15 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.

  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. Final attempt: at the end of the clip, there is something that looks like a car in the background.

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

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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”?

  10. “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?

  11. There are DRAGONS and all manners of fantastic creatures and peoples, and y’all are bothered by taters and tobacco?

    What bothers me about the LOTR and just about all other “heroic” works of literature, film, and TV is the depiction of combat, especially group combat, which is supposed to be very central to the heroism of the said works. It’s all utter nonsense – everything from men engaging in one-on-one sword fights in the middle of a battlefield (what happened to phalanxes or shield walls?) to the main characters wearing awesomely expensive-looking armor, but not helmets (!)- head injury being the most immediately lethal in real life – to missiles (usually arrows) being fired at a high arc and miraculously hitting many targets. Or some sidekick character slaughtering armored spearmen or swordsmen with a couple of daggers. I won’t even bring up ass-kicking female warriors, because that is just too ridiculous to examine in any detail. Or the mass slaughter of it all in the main combat, but nothing in the aftermath (when in reality, it’s the opposite). Or cavalry riding in a very tight (and dangerous) formation slamming into a wall of shields and spears… after which, again, combat devolves into one-on-one. Meanwhile everyone is charging into each other pell-mell at high speed, never mind the grave danger of “blowing” horses and wearing out heavily-laden men-at-wars.

    It’s all very cartoonish. It’s as if writers, directors, and other creators of such works had not been in a single fist fight let alone real combat. The depictions of mass violence are basically comic book violence – stylized, cinematic, and utterly nonsensical and impractical.

    THAT bothers me a lot more than taters in a pre-Columbian exchange society… because while the surroundings are supposed to be exotic and fantastical, the heroism of the protagonists in combat is supposed to be real and realistic, and very human, and yet it is not.

    Keegan’s “The Face of Battle” ought to be a required reading for all writers and film directors who would presume to depict combat.

Comments are closed.