a part of the shire


It’s been 10 years since we first started taking the Hobbits to Isengard. I mean, it’s been way longer - the Hobbits could have fucking walked there, back again, managed to get served several times at the downstairs bar in Doggett’s and got a Southeastern train service all the way to Charing Cross since Tolkien put pen to page. But (and believe me, this is deeply unusual for me) let’s put J R R aside in this.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is kind of… well, both too faithful (total lack of critical interrogation of Tolkien’s absolutely awful concepts around race, gender, etc.) and not faithful enough in that it appeared to miss all the points your correspondent’s teenage self managed to find in the series. Specifically, where Lord of the Rings is an obsessively detailed but ultimately quite modest and traumatised epic, a huge amount of which is two small, starving creatures crawling around in mud having moral dilemmas. The Jackson films take themselves as seriously and grandly as the books came to be and as I suspect their author probably never did.

Taking the Hobbits to Isengard, on the other hand, is a pure and perfect work and I will hear no ill spoken of it else ye never receive a pint in a round bought by me again. 

It takes as its base the Hovis-theme-ripping-off music from The Shire - the small-worlded part of the films, before any grandeur is truly injected into the bloated beastie that is the trilogy. The Hobbiton theme is supposed to be homely, reassuring, quaint - like anything that succeeds at that, it sounds fucking amazing played on an airhorn.

The simplicity of the Shire’s theme is what allows it to so naturally accept the kitchen-sink style auditory ornamentation that is ‘a donk’. A classic staple of rave, it needs no introduction even in a world as apparently dislocated from two WKDs and a honk on some poppers as the miruvor-quaffing pipeweed fiends we see here.

As a lyrical piece, Taking The Hobbits is discursive - like many of the very best pieces of pop. One only has to consider the sweet, sweet tension of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain or Brandy and Monica’s iconic The Boy Is Mine to recognise that dialogous pop is, when it works, a particularly sublime genre.

It doesn’t matter that the lines are, ostensibly, orphaned from their original place in the script - from the eponymous ejaculation to Gollum’s hissed What did u say??? they’re all perfectly addressing each other in the sort of gloriously confused cacophony usually reserved for a misunderstanding-based brawl outside a kebab shop at 3am. 

I remember the first time I heard Taking The Hobbits To Isengard. It was quite a momentous occasion because I still had dial up, so it took roughly the length of a decent pop song to load and it was very difficult to tell if it was deliberate or a bandwidth-related glitch remix for at least 30 torturously disrupted seconds. I’d imagined it would be a fairly quick joke - most internet video based things were, at the time, but no; a fully fledged song. That just kept going. 

The initial air horns! These are funny, yes because we remember them as the Shire theme, which isn’t even the music for this bit. The stuttering sample of the original line! Which sustains itself as Sheffield Dave-style shout out far better than it should, given it’s old seriousface Elf ears himself yelling off a horse. 

(In retrospect, should have equated that with Sheffield Dave earlier)

Then there’s …polka bit. Few pop songs manage to maintain a polka interlude - Bohemian Rhapsody springs to mind but Taking the Hobbits To Isengard manages to repeatedly insert it without losing coherency around its original rave premise. If you don’t think ‘Tell me where is Gandalf, for I much desire to speak with him’ delivered over a little eurodance handbag bit is not both extremely funny and excellent pop, I can’t help you. 

Taking The Hobbits To Isengard would score reasonably at Eurovision. Not because Eurovision is actually the home of comedy trash but because if France (and it would probably have to be France in order for the Elven analogues to take themselves seriously enough) scooted in on an artpop platform and wanged loads of fucking airhorns round the stadium it would be entirely in keeping with European sensibilities of solemnly considering the totally whimsical due to our inherent reservedness about experiencing joy.

(The slightly older and wiser part of me has to question the repeated use of Gollum’s ‘stupid, fat, Hobbits’ which makes sense in the context of what he is but isn’t inherently funny, unlike a context-dislocated, bass-intoned ‘A Balrog of Morgoth’)

The great thing about Taking The Hobbits To Isengard is it actually gets funnier the more it goes on. Like Star Trekkin it not only sets out to commit to a fairly one-note premise but to hammer that note until it falls out through the piano and becomes a transcendent free agent, cascading through the strings. 

It takes a premise; that the Lord of the Rings films, in their overblown format, are very, very silly and runs with it extremely, deadly seriously. This is the core of not all but a fairly substantial chunk of really good pop, as well as an excellent manual for life. All things are here - a manic sense of imminent implosion, troubling past associated with racist ideologies, handcarts, hell, what did u say???

Very seriously; Taking The Hobbits To Isengard is a superb piece of fan work and it has substantially enriched my life to listen to it on loop for the past 45 minutes whilst watching a parliamentary debate on mute. Creators of this piece: thank.

The Amazing Way the Fellowship Theme Grows Part 2: Building the Fellowship

(In  The Lord of the Rings’ soundtrack, composer Howard Shore uses specific pieces of theme music to represent certain places, characters, and things– the Rohan theme, The One Ring’s theme, the Gondor theme, etc. What’s really cool though is how– as Howard Shore explains in his book on the soundtrack my main source, which you can find by googling “the LOTR annotated score” –these leitmotifs grow alongside the things they represent.

 As a kingdom changes, its theme music subtly changes, too. As the Hobbits grow, the Shire theme grows with them.)

This is Part Two (part one found here) of a series where I talk about how the theme music that represents the Fellowship grows over the course of the films, reflecting the way the Fellowship itself grows.

In Part One, I talked about how the composer Howard Shore introduces this theme (the music you hear in the beginning of The Bridge of Khazad-Dum soundtrack here) the way he introduces most of his epic themes….While everyone remembers the bombastic versions that play during the battles, it’s first heard playing softly in the background of humble lil character moments. Shore said he wanted to show that the Fellowship’s theme music, like the Fellowship itself, wasn’t born in epic battles but in small moments of friendship.

Originally posted by cumber--butt

This part will cover how the Fellowship’s theme grows from the “baby” versions you hear in the Shire to the huge Iconic™ versions you hear in Moria, growing as the Fellowship itself grows.

(all posts in this series are tagged #fellowship theme, and all my soundtrack-related posts are tagged #lotrsoundtrackfacts. I will try to post a new part of this series every Sunday)

The first time we hear the Fellowship theme outside of the Shire is when Gandalf is riding to Isengard (beginning of this clip)

Links to where this plays in the soundtracks:
OST: The Treason of Isengard
Complete Recordings: Saruman the White

Frodo and Sam set out on their journey, as I mentioned in my last post, with a version of the Fellowship theme that sounds cute n cozy. (”We’re going on an adventure, just like Bilbo!”) 

But Gandalf sets out on his journey with what Shore calls grim “bits” and “fragments” of the same theme. Gandalf’s variation is darker because, unlike the hobbits, he understands what might lie ahead…..

We hear the Fellowship theme again as Aragorn leads the hobbits out of Bree at (3:30) of this clip. 

OST: Not on the OST
CR:The Nazgul

The Fellowship has grown, so its leitmotif has grown. As Howard Shore described it:

“The Fellowship theme is a little fuller now… it’s not completely assembled, but it’s getting closer because now Strider has joined them. The orchestration is fuller—you hear a little more of the brass. In earlier sections with Frodo and Sam you heard one French horn playing. Now there are three.”

Then you hear “arduous” snippets of it as the ragtag Hobbits-plus-Strider group struggles through the Midgewater Marshes (not in OST, but in CR: The Nazgul).…..

And when Aragorn defends Frodo on Weathertop, according to Shore in the FOTR  commentary, “the music is primarily based around the Ringwraith theme but [has] elements of Fellowship theme.”  This is the first time we hear the Fellowship theme in a battle setting but it’s only in “fragments” and “elements,” muddled up with the Ringwraith-leitmotif and bits of Aragorn’s  theme music (YES Aragorn has his own theme music it took me SO LONG to notice that)….

Originally posted by estel-means-hope

OST: not in OST
CR: The Caverns of Isengard

By now you’ve probably noticed the pattern of the pre-Rivendell  theme: it gets progressively stronger but it’s never “completely assembled”…which makes sense. We never hear the fully formed Fellowship theme until we see the fully formed Fellowship.

As Howard Shore points out, it’s only after Elrond proclaims the nine companions “Shall be the Fellowship of the Ring” that you hear the theme music in its full orchestration for the first time.

Originally posted by molzies-fanfics

 (Don’t even need a clip cuz it’s so ICONIC and also the four video limit)
OST: The Council of Elrond
CR: The Great Eye

And from that moment until Moria, we don’t hear any more of those weak or fragmented versions of theme. Only buff versions.

We hear a soft (but still “full”) version as the Fellowship sets out from Rivendell together (in the beginning of the next clip.) This variation is not on the OST, but appears in the CR track Gilraen’s Memorial.….

After the journey out of Rivendell begins with some variations on the Shire theme, we hear (at about 1:50) a heroic slow version as the Fellowship journeys IN HEROIC SLOW MOTION….

OST: The Ring Goes South
CR: Gilraen’s Memorial


This all builds up to the biggest and (maybe even the most Iconic) variations of the theme in FOTR….the ones that play in Moria.

We hear it twice in the Mines: as the Fellowship races toward the Bridge of Khazad-Dum (clip below) and after the Aragorn and Frodo make it over that gap in the stairs (and we watch the stairwell dramatically crumble into the Abyss)

OST: Both are on The Bridge of Khazad-Dum
CR: The first is in Balin’s Tomb, second is in Khazad-Dum: hey that rhymes


Moria is the first (and only!) time all nine members of the Fellowship are called into action together. These two Moria moments are also the first (and only!) times in FOTR where we hear the full version of the theme playing over action scenes.

If the other versions of the Fellowship theme were bombastic but slow and peaceful,, then these variations are like…if the concept of CAPS LOCK and exclamation points!!!! were music!!!!  It gets you pumped, is what I’m saying, but you already knew that. My point is: We’re not even through the first film and the Fellowship theme has already changed a ton from the gentle “baby” versions we heard in the Shire.


If you were to listen to all the appearances of the Fellowship’s theme music in order…you would hear it begin as a cozy cute theme from the Shire, gain more instruments as the Fellowship gains more members, form as the Fellowship forms, and get more and more powerful as the Fellowship comes together, all of this building up to glorious invincible-sounding crescendos in Moria.

What could possibly go wrong….?

(Part three will come next Sunday. To request a soundtrack for me to write about, reblog this linked post.)

thebooky replied to your postevery single time I reread lotr I revert to being…

the hobbits should be brown? I didn’t know that! omg

*huge deep breath*

To be precise, hobbit skin tones vary, but the most common skin tone is probably some shade of brown (it’s not described in detail). But anyway, here’s three important bits of info literally just from the books:

The Hobbit:

They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers….

Literally, their skin is described as brown. “But Book, maybe that’s just tan from being in the sun because they’re farmers” (an argument I’ve actually seen posited for this)? Nope:

LOTR, Concerning Hobbits:

The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless; their hands and feet were neat and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides. [..] They were the most normal and representative variety of Hobbit, and far the most numerous.

The most “normal and representative” variety of Hobbit is brown of skin, which is, by this quote, pretty strongly implied to be genetic. It would be a bit silly to note that they were browner of skin, and that the Fallohides were fairer of skin, with both as distinguishing characteristics, if it weren’t heritable.

If someone really had something against casting brown people as hobbits, they could probably wiggle their way out of this and come up with a justification for why it ~doesn’t count, but I don’t think there’s a good reason to do that. The simplest explanation is that most hobbits have brown skin, and that hobbits come in a variety of skin tones, just like humans do. The fact that this apparently passed Peter Jackson and the casting department by is…an issue.

Further note that I think is worth mentioning, Gandalf via Butterbur, on Frodo:

“But this one is taller than some and fairer than most, and he has a cleft in his chin: perky chap with a bright eye.”

In other words, Frodo’s fair skin is sufficiently unusual among Shire-hobbits to serve as part of an identifying description, which suggests that hobbits aren’t usually fair-skinned. (You could argue that this refers to hair, and golden-haired hobbits are also noted to be rare later in text, but I think combined with the above two quotes, it’s pretty clear that fair-skinned hobbits are unusual anyway.)

We could for sure talk about how Tolkien tends to do fair skin=nobility and how that’s Real Bad. And that’s for sure worth deconstructing. I don’t want to give him credit for being “inclusive” where no credit is due. But it’s not a good justification for exclusively casting white actors in the Main Hobbit Roles, nor for the fact that, in the movies, most to all of the actors playing hobbits are light-skinned.

my mom was super into the lotr movies when i was little so even tho they were on all the time i always tuned them out out of spite, and then i tried to watch fellowship after i got my wisdom teeth out but i ended up using it (and the first hp movie) as alternating lullabies bc having the them on helped me nap (nonstop) so Anyway i’m finally gonna watch fellowship rn for honestly the umpteenth time but finally may be able to actually summarize the plot at the end

i understand that a Chair Post without a fandom attached is not wanted by anyone but i’m gonna go ahead and issue a formal declaration of Whifferdill’s Favorite Chairs 2017

first up this classic

Charles and Ray Eames, the shell body on the Eiffel frame. this is what your chair in high school wished it could be. the pure ass-cupping simplicity of the fiberglass seat, the poetic geometry of the frame. the Eames’ own my whole soul; have you watched Powers of Ten? if not please do

look. LOOK. somewhere in me still lives a 21-year old who’s like fuck YEAH BURN THE IDOLS but also preserve them in resin. Maartin Baas’ Burn series completely encapsulates my feelings towards the design establishment in such a shitty college-kid Dark Goffik way and also it makes the Adirondack look cool, right it looks cool, i never quite aged out of my goth phase

while we’re commenting on the Adirondack - Gerrit Reitveld’s Red and Blue chair. i wanna sit in De Stijl. in 2017, this is still an angry and weird thing, such a conscious exploration of 3D space. it gives me an Emotion i cannot name

it’s the Swinging Sixties and you’re too mod to live and you’re high AF and feeling like a queen in Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair. i love chairs that tell you how to sit - this one tells you to curl up but like in a proud, fuck-off kind of way

thru the wonders of Modern Technology you can sit on a shittily crocheted chair by Marcel Wanders. it’s the weird slackness that gets me, like. mass-produced human failures. the tension between error and precision is…it does things for me

Verner Panton’s S chair is a CLASSIC for a REASON it’s just a tongue. a stackable tongue. it’s so smooth and easy. one sheet of plastic, doing that. go on, then

this is by Allessandro Mendini and it’s called Proust Geometrica and i think it speaks for itself

look i have mixed feelings on Gehry but the Wiggle Chair is so…you know?

i feel like we as a society really missed out not embracing inflatable furniture. Gaetano Pesce’s Up series is so nice. i like the one where you can sit in the lap of a disembodied female torso like yes it is Problematic but it’s also just so Much

i don’t discuss this much but my love of Memphis is, like, a huge part of what i am. this is Peter Shire for Memphis with the Bel Air chair and LOOK AT IT IT’S GREAT

the ID discourse will never reach Tumblr but just in case: i’m sorry, i still unironically love Phillipe Starck. i adore a lot of his stuff, i adore the Gnome Stool extra much. like it’s not pure pop, it’s got nothing to say, it’s a cynical piece of nothing-much but i also would pay more money for this than i would a Breuer, i love it sfm

@xjix just told me they don’t know how to pronounce Worcestershire via handing me their phone and showing me a meme about not knowing how to pronounce it, and i asked her to tell me how to pronounce it….. and like. I get it if you pronounce the “cester” part and I’m prepared for that!! BUT NOT COMBINED WITH PRONOUNCING SHIRE LIKE SHY-ER 

WOR CHESTER SHYER  @xjix I am in tears 

what have you done 

The Food of Millennium Book

I’ve seen some people questioning the foods listed in Atem and Bakura’s profiles that were in the millennium book and whether or not they were things they would have actually eaten at the time.  It probably does seem a bit strange to see that they liked or disliked a bunch of modern foods so I wanted to address that one at a time.

I will be using Egyptian Food and Drink by Hilary Wilson as a reference.  It’s part of the Shire Egyptology series for anyone that’s interested.

Atem’s Favorite Food: Ta'amiya.  This is a sort of falafel unique to Egypt that is made with fava beans instead of chickpeas.  Typically more greenish in color due to the bean used.  “Another type of bean identified from ancient sources is ful nabed, a pale variety of the common broad bean (Vicia faba).  Pharaonic cooks almost certainly invented ta'amia or felafel, fried rissoles made from mashed beans, onions, garlic, and spices.  Coptic Christians consume large quantities of felafel during Lent.  The Copts are said to be descended from the ancient Egyptians and many of their traditions are so old that their origins may well lie in Dynastic times.” (pg.25)

I have seen orther accounts that falafel was possibly created much later in Pharaonic history or even into Coptic Egypt but I think it’s safe to say that it’s possible for Atem to have eaten this.

Atem’s Least Favorite: Batarekh a sort of Egyptian equivalent to caviar that is still made in and around the Mediterranean.  In English it seems to be referred to as Botargo or Bottarga from Italian. Apparently it’s also similar to a Japanese product known as karasumi. “Fish were also salted or picked in oil and, in later times, great quantities of preserved first were exported from Egypt. In some scenes of fish preparation, removal of the roes is shown.  The dried and salted roe of the grey mullet, known as batarekh, is considered a great delicacy in modern Egypt and is reputed to be a recipe as old as the pharaohs.” (pg. 38)

So it seems batarekh is decidedly plausible!

Thief King Bakura’s Favorite food: Roast pork.  Kind of speaks for itself and I think it’s safe to say this one existed but it’s actually pretty interesting how it may have fit into Egyptian life. Keep in mind Egyptians were at least related to Semitic cultural groups who often have taboos against pork.  “There is evidence of taboos associated with different meats, but these appear to have been more often social than religious and, if religious, then confined to a specific region or group of people.  The eating of pork is quoted by many sources as having been forbidden to the Egyptians.  Herodotus [Ancient Greek historian of Ancient Egypt, not always the most accurate but still a valuable source of information] details the festivities held in memory of Horus’ victory over Seth, to whom the pig was sacred. It was, he said, the only time of the year when people ate pork and those families who could not afford a pig would eat loaves made in the shape of the animal. At the Middle Kingdom town of Kahun and the Eighteenth Dynasty workman’s village at Amarna, large quantities of pig bones have been found, indicating that pork played a significant role in the diet of the working-class Egyptian.” (pg.35)

And finally…

Thief King Bakura’s Least Favorite: Hummus. Self explanatory? To me this is the most nebulous one because there’s not a lot of evidence that hummus existed before the Arab conquests but at the same time, the ingredients would have been readily available and it’s not exactly a fancy dish that takes a lot of thought to put together (unlike dried salted roe sacs?) “The most easily recognisable type [of legume] is the chick-pea, white and knobbly with a little ‘beak’, which explains why the Egyptians called it 'hawk face’.  They could have been served as a vegetable or ground into flour used to enrich bread dough.  The most popular modern chick-pea recipe from the Middle East is hummus, a spread of pate made from mashed chick-peas and sesame oil.  Chick-pea sellers roam Egyptians markets in late summer selling cones of salted chick-peas with a squeeze of lemon juice” (pg.25)

So like I said, only a reference to it in more modern times as opposed to an ancient one but the parts needed to make it were still known to them.  Ergo this one seems like the least likely to have existed.

Personally, I think it’s kind of cute that our Pharaoh of Egypt pretty much enjoyed the Arab world’s equivalent of a hamburger myself while he couldn’t stand the fancy caviar.  Meanwhile Bakura likes a dish that was of course more of a questionable luxury while detesting one that, if it existed, was probably relatively common.

So there you go.  I think in most cases we can say there is a chance that they would have indeed known these foods.  I think it shows at the very least that Takahashi definitely tried to do some research and make apt choices as well which is nothing new.

Of course the other characters remain to be seen but I’ll be looking forward to it coming out.

Edit: So it seems like the rest of the profiles are available now \o/ it’s a lot more of the same but if anyone is interested I can address them as well


Visited Hobbiton on Saturday, which is where the Shire part of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” was filmed. It was too exciting for me and my friends, who are also LOTR fans. We ended the tour with a complementary drink from the Green Dragon Inn.


Song Inspired - Golden by Travie McCoy (Feat. Sia)

Cause I am yours; you are mine, you are mine, mine
Not going anywhere, I am standing by your side
I will love you ‘til the end of time, time
I will love you 'til the day we die