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User:Ardamir/Essays/Stoors

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Farmer Maggot by John Howe. Farmer Maggot was most likely a Stoor in a large part of his blood.

In the Prologue to LR, we are told that the three different Hobbit breeds, Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides, respectively, were friendly with Dwarves, Men ('Big People') and Elves, lived in the same type of terrain, and even had an appearance similar to these:

The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless; their hands and feet were neat and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides. The Stoors were broader, heavier in build; their feet and hands were larger, and they preferred flat lands and riversides. The Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others; they were lovers of trees and of woodlands.
The Stoors lingered long by the banks of the Great River Anduin, and were less shy of Men.


In the Prologue we also have:

The Hobbits of that quarter, the Eastfarthing, were rather large and heavy-legged, and they wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather. But they were well known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that many grew on their chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard.


But why did Tolkien decide that the Hobbits in the Eastfarthing were Stoors in a large part of their blood, and how did he come up with the concept of Stoors (and the two other Hobbit breeds)? I will try to demonstrate that below.


The relevant elements that are mentioned in my quote above were not actually first conceived as being part of the Prologue, but in the drafts for what was the third chapter at an earlier stage, in which the Hobbits meet Farmer Maggot. However, in the very first version of the chapter (presented in The Return of the Shadow, The First Phase, 'To Maggot's Farm and Buckland'), the elements had not been conceived yet. Tolkien continued writing (in the 'first phase' of writing), and when he got to Tom Bombadil, these were some of his first thoughts for that chapter (presented in The Return of the Shadow, The First Phase, 'Tom Bombadil'):

He [Tom Bombadil] turns out to know Farmer Maggot. (Make Maggot not a hobbit, but some other kind of creature—not dwarf, but akin to Tom Bombadil).
Relation of Tom Bombadil to Farmer Maggot (Maggot not a hobbit?)


So when Tolkien first conceived Tom Bombadil as being related to Farmer Maggot, he got the idea that Maggot may not be a Hobbit after all. He then extended a part of the first version of the third chapter:

The Return of the Shadow, The First Phase, 'Tom Bombadil', note 7:

Frodo Took’s words of Farmer Maggot, ‘He lives in a house’ (p. 92), were thus extended: ‘He is not a hobbit—not a pure hobbit anyway. He is rather large and has hair under his chin. But his family has had these fields time out of mind.’ And when Maggot appears (p.94), ‘a large round hobbit-face’ was changed to ‘a large round hair-framed face.’


Here it is clear that Farmer Maggot was changed from being a 'normal' Hobbit to one that was not pure. Related to Tolkien's 'third phase' of writing LR is a new text which he called a Foreword, which was the precursor to the Prologue in the published work. For a section of it he took material from the third chapter (now titled 'A Short Cut to Mushrooms'). In this text, we find the following passage:

The Return of the Shadow, The Third Phase, 'The Journey to Bree':

The custom of building farms and dwelling-houses was believed to have begun among the inhabitants of the river-side regions (especially the Marish down by the Brandywine), where the land was flat and wet; and where perhaps the hobbit-breed was not quite pure. Some of the hobbits of the Marish in the Eastfarthing at any rate were rather large and heavy-legged; a few actually had a little down under their chins (no pure-bred hobbit had a beard); and one or two even wore boots in muddy weather.


Earlier it was only Farmer Maggot that was not pure; now it is 'some of the Hobbits' of that region. If we then look at the published Prologue again, we can see that the mention of Hobbits not of pure blood has beeen omitted - Stoors are mentioned instead:

The Hobbits of that quarter, the Eastfarthing, were rather large and heavy-legged, and they wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather. But they were well known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that many grew on their chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard.


But I think that Tolkien only described the conception in a different form; it was from the conception of Hobbits not of pure blood that the notion of Stoors, and probably the whole division of the Hobbits into three different breeds, emerged. I do not see any reason that Tolkien would have suddenly rejected that conception while still the Stoors are mentioned as being much associated with Men and having similar characteristics. I believe that the chain of Tolkien's ideas can be depicted thus:

Farmer Maggot akin to Tom Bombadil -> Farmer Maggot not a (pure) Hobbit -> some Hobbits in the Eastfarthing not pure -> Stoors


It should be noted though, that when Farmer Maggot appears in the chapter 'A Short Cut to Mushrooms' in the published LR, he is not mentioned as having a beard, though he has clearly Stoorish attributes in that he is 'broad' and 'thick-set':

Through the gate there now appeared a broad thick-set hobbit with a round red face.


In the extended first version of this passage, as I have quoted, Farmer Maggot's face was 'hair-framed' - did Tolkien change his mind? Did Maggot not have a beard after all, even though the Prologue states that many Hobbits of the Eastfarthing had beards?

One curious detail is also the fact that in the published Prologue, the Hobbits of the Eastfarthing wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather, while in the 'Foreword' they wore simply boots. Why did Tolkien add the 'dwarf-' part? Did he decide that these Hobbits were also associated with Dwarves? But it was the Harfoots that were associated with Dwarves (stated in the Prologue) - did these Hobbits have a bit of Harfoot blood as well? It is possible, since we are told that they were known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood - they were not 100 % Stoors. Any Harfoot blood is not mentioned explicitly anywhere though, so the Stoor blood of these Hobbits were definitely the most important for Tolkien. It may also be that he added the 'dwarf-' part just to make things not seem so simple. The 'dwarf-boots attribute' may still be a 'Stoor attribute' - the fact that they wore boots of whatever sort may be the important thing.

Whether the dwarf-boots were a Stoor attribute or a Harfoot attribute, it does not change the fact that these Hobbits had Stoor blood, and so, as I think that my reasoning gives support for it (although it is not fully conclusive), I believe that Stoors, and Hobbits with Stoor blood, had 'Big People' blood.