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Friendship and Sanctity of Home in Middle-Earth

Friendship and the importance of home are two monumental pillars in both Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. One could say, it is the basis of the two stories.

A close friendship between two Hobbits is equally important as an alliance between two races. Both influence each other in a myriad of ways, always with a goal of growth and purpose. If one falls, the other is there to lend a helping hand.

A friendship of any kind is a beautiful and fulfilling relationship that brings all the values and emotions of both participants to the forefront. These values and emotions intertwine and supplement each other thereby helping both parties see things from a different perspective and consequently behaving in a more objective way. When a friendship is true, as it is in both LOTR and Hobbit, then it transcends simplicity and becomes a bond forever altering the lives of its members.

A house is not a home

True. A simple house does not automatically become a home. To build a home one needs to nurture and surround oneself with everything that is important and that which brings comfort. Comfort and warmth are two basic concepts of home. Many may relate it to their parent`s home and the feeling one gets when entering that particular home. One’s olfactory senses might recognize the smell of apple pie and bring to mind one’s own home where they grew up. So strong is the bond between an individual and comfort and warmth, which a good home embeds from a young age.

The four Hobbits were the quintessential friendships that inspired Professor Tolkien. The Professor and his companions lived the Hobbit`s love of ale and food They had their own favorite pub they visited regularly to discuss not only current matters but, most importantly, their mutual love of mythologies.

His home in Birmingham, England, was very much an inspiration for his Shire-folk. He loved its green hills and little rivers. He spent most of his formative years enjoying nature in all its glory. Being able to roam freely in the natural beauty surrounding his home, he found his sense of home.

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One weakness to ruin them all

In the opening scene of the Fellowship of the Ring, introduces us to the concept of home and friendship. As the Last Alliance stands against the forces of Mordor, the bond between Elves and Men can be plainly seen. A united front was their best option.

However, as Isildur fell under the influence of the Ring, so did the Alliance fall as well. The trust and bond they had were gone. Ever since then, the two Peoples drifted apart, giving way to malicious folk stories each had about the other. A beautiful and valuable friendship lost over a simple weakness. One flaw to stereotype the world of Men forever.

After the Prologue has given us a background for the upcoming story, we are transported into the quaint world of the Shire. There can be no wider a dichotomy between the two worlds, Mordor in the East and the Shire in the West. The happy-go-lucky feeling in a perfect setting of Hobbiton feels, and indeed it is, miles away from the hardships of the rest of Middle-Earth. Here is where we learn about home.

The Shire

No other People of Middle-Earth are described in such a detailed and witty manner. There is nothing greater than the Hobbits’ love of their home. They are quite satisfied as they are. Every Hobbit contributes to the well-being of its race where every one member is valuable and appreciated, the sense of accomplishment mounts with every savory beer brewed.

But where our hearts truly lie is in peace, and quiet, and good tilled earth. For all hobbits share a love of things that grow.

Bilbo Baggins

Nature is as important as food or drink. Hobbits enjoy the concept of happiness in its truest form, the love of the everyday routines of life. The music of the Shire accompanies the landscape and the Hobbits beautifully. It is playful and witty with a strong accent on simplicity, warmth, and comfort.

As with every society, there is fuss and gossip and prejudice, which adds to the reality of the population. If everything were peachy and everyone got along, it would be a Utopian disaster, unbelievable to the audience. The “human” touch to this small community is what makes it believable, with the possibility of having existed sometime in our history.

There is a strong sense of belonging flowing through this race. Even as Frodo and Bilbo leave on their respective journeys, nostalgia is their constant companion. Always with their thoughts on their home – their anchor.

Being as nostalgic as the two characters are of their homeland, this concept in today’s world is somewhat alien. This is why the Shire, in the opening scenes, presents a world that you would very much like to be a part of. It stirs emotions of nostalgia, although we never lived there. This palpable sense of beauty, calm and simple happiness, is, in my opinion, the hidden wish in all of us.

A wizard’s homely house

The fact that a wizard would turn up for a simple Hobbit`s birthday party is a great deal. Although his jurisdiction extends to the whole of Middle-Earth, he has taken a particular liking to the Shire. One could argue that he himself feels very much at home in this green paradise. His friendship with Bilbo goes deeper than “a simple nudge out the door” 60 years ago.

Gandalf not only has come to wish Bilbo a happy birthday, but he has also thought about the little Hobbit children and their delight in his fireworks. He is therefore there to enjoy himself as much as bring joy to others as well. An expression of comfort, happiness, and calm can be seen on the wrinkles of his face. Without a home to call his own, because of the nature of his mission, he has found a footing precisely in this beautiful corner of Middle-Earth.

Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies portray the two concepts incredibly well. Every character’s journey, apart from being a personal one, neatly intertwines with fates of other characters as well. From Bilbo to Aragorn, the characters’ sense of belonging is touched upon. The motivation behind all of their actions lies in friendship and finding of saving their home.

What about Bilbo, though? His sense of home and friendship is somewhat different. He himself is an altogether opposite of what Hobbits represent. Let`s see how in my next post, shall we?

Featured image by Annie on Unsplash.

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