Origins of Hobbits?

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

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

Durin

pettytyrant101 wrote: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.

Well, there's always going to be a bad apple in the bunch.


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.

Sandyman might not have, but, again, a bad apple in the bunch. And yes, Frodo is just one of the many good apples of the Shire.


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.
Well, I do not think Hobbits are necessary "greedy" for food, but rather needy and want-y for it. If they were in a dire situation with rations of food, they would not take the position of a glutton and eat it all, but, if they were offered a full table of food, then yes, they would certainly pig out, though I don't quite thing "greedy" is the right word. Also, with the Bag-End incident, is that really out of greed? Or is it out of revenge? That's something to think about.



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.

Well, Isildur didn't do well, Boromir didn't do too well either. Elves seem almost repelled from the Ring, and want nothing to do with it. I would not say Aragorn does fine either, though, he has to fight himself to stay away from it, and I would say the same with Faramir, when it seemed Legolas really had no want for it.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:15 am

Pettytyrant101

Don't think you can say it was just a bad apple. Its clear there were hobbits who were only to willing to join in with the men, whose numbers weren't sufficient to subdue the entire area without local help, like any occupying force does. Hobbit hands would have cut down trees, brought stone for the new mill etc
"There are hundreds of shirriffs all told, and they want more...most of them are in it against their will, but not all. Even in the Shire there are some as like minding other folks business and talking big."-the scouring of the shire.
"Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings of Big People."- Shortcut to mushrooms
On Aragorn fighting to resist the Ring I think you must be confusing PJ's Aragorn with Tolkiens. Tolkiens Aragorn is absolutely certain of his destiny and does not suffer the doubts PJ gave him.
Ill grant Legolas seems untroubled by the ring but so too is Gimli and Merry and Pippin, doesn't seem to have a racial basis.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:16 am

Odo Banks

Lovely discussion chaps. Thoughtful... But the important thing to me is, what does:

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 .

actually mean?

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:16 am

Pettytyrant101

"Also, with the Bag-End incident, is that really out of greed? Or is it out of revenge? That's something to think about." I decided to deal with this point separately to give it some thought as you suggest but I don't see what your driving at Durin. Revenge for what? The Sackville-Bagginses, like Bilbo, are clearly middle-class hobbits, they are not poor just not rich. Their relative goes away and they try to auction of his home, he returns and this infuriates them and they steal some of his goods (or at least fail to return them). So revenge for what- that Bilbo didn't die while he was away? Seems to me the Sackville-Bagginses wanted to get Bilbos wealth and his property (and never give up this ambition until its finally achieved by Lotho) even though they were comfortable as they were and not poor- in a human this would be greed why not in a hobbit? Besides hobbits, like the English, have a clear class system, Sam is working class, Frodo and Bilbo middle-class and hobbits such as the Head of the Tooks would make up the upper-class. This type of class system cannot exist without a display of it in the form of land, property, wealth and goods. Hobbits therefore in social structure and from examples in the text seem just as prone to greed as any human.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:16 am

Pettytyrant101

To add, because I forgot to previously, the main arguement against the idea hobbits can naturally resist the Ring is Gollum, who failed miserably. Or was he just another one-off, bad apple?

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:17 am

Durin

Odo Banks wrote:Lovely discussion chaps. Thoughtful... But the important thing to me is, what does:

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 .


actually mean?


Well, when I look at the Hobbit, and see how the good triumphs over the evil, and how that doesn't necessarily always happen in this world, it makes me sad to think about it. Humans have the potential to make this world a much better place then it is, but, for some reason, we can't forget our differences. That reminds me of how the Elves could've stuck around Middle Earth during Sauron's rise, and actually stood up and massacred some Orcs, instead of running to the Gray Havens.

But, that quote means, you see the Elves happy, jolly, literally singing in the trees, and then I look at my town, and you don't see any of that!

All it is is people go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch some TV, go to bed. Rinse. Repeat. I just don't get the sense of community in my community. Perhaps that's just here. Perhaps I need to move to Australia?

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:17 am

Odo Banks

No, we're sun bronzed independent types here, sadly... But some of us still pine for The Shire though - and good friends...

I fear Hobbits originated in Rhovanion, migrated to The Shire, then sailed to Australia when the English arrived to create Pommyland. Once Down Under, Hobbits grew big and strong and started playing footy. (If you kick a footy with bare feet long enough, your foot-fur wears off - you probably didn't know that). Deep Sigh! (How come there isn't a 'Deep Sigh" Smilee when you need one?)

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:18 am

Eldorion

Durin wrote:
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.

Well, Isildur didn't do well, Boromir didn't do too well either. Elves seem almost repelled from the Ring, and want nothing to do with it. I would not say Aragorn does fine either, though, he has to fight himself to stay away from it, and I would say the same with Faramir, when it seemed Legolas really had no want for it.

Men's abilities to resist the Ring are mixed. Boromir certainly wanted it, though he repented before he died. Denethor was interested in it without coming near it. Faramir and Aragorn were both willing to let it go though. Other human lords such as Theoden, Eomer, and Imrahil showed no interest in acquiring it, though they didn't really have a chance to. All in all that's not a bad record when even Saruman was corrupted.

I like your point about the Elves seeming to be repelled by the Ring, and I think this is reflective of their advantage over humans concerning the Ring: the Elves had more knowledge of the Ring and its capabilities. Some of them could even remember the time when the Rings were forged, and the subsequent wars against Sauron. That which Men knew, which was probably less than the Elves since they didn't speak of the Rings that much, was forgotten or altered by 3000 years of being passed down. Most Men, including Denethor and Boromir, probably, didn't know what they were getting into.

It's worth noting that even the knowledge of what the Ring could do didn't stop the likes of Saruman and Galadriel from being tempted (though of course Galadriel resisted).

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:20 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:The Sackville-Bagginses, like Bilbo, are clearly middle-class hobbits, they are not poor just not rich.

I've seen this theory before, and I must admit that I am most puzzled by it. The Bagginses owned one of the more luxurious Holes in the area, were "very well-to-do" (TH, An Unexpected Party) even before Bilbo's adventure. After the adventure he was "very rich"; so rich in fact that he was a local legend (LOTR, A Long-Expected party). The exact value is not known, but Bilbo's wealth was apparently inexhaustible despite his generosity. The Baggins were also related to many of the wealthiest, most prominent, and most powerful families in the Shire; including the Tooks and the Brandybucks. They were sitting near the top of the class structure.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:20 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:To add, because I forgot to previously, the main arguement against the idea hobbits can naturally resist the Ring is Gollum, who failed miserably. Or was he just another one-off, bad apple?

Gollum was remarkable in not turning into a Wraith after 500 years. He was obviously unable to avoid moral corruption (though he was not exactly a paragon of virtue even before he found the ring: Tolkien called him "a mean sort of a thief". Wink

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:21 am

Pettytyrant101

Fair point on the Baggins family being nearer the top of the class system than the middle Eldo. Upper-middle-class? As the class system in the Shire is very English the Bagginses would not count as aristocracy, the ruling class, but they are, as you rightly point out, related to the upper class. Bilbo is indeed famously wealthy- but only after he comes back home. Either way it doesn't alter my point that the existence of such a class system is evidence of a certain level of greed in the hobbit nature.
On the point of Gollum I'm not certain what's involved in the wraithing process. Perhaps when it happened to the 9 the Ring was still on Saurons hand and this may have had a part to play. Also Gollum, like Bilbo, rarely actually put it on. Both seem to have been oblivious to the Rings other purposes and noticed only its ability to make the wearer invisible, useful but not needed all the time. This lack of use by Gollum in the dark of his cave I think would be the main factor in his lack of fading away.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:21 am

Pettytyrant101

On the point about the elves I agree they were far more aware, fearful and reluctant to have anything to do with the Ring but this does not seem to come from some inherent characteristic of elves, just painfully gained wisdom. Its clear that even with their wisdom most of the elves are unwilling to even put themselves in a position of being tested and this one has to assume stems from their belief there is a good chance they would fail the test.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:21 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:Fair point on the Baggins family being nearer the top of the class system than the middle Eldo. Upper-middle-class? As the class system in the Shire is very English the Bagginses would not count as aristocracy, the ruling class, but they are, as you rightly point out, related to the upper class.

While Hobbits are in general very English, the analogy can only be taken so far. Hobbits don't really have an aristocracy since they have very little government. They have an elected Mayor/Police Chief/Postmaster General (though rules for suffrage are entirely unmentioned, but I wouldn't be surprised if only landholders were allowed to vote and/or run for office), a Thain who is wholly ceremonial at that point, and the Master of Buckland who is off on his own. There aren't any Hobbit lordships. One could call the Tooks and the Brandybucks an aristocracy, but I'm not convinced that would be accurate.

Either way it doesn't alter my point that the existence of such a class system is evidence of a certain level of greed in the hobbit nature.

Certainly. I hope you'll forgive my semi-off-topic note.

Perhaps when it happened to the 9 the Ring was still on Saurons hand and this may have had a part to play.... This lack of use by Gollum in the dark of his cave I think would be the main factor in his lack of fading away.

Those are both plausible reasons (though I think the second one is stronger). However, given the lack of non-Hobbits to compare Gollum and Bilbo to I don't think we can say anything conclusive.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:22 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:On the point about the elves I agree they were far more aware, fearful and reluctant to have anything to do with the Ring but this does not seem to come from some inherent characteristic of elves, just painfully gained wisdom. Its clear that even with their wisdom most of the elves are unwilling to even put themselves in a position of being tested and this one has to assume stems from their belief there is a good chance they would fail the test.

True, and as such we don't have much evidence to consider about Elves and the Ring. I don't think there is a huge difference in Ring-resisting ability between Elves and Men though; at least not as much as some seem to suggest.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:22 am

Pettytyrant101

I agree its difficult to draw conclusions but its worth comparing the four hobbits who possessed the Ring; Gollum, Bilbo, Frodo and Sam.
Gollum is consumed by it, his mind is overthrown and his body ruined, Bilbo is possessive of it but does manage to give it up, eventually and with help, Frodo is up until his quest begins fairly indifferent to the Ring, he can't throw it in his little hobbit hole fire when he tries but he wants to try. The Ring eventually overcomes Frodo but it never wholly ruins him like it did Gollum. Sam is saved from the lure of the Ring by "Hobbit-sense and love of his master." He is tempted by the power it offers only fleetingly.
This is a fair range of reactions to the Ring, I would expect to see much the same range if it were four men, four elves or four dwarves. I don't think there is anything to prove hobbits are naturally resistant to the Ring above the other races. The Ring seems to work on people according to their native stature and character when they come into contact with it, not by race.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:23 am

Gandalf's Beard

The Hobbits in The Scouring of the Shire were a people under an occupation. That sort of thing fundamentally brings out the worst in people. It can't be avoided. Hobbits, Elves, and Man are ALL Human: this much is FACT--with all the complexities that entails.

Odo is right to point out (on another thread) that Elves like Thranduil are Grouchy Silmarillion types, so Elves have Human failings too. Shire Hobbits had a tendency to insularity, their general good nature was put to the test by the occupation and many were found wanting. So all this proves is that all three "Races" really are One Race--the Human Race.

Gollum was originally Smeagol, an inbred Hillbilly River-Hobbit. His original character was weak to begin with, making him particularly susceptible to the Ring. The Bagginses are particularly Strong of character--the best of the best--so Bilbo and Frodo were unique amongst Hobbits, Elves, and Man (though Aragorn and Faramir were the best of the best of Man, I doubt even they could have made the long haul bearing the ring). Elves could not bear the Ring because they had too much Power, and Power corrupts easily.

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:23 am

Odo Banks

Isn't it mentioned once or twice in LotR that hobbits have an intangible special 'something' that gave them a surprising resistance to the ring? There is also something 'Tom Bombadilish' about hobbits, at least an earthy connection, I think. They seem to own a natural power that Elves and Men may not possess? I'm reminded for some reason of that 'breath' of air that Elijah experiences in which God resided. A mundane almost humble power though ennobled none the less. A conundrum? A mystery? A will-o-the-wisp? God's like that

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:24 am

Eldorion

pettytyrant101 wrote:II don't think there is anything to prove hobbits are naturally resistant to the Ring above the other races. The Ring seems to work on people according to their native stature and character when they come into contact with it, not by race.

The closest thing to evidence to the contrary is Gandalf's comment in Many Meetings that "it seems that Hobbits fade very reluctantly. I have known strong warriors of the Big People who would quickly have been overcome by that splinter which you bore for seventeen days." However, with a lack of non-Hobbit Ringbearers (save for Isildur who bore it for only two years), it's hard to come to any conclusions. A Morgul-knife is not a Ring of Power by any stretch, and while some parallels may be drawn its certainly not conclusive that Hobbits have any greater innate resistance to the Ring. We simply don't know if any human could have born the Ring as long as Frodo, Bilbo, or Gollum and not become a wraith.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:24 am

Eldorion

The quote in my last post is probably what Odo was thinking of. There are two other mentions of "Hobbits, toughness of" in the index to the 50th Anniversary Edition but neither deal with dark 'magic', per se.

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:24 am

Gandalf's Beard

That's pretty much the way I recall it Eldo. But I think a case might be made that Hobbits (particularly Shire Folk), being sheltered for so long from much of the World's Evils, are a bit more innocent than the other Races of Humans (Man and Elf-kind). This, their natural hardiness, and natural good natures, might make them generally more suited to Ring-bearing and less corruptible. But I certainly wouldn't state that as a hard, fast rule written in stone. And I certainly wouldn't apply that to all Hobbitish individuals who are as varied as those in any Race.

I do think Odo's onto something also about Hobbits having a special "something", a Bombadilish connection to the Earth and Green Growing Things. Tolkien doesn't really come right out and state it, but it's implied (and I think it's meant to explain the English's love of Gardens ).

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:25 am

Odo Banks

Gandalfs Beard wrote:But I certainly wouldn't state that as a hard, fast rule written in stone.

Wouldn't that be 'chipped out with stone'? Or 'scratched on stone... with another even harder sharper stone....?'

.. and I'm sure Gandalf says something somewhere about the 'specialness' of Hobbits, even though I can't recall his actual words (it's one of the reasons I suspect hobbits aren't humans, thank God!).

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Gandalf's Beard

Rolling Eyes

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Odo Banks

I was just trying to clarify a small (but important) point, GB. :? There's no need get all grumpy-wumpy over it... Mad

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Gandalf's Beard

I was just rolling my eyes at the "not human" bit (I thought we'd covered that ground rather thoroughly ). Otherwise, I quite agree that Hobbits are rather Special, perhaps a bit (Natural) "magical" (and a bit Bombadilish). It's why I lean towards Hobbits being closer to Elves despite Tolkien clearly stating he thought them closer to Mankind (and we KNOW they are ALL Human).

GB

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Re: Origins of Hobbits?

Post by Old Forum on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:27 am

Durin

I find it quite funny how you compared to Hobbits to Brits, GB. And yes, indeed, I do know LOTR could be described as Tolkien's way of describing Great Britain's origins mythically. But, besides that, I got a laugh out of thinking of how Tolkien would be exalting his own kind. He gives Gandalf a great admiration of Hobbits, and mentions many times throughout the story of how Hobbits are truly "remarkable creatures". Tolkien doesn't seem like one to really exalt his own kind, what do you think?

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