Concerning Hobbits


LotR as a "Fundamentally Catholic and Religious Work"    

Concerning Hobbits

It took me awhile to decide where to put this essay, or even to decide that it was important enough to write. But I think it's necessary background before we start looking more closely at Frodo as an atypical hobbit. As Elrond says, 'I have known few hobbits, save Bilbo here; and it seems to me that he is perhaps not so alone and singular as I had thought him.' (Question: At that point, has Elrond known any hobbits besides Bilbo?)

There's something about hobbits in general that gives them an advantage when dealing with the Ring. Gandalf (the only one among the Wise who 'goes in for hobbit lore') says, 'I think it likely that some [hobbits] would resist the Rings far longer than most of the Wise would believe.' He's referring primarily to Bilbo in that statement, the only person in the history of the Ring who was able to give it up by free will (except for Sam after his very brief possession of it). But even Gollum, who was related to hobbits, faded more slowly than would be expected, as he possessed the Ring for what would normally have been lifetimes. As Gandalf says to Frodo after he is wounded on Weathertop, 'And it seems that Hobbits fade very reluctantly. I have known strong warriors of the Big People who would quickly have been overcome by that splinter, which you bore for seventeen days.'

Earlier, Strider had said to Sam, 'Your Frodo is made of sterner stuff than I had guessed, though Gandalf hinted that it might prove so. He is not slain, and I think he will resist the evil power of the wound longer than his enemies expect.'

And it's not just Bilbo and Frodo who have this quality. After Pippin looks into the palantir, Gandalf says of him, '...hobbits have an amazing power of recovery.'

One thing that hobbits have is a deep-down (sometimes deeply buried) strength and courage, perhaps coming partially from their closeness to the land. Even though they enjoy good things, they can do without them when necessary.

Something else that most hobbits have is a good bit of simplicity that keeps them from being drawn into the temptations of the Ring and other instruments of the Enemy. We meet only a few hobbits who have any desire for power or domination over others, which is the primary temptation of the Ring.