13 thoughts on “A problem with Fellowship of the Ring

  1. I can only think of the most obvious things:

    1. Potatoes were domesticated by Native Americans.

    2. ‘Taters’ is an American colloquialism, whereas Sam speaks with a regional (southern) English accent.

    1. 1. “Some of the modernities found among them (I think especially of umbrellas) are probably, I think certainly, a mistake, of the same order as their silly names, and tolerable with them only as a deliberate ‘anglicization’ to point the contrast between them and other peoples in the most familiar terms.” -Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #154, 25 September 1954

      Proceeding on the (perhaps mistaken) assumption that 1. is your concern, it fits Tolkien’s depiction of the Hobbits as more modern and middle class (hence, post-Columbian) than surrounding characters.

    2. “2. ‘Taters’ is an American colloquialism, whereas Sam speaks with a regional (southern) English accent.”

      Isn’t Sam’s accent supposed to be West Country?

  2. I might be wrong about 2. – it seems it is also Cockney. Still doesn’t fit with Sam’s accent.

    But I’m surely missing something a bit deeper.

  3. Gollum was a Hobbit before he killed because of the ring and had to go into exile, and evidently hadn’t heard of potatoes, which means the Columbian Exchange must have happened some time after he went bad and Hobbits must have subsequently acquired them, but well before the events in the Lord of the Rings. Bit confusing.

    Grasping at straws here.

  4. I want to know why Gollum is still strong and cunning decades after surrendering the ring, while Bilbo faded so quickly.

  5. I take that as high praise coming from you, Andrew.

    But it all depends on what is in it that bothers the Boss.

    1. Numenor was the USA-analogue in the epic, the place the Second-Age old worlders called upon whenever Second-Age Sauron was waxing in strength. (Ar-Pharazon the Golden defeated Sauron even when the latter had the Ring, IIRC. Or at least convinced Sauron that force wasn’t the best option at the time.) So maybe the Numenoreans grew potatoes or at least had access to another continent we’re not told about. I know, I’m reaching.

      KM32: THAT is an easier question to answer. Gollum lived with the Ring alone for five centuries, and at a time when Sauron was weaker, so was able to adapt to the Ring.

  6. It’s pronounced “po-tah-toes”?

    It’s nothing like Tolkein’s original? (“‘The Gaffer’s delight, and rare good ballast for an empty belly. But you won’t find any, so you needn’t look”)

    The marginalised minority character is played by a white male wearing “gollum-face”?

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