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Old 10-08-2020, 04:04 PM   #1
R.R.J Tolkien
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Who is Your Favorite Hobbit?

I was thinking about this as I was finishing up another round of reading of The Hobbit followed by the LOTR. And I think my favorite hobbit is Bilbo. I find so much in common with him. I also like Sam and Pippin as a close second and third. So my question is, who is your favorite hobbit?
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Old 10-08-2020, 04:34 PM   #2
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Mine and Pervinca's are one and the same.
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Old 10-08-2020, 08:55 PM   #3
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It's hard to pick a favourite! I like all of them at different times for different reasons. I think of the whole my one favourite is probably Merry. He has a good balance of silliness and seriousness, he's rational and responsible but can also take things lightly, he's both philosophical and carefree, he does acts of leadership and bravery in a very unassuming way. He's well-balanced, and he combines the traits of Frodo, Sam, and Pippin in moderation. I feel that I would also probably like him best if I were to meet the quartet in person
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:07 AM   #4
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I'm going to cheat and name Peregrin Boffin, aka Trotter - Bilbo's cousin who ran away to join the Rangers, survived more than one close encounter with the Nazgûl (even if he had to wear wooden shoes thereafter) and even made it through Moria once before escorting cousin Fr - er, Bingo to Rivendell and further. For a hobbit, that's about as badass as they come. I kind of almost wish Tolkien had kept him instead of changing him into a Big Man called Strider.

If we're limited to hobbits who actually made it into the finished book, well I'm afraid I'll have to be boring and say Sam, but I also have a soft spot for Lobelia.
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
It's hard to pick a favourite! I like all of them at different times for different reasons. I think of the whole my one favourite is probably Merry. He has a good balance of silliness and seriousness, he's rational and responsible but can also take things lightly, he's both philosophical and carefree, he does acts of leadership and bravery in a very unassuming way. He's well-balanced, and he combines the traits of Frodo, Sam, and Pippin in moderation. I feel that I would also probably like him best if I were to meet the quartet in person
Interesting take. I think I like Bilbo [since he is so much like me] because I feel more like I am going on the adventure as well since I see so much of him in me. Of course it applies to all the hobbits to a lesser extent.
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:38 AM   #6
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I'm going to cheat and name Peregrin Boffin, aka Trotter - Bilbo's cousin who ran away to join the Rangers, survived more than one close encounter with the Nazgûl (even if he had to wear wooden shoes thereafter) and even made it through Moria once before escorting cousin Fr - er, Bingo to Rivendell and further. For a hobbit, that's about as badass as they come. I kind of almost wish Tolkien had kept him instead of changing him into a Big Man called Strider.

If we're limited to hobbits who actually made it into the finished book, well I'm afraid I'll have to be boring and say Sam, but I also have a soft spot for Lobelia.
I hated Lobelia, until the scourging of the shire.
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:42 AM   #7
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Rosie Cotton. She's a marvellous example of Tolkien sketching an entire personality in a handful of lines:

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Originally Posted by RotK
‘Well, be off with you!’ said Rosie. ‘If you’ve been looking after Mr. Frodo all this while, what d’you want to leave him for, as soon as things look dangerous?’
And she's also a Seer!

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‘Hullo, Sam!’ said Rosie. ‘Where’ve you been? They said you were dead; but I’ve been expecting you since the Spring. You haven’t hurried have you?’
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Sam stood at the door and looked away eastward. He drew Mistress Rose to him and held her close to his side. 'March 18th’, he said. 'This time seventeen years ago, Rose wife, I did not think I should ever see thee again. But I kept on hoping.’

'And I never hoped at all, Sam,’ she said, 'until that very day; and then suddenly I did. In the middle of the morning I began singing, and father said “Quiet, lass, or the Ruffians will come,” and I said “Let them come. Their time will soon be over. My Sam’s coming back.” And he came.’
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:58 AM   #8
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I can relate most to Bilbo.

I am a non-confrontational "don't bother me, and I won't bother you" type. I like routines and deplore things that interfere with them. Very boring, in other words.

Yet, like Bilbo, I am curious about the World, and at times familiar places and faces get a little tiring.
So, a brief cruise or vacation, then back home again.
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Old 10-09-2020, 06:08 PM   #9
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Pippin. So clever, so much potential, if he would ever just grow up.
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:11 PM   #10
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Old 10-11-2020, 12:07 PM   #11
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Nice.
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Old 10-19-2020, 04:39 AM   #12
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In the end it's Sam

For me it's Sam. But it has been a journey.

I received LOTR and the Hobbit books for Christmas in 1973. I read them and thoroughly enjoyed them. I would have attested that I had re-read them multiple times in the years since. But thinking about it last year, I confess that I realised that as far as LOTR went, I had only read the Frodo and Sam parts in TT and RotK a couple of times in all of these years. I guess it was scary when I was younger and once or twice was enough. But in addition, I was too young to enjoy the quality of the writing (just as I was too young at age 13/14 to really "get" "To Kill a Mockingbird" or Grapes of Wrath" and the other books on that year's literature syllabus). So in re-reads I would stick to the first half of TT and then to the Rohan/Minas Tirith chapters of RoTK. In reading those sections I came to realise the quality of the writing in itself, but I never revisited Cirith Ungol, re-trod the journey along the Morgai or the trek across the Plain of Gorgoroth to Mount Doom until recently.

Times being what they are, I have had plenty of time in the last few months to read a lot. And a large portion of that time has been dedicated to re-reading the whole book. And reading slowly as well – sort of at 20 or even 30 chews per mouthful. Before the re-readings, I had read much of "Unfinished Tales", in particular the portions directly related to the Hobbit and LOTR.

Amongst everything else, the books have a theme of personal growth. The four hobbits leave the comfort of the Shire, gradually realising along the way that they have been protected from the very dangerous world outside its borders. If much of their growth is implicit, we are left in no about it doubt by Gandalf stating, "...that is what you have been trained for," just before he departs to visit Bombadil. (Indeed on another plane with the "dream that that has slowly faded."/"...falling asleep again." references at the end of "Homeward bound", you could pretend that in an alternate universe, everything that happens between "Three's Company" and the arrival at the gate at the Brandywine Bridge in "Homeward Bound" is an Ebenezer Scrooge-like dream.) But I digress...

Using only physical distance as a measure, from Hobbiton to Mount Doom, it is Sam who makes the longest journey – on the second day of the hike across the Shire he was farther from home than he'd ever been before. Socially, Sam climbs from being a junior gardener and manservant to become the well respected and long-serving Mayor of the Shire, Counsellor of the North Kingdom and bearer of the Star of the Dúnedain, as well as being acclaimed greatest gardener in the history of the Shire.
Who could ever have foreseen all that Hamfast Gamgee's youngest son would accomplish when he was mowing the lawn at Bag End?

It seems to me if Sam had been only a passive figure experiencing the trauma of the journey, he would have registered as much "growth" as the other three "Travellers" (Let's allow that Frodo dealing with the burden of the Ring is on another plane – the "trauma" I'm talking about here is Willows and Barrows and Dells and Watchers and Mines and numerous Orcs.

In the face of all of that trauma – Old Forest, the Barrow-Downs, Weathertop, the Flight to the Ford, Moria, Emyn Muil and the journey along the borders of, and then through the confines of Mordor, Sam is not a just reactive figure but a hugely proactive one from almost the very first. Admittedly on day two he's apologising to Pippin for not having washing water ready in the morning. But he's the one that realises things are coming badly unstuck in the hot afternoon sun by the Withywindle.

A few days later he's an equal participant in a discussion about whether to allow Strider to accompany them/lead them from Bree. But it is particularly through his contribution from the breaking of the Fellowship to the climax at Orodruin that Sam exhibits his quality and wisdom and leadership (indeed even after the climax, leading Frodo away from the lava flow instead of sitting there "at the end of things...").

I've seen many, many discussions about Sam's other crucial contributions to the ultimate success of the Fellowship on the pages of this forum and won't repeat them here – I'll just say that his thought processes and internal discussions/debates following Shelob's attack to the final ascent of Mt Doom are to be treasured.

But one of my favourite points was when, in "The Land of the Shadow", Sam crawls out from under the curtain of brambles where he and Frodo are sheltering and looks up at the night sky. And there, above Ephel Duath, "peeping above the cloud-wrack" he sees "a white star twinkle," the beauty of which "smote his heart" and "hope returned to him". Now it was only because of my fully reading the Silmarillion two summers ago that it occurred to me when reading that passage that what he was seeing in the West was actually the light of the surviving silmaril, bound to Earendil's brow as he rode through the night sky aboard Vingilote. (My suspicion was, much to my excitement, confirmed when reading the Appendices some weeks later – in a footnote a cross-reference is given to the page where Sam sees the star, the footnote's number is given after the sentence near the beginning of Appendix A, which reads, "...and his ship bearing the silmaril was set to sail in the heavens as a star, and a sign of hope to the dwellers of the Middle-earth oppressed by the Great Enemy or his servants." – and just having checked, the same cross-reference is in the Ballantine, Methuen and Collins paperback editions, so it's not the work of some rogue editor at one of the publishing houses.)

Seeing the star or Earendil puts the whole matter into perspective for Sam – "... the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond his reach." It seems to me that the Sam we first meet in the Green Dragon would not have been capable of that leap of perception. But having made that leap, he is equal if not above Pippin, Merry and perhaps, in his way, equal with Frodo in his subsequent perception of the Middle-earth.

Frodo is, of course, forever scarred and will never heal – "I tried to save the Shire and it has been saved, but not for me." Merry and Pippin on the other hand seem to spend much of the following years riding around the Shire wearing their chain mail and carrying their swords. I suppose in doing this they continue to remind the general populace never to forget the "Great Danger" – a message Frodo was very concerned should always be in the forefront of Shire minds. But it seems to me that men returning home after WW2 sought to put the war behind them, pretty much not talking about what they'd seen, trying hard to pick up with their lives where they'd left off before they went away.

It's as if Merry and Pippin went out to help save the Shire and having accomplished that, then returned to find they had in some way outgrown the place. Not trying at all to be nasty or anything but unlike Bilbo putting the mithril coat in the museum at Michel Delving and putting away Sting and his travelling clothes in a drawer and resuming his old life and waistcoats, Merry and Pippin don't get reabsorbed into day-to-day Shire life or certainly take much longer to do so – just an observation on my part .

Sam, with other three through their exploits, has shown himself to be anything but a "typical" habitant of the Shire. And though much changed by the experience like the others, Sam is the only one of the four hobbits who seems to truly re-integrate into life in the Shire Sam gets married and starts a family and is hugely active as a community organiser, repairing the damage wrought by Sharkey's men – in a way enjoying the full fruits of the Shire he sought to save. If you asked him a few years later what he'd been fighting for during the War of the Ring, I can imagine him sitting watching Rose and his his children playing in the garden, looking out across the field at the Party Tree, and climbing to the top of the Hill and looking out and seeing the Shire spreading out prosperously around him. In answer to the question he could have waved his arm at it all and say, "I was fighting for all of this."
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:53 AM   #13
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Hi Gardener! Welcome to the Downs!

It's a neat observation, that Sam is the only one to truly return to Shire life. Pippin and Merry sort of do - they quickly turn their armour into party costumes - but you are right, they still can't quite forget what the armour is really there for, and periodically return to that higher life. I don't think their frolicking was a conscious effort to remind people of the Great Danger, their behaviour was actually more of a return to character of the silly sociable young hobbits. I think Sam was the one who actually took on that job, with the Red Book. I want to believe that it became a family tradition for generations past to be the scholars of the book and to educate the other hobbits about it. To have that story be their thing, like talking about Elves and Dragons was Bilbo's thing.
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Old 10-20-2020, 03:57 PM   #14
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Merry is my favourite. More to him than first meets the eye with a bit more sense than Pippin bothering to look at maps and with his later interest in etymology and herblore
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Old 10-21-2020, 03:19 AM   #15
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Thanks Galadriel

I agree it is easy to forget Pippin is yet to "come of age" when they return to the Shire and Merry isn't much older than that.
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:46 AM   #16
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Merry is my favourite. More to him than first meets the eye with a bit more sense than Pippin bothering to look at maps and with his later interest in etymology and herblore
Good point about Merry. I guess you could say he was Bilbo's and Frodo's spiritual successor in his love for lore and letters (but unlike the Bagginses more a worldbuilder than a storyteller).
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:27 PM   #17
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Merry was always the level-headed, practical one. He was the organizer of the 'conspiracy', he found the house at Crickhollow, he had the sense to come look for Frodo when he was overdue, he made sure to have ponies and gear ready for the departure, he secured the key to the Old Forest gate. And he really planned and executed the Battle of Bywater, although Pippin had a role.

Oh, and we never hear Gandalf saying "Fool of a Brandybuck!"
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Old 10-21-2020, 02:22 PM   #18
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Oh, and we never hear Gandalf saying "Fool of a Brandybuck!"
Ha! And that's not to mention that when Pippin does something against orders and common sense, he alerts the Moria Orcs or reveals himself in the Palantir, and it's only with Faramir's illness that his foolofatookishness actually serves him wisely. Meanwhile, Merry is less prone to these kinds of things to begin with, and when he does go against orders and common sense he ends up saving Eowyn and wounding the Witch-king. Or discovers the Nazgul snooping in Bree. Basically, keeps a level head and makes good judgement calls.

But my favourite Merry parts are still his philosophizing about the world, in all the books. From his conspiracy and strategizing, to his relationship with Theoden and Eowyn, to his later role in the Scouring. This part is one of my favourite philosophical sprees from him:


'We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can’t live long on the heights.'

‘No,’ said Merry. ‘I can’t. Not yet, at any rate. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honour them. It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad that I know about them, a little. But I don’t know why I am talking like this. Where is that leaf? And get my pipe out of my pack, if it isn’t broken.’
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:32 AM   #19
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Merry. I had such a crush on him when I was younger.
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