Origins of Hobbits?

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

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

Eldorion

pettytyrant: That's a fascinating point about the Harfoots beginning farming among Hobbits. I had never considered the question, but it makes a great deal of sense. Very Happy

Odo: Best of luck in your researching; do tell if you find anything relevant or interesting

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:02 am

Odo Banks

The results of my initial studies suggest they were amphibious - but it's early days yet! (And shouldn't you be in bed, anyway)

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:02 am

Eldorion

It's only 9:15 pm here, I've got hours to go.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:02 am

Odo Banks

Well, I guess if you don't get over-tired and cranky, I'll let you stay up a little while....

Oh sorry! You just threw me back to a time when I still gave my kids directions - not them me... Impertinent little sods!

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:03 am

Pettytyrant101

In the lengthy letter 131, I found this;

"In the middle of this Age (Third) the Hobbits appear. Their origin is unknown (even to themselves)* for they escaped the notice of the great, or the civilised peoples with records, and kept none themselves...until they had migrated from the border of Mirkwood fleeing from the Shadow."

I include the footnote that accompanies this for your perusal;

"The Hobbits are, of course, really meant to be a branch of the specifically human race (not Elves or Dwarves). They..are represented as being more in touch with 'nature'...and abnormally, for humans,free from ambition for greed or wealth. They are made small...mostly to show up, in creatures of very small physical power, the amazing and unexpected heroism of ordinary men 'in a pinch'."

So in reply to the very first question posed on this thread Eldorion was right, but even more so than he thought, hobbits aren't related closely to humans, they are a type of human. So that about wraps it up I guess for this thread!

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:03 am

Gandalf's Beard

Yes, but Tolkien said as much the same about Elves being members of the Human Race. As I posted when I began this thread:

"Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring..."
JRRT - Letters #153, September 1954

"The existence of Elves: that is of a race of beings closely akin to Men, so closely indeed that they must be regarded as physically (or biologically) simply branches of the same race."
JRRT - Morgoth's Ring, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth Commentary circa 1959


Indeed, my conclusion is that Men, Elves, and Hobbits are ALL members of the Human Race.

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:04 am

Pettytyrant101

So much for this thread being done and dusted! Should have known GB you'd throw something new into the mix to raise more questions in my head- its one of the reasons I look forward to your posts. In this case the questions youve raised in my head concern awakenings. I agree with you, on the evidence only the dwarves seem to be a race apart, everyone else is a form of human. But, leaving dwarves to one side for a moment, we know elves awoke first, but what of hobbits? Did they awake along side men or are they a later off shoot of men?
And on the point of awakenings where would the ents come into this? They seem to believe "the elves started it" but Tolkien makes it clear that only God can create life, not even Morgoth could do that, orcs etc are twisted versions of existing life, so where did the ents come from and when did they awake?
And then there is the tricky matter of a certain Mr Bombadil, oldest and first- is he human? Is he the first human to be awakened? Where does he get his his seeming longevity from?
I realise those last two points are strictly speaking not about the origins of hobbits but in light of previos posts and there enlightning info it all seems related.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:04 am

Gandalf's Beard

Eldo and I agree that The Hobbits most likely awoke at the same time as Man.

In Tolkien's world, the Ainur were essentially co-creaters, making them not merely Angels, but Lesser Gods if you will. The Dwarves were created separately by Aule, and Yavanna petitioned for the creation of the Ents to protect the Trees once she discovered her husband's secret treachery. Though there is no record of Bombadil's beginnings, it's worth noting that he is more like the Istari, the Maia sent to protect Middle Earth in the form of Wizards, than anything else.

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:04 am

Pettytyrant101

Funny how some things are forgotten- I actually knew about the ents but had entirely forgotten it until I read your post. But judging on Treebeards words and his high opinion of elves they seem to have been somewhat dormant until the elves "woke them up". On the point of co-creation are you sure? I thought the term "Children of Illuvatar" was used because they were Gods creation alone. I await correction! Or failing that the time to go look it up.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:05 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:I agree with you, on the evidence only the dwarves seem to be a race apart, everyone else is a form of human.

I think that makes quite a bit of sense, especially if one thinks that Hobbits awoke at the same time as Men. Dwarves were, as GB pointed out, created by Aule rather than Iluvatar himself. They were the "adopted" Children of Eru, whereas the other two/three races were conceived as one from the start.

so where did the ents come from and when did they awake?

My theory is that the Ents are mentioned in Chapter 2 of The Silmarllion: of Aule and Yavanna: "'Eru is bountiful', she said. 'Now let they children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril.'" I think Ents had the 'spark of life', so to speak, given them by Eru, at Yavanna's request.

And then there is the tricky matter of a certain Mr Bombadil, oldest and first- is he human? Is he the first human to be awakened? Where does he get his his seeming longevity from?

Ah, this old chestnut. Laughing No, Bombadil cannot be human, for he was in Eriador before even the Elves. My personal theory is that he is a Maia who parted from the Valar before even Valinor was established, somewhat like Melian (though I don't know when she parted from the Valar). In the end though I can only say that he is, as Tolkien intended, an enigma.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:06 am

Gandalf's Beard

I split the thread from this point on as the Bombadil and Goldberry discussion took on a life of its own. Naturally, the new thread is entitled: BOMBADIL AND GOLDBERRY. Please continue any discussion that revolves ONLY around those characters on that thread.

This thread can still work as a General "Origins of Species" thread for the time being .

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:06 am

Eldorion

Thanks for splitting the off-topic stuff off GB. I hope we can keep having discussing in both threads.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:07 am

Joseph Dwarf

Do you think that Hobbits evolved from man? Shot people decided they'd live where big stuff can't get to them or something?

EDIT: Oh sorry it's been mentioned before... just had a look through previous posts.

J Dwarf

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:07 am

Zeonista

Hobbits, as indicated by Tolkien in his introduction to The Lord of the Rings, are a distinct race from Men. He does indicate that Hobbits are closer to Men than Elves or Dwarves in their lifestyles and preferences, so Hobbits have a same-but-different feel to them. ^_^ Based on the introductory chapter and the Appendix A & B "historical" information from the Red Book, the Hobbits had little history of their own before moving into Eridador in the second millenium of the Third Age. Either as a people they had no need or desire to record their origins, or those beginnings had details they did not want/choose to remember. For the Hobbits of Bilbo's day, the real history of their people began the day Marcho & Blanco Fallohide brought their followers into the newly granted Shire. Everything in their past from the wandering years could have been gradually discarded as being unimportant to the happily settled and prosperous Hobbits of later, better years. (For a real-life example, read Bede's history of contemporary Anglo-Saxon England, or the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, to see how vague the origins were for the various peoples who became Angle-cynn, or English.)

The Hobbits were originally three kindreds, Fallohides, Harfoots, and Stoors, who gradually blended together into one people in Bree-land and the Shire. They were readily identified as a single race (Hobbits/Halflings), but they were distinct in terms of physical appearance, choice of habitat, and choice of non-Hobbit company. So, wherever the Hobbits came from, for a long time they were three disparate peoples who shared a similar language (Kuduk), similar customs, and a shared discomfort of dealing with most people or creatures larger than themselves. The differences were not as great as the similarities though, as the Stoors, were able to blend into the Shire community despite having spent long time sundered from the Fallohides & Harfoots, and having dealings with different Men than them. So I guess at one point all the Hobbits shared a common origin point.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:07 am

Eldorion

Zeonista wrote:Hobbits, as indicated by Tolkien in his introduction to The Lord of the Rings, are a distinct race from Men. He does indicate that Hobbits are closer to Men than Elves or Dwarves in their lifestyles and preferences, so Hobbits have a same-but-different feel to them.

This doesn't mean they were a distinct species though. This is a rather long thread, but I think its worth the read. We've discussed a number of the points you bring up, actually. I still like my three races, one species theory. I do wonder if Dwarves would be part of that one species. I think it is plausible that, as the "adopted" Children of Eru, they would not be.

So I guess at one point all the Hobbits shared a common origin point.

I would agree. It seems that the three branch difference was in the end a passing thing, since (in the Shire at least) they were blended together with fairly little distinction on the basis of "type", though there were certainly other distinctions.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:08 am

Zeonista

Well, the real problem with the debating the origin of Hobbits seems to ultimately lie with the Hobbits themselves. It explains the paucity of background information quite a lot from their perspective. They see themselves as Hobbits first & foremost, and not connected to or related to any other people. More to the point (at least to the Shire-folk and Bree-Hobbits) they are happily civilized and respectful, respectable folk now. Origins in the East? Life by the Great River? The wandering years full of danger and longing? Never mind that, it's all in the unpleasant past, and there are more important things to talk about, like this year's potato crop.

On a non-serious note, I can well imagine the reception some of you would get at the Green Dragon with musings about whether or not Hobbits are descended from small Men!

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:08 am

Durin

Well, I have read mostly throughout the thread, and I saw Elves and Men being the origins of Hobbits pop up.

I think the best way we can see where Hobbits came from is to look how they commonly interact, house themselves and their mindset.

Act
___________

Well, I think Hobbits are much more like Elves in this respect. The thing that makes me want to bash my head against the wall continuously ( ) is how Peter Jackson portrayed Elves in Lord of the Rings. In the Hobbit, Tolkien describes them as "singing in the trees". Now, sure, it is a darker time in Lord of the Rings, but I see no sense of happiness among the Elves throughout the whole entire movie, when in the book you can see such things as Elrond laughed or...

As Eldron entered and went towards the seat prepared for him, Elvish minstrels began to make sweet music. Slowly the hall filled, and Frodo looked with delight on the the many fair faces that were gathered together... (Continue on the page)... They talked together in soft oblivious voices (the Hobbits), oblivious of the mirth and music in the hall about them.

Now you see, I don't wish to go off on a tangent, but as you can see, this is in Rivendell, and Peter Jackson gave absolutely no sign at all of any action like this going in Rivendell, which I found very disappointing

Hobbits also are very cheerful, just as the Elves. Not normally if you walk into someone's yard will they be serenading you from their oak tree, and when you come in bust out the violins and playing more music, having a jolly good time. I think that's all I have to say about Hobbits acting like Elves... except for the part of how Men can only live in a time of War, and can never live with an eternal peace, while the Elves and Hobbits certainly could.

Housing
____________

I think this is also important to look at, how the Elves and Hobbits both build around nature. The Elves build their houses in trees, while the Hobbits build their houses in hills, etc. If you look at the ways of Men, we tear down trees, pave over grass, pollute the air, etc. Hobbits and Elves would never do such a thing, and if Hobbits and Men came from the same... origin, I would wonder how such drastic changes could be made.


Mindset
____________

Now, Elves and Hobbits seem to be much less greedy, prideful and covetous then Men. Something worth mentioning is the One Ring. Hobbits can resist the Ring much, much better then Men, and so can Elves. That is also a great similarity between Hobbits and Elves, because when Men are given the Ring, they are overpowered with ambition and greed and sometimes even hate. Even when Frodo had the Ring all that time, he was not fully corrupted, when as, a Man held it for about 20 minutes and was already corrupted.

ZE EPIC CONCLUSION
____________

Hobbits are closer related to Elves then Man.



I think it's somewhat logical to look at the psychological similarities of these three races, and whichever one it closer resembles, you can assume that they are closer to that one race. I do hope this is some new content, I didn't look through the whole thread.

Thanks!

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:09 am

Eldorion

Zeonista wrote:Well, the real problem with the debating the origin of Hobbits seems to ultimately lie with the Hobbits themselves. It explains the paucity of background information quite a lot from their perspective.

Certainly; we can only make semi-educated guesses based on the little we know of Hobbit history. It's still fun though.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:09 am

Eldorion

That's a fascinating post Durin, and one I don't really have the time to fully consider. I do, however, think that Hobbits are more down-to-earth and less "spiritual" (for lack of a better word) than Elves, and in that respect they are far more like humans. That may be why human/hobbit cohabitation worked out in Bree but, for the most part, human/elf cohabitation did not. I need to think on this some more later, when I have time, though.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:10 am

Gandalf's Beard

It seems to me that in eating and cultural habits Hobbits are more like Men . Yet when it comes to living closely with their natural environment and their ability to blend into it they are more like Elves. As this thread makes clear though (if one reads through it ), Hobbits, Men, and Elves are all subgroups of the Human Race. This is based on Canon and Tolkien's other writings.

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:10 am

Odo Banks

I love your cheerful Elves, Mr Durin. I hope they're the ones who are in Rivendell when Bilbo and Co get there. "Tra la lally, down in the valley..." You've just proven it can be done - merrily but not sillylee!

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:11 am

Durin

Odo Banks wrote:I love your cheerful Elves, Mr Durin. I hope they're the ones who are in Rivendell when Bilbo and Co get there. "Tra la lally, down in the valley..." You've just proven it can be done - merrily but not sillylee!

I hope so too!

Reading this part of The Hobbit always makes me sad of how looking at our world, it could be so much better, but it's pretty bad, compared to what it could be .

Imagine by John Lennon is a good thought provoker to this.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:12 am

Odo Banks

Mr Durin, I count myself a fond admirer of all things esoteric (well, not ALL things, admittedly) but....


Durin wrote:Reading this part of The Hobbit always makes me sad of how looking at our world, it could be so much better, but it's pretty bad, compared to what it could be .

... well.... :?

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:13 am

Durin

Odo Banks wrote:Mr Durin, I count myself a fond admirer of all things esoteric (well, not ALL things, admittedly) but....


... well.... :?


Eh? I don't quite see how that is esoteric.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

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

Pettytyrant101

Interesting post Durin, not sure I agree with the assessment about hobbits and nature though. If that were the case the Scouring of the Shire chapter would not exist, there we see hobbits like Sandyman acting as poorly towards nature as any human.
I agree about the lack of joy in elves but this is a trait of the PJ films- all darkness without the oasis of light Tolkien provided for the weary traveller (reader).
Hard to be certain if all hobbits would naturally resist the Ring or if its more a character thing. Would the aforementioned Sandyman have resisted? Or poor misguided Lotho? Also I think Gandalf implies Frodo's resistance is a mixture of character and the manner in which ownership of the Ring is taken up.
As to hobbits being less greedy, you mean apart from literal greed for food, they certainly have that. Or covetous greed, well with the sale of Bag End while Bilbo was off, theft of silver spoons etc I would say hobbits are just as greedy as people.
Also not sure elves can resist the Ring better than anyone else- its never put to the test but the fact all the major elves refuse to even touch the thing would seem to hint they weren't so certain. Also the only Elf, Galadriel, to be tested on the point directly is surprised to find she can resist.
Cant agree either about men being unable to resist the Ring- Aragorn does fine and that can't be just cause of who he is, Isildur didn't do so well. Faramir resists just fine as well.

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