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Old 07-26-2011, 02:05 PM   #1
Galadriel55
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Halfwit Hobbit

Samwise=half-wise, foolish. Why?

There is significance in naming Sam (Half, lol ) in such a way. He might not be learned in the finer arts - the knowledge that is usually considered "knowledge", but he knows life - the knowledge less often considered "knowledge". He is simple, not simplistic, and complex, not complicated.

I remember reading in WOTR a discarded epilogue where, in his letter, Aragorn addresses Sam as "Half-wise, who should be called Full-wise". Aragorn is one of those who appreciates the latter kind of "knowledge" and "wisdom". He thinks that beig wise/knowledgeable does not require the "finer arts" (I agree with him). Writing this makes me think a lot about the difference between wise and smart.

Last but not least, why would anyone name their son Halfwit?

Thoughts, opinions, anything regarding Sam's name!


PS: I dutifully searched all the relevant key-words that I could think of, but didn't come upon a thread that discusses this. If you know one, I'd be very interested in reading it!
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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Perhaps the Gaffer (and Sam's unseen mother) considered a simple, unlearned, but hard-working child to be preferable to one with more intelligence but less common sense, and named their son with just that in mind.
After all, the Gaffer doesn't seem the type to put much value on education (he made a comment that Bilbo had taught Sam his letters "meaning no harm").
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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Appendix F notes that Banazir 'Half-wise' was originally a nickname, but being a word that had fallen out of colloquial use (along with Ranugad 'Stay-at-home') it remained as a traditional name in certain families.

So maybe the meaning wasn't so thought about among Hobbits, especially when shortened to Ban perhaps; but in any case some people today name their kids with no idea what the name means, or originally meant.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
Last but not least, why would anyone name their son Halfwit?


!
http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showpos...4&postcount=48

Morsul was considering it!

But I think Morsul is right that maybe Hobbit culture didn't particularly consider meanings unless say flower names for a girl. Tolkien seldom gave names without significance even if it were a private joke.. like Gamgees being linked to Cottons.. After all few names used in Britain have obvious meanings - only Flower and Plant names, "Christian virtue" names - Faith, Hope, Grace, Patience, Prudence and occupational surnames like Mason and Tyler which are now popular as first names. Some parents may consider the meanings, even seek names with a particular meaning but others may choose things for family connections or because they admire someone of that name... and these things may overide meaning even if known. Not all Thomases are twins!
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:15 PM   #5
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I've always considered Sam being "half-wise" as relating more to a lack of conventional book-learning and being rather boorish and unsophisticated. This does not account, however, for Sam's stock of Hobbitish lore and folk-sayings (inherited from his aphoristic father), and a native common sense and stolid bravery -- the attributes which suited him best when leading Frodo through Mordor.
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