Ch. 10 – Hedge and Bridge

Hedge and Bridge

POV – Bilbo

In which an axe is named, Sara’s ribs are mentioned, salt is pondered, and the history of the Dwarves and the Elves is recounted.


Hobbits have a hard time with history. In JRRT’s account of them, they were relatively recent comers to Arthedain, having long been nomads.

Given that they have a cultural habit of living in cliff or hillside dugout homes, at one point they may have been a more settled people, though probably never very sophisticated – subsistence farmers who also hunted and fished. Linguistically, they are tied to the Rohirrim and there were hobbits near the Gladden Fields. I guess that they came to Rhovanion from north and east sometime in the Second Age, probably from lands beyond the Iron Hills. That far back, they may have been more of a size with dwarves and smaller men, and so escaped much notice.

The migration over and around the Misty Mountains appears to have removed any ancestral memory of themselves. Their history is the settlement of the Shire and a bit of the settlement in Breelands. Even in the Shire, they have not so much history as chronology, when important events occurred. There is little sense of themselves as a people. They account their lives in genealogies, an inheritance rather than a future, the past in miniature rather than the epic sweep of elves, dwarves, and Dunedain.


7 thoughts on “Ch. 10 – Hedge and Bridge”

  1. I think the strongest visual image of Dalin for me is when Frodo first opens the door and is amazed. The most memorable thing he says is what he says about the Shire and strangers, why it’s a magical place. 🙂

    His talking about dark elves … is dark. Enmities will especially last forever, even if communities aren’t in direct competition, if some of the people involved are immortal.

  2. Hi Julie,

    Yes, Dalin’s statement about the Shire is what the hobbits all learn when they leave and encounter the rest of the world. That kind of gentle haven is indeed a paradise, even to us today. It is the opposite of the Europe Tolkien experienced in two world wars.

    I like telling history from the perspective of the dwarves, even if they exaggerate. The elves have their West to escape to, men conquer, but dwarves and hobbits just quietly vanish. Their experiences of Arda need to be told.

    I keep trying to start writing another story for you, but I can’t focus with current events.


  3. Whenever the zoo starts talking I’ll be happy to read. I’m having a “busy” summer which is mostly everything taking too long — focus issues for me also. 😦

  4. I’m torn about what story to do next. I can continue with the current Bilbo & Frodo trajectory or I can reach back and write Gilda’s story.


  5. Either one, I’ll read it. 🙂 I’d like to know more about Gilda, also want to know how the harvest goes …

  6. That’s really interesting! I knew the Hobbits were latecomers compared to the other races, I guess I always just assumed Hobbits… came into being, or were somehow transformed from Men or something, relatively recently. That the Shire once existed without Hobbits, but that the Hobbits never existed without the Shire.

  7. According to JRRT, Hobbits have been around a long time, just unnoticed. They are a kind of Man, and were once much taller and less visually different than other men. Bandobras Took was only four generations back and he was 5 feet tall, which would make him the height of a dwarf and of short regular men.

    Hobbits came from the East in fairly large bands, in the backstories. I think they were probably just short men when they first arrived, more of a height with Europeans in the middle ages. The men would have been just over 5 feet tall (about the size Merry & Pippin reach after the Ent draughts – I imagine that effect to be to give them full stature) and the women a bit under, so approximately the height of dwarves, but not so bulky. They would not have been exceptionally smaller than other men, so would not have attracted too much attention.

    Isolated populations dwindled in size, possibly because of being pushed to marginal lands. They kept migrating to avoid war & famine, and slowly ended up mostly in Eregion/Arnor. When they got to the Shire, they found a perfect place – mild climate, few people, a single trade route, far enough away from the mountains that they were (relatively) Orc-free, and with no population pressures. They flourished and became settled, taking on many of the habits of the full sized men in the area. This civilization exists nowhere else among hobbit tribes and (if the professor is to be believed) didn’t last much longer after the Ring War, maybe 6 or 7 generations.


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