ready to dig a hole in any bank and stay only as long as it suited them. But in the Bree-land, at any rate, the hobbits were decent and prosperous, and no more rustic than most of their distant relatives Inside.

Reading that quote was like getting splashed with a bucketful of ice-cold water, and it has made me start reconsidering a number of my assumptions about Hobbits. For one, I had thought (at least partially encouraged by Karen Wynn Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-earth) that the only hobbit settlements were in the Shire and in Bree-land. The above quote strongly suggests, however, that there were a number of wandering hobbits throughout Eriador (and perhaps other parts of Northwest Middle-earth). I wonder if they had any relations to "ruffians" or migrating "southerners" (probably Dunlendings) that we meet at the Prancing Pony.

More intriguingly though is the possibility that there were other non-"rustic" hobbits out there. I think the quote leaves open the possibility that there were other "decent and prosperous" hobbits living in settlements that were part of neither the Shire nor Bree-land. The aforementioned chapter states that the Bree-hobbits claimed to be the oldest settlement of hobbits in the world, and that may well have been the case, but I still wonder where and how the others might have lived.

Oh, the mysteries of the tragically unfinished Middle-earth, and the unending joy of discovering and puzzling over them. Cool

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:56 am

Odo Banks

I really think you're onto something with your dinosaur theory though, Eldo.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:57 am

Pettytyrant101

Just seeking a clarification Eldorion- when you say "The history of hobbits begins in the Vales of Anduin" I assume you meant "hobbit history begins in the vales". The exact quote you're relying on from the prologue is;
"Their earliest tales seem to glimpse a time when they dwelt in the upper vales of Anduin, between the eaves of Greenwood the Great and the Misty Mountains."
Obviously this does not imply that's where hobbit existence began but merely as far back as their oldest tales go. On the subject of the hobbit branches the prologue has this to say;
"Before the crossing of the mountains the Hobbits had already become divided into three somewhat different breeds."
This of course doesn't give much away as to how long before this occurred, or any idea has to whether all three branches emerged at once or if one branch appears then eventually another etc or what sort of hobbity thing the three branches started out as.
As to hobbits outside the Shire- maybe there are some still hiding out between Tharbad and Dunland where the Stoors once had settlements. Perhaps the reason the Stoors tend to turn up more by name in older histories- despite being less numerous than Harfoots say- was due solely to their adventurous natures and meant they turned up in more distant lands.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:57 am

Halfwise

GB wrote: "What Lewis and Tolkien disliked, was Materialist Reductionism as a Philosophy. But like most Christians who lead an intellectual life, they weren't prepared to abandon Science either. Rather, they took many Bible stories figuratively. Again, Theistic Creation does not preclude Evolution. I would be very surprised to find out Tolkien was a "Creationist" in the Modern sense that American Creationists push. Most European Christians did not (and do not today) take Genesis literally."

I'll admit I was probably judging too much based on the American "take no prisoners" style of Christianity. I'd like to find an actual quote by him regarding evolution. I doubt he had much reason to talk about it though.

I always assumed the nazgul beasts were pterodactyls, and am somewhat surprised to find Tolkien state they were not. Maybe the quote is incomplete and when put in full expresses the Professor's penchant for precision in the natural world: "I did not intend the nazgul beasts to be pterodactyls, but pteranodons."

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:57 am

Gandalf's Beard

Halfwise, let's examine the Tolkien quote about the Nazgul steed a little more closely:

letter 211:
Yes and no. I did not intend the steed of the Witch-King to be what is now called a 'pterodactyl', and often is drawn [...]. But obviously it is pterodactylic and owes much to the new mythology [of the Prehistoric], and its description even provides a sort of way in which it could be a last survivor of older geological eras.

The quote IS incomplete, though it doesn't appear to be altered (I haven't searched for a more complete quote as yet). But it still provides us with a lot more information than a cursory glance reveals. Tolkien doesn't dismiss Pterodactyls out of hand ("Yes and no". He does suggest it is much like a Pterodactyl, and that it owes its image to that provided by the illustrations of the day based on their fossilized skeletons (which he attempts to put on the same level as religion by referring to it as the "new mythology". And then he goes even further to suggest that it could be (no doubt in an "applicable" way ) a "last survivor" of a more ancient era (specifically "geological".

This tells us a lot indeed about Tolkien's views regarding the validity of Evolution. Paleontology clearly convinced Tolkien to concede that pre-human eras did exist. But at the same time (given his complex view of Myth and the Imagination), he wasn't willing to concede to the Reductionist Mind-set a superiority he felt it didn't deserve (and neither do I, by the way, despite, or perhaps because of, my Agnosticism). Hence he puts it on the same level as his religion, by calling it "the new mythology". No doubt, he believed that it was a "True Myth", much like he believed the story of Christ to be a "True Myth".

In other words, he was willing to believe in Evolution, but not completely in Natural Selection as the Agent of Evolution. For Tolkien, the True Agent of Evolution would be God (perhaps occasionally using Natural Selection as a tool of His Will).

GB

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:58 am

Halfwise

Your tightly reasoned arguments have convinced me, and I will revise my view of Tolkien as a creationist. Happy to do so as well: I prefer my authors to have intellectual subtlety.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:59 am

Odo Banks

I confess I had a poor view of Creationists, but when they became Intelligent Designers, I realized how wonderful it was. A more rational sounding name makes all the difference! Peculiarly, the whole thing reminds me of Orwell's "Ninereen Eighty Four" for some reason...

Tolkien as Creationist... nah, just don't like the sound of that...

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:59 am

Gandalf's Beard

Intelligent Designism is--as you say Odo--merely a respectable word for Creationism. There is no room in Creationism or Intelligent Design for Evolution at all (though there is a bit of lip service to the pseudo-science "Micro-evolution". Therefore Tolkien wasn't that either.

GB

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:59 am

Odo Banks

Thank God for that.. hey, NO! Thank Humanism for that!

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:00 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:Just seeking a clarification Eldorion- when you say "The history of hobbits begins in the Vales of Anduin" I assume you meant "hobbit history begins in the vales".

Yes. The quote you give is indeed the one I was thinking of.

"Before the crossing of the mountains the Hobbits had already become divided into three somewhat different breeds."

I have to admit I didn't recall that quote. I think it means that the earliest Hobbits were all one 'breed', so to speak, and that the Harfoot/Fallohide/Stoor distinction came later.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:00 am

Pettytyrant101

Going on what I can recall about the three hobbit varieties from memory I would hazard a guess that those that became Stoors were hobbits that remained living by rivers and waters, possibly the dangers this might represent increased their daring, the Harfoots I would reckon were most likely the first hobbit farmers, presumably successful ones which might explain their numbers and love of the earth, and the Fallohides I would reckon were more woodland hobbits, fewer in number given the lack of room in woods and forests for settlements. Just speculation on my part however.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:01 am

Odo Banks

Not my preferred method, I know, but I'm currently researching dinosaurs in books and on the net. I haven't given up on Eldorion's theory yet.

Old Forum
Reposting Bot

Posts : 1260
Join date : 2011-02-13

Back to top Go down

Page 2 of 5 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum