and bilbo is the hero of the story

Concerning Hobbits (of Color)

Okay it’s been a whole day and I’m still angry about that hobbit casting thing, so let’s lay down some Tolkien canon here.

Fact 1: Per Tolkien, there were originally three races of hobbit. The Stoors were a small group, they were broad and stocky, they grew facial hair, they liked rivers, and their skin color is not specified, so Tolkien probably meant them to be white (but there’s no reason they have to be, since again, not specified). The Fallohides were a tiny group, they were thin, pale and tall, they were bold and good with languages, and they like trees. The Harfoots were the distinct majority, they lived in holes, they had hairy feet, and they were brown. Tolkien is super clear on this. He explicitly calls out Harfoots as having browner skin than other hobbits when describing the races and he uses phrases like “nut-brown skin” and “long brown fingers” when describing specific hobbits to back it up.

Fact 2: Britain planted its ravenous imperial flag firmly in the soil of India three centuries before Tolkien wrote The Hobbit. He knew what a brown person looked like. He would know he was not evoking a slightly darker shade of Caucasian when he said a person had brown skin.

Fact 3: Bilbo, Frodo, and all of their friends are aristocracy. Sam is the only hobbit we ever meet who is an actual laborer. In Tolkien’s time, laborers worked in the sun and middle class and aristocracy stayed inside where there was something resembling temperature control. Apart from Sam and Aragorn, no one in the Fellowship (or Company) ever voluntarily got a sunburn. If Tolkien talks about brown skin he’s talking about brown skin, not a farmer’s tan.

Where does this leave us?

Well, Tolkien says that after colonizing the Shire, the three hobbit races mingled more closely and became one. This leaves us with two options.

Option A: He’s talking about that thing that sci-fi writers sometimes do where “everyone is mixed race.” So all three races would have smeared together into a single uniform color. What color? Mostly Harfoot, aka brown. The “strong strain of Fallohide” in the Tookish and Brandybuck lines means maybe they’re white-passing, but in this scenario all hobbits are brown.

Option B: He’s talking about a more melting-pot scenario where visual racial distinctions still exist but everyone lives side-by-side in a fairly uniform culure. The Tooks/Brandybucks having a “strong strain of Fallohide” means that they are themselves remaining strains of Fallohide, and are straight-up white. Merry, half Took and half Brandybuck, is thus white (possibly part Stoor, given Brandybuck comfort with water); Pippin, half Took and half Banks, is either white or biracial. The Baggins family, sensible owners of the oldest and most venerable hobbit-hole anyone knows of, are blatantly Harfoot, making Bilbo and Frodo (half Took and half Brandybuck respectively) also biracial. Fallohides being exclusively adventurous high-class types, and the Gamgees being staid low-class homebodies with a distrust of moving water, Sam is obviously Harfoot and thus completely brown. (Smeagol, a Stoor, is probably white, but as discussed above, doesn’t have to be.) In this scenario, a minimum of three of five heroic hobbits are various shades of brown, four out of five of them could be, and most background hobbits are brown.

In conclusion, if you think all hobbits are white, you are canonically wrong. If you geek out over Aragorn wearing the Ring of Barahir, rage about Faramir trying to take the Ring, and do not even notice, much less complain, that Sam, Bilbo and Frodo are being erroneously portrayed by white guys, you need to reexamine the focus of your nerdery.

okay everyone but consider: glorfindel comes on the quest of erebor!au

  • “I HAVEN’T SEEN DWARVES IN AGES” “glorfindel pls calm down” “OH MY GOD LOOK AT THIS ONE? HE LOOKS JUST LIKE DURIN IV????” “yes glorfindel that’s great but the rest of us don’t bother to learn dwarf family trees so we have no idea who you are talking about. also that one is snarling maybe you should put him down????”
  • glorfindel training bilbo how to fight 
  • thorin being like “we cannot take *unexperienced* warriors on this quest” “i killed a balrog” “wait WHAT”
  • fili and kili and practically all the dwarves hero-worshipping him
  • glorfindel and bilbo talking in sindarin
  • “so you’ve actually killed dragons?” “nah man that’s thranduil i heard he killed like 27 in the war of the wrath” “WHAT”
  • okay but glorfindel showing up in mirkwood and is chatting up all the elves when they (almost) get captured 
  • legolas is fanboying. a little. okay a lot.
  • glorfindel and thranduil chatting it up while the dwarves are like “eXCUSE ME WE ARE IN CHAINS”
  • glorfindel hiding in a barrel as they go into laketown (somebody draw this please)
  • glorfindel telling the bardlings stories
  • “we should pour gold on the dragon” “no that’s a stupid fuckign idea bro. let’s shoot it” “well alright then”
Crafting Homes of Paper, Ink, and Neutral PH Glue: Writing a Setting Your Reader Can Call Home

nb: this is the Sparknotes version of an essay I wrote for my MA last term.

Originally posted by lunalestrangehotchner

Why do we love Hogwarts so much? 

How can we strive to recreate the devotion readers have felt towards Hogwarts in our own writing? 

These are the questions I asked myself last fall. I wanted to demystify the success of Hogwarts as a setting readers all over the world identify as a second home. To begin, I looked at a wide variety of fantasy books for similarities in settings I knew to be beloved: Hogwarts, Camp Half-Blood, The Shire, etc. (note: I had to narrow the field, and I found fantasy better at creating remarkable settings than contemporary fiction, with more well-known examples to draw from, but I would argue that the same principles apply to settings in contemporary fiction).

In my research, I identified six key elements for creating a setting that is sure to captivate readers. 

THE HAGRID

The Hagrid is my own term for a maternal character who introduces the protagonist (and the reader) to the setting. The Hagrid is kind, nurturing, and, above all, very enthusiastic about the setting. Once the Hagrid has both the protagonist and reader excited about the setting, the Hagrid delivers the protagonist to the setting. 

The Hagrid usually isn’t the mentor figure of the series, but can act as one before the mentor arrives. (Think Obi Wan versus Yoda)

Examples: Hagrid in Harry Potter, Grover in the Percy Jackson series, Obi Wan in Star Wars

Why might a writer want to include a Hagrid in their work? The Hagrid is useful for two things: building up the setting for the reader and letting us know that it is a place where we might find more friendly faces. The character is a subtle way of ensuring the reader trusts that this setting will be a good one.

A REMARKABLE POINT OF ENTRY

Narnia has The Wardrobe. Hogwarts has Platform 9 ¾. Camp Half-Blood has a magical barrier. 

The remarkable point of entry separates the setting from the real world. It delineates the humdrum world the protagonist and reader are used to from the fantastical place they’re headed. It’s the harbinger of adventures to come. 

Additionally, It lets both the protagonist and the reader in on a secret. Not just anyone can get past the RPoE. There’s an air of exclusivity around it. No one knows what lies beyond except we select few. 

We who know to walk through the wall.

We who were told the day’s password. 

We who opened the book. 

The remarkable point of entry marks both the setting as someplace special, and the protagonist as someone special. Because the reader goes through the RPoE by way of turning the page, it marks them as special, too. 

AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY 

Readers like to see ourselves in books. Now that we have entered this setting, we must feel as though we can belong there. Few books truly succeed at diversity in regards to race and sexual orientation; however, authors have achieved an air of inclusivity by utilising a couple of different methods. 

The first is by showing that different categories of people can live in this place. Think of the house system in Harry Potter. The cabins of camp Half-Blood. Include a system of categorisation in a place and readers will immediately sort ourselves into it and achieve a sense of belonging for it. 

The second–and fiction’s favorite–method of showing that a setting accepts everyone is by populating it with misfits. Think of Neville and Luna in Harry Potter. In The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson has both ADHD and Dyslexia. Where in the outer world, these cause Percy trouble, in Camp Half-Blood, these traits help him excel. It utilises the trope of the ‘misfit’ to best effect: it transforms the setting into a place where the things that make us different and weird turn out to be our greatest strengths.  

The settings in these books provide a place to belong for those who might not have any other place to belong. The settings become places where readers feel as though they could not only belong, but succeed in, too.

A SENSE OF SAFETY

The setting must not only provide a place where anyone can belong; it is almost always a place of great safety. Hagrid refers to Hogwarts as one of the safest places on Earth. Percy Jackson is told he’ll die outside of Camp Half-Blood. The Shire is known for being quiet and safe. 

This makes sense as a feature one might want a home to have. It is the reason places like Panem and The New World in The Knife of Never Letting Go, although well-constructed settings, aren’t places a reader might ever wish to be “welcomed home.”

Because of this, safety is a crucial feature of settings the might ‘welcome a reader home.’ Without it, a reader may revisit a story for the plot, or for the characters, but never because we wish to return to the setting itself. The reader must know that whatever adventures take place, things will turn out alright in the end. 

UNAVOIDABLE ADVENTURE

Although the setting must be safe, it cannot be boring. For a setting to truly enchant a reader, it must come with the sense that once there, adventure will find them. The Shire is the best example of this. 

Bilbo does not want an adventure. He says so outright when one is first suggested: ‘we don’t want any adventures here, thank you’ (Tolkien, 5). Nonetheless, he finds himself in the middle of one: ‘Mr. Baggins… was beginning to wonder whether a most wretched adventure had not come right into his house’ (Tolkien, 11). 

Although adventure is rare in The Shire, the reader would likely identify with Bilbo, and feel if they lived in The Shire, they would be picked out for an adventure, too. In any case, they’d be in the right place for it.

You see this with Harry stumbling across the Mirror of Erised, with the sybil granting Percy a quest. 

It’s a trope of the hero’s journey: there must be a call to action, the hero must reject the call, and something must happen so the hero is forced to take action anyway. The unavoidable adventure that sets the plots into action, but it does more than that. It makes the setting a place where stories occurs. This allows the reader to imagine that if we were there, then, surely we would fall into an adventure worth writing a book about, too. 

How could we not? 

It’s unavoidable.

AN ELEMENT OF THE FANTASTIC

This element makes good on the promise set out with the remarkable point of entry. 

It’s most important and indefinable feature of a beloved setting.

This is the talking portraits and moving stairways of Hogwarts. The round doors, under-hill homes, and second breakfasts in the Shire. The deadly serious games of Catch the Flag at Camp Half-Blood.

It doesn’t necessarily have to magical, but it has to be unique and larger than life. The fantastical element is the ‘wow factor’ of a setting. It’s what makes the setting stand out in the reader’s mind. What truly captures the reader’s imagination. It is crucial for making a setting truly effective.

I’m not going to claim that this list is either prescriptive or comprehensive, but hope it might prove a starting point in transforming your setting from a place your characters inhabit, to a place your readers inhabit, too. 

Iconic Characters of Fantasy Fiction: Smaug

As per April Fools tradition, I take today as an opportunity to do something a little different than what I’d normally do.  So, for today only, we’re going to talk about a character from fantasy fiction, rather than my beloved horror genre.  With those parameters, I think we can all agree there was only one character who is absolutely essential for this limited edition series.

So, for the billionth time on this blog, let’s talk about Smaug.

Smaug is one of those characters who is so efficient in the way he is written that it fills me with near-religious awe.  He’s in that small pool of villains who are barely in their own story, yet cast a shadow so large that they are a main character nonetheless - right up there with Count Dracula and Hannibal Lecter (and, though it may be premature to declare him such, I consider the Beast from Over the Garden Wall to be a villain of the same caliber).  That is such a hard thing to make as a writer, and I cannot conceive of how much Tolkien worked to pull it off.

To be fair, he had some help from mythic tradition.  Dragons are a monster archetype that have held a lot of clout for a long, long time.  They have been used as symbols of power for so long - hell, Dracula, one of those other villains that does a lot with very little, even takes his name from the word “dragon.”  As monsters, dragons are generally such a calamitous thing that only the best of the best could defeat them - it’s why there are so many stories where heroes are compared to “knights in shining armor” who “slay dragons.”  A dragon is a threat of unnatural importance.

So when The Hobbit begins with some dwarves telling Bilbo how their nation was destroyed by a fire breathing dragon, they have hundreds of years of story telling tradition backing them up.  The dragon is a terror so great that the dwarves are willing to undergo countless horrors and trials just to get rid of him, even if they never come up with a plan to actually deal with the creature.

At the same time, we have Smaug’s counterpart in the story, Bilbo Baggins.  While Smaug is built up as an antagonist by drawing on hundreds of years of story telling tradition, Bilbo is built up as a hero by contradicting those traditional expectations.  Bilbo seems as unsuited to heroics as a person could be when we first meet him - he’s a small, near middle-aged independently wealthy bachelor who spends most of his time reading books and eating.  He’s not strong or even in shape, he’s never faced any real danger, and he has had as simple and pleasant a life as one could imagine.  The biggest weapon he can handle is generously called a dagger (and more like a letter opener), and even then he mainly uses it to tell when danger is coming so he can hide.  In the traditional sense, Bilbo is not an impressive hero.

Yet it’s Bilbo’s non-traditional traits that actually give him an edge.  Bilbo is more clever than most of his enemies, even if he needs a little instruction early on in his quest on how to use that clever brain of his.  Bilbo’s companions, who are better with violence than he is, quickly prove to be kind of a burden, since they stupidly stumble into every obstacle on their path, which makes Bilbo’s brain all the more valuable.  The clever Hobbit eventually takes charge of the adventure, and when he does the tides turn in his group’s favor.  Bilbo not only saves his friends from giant spiders and elves, but manages to do so with as little bloodshed as possible.  This is why Bilbo is chosen to face the dragon when the dwarves finally get to the mountain, even if their “king” Thorin refuses to admit it - Bilbo is, ultimately, the most capable person out of all of them.

So we get to the big conversation - the first of only two scenes Smaug has in the novel.  Smaug has been built up as a traditional mythic threat, full of terrible physical power.  Bilbo, on the other hand, has been built up as having a power most traditional mythic characters lack - he is clever in a way most monsters, being big dumb brutes, cannot match.  While Smaug seems insurmountable, surely Bilbo’s cleverness will prove to be something he’s unprepared for.  That’s how it’s worked with all the other monsters, so that’s how it will work here, right?

Bilbo sneaks into Smaug’s lair under cover of invisibility, all set to steal something without the reptile’s notice.  But Smaug does notice, and this dragon, glorious in its hideous size and power, awakens.  Unlike other monsters in the novel, who immediately pressed their attack, Smaug is calm.  He glares about the room, methodically looking for his unseen thief.  Smaug isn’t like other villains in the book - Smaug thinks.

And then Smaug talks.

One of the ways Bilbo is contrasted against the other characters in the novel is in the way he talks.  Bilbo’s dialogue is more modern than that of the dwarves, goblins, elves, etc.  Most characters in the book talk like characters in a medieval folktale, but Bilbo talks like, well, a early 20th century Englishman (i.e. like the author would).  The contrast is subtle, but important - it makes Bilbo come off as a little more eloquent, a little more witty, and a little more, well, intellectually developed than his companions.  Only one other character in the novel shares this distinction: Smaug.  Smaug matches Bilbo’s banter with his own - in the battle of wits, they are evenly matched.

Smaug is charming and affable (not unlike Dracula) when dealing with Bilbo, welcoming the thief to his lair and politely asking the hobbit about himself.  There’s an undercurrent of malice to it all, of course - Bilbo knows that Smaug is really just probing him for information, which the dragon will probably use to enact a violent revenge on the hobbit later - but every question is stated in an eloquent and mostly friendly manner.  It’s disarming, and for a good length of the conversation you’re tempted to forget this great reptile is a wicked monster. He’s by far the most cultured person Bilbo’s bumped heads with against in the book so far, after all, and definitely the most courteous.

Bilbo answers Smaug’s questions with riddles - a smart move on Bilbo’s part, since the hobbit won his first real victory in the novel by beating a different monster in a riddle contest.  However, the hobbit is only partly successful here - while he is able to obfuscate some facts about himself, Smaug guesses enough things correctly to put the hobbit on edge (including a rather ghastly reveal that the dragon ate Bilbo and the dwarves’ ponies, including a joke about how plump Bilbo’s delicious horsey friend was - “Barrel rider?  Then I’ve guessed your riddle.  Barrel was your pony’s name - or if it wasn’t, he was fat enough.”).  Worse still, Smaug’s wrong conclusions still lead him in the direction of harming people Bilbo cares about - even when bested, the dragon is a deadly enemy.

Then, with one loose word of his hostile intent, Bilbo accidentally makes the dragon to remind us of how terrifying he truly is.  Smaug has a beautifully written speech about his own power - Tolkien has a lot of clunky dialogue in his books, but this speech is not an example of it.  No, it is almost poetry in how well chosen and precise the language is, all designed to roll off the tongue in a horrifying and brilliant boast of the dragon’s primeval power.  Like Dracula, Smaug is a creature to be feared even when he is at his most affable - for the dragon can afford to be calm and kind on a whim, as he knows he has the power to crush all who oppose him in the end.  This is when Bilbo finally cuts and runs, and while he manages to escape the dragon’s immediate wrath, Smaug does manage to catch the hobbit’s rear end with his flames, and later goes on to immolate a whole town in vengeance.

Smaug also has a slightly satirical duality with Bilbo.  Bilbo, and most hobbits for that matter, is sort of an idle rich man, living well on inherited wealth and not really doing much of anything with his life.  Smaug likewise lives on an immense hoard of treasure that is more than what he needs - in fact, he is the first rich person to be literally protected by his wealth, as the dragon has covered the only weak spot on his body by having gems and gold get embedded in his belly scales after centuries of sleeping on them.  He is literally shielded by his own wealth - and if there’s a better metaphor for the worst aspects of the upper class than a homicidally selfish reptile that is protected by a waistcoat made of its own excessive hoarded money, well, I haven’t read it.

Smaug is so satisfying as a villain - he’s powerful, terrifying, and eloquent, charming and scary, and a match for our hero in every regard.  He’s an enemy that seems utterly insurmountable, which makes it all the more satisfying when our underdog protagonist finally finds the rare chink in that impenetrable armor.  He’s charismatic yet cruel, beautiful yet hideous, savage and ingenious.  There’s a reason why so many dragons after him have been made in his mold - Smaug is magnificent, the chiefest and greatest of all calamities.

Now if only someone would put him in a goddamn film.

(If you want me to blather on about Smaug some more - and believe me, there is a LOT more I can still say about him - please look here and here.)

In the years since I began to write about Earthsea I’ve changed, of course, and so have the people who read the books. All times are changing times, but ours is one of massive, rapid moral and mental transformation. Archetypes turn into millstones, large simplicities get complicated, chaos becomes elegant, and what everybody knows is true turns out to be what some people used to think.
It’s unsettling. For all our delight in the impermanent, the entrancing flicker of electronics, we also long for the unalterable.
We cherish the old stories for their changelessness. Arthur dreams eternally in Avalon. Bilbo can go “there and back again,” and “there” is always the beloved familiar Shire. Don Quixote sets out forever to kill a windmill… So people turn to the realms of fantasy for stability, ancient truths, immutable simplicities.
And the mills of capitalism provide them. Supply meets demand. Fantasy becomes a commodity, an industry.
Commodified fantasy takes no risks: it invents nothing, but imitates and trivialises. It proceeds by depriving the old stories of their intellectual and ethical complexity, turning their action to violence, their actors to dolls, and their truth- telling to sentimental platitude. Heroes brandish their swords, lasers, wands, as mechanically as combine harvesters, reaping profits. Profoundly disturbing moral choices are sanitized, made cute, made safe. The passionately conceived ideas of the great story-tellers are copied, advertised, sold, broken, junked, replaceable, interchangeable.
What the commodifiers of fantasy count on and exploit is the insuperable imagination of the reader, child or adult, which gives even these dead things life - of a sort, for a while.
Imagination like all living things lives now, and it lives with, from, on true change. Like all we do and have, it can be co-opted and degraded; but it survives commercial and didactic exploitation. The land outlasts the empires. The conquerors may leave desert where there was forest and meadow, but the rain will fall, the rivers will run to the sea. The unstable, mutable, untruthful realms of Once-upon-a-time are as much a part of human history and thought as the nations in our kaleidoscopic atlases, and some are more enduring.
We have inhabited both the actual and the imaginary realms for a long time. But we don’t live in either place the way our parents or ancestors did. Enchantment alters with age, and with the age.
We know a dozen different Arthurs now, all of them true. The Shire changed irrevocably even in Bilbo’s lifetime. Don Quixote went riding out to Argentina and met Jorge Luis Borges there. Plus c'est la même chose, plus ça change.
—  Ursula K. Le Guin, from The Tales of Earthsea Foreword.

anonymous asked:

I saw your post on Tolkien Elves and it was very interesting. As someone who writes a lot of fantasy, do you have any other suggestions on what to avoid? Like Tolkien clichés. I mean, I love his work but I don't want to copy him.

I might as well put all of this is one place.

Cliches Inspired By Tolkien:

  • Light vs Dark: Also known as “good vs evil”, this symbolism is often applied to species, or “races”. Making the light species good and the dark species evil has negative racial connotations relating to our world and it should not be used. This is often seen among elven species in which the light-skinned elves are pure and knock-offs of Tolkien’s elves in every way and in which the dark-skinned elves are evil, brutish, “uncivilized”, and unintelligent. This is also used with general appearances, such as beautiful people being good and ugly people being evil.
  • Elves: Elves do not have to be white, beautiful, immortal, tall, mystical, and pure. As far as I can recall, Tolkien never mentioned pointy ears among his elves, but that is a hallmark of elven features. Whether you want pointy ears or not is up to you, but try to find a reason for them. 
  • Horses: There are so many fictional societies based off Rohan and its love for horses. I would say the Dothraki get a pass due to them being loosely based on a real ethnic group. Choose a different animal.
  • Elves vs Dwarves: Elves and dwarves having a feud is fairly common in fantasy for some reason. They tend to be opposite of each other too (elves being gracile, pure, and fair with dwarves being robust, loud, and hardy).
  • Dwarves: They don’t have to live in mountains, they don’t have to be greedy, they don’t have to be excellent smiths, and they don’t have to be a warrior culture.
  • The Great Wise Wizard: If you’re going to make a great wizard, please don’t make them an old white guy with a long white beard. A Great Wizard probably will be on the older side due to the need for experience to be great, but they can look and act like anything.
  • All These Races Into One: You don’t actually need all these fantasy races in your fantasy to make it a fantasy.

Cliches Inspired By Misinterpretations of Tolkien:

  • Evil for the Sake of Evil: Sauron was not always evil. Give your evil villains a good back story. Stop calling them “The Dark Lord” or “The Dark One”. Stop making The Dark Lord’s minions weaklings that your protagonists consistently outsmart and outrun.
  • Medieval Everything: Not all of Middle Earth was a medieval monarchy.
  • Naive Farm Boy: Many modern fantasy writers will model their hero after Aragorn. He’s halfway between a hero and an anti-hero and he’s awesome. We all love him. But he was not the hero. Frodo was the hero of The Lord of the Rings and Bilbo was the hero of The Hobbit. Both are unlikely heroes who could not have completed their quests without significant help. Because of this, Frodo/Bilbo and Aragorn have been combined to create one of the biggest fantasy cliches among modern writers: The Naive Farm Boy Turned Chosen One/King.

Other:

wanderingrestlessly  asked:

i think if bilbo died and thorin wrote the story, it'd be darker. he wouldn't be the hero of his own story - bilbo would. and he'd probably talk bad about himself and exaggerate his flaws and failures. and oh god, the guilt and horror that would permeate the chapters on the gold sickness - i dunno if he'd go into extreme detail or gloss over it, but whoever read it would almost be able to taste the regret, shame, and self-loathing. he probably wouldn't gloss over anything tho, so bilbo's (1/2)

(2/2) death wouldn’t be in vain. and if fili and kili still died, then we’d have a chapter on how he told dis and the heartbreak of it all. if thorin retold the story and bilbo died instead of him, i don’t think there’d be any hope at all in the tone after botfa. BUT before all that there’d be bits of achingly sweet thoughts on bilbo and how the hobbit grew on him like a vine that he never wanted to prune. and i’d like to think he’d put in a lot of plant metaphors in honor of his hobbit

When I was young and I lost the mountain, when I had lost my family, I thought to myself that I would never experience a greater grief. 

It was not the first time in my life that I had been wrong.

It was in Bilbo’s final moments that I came to know that the treasure hoard of Thrór  was of no value to me. There would be no amount of gold to replace him, no amount of gold to take away the ache that was now a permanent fixture in my heart. Carved in there like the great pillars that line Erebor’s halls, hard and never moving. 

“If Thorin Oakenshield gives his word, then he will keep it.”

((i was thinking about bilbo vouching for thorin in laketown and the way thorin just looked at him absolutely floored by his loyalty and how he probably thinks he doesn’t deserve that much of bilbo’s love and i accidentally wrote a conversation i think they might have had after that…))

“I’m not sure you know the definition of merrymaking, Thorin.”

They’re at at inn close to the Master’s house and the Company is loud and boisterous at the bar, unable to contain their joy as they drink and feast just under the shadow of the mountain.

There are songs being sung, and plenty of coin making the rounds, and the general stink of fish and alcohol, but that’s to be expected. And Bilbo would be having a lovely time, quietly tucking into a roasted trout and listening to Fili’s jokes, were it not for the literal storm cloud leaning against the wall.

(about 1k under the cut)

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May I Kiss You?

ceallaig1 asked Boffins, “May I kiss you?”

Belated final prompt!  <3

—-

Bilbo’s husband was buried under children.

This wasn’t an unusual occurrence, truth be told.  Bilbo and Bofur were both terribly popular with the younger set, who loved their stories of adventure, and the differences between them: Bilbo tended to paint the great Thorin Oakenshield as their true story’s hero; Bofur preferring to tell tales of the brave Bilbo Baggins.  Bofur also told some strange dwarf tales, albeit in the common tongue and changed enough that his conscience didn’t trouble him about sharing dwarf culture with a group of big-eyed mini-Hobbits.  Seeing small hobbits hanging off his dwarf’s arms or clinging to his shoulders was a warm and familiar sight.

But it was different tonight.

Tonight they were surrounded by noise and laughter, seemingly every Hobbit of any age in the West Farthing in attendance.  Ale flowed and food was abundant, and everyone know that Gandalf the Grey would be setting off fireworks later.

It was Bilbo’s birthday.  Bilbo’s, and their dear Frodo’s.  His eleventy-first, Frodo’s thirty-third.

It would be Bilbo’s last birthday in the Shire, though their beloved nephew didn’t know it yet.

“Let him up!” Bilbo ordered with a laugh, kicking a young cousin soundly in the trousers when he wouldn’t give up his spot on Bofur’s stomach.  “He’s not as young as he used to be, you bratlings.”

Bofur let out a muffled shout of offended dismay at this.  “I’m plenty young, thank you, Master Burglar!” he argued, but when his head popped out from the hobbitling pile, his thick braids and fluff of a beard were as gray as they were brown. 

Bilbo thought him terribly handsome, even after all these years.

He shooed the little hobbits with promises of biscuits on the treat table to the left of the party tree.  One lingered, a little Bracegirdle who threw her arms around Bofur’s neck and gave him a noisy, little girl kiss before she scampered off into the dark, giggling to herself in pleased exultation.

Bofur blinked.  “I was assaulted,” he said.

Bilbo smiled and reached out his hands, taking the thick, strong fingers in his own and providing an anchor as Bofur hopped to his feet.  Bofur dusted himself off, chuckling under his breath and looking after the children as they piled on the promised table.

He had always fit in so well here.

Better, sometimes, than Bilbo.

How strange, that it should be easier to be the only dwarf among Hobbits than to be a Hobbit who had been on an adventure and buried beloved friends under a distant mountain.

“You could stay,” he blurted.

Bofur looked at him, tilting his head.  “Why would I want to,” he asked with honest confusion, “when you’re off adventuring across Arda?"  He rested his hands on his hips a moment, still tall and broad, but softer in the middle and narrower in the shoulders after sixty years married to Mad Baggins of the Shire.  "It’d be you I followed to the Shire, Bilbo.  And it’ll be you I’m holding hands with when you’ve done all your wandering, and we take our tired old bones back to Erebor.”

Of course.  

Bilbo smiled, and held out his hands again, waiting until Bofur’s - older now, softer, the hands of a tinker and a landlord rather than those of a miner - slipped into his own.  It was a familiar pose, warm with a hundred memories.  But always Bilbo thought of the first time, of Bofur lifting him to his feet in the garden, when he was young and tired and shocked to find his friend who should have been beneath a mountain instead mixed in among his begonias.

Bofur had asked the question that day.  Bilbo asked tonight:

“May I kiss you?” with a sparkle in his eye.

The answering grin was pure joy and kindness and mischief and everything that was Bofur.   Bofur quoted, “A kiss?  Without even a hello?” but without the dark blush and embarrassing squeak Bilbo felt sure had accompanied the words the first time.

Bilbo stepped closer,  The party went on around him, and it was noise and bother and grated on his nerves, and he didn’t regret his choice to go, with this dwarf by his side.  “Hello,” he said, as Bofur had, all those years ago. 

“Ah well, then, with the niceties out of the way,” Bofur leaned down and Bilbo pushed up on his toes, as comfortable and practiced as the old slippers Bofur would insist on wearing around the house, the ones Bilbo had carefully packed just that morning for the trip ahead, “it’s only polite that I say yes.”

It was only fitting, Bilbo thought, that their last kiss in the Shire should be just as the first one.

He was ready for their next great adventure.

"Sanzigil"

So I saw that avelera had a bit of a rough day so I wrote her some sub!Thorin. It was supposed to be porn but then it ended up being THE ACTUAL MOST TAME D/s fic that has ever existed.

Nonsexual D/s dynamics with Dom!Bilbo and sub!Thorin. Yup. Warnings for that, and the fact that this is unedited.

sanzigil" = “mithril” in khuzdul.

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ISFJ heroes and heroines.:3

Anna/Downton Abbey - Pepper/Iron Man - Molly/Wives and Daughters - Sophie/Howl’s Moving Castle - Bilbo/Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit - Esther/Bleak House - Neville/Harry Potter - Tiana/The Princess and the Frog - Balin/The Hobbit - Cedric/Harry Potter - Umi/From Up on Poppy Hill - Slinky/Toy Story - Edward/Sense and Sensibility - Suki/Avatar The Last Airbender - Piglet/Winnie Pooh - Gwen/Merlin - Anne/Persuasion - Steve/Captain America - Marlin/Finding Nemo - Sam/Lord of the Rings

more mbti collages

who was the person bilbo pledged his service to

I don’t know if anyone else has written about this (if so, forgive me for repeating), but this has been niggling in the back of my brain.

By now we’ve pretty much all noted what appears to be a sloppy error in script-writing. When Bilbo returns to the Shire, the auctioneer examines his contract and asks, “Who was this person you pledged your service to - Thorin Oakenshield?” But Thorin’s signature on the contract reads “Thorin, Son of Thrain.” (”Oakenshield” is a moniker, a warrior’s title, not a surname. Thorin’s “official” name wouldn’t include it; but “Son of Thrain” distinguishes him from others dwarves named Thorin, and so is part of his official signature). So how did the auctioneer know to call him Oakenshield? What the hell is going on?

I think this apparent screw-up is actually just a result of the fact that Bilbo is narrating the story. It’s easy for me (probably lots of us) to forget this at times, but this truly is Bilbo’s story, and he is the one telling it. 

So back to the question: Who is this person you pledged your service to?

It’s Thorin Oakenshield - not Thorin Son of Thrain. That’s who Bilbo “pledged” himself to (read that however you see fit (*cough* bagginshield *cough*). This ties into Thorin’s character arc, which centers on the identity struggle that Thorin undergoes. Is he Thorin Oakenshield, is he Thorin, Son of Thrain, King Under the Mountain? Is he both? Is one better than the other, and does Thorin have to make a choice? (He does, and he chooses Thorin Oakenshield when he casts off the king’s crown and the king’s armor). 

So when Bilbo tells his story of returning to the Shire and being questioned about his travels, “Who was this person you pledged your service to,” he, too, makes a choice in the way he narrates this part of his story. And Bilbo also chooses Thorin Oakenshield; but more importantly, he doesn’t choose Thorin, Son of Thrain (King Under the Mountain).

Because to Bilbo, Thorin was never that. He was never a great hero, never a legend, never a king (”I’ll vouch for him…if Thorin Oakenshield gives his word…”) To Bilbo he was… a friend, just a person that Bilbo forged a strong connection with, someone that Bilbo cared for and loved because of who he was not what he was or what he could have been; Thorin was a person struggling to do what was right for his people, and most importantly, trying to get home.

That’s the person Bilbo pledged himself to. Rearrange the dialogue a bit and you get, “I pledged my services to my friend.” And that’s why the auctioneer asks about him, about Thorin Oakenshield, and not the other Thorin.

4

Martin is quite adamant in rejecting the characterization that he plays the ‘Everyman’; he sees this at best as a lazy generalization and as minimizing the roles he plays and the skills he exhibits as an actor. But should he take offence?  The Everyman as a central character is the character the audience identifies with, the character about whom the audience says 'if I were in this story, then that would be me’.  The Everyman, when well written, is not the character to whom things happen, the Everyman is the character who finds that he can make things happen, who finds his strengths and weaknesses in making those things happen, who is changed by his journey.  The Everyman is not along for the ride, the Everyman is the ride. And it takes a skilled actor to be that ride.  

 It takes an actor who is not defined by his good looks, or his action hero physique.  If Tim Canterbury, Dr. John Watson, Bilbo Baggins and Lester Nygaard are each an 'Everyman’ then the roles of the Everyman are more varied and disparate than those of the leading man or the super hero.  So it takes a chameleon to play the Everyman over and over, because the Everyman is everyone who, caught up in the day to day humdrum of life, breaks free from it by chance or choice or design and goes down one of the million unknown and surprising paths that make a good story.

anonymous asked:

hey jw do you know of any good recs where thorin stays in erebor and is a good king with bilbo at his side? i suddenly have a massive need for it lol.

Hi Nonnie! You came to the right place, that’s one of my favorite AUs!

So, first, some one-shots. These are all established-relationship:

Some multichapters:

I hope these are enough to satisfy your cravings! :D

I’ve muttered about this before but Thorin is pretty much coded to be the hero. From the sad backstory, to the noble quest; he’s even got the love interest.

And pretty much everyone acknowledges this, except I think Thorin himself.

I don’t think Thorin thinks of himself as the hero in the story. I don’t think he spares a thought to what people will say about him in the history books.

So who is the hero in Thorin’s story?

Bilbo of course. Which, he isn’t wrong. Because “The Hobbit” is the title after all. So it’s Thorin and the rest of us who knows what’s up.

Which isn’t really where I was going to go with this, but it’s a bit interesting.

What I was going to point out was that Thorin is a romantic. The opposite of a realist.
Realism? What realism?
Because if he was a realist there’s no bloody way he’d set off on a quest to reclaim Erebor. A romantic on the other hand… Hell yeah. A hope and a dream and loyalty, honour and a willing heart. That’s romanticism.

So how to win the heart of a romantic? I think it’s when Bilbo starts making the big gestures that Thorin falls for him. When Bilbo shows he, an outsider, believes in the quest as much as Thorin does.

And I think Thorin seeing Bilbo as a heroic figure helps him to trust Bilbo.

Heroes are *good*. Which could be part of the reason why he didn’t think Bilbo could take the Arkenstone. (Which from Thorin’s perspective definitely was a not-good act).

Thorin’s inner narrative is basically built to make Bilbo the hero, and that’s also why he wants so much for Bilbo to have a happy ending. Going back to his books and armchair. Happily ever after.

But he fails to know his own importance when it comes to Bilbo’s happiness.

Thorin wanting the happily ever after for Bilbo means that Bilbo’s ending of his book is very bittersweet.

‘And he lived happily ever after, to the end of his days.’

He comes up with that ending as he’s doing the opposite of what Thorin told him, when he’s leaving his garden and books and armchair to go exploring again, planning to see the world again, to go back to Erebor again.

Because how can Bilbo’s happily ever after happen in the Shire when he left his heart half way across the world?

Imagine Fili telling you about the life he wished you two would have had as you lay dying after protecting him during the battle of the five armies.

Imagine Fili telling you about the life he wished you two would have had as you lay dying after protecting him during the battle of the five armies.

I tried. :|


Pain. Overwhelming pain.

You see black, white, and red, all at the same time. Your place your hands on your abdomen, in a vain attempt to relieve yourself of the agony.

You feel something long and thin protruding from your stomach, ‘an arrow’ you think to yourself. But your hands feel something else. Something all too familiar. Something bad. Something that stinks of death.

It’s warm. And whatever’s coming out of you, it’s flowing out fast.

You try to look down at your hands. Your vision is blurry but you manage to see glimpses of crimson and the flesh of your hands.

It’s blood. Lots of blood.

You fold to your knees, unable to stand, and feeling terribly disoriented.

“y/n!” You hear a familiar voice shout.

“Fili.” you say, barely a whisper.

You feel strong arms lift you up and carry you.

“It’s alright y/n. You’ll be alright, love.” Fili reassures you. Although, it seems like it were more as if he was reassuring himself.

You feel Fili put you down and sit you up against a hard rock.

You open your eyes to see the young blond worried, eyes wild. He’s cautiously examining your wound. He tears off a piece of his shirt and frantically tries to stop the bleeding.

“Fili.” You say. “It’s alright.”

He looks up at you and sighs in resignation. You notice the tears brimming his eyes.

“Hello, love.” He smiles weakly.

You just manage to smile back. You remove your hand cradling your abdomen and put it on his cheek. “Don’t look at me as if I’m dying.” you grin. You rub your thumb on his skin, leaving circles of blood, ignoring the pain shooting up your body.

He takes your hand in his and holds it gently. “Of course not.” He smiles.

He strokes your hair as he struggles to find the right words to say. “You know…” he whispers “After we win this battle, we’ll finally take back Erebor.” he tells you.

“I’m confident we will Fee. Especially with a strong warrior like you.” You smile.

He grins weakly. “I… Y/n… I…”

“Tell me what we’ll do after we take back Erebor, Fee.”

He looks into your eyes. “We’ll have feasts every night!” He says with as much enthusiasm as he can muster. “There’ll be roast chicken, as much cheese as you can imagine, and chocolate as far as the eye can see! And how could I forget your favorite pot roast!” He smiles wistfully.

“Now Fee, you would make me as big as Bombur at that rate.” You grin, ignoring the increasing pain.

He chuckles.

“Then what, Fee?”

He looks at you with loving eyes. “You would be crowned Princess of Erebor.” He takes your other hand and rubs comforting circles in your skin.

“And how would that be so?”

“First, I would bring you to the mines.”

“How romantic, hundreds of feet deep beneath under ground surrounded by a bunch of rocks.” You say jokingly.

“I’d not yet finished, love.” He says, fighting back tears slowly escaping down to his cheeks, flowing past his forced smile.

“Then I would take you to the treasure-hold. And I would tell you that 'Out of all the diamonds here, none shine as bright of you.’”

You manage to chuckle, the pain fading away. “Smooth-talker, eh?”

He chuckles as well. “Then I’d say, 'Out of all the precious gemstones here, none could ever compare to your beauty.’” He takes a deep breath.“ 'Out of all the gold here, none will ever be as valuable as you are.’ Then I would apologize profusely for my lack of eloquence and the inability to say the right words. I would take your hands in mine and tell you that I could never love anyone or anything like I have ever loved you.” His voice was wavering now. “Then I would get down on one knee, take this ring from my pocket,” He takes a small wooden box and places it in his hands before you and opens it to reveal a ring. A ring that could rival the beauty of the Arkenstone.

“Fili, I…” You whisper, numbness taking your body.

“I would ask for your hand in marriage, and you would say…”

“Yes, Fee. I would say yes, a hundred times over.” You place your hands on his cheeks and he cradles you in his arms and places the ring on your finger.

He continues, tears free flowing now. “We would get married in the great halls. And.” He takes a ragged breath “Uncle Thorin and would be there to give us his blessing. Kili would be my best man. Possibly almost losing the ring, but he would be the best, best man I could ever have nonetheless.”

“Bombur would eat all the food at our reception and Bofur would sing our wedding songs.” You whisper.

“Of course, love. And Ori will be there to draw everything. You, especially. Every single beautiful detail. From your sapphire eyes, to your intricate braids, and your crown of flowers. But I believe he would have difficulty in capturing your smile. Some majesty just can’t be captured on paper. The entire company will be there for our union, and all of the race of dwarves will cheer and celebrate to have a future queen as wonderful as you.”

“You flatter me too much, Fee.” You say as he rubs circles on your back.

He takes your chin in his hand and puts his face to yours. “And I would kiss you like there was no tomorrow.” He kisses you softly.

“And we would have children, wouldn’t we, Fee?” You reply when he lets you go.

“Of course y/n. We would have five little dwarrows and dwar— ”

“Maybe four, Fili. My body isn’t as strong as it used to be.” You say as you lean your head on his shoulders, numbness overtaking your whole body now.

“We would name our first girl Eri.” He sighs into your hair.

“Then our first boy, Thorin, after your uncle, king before you.”

“And then we would name our second girl Amara and our last son, Kimlig.”

“I think that our last son should be Fili. After his father. His wonderful, loving, terribly fond of practical jokes father.” You croak out with a smile.

Fili buries his face in your hair. “We’ll grow until we’re centuries old.” He takes a sharp breath and struggles to keep his composure. “We will rule Erebor, together. You will be my queen, and I your king.”

You listen, barely able to speak, darkness taking your eyes.

He continues. “Our little ones will wake us up every morning by bouncing up and down our bed. We will all sit together as a family and tell stories of how Uncle Thorin led the company to victory.” His voiced dropped down to barely a whisper. “How their Uncle Kili had married an elf and their marriage had mended the feud between our races. How Bilbo the Hobbit had been a terrific burglar and unlikely hero. And how he had become one of uncle Thorin’s most trusted advisors.” He held you closer to him. “And how could I forget how their Uncle Kili and I almost became goblin food!” He smiled. “But the story we would tell them over and over again is how we grew up, and grew old together.”

“And I will love you all the way.”

He strokes your hair. “I will love you until the end of days”

“And I you, Fili.”

He gives you one last kiss.

“I love you. And I will love you until the end of time.” You smile, the darkness finally taking over your entire body.

He leans his head in the crook of your neck, silently sobbing. You’re gone now. His shoulders are shaking and his warm tears flow to your body. He kisses your forehead and sets you down.

“Until tomorrow, love.” The blond dwarf whispers as he takes his swords and prepares for battle. He wipes the tears from his eyes, rage taking over. “Until tomorrow.”

Is Sam the Hero?

I don’t know if he’s the hero of the War of the Ring (I think that title would have to go to Aragorn), but I do think that he’s the hero of the Lord of the Rings.

Most people assume that Frodo’s the hero of the books. And, in a lot of ways, that makes sense: LotR is, at its most basic, a sequel to The Hobbit, which is about Frodo’s uncle Bilbo. And it’s Frodo that possesses the Ring for most of the story. It’s his quest, which he volunteers for at the Council of Elrond. Frodo is certainly a hero, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not completely convinced that he’s the hero. Here’s some reasons why I’d consider Sam to be the true hero instead:

  • Samwise Gamgee follows Frodo every step of the way on his quest, and on a few occasions (most notably in Cirith Ungol) is responsible for Frodo continuing in his quest. He isn’t necessarily the focus of a lot of the events that take place during the story, but he’s influential in many of them.
  • Frodo does see some growth during the quest, but Sam definitely sees more character development. He starts out as a reluctant, naive, gardner from the Shire. Not only does he discover courage and determination on the journey, but due to his unwavering loyalty to Frodo, he grows into a pretty heroic figure by the end.
  • Whereas Frodo largely fades away as a character after the Ring is destroyed (this is largely a side-effect of the Ring’s destruction itself), Sam only becomes more important. He goes on to be a great leader in the Shire, thereby making himself a better example of Tolkien’s overarching “Age of Men” theme in the books.
  • Frodo’s departure at the Grey Havens is basically the emotional conclusion of the story, but it’s important to acknowledge that the story actually ends with Sam. The last lines in the book are Sam, having returned from the Grey Havens, saying “Well, I’m back.” Now that Sam’s journey is over, there’s no more story to tell, and so the book ends.

Aside from all these reasons, there are a couple hints from Tolkien that suggest that he considered Sam to be the hero as well:

  • In letter 131 he says: “I think the simple ‘rustic’ love of Sam and his Rosie (nowhere elaborated) is absolutely essential to the study of his (the chief hero’s) character, and to the theme of the relation of ordinary life (breathing, eating, working, begetting) and quests, sacrifice, causes, and the 'longing for Elves’, and sheer beauty.
  • In letter 192 Tolkien refers to Frodo as a hero a couple times (though never “the chief hero”, but then in letter 246 he says: “Frodo indeed 'failed’ as a hero.” (Frodo fans, don’t worry, he goes on to explain that comment in great detail, so he’s really not bashing Frodo at all.)

Of course, I don’t think that it’s necessary for you to believe that Sam’s the hero, or that Frodo’s the hero, or that there’s only one hero (in fact, check out this post I did a few months ago about all the heroes in Lord of the Rings.) But, in my very personal opinion, I agree with Tolkien’s comment that Sam is “the chief hero” of The Lord of the Rings.

SOURCES: LOTR; Tolkien’s Letter #131, #192, and #246

Kuro's Bagginshield Fic Rec update

It was about time I did this
Soo, it’s been a while since I updated my fic rec page, and since after the movie there have been a lot of new entries in the fandom (great ones too), I think its time to add those!
So, the one below the cut isn’t the complete rec. You can find it here. These are the ones I’m adding to it.
Like always, there are only complete fics here. I’ll make another post for the WIPs I’m following later.

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anonymous asked:

why you love bilbo so much?

  • Tolkien wasn’t known for grey heroes and reading LOTR is like getting assaulted with the most good and most earnest and most heroic people on earth
  • then there is fucking bilbo baggins
  • who is by all means an arrogant little shit who over values his own intelligence and his hubris is often a small cog that tips the scale outside his favor.
  • and he IS good and IS kind but hes not so earnest about it.
  • he didn’t hear the story of these dwarves and think “i must help them i must be good”
  • his choice to travel with them was ultimately about himself.
  • and like with Frodo, I love that he’s not he man or anything..he’s not Thorin or Aragorn or Logolas like he’s not STRONG and BRAVE in a traditional way even tho he develops some of those attributes. 
  • His strength comes from his intellect AND his kindness, so much so that that’s made to be a major point in the story (that if more people were like him, the world would be a better place)
  • But that purity doesn’t exclude all flaws from him. It doesn’t mean he’s as golden as say…Frodo or Sam.
  • Weh Bilbo is my baby
  • and he was my first like The Hobbit was that book my dad read to me OVER AND OVER
  • so that’s a character that i’ve followed and loved for as long as i’ve consumed fiction.
  • He just also happens to be a legitimately good character as well