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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Moor Gnidaer:
Third time!

sador
Nevle-flah

Mar 4 2009, 9:30am


Views: 1769
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Third time! [In reply to] Can't Post

Twice I started answering this thread, and both times it crashed.
So I'll be now briefer than I intended to.
To begin with, I never knew there were two additional family trees. Fascinating!
I'll start with comments on your summary:

According to appendix F, the Bolgers were aristocracy, on par with the Tooks and Brandybucks. Apart of that, Fatty Bolger is an important figure, and Estella is Merry's wife. But how do the Boffins merit such distinction? Their names are mundane, like the Bagginses. And Folco simply does not seem to be on par with Fatty. Let's examine the differences between the two, and see if that could be seen as reflecting on their families.

Merry invited Fatty to join the conspiracy with Pippin, but not Folco. Why is that? Personal merit - was Fatty more observant of Frodo's moods, or more reliable and trustworthy? Or was it something else - personal liking, or even a prejudice of old aristocrats as opposed to new moneybags?

Another point was Fatty's being the only one known to actually lead a band of rebels. The Thain also opposed Lotho, but that was a different case - he was enclosed in the Great Smials with hundreds of family and vassals, while Fatty's band were virtual outlaws, a few hobbits hiding near Scary and persumably harrying the ruffians whenever they could. Shades of Barahir!
Was Fatty's inheritance a reason for his feeling responsible to stand up, virtually unsupported, against the ruffians? Could his family's authority have helped him recruit followers? Or did some of Frodo's aura rub off on him?

Of course, one could see a different asymetry between the Boffins and the Bolgers, if they are viewed from a different angle.
In the party, there are two lists of the families invited to the select, err, gross of important guests to the central dinner. There is a minor inconsistency between the list Tolkien gives, and the order in which Bilbo mentions them in his speech. A simple mistake? Possibly.
The Boffins are up in the top - being second to the Bagginses, even before the Tooks! Surely a sign of prominence. But the Bolgers hardly make the list - before them come the Brandybucks (naturally), the Grubbs (which Bilbo couldn't have remembered very fondly, you know), Chubbs, Burrows, and (in Bilbo's speech, but not in Tolkien's list) Hornblowers. Why were the Bolgers so low on the list? After all, they were one of the three aristocratic families! Could they have been in a decline, while the Boffins were on the rise?
And by the way - is there any conncetion between Tolkien's Boffins and Dickens'? Could the first-time reader be expected to remember Folco from the third chapter, by the time he reached the appendix? I'm sure the average educated Englishman would think of Noddy first. What does that mean?

I used to think the Boffins were simply neighbours - the other wealthy family in the Hobbiton-Bywater vicinity, and therefore simply had the greatest number of guests in that party. Possibly, there business connections between the Bagginses and them, as two middle-class families on the rise.
But after reading your post, I consulted the map of the Shire - and noted the the Boffins came from Yale, quite near to Budgeford. Could the rise of the Boffin been at the Bolger's expense? Did it cause resentment? Did Fatty expect the Boffins to join his lead in resisting the ruffians, and did they refuse him as a scion of the old aristocracy trying to recover his family's glory by fighting against the forces of "progress"? After all, Lotho was a Baggins - another mercantile capitalist! In short, did they see Fatty as a Catilina?
Once again, one wonders about Fatty and Folco. Where they natural friends, or was this a case of Frodo being a peacemaker? Was Folco excluded from the conspiracy because of Fatty's insistence or sensitivities, or was he simply a blabber who could be trusted less than Pippin, or merely a pleasant nobody?
To sum this all up - was there "bad blood" between the Boffin and Bolger families? What was the life of Gerda Bolger (neé Boffin) like? By the way, the name 'Gerda' does not sound a lower-class names, more like Nora or Prisca (both born Bolgers) the like Daisy (the Baggins girl who became a Boffin). Did the Boffin begin to aspire at nobility? Seen in that sense, even Folco is more impressive than one might think at first glance - according to appendix F it was actually Folca, a royal name of Rohan!


In Reply To

As those examples indicate, many of these hobbits, particularly in the earlier generations, don’t have family names. Addtionally, where there are last names, they often change from generation to generation.

Note that it isn't only in lower-class families, but also in middle-class ones:
As Tom Shippey notes, the name "Sackville" is a frenchified form of "Bag End". The Sackville-Bagginses were also changing their names on there way up the social rungs - I assume that had things run their natural course, the "Baggins" part would have been dropped.
The first Boffin we know of is Buffo Boffin, which sounds quite odd. Assuming he was a great hobbit in his way (which might have been speculative tater-growing, for all we know of Shire economy), I would venture a guess that his four children took the name 'Boffin' in his honour, pretty much like Holman Cotton was the son of the unsurnamed Cottman.
But then again. one must think of the Oldbuck-Brandybuck transition, and see how that is connected.


In Reply To

If we take the Old Took out, the Tooks still lead at 98.3 (22).

Only about one year longer than the Bolgers and Brandybucks, and less than five years more than the Boffins.
Which reminds me of Gandalf's words in 'The Shadow of the Past':

Quote

Bilbo showed no signs of age. The shadow fell on me again. But I said to myself: “After all he comes of a long-lived family on his mother’s side. There is time yet. Wait!”

Was Gandalf refering just to the Old Took, who was clearly an exception? I don't think the statistics you've brought are convincing enough to warrant such smugness on his side!


In Reply To

The average family size is 2.2 children, ranging from 1.6 for the Bolgers to 2.8 for the Gamgee-Cottons, but here I am particularly wary of the data, given that Tolkien has explicitly simplified the genealogies.

Yes, one should be wary of making to much of this data. But it is suggestive - another hint that the Gamgee-Cotton are on the rise, and the Bolgers in a decline.

I'll send this now, before I lose it again. Sometime later today, I'll get around to your actual questions. There are so many of them! Though I say it as shouldn't, you may think.

"So Mr Frodo is his first and second cousin, once removed either way, as the saying is...
...Mr Bilbo has learned him his letters - meaning no harm, mark you...
...there's going to be presents, mark you, presents for all - this very month as is."
Mark the Gaffer's words!

Subject User Time
Appendix C – Family Trees N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 2 2009, 11:50pm
    Posh Hobbitish Naming Conventions... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Mar 3 2009, 2:44am
    What?!? Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 3 2009, 5:16am
        Stamp of approval dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Mar 8 2009, 9:56pm
    Picking and choosing... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 3 2009, 9:39am
    I never noticed before, but ... visualweasel Send a private message to visualweasel Mar 3 2009, 9:57pm
    It certainly seems there should be more children. And more infant mortality. Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 3 2009, 10:33pm
        Names Tolkien Forever Send a private message to Tolkien Forever Mar 3 2009, 10:54pm
        The importance of class distinctions FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 4 2009, 6:48pm
            Tolkien makes fun of middle-class pretensions and lower-class bias. Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 4 2009, 7:23pm
                Family matters FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 5 2009, 6:30pm
                    It isn't Tolkien Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 5 2009, 6:44pm
                        That's not the way I read it. FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 5 2009, 7:26pm
                            There you go again. Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 5 2009, 8:03pm
                                Are you better off than you were four threads ago? // N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 5 2009, 8:22pm
                                And there *you* go again... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 5 2009, 8:30pm
                                    Precisely! Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Mar 5 2009, 9:11pm
                                        That certainly captures the unreliable Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 5 2009, 11:26pm
                                    The genealogies Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 5 2009, 10:50pm
                                        Thanks for the pointer to Letter 153 FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 6 2009, 12:19pm
                                            Yes! Yes! It is literature! Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 6 2009, 12:47pm
                                        Shot yourself in the foot, there. Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 6 2009, 6:33pm
                                            What!?! Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 6 2009, 7:35pm
                                                Maybe I misunderstood you.// Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 7 2009, 8:30pm
                                Smeagol's Grandmother Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 6 2009, 6:38pm
                                    Matriarch, yes. Curious Send a private message to Curious Mar 6 2009, 7:45pm
                                        I didn't say that. Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 7 2009, 8:36pm
    Third time! sador Send a private message to sador Mar 4 2009, 9:30am
        That's Actually Tolkien Forever Send a private message to Tolkien Forever Mar 4 2009, 1:39pm
            Thank you! sador Send a private message to sador Mar 4 2009, 1:53pm
    A few answers, some to the point sador Send a private message to sador Mar 4 2009, 1:16pm
    Longfather Tree Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 4 2009, 4:14pm
    A few answers (second installment) sador Send a private message to sador Mar 4 2009, 5:29pm
    Location, Location, Location! Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 5 2009, 4:47am
    Other people's questions sador Send a private message to sador Mar 5 2009, 7:20am
    What do Peter Parker and Samwise Gamgee have in common? N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 9 2009, 3:24am
        Ouch! Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 9 2009, 4:36am
        I'm ashamed of myself The Party Tree Send a private message to The Party Tree Apr 22 2009, 4:35am
    Link to Aerin's hobbit-geneaology page. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 9 2009, 3:33am
        Useful--thanks! // Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Mar 9 2009, 4:44am
    Just wanted to say thanks for this great post!// White Gull Send a private message to White Gull Apr 2 2009, 5:10pm
    This is absolutely fantastic The Party Tree Send a private message to The Party Tree Apr 22 2009, 4:52am
        Sam's Fallohide ancestry is mentioned in Tolkien's notes for translators. // N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Apr 22 2009, 5:21am
            Thanks :) The Party Tree Send a private message to The Party Tree Apr 22 2009, 6:02am

 
 
 

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