This website contains archives of the Tolkien Discussion Group from 2009 to early 2013.

The discussion group continues to meet
in Second Life in Alqualonde the Swanhaven. Contact AelKennyr Rhiano in Second Life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Tolkien Discussion Group
January 20, 2010
Topic: Hobbits
Kath McGill
AelKennyr Rhiano
Lihan Taifun
Fifi Wickentower
BelenosStormchaser Magic

According to the research of our hobbit expert, Kath McGill, "hobbits" are a subgroup of "halflings".
The Fallowhide clan of hobbits, which includes the Tooks, are the "adventurous" hobbits.
Hobbit houses are modeled after English barns. The round doors of hobbit houses are modeled after real round doors in Germany.
Because hobbits are small, they have high metabolisms. This explains why they eat so much.
"Longbottom leaf" is tobacco.
Some hobbits probably intermarried with humans, giving a mixed population nowadays. Other hobbits probably continue to live out of sight of humans.

{We find a small cushion, because our hobbit expert, Thain Kath McGill, can't fit on the big-folk sized chairs.}
So you want to know about hobbits?
Could we have a little background on hobbits? Their history?
Concerning hobbits. As Gandaf has said, he could study hobbits for over a hundred years, and they could still surprise him
What is known of their history?
In the beginning, the hobbits came down from the misty mountains, and the first settlement was Tuckborough.
There are several different types of hobbits, and halflings
The river folk, which Smegal and his cousin Deagal came from
The Fallwhides, which Bullroarer took, and belladona took came from, those were the more adventureous ones. Bilbo Baggans was related to Pergrin Took through Belladona Took, and the brandybucks, as well
Would the Brandybucks be related to the river group?
No. The river halflings were larger, and more stocky than the hobbits. They could almost pass for men,
The Brandybucks were halfings?
The brandybucks were hobbits
Are you making a difference between "hobbit" and "halfling"?
yes, Hobbits are smaller,
Wow, I missed that completely in Tolkien.
They can all, perhaps be classified as halflings, but not all hobbits are halfings, and not all halflings are hobbits
Oh, I always thought they were the same. That's why we brought an expert
Have you read the unfinshed stories?
Some, but not all, and a good long time ago
There are a number of books that were written, some after Jrr tolkens death, from his notes.
JRR wrote a series of short background stories, first to flesh out the characters, and some of them have the same character getting into different sitiuations, but in a way, it works out the same. Some of the characters are only mentioned briefly
He explores the race of men, but they are like an after thought. Hobbits have a very simple way of life, unless you have Fallowhide blood in you.
The hobbits are more interesting than the humans? :)
Oh by far! Hobbits are complex,
What difference does fallowhide blood make?
They have a passion for life. Fallowhide blood often has the predispostion... for adventure. Not all, but a good number of those with fallowhide blood have gone and done something very dangerous. The first being Bullroarer Took or Tuk
That would include Bilbo?
Yes. Bilbo is of Fallowhide through Beladona Took, and I dont have my linage chart out right now, or I could tell you exactly how everyone is related. Gandaf knew though
but we know they are ALL related
well, not all of them
and the hobbits all remember all their family history
There are definate differences between where they settled and how they developed, it wasnt just one or two that came down from the mountains to settle, but a whole community.
Tuckborough itself is very mountainous country,
In the beginning, the hobbit houses were in the ground, like the great smieal (sp) -- the home of Pippen Took was developed over the years to be a large home that had many winding passageways and dusty rooms.
Later, Hobbits took to living above ground, so it became that only the very rich, and the very poor would live underground. Hobbit homes vary in style,
not enough good hills to go around?
perhaps. It could be what materials were at hand, as well as ground saturation, or that they werent afraid of being discovered.
The round european doors were something that JRR saw in his travels.
So there were real round doors like that?
oh yes. Sir Jossy has seen many of them in the netherlands, and in germany
And here I was thinking a round door couldn't really be built. Where do the hinges go?
Yes, they can. You have to have very long hinges though. The hinge has to ballance the door,
And yes, the doorknob is in the center for alot of european doors as well. Germany has those.
JRR picked up what he had seen, and wanted to express the horrors of war, and he wove much into the letters that he wrote to his son. The word Hobbit, was thought to be of JRR Tolkien's creation, he had claimed that he had created it. However, he later admitted he had heard the word in his travels and adopted it, much like the term Muggle from JK Rowlings. Muggle means Mongral if your in some parts of England. but I digress
I never knew that

Hobbits are known for thier passions.
ahh.. now we get to the kinky bits
Most often, thought, in their passion for food, and eating, as we eat at least 6 times a day. There is a very practical reason for that. Small beings often have a very high metabolism
like hummingbirds?
Yes. Most of you are tall in RL, over 5 foot. I'm not only *short* in RL, but my legs are shorter from the knee down than most. Measure your inseam. Most people have the bulk of their height in their legs, some , like me, have it from the waist up to the back of the neck. In that regards, I have to take double the steps as a normal person to cover the same ground. Now, imagine being less than 3 foot tall, and having to walk a mile.
That makes the mile twice as long
The regular sride would cover about 24 inches, if not more. A hobbits stride is about 10 - 12 inches, if that. If you're a hobbit child, its even less because your about 14-18 inches high.
so they would appear to scurry along?
The constant eating is a direct result of trying to maintain body mass.
So lots of activity and effort needed to do the same thing as a taller being..
Hobbit children must be the cutest little things!
oh gosh yes! curly hair and huge eyes and infectious giggles. dressed up in the size of a teddy bear
In the same way, their digestive tract is shorter, and their stomach is much smaller.(except in the case of certain male hobbits who can eat 4 pieces of elven way bread)

Hobbits primarly are concerned about the here, and now. In the 4th age, Pippin used the great smeils to create a library. He was appointed by the king, to keep record, and he was the one who made the correction to the red book, finishing it to what we have today. But the other hobbits didnt have the same passion for that type of learning. He did marry, Diamond of Longcleave, and they had a son whom they named Faramir. Faramir grew up, and married Sam's daughter, Goldylocks. Thats in the apendix of the LOTR

There are many hobbits, here in SL, and many of those who are closet hobbits. People who have hobbit avitars, and wear them, but are too shy to be one all the time. There is a nice free one in Tuckborough at Sir Jossy shop,both a male and a female
I have one from Bilbo's Birthday
For a while, there was concern regarding the term Hobbit, and if people were allowed to use it here in SL.
What is the latest on that?
There was more going on, than that, it began with a false DMAC claim that was sent to LL, and LL paniced, they were told by WB to check into it, and let them know but LL decided to go THWOAMP and pull alot of stuff out of peoples inventory. But it wasnt something that they searched for, it was based on one individual who did it as a knee jerk reaction to being caught stealing from someone.
As my island was named in it, (though mispelt in the process and thats another story) my RL husband contacted WB who went WHA?
They had NOT told LL to do anything of the sort. They understood that SL is a virtual world, and they understood that the fans here, are the same fans that will want to go see the movie thats coming out this year called the Hobbit.
WB only is renting the rights to this stuff. specific stuff. In all, they didnt want to alienate the fan base, which they made the mistake of doing with B5. WB had nothing to do with what LL was doing. They had no knowledge, and they gave no direction for them to do it. it was LL removal team
The individual who wrote up the false DMCA, had it bite back
back to hobbits in Tolkien?

What happened to hobbits in the 4th Age?
Well, with the elves leaving, much of the magic in the world went with them. It's not to say that the race of hobbits died out with them, for, we have many "little people"
The evil of Sauron was vanquished, and in the 4th age of man, the hobbits that we know, worked with the king untill his passing. Merry and Pippin were laid to rest beside him. And Arwen spent her days in mourning until she faded. The golden leaves fell, and the age of man began
I thought hobbits just made themselves harder for the "big people" to find? They are probably still around, just no one sees them any more?
In RL, I know of about 5 people, that look alot like hobbits. under 3.5 feet, huge feet and elfish ears.
plenty of people that short ...
It's possible that hobbits and man began a new race. or kept to themselves in the wilds and fields
I have heard speculations that hobbits branched off from humans, sometime inthe 2nd Age
Is there any mention of man and hobbit marrying?
Yes, though it was frowned upon. It's more possible that there was a union between elf and dwarf
Have you ever been to england? Have you ever seen an english barn? American barns are these huge things. Well, I'm seeing field after field of cows, and sheeps, and I said to my friend, where are the barns? And she said, there is one. And it was a door in a hillside, with a wee window, and it reminded me of the hobbit homes, and they are like that all over england and scottland and ireland,and no doubt other parts of europe.
well it's pretty clear where Tolkien got his inspiration from then, isn't it
So, hobbit homes, are still there, and we see wee people walking about, so its entirely possible that Hobbits are walking among us now.
makes sense, really

Now, any questions? yes? no?
You have given a wonderful overview of Hobbits.
Is the race of hobbits as old as the elves?
No, the elves are older
What exactly were the hobbits smoking?
and wha is in their pipe???? pray tell ^^
Oh, pipes are many things, clay and wood, or a corn cob. People would think that a wood pipe would burn, but the tobacco burns at a lower tempature.
Corn is a new world crop, as are tomatoes and potatoes, and tobacco. Maybe those Teleri traders had been importing new world crops to Middle Earth
They would have had turnips
Longbottom leaf is a tobacco. It's not just tobacco that people smoke. Sailors would smoke rope, anything that when it burnt that would give a pleasing smell. Not all leaves that burn will do that.
and those ropes were made of hemp ... not good quality, but you gotta wonder
yes, and they would get three sheets to the wind
There are many herbs to smoke . coltsfoot, various flowers
There are many mushrooms and herbs that can be smoked. Poppy is another one. It's implied by Saramon that the halflings leaf had made Gandaf weak
perhaps this anyother reason for constant eating . . . lol
(meanwhile he had full casks of longbottom leaf which merry and pippin smoked through very quickly) Could account for Merrys twitchy behavior as well. No, wait, Dominic was twitchy in RL too from erm smoking too much long bottom leaf
Hobbits are like the small stones that precipitate the avalanch

I've had fun being a hobbit
It is fun having hobbits around
We can tell
A lot of time people freak out and think I'm a kid. Had to point out my feet your figure...blushes...I would think that it was obvious.
This is "the girl next door" avitar, with the shape of a pixie. It's the only way I can make the avitar small enough
I imagine hobbits as more ... well-fed
Well, this is SL food. No calories.
And still the high metabolism
Yeah I've been working out with the quarterstaff ....Oh , thats another thing, the weapons of the hobbits. People think that hobbits are push overs.
Saruman made that mistake ...
But during the Battle of Bywater, they kicked major ass. The reason why a hobbit can use a quarterstaff is because its much like a rake, or a hoe. The weight is the same, and they would be used to swinging it in the fields.
and you don't want to be on the wrong end of a rake, either
Yes, we can use short swords, but a rolling pin does more damage to the drunks head. And no home would be with out one. If anything hobbits are practical.
They find the food as they can, and eat while they can. mushrooms tomatos, cabbage
fresh - not preserved?
cheese, and pastrues
Didn't a few hobbits have hunting bows, at the Battle of Bywater?
yes, and they ate venison, so they were familiar with hunting. ... rabbit stew
Bet it took a couple of hobbits to carry a deer home
lots of deer in Bel's lands
They would drag it
Humans get a moose home, somehow
They had ponys.
Hobbits also interacted with beings that passed through their towns, including dwarves, and elves, and man. There were towns that were between the hobbits home, and the home of man, like Bree, and long distances were not uncommon.
So they had stamina, too
Wasn't it 20 miles between the farm where they saw the dark rider, and the crossing for buckleberry ferry to the next town
And they had been hiking for days already. (We are such city-folk, to be amazed at "hiking for days".)
My boss does at least 10 miles before he comes to work. He does charity walks
The journey of Frodo Baggans and the others took 13 months. Of course, they rode back.

Hobbits, because they are so singulary minded, were something that the ring could not understand. Greed wasnt something that was in their vocabulary

Sorry, folks,I have to get up in the morning. Please, continue as long as you like. Good night all

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Tolkien Discussion Group
January 13, 2010
Topic: Geography

Fifi Wickentower
AelKennyr Rhiano
Lihan Taifun
Ossy Portocarrero

Several people wanted a summary of the discussion. :)
We reviewed the Sinking of Numenor, and the bending of the flat earth into a sphere.
Harad is in the south.
What does it mean to say that Ilúvatar, and the souls of dead humans, live "beyond the circles of the world"?

For the forum for the Tolkien Discussions...could we maybe do like synopses instead of verbatum transcripts?
Well, "synopsis" assumes we reach some conclusion
Ok...a summary of what was discussed?
I will consider that you want them edited tighter
I liked reading back . . including the funny, of topicstuff

Soo....the geography of Tolkien's world
Where are we in geographical terms?
in Valarinde
and Valarinde is in the continent of Aman, which is the Blessed Lands
and the Blessed Lands are the same as the Undying Lands
Awwhh...Ossy, I was hoping you could give us the geography lesson
He might tell us about the oceans
The oceans are on the edges. And they are wet. The end
Wow, that was PG. G version, even said, Lihan, that no one travels to the Undying Lands without permission of the Valar?
Now, after then end of the 2nd Age, after Numenor sank. Before that, the world was flat, and you could sail anywhere on the oceans
So during the entire first Age, the world was flat?
yes, a flat disk with the Outer Seas around the edge.
So you could sail off the edge​?
You would probably sink in the storms in the Outer Sea first
Sounds like a medieval view of the world, Pre Galileo
THEORETICALLY you could sail off the edge
There be dragons?? isn't that what some thought?
On some medival maps the edges had that inscribed
After the last king of Numenor tried to sail a war fleet to the Blessed Lands, the Ainur got nervous, and asked Iluvatar to change the shape of the world (besides the part about sinking Numenor) After that, the world was round, and you can sail all around it, without ever getting to the Blessed Lands. They are now in sort of a parallel dimension, and you can only sail the "straight road" to the Blessed Lands if you have permission from the Valar. That btw is the "Lost Road".
the ultimate gated community
Numenor was founded by Eros?
Elros, yes he was the first king of Numenor
And Numenor was not is Middle Earth...right?
If you think of Middle Earth as the 3rd Age continent that is where Europe is now ... then no, Numenor was not there. Numenor was a large island out in the middle of the Inner Sea. The Inner Sea being the one that separates Middle Earth from the Blessed Lands
And the Númenóreans were humans, yes?
yes, humans, the Edain, ancestors of Gondor
And the Númenóreans were friendly for a time with the Teleri of Tol Eressea
Oh yes indeed. You even gave them a seedling of the White Tree
Did they get jealous of Elves after the defeat of Sauron?
Most of them were drowned, so they were dead?
I mean the survivors...over time
The survivors, who went back to Middle Earth? The people of Gondor, essentially?
yes. They went to Middle Earth, colonizing large parts and over time became tyrants, I thought
hmmm, yes. Not Elendil personally, but you are right, a lot of other Numenoreans had moved back to Middle Earth, and not all of them the nicest of the Numenoreans
Ar-Pharazon...he was one of their kings
With Sauron as his advisor, Ar-Pharazôn had a 500-foot (150 m) tall temple to Melkor erected, in which he offered human sacrifices to Melkor (those selected to be sacrificed were Elendili, Númenóreans who were still faithful to the Elves).
Sauron was such a sweetie
Wasn't he the king who landed in Aman...? And that was the reason the Undying Lands were removed from Arda forever, the flat earth made into a globe.
I don't think he actually landed. Did he? Maybe he got one foot onto the land
If I remember rightly, He went to make war on the Valar in hopes of becoming immortal.
Yes, that was his plan. Take over the Undying Lands, and become immortal. Not realizing that it doesn't work that way
The Valar were not allowed to directly interfere with humans, so Manwe called upon Eru, who removed Aman from the world.
"The Valar were not allowed to directly interfere with humans." That is important.
Free will, and all
We were thinking that, for the role play, there might be some reason why the ainur couldn't USE all their theoretical power
That act by Ar-Pharazon,,,did that cause the sinking of Numenor?
It must have been Eru who caused the Numenor to sink
That also killed Sauron's body, yes. Beccause he was imprisioned there
Sauron's body drowned. I'm not sure where the Ring was during that time
Now, I have a question that is off the track: Was Sauron ainu or human?
Ainu, of the house of Aule (before he went over to Melkor)
Well supposedly this prevented Sauron from ever taking a fair form did it prevent that?
Wasn't that one of those things where Sauron was wearing out his ability to chance forms?
I am not sure. I am a little fuzzy on that.
There seems to be some reading-between-the-lines on why the evil ainur lose their ability to chance form
They perveted the pure flow and lost their soul
Cut themselves off from the source of their energies.
Like a plant that is in too much shade when it needs full sun
Like a plant that moves itself into the shade, when it needs full sun

And the fall of Numenor was also a fall of man. So, when it sank, what was left outside of Middle Earth?
Do we really know? Vague references to "other lands" that don't enter the story. Certainly there were lands to the south, and to the east of the "MIddle Earth" we know
What do we know about them?
Um, dwarves live over the mountains in the east. Two of the 5 wizards went east, presumably on an assignment that we don't hear about. In the south are Near Harad and Far Harad, which are inhabited by humans. They took his side in the war
Yes. With the implication that they might have been basically decent people, whose leaders had been lied to by Sauron.
And the Haradrim were swarthy, like Mediterraneans?
or like Africans. "Swarthy", that's all we know. I think it means "darker than the person telling the story".

Once Eru removed the undyling lands from the with Middle earth, that was probably at a premium?
Well, I'm an Ainu, I don't have physical needs
But elves, like the Teleri, do, and we are in the Shining Lands.
Aman is a big continent, but, if you need or want stuff from Middle Earth you would have to trade for it. And the Teleri would be the best position to do that trading
Does Aman ever return to the world? or is it forever separate?
You mean, is there a plan for it to come back, after the Dagor Dagoroth?
or before, in preparation for it?
Everything we know about the Dagor Dagorth is about 2 sentences
I don't recall plans for that
Sounds kinda pointless to open the gates BEFORE the battle
What do we know? That happens in the 4th Age, right?
I suppose. Although there is the embarassing problem with prophecies: the 21st century is apparently past the 4th Age, and the battle hasn't happened yet.
It hasn't? Perhaps Tolkien thought of WWII as it.
We are in the 6-7th age currently?
hmmm, and we just don't notice the revived Two Trees?
I read something awhile back that said The Professor indicated that time was speeding up and the ages became shorter, shorter being a relative term
"The light of the Two Trees will fill the world in eternal bliss." I hadn't noticed that happening yet
nor I

I found the map we were looking at last week: I used to have a pair of maps showing how the coastline had moved inland quite a bit between the 1st Age and the 3rd Age. A lot of those maps have been taken down
Why? Copyright issues?

Lihan, what about the circles of the world?
The circles? What circles?
I think beyond the circles is where Ilúvatar dwells. When humans die, they pass out of the circles of the world.
hmmm, That sounds like "outside these dimensions" or something. Sounds poetic
A general term that seems to refer to the boundaries between the World and the Outer Void, though its usage is vague and does not seem to be completely consistent. In its earlier uses, it appears to be a completely inclusive term, describing the entirety of the World and its surrounding seas and airs, and explicitly including the Undying Lands of Aman. The region beyond the Circles is the place where Ilúvatar dwells (presumably with those of the Ainur who did not descend into Arda), and it is the fate of Men to pass out of the Circles of the World after death.
After the Downfall of Númenor, the term becomes more narrow in meaning. After the Bending of the World, and the taking away of Aman, the lands of the Uttermost West are said to be no longer within the Circles of the World, though they are clearly still part of the World in some sense. After this point, it seems that the Circles of the World are simply the boundaries of the Mortal Lands of Middle-earth.
Maybe all actually dwells within Iluvatar
So is that like men dying and going to heaven or...hell?
Well, it was written by elves, right? Who considered the fate of humans to be mysterious. Remember, Tolkien needed , or wanted, a system that was compatible with his own beliefs. So he couldn't exactly have the dead humans going to the Halls of Mandos
True. But humans and elves were different species, just like dwarves.They do not go to the halls of Mandos either
And the humans and the elves have different afterlives. And apparently a third fate for dwarves. I suppose hobbits count as a subspecies of humans. That is rather unclear

May I ask what we would like to discuss next time?
We haven't done hobbits yet
Ossy...perhaps you can do a little synopsis about hobits, for us? In your own words next week?
Um. They're short, they have hairy feet, and they eat all the time. The end :D
AelKennyr Rhiano pokes Ossy. Not that short
Also, according to one of my sources.. they are all bastards?
Ossy refrains from "short" jokes?
Ossy Portocarrero motions at his waist. I've had it up to HERE with hobbits