Episode 35
February 7, 2022

Do the Hobbits Have H.O.A.s?

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned talk about Oriana’s choice of topic: the Shire. The homeland of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and many of Middle-earth’s hobbits in general, and the entry point for nearly every reader to Tolkien’s imaginative geographical and creative landscape, the Shire often seems like an idyllic and nostalgic English utopia, an untroubled land where the beer is good, the family trees are all spelled out carefully and there’s not much to worry about aside from the occasional wolf or Orc raid over the centuries. Yet Tolkien himself said he didn’t view it as a utopia, and both as sociopolitical organization and as physical location, the Shire has more going on with it than might be seen at first glance, even by some of its most well-known inhabitants. What is the sense of history among the hobbits of the Shire, and how do they regard their land and their sense of who they are? What does the Shire being a seemingly safe place truly reveal when the Scouring is necessary at the end of the grand story? Who are the authorities, if there are any, that keep this seeming anarchist fantasy going as a functioning concern, and does that cover monetary issues as well? And is that the only linguistically blessed fox in the Shire, much less Middle-earth as a whole?

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. A party of special magnificence indeed.

Amazon’s title announcement video – FINALLY. (And yes we know there’s more but that happened after recording this episode – next time!) TheOneRing.net got some behind the scenes shots from the creation of said video, pretty cool.

The formal Haggerty Museum of Art announcement about the “J. R. R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” exhibition in Milwaukee, running from August 19 to December 12.

Douglas Trumbull is rather well known in the field.

The Shire: a basic overview.

Some of our relevant past episodes on the Scouring of the Shire and Sam Gamgee.

Karen Wynn Fonstad’s Shire map, as with all her work, is very great. (Pick up The Atlas of Middle-earth if you haven’t.)

What is utopia? Everywhere and nowhere…well, nowhere, really.

Golf is canon!

English gardens are indeed a thing.

Asterix rules, the end. The specific volume in question – and here’s the lawn joke.

Merry England, or rather an overview of the stereotype.

A recent article on Tolkien and satire in the context of the Shire.

Air traffic controller memes!

The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien by John Garth – well worth picking up. Here’s the Birmingham map mentioned – Sarehole is location 1.

Britton Hill – Florida’s highest point. (In contrast Ned climbed Mount Marcy once.)

Who doesn’t love a Shire fox?

Watership Down and The Plague Dogs, both very good reads and often harrowing movies.

The feast with Gildor at Woodhall as depicted by Alan Lee.

Lovely Crickhollow.

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