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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Brown Hobbits. A colour in the next films, to kill notions that Middle Earth is segregated
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AinurOlorin
Half-elven

May 1 2008, 1:45pm

Post #1 of 49 (548 views)
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Brown Hobbits. A colour in the next films, to kill notions that Middle Earth is segregated Can't Post

FIRST. . . CHECK PAGE TWO FOR THE GLORFINDEL AND GANDALF'S MAGIC POSTS. They are still relevant and active.

And now. . . I've said before that Lawrence Fishburne could make a wonderful Beorn, and that has nothing to do with the fact that he would add a little positvie coulour to the films ( though that would be a good thing to), but because he would really do the role great justice.

But something else occured to me recently. . . In Tolkien's introduction of Hobbits in Fellowship. He clearly tells us that the majority of Hobbits are of The Harfoot clan, and are brown skinned, as opposed to the lighter Fallowhides. Now, I am not suggesting that they were little Afro Hobbits, or Hobbits from Haradwaith. But they were brown, and could easily be played by actors and extras of colour, black and brown.

Why bother? Well, its simple. It has been something of a quiet but constant issue, which occassionally is voiced in many different places. I have lots of black and Indian friends who LOVED the films. . . but were still vexed by the fact that the only beings in the film nthat had a hint of colour, were enemies and orcs. I think that following the text enough to have some of the extras in Hobbiton be evidently of colour would go a long way in permantly erradicating this persitently pesky observation, and would forever extinguish the idea in the minds of any that Middle-Earth circa 9,900 BCE was in any way similar to Missisipi circa 1929. Wink

"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."


RosieLass
Valinor


May 1 2008, 3:45pm

Post #2 of 49 (309 views)
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I'd be okay with any actor who could carry the part. [In reply to] Can't Post

Regardless of his or her skin tone.

I remember, however, the tearing of hair and frothing at the mouth when one of the casting rumors for LOTR was about an Asian actor playing Legolas. The actors have to be exactly the way Tolkien described them, they fumed. Although when you pointed out to them that all the people tall enough to be Elves and Rangers were busy playing basketball, they really had no answer... Tongue

Sad News. :(

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed.

Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey" died peacefully at the age of 83. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started.


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AinurOlorin
Half-elven

May 1 2008, 4:08pm

Post #3 of 49 (284 views)
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LOL. Hilarious Rosie Lass [In reply to] Can't Post

Yet, I was not talking of the major actors. Save in the case of Beorn, which I have elsewhere explained.

Primarily I am talking about "brown" extras in Hobbiton. It is fne for all the major actors to conform to one standard, but when Tolkien himself made room for colour in Hobbiton, it doesn't male sense for the place to be determinedly white only. Put some of those Kiwi ntives of Aboriginal decent to use. Its a little offensive to cast them only as hideous orcs.

"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."


MrCere
Sr. Staff


May 1 2008, 4:18pm

Post #4 of 49 (280 views)
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While I go along with the idea . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

I find this comment a stretch:

"I think that following the text enough to have some of the extras in Hobbiton be evidently of colour would go a long way in permantly erradicating this persitently pesky observation, and would forever extinguish the idea in the minds of any that Middle-Earth circa 9,900 BCE was in any way similar to Missisipi circa 1929"

Do you refer to slavery? Do you refer to agriculture? Which similarities do you mean to highlight?



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grammaboodawg
Immortal


May 1 2008, 4:40pm

Post #5 of 49 (271 views)
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Remember when we toyed [In reply to] Can't Post

with having some of the parts played by women a little while back? Dwarves specifically. Got some mail on that one, we did ;)



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deej
Tol Eressea


May 1 2008, 5:10pm

Post #6 of 49 (290 views)
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Not to be picky... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and please, someone correct me if i'm wrong, but I think what you meant by New Zealand natives were the Maori people, not Aboriginals (who would be indiginous to Australia).

I don't think the casting choices were a deliberate attempt to shut out any minorities, and I don't think it was offensive to cast Maori actors as Orcs or Uruk-hai - I think they just cast the people they thought were best suited for the required roles. In the case of the Uruk-Hai, they needed big guys who were well-trained stunt people, and 2 of the best guys for the job happened to be Maori!

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AinurOlorin
Half-elven

May 1 2008, 5:12pm

Post #7 of 49 (265 views)
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I mean segregated mc [In reply to] Can't Post

Slavery was abolished in the US in 1865. BUt the south remained deeply segregated, and that is what I was reffering too. Tolkien said there were many "brown" Hobbits, so in a 21st century film, with an enormous American, French and Brittish audience, should fail to have any persons of colour, even as extras, save in the role of Uruk-Hai. THat is what I am reffering to. Though, yes, agriculture was also prevelant in the south and in the west in early 20th century America.

"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."


StillCrazy
Bree


May 1 2008, 5:28pm

Post #8 of 49 (253 views)
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Jason Momoa [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Jason Momoa would be a wonderful Beorn, in fact he is exactly how I would picture him.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 1 2008, 6:41pm

Post #9 of 49 (244 views)
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Not enough left-handed hobbits! [In reply to] Can't Post

I demand that hobbits be left-handed in proportion to the population! I feel oppressed!

I think that putting the onus on a movie to solve societal issues is an almost guarantee for failure. I have no problem finding the best actors and actresses for the different roles, but I strongly object to trying to reflect a pre-defined model society. Who defines the model? Are we now obligated to represent every minority? There are no trumpet players, either - do one of the dwarves now have to play the trumpet?

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`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


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grammaboodawg
Immortal


May 1 2008, 6:44pm

Post #10 of 49 (230 views)
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What about smoking? [In reply to] Can't Post

Remember in the commentary how they were worried there'd be an uprising about pipes and smokers in the films? Here Gandalf. Have a toffee ;)



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Trust him... The Hobbit is coming!

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."


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Keebler the Elf
Rivendell


May 1 2008, 6:49pm

Post #11 of 49 (219 views)
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Smoking is part of the books, you have to keep it..... [In reply to] Can't Post

If you don't keep the smoking, you lose the rustic feel to LOTR.

Mmmmmm....somethin' smells good!!!!! Could it be cookies baked in a tree?

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Those were good cookies.....TIME TO HUNT SOME ORC!!!!!!!!!


Eowyn of Penns Woods
Valinor


May 1 2008, 6:51pm

Post #12 of 49 (205 views)
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Yeah, and didn't we make this topic gluggable? *offers jug* // [In reply to] Can't Post



Keebler the Elf
Rivendell


May 1 2008, 6:54pm

Post #13 of 49 (212 views)
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And more about smoking..... [In reply to] Can't Post

When you visualize LOtR smoking, it doesn't feel like real smoking, in fact it feels like part of the landscape. LOtR without smoking is like coffee w/o cream and sugar. Although some people like it that way.

I just say, that good thing they kept the smoking in.

Do dwarves besides Gimli smoke? Will they have that in Hobbit? Bilbo won't be too happy about suffocating in his house from 13 dwarves and a wizard all smoking at once.

Mmmmmm....somethin' smells good!!!!! Could it be cookies baked in a tree?

Keebler's Website

Those were good cookies.....TIME TO HUNT SOME ORC!!!!!!!!!


Empedocles
Rivendell


May 1 2008, 7:04pm

Post #14 of 49 (221 views)
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Segregation, really?? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, this is such a hard topic to talk about; however, I'll still try to express my opinion. I totally disagree with Olorin in this particular matter. This is a different time than the time in which Professor Tolkien wrote the book. Now a lot of artist/writers/fillmakers are very ethnically conscious about this and that shows, for example, in shows like Lost, Heroes, in the Harry Potter books, etc. However, that was not the case in the mid 40's. Now, it seems that if you don't include characters from different races you're just being racist, and that, to me, is just an even more racist way of thinking. If you're adapting material, I believe the best approach is to try to depict the characters as closely to their description as possible, and not just try to be politically correct about it. I don't believe that you must include darker-skinned hobbits. They were not written like that by Professor Tolkien, not painted like that by John Howe, Alan Lee, etc. and were not depicted as such by Peter Jackson. I don't know, I'm hispanic, l live in a third-world country but I wouldn't want to see hispanic-looking Hobbits in one of the movies, it just wouldn't make sense, at least to me.

Guillermo!! Give us back Glorfindel!!!


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


May 1 2008, 7:12pm

Post #15 of 49 (215 views)
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The point is, [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I don't believe that you must include darker-skinned hobbits. They were not written like that by Professor Tolkien.


they were written like that by Professor Tolkien. He distinctly referred to the Harfoots as brown-skinned. I really like AinurOlorin's suggestion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on May 1 2008, 7:15pm)


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


May 1 2008, 7:13pm

Post #16 of 49 (231 views)
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Where is Middle Earth? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to make some similes just for the illustration of my point, please don't get me wrong, everyone.

Tolkien overtly said Middle Earth was Europe in the past. And that Harad was Africa, and that Easterlings where from somewhere of the Middle East (this was not expressly said, but rathe rhinted at).

People from Far Harad were indeed dark-skinned, as would be a native of sub-saharian Africa. Inhabitants of Middle Earth, North and West are light-skinned, and any reference to brown hobbits would most certainly carry a reference to skin similar to Greek, Southern Italian and Southern Spaniard natives. That is a little tan, to put it some way. Certainly not African-like tones.

It is a matter of putting the pieces together. Tolkien did not mean black-skinned hobbits, but rather darker than white.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


May 1 2008, 7:16pm

Post #17 of 49 (205 views)
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Well, you guys convinced me [In reply to] Can't Post

that some of those dwarves were gals. Fili and Kili, I think.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Idril Celebrindal
Tol Eressea


May 1 2008, 7:32pm

Post #18 of 49 (187 views)
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Bottoms up! *glug* [In reply to] Can't Post

 

*hic*

With caffeine, all things are possible.

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

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Empedocles
Rivendell


May 1 2008, 7:35pm

Post #19 of 49 (197 views)
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Harfoots [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
I don't believe that you must include darker-skinned hobbits. They were not written like that by Professor Tolkien.


they were written like that by Professor Tolkien. He distinctly referred to the Harfoots as brown-skinned. I really like AinurOlorin's suggestion.



Well, if I remember correctly, I believe he actually says that the Harfoots have "browner" skin than some of the other Hobbits. Just like Compa Mighty, I've always thought that Professor Tolkien meant a more tanned look but still clearly European. But that's just my opinion, it's a matter of how you want to read it, I guess.

Guillermo!! Give us back Glorfindel!!!


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 1 2008, 7:43pm

Post #20 of 49 (189 views)
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That is how I've always read it [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Inhabitants of Middle Earth, North and West are light-skinned, and any reference to brown hobbits would most certainly carry a reference to skin similar to Greek, Southern Italian and Southern Spaniard natives. That is a little tan, to put it some way. Certainly not African-like tones.


I've always taken it to mean that some Hobbits are darker but not necessarily of African descent. Either way, I'm happy to leave it up to Mr. Del Toro's discretion in casting.



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Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


May 1 2008, 7:52pm

Post #21 of 49 (190 views)
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FWIW [In reply to] Can't Post

some of the Gondorians in Osgiliath were of Polynesian descent - and that's not counting those actors and extras who have Maori/Polynesian bloodlines but don't look it.

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Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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burrahobbit
Rohan


May 1 2008, 8:38pm

Post #22 of 49 (171 views)
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Totally agree [In reply to] Can't Post

If we want to consider all world cultures on a more equal footing then it would be much better for us to watch and create more films about african/arabian/asian mythologies rather than casting black/arab/asian actors in a bizarre revisionist Middle Earth.


        
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Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


May 1 2008, 8:54pm

Post #23 of 49 (164 views)
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Totally agree [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If we want to consider all world cultures on a more equal footing then it would be much better for us to watch and create more films about african/arabian/asian mythologies rather than casting black/arab/asian actors in a bizarre revisionist Middle Earth.



It would be better to visit those other mythologies, or better yet, let natives show us their mythologies. Mythology is one of those things that can be SO misunderstood by someone who does not know and understand the origins and motifs of the stories... we have that problem with the traditional European vision of the mesoamerican myth of Quetzalcoatl, which is completely wrong, yet it is a recurrent motif and "common knowledge". But that's another story.

You are so right about the bizarre revisionism. Adding inaccurate or highly interpretative current elements to stories clearly set in past times and past contexts can only hurt them.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Jazmine
Tol Eressea


May 1 2008, 8:56pm

Post #24 of 49 (170 views)
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While I wouldn't object... [In reply to] Can't Post

to casting "coloured" actors as extras etc, as a person of Indian descent, I'd be more offended if they stuck in the odd black, indian, chinese person just to tick the right equality boxes. If the actors are right for the part, then that's fine. But if that results in an all-white cast, then that's fine too. I don't think any racial groups are shut out deliberately.


*Jazminatar the Brown*


L. Ron Halfelven
Grey Havens


May 1 2008, 9:09pm

Post #25 of 49 (144 views)
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HarFEET!/ [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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