A Conversation for Hobbits


Post 1


This theory of hobbits is startlingly simple, it would be surprising if it hasn't been published by someone else already.

The word is a portmanteau (as in Lewis Carroll: Slithy, mimsy, and so on). Hobbits represent the habits/hobbies of an English gentleman, and their names point out their references: Merry Brandybuck for the tipple, Pippin Took for pipe and tobacco, Fatty Bolger for stuffing the face. The Bagginses stand for the habit/hobby of collecting things; the heartless cousins the Sackville-Bagginses are prepared to "sack homes" for their plunder.

Tolkien was famously reticent about allegory, but this one sticks. He develops a theory: that the more despicable the habit/hobby, the more its adherents glorify it (Meriadoc the Magnificent) and vice versa, the humbler the hobbit the closer its approach to selflessness (Sam Gamgee the gardener). No hobbit is quite virtuous; Frodo cannot succeed in his quest without the unwitting help of his mindless alter-ego Gollum. The thing about hobbits (habits/hobbies) is that though the gentleman (Aragorn, Gandalf) who maintains and supports them makes light of his attachment as much as he can, it is surprisingly resilient! He is in fact an addict.

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