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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Gandalf knew the hobbits for how long?

squire
Valinor


Jul 24 2012, 1:14am


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Gandalf knew the hobbits for how long? [In reply to] Can't Post

It might seem that Gandalf has known the hobbits for millennia, and maybe he has; the Tale of Years in the LotR appendices says that the Istari appeared in Middle-earth at just about the period that the halflings first did, roughly 1000 Third Age, or almost 2000 years before the events in The Hobbit.

But the first documented encounter between Gandalf and the hobbits was in 2758-59 T.A., during the Long Winter, when 'Gandalf came to the aid of the Shirefolk', as the annals put it. This is expanded upon in the Unfinished Tales collection of texts that became the 'Quest of Erebor'. The version that Christopher Tolkien calls B has Gandalf recollecting about the hobbits of the Shire: "I began to have a warm place in my heart for them in the Long Winter..." This seems to suggest that Gandalf did know of them before 2758, but not in the intimate and interested way that we are familiar with from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Since hobbits are hobbits, it would seem odd to me if he had spent much time among them before that crisis - had he done so, surely he would have developed a "warm" feeling for them simply due to sufficient acquaintance, given the books' premise that the hobbits' true qualities only become apparent over time, leading so many of their antagonists to underestimate them. I'm not sure we should say so boldly that Gandalf 'knew' the hobbits for millennia, in the sense of collecting extensive "hobbit-lore" as he puts it to Frodo, even though by the time line it was possible.

On the other hand, their "eating habits" as you put it are pretty easy to perceive - hardly the kind of thing that millennia are needed for a wizard (or anyone else) to become aware of!



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
The Hobbit discussion schedule chapter one part two Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Jul 12 2012, 8:56am
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 12 2012, 4:09pm
        Wizards and hobbit larder Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Jul 22 2012, 9:03am
            Gandalf knew the hobbits for how long? squire Send a private message to squire Jul 24 2012, 1:14am
    Answers sador Send a private message to sador Jul 13 2012, 12:49pm
        I think Bombur has a happy ending. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 13 2012, 3:15pm
    Comedy and enchantment Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Jul 15 2012, 6:16pm
        Bewuthered and Belladonna SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Jul 16 2012, 1:30am
            Belladonna's two sides Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Jul 17 2012, 2:47am
                Just mentioning sador Send a private message to sador Jul 17 2012, 5:20am
                Yes, exactly SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Jul 18 2012, 2:13am
        I love your comments about the comic confusion. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 16 2012, 2:04am
            Thanks for the clip! Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Jul 17 2012, 2:18am
                Honestly, I'm less attached to The Hobbit text. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 17 2012, 2:49am

 
 
 

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