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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
It's not as uncharacteristic as all that

squire
Valinor


Oct 21 2013, 11:23pm


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It's not as uncharacteristic as all that [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Tolkien very often liked to write into his stories circumstances that reflected the real-world processes of his creativity.

For instance, following his own fascination with sound-based alphabets, his later runes affect a phonological system, similar to the Tengwar, a far more sophisticated system than his earlier runes which were based on Germanic models; he then wrote in his histories that these later runes were an improvement by the Noldor on the basic, primitive, Sindarin characters.

Likewise, Quenya was his first major invented language, but then being a philologist he began playing with how Quenya might develop over time. He arrived at Noldorin (eventually Sindarin), and then wrote an elaborate scenario in his Elvish mythology explaining how the later language descended from the earlier one. His explanations of the various changes are a thinly veiled recapitulation of his own creative process.

Similarly, in the case of hobbits, he invented Bilbo and his kind out of thin air, or rather out of the same fanciful air that produced Roverandom and Father Christmas - an air that was as suitable for children as the overwrought and lofty atmosphere of the Silmarillion was not. Then he smashed them together - experimentally in The Hobbit, and deliberately in The Lord of the Rings. The Valaquenta does not explain Hobbits and why should it? It was written over ten years before Bilbo first opened a letter in the morning sunshine. Thus the hobbits' origins are an actual mystery in Tolkien's own larger creation - and he liked it that way. The only hints he gives in any of his writings (primarily the Prologue to LotR) are along the lines of 'hobbits are more closely related to Men than to anyone else'. That's all we have, and all we're ever likely to have.



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 (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Subject User Time
Where do hobbits come from? Kalimac Send a private message to Kalimac Oct 21 2013, 12:22pm
    Eru Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Oct 21 2013, 1:28pm
        Relationship to humans Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Oct 21 2013, 1:37pm
    It does seem a bit uncharacteristic that Tolkien has no backstory for them (as far as I know).// noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Oct 21 2013, 8:24pm
        Yes, odd CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 21 2013, 9:33pm
            I’ve got a theory Kalimac Send a private message to Kalimac Oct 21 2013, 9:55pm
                Lost in translation CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 21 2013, 10:36pm
                    Another thought... cats16 Send a private message to cats16 Oct 21 2013, 11:55pm
                        Really enjoyed this fresh perspective, especially resetting the clock. CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 22 2013, 12:17am
                            Thank you. Glad it threw a different perspective out there :) // cats16 Send a private message to cats16 Oct 22 2013, 3:28am
        It's not as uncharacteristic as all that squire Send a private message to squire Oct 21 2013, 11:23pm
        Because they're the humans of the story Faenoriel Send a private message to Faenoriel Oct 22 2013, 7:35am
    From the East Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Oct 22 2013, 12:05am
    i believe Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Oct 22 2013, 2:59am
        my ears are burning Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Oct 22 2013, 12:55pm
            Oddly, I have it the other way around. squire Send a private message to squire Oct 22 2013, 6:14pm
                Yes that's... Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Oct 22 2013, 8:45pm

 
 
 

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