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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Old images of Drogo Baggins found?

Posted on 2008.12.09 at 12:05


mechtild at 2008-12-11 17:50 (UTC) (Link)
See, now I read Tolkien's intro about the hobbit strains to say that the Tooks were the most strongly Fallohide, and that all the leading families had Fallohide blood, but that it was mixed, the Harfoots in particular in strong evidence in every part of the Shire. I assumed the Bagginses, for instance, were primarily Harfoot stock, since they're supposed to be clever and practical and hardy, which they seem to be, except for the errant streak that comes from the Fallohide, Tookish strain flowing in their veins, at least in isolated individuals, like Bilbo and Frodo. The Stoors seem more limited to water-side locations, so I thought it probable that the Brandybuck clan, for instance, would have strong Stoor connections, at least in its past, because they are a water-friendly located more towards traditional Stoor environs.

I have always thought that however English his Shire comes off, and it is *very* English, in the appendices and intros Tolkien always made clear that Hobbits actually had their own language, very different than Westron or the English he translated their talk into for us readers. I also thought that the description of hobbits was very non-English: besides being so very short, they had brown curly hair, brown complexions and faces that were more notable for their good humoured expressions than for beauty (vis-a-vis the beauty of the tall, slender, elegant Elves). Not that there aren't English people that are short, tan-skinned, curly haired and not noted for their Elf-like comeliness, but I thought this was another way Tolkien was showing that even though the hobbits, of all the folk of Middle-earth were most like the average English person, they actually were a quite different people.

It's funny, but this came up for me watching Brandon Walters as Nullah in "Australia" (topic in a more recent post). I thought he made a perfect book hobbit: his hair is only wavy, not curly, but he has the brown skin and the cheerful, open face: big expressive eyes, a mouth quick to smile, laugh, sing and enjoy a meal, but soft-contoured, not chiselled or remotely Greco-Roman. I think he's beautiful, but he does not look like an Elf, with an Elf's chiselled contours and austere elegance. And he does not look English. But he doesn't look like a stately Maori, or an aborginal Australian, either. He's a magical mix of characteristics you can't quite put your finger on, but one that says to me, "here is a *perfect* hobbit boy!"

Still, barring that, as it is the racist norm of casting in Hollywood still today, more diverse skin tones among the background hobbits would be a good thing at least. The viewer can decide which of those background hobbits is Mayor Wil Whitfoot or any other. And it gives more jobs to actors of color for face time, rather than being covered in orc masks.

You are probably right. Maybe in the second film to come more will be done to show diversity, especially if they have a scene at Brandy Hall, for instance, since Hobbiton and its people have already been established. There would certainly be more diversity at Bree, a town known for its range of folk, but film Bree seemed to be hobbit-less.

Edited at 2008-12-11 05:51 pm (UTC)
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