Friday, July 22, 2011

Concerning Pipe-Weed or Herblore of the Shire

We know that Hobbits were the first to smoke the plant of the genus Nicotiana. Merry Brandybuck in his book "Herblore of the Shire observes that the plant was not native to Middle-Earth and most likely brought over the sea by Men of Numenor. It grew in Gondor and spread through out Middle-Earth.

In 2670 of the 3rd Age Tobold Hornblower was the first to plant and cultivate a certain specimen of Nicotiana that he observed was good for smoking. It grew nicely around Longbottom in the South Farthing and soon he had several varieties. Old Toby, Longbottom Leaf and Southern Star. Another variety was called Southlinch, grown near Bree.

I would like to observe some of the pipes and containers a Hobbit would have on his person or in his home. Above we see two different kinds of pipes. Both are clay but one is slightly more decorative than the other, maybe pointing to the fact that a higher class Hobbit such as Bilbo would have smoked it where as the other would have been the common Hobbits pipe.

Here we see a common Hobbits pipe-weed container. It is made of cow horn with the lid and bottom made of wood.

This Hobbit needs to refill.

This is a pipe tamper used for packing down burning pipe-weed. Historically pipe tampers were made in various designs and shapes.

Here we see a more well to do Hobbits (possibly Bilbo's) version of the container. This is also horn with a more detailed lid and bottom. And the inscription tells you
what it is for.

Eventually pipe-weed spread to many cultures including Dwarves, Men and Wizards. We know that Gandalf was quite fond of the stuff and smoked with Bilbo and the Dwarves at Bag End. That passage describes Gandalf with a short clay pipe, unlike the long wooden pipe in the films.

So take out your favorite pipe, fill up your bowl and think on these things awhile.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hobbit Film Dwarves

After seeing the newly release photos of the Dwarves for the Hobbit film, and rolling it around in my head for a while to see if they would grow on me I have to say that I am really disapointed. Now, I know that Peter Jackson has broken some rules as far as staying close to the books in the LOTR films, but I feel these dwarves are so far off from what Tolkien described that it is hard view them seriously. Lets look at what Tolkien wrote...

The first dwarf to enter Bilbo's humble hole was Dwalin.
"It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, very bright eyes under his dark green hood."

For starters I haven't seen a colored hood so far yet. Maybe they will be in the film later. If not I that's what will disapoint me most.

The second dwarf to enter was Balin.
" A very old looking dwarf on the step with a white beard, and a scarlet hood..."

Kili and Fili are next.

" It was two more dwarves, both with blue hoods, silver belts, and yellow beards; and each of them carried a bag of tools and a spade."

Now Kili and Fili are shown in the Hobbit film pictures with no tools but swords, no blue at all, and only one of them has a yellow beard that isn't very long.

I won't go through the rest of the dwarves cause I feel I have made my point. Maybe on screen they will look better to me. I think there is to much WOW influence to their clothing. Please let me know your thoughts.