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Old 02-23-2004, 10:57 AM   #1
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
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Living in MiddleEarth

Hmm, I do not know whether anybody else would be interested in this, but I certainly wondered much, much more about how the folks in Middle-Earth lived than the individual acts of heroism. Consider some things that did not seem very much consistent:

1. The Hobbit folks in the Shire are said to be pretty tough folks 'in a pinch'. Bring it into today's context. Soft living is never a good educator in survival. But those Shirefolks rose up so quickly against their oppressors, that one must either give real credit to their ancestral toughness, or to the drunkeness of those ruffians. It could be said that the return of four hobbits from the outside world could trigger the uprising, but hey, those folks had been 'growing fat on the land' for so long... Hobbits are more than tough folks; they are extremely adaptable too!

2. Elves in the Lothlorien know of cram.

Quote:
'So it is,' they answered. 'But we call it lembas or waybread, and it is more strengthening than any food made by Men, and it is more pleasant than cram, by all accounts.'
Okay, Gimli knows of cram. He lives in Erebor, and dwells near Dale. But elves in Lothlorien are very isolated from the outside world... Consider: Haldir spoke Westron just because he was one of those who go out to spy. How did those elves manage to find out about cram? Hmm, elven lore is a really obscure object...

Oh, I am very interested whether elves have any form of agriculture too... surely, forested lands have very thin soil and are not suited for farming? Hmm... come to think of it, did Lothlorien have any metal-working industries? Arrow-heads needed polishing even if hoes and shovels do not need mending...

3. Orcs have to eat too. They eat each other as well as others. But the point is, how could they multiply so quickly if they do not have any form of livelihood except fighting? Farming is a problem when you are afraid of the sun... and you can only rob others for so long... But considering orcish "culture", it is not surprising that slavery can take up normal chores of living... I believe I read somewhere that orcs are "spawned", although it is also said that they "breed after after the fashion of the Children of Illuvator". Now, does that mean that orcs come from eggs? And does that mean that some big giant female orc laid "orc eggs" and then waited for them to hatch just like spiders? *shudder*

4. Ditto for the Dwarves. I don't think dwarves do much farming, either... Thorin Oakenshield and his companions served as blacksmiths while in exile. I believe they traded their skills for other necessities of life though. The lifestyle of dwarves is actually quite imaginable; smoking pipeweed, carving stone sculptures, smithing most of the times... and preparing for war. It is definitely compatible... metal-working and fortress-building had only characterised one thing in history, and that one thing is not peace.

What do you think?
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Old 02-23-2004, 01:19 PM   #2
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Orcs have to eat too. They eat each other as well as others.
Nope.
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Old 02-23-2004, 02:44 PM   #3
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Pipe

Greetings and welcome to the Downs, Hot, crispy nice Hobbit! Family of Bill Huggins I wonder?

Burra: you will never make a president I you don't stop giving such unparlementary and to-the-point answers!!

Back to the topic.
These are the answers I can give and the thoughts I have on the subject.

1: yes, the Hobbits are indeed a strange folk. They 'settled down and grew fat' because they were almost always guarded from their enemies. They, just as the Ents, didn't have enemies anymore and therefore they didn't care. Once their protection was gone, it went wrong straightaway. They had to be roused, by outsiders. I always found the rousing of Hobbits and Ents alike in a way, and the matter of Merry and Pippin doing both of them makes it stranger.

2: Elves didn't always shun the dwarves. There was at a time great trading between the two going on, and the memory of Galadriel and Celeborn are very long. Neither did the Elves always live consealed in a forest, with only spies to go out. Haldir might have been one of the few who spoke Westron still.
There are many ways in which the Elves might have heard about the dwarves' cram. Personally I would be more surprised if they hadn't heard about it.

3: orcs bread in the same way as the children of Iluvatar, as you said. No one could spawn anything except Iluvatar. Orcs are Morgoth's revenge for Iluvatar's Elves. I don't think orcs have any form of agriculture, but they do hunt and sometimes even fish. Maybe they take the fruit they can get on raiding and robberies. But I guess they mostly eat meat.

4: I guess from your remark at point three about Iluvatar that you have read the Silmarillion (if not, please do). Thus you know that the dwarves were created by Aule. And he made them strong and enduring and so that friendship should be understood greatly among them. This because it was in the time of Morgoth that he made them. How they reproduce I don't know, for the first dwarves were Seven Fathers, but I guess threads can be found about that subject.
Dwarves specialised in stone- and metalwork and most other things they needed they gained in trade. Khazad-dum traded lots of things with the surrounding lands, including the Elven Eregion. In LotR Gloin tells Frodo about the prosperity of Erebor under King Dain and their great traderoutes.
And last... dwarves were made in times of war and therefore made to endure them. They did want them to be, though ofcourse they too made mistakes in the past, just as every other species. Nevertheless they don't necessarily have to like war or fighting any more then any other species. As Gandalf says in the Unfinished Tales: 'Dwarves know better the value of good friendship than any other species.'

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Old 02-23-2004, 02:47 PM   #4
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They did want them to be
Ehmm... this should ofcourse be: They didn't want them to be!

lathspell once more!
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Old 02-23-2004, 03:26 PM   #5
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How they reproduce I don't know, for the first dwarves were Seven Fathers
I recall that Eru took each of the seven fathers and stuck them in a hole someplace to sleep- along with a mate. I read it someplace in one of the HoME books.

(Durin was said not to have a mate though, but I would assume he just married the daughter of one of the other fathers)
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But those Shirefolks rose up so quickly against their oppressors
They didn't really. Sure, most of them wanted to rise up but that really doesn't mean anything because you couldn't find a group of people in the world who wouldn't want to get rid of another group that was oppressing them. That's pretty basic and goes without saying.

What matters is action, and so I ask what did the hobbits actually do about their situation? A few (notably the Tooks) refused to be pushed around and killed some of the invaders, but most of the hobbits just rolled over and took the beating (until the fab four arrived and stirred them up and turned their desire to rise up into an actual uprising).
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Old 02-23-2004, 03:28 PM   #6
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In the Second Age, elves and dwarves traded in Eregion and Hollin. If my memory serves correctly, Galadriel and Celeborn dwelt with those elves for a time, and possibly some of those elves followed them to Lothlorien. Perhaps this is how they knew about cram. Or maybe some dwarves wandered into Lorien once upon a time, but given the animosity between the two species I doubt it.
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Old 02-23-2004, 04:08 PM   #7
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3. Orcs have to eat too. They eat each other as well as others. But the point is, how could they multiply so quickly if they do not have any form of livelihood except fighting? Farming is a problem when you are afraid of the sun... and you can only rob others for so long... But considering orcish "culture", it is not surprising that slavery can take up normal chores of living... I believe I read somewhere that orcs are "spawned", although it is also said that they "breed after after the fashion of the Children of Illuvator". Now, does that mean that orcs come from eggs? And does that mean that some big giant female orc laid "orc eggs" and then waited for them to hatch just like spiders? *shudder*
Orcs were originally elves, taken by Morgoth and then slowly mutilated into orcs. As such, they should breed just like elves. As for the eating part, I think it says in RotK that Sauron has great farmlands to the east, near the lake Nurnen, so I guess that's where at least Mordor's orcs get their food from. And I guess orcs don't care that much about what they eat.
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Old 02-24-2004, 12:53 AM   #8
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Thanks for your replies! They had answered much of my curiosity about the livelihood of these races, but some of my questions persisted.

1. So, orcs breed after the fashion of the elves? That is a big shock to me, considering that there were close to no sources about orcish females. I suppose one might presume that orcish females are as revolting as the males and are just as expendable as every other breed of orcs... Then again, how the dark powers such as Morgoth and Sauron, and even Saruman, could rise and equip hordes upon hordes of orcs in such short time have always astonished me. (Yes, astonished. If one does not count the Balrog which also commanded the orcs in Moria) Those armies were not ragtag: they had equipments and leadership.

One more thing that occured to me: Aragorn said that orcs would sometimes venture outside in the sun if they had a dead captain to avenge. Sounds really quaint that orcs are 'endeared' to their captains. (Contrast with the 'spirit of Mordor' that Sam rationalised while in Mordor)

2. I think I read in the Hobbit that ravens could communicate with dwarves. That did not sound all that surprising considering the fact that Bard the Archer heard of Smaug's weakness from an old thrush. Yes, the livelihood of Dwarves seemed pretty much straightened out. Except for the fact that Dwarves seemed to degenerate in toughness as the ages go by. Behold! The Dwarves in the First Age bested the Father of Dragons! (Arguably, Glaurang is not a winged dragon) The Dwarves of Erebor were surprise attacked, of course, but I should have supposed that they would fight all the more stubbornly to defend one of their last cities. Thorin and his companions had to make do with stealth, and it was a Man that finally slayed Smaug.

3. You know, when I come to think of it, the rise of the Shire and fury of the Ents seemed really similar. The only difference that I could think of is that Merry and Pippin did not participate actively in the Ents' uprising. The scouring of the Shire was about their own homes, so it is very understandable that they should rise up so ferociously. In this, however, I found Frodo extremely lacklustre. Perhaps he was too tired to care? Compare his behaviour at the end with the one he used to have. I belief he mentioned that sometimes he wished there would be an invasion of dragons so as to wake up those sleepy hobbit-folks, but he would rather the Shire be safe while he is gone.

4. The Ents had a really structured livelihood, in fact, much more so than the Elves. They had mates, they could construct dams, they drink, they had a language, they garden, they could even muster an army. Treebeard seemed almost human, with his talk with Pippin and Merry... I could picture an old grandfather rambling on with his grandchildren. I should have thought that a creature that is almost as old and the earth itself would be as obscure as the elves...

5. As I said, Elven-lore is very obscure indeed. Excelling in virtually everything, they really seemed too outworldly to exist in Middle-Earth. In fact, I could grow to like Hobbits and Dwarves better than any elves. In all the books except for the Hobbit, Elves seemed very high-browed and wise, and that made them horrible people to live with. In fact, to be termed elf-friend sounds a lot like a title bestowed upon a lowly crawling creature that somehow gained favour among their race.

The point that I am trying to drive is that why should they remain on Middle-Earth when they could have an even more blissed life in Aman? I don't think I could imagine the Elves would be missing their life in Middle-Earth. After the breaking of Beleriand, much of their glorious heritage would have disappeared. The rise of Sauron made their lives even more precarious. When I come to think of it, I almost felt as if Prof T is trying to make a Paradise Lost linger just to make sure that nobody forgets. But since all mortals die, people will still forget anyway.
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Old 02-24-2004, 07:19 AM   #9
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1: Orcs do reproduce in the fashion of the Children of Iluvatar. Their are however few or no comments on female orcs in the books of Tolkien. Just as it is with the dwarves. They are there, but they are very unexplained in the works.
Orcs venture out long and far after anyone who kills one of their captains. But who doesn't go far to avenge their leader!?

2: Gloin tells Frodo in lotR that they do not achieve the works of their fathers in anything except with stonework. Not all dwarves could talk to ravens. The dwarves of Erebor are the only known race to do so, as the Men of Dale and their descendants could talk to thrushes.

3: I found the similarity of Pippin and Merry extraordinary great. In both cases they are the ones that begin the rousing. With the Ents they do not take part in the fighting, but that was because they couldn't. They didn't have the strength to participate in such a fight. Whereas with the rousing of the Shire, they themselves were roused to, for it was their homeland that was in bounds. They had the strength to oppose the enemies they met there.

4: I can not.

5: Elves can be as you describe, yes. But there are others as well, like Galadriel as she is in LotR.

As you know the Elves went Aman in the beginning of days and stayed there for quite a long time. After Morgoth stole the Silmarils Feanor urged them to follow, and so they fell under the Doom of Mandos. After the Wars of Beleriand, they were still under this Doom, and they were still exiles!

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Old 02-24-2004, 10:45 AM   #10
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How they reproduce I don't know, for the first dwarves were Seven Fathers, but I guess threads can be found about that subject.
As I understand it, from what I've read (though I can't remember where; I think the Barrow-wight or someone of high authority on the Downs said it) that the first dwarves were the Seven Fathers, but there were three males, three females, and Durin. "Seven Fathers" is a very misleading terminology.
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:55 PM   #11
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Can anyone provide us with a quote of the Seven Fathers being not only male, or being set with females by Iluvatar. In the Silmarillion I can find nothing but this:



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But I will not suffer this: that these should come before the Firstborn of my design, nor that thy impatience should be rewarded. They shall sleep now in darkness under stone, and shall not come forth until the Firstborn have awakened upon Earth; and until that time thou and they shall wait, though long it may seem
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Old 02-24-2004, 04:58 PM   #12
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I found Frodo extremely lacklustre. Perhaps he was too tired to care?
I always thought that he was just tired of fighting and killing. He made sure that no hobbit killed another hobbit and tried to keep the number of casualties of any kind down to a minimum. He wanted the Shire to win, just not in the same way that Sauron would have won, killing everything in his path. It's not in a hobbit's nature to fight and kill, they will only do so, as you said, 'at a push'.

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I belief he mentioned that sometimes he wished there would be an invasion of dragons so as to wake up those sleepy hobbit-folks
I don't remember him saying such a thing, but even if he did, I believe anyone's view would change after doing what he'd done.
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Old 02-25-2004, 09:34 AM   #13
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Can anyone provide us with a quote of the Seven Fathers being not only male, or being set with females by Iluvatar. In the Silmarillion I can find nothing but this:
I'm not at home with my books, but I did a search of other threads and found where someone used the quote I was remembering (from HoME XI The War of the Jewels)-
Quote:
[Ilúvatar] commanded Aulë to lay the fathers of the Dwarves severally in deep places, each with his mate, save Durin the eldest who had none
So does this mean that three of the "fathers" were mothers, or what? My memory on this section is very sketchy. I wish I could read the rest of the text but it'll have to wait.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:16 AM   #14
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"I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don't feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again."
You can find this exact words in the discussion between Gandalf and Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring: The Shadow of the Past Gee, I guess Frodo's opinions could change, but I don't believe he could stand by without drawing a sword while his folks are getting killed. Just read:

Quote:
"Frodo had been in the battle, but he had not drawn sword, and his chief part had been to prevent the hobbits in their wrath at their losses, from slaying those of their enemies who threw down their weapons."
Sounds a lot like a UN peacekeeper, doesn't it? In fact, I had always felt that Frodo should not have gone back to the Shire, but stayed with Bilbo in Rivendell.

Er, as to that thing about why orcs pursue the killers of their captains, I frankly can't believe there could have been much love lost among any orcs, seeing the way they have been portrayed. To avenge a leader require much loyalty to the said leader by his/her subject, and the Appendix F of LOTR states that they are 'being filled with malice, hating even their own kind'. Does that mean there can be a charismatic leader among Orcs?!? *Imagine a Fasist Orc* (But there had been evidence that orcs have sufficient free will and initiative to organise attacks even without the bidding of a megalomaniac: note the disaster of the Gladden Fields)

There is a sentence about the Seven Fathers in the Silmarillion, but it is up for debate whether this can be considered canon:

Quote:
But fearing that the other Valar might blame his work, he wrought in secret: and he made first the Seven Fathers of Dwarves in a hall under the mountains in Middle-Earth
Had there been a discussion about this already? Great!
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:11 PM   #15
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i honestly don't know what to say for the rest, but, if i understand correctly, which i probably don't, orcs don't really have a culture. they were spawned by saruman and survive in harsh caves and miserable pits. saruman and sauron probably own farming minions to supply food for them. like the mystery of the weed that mary and pippin found. think about it...
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:23 PM   #16
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Actually, warrenerd, orcs were bred by Morgoth/Melkor. Technically, they didn't live exclusively in caves, though they did mostly survive in pits mostly.

I believe they lived in tents erected in Mordor. There were a number of orc living places, though not very livable, erected on the plateu of Gorgoroth. I suppose you couldn't really count the Tower of Cirith Ungol, but there were camps inside Mordor. Of Angband, I know not. I don't believe it is ever mentioned how orcs in Angband lived. I assume orcs would not practice agriculture.

Well, others are obvious for the most part. Dwarves are miners with little focus on much else except hoarding wealth. It would seem that the only folk who have recognizable standards of living are hobbits and men, since elves have their own isolated ways.
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