stoor

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.

recently there was a bit going around about, i believe, an indian woman who was turned down as an extra for shire scenes because she was “too brown”

and for all the reasons that’s nonsense and racist, another thing is that in canon, hobbits of the shire are descended from three ethnicities of hobbit: stoors, harfoots and fallohides 

their skin tones are literally described in the prologue of the fellowship of the ring – called “concerning hobbits”, which, in the lord of the rings trilogy, is one of the first scenes in the film, and is also the name of the jaunty musical theme you hear in shire scenes in the lotr/hobbit films

harfoots had dark skin, or at least darker than the stoors and fallohides, and the fallohides had lighter skin than the stoors, which means the harfoots are AT LEAST a few shades darker than your average white person

and the harfoots were the most numerous of hobbits, and the fallohides the least numerous and to have fallohide blood was a bit uncommon in the shire – most shire hobbits are primarily descended from the darkest group, the harfoots

tolkien wrote this

so what the fuck are they doing with tolkien casting

3

The three groups of hobbits mentioned in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring - Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides.

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…The Harfoots had much to do with Dwarves in ancient times, and long lived in the foothills of the mountains…They were the the most normal and representative of Hobbit, and far the most numerous.

The Stoors were broader, heavier in build; their feet and hands were larger, and they preferred flat lands and riversides….The Stoors lingered long by the banks of the Great River Anduin, and were less shy of men. They came west  after the Harfoots and followed the course of the Loud-water southwards. 

The Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others, they were lovers of trees and woodlands…The Fallohides, the least numerous, were a northerly branch. They were more friendly with Elves than the other Hobbits were, and had more skill in language and song than in handicrafts; and of old they preferred hunting to tilling.

[Fellowship of the Ring - Prologue - p20] 

Here’s the first batch (½) of archived posts from Askmiddlearth that relate to the Prologue. A heads up for any first-time readers out there - I cannot guarantee that these posts are spoiler-free, so read them at your own risk.

Now And For Always
  • Now And For Always
  • Sam
  • The Lord Of The Rings Musical
Play

The Lord of the Rings Musical (x)

Track 12: Now and For Always

Sung by Frodo and Sam

[this is the part where Sam reassures Frodo as they near Mordor, as seen in Sam’s speech in the film]

[SAM]
Sing me a story of heroes of the Shire
Muddling through, brave and true
Stubborn as bindweed and tough as old brier
Never too showy or grand
Year after year they persevere
Now and for always
Harfoots who planted, and Stoor folk who ploughed
Bred to endure, slow but sure
Fallohide blood in your veins makes you proud
Sturdy and steady they stand
True to their aim to stay the same
Now and for always

[FRODO & SAM]
Sit by the firelight’s glow
Tell us an old tale we know
Tell of adventures strange and rare
Never to change
Ever to share
Stories we tell will cast their spell
Now and for always

[SAM]
Sing me a story of Frodo and the ring
Fearless and bold

[FRODO]
Tired and cold

[SAM]
Sword at his side
An elf blade called sting
Crossing a miserable land
Wouldn’t retreat
Just followed his feet
Now and for always

[FRODO & SAM]
Sit by the firelight’s glow
Tell us an old tale we know
Tell of adventures strange and rare
Never to change
Ever to share
Stories we tell will cast their spell
Now and for always

[FRODO]
Sing me a tale of the bravest of them all
Comrade and guide, at my side
Stouthearted Sam who wouldn’t let me fall
Holding my life in his hand
True to the end, no finer friend
Now and for always

[FRODO & SAM]
Sit by the firelight’s glow
Tell us an old tale we know
Tell of adventures strange and rare
Never to change
Ever to share
Stories we tell will cast their spell
Now and for always

I cry every time I listen to this one.

10 Typical Dutch Expressions

10 Typical Dutch Expressions

Ten typical Dutch expressions that will serve you well when working with managers or when you are a one of them yourself.

  1. Komt het gelegen? – Is it convenient?

This is the very gentle way to opening the conversation with somebody who is busy. The other person might answer: Waar gaat het over?- What is it about?

  1. Stoor ik? – Am I disturbing you?

You are very polite when you use this question, when…

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