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Thread: Origins of Hobbits?

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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. :mrgreen:

Odo: Best of luck in your researching; do tell if you find anything relevant or interesting. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />
The results of my initial studies suggest they were amphibious - but it's early days yet! (And shouldn't you be in bed, anyway :!: :?: )
It's only 9:15 pm here, I've got hours to go. :mrgreen:
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!
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 [b:147vn3lk][u:147vn3lk]specifically human race[/u:147vn3lk][/b:147vn3lk] (not Elves or Dwarves). They..are represented as being more in touch with 'nature'...and abnormally, [b:147vn3lk][u:147vn3lk]for humans[/u:147vn3lk][/b:147vn3lk],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 [b:147vn3lk][u:147vn3lk]ordinary men[/u:147vn3lk][/b:147vn3lk] '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! <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />
Yes, but Tolkien said as much the same about Elves being members of the Human Race. As I posted when I began this thread:

[quote:1xk17af8]"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
[/quote:1xk17af8]

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

[b:1xk17af8]GB[/b:1xk17af8]
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.
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.

[b:1v5pzpow]GB[/b:1v5pzpow]
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.
[quote="pettytyrant101":12i1pxf4]I agree with you, on the evidence only the dwarves seem to be a race apart, everyone else is a form of human.[/quote:12i1pxf4]

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.

[quote:12i1pxf4]so where did the ents come from and when did they awake?[/quote:12i1pxf4]

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.

[quote:12i1pxf4]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? [/quote:12i1pxf4]

Ah, this old chestnut. :lol: 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. :P
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 :lol: .

[b:293kthhs]GB[/b:293kthhs]
Thanks for splitting the off-topic stuff off GB. I hope we can keep having discussing in both threads. 8-)
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.

[b:1gzck99k]J Dwarf[/b:1gzck99k]
Hobbits, as indicated by Tolkien in his introduction to [i:3p340hpe]The Lord of the Rings[/i:3p340hpe], 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 [i:3p340hpe]Anglo-Saxon Chronicle[/i:3p340hpe], to see how vague the origins were for the various peoples who became [i:3p340hpe]Angle-cynn[/i:3p340hpe], 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 ([i:3p340hpe]Kuduk[/i:3p340hpe]), 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.
[quote="Zeonista":36bqg0n2]Hobbits, as indicated by Tolkien in his introduction to [i:36bqg0n2]The Lord of the Rings[/i:36bqg0n2], 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.[/quote:36bqg0n2]

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. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> 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.

[quote:36bqg0n2]So I guess at one point all the Hobbits shared a common origin point.[/quote:36bqg0n2]

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.
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! :lol:
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.

[b:3n9u93zl]Act[/b:3n9u93zl]
___________

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 ( :cry: ) 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 [i:3n9u93zl]Elrond laughed[/i:3n9u93zl] or...

[i:3n9u93zl]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. [/i:3n9u93zl]

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 [i:3n9u93zl]no sign at all[/i:3n9u93zl] of any action like this going in Rivendell, which I found very disappointing <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' />

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.

[b:3n9u93zl]Housing[/b:3n9u93zl]
____________

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.


[b:3n9u93zl]Mindset[/b:3n9u93zl]
____________

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 [i:3n9u93zl]all that time[/i:3n9u93zl], he was not fully corrupted, when as, a Man held it for about 20 minutes and was already corrupted.

[b:3n9u93zl]ZE EPIC CONCLUSION[/b:3n9u93zl]
____________

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 [i:3n9u93zl]whole[/i:3n9u93zl] thread.

Thanks!
[quote="Zeonista":2qp0i8oy]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.[/quote:2qp0i8oy]

Certainly; we can only make semi-educated guesses based on the little we know of Hobbit history. It's still fun though. :mrgreen:
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. :ugeek:
It seems to me that in eating and cultural habits Hobbits are more like Men :lol: . 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 <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ), Hobbits, Men, and Elves are all subgroups of the Human Race. This is based on Canon and Tolkien's other writings.

[b:2e2qkply]GB[/b:2e2qkply]
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! :geek:
[quote="Odo Banks":20uptg15]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! :geek:[/quote:20uptg15]

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 <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' /> .

Imagine by John Lennon is a good thought provoker to this.
Mr Durin, I count myself a fond admirer of all things esoteric (well, not ALL things, admittedly) but....


[quote="Durin":1h14fuya]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 <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' /> .[/quote:1h14fuya]

... well.... :?
[quote="Odo Banks":1f7luse9]Mr Durin, I count myself a fond admirer of all things esoteric (well, not ALL things, admittedly) but....


... well.... :?[/quote:1f7luse9]


Eh? I don't quite see how that is esoteric.
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.
[quote="pettytyrant101":2kh2piev]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.
[/quote:2kh2piev]

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

[quote:2kh2piev]
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.
[/quote:2kh2piev]

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.

[quote:2kh2piev]
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.
[/quote:2kh2piev]
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.


[quote:2kh2piev]
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.[/quote:2kh2piev]

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

[quote="Durin":1osud2gr]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 <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' /> .[/quote:1osud2gr]


actually mean? :?: :?: :?:
"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.
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?
[quote="Odo Banks":2ck5211o]Lovely discussion chaps. Thoughtful... But the important thing to me is, what does:

[quote="Durin":2ck5211o]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 <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' /> .[/quote:2ck5211o]


actually mean? :?: :?: :?:[/quote:2ck5211o]


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! :lol:

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

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). [i:1mros67e]Deep Sigh! [/i:1mros67e](How come there isn't a 'Deep Sigh" Smilee when you need one?)
[quote="Durin":245tsd5v][quote:245tsd5v]
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.[/quote:245tsd5v]

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.[/quote:245tsd5v]

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).
[quote="pettytyrant101":l4tp7n7x]The Sackville-Bagginses, like Bilbo, are clearly middle-class hobbits, they are not poor just not rich.[/quote:l4tp7n7x]

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.
[quote="pettytyrant101":1988mlaf]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?[/quote:1988mlaf]

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 Smilie.
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.
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.
[quote="pettytyrant101":w7dep0ve]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.[/quote:w7dep0ve]

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.

[quote:w7dep0ve]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.[/quote:w7dep0ve]

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

[quote:w7dep0ve]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.[/quote:w7dep0ve]

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.
[quote="pettytyrant101":1faibvv8]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.[/quote:1faibvv8]

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.
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.
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.

[b:2rpzswxy]GB[/b:2rpzswxy]
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!
[quote="pettytyrant101":1xqxj17r]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.[/quote:1xqxj17r]

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.
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.
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 [b:2kwpfjuo][i:2kwpfjuo]generally[/i:2kwpfjuo][/b:2kwpfjuo] 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 <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ).

[b:2kwpfjuo]GB[/b:2kwpfjuo]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":2g3ujv8w]But I certainly wouldn't state that as a hard, fast rule written in stone.[/quote:2g3ujv8w]

Wouldn't that be [i:2g3ujv8w]'chipped out with stone'[/i:2g3ujv8w]? :? Or [i:2g3ujv8w]'scratched on stone... with another even harder sharper stone....?' [/i:2g3ujv8w] :? :?

.. 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!). :geek:
:roll:

[b:omko7r7l]GB[/b:omko7r7l]
I was just trying to clarify a small (but important) point, GB. :? There's no need get all grumpy-wumpy over it... :x
I was just rolling my eyes at the "not human" bit (I thought we'd covered that ground rather thoroughly <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ). 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).

[b:31kp3vpo]GB[/b:31kp3vpo]
I find it quite funny how you compared to Hobbits to Brits, [b:3r7q29zz]GB[/b:3r7q29zz]. 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? <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />
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