The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
"For sixty years the ring has laid quite in Bilbo's keeping,



Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jan 31 2010, 10:40pm


Views: 8042
"For sixty years the ring has laid quite in Bilbo's keeping,

prolonging his life and delaying his old age." Gandalf in "Shadow of the Past"(Fotr EE Movie)

So if you do the math (111 take away 60)
Bilbo is fifty to fiftyone years of age at the finding of the One Ring in Gollum's Cave. This might be a strong indicator for the the casting of Bilbo in the up coming Hobbit films. I know that there has been a protracted discussion of Hobbit years versus Human years and I do not know if there can be a definitive settlement of this issue based on textual references. I do know that Ian Holm was aged back to appear roughly in the Gollum's Cave scene in FotR.

I assert, based an multiple readings and thirty years of study, that Tolkien intended Bilbo to be and act like an independently wealthy country squire of fifty years of age at the start of The Hobbit. He is soft. He has been living a very quiet life in an idyllic country and is complacent to no end. He goes of the adventure gets hardened by the trek and discovers, through the well known series of events, that there is much more to him than he thought. He gains an insight into social matters and historical matters that transforms him into one of the Wise as shown later in Lord of the Ring.

I do believe that the casting of Bilbo is the one most critical thing that can make or break the films. To fulfill all of the criteria necessary for a brilliant portrayal of the role should require someone masterfully skilled in the art of movie acting. There are very few young men who qualify at this level as well as the other maters of importance. (These being height, physical type, relationship to earlier casting of Ian Holm in the role Etc.)

I would life your considered opinions on this matter.



Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




almas_sparks
Rohan

Jan 31 2010, 10:52pm


Views: 6546
but also keep in mind

that majority of people who will see The Hobbit don`t spend time nitpicking every single bit of the book, casting,etc. They`ll accept whoever is served as Bilbo. The movies are not made for nitpickers only nor is deviation from what nitpickers (means us) want a disrespect to the source. Movie doesn`t have to capture every little detail but the spirit and idea behind the story and character. And, IMO, the point of Bilbo`s adventure and the spirit of Bilbo aren`t in that he was a middle-aged man but that he did something that was a big no-no for any Hobbit. It`s a cultural thing more than age thing. His age never plays a part in anything anyway. he complains how much he misses his old life; he doesn`t complain about not being abe to do this or that because he`s old or whatever. Age doesn`t define who he is.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jan 31 2010, 10:57pm


Views: 6539
The opening Quote above is from the Peter Jackson Movie not the book

In this case the book & movie concur. Bilbo was/ will be 51 at the finding of the ring.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




almas_sparks
Rohan

Jan 31 2010, 11:28pm


Views: 6550
Hobbit`s 51 not actor`s 51

They are not going to cast 50 years old or older for Bilbo. Thorin maybe, probably, very likely, yes but not Bilbo.


Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Jan 31 2010, 11:53pm


Views: 6508
yes, I suppose...

since a hobbit's life expectancy is significantly higher than ours it would make sense that they wouldn't be as "old" as humans would at 50 years of age

Also, I'm inclined to think that at a hobbit's coming of age (33) they would probably be at a similar point in their life as we would (18-ish)

so, while they shouldn't cast a twenty-some year old as Bilbo, an actor in their later 30s could be all right

but then, I'm just thinking this through here, not really sure how accurate I am, someone else is probably much more studied on this than I am



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Elafacwen
The Shire


Feb 1 2010, 12:18am


Views: 6486
Agree

I too think the said actor should be/look in the upper 30's or early to mid 40's.


>>---------->


batik
Tol Eressea


Feb 1 2010, 12:53am


Views: 6595
other *film* hobbits--for comparison


The Gaffer...born 2926...about 75 years of age at the time of the Party.



Lobelia S-B...born 2918...about 82/83 in the year 3001.
Otho S-B...born 2910...about 91 years of age.



Tom Cotton....born 2941....about 60 in 3001 (but I believe this shot is from the last few minutes of RotK).

(dates of birth and photos identifying characters from the Thain's Book)


(This post was edited by batik on Feb 1 2010, 12:55am)


Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 1 2010, 1:14am


Views: 6499
hmm... interesting

thanks batik Smile

Gaffer looks a lot older than Lobelia and Otho despite being younger...



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 2:45am


Views: 6543
Humans Have the Same Statistical Spread on Aging and thus Appearance

Some appear younger than their age, others look older. Some die of old age at 45 some live to 110.

This is not the point. What you are doing by viewing the film as evidence is what I was pointing out.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Feb 1 2010, 3:22am


Views: 6496
The point, rather

..is that anyone is welcome to make their own points in any thread, and to make them however they like (as long as it's within the rules of engagement here, and unlike someone starting a new thread to make a point despite the fact that there's an almost identical discussion that is still on page one of this board. Tongue)

I personally think it's impossible *not* to 'view the film as evidence' at this stage of the game and only adds to the discussion, rather than detracting from it.

In general (not directed at any one person in particular), anyone who starts a thread (anywhere on the internet, for that matter) needs to be prepared for it to go off in whatever direction it happens to go off in. Trying to micro-manage the direction of a thread in any one direction is like herding cats (trust me Wink) and discounting anyone's opinion or contribution in any thread is going down a road that's not in keeping with the spirit of this site.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase



TORn Calendar

(This post was edited by Altaira on Feb 1 2010, 3:30am)


Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 1 2010, 3:32am


Views: 6494
in that post I was more just observing

"thinking out loud" about what I saw in the pictures

I'm not sure if PJ was trying to match the ages of all the characters or not

I apologize if I upset you Unsure



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 3:32am


Views: 6497
No intention to discount anyone's opinion or control thread

I may have been unclear on a response or misread the post I was responding to. I will try to act with more care.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Gildor
Rivendell

Feb 1 2010, 3:52am


Views: 6469
I support you on this!

Thank you. I have felt belittled and discounted by some of the replies to my comments, and I just want to say I'm glad you mentioned that,"discounting anyone's opinion or contribution in any thread is going down a road that's not in keeping with the spirit of this site. " I'm here for conversation and discussion, not to be belittled, discounted, etc.


Gildor
Rivendell

Feb 1 2010, 4:06am


Views: 6498
Humans versus Hobbits in age and maturity

Some appear younger than their age, others look older. Some die of old age at 45 some live to 110.

This is not the point. What you are doing by viewing the film as evidence is what I was pointing out.

Although very few hobbits lived to 111 or more (like Bilbo), I think Tolkien indicates in FOTR that majority of hobbits live to 90-100 or so. I'll spend some time looking through FOTR, but does someone else have the details on this? If this is so, which I think it is at least close, and you combine this with 33 being the coming of age, then Hobbits actually do on average mature later and live longer than humans. The average American (or brit or other white person that Tolkien had in mind when he wrote this stuff) was living into 70-75, more or less. So for me, this means roughly:

Human Hobbit
18-21 30-35
30-40 50-55
70-75 85-95

These are just estimates of course, but I think they are close to what Tolkien was approximating. This would but Bilbo in TH as young but fully into adulthood, at the beginning of TH. Of course, I think it's also important to remember that Hobbits in general were characterized as being 'less mature and more innocent' for their relative age than humans would be. So a hobbit of 50 would probably act perhaps like a human in their 20's. I guess this last bit doesn't matter regarding the age of the actor, but since in a movie much is made of appearance as metaphor for the character and what is happening around them, perhaps the actor should be cast even younger than the relative age.

Gildor








Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 1 2010, 4:07am


Views: 6458
I appreciate the apology

thank you Smile I'm glad people can get along here Smile



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Finrod
Rohan


Feb 1 2010, 4:08am


Views: 6478
Tiny typo in quote + more remote sourcing

Ahem — there are no magical geese a‐laying any golden rings here, just One Ring that had (entirely on its own) long lain quiet.

Although the miswording wouldn’t have changed anything of cosmic import, surely they would never have let Gandalf say the (here‐)ungrammatical has laid, and Sir Ian would never have uttered it unless he were acting the part of a far less learnèd character than the ancient loremaster from time before Time.

A minor typo, but still: it ruins the mood. The actual lines are:
GANDALF: This is the One Ring. Forged by the Dark Lord Sauron in the fires of Mount Doom. Taken by Isildur from the hand of Sauron himself.

FRODO: Bilbo found it. In Gollum’s cave.

GANDALF: Yes. For sixty years, the Ring lay quiet, in Bilbo’s keeping, prolonging his life, delaying old age. But no longer, Frodo. Evil is stirring in Mordor. The Ring has awoken. It’s heard its master’s call.
I’ve just listened quite carefully to the scene in the film, and it precisely follows the words given above. I took them, punctuation included, from the closed-captioning text, and I’ve triple‐checked them for accuracy. Had they been as the OP’s putative subject line had them, their cognitive dissonance would certainly have startled me, and I recalled no such thing occurring. Although this is the most minor of immaterial matters, putting such fundamentally flawed words into the mouth of Gandalf himself too strains the illusion of consistency crucial to the subcreation’s magic.

Note that I took this from the disc of the original cinematic release, not from the extended edition, which I also saw in cinema, on 2003–12–17, that best and longest of days. This proves that the Ring’s age‐retardant effect on Bilbo, so clear in the novel, was always present, even in the film’s initial, shorter release. It was not unique to the longer release, as some here have seemed to suggest.

One more aside. Please pardon me while I gush.

I am again stunned by the craft that with each subtle eye movement, with each exquisitely intoned word, and with each pregnant pause in carefully measured lines, Sir Ian brought to the character of Gandalf the Grey. Magnificent! He deserves more than the nominations he received for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role as the The Fellowship’s Grey Pilgrim. He deserves to have won!

Seeing him again in the rôle that he so made his own, the rôle he preferred over the White Wizard he would come to play in the two later films, rekindles my excitement and anticipation about these upcoming Hobbit films. Watch again just these few short minutes from this particular scene, and see whether Sir Ian’s marvelous art doesn’t work the same dweomer on you. A true pleasure!

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311




Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 4:19am


Views: 6426
I really really agree with you on this. //

If I respond with a point that seems to do that very thing it is not intended. I believe that explicating complicated situations requires constant reevaluation of ones opinions. ( I am speaking for myself and my opinions here.) I love to learn and if I am presented with opinions that do not seem to fit with my experience I might question them or present an alternative. This is not intended to be personal. I have learned a lot and relearned even more since I became active on these boards. I hope to continue to do so.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 1 2010, 4:24am


Views: 6471
I like seeing all the information laid out nicely

makes for easier analysis
this all seems accurate to me, along the same lines as I was thinking

you make a good point on maturity
although sometimes I question the maturity level of many humans Tongue

don't have any more to add...



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 5:27am


Views: 6482
long lain quiet

I am hard of hearing and listened three times to that phrase and was not sure. Thanks for the information.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Finrod
Rohan


Feb 1 2010, 8:55am


Views: 6506
It’s all in the genes: 100 hobbit-years = 70 human-years


In Reply To
Although very few hobbits lived to 111 or more (like Bilbo), I think Tolkien indicates in FOTR that majority of hobbits live to 90-100 or so. I'll spend some time looking through FOTR, but does someone else have the details on this?


Why, certainly. Taking the lives of fifty‐three hobbits into account, their median age at death was 99, the mode was 102, and the mean was 98.42 with a standard deviation of 8.87.

Which seems to settle the matter quite soundly. Sure, two or three might be a coincidence, although four or five is looking downright fishy. But the aggregate weight of fifty‐three data points that collectively tell a single story is certainly the result of a carefully planned design.

That’s pretty conclusive evidence that you can take 100 as the hobbit equivalent of a man’s proverbial three‐score and ten allotted years — a particular measure Tolkien was known to also use when deriving ages for Númenóreans. Now apply that 70% figure to the age of majority and to the childbearing years we know hobbits to have followed, and you find that they all line up fairly closely, plus or minus a year or three.

Bingo!

During this research, I was reminded of how:
  • Bilbo is Frodo’s first and second cousin, both once removed; Merry’s and Pippin’s first and second cousin, both twice removed; and Fatty Bolger’s first cousin, twice removed.
  • Frodo is Bilbo’s first and second cousin, both once removed; Merry’s first, second, and third cousin, all once removed; Pippin’s second and third cousin, both once removed; and Fatty Bolger’s second cousin, once removed.
  • Pippin is Bilbo’s first and second cousin, both twice removed; Frodo’s second and third cousin, once removed; Merry’s first cousin, his third cousin, and also his first cousin, once removed; and Fatty Bolger’s third cousin.
  • Merry is Bilbo’s first and second cousin, both twice removed; Frodo’s first, second, and third cousin, all once removed; Pippin’s first cousin, his third cousin, and also his first cousin, once removed; and Fatty Bolger’s third cousin.
Just in case you’d forgotten. :)

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311




Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 9:43am


Views: 6439
This is perfectly true

If Tolkien didn't intentionally skew the examples he presented in detail. To make it statistically valid you need a random sample across the population. Since this is not possible, the statistics only apply to the sample and cannot be generalized to a general population (real or imaginary). You may infer that Tolkien intended this to be generalizable but in the absence of any documented statement by the author it remains as speculation. I admit that it is a good inference of his intent but it can't be given the weight of fact. I am interested and will be searching for any forthright statement of this as a fact. If you can supply the reference to such a statement. I will will be greatful as it might save me days of fruitless effort.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




squire
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 11:47am


Views: 6467
More true than we have a right to expect

I think we should be careful about what we call "facts" for an imaginary world. The same statistical rules do not apply equally to "real or imaginary" general populations. All talk of a need for "random samples across the population" and Tolkien "intentionally skewing the examples" assumes that hobbits exist or existed. They don't, of course. The Shire and its inhabitants can never be measured beyond the data that Tolkien writes in his books or letters. Furthermore, as we know, even those data will be contradictory or inconsistent depending on when the author conceived them, and whether he was aware of (or concerned with matching) his earlier conceptions when he did.

Since we are presently concerned with the question of hobbit lifespans, we are blessed with Tolkien's geneological tables, which give us far more data on ages for an imaginary race than probably any other author ever bothered to produce. Finrod has done a noble work of analyzing it, and showing that the tables confirm that, indeed, the hobbits' typical life span is about 100 years.

To speculate that this is incomplete and limited data - possibly "skewed" by the author - and so statistically invalid, is to miss the point. These data don't beg for a generalization by Tolkien to make them valid in our eyes. They confirm the generalization that Tolkien gave at first, and with which most authors would have been content:
Sixty years had passed since [Bilbo] set out on his memorable journey, and he was old even for Hobbits, who reached a hundred as often as not; (Prologue, The Fellowship of the Ring)
The data are intentionally skewed, naturally, but in this sense: Tolkien created the 53 birth and death dates for his hobbit geneologies, with the above statement in mind. Of course Finrod's analysis only reveals Tolkien's consistency and love of data, and does not have any actual "weight of fact" about factless creatures. But it does show the author's own strong and consistent support for his already-stated imaginary fact very well, as we have come to expect of this rather detail-oriented fantasist. His data follow the literary fact of hobbit longevity, rather than creating it.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 1:08pm


Views: 6442
Yes also true:

So given these "facts" I guess it is perfectly OK to cast a twenty year old to play the fifty one year old Bilbo Baggins in the up coming movies. I yield to your superior logic.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 1 2010, 3:11pm


Views: 6425
No-one is suggesting that they cast a 20 year old

Least of all squire, who has more consistently called for an accurate adaptation of the story of The Hobbit (rather than LOTR-lite) than anyone here. The arguments being presented here would call for an actor appearing in the 35-40 year old range, not a 20 year old. I think a perfectly reasonable argument could be made for casting a 50 year old to match what likely was Tolkien's intentions when he wrote The Hobbit itself, but I doubt they will do that. I will be satisfied if the actor is a mature-looking late 30s to early 40s.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Annael
Immortal


Feb 1 2010, 4:16pm


Views: 6409
thank you for saying that

although I personally find it frustrating when people go off on a tangent that is not the one I hoped to pursue when I started a thread, so understand that completely. But I find it even more frustrating when the person who starts a thread replies to every single reply and turns it all into a dialogue with them (like with a teacher, in school) instead of allowing the group to develop the question in their own way. I think the latter is more appropriate to this kind of board. I actually left the Reading Room because there was too much of the former style there after a while (not at first!).

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

(This post was edited by Annael on Feb 1 2010, 4:17pm)


dormouse
Half-elven

Feb 1 2010, 4:35pm


Views: 3752
I think maturity is the point.....

All this talk about age ranges equivalent ages and human ages relating to hobbit ages makes my head spin. For me, the thing that matters most is that Bilbo was becoming settled - one might almost say set - in his ways. Middle-aged - though this is a term we might apply to someone of almost any (adult) age. It's about attitude and behaviour rather than the number of candles on the birthday cake. If the actor who plays Bilbo can show me a hobbit who enjoys his home comforts a little too much and sees adventures as 'nasty disturbing things', and who is then challenged and transformed by adventure he'll be a success, whoever they cast. It seems like a transition which an actor of 30 or 40+ could achieve more naturally, but I could be wrong about that - it depends on the actor.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 5:58pm


Views: 3774
An Accurate Adaptation of the Story:

I have followed followed Squire's posts and appreciate his knowledge and skill at expressing his thoughts. That is why I was surprised by his support of the younger age. No one in this immediate discussion may be supporting the casting of someone as young as a twenty year old but that idea has been repeated many times recently on the boards. I find myself reacting strongly to the idea. It actually shocked me when I first ran into it for it stood in direct opposition to my vision of Bilbo.
I am a Hobbit firster. I read The Hobbit, not as a child, but as a veteran returned from the Viet Nam war. I had always read science fiction and fantasy to escape but also to understand the situations that I was witnessing in my life. The Hobbit caught me it brought me to The Lord of the Rings for which I am eternally grateful. Middle-earth took me to places I had never dreamed of and brought to me feelings I had never felt in response to anything I had ever read. For me, It was and is the opening of The Hobbit with this strange little frumpy middle-aged guy being confronted by this Mysterious rather pedantic Wizard that stands for ever as the gateway to my lifetime infatuation with J.R.R. Tolkien and his writing. I would rather not ever experience the awful sense of betrayal that I experienced in the theater viewing Bakshi's Lord of the Rings. I was not unhappy when I left the theater, I was angry. I did not view that film again until a couple weeks ago when (due to a discussion of it here on the boards) I pulled out the unopened DVD and watched it twice. They were correct. Not everything about it was bad. I grew a bit. Now I only dislike it a lot. I no longer experience the gut churning revulsion that I had and held all of those years.
We are now here at the beginning of the age of The Hobbit. I want this first and probably, for me, last Chapter of the Middle-earth story to be true to the vision I have held these thirty odd years. The Silmarillion and the History of Middle-earth came later and may eventually become films but I will not live to see them. I am 61. My father and my only brother both died at 62. I intend to live at least long enough to see the second part of The Hobbit on a really good theater screen.

There are criticisms of my posting on this thread. Inferences that I was trying to control its direction or own it. I would only say that my posting here along with the dozens of other comments I have posted over this passed weekend were the result of my spending thirty six of the past forty eight hours manning electronic security at my place of employment. It was a really quiet weekend. I was only hear to listen and respond, to suggest ideas and react to your responses.
I am not an old hand at his message board thing. I may accidentally trip over lines that I do not know to exist. This is not intentional. It is only because of my overwhelming enthusiasm for the subject that I am here. I am sure that everyone else who comes here feels much the same. Thanks.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




(This post was edited by Kangi Ska on Feb 1 2010, 5:59pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 1 2010, 6:29pm


Views: 3732
I appreciate your open candor

I appreciate your explanation of why an accurate adaptation of The Hobbit is important to you. I am hopeful that you will get one. If you were pleased overall with Jackson's LOTR films, I suspect that you will be pleased with these films (as GdT himself once said). Of course, I know quite a few people who reacted to the Jackson films much the same way that you did to Bakshi. Fortunately (for me), while I definitely recognize many flaws in the Jackson films, I am not one of them.

Finally, I am in agreement with you about the important of showing " this strange little frumpy middle-aged guy being confronted by this Mysterious rather pedantic Wizard." I am fairly sure that an actor who is around forty years old could pull that off very well, if it is the right actor. I am equally convinced that a 20-25 year old actor - no matter who he is - could not.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com

(This post was edited by Altaira on Feb 2 2010, 3:29am)


GaladrielTX
Tol Eressea


Feb 1 2010, 6:52pm


Views: 3732
What’s with all the arithmetic, folks?

I'm usually the first person to break out the spreadsheet, it being a useful tool in my profession It’s beside the point here, though.

As I read this thread, I kept coming back to my own experience of The Hobbit. I read it first and then LOTR. This is consistent with the order in which Tolkien had the books published and the order in which he wrote them. It doesn't appear he came up with the idea of Hobbits aging slower than Men for a long time. When he wrote the books surely he pictured a small, chubby, fifty year-old man. He built that image into the character of the puffing, stodgy little fellow who had become set in his ways. For a couple of decades, until the LOTR books came out, readers learned that Bilbo was fifty, and that’s no doubt what they pictured. When I read The Hobbit and read that he was fifty that’s how about how old my dad was, and that’s how old I pictured Bilbo.

Whether the filmmakers want to treat The Hobbit with integrity in this regard, I cannot say. All I can say is how I perceived Bilbo, how Tolkien’s initial readership must have perceived him, and how Tolkien probably thought of him when he wrote The Hobbit.

~~~~~~~~

The TORNsib formerly known as Galadriel.



dormouse
Half-elven

Feb 1 2010, 7:20pm


Views: 3693
Thanks for this....

.... especially for the explanation of your experience of The Hobbit as the gateway to Middle Earth - it's always fascinating to hear other readers reactions to these books that have enchanted me for decades. I didn't read The Hobbit first and for me the gates opened with 'The Shadow of the Past' and its vast perspectives of time and history - then with Frodo's first encounter with the Elves. 'Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod' still sounds like music to me. I felt as you did about the Bakshi film when it came out and I haven't looked at it since.

I hope you get your 'strange little frumpy middle-aged guy being confronted by this Mysterious rather pedantic Wizard' (lovely description!) 'cos it sounds just like the hobbit I'm looking for too.



Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 1 2010, 10:48pm


Views: 3710
Number Non-sense

I once taught Research Methods to freshmen at a University when I was a Grad. student. I was real tired when I made the post. It struck me that the prospect of running a demographic analysis on an imaginary population would be like absurdest performance art.

So you are performing statistical analysis on an imaginary set of individuals based on the assumptions that the sample was representative of the entire imaginary population and that the creator of the Imaginary population intended the sample to represent the whole.

It still makes my head spin.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Feb 1 2010, 11:39pm


Views: 3700
Well. . . Frodo should have been 50 as well, though I know they fudged the dates

I would guess that the actor chosen will most likely be between 35 and 45. On a seperate note, though Bilbo was learned in lore, I don't believe he was ever counted among The Wise. The Wise seemed only to reffer to certain Powers remaining in Middle Earth, namely the chiefs amongst The High Elves and the Wizards. "The Wise may have good reason to believe that the Halfings trove is The Great Ring of long debate. . . " So said Galdor. For all Bilbo's lore studies, it seems unlikely that he would be among The Wise and an ambassador of Cirdan not so.

In Reply To
prolonging his life and delaying his old age." Gandalf in "Shadow of the Past"(Fotr EE Movie)

So if you do the math (111 take away 60)
Bilbo is fifty to fiftyone years of age at the finding of the One Ring in Gollum's Cave. This might be a strong indicator for the the casting of Bilbo in the up coming Hobbit films. I know that there has been a protracted discussion of Hobbit years versus Human years and I do not know if there can be a definitive settlement of this issue based on textual references. I do know that Ian Holm was aged back to appear roughly in the Gollum's Cave scene in FotR.

I assert, based an multiple readings and thirty years of study, that Tolkien intended Bilbo to be and act like an independently wealthy country squire of fifty years of age at the start of The Hobbit. He is soft. He has been living a very quiet life in an idyllic country and is complacent to no end. He goes of the adventure gets hardened by the trek and discovers, through the well known series of events, that there is much more to him than he thought. He gains an insight into social matters and historical matters that transforms him into one of the Wise as shown later in Lord of the Ring.

I do believe that the casting of Bilbo is the one most critical thing that can make or break the films. To fulfill all of the criteria necessary for a brilliant portrayal of the role should require someone masterfully skilled in the art of movie acting. There are very few young men who qualify at this level as well as the other maters of importance. (These being height, physical type, relationship to earlier casting of Ian Holm in the role Etc.)

I would life your considered opinions on this matter.



"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 2 2010, 1:45am


Views: 3696
One thing worth remembering

when posting is that those who talk loudest and longest are not necessarily representative of the general view. We always have a few crusaders in our midst but there are many here who hold vastly divergent views but lack either the time, desire, or stamina to enter into extended debates over preferences. For every outspoken member, there are several much quieter members who may agree or not but don't speak up.

This debate has made me curious as to the actual division of opinions on this topic, so everyone is invited to come over to the Pollantir and make your preference known in my poll. This should be very interesting! Cool

Silverlode

"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


Tiria
Bree

Feb 2 2010, 2:42am


Views: 3679
Movie canon contradictions; But really, it's about the right actor, period

Regardless of what we may think the Professor's intents (personally, I think the coming-of-age and later breeding thing is very clear; others are more literalist), the point is that this is a movie. And it's a movie made by people who have already made one movie about hobbits, which has contradictory casting issues with regard to the ages of the actors vs. the ages of their characters.

The question then becomes which of their precedents do they follow? Do they follow their aged-down casting of Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, or do they follow the not-quite-so-aged-down casting of Bilbo?

Personally, if I were them, I'd go with the right actor, period. Not someone who's a specific age, not someone who looks exactly like Ian Holm (at whatever age), but someone who is right for the part; someone who embodies a hobbity spirit, with all the charm, courage, sensitivity and emotional depth that we've come to expect from the actors playing our beloved halflings.

While I personally don't think someone under ~28 or over ~45 will be quite right for this, if he's otherwise perfect for the role, then he should get it, period. I think specific age is far less relevant to this than finding the right person who will make us believe he is Bilbo, and forget about exactly how old Bilbo is supposed to be.


shadowdog
Rohan

Feb 2 2010, 2:52am


Views: 3684
How old was Frodo at the beginning of LoTR?

Wasn't the birthday party celebrating Bilbo reach 111 and the party had a gross of guests to match their combined age? That would make Frodo 33 at the time of the party and at the time that he inherited the ring. This was in Tolkien's own words equivelant to 21 in human terms. So how do we get to Frodo as being in his 50s?????


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 3:21am


Views: 3667
Seventeen years passed

(in the book) between "The Long Expected Party" and Frodo leaving the Shire with the ring.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Finrod
Rohan


Feb 2 2010, 4:06am


Views: 3691
Re: Frodo should have been 50


In Reply To
Frodo should have been 50


Don’t stop there. If Frodo should have been 50, then it necessarily follows that:
  • Bilbo should have been 111 (and later, 131)
  • Aragorn should have been 87
  • Denethor should have been 89
  • young Gimli should have been 140
  • Arwen should have been 2,778
  • Galadriel should have been more than 8,000
  • Gandalf should have been…
Oh, my! How old should Gandalf have been? Let’s see now… 6,459 were the Years of the Sun when Master Elrond sought the Havens, and before those stretched 1,495 Great Years under the Trees, or some 14,325 years as we now reckon them. But the long ages that Olórin dwelt with his good cousin Aiwendil upon the fair green isle of Almaren during the Spring of Arda, those years we cannot number. One of Holy Ones from the Great Music, Olórin is immeasurably more ancient than the brief 20,000 years I have here tallied for him.

Plainly, we have now stepped beyond the purview even of heroic romance and into the stuff of myth itself. Tolkien’s Legendarium has that name for good reason; it is above all a work of fantasy. You cannot preserve any integrity of story if you capriciously discount in one aspect something you assiduously adhere to in a related one. You break the subcreation’s integrity. It all works together as one fabric; don’t unravel it.

It does intolerable injury to the story to insist that Aragorn and Denethor be played by actors of their age, and practically speaking, there are exceedingly few Christopher Lees out there to play them. Moreover, you simply cannot find anyone for the older ones—ever. The same understanding that forces you to reject matching Arwen, Galadriel, Gandalf with actors of their ‘real’ ages must apply equally to the youngsters listed, all the way up to and including Frodo. You must choose human actors whose own actual ages reflect the outward appearance of the rôles they will play, not how many fantasy years those characters have accrued.

That is why Frodo had to be played by an actor who looked to have just come of age. It’s what the book says, for heaven’s sake! To make Frodo 50 would have been a wildly unsupportable departure from the book’s text, and it would have made all the characters ridiculous in comparison.

Good thing the filmmakers aren’t that absurd.

That’s why Kíli won’t be played by a 77‐year‐old actor in The Hobbit movies. Which reminds me: the mystery female dwarf whose rôle has been bandied about is obviously Dis, Thorin’s sister and Fíli’s and Kíli’s mother, the sole female dwarf anywhere named in the whole Legendarium.

Don’t expect a crone, though.

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311




Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 2 2010, 4:12am


Views: 3675
they seem to have a lot of directions they could go for casting

Since movie LotR chose to ignore those 17 years, Bilbo wouldn't have to look the same age as Frodo did. Those who only watched the movies wouldn't be confused since they assume Frodo was still 33 when he set out for Rivendell. But then again, it's not too unlikely that Bilbo will be cast at a similar age to Frodo (although I hope that is not the case). Then again, they could cast someone around 50 years of age. Or another option would be to look at the spread of ages compared to humans as we have and cast someone 30-40 (or thereabouts). Finally, they could just find someone who is simply fits the part well.

Personally I have no idea how the movie will be cast. In my mind the actor should definitely fit the part well, but I'm also picturing someone in the 35-40 range. I have a feeling the right actor for the part, if they stay true to the book, will most likely not be overly young.



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Finrod
Rohan


Feb 2 2010, 4:20am


Views: 3662
Go back and reread good Squire


In Reply To
... the prospect of running a demographic analysis on an imaginary population would be like absurdest performance art. So you are performing statistical analysis on an imaginary set of individuals based on the assumptions that the sample was representative of the entire imaginary population and that the creator of the Imaginary population intended the sample to represent the whole.


You’ve misunderstood. Kindly go back and reread Squire’s posting. He’s again hit the nail on the head. Tolkien designed it all to work out this way: this is no accident. Paying attention to it is therefore completely reasonable—and completely dispositive.

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311




Tiria
Bree

Feb 2 2010, 4:52am


Views: 3662
You acknowledge that no one in this discussion wants a 20-year-old, and yet...

...you're still arguing as if that's what we're saying.

If someone really were arguing for Zac Efron, I'd be right there alongside you. But they're not. Not in this discussion, and not in any recent discussions here, either. So what are you fighting against? Do you have links? Examples? Names?


Tiria
Bree

Feb 2 2010, 4:56am


Views: 3691
It's important not to put a modern cultural spin on this, though

What we in the 21st century concieve of as a settled-down and comfortable middle age would've been considered an elder in Tolkien's time.

It wasn't that long ago that an unmarried woman would've been considered an irrevocable spinster at 30. And 60somethings running marathons would've been unheard of in 1930.

A 50-year-old human in Tolkien's time would've been a senior citizen, close to retirement. Not someone who was just getting into too much of a rut with a comfortable life. Hell, most people had grandkids by that age.


Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 2 2010, 5:04am


Views: 3671
Just when I think we've exhausted all possible takes

someone posts another interesting point, that thought hadn't even crossed my mind

I'm glad we have so many different thoughts and opinions here
it makes for a very enjoyable discussion



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 5:25am


Views: 3671
Think they will out Dis?//

 

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 2 2010, 5:27am


Views: 3645
????

*is confused*

explain please? Blush



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 5:31am


Views: 3650
Read Finrods post that mine is an answer to. It is just above it.

An interesting thought.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 6:06am


Views: 3659
More stats.

The averages are separated by family in this post, with a spreadsheet of data added here

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Silmarillion in the Reading Room, Aug. 9 - Mar 7. Please join the conversation!

This week: "Akallabêth".
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Gildor
Rivendell

Feb 2 2010, 6:56am


Views: 3654
what makes sense to me

Since Bilbo operates as something of a father figure to Frodo in LOTR, and Frodo is portrayed by a coming of age actor in LOTR, it seems to make sense to add 20 or so years for Bilbo for his adventure. The movie need not adhere exactly to the 60 years time difference, and for most movie goers, all they will know is that this story took place way earlier than LOTR. If Bilbo is played by someone in 35-40 year age, it would make good sense to most movie goers. While this a little older than the 'relative' age of hobbits vs. humans, it probably makes sense.

Having said this, as others have mentioned, movie makers are quite capable of altering someone's appearance to look however they want. Therefore, I say expect an actor in their 30's, maybe late 30's more specifically.

Gildor


squire
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 11:18am


Views: 3655
Bilbo is upper class

You make a good point about the longevity and health of past generations of humans being shorter and less sure than they are today. But the statement as it stands applies to the "world" of the 1930s. It is too general to help us understand who Bilbo is.

Remember, he is one of the most privileged members of his society, who has never worked a day in his life. He's been cared for by nurses and eaten the best foods since childhood. He would be much closer to our (in the U.S.) idea of a 50-year-old than a more typical person of the world in the 1930s. Tolkien himself was of the relatively secure upper middle class in England, and he is imagining his hobbit as being of the country gentry, a class even higher and more comfortable than his own. Furthermore, although he has placed Bilbo in a pre-industrial fantasy world, Bilbo is no caveman or feudal lord; part of his charm is that he clearly belongs in the 50-year period preceding his creation, the 1880s-1930s in England. That is an industrialized era where life expectancy for the ruling class reached nearly the length that is enjoyed by a much larger proportion of people today, only a century later.

50 year olds were "close to retirement" in Tolkien's time? Retirement came at 65 in those days, if you were in a position to "retire" at all; whereas today many people with good jobs are in a financial position to retire even earlier than 65. On the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of people on earth in 2010 who have grandkids at 50 - right, gramma? Childbearing ages in an industrialized society are linked to social class, culture, and life circumstances, rather than the era one lives in.

And of course now, in 2010, 50-year-olds are still considered "senior citizens, close to retirement" - in pre-industrial societies where the life expectancy is much lower than in the technologized regions of earth. Yet, just as with Bilbo, the ruling elites of those societies have access to far better sustenance and physical comforts and live to ages commensurate with ours in America and Europe.

We should be wary of putting a modern cultural spin on our understanding of Tolkien and his works, to be sure. But sometimes a modern cultural spin can reverse itself, and consign everyone in the not-so-distant past to a too-general picture of primitivism.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 2 2010, 12:25pm


Views: 3636
Bilbo is comfortable middle class, I'd say

I agree that he would have been in better shape than some working-class men (miners, say) of the same age. But they were often dead by 50.


Quote
He's been cared for by nurses and eaten the best foods since childhood.



Maybe true, but the "nurses" are really only nursemaids, or hired help. They don't know anything about nursing in the modern sense. And the "best foods" of the day were not necessarily good for you - white bread was "better" than wholemeal, sugar and butter were highly prized.


Quote

Tolkien himself was of the relatively secure upper middle class in England...



Unfortunately not. I've just been reading his biography for the first time, and I was struck by how precarious both his parents' family situations were. His father went to South Africa (where JRRT was born) because it was the only way he could earn enough money to marry at all. His mother's family was from an ancient stock, but appear to have lost most of their money in the generation before - his maternal grandfather was a travelling salesman. And once his mother changed her religion and fell out with her family, her situation was very insecure indeed. She ended up needing the charity of various relations, and of priests at the church she attended. (As for Tolkien himself, as an academic he had "respectability" but not much money - which is why he undertook the extra marking that led to "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" being written on a blank page of an answer paper!)


Quote
Furthermore, although he has placed Bilbo in a pre-industrial fantasy world, Bilbo is no caveman or feudal lord; part of his charm is that he clearly belongs in the 50-year period preceding his creation, the 1880s-1930s in England. That is an industrialized era where life expectancy for the ruling class reached nearly the length that is enjoyed by a much larger proportion of people today, only a century later.



Can you really be in a "pre-industrial fantasy" set in an "industrialized era"? Sounds a bit fishy to me! Tongue

Carpenter's biography suggests that Tolkien himself came from a long-lived family, and expected to live longer than he did. But longevity was always variable, and expectations were based more on family lore and legend than on regular medical checkups.


Quote
Childbearing ages in an industrialized society are linked to social class, culture, and life circumstances, rather than the era one lives in.



Yes indeed, I think this is very true. In Tolkien's day it was normal to marry young (if you could afford it), and once married you would have children right away - no family planning (and certainly not for Catholics!) Heck, I remember in the early 70s when I and my friends were having our children, if you were over 24 when your first child was born that was considered an "elderly" first pregnancy!

On the whole, I think the arguments I've heard that Bilbo might have been around 35-40 in "modern human" years sounds about right - midlife crisis territory, you might say, the delicate time after you've settled into a comfortable lifestyle and are starting to wonder if there shouldn't be more to life than this after all.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 3:45pm


Views: 3604
I speak not against a person but against the concept. //

The Role of Bilbo Baggins requires a mature supremely talented actor. With the ability to be both a comedic buffoon and an Action Hero.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 4:08pm


Views: 4857
The 60 year Gap:

Following is a quote from the Theatrical Release of Fellowship of the Ring transcribed by Finrod on this thread. I cite it because it shows that the Film has specifically referenced the time that had passed since the rings finding. Add to this the the Finding of the ring sequence (An apparently younger Bilbo in Gollum's cave) from the prologue of the same film and you have what I see as Peter Jackson's on-screen precedent for GDT's Hobbit movies.

"GANDALF
: This is the One Ring. Forged by the Dark Lord Sauron in the &#64257;res of Mount Doom. Taken by Isildur from the hand of Sauron himself.

FRODO: Bilbo found it. In Gollum’s cave.

GANDALF: Yes. For sixty years, the Ring lay quiet, in Bilbo’s keeping, prolonging his life, delaying old age. But no longer, Frodo. Evil is stirring in Mordor. The Ring has awoken. It’s heard its master’s call."


Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Eldy
Gondor


Feb 2 2010, 4:16pm


Views: 4845
Umm...


In Reply To
  • Bilbo should have been 111 (and later, 131)
  • Aragorn should have been 87
  • Denethor should have been 89
  • young Gimli should have been 140
  • Arwen should have been 2,778
  • Galadriel should have been more than 8,000
  • Gandalf should have been…


I believe that, for the most part, those were the case. We know that Numenoreans, Elves, and Dwarves age slower than humans; we don't know that about Hobbits. That's why there shouldn't have been an 87 year old actor playing Aragorn, or a 140 year old playing Gimli. The only one of your examples that might not have been the case is Bilbo (though old Bilbo is pretty damn old; perhaps close to 131), but he does have the Ring, which might have had some effect.


Eldy
Gondor


Feb 2 2010, 4:18pm


Views: 4850
On the other hand,

Bilbo owns the Hobbit equivalent of a mansion and is part of the network of interrelated, rich, and powerful families that live across the Shire.


Plurmo
Rohan

Feb 2 2010, 4:40pm


Views: 4842
Bilbo as anomaly.

I'm inclined to include Bilbo among the anomalies. He is wise, but not one of the Wise, he is a
hero, but not one of the Heroes. His good-naturedness, kindness, resourcefulness, luck and destiny kept him unscathed and, in a certain way, master of his surrounding world almost wherever he was. Yes, I'm going for a Bombadil similarity. I believe Bilbo, like Bombadil, is a singular entity. An agregator of (softened, in Bilbo's case) traits found in several well-defined categories of beings. Anyway, Bilbo is such a character I woudn't doubt by now he's even become something like a Maia Honoris Causa and spends his days pestering poor Mandos to contribute with some lines to his new poetic adaptation of The Doom.

[Kangi Ska, your comment up there made me glad for the Professor.]


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 5:21pm


Views: 4845
You have a point worth long and close examination.

A fascinating Idea (The Spock in me snapped to the fore,)

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 5:29pm


Views: 4837
I am with you.

He is a member of the Upper Class...but not the ruling class. He is wealthy, has no need to hold a job or do labor other than brew tea and bake cakes...he even employs labor to attend the garden of his estate.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 5:41pm


Views: 4853
Your Statement Razors Through The Fog:

I am sure that this is the one point of Importance in casting Bilbo for the Hobbit (s).

"I'd go with the right actor, period."

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




GaladrielTX
Tol Eressea


Feb 2 2010, 7:02pm


Views: 4883
Ya had to go ahead and make it math-related, anyway!

That hurt my brain, too.

Well, I wasn’t picking on you, specifically, if that’s what you mean. I just noticed that once you brought up numbers, everyone went into all these tortured calculations. I had been thinking in simpler, different terms. I was looking at Bilbo’s age in the context of what Tolkien would have expected his initial readership to think, decades before he wrote LOTR and published details of Hobbit aging. I also questioned whether he had even come up with the idea of hobbits aging differently from Men yet when he wrote The Hobbit. That’s all.

~~~~~~~~

The TORNsib formerly known as Galadriel.



(This post was edited by GaladrielTX on Feb 2 2010, 7:02pm)


Plurmo
Rohan

Feb 2 2010, 7:46pm


Views: 4861
Wearing braids in front of their faces...

...as a veil in carefully crafted beard fashion (whenever they're travelling.) That's what I would choose to substantiate Aragorn's explanation to Eowin ("it's the beards.")

I have a deep affection for dwarves and my wish is for the somewhat rare dwarf ladies to be beautiful (in their way) with faces we could clearly descry and exceptionally wary of strangers. There are arguments against it, but even Cirdan was supposed to have a beard.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 10:35pm


Views: 4833
Bringing math into the matrix was a mistake.

Hindsight is 20-20. I was thinking along the lines you were but also was looking at what PJ had put in the film at that time. The whole discussion of Hobbit life spans and mortality rates... kept pulling me away from what I wanted to know, which was: is there film evidence that might speak to how Bilbo might be cast. When I saw something that I thought might be important it got lost in the whirl.

I promise to never bring statistics into a thread again.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Idril Celebrindal
Tol Eressea


Feb 2 2010, 10:42pm


Views: 4813
Hobbit social classes

The Bagginses are well-off, respectable members of the Shire gentry. They are related through marriage to the Tooks and Brandybucks, the leading families of the Shire.

The Tooks and Brandybucks are the wealthiest, most powerful families in the Shire and the closest thing it has to nobility. Their heads even have semi-formal titles (the Thain and the Master of Buckland).

The Chubbs, Bolgers and Bracegirdles intermarried with the Bagginses, Tooks and Brandybucks and are presumably of a similar social class.

The Gamgees are working-class laborers, servants, and craftsmen.

The Cottons are farmers and landowners.

The Maggots are larger farmers/landowners, perhaps even minor gentry.

How this plays out:

- Bilbo has inherited a good deal of wealth from his parents and is closely related to the Shire's leading families. He doesn't need to work and can spend his time amusing himself. Same goes for Frodo.

- Merry and Pippin don't need to work, either, since they're the male heirs to the two most influential monied families in the Shire. They can while away their days listening to Uncle Bilbo's stories and getting into mischief.

- On the other hand, Sam has worked since he was a child. His father warns him not to have ideas above his station. He's "marrying up" when he weds Rose Cotton, since she's the daughter of a landowner.


As for the movie casting, what this means is that Bilbo's led an easy and comfortable life. He should look like a well-fed, healthy Hobbit of 50, or human-equivalent age of late 30s-early 40s.


With caffeine, all things are possible.

The pity of Bilbo will screw up the fate of many.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


squire
Half-elven


Feb 2 2010, 10:51pm


Views: 4879
"Quant, quant, quant, quant, -- lovely quant!!"

I love statistics. They wash memories off the sidewalks of life.

Before you abandon your interest in applying statistics to a study of Tolkien's works, let N.E. Brigand slap you around a while, and show you some of the stuff he has done for the Reading Room in the past few years.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 3 2010, 3:40am


Views: 4828
You didn't have to be upper class

to have a gardener, or to have an income that didn't require you to work. In fact that was the normal way that the middle class lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. Read Jane Austen or George Eliot. To be "respectable", unless you were a member of the church or an officer in the army, you were expected to live off your income.

People who actually had to work for a living, tradesmen and such, were a class apart, and not really "respectable".

But to be a member of the upper class was something else again. Bilbo (like Jane Austen's heroines) has connections to the upper class, but he's not a part of it, at least not by the way I'd define the distinction.

I don't see a distinction, by the way, as you do: "the Upper Class...but not the ruling class". The upper class was by definition the ruling class - they had estates containing farms and villages of which they were the landlord, and which they ruled in a local way. And they had power and influence both at court and in Parliament (since they could more or less appoint the local representative to the House of Commons, and they or a family member would also have a seat in the House of Lords).

In LotR, I'd say Merry and Pippin are upper-class, although young and not yet in any positions of power. They belong to great families, who live on huge estates with their own villages and farm tenants (like Farmer Maggot, who is so polite to young Mr. Pippin and Mr. Merry, even though he beat the trespassing Frodo when he was young). Bilbo is not a member of their class, especially in The Hobbit where his family connections have not yet been established - although of course he is still highly "respectable", until he blows it by hooking up with that disreputable wizard and his dwarf friends!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 3 2010, 4:36am


Views: 4804
I found it all quite enjoyable actually

sometimes gets a bit confusing, but still, it's fun to look at

I'm glad you brought it up Smile



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 3 2010, 4:44am


Views: 4813
It appears that we have a Taxinomic conflict on the definition of terms.

It might be good to preface any statement with something like "By today's standards" or some such qualifier. Applying english standards may be object to as we are looking at an imaginary place.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 3 2010, 4:45am


Views: 4796
Yes, I had read that

I was confused as to who Dís was
decided to search for her, I understand know (I think)



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 3 2010, 4:59am


Views: 4782
Sure.

And anyway, I don't suppose the movie will care about any of this. They certainly didn't with LotR. They went for a very flattened, modern take on country life in which class really played no part. I liked the updated contrast between what we tend to call "privileged" and "underprivileged" in Frodo and Sam, rather than the complexities of class distinctions.

And you're right to remind me that we're talking about an "imaginary place" here - it's almost a caricature, or at least a child's-eye view, of the English class system that we get, especially in The Hobbit.

One thing that is an important element of Bilbo's character in the book, though, is the very middle-class concern for "respectability". But I'm not sure that means much nowadays, so maybe we'll see some updating there as well.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 3 2010, 5:03am


Views: 4778
Dig Deep:

"Which reminds me: the mystery female dwarf whose rôle has been bandied about is obviously Dis, Thorin’s sister and Fíli’s and Kíli’s mother, the sole female dwarf anywhere named in the whole Legendarium." Finrod

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




Oiotári
Tol Eressea


Feb 3 2010, 5:29am


Views: 4814
I think you're misunderstanding me

I had already seen that part of Finrod's post
I simply hadn't heard of Dís (that I could remember at least) and therefore I was confused. I didn't know whether Finrod was just being funny, or if Dís actually was a character created by Tolkien, so I searched the Encyclopedia of Arda "Dís". I've got it now

then again, maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to say Crazy
but no matter, back on topic...



Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Feb 3 2010, 5:36am


Views: 4791
Good, I was not sure of the Difficulty.

I recall Dis but I was uncertain of the source.

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.




L. Ron Halfelven
Grey Havens


Feb 4 2010, 8:38pm


Views: 5741
I hate Quants. (/koala)//

 

"'Avatar' asks us to see that everything is connected, all human beings to each other, and us to the earth." -- James Cameron

"Everyone please take extra care not to touch any live wires until this hazardous condition has been corrected." -- L. Ron Halfelven