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Old 07-25-2014, 11:02 AM   #1
Brego
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Unusual question?

Hi there! I have a question, it's pretty unusual. Sorry if this is the wrong forum.

I'd like an opinion from someone other than my brother. I've been asked to write a story/fanfic for my friend with Sam and Frodo in it and she wants the two hobbits to find a rabbit and rescue it, etc. However, another part of the plot is where Sam contemplates killing the rabbit for food. My question is, would book-Sam do this or even actually kill a rabbit (that he's gone to the trouble of rescuing)? I say no, my brother says yes.

What do you think?
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Brego View Post
Hi there! I have a question, it's pretty unusual. Sorry if this is the wrong forum.

I'd like an opinion from someone other than my brother. I've been asked to write a story/fanfic for my friend with Sam and Frodo in it and she wants the two hobbits to find a rabbit and rescue it, etc. However, another part of the plot is where Sam contemplates killing the rabbit for food. My question is, would book-Sam do this or even actually kill a rabbit (that he's gone to the trouble of rescuing)? I say no, my brother says yes.

What do you think?
In the book, Sam filets and roasts a "brace of conies" -- coney being another term for rabbit ("brace" being a pair of hare, as it whare).

So yes, hobbits eat rabbits.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:38 PM   #3
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I know, I was just wondering if he'd willingly kill a rabbit, as they'd be in the Shire and it wouldn't be absolutely necessary as there would be plenty of food already - and taking into account he and Frodo rescued it.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:50 PM   #4
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I know, I was just wondering if he'd willingly kill a rabbit, as they'd be in the Shire and it wouldn't be absolutely necessary as there would be plenty of food already - and taking into account he and Frodo rescued it.
Yes, they would eat rabbit in the Shire on a regular basis. Rabbit stew is very good. Try it sometime.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:52 PM   #5
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No, not if they are in the Shire and have plenty of food. They rescue it you say? Nope Frodo would make him let it go even if Sam wanted to kill it, but i dont think Sam would do something like that. Now if Sam was out hunting for rabbits to make a stew out of them, oh ya he would kill as many as he thought would..... well make a good stew.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:43 AM   #6
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Tolkien contradicted himself: on the one hand Tolkien declares "Hobbits have no blood-sports," but on the other hand Sam early on says his cousin Hal goes up to the Northfarthing every year "for the hunting."
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:58 AM   #7
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Thats not necessarily a contradiction. It could also simply mean that Hobbits hunt for food, but not for entertainment (sport). Hobbits are depicted as a simple but good-hearted people: killing just for fun would be atypical, but they are clearly meat-eaters and have no problem with killing animals in order to eat or otherwise utilize them (for example to produce leather).
But ... we have to keep in mind that the Shire is in a lot of ways an idealized version of the english countryside, and killing for fun (for example fox hunting) definitely was and still is a part of english country-life - so it is at least a possibility that the Hobbits maybe hunted for fun after all.

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Old 07-26-2014, 02:29 PM   #8
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@Morthoron - I don't think I'll be trying it very soon, as I'm a vegetarian and own four pet rabbits myself. I've heard it's good, though.


So, I'll just go with the plot where Sam doesn't kill it. Sam seems to like nature and animals most out of the fellowship, in my opinion - Bill the pony, for example, and he notices the lack of birds singing several times in the books.

In my opinion hobbits don't seem the hunting-and-killing-at-will type, at least not for sport. Maybe the Northfarthing simply had better or more animals for food?

Anyway, thank you for your help!
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:03 AM   #9
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I think Sam would eat it. It would not make him less of a nice Hobbit for doing so.
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brego View Post
Hi there! I have a question, it's pretty unusual. Sorry if this is the wrong forum.

I'd like an opinion from someone other than my brother. I've been asked to write a story/fanfic for my friend with Sam and Frodo in it and she wants the two hobbits to find a rabbit and rescue it, etc. However, another part of the plot is where Sam contemplates killing the rabbit for food. My question is, would book-Sam do this or even actually kill a rabbit (that he's gone to the trouble of rescuing)? I say no, my brother says yes.

What do you think?
Is it a talking rabbit? If so, I'd guess no. They tend to be on the gamey side.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:02 AM   #11
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Maybe, I don't know what she (my friend, that is) wants. I'll ask her. A talking rabbit is a nice idea, actually. In that case I guess it would be a bit cruel if Sam killed it, as it obviously would ask him not to. I have no idea what Sam's reaction to a talking rabbit would be, though.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:00 PM   #12
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Is it a talking rabbit? If so, I'd guess no. They tend to be on the gamey side.
Only talking rabbits are gamey?

I heard one rumor that anything in Middle Earth that eats meat also talks. Not sure if the converse holds, that grass eaters don't talk.

Is it a vorpal bunny?
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:52 PM   #13
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I heard one rumor that anything in Middle Earth that eats meat also talks. Not sure if the converse holds, that grass eaters don't talk.
The fox that encounters the hobbits in the Shire "talks" in an inner monologue, and the wolves that corner Thorin and Co. apparently talk with the Orcs. The Eagles speak too, of course, but I don't think it can be said that every Middle-earth carnivore talks.
Actually, the Witch-king's steed is obviously a meat-eater, but it doesn't say anything.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:18 PM   #14
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Maybe, I don't know what she (my friend, that is) wants. I'll ask her. A talking rabbit is a nice idea, actually. In that case I guess it would be a bit cruel if Sam killed it, as it obviously would ask him not to. I have no idea what Sam's reaction to a talking rabbit would be, though.
Interesting question. If it were a six-foot, three-and-a-half inch, invisible, talking rabbit, I have no doubt Sam would hang out with him at the neighborhood bar drinking martinis. But this seems an absurd scenario, seeing as Sam is such a beer-lover.

Your more run-of-the-mill talking rabbits, or vorpal talking rabbits, I have no idea. The answer is probably in HOME, somewhere or another though.
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Old 07-29-2014, 04:49 AM   #15
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1420! Yes

As others have pointed out, Brego, the answer to your question is 'Yes', there being the example of Sam cooking the rabbits caught by Gollum for himself and Frodo.

There's also the issue of what the Shire was based on. Tolkien did so, as he said, on a village in the English Midlands c.1897, like the one in which he spent part of his childhood.

The inhabitants of such a village, like the hobbits based on them, were not vegetarian. However, Tolkien did qualify this a little in one of his letters, as William Cloud Hicklin said, saying that hobbits did not practise blood sports, and had a greater empathy with wild creatures than the villagers he based them on.

It seems reasonable to say that Sam, like any other hobbit, would have no problems with killing wild animals for food, or raising tame ones for the same purpose. But he would not kill any for sport. As denethorthefirst said, a hobbit would see no contradiction in this attitude.

It's interesting about Tolkien's attitude towards blood sports; because of what has happened since his death regarding hunting in Great Britain. The hunting of wild mammals with a dog was, with some qualifications, banned in Scotland in 2002, and then in England and Wales in 2004, the legislation in the latter part being enforced from 2005. Perhaps, considering his stated attitude in his Letters, he might have been sympathetic to such a ban.
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:52 PM   #16
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That is interesting; on that note, are the letters something you can buy, or if not, where would you find them? I've heard a lot about them and they sound really interesting.

What does vorpal mean? Sorry, I've never heard that word before. But the rabbit will just be a general rabbit that can talk.

I can post a link to the story when it's done, if you like, so you can see the whole situation. It wont take long as I can type quick.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:30 PM   #17
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That is interesting; on that note, are the letters something you can buy, or if not, where would you find them? I've heard a lot about them and they sound really interesting.
The book is pretty easily found, starting here. Highly recommended for serious Tolkien readers.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:11 PM   #18
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That is interesting; on that note, are the letters something you can buy, or if not, where would you find them? I've heard a lot about them and they sound really interesting.

What does vorpal mean? Sorry, I've never heard that word before. But the rabbit will just be a general rabbit that can talk.

I can post a link to the story when it's done, if you like, so you can see the whole situation. It wont take long as I can type quick.
Vorpal is a word made up by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass for the poem Jabberwocky.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:11 PM   #19
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What does vorpal mean? Sorry, I've never heard that word before. But the rabbit will just be a general rabbit that can talk.
To add on to Mithalwen's answer...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KillerRabbit
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:06 AM   #20
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@Morthoron - I don't think I'll be trying it very soon, as I'm a vegetarian and own four pet rabbits myself. I've heard it's good, though.


So, I'll just go with the plot where Sam doesn't kill it. Sam seems to like nature and animals most out of the fellowship, in my opinion - Bill the pony, for example, and he notices the lack of birds singing several times in the books.

In my opinion hobbits don't seem the hunting-and-killing-at-will type, at least not for sport. Maybe the Northfarthing simply had better or more animals for food?

Anyway, thank you for your help!
I had the same thinking about the Elves. That they are close to nature and spiritual etc.etc. but the textual evidences proved it otherwise. Hobbits drink, eat and smoke. Among the Hobbits only Frodo is the only one who is not said to be smoking. I think Sam would kill a rabbit, but after rescuing? Can't be sure. It'll be more like "saved to kill you." Who knows if he's not hungry he might not kill or may be...
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:05 AM   #21
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I had the same thinking about the Elves. That they are close to nature and spiritual etc.etc. but the textual evidences proved it otherwise. Hobbits drink, eat and smoke. Among the Hobbits only Frodo is the only one who is not said to be smoking. I think Sam would kill a rabbit, but after rescuing? Can't be sure. It'll be more like "saved to kill you." Who knows if he's not hungry he might not kill or may be...
There is a danger, which we've all fallen into, of projecting our own prejudices, ideals and desires onto characters in fiction, including those in Tolkien's works. Even if Elves were, as you said Lotrelf, 'close to nature and spiritual', this didn't stop them preparing food in a manner mostly recognisable to non-Elves. For example, in The Hobbit, it was clear that the Elves of Mirkwood hunted and ate meat. Obviously, the corn from which lembas was made would have been grown and harvested; so Elves raised crops. I recall (but don't have the book to hand) that in an early version of the tale of Beren and Luthien, Beren noted the fields worked by the Elves of Nargothrond. They also produced alcoholic beverages, as seen by what Gildor's group left for three hobbits.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:12 PM   #22
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There is a danger, which we've all fallen into, of projecting our own prejudices, ideals and desires onto characters in fiction, including those in Tolkien's works. Even if Elves were, as you said Lotrelf, 'close to nature and spiritual', this didn't stop them preparing food in a manner mostly recognisable to non-Elves. For example, in The Hobbit, it was clear that the Elves of Mirkwood hunted and ate meat. Obviously, the corn from which lembas was made would have been grown and harvested; so Elves raised crops. I recall (but don't have the book to hand) that in an early version of the tale of Beren and Luthien, Beren noted the fields worked by the Elves of Nargothrond. They also produced alcoholic beverages, as seen by what Gildor's group left for three hobbits.
I don't know if I really have fallen into the danger you're talking about, Faramir Jones. I had seen that in the first Hobbit movie and when I read the book, I wondered if I missed something. That made me start the thread. Nothing more than that.
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:38 PM   #23
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Hi there! I have a question, it's pretty unusual. Sorry if this is the wrong forum.

I'd like an opinion from someone other than my brother. I've been asked to write a story/fanfic for my friend with Sam and Frodo in it and she wants the two hobbits to find a rabbit and rescue it, etc. However, another part of the plot is where Sam contemplates killing the rabbit for food. My question is, would book-Sam do this or even actually kill a rabbit (that he's gone to the trouble of rescuing)? I say no, my brother says yes.

What do you think?
Yes, Sam would kill the rabbit if it was the only source of food available at the time. His pony Bill would be another matter, however.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:57 AM   #24
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I don't know if I really have fallen into the danger you're talking about, Faramir Jones. I had seen that in the first Hobbit movie and when I read the book, I wondered if I missed something. That made me start the thread. Nothing more than that.
You're right there, Lotrelf, for which I apologise.

You and others may be interested in knowing that Tolkien explicitly made a major character vegetarian: Beren. According to Chapter 19 of The Silmarillion, for 4 years after his other 11 companions (including his father) had been killed by Sauron, he survived in Dorthonion

but he became the friend of birds and beasts, and they aided him, and did not betray him, and from that time forth he ate no flesh nor slew any living thing that was not in the service of Morgoth. (My emphasis) (The Silmarillion, (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1979), p. 196.

It appears that Beren's decision was due to military necessity, rather than any ethical or moral objections to eating the flesh of animals.

Perhaps Sauron had been using, in his campaign against Beren and his companions, the meat eating habits of the latter against them, in order to gain intelligence. An argument by him might have gone something like this:

These Elves and Men go on a lot about me and others being 'evil', and they being 'good'. If that's the case, why do they kill and eat your relatives? (Points at one animal) You know what happened to your uncle last week, reduced to a heap of picked-over bones. (Points to another animal) And what about your cousin? If this is how they behave, why should any of you help them at all? If you help me, I promise that they will not bother you or your families ever again.

What do people think?
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:53 AM   #25
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"... and from that time forth he ate no flesh nor slew any living thing that was not in the service of Morgoth."
Hence his famous sobriquet in latter days, Beren Goblin-eater.

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Perhaps Sauron had been using, in his campaign against Beren and his companions, the meat eating habits of the latter against them, in order to gain intelligence. An argument by him might have gone something like this:

These Elves and Men go on a lot about me and others being 'evil', and they being 'good'. If that's the case, why do they kill and eat your relatives? (Points at one animal) You know what happened to your uncle last week, reduced to a heap of picked-over bones. (Points to another animal) And what about your cousin? If this is how they behave, why should any of you help them at all? If you help me, I promise that they will not bother you or your families ever again.
It seems to me Sauron's minions were more likely to kill animals cruelly and for no reason than even Men were. But I suppose he could have made the rather weak argument that many of his folk were as likely to eat man-flesh or indulge in cannibalism as they were to fix up, say, veal parmigiana.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:44 PM   #26
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Hence his famous sobriquet in latter days, Beren Goblin-eater.
Ha, that´s funny. I´ve never read the sentence this way. But regarding those animals in the service of Morgoth, are they off limits for him aswell? I like the notion of Beren scouting the woods to find this one evil eyed hawk, or grim badger (which are obviously under Morgoth´s command) he can digest without feeling the least bit guilty about it.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:03 PM   #27
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Hawk actually supposedly tastes terrible (don't know about badger).

On the other hand, there are people in our world who eat wolf by choice, so that could be a good source of guilt free flesh. I imagine it tastes like dog (which a lot of people eat), but gamier).

It's a long shot but since Beren has this no kill policy and the animals help him, I wonder if they also might provide him with no kill non vegetable material (vegetarian is not vegan). The birds bringing him any eggs the laid that did not hatch (or even bringing ALL of their eggs and letting Beren candle them, so he could eat the non fertile ones fresh) Or even (though this is a little silly) Mother deer coming to him and standing still after they had suckled their fawns, that Beren might milk them of their excess for his own sustenance.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:33 PM   #28
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Ha, that´s funny. I´ve never read the sentence this way.
I try to let not mere syntax stand in the way of a quip good. Or a one bad, for that matter.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:54 AM   #29
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It's a long shot but since Beren has this no kill policy and the animals help him, I wonder if they also might provide him with no kill non vegetable material (vegetarian is not vegan). The birds bringing him any eggs the laid that did not hatch (or even bringing ALL of their eggs and letting Beren candle them, so he could eat the non fertile ones fresh) Or even (though this is a little silly) Mother deer coming to him and standing still after they had suckled their fawns, that Beren might milk them of their excess for his own sustenance.
Well, it could be that or Beren still eats meat but he just says the animals he killed were servants of Morgoth. So one day, Beren is feeling peckish when sees a chicken and thus makes quick sport of it with his sword.

MAN: I thought you did not eat the flesh or slay any living thing that was not in the service of Morgoth?

BEREN: I do not.

MAN: Then why did you kill that chicken?

BEREN: Oh...er...well, you see, erm...Morgoth...corrupted...this...chicken. Yes, that's it. And we can't have evil chickens in times like these.

MAN: ...right.
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Old 08-14-2014, 06:44 AM   #30
skip spence
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brego View Post
Hi there! I have a question, it's pretty unusual. Sorry if this is the wrong forum.

I'd like an opinion from someone other than my brother. I've been asked to write a story/fanfic for my friend with Sam and Frodo in it and she wants the two hobbits to find a rabbit and rescue it, etc. However, another part of the plot is where Sam contemplates killing the rabbit for food. My question is, would book-Sam do this or even actually kill a rabbit (that he's gone to the trouble of rescuing)? I say no, my brother says yes.

What do you think?
Hey there! Well, you don't really rescue a rabbit only to kill it for food moments later, do you? But how about this: Frodo and Sam finds a rabbit entangled in some thorns or string, Sam says something like "Oh the poor things suffers, might as well have coney-stew tonight!" but Frodo holds him, checks the rabbit to see if it's okay, then urges Sam to release it saying they already have enough food for this trip packed. And Sam gets all goey-eyed over his Master's Goodness and Wisdom. That wouldn't be out of character I think. Not much of a story in itself though. Maybe Sam learns something about mercy here that he later in the story puts to good use in a more serious situation?

To answer your question though: yes, he would and yes he could.
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Last edited by skip spence; 08-14-2014 at 07:10 AM. Reason: added a line
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:46 PM   #31
Brego
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@Smug the Fabulous - That's hilarious! You've just made my brother give me a weird look from my quiet giggling.

I must read the Silmarillion again.

@Skip spence - That's a good idea, though I agree about the plot. I'm mainly concerned about staying true to the characters and what they'd do.

If they did rescue it and it needed...'ongoing treatment', where would they keep it? At Bag End? Or outside somewhere?

So many questions, I'm sorry.
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