As any Tolkien fan knows, September 22 is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
It is also an important date for my family.
First, of course any barefooter has to know about hobbits. They have not been culturally groomed to think that shoes are necessary. Here is Tolkien’s description of them.
The mother of our particular hobbit-what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it).
Somehow Peter Jackson didn’t quite get that when it came to the feet. He ended up putting on those fake-feet abominations when he made his movies (which are otherwise quite good). As I’ve written before, in Megapodic Movie Hobbits, we probably have the Hildebrandt brothers for perpetuating the myth that hobbits had huge feet.
The only mention of large feet is in the Lord of the Rings, when one particular hobbit who happed to have unusually large feet was described. This happened during Bilbo’s farewell birthday party.
My dear Bagginses and Boffins, he began again; and my dear Tooks and Brandybucks, and Grubbs, and Chubbs, and Burrowses, and Hornblowers, and Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses and Proudfoots. ‘ProudFEET!’ shouted an elderly hobbit from the back of the pavilion. His name, of course, was Proudfoot, and well merited; his feet were large, exceptionally furry, and both were on the table. Proudfoots, repeated Bilbo.
The thing is, those fake feet were no protection. Sean Astin ended up cutting his foot when he went into the water after Frodo (Elijah Wood).
Of course, they should have checked the water first, since even if they were wearing shoes, something long and pointy could have penetrated.
Today is also the day that my daughter is getting married, which I find an interesting coincidence. It would be nice to think that today’s date was chosen because of my predilection, but I’m afraid that’s not the real story.
The real story is that my daughter and fiancé picked the day to work around the Ohio State University football schedule. Today’s game is a pretty minor game that they are not overly concerned about missing part of.
But I’ll at least pretend that it is just for me . . .
And while we are on the theme, let me leave you with the latest trailer for the Hobbit movie (due out at Christmas. Looks like it will be great again (aside from the fake feet).
Meanwhile, I have a wedding to get ready for.