Hobbits annoy me. There, I’ve said it. Apologies to all you Elijah Woods fanatics out there but they do. Sir Ian Holm will no doubt be turning in his grave and Sean Astin will be…well, doing whatever Sean Astin does these days. Didn’t he pop up in the last season of ‘Stranger Things’ or something? Anyway, I digress. The big news of the day? I’ve finally started my re-read of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy after a thirty years hiatus.
I’ve worked out if I read seven pages a day I will have it finished by the end of the year. Piece of cake, right? Except it’s now Day 4 and I’m already a reading behind. So, it’s now fourteen pages tonight. No pressure at all especially if there’s a bit of elvish poetry or Shire drinking song I can skip over. I love Tolkien but please don’t get me started on his poetry and drinking songs. That’s what a university education gets you I guess.
Which brings me back to all things hobbits. Setting aside their disgusting feet (pots and kettles Stephen?) they do not stand out as heroic creatures. They’re physically weak, small of stature and wide of girth. The latter is kind of unavoidable given that their entire culture appears to revolve around food and the consumption of large amounts of ale. Six meals a day, no less. You’re not going to catch a Took or a Baggins nipping out for a quick 10K before second breakfast.
They’re also a tad fond of the pipe. No, not crackheads, more tobacco. According to the early pages of LOTR, which contains a potted history of the hobbit species, they invented the nasty habit and even got the dwarves and wizards hooked on the stuff. Want to make a shilling or two in Third Age Middle Earth? I suggest opening an inn or a tobacconist in the Shire. They will have you run off your large, hairy, unseemly feet. You’ll be rolling in money.
Then there’s the inter-familial strife. It would appear that all hobbits are related to one another, a bit like certain parts of Northern Ireland, and are forever bickering about who said what to so and so’s great great grandfather, several centuries ago. Hobbits have long memories and sharp tongues, such is the level of rumour mongering and gossip they spread throughout their fair and tranquil land. Why they can’t get around a table and thrash out their differences I’ll never know.
Then there’s world affairs. They haven’t a clue, living ostrich like existences with their heads permanently stuck down hobbit holes. The universe could be falling apart and they would carry on obliviously. The height of their travel aspirations is a long weekend in Bree, never mind what’s kicking off in Rohan and Mordor, just down the well travelled road. Terrifying wraith like dark riders rampaging through your land might be a slight clue but it all washes over their annoyingly curly, wide-eyed heads.
So, yeah, hobbits are not my favourite Tolkien creations. Give me orcs any day of the week. Orcs are much maligned and misunderstood beasts. At least they’re consistent. You always know where you stand with an orc. If you bump into one, you’re fairly certain they are going to want to kill you. A bit like zombies. You don’t get that with lazy hobbits, grumpy dwarves or languid, day dreaming elves. I like orcs. They do exactly what it says on the tin.
As for humans, well that’s for another day. I still have a long way to go before I encounter Strider and his lot. I’ll be posting irregular updates as to my progress through this gargantuan tome and would love to hear your thoughts. Are you a LOTR fan, always meant to read it, or it simply isn’t your cup of tea? Feel free to comment and that way I won’t feel such an awkward geek boy. Wherever you are stay safe and enjoy your day.