You have my gun
And my gun
And my gun!
so on the subject of stolen property, i’ve seen various arguments on this point but it is in fact true that inheriting something from a relative, when you know full well that it was stolen, does not make it yours.
this clearly goes doubly so for powerful magical artifacts, and especially for artifacts which are strongly implied to contain part of their creator’s soul!
you can talk about consequences – maybe the artifact in question has benefits for you, maybe you’re not convinced its rightful owners would use it responsibly – but talking about the consequences doesn’t erase the fact that whatever benefits you think you’re getting are achieved through wrongful means.
which is why i, too, think Frodo should have given the One Ring back to Sauron. thief.
Hahahahaha here comes the law student nerd ready to complicate your wonderful post, op.
(Really this is just pretext for me to study for my property final in a week, so thanks yeah)
Because according to the principles of common property law, the matter of who actually owns title to the One Ring becomes really complicated really fast.
Buckle up babes for the pedantic law lecture no one asked for.
(more under the cut)
The best part of this is: trust me I guarantee Tolkien knew this much about the Common Law (English mediaevalists end up knowing ridiculous amounts about both Common Law and mediaeval Catholicism whether we want to or not), and indeed if you look at the text, this was relevant to the story.
It’s part of the reason that Sauron is as terrified of Aragorn’s potential claim on the Ring as he is of Gandalf’s or Saruman’s or Galadriel’s – if not more. Because in Middle Earth this shit matters. This is a world where a broken oath will literally bind your unhappy restless soul to the earth in spite of the dictates of the literal creator of the universe (who designated humans as Passing Beyond The World when they die). This is a world where a damn oath is responsible for Everything That’s Wrong With The First And Second Ages.
Oaths, ownership, duties, rights, things owed and owing: this shit matters.
And sure Aragorn is also direct line from Lúthien, but so is Elrond, and so are Elrohir and Elladan. So is Arwen. But what none of them have that Aragorn has? Is a rightful claim to ownership of the Ring.
So much of what Aragorn spends his time in the second and third volumes doing is Establishing Claim – establishing that everything that Isildur owned, he now owns. Why? Because it means he has power that is absolutely needed. “Isildur’s Heir” isn’t a woo-woo floofy-high-concept thing: it’s a literal matter of rights, duties and authority.
When he takes the Palantír from Gandalf and uses it, his companions are aghast, but he reminds them that he has both the right and the strength to use it – and the Right is actually important. Saruman was, face to face, stronger than Aragorn (never doubt that) and Sauron completely pwned him, but Saruman had no right to the Seeing Stone, no more right than Pippin.
But the Palantíri belonged to Aragorn: he’s not only Melian’s ever-so-great-grandchild, he’s also Fingolfin’s ever-so-great-grandchild, and since the Fëonori died out with the poor Ringmaker, the only competition Aragorn could have for ownership of the Stones are Galadriel and Elrond. (And that’s only if you are going right back to the maker-rights, and ignoring the establishment of the Stones as the property of Elros’ line rather later).
It matters. It changes how power works and doesn’t work. Aragorn’s status as the Heir is in fact grounded in these ideas, which play a hugely powerful part (in fact the fight over who rightfully owns the Silmaril Beren and Lúthien brought out of the dark is part of the bloodshed that makes it so that in the end the Silmarils themselves actively reject the last two living sons of Fëanor, negating their claim). Because Aragorn is the rightful inheritor of everything Isildur ever had, he can use the Palantír. Because he is the rightful inheritor of everything Isildur ever had, he can summon the Dead. And because he is the rightful inheritor of everything Isildur ever had, he stands equal to two of the Ainur, to the oldest member of the Trees-blessed Noldorin royal house, and to his own much more powerful (straight up) relatives as a potential claimant of the Ring.
And that is why Sauron is willing to take the chance to catch Aragorn, and (he thinks) ensure his capture, rather than attacking him earlier on when there’s a chance that (even if Aragorn can’t possibly WIN) he could still escape and then bide his time before the next Ring-War and learn to use the damn thing.
But. It’s also important when it comes to Frodo.
Frodo uses the Ring twice, and lays open claim once. Both of the times he uses it are on Sméagol, both times overwheming him and in the second case cursing him (“if you ever touch me again you will be thrown into the fire”). We get both moments from Sam’s POV, where the physical reality of Frodo is replaced by an image of him as a much larger figure, alight from the inside, robed in light, and with a “wheel of fire” at his breastbone.
Frodo does not have any genetics (so to speak) more special than any other hobbit. It’s not like Aragorn vs most humans, where there’s actually a legit difference because most humans were not, at that point, descended from a Maia. Frodo’s just this guy.
The only thing that’s really special about Frodo in terms of the Ring is that, like Aragorn, he’s the other person who has a viable claim. It would, as it were, have to go to the judges to figure out whose claim is better.
And this is why in the moment that he claims the Ring, in the Mountain, Sauron is fucking terrified. It’s why he drops everything else, even the issue of trying to keep his mindless drone-fighters going, even the maintenance of his actual control of weather, of light, of whatever fight he and Gandalf have going, to get his best servants back to the Mountain now now now now.
Because Frodo having an actual rightful claim on the Ring means he can, in fact, use it. Not well, which is why Sauron can paralyse him for that moment it takes for Sméagol to strike (and carry out both Frodo’s demanded oath – “save the Precious from Him” – and his Curse – “if you touch me you will be thrown in the fire” – at once), but he could. This tiny little person is a threat to Sauron, in the heart of his own home, because he has the right to have and use this Ring.
The tricky thing about Tolkien is that whatever his flaws (and he has many), the one thing he’s never unclear of is that the concept of right and might are actually separate. Just because you are strong enough to do or take a thing doesn’t mean you have any right to do it; and just because you aren’t strong enough to enforce your right, doesn’t mean it goes away.
I had a nerdgasm just reading this.
This is good and you should all feel good for writing it.
(As a former lawyer there is NOTHING better for studying than arguing fake cases in your favorite fictions. Things you thought you were tired of reading about suddenly become interesting when you are trying to prove some fucker wrong on the internet about like, whether or not testimony counts as hearsay if you can prove that the speaker was under the effects of a magical truth-enforcing curse.)
If my First-Year Law at Uni had been this interesting I might have stuck with the course. Or maybe not. At least two of the tutors were so soporifically long-winded that
even an Ent would have thought they should get to the…Hrum, Hoom…point!
one of my favorite lotr facts is that gondorians speak sindarin as a first language and yet when faramir was talking to frodo and sam about cirith ungol he was like “we don’t know what’s in there.” like faramir. cirith ungol is sindarin for “pass of the spider.” do the math
some of my favorite tags on this post
Don’t forget that Frodo also speaks Sindarin, which makes this even worse.
Faramir: Hey, don’t go up the Spider Stairs.
Frodo: Why? What’s up the Spider Stairs?
Faramir: We don’t know, Frodo. We just don’t know.
if i had to get in a fistfight with any member of the fellowship it would be Frodo because i would easily win
all i am saying is that he would ostensibly be the easiest one to take on in a fight given that he’s like three feet tall and has led a life of (physical) leisure compared to all of the others due to his standing as a gentlehobbit
legolas, aragorn, and gimli are all used to combat, sam works as a gardener, merry and pippin often gallivant off and get into mischief so they have the advantage of experience in whatever it is they’ve gotten up to/would possibly fight dirty, gandalf is gandalf so while weapons are out of the question i suppose that depends on if magic is involved. i don’t think i could take him without magic even if he IS old because he’s a very large guy, but maybe
it would be my knuckles against Frodo’s baby soft poet hands, plus i’ve got the additional height and fighting experience. i just think that he would be the easiest to win against in hand-to-hand combat out of the rest of them. also he isn’t real so he can’t offer a rebuttal to my claim
you’re absolutely correct BUT wanting to fight Frodo makes you a monster D:
this has nothing to do with WANTING to fight Frodo, i just think he would be easiest for me to beat in a fight with no weapons. unless he utilized his very large feet, but i think he’s too polite to do that because it’s a fist fight and that would be considered playing dirty
for someone who doesn’t want to fight Frodo you sure have put a lot of thought into fighting Frodo……….
OP is wrong though: you fight Pippin.
First off, Pippin has it coming, so you won’t be fighting your conscience at the same time.
Secondly, Pippin is a spoiled rich kid. He’s no less gentry than Frodo is, but Frodo works out and is shown to have better stamina, at least at the outset. Pippin is also both the stupidest and the slowest of the hobbits. They both nearly beat one (1) troll, so that’s comparable, but Pippin appears not to have got a single hit in against the orcs that captured them while Merry was cutting off hands like a boss. Pippin also straight-up tell Bergil that he’s not a fighter.
Also there’s a nonzero chance that Frodo will just straight up curse you (if the guilt of fighting Frodo isn’t enough if a curse by itself).
And, of course, if you try to fight Frodo, you will 100% end up fighting Sam, and he will wreck you (and you’ll deserve it, you monster)
Also: if you fight Frodo you’ll have a very angry Sam & possibly also the entire Fellowship to deal with BUT if you fight Pippin they will probably cheer you on.
Bold of you to assume one could attempt to fight Pippin and NOT instantly be killed by Boromir.
So here’s the thing – you absolutely DO NOT want to try and fight Frodo or Pippin because they are going to be protected by the rest of the Fellowship, which basically exists to stop asshole Big People from picking on the hobbits. Folk might talk a big game but when the chips are down, you are not going to lay a single hand on any of the hobbits. Either you’ll find yourself immediately fighting all four of them or else you’ll move to land your first hit and suddenly Aragorn will side-tackle you into the trees. And he probably hits like a freight train tbh.
So here’s what you do:
You fight Legolas.
The thing about fist-fighting Legolas of course is that you will lose. This is not a fight you’re gonna win no matter what. But Legolas has his standing competition with Gimli, so once the challenge is issued, he’s not gonna let anyone else step in and fight you either. No one is liable to volunteer on his behalf, either, so you will only end up fighting the one member of the fellowship. If you are lucky he might also take his shirt off. Bonus!
Legolas will mop the floor with you, but he’s also already convinced you’re weaker than him anyway because you’re not an elf, so he’s gonna go kind of easy on you. And when you lose he will be all snide and superior about it, which means everyone in the fellowship is gonna sympathize with you, and Gimli will probably challenge him on your behalf afterwards, but here’s the key thing:
You will have lost a fist-fight to an immortal warrior prince.
That’s a way better loss to cop to than that time you tried to fistfight a pudgy gentlehobbit and got beaten to the point of unconsciousness by his gardener, yeah?
okay so tolkien tumblr is fast becoming my fave tumblr community thank you thank you all you are the true fellowship here.
Boromir: *taking off boots after a long day questing* ahh
A hobbit: o_o
Hobbits: o_o o_o
Boromir: can i… Help you?
Hobbits: o_o o_o o_o o_o
Hobbits: o__o o__o o__o o__o
Boromir: please stop looking at my feet like that you are making me VERY uncomfortable
Hobbits: >_> <_< >_> <_<
Pippin: stars above your poor feet
Merry: Aren’t they cold?!
Pippin: They’re so small!
Frodo: YOU DON’T JUST SAY THAT TO SOMEONE
Merry: You and Sam are thinking the same thing!
Frodo: I am most certainly no-
Sam: I am.
Frodo: please excuse them none of us have ever seen a big person’s feet before
Boromir: I am putting my boots back on
Pippin: lookit those little toes!!!
Boromir: (slaps hand away)
Pippin: aww c’mon. If you let me touch your toes, I’ll let you touch mine!!
Pippin: I’m so sorry for your loss, I will always remember your brother fondly as the first Big Person whose naked feet I saw
Faramir: please don’t do that
okay listen i know tolkien was over here all like “pipeweed is tobacco” but we can all agree that its marijuana, right? merry and pippin are stoned every point in the book they have a second to relax
Compromise: hobbits smoke both & lump them together as ‘pipeweed’
u never kno what ur gonna get when a hobbit offers u some “pipeweed”
‘pipeweed’ in the Shire just means ‘herbs u can smoke in a pipe’ and it’s common knowledge that there are pipeweeds that are smooth & relaxing to smoke and pipeweeds that’ll get you stoned and they know which is which.
For whatever reason only tobacco caught on outside the Shire so middle earth’s other smokers just took to calling it pipeweed bcos that’s what the hobbits they bought it from called it.
Merry: hey Gimli want some old toby
Gimli: what’s that
Merry: oh it’s a kind of pipeweed
Gimli: oh sure!
Gimli: what’s happening
I feel like we as a society don’t talk enough about the fact that Faramir and Boromir could see the future, and that Faramir might have been a fucking psychic??
No listen now I’m finding page references because I honestly can’t believe I didn’t find this weirder the first million times I read these books
So we all know that the reason Boromir goes to see Elrond in the first place is because Faramir has been having these dreams about “seeking the sword that was broken” in Imladris and that Isildur‘s bane is there and such. Presumably after Denethor ignores him for long enough, whoever is sending out these prophetic dreams gets fed up and sends one to Boromir so Denethor will actually finally listen and take action (my complex feelings about Denethor are for another post lmao)
So there’s some solid evidence that Faramir, and at least to some extent Boromir can fucking. SEE THE FUTURE. And that little fact just doesn’t really get brought up again AT ALL in Fellowship of the Ring? (JRR Tolkien I love you but why were we deprived of the random travel conversations the fellowship must have had while traveling all over middle earth together)
Later on, Faramir describes seeing Boromir’s body in the boat he was sent down the Anduin in, and he knows way ahead of time that Boromir was dead – another instance of somehow knowing about things that happened hundreds of miles away when there is ABSOLUTELY no way he should have.
BUT THEN things get a lot weirder in The Two Towers when Faramir captures Frodo and Sam and Gollum. Faramir is interrogating Gollum about whether he had ever been to Henneth Annun before, and this is what happens:
Slowly Gollum raised his eyes and looked unwillingly into Faramir’s. All light went out of them, and they stared bleak and pale for a moment into the clear unwavering eyes of the man of Gondor. There was a still silence. Then Gollum dropped his head and shrank down, until he was squatting on the floor, shivering. “We doesn’t know and we doesn’t want to know,” he whimpered. “Never came here; never come again.”
“There are locked doors and closed windows in your mind, and dark rooms behind them,” said Faramir. “But in this I judge that you speak the truth.”
– The Two Towers, pg 689
That’s kind of a really weird thing to say. Maybe Faramir is being poetic and not literal when he says he can see into Gollum’s mind, but the elaborate description of their eye contact almost makes it seem like there’s something else going on here. Plus, somehow the eye contact alone is enough for Faramir to judge definitively that Gollum is telling the truth. This brings up something Gandalf says to Pippin about Denethor:
“[Denethor] is not as other men of this time, Pippin, and whatever be his descent from father to son, by some chance the blood of Westernesse runs nearly true in him; as it does in his other son, Faramir, and yet did not in Boromir whom he loved best. He has long sight. He can perceive, if he bends his will thither, much of what is passing in the minds of men, even of those that dwell far off. It is difficult to deceive him, and dangerous to try.“
– The Return of the King, pg 759
Like father, like son, it seems. I bet Denethor just loved that.
Again, maybe Gandalf is just speaking figuratively and is saying that Denethor is just really insightful. But it’s kind of weird to interpret it like that that in light of Gandalf putting that right next to a statement about Denethor’s bloodline that makes him and Faramir “different” somehow. Is Gandalf saying that they both can literally perceive “what is passing in the minds of men”??
BACK TO ITHILIEN (sorry this is more of a ramble than a well structured essay)
Faramir is asking Gollum if he knows what Cirith Ungol really is:
“It is called Cirith Ungol.” Gollum hissed sharply and began muttering to himself. “Is not that its name?” said Faramir turning to him.
“No!” said Gollum, and then he squealed, as if something had stabbed him. “Yes, yes, we heard the name once.”
– The Two Towers, pg 691
“As if something had stabbed him”?? There’s really no indication of what this “stabbing” could be in this context. It’s not Smeagol trying to keep Gollum from spilling the beans, because Gollum is the one who wants to keep the hobbits in the dark about Shelob. So who/what is stabbing his fucking mind?
Faramir sends Gollum away with Anborn and is talking to Frodo about Gollum.
“I do not think you should go with this creature. It is wicked.”
“No, not altogether wicked,” said Frodo.
“Not wholly, perhaps,” said Faramir; “but malice eats it like a canker, and the evil is growing. He will lead you to no good.”
– The Two Towers, 691
Gollum leading Frodo to no good might be the understatement of the year, as well as an incredibly accurate one. I don’t need to keep saying this but of course he could be speaking poetically or figuratively. It just seems to me that there’s a LOT of these instances over the course of these books.
Putting Denethor and Faramir in a room together is, of course, always fucking wild for a MYRIAD of reasons, but let’s look at (the part that always fucking kills me) this scene:
“Do you wish then,” said Faramir, “that our places had been exchanged?”
“Yes, I wish that indeed,” said Denethor. “For Boromir was loyal to me and no wizard’s pupil.”
–The Return of the King, pg 813
I’m pretty sure this is the first(?) instance of Faramir being referred to as Gandalf’s pupil. I’m highlighting this point because it kind of sets a precedent as to why Faramir and Denethor, despite both seeming to have these supernatural abilities to read people and situations, come to SUCH different conclusions about what to do with The Ring. Faramir has been studying with Gandalf, a magical wizard, since he was a kid. I really don’t think it’s that far of a stretch that Gandalf, who once again is literally a god or Maia or whatever, was able to teach him how to actually use this ability to read and/or influence minds. (Plus he wasn’t wrecking his own mind by staring into a palantir 24/7 but I digress)
I’ve been writing for too long, so here’s just a couple of other points that come to mind.
- When Denethor is on the pyre, Faramir, who apparently hasn’t moved for like two straight days, somehow seems to know that his father is nearby
- When Faramir is retreating from Osgiliath the first (second overall, first in the book) time, he can somehow get his horse to turn around and go back for the men being chased by FIVE NAZGUL when every other instance seems to involve people and animals just immediately losing their shit
- When he’s talking to Eowyn in Houses of Healing, he mentions that this situations “reminds” him of Numenor’s destruction, which took place, hmm, an AGE ago. And he says that he dreams about this all the time (this one is linked to that weird ability to see things happening when they’re not happening in real time)
Anyway. Those are my two cents on the subject. Everyone in the line of Stewards is a fucking psychic to some extent and that’s what Tolkien intended
okay, it’s late and I don’t want to cite things but I really want to respond to this: yes! Yes, this is all 99% certainly true! Welcome to magic in LotR! This is the mother of all fantasy, but magic is not a flashy thing of wands and jets of light (HP) nor explicable on a frankly scientific level (Cosmere) nor even, say, the lack of definition and rules but the definitive effects, like time travel or mega lightning strikes, of Robin McKinley’s Damar books. No, LotR magic is incredibly subtle, and could at almost every turn be explained away by saying that a particular person is insightful, or inspiring, or just makes really good fireworks.
Seriously, Gandalf is The Wizard, but the most explicit magic we see him do is those more-than-natural fireworks at Bilbo’s going-away party, and in RotK when he, like, “casts a light” at a swooping Nazgul. Compare him reviving Theoden in the book vs in the film, which of course follows a more modern (and film-appropriate) dramatic view of magic – sure, the book has a bit of illusory storm and then light, and Gandalf definitely knocks Wormtongue out for lightning for a moment, but there’s no weird possession and magically induced aging going on. It’s like 90% psychology. (”Headology” – Pratchett knew what was up.) Note that this passage is begun with Gandalf singing, in the book – song is magic/divine power, in LotR, ever since Eru first began singing the world into existence. It is arguably not a matter of characters casting spells so much as a signifier to the reader that “magic” is happening now, or about to? But also it’s straight-up a spell. It’s no mistake that the runes readable on the Ring are a part of a poem describing its power and intent.
Faramir can use such power, a little, as can Denethor and Aragorn, because in all three of these men, the blood of Westernesse runs strong – in Aragorn in particular, who can heal, and wrest the focus of a Palantir away from Sauron with will and right. (It helps, per the extremely vague rules that govern LotR’s magic, that the Palantir is his by right of inheritance. For extra fun, se…a post somewhere that I’m not going to spend more time finding about how Frodo arguably “cast the spell” that sealed Gollum’s fate.)
Anyway, yeah, Faramir and Denethor have, like, metaphorical recessive genes of what Aragorn has in a more truly direct line, that is, a the blood of the Men of Westernesse, who were given longer lives and a home in sight of Valinor (home of the gods, ish) way back when. Literal physical proximity to Valinor is a rough equivalency for Right/Good and, consequently, granted Magic/Divine Power in The Silmarillion
, or at least classist elves think so. Perhaps, as rumored, there’s even a dash of elvish blood in them, though I’m skeptical of that – Elrond does have two spare uncles, whose fates are unclear, but there are really only supposed to be 3 unions of Elf and Man and we know about all of their progeny. Possibly Elros got around, but he would have been doing that in the early days of Westernesse anyway, sooo…same thing.
Tldr: You’re absolutely right, but it’s deliberately vague bc that’s just how LotR works, and I love it.
Anyone else here familiar with the essay
Ósanwe-kenta? It’s subtitled/translated “Enquiry into the Communication of Thought” and is the closest Tolkien gets to discussing the actual rules of “magic” in Arda. The rules concerning telepathy (as understood by the Eldar and written down by Pengolodh), are outlined and discussed.
It was published in volume 12 of HoME, The Peoples of Middle-Earth, and was written sometime around 1960, so a few years after Return of the King was published, and according to the Tolkien Society’s timeline, shortly after his retirement and at the same time as several of his other essays about Middle-Earth.
Although Tolkien was beginning to rework parts of his cosmology at this point, I find that the concepts and details discussed
Ósanwe-kenta are very consistent with the descriptions of telepathy found in LotR, of which several examples have already been discussed.
In brief, telepathy is an ability inherent to all minds (sámar, here distinguished from fëar, spirits). Bodies tend to get in the way, though, so it is harder for Incarnates to use than for Ainur, and harder for Men than for Elves. Therefore, Incarnates typically need their telepathy to be strengthened for effective communication. This can happen through affinity (as between family or friends), urgency (any great need), and authority (duty, or rightful command). Furthermore, any mind can refuse to permit entry of any other’s thought.
By these conditions, then, Faramir’s questioning of Gollum makes more sense. As the Steward’s son and an officer of Gondor in one of Gondor’s territories, Faramir has the authority to find out what Gollum knows and ensure he is not a danger to Gondor or ally of Sauron. This would naturally strengthen his telepathy, which is probably already stronger than average due to his Númenorean heritage. The “closed doors” he perceives in Gollum’s mind are likely his experience of Gollum refusing to allow him in fully, so Faramir is limited to mostly observation. Whether or not Faramir knows exactly what he’s doing, this leads to a very accurate assessment of Gollum.
Faramir, Denethor, and Gandalf aren’t the only ones who are shown using telepathy, either. Aragorn does it repeatedly and deliberately, particularly after entering Gondor. Galadriel examines the Company telepathically upon their arrival in Caras Galadhon. Sauron seems to use telepathy to command and control his armies. Celeborn, Galadriel, Elrond, and Gandalf chat that way on the journey home.
Okay, if you couldn’t tell, I really like this subject, and think it’s a pity it’s not more widely recognized. Tolkien is always stranger than most people assume, and it’s wonderful.
I’m reminded of the bit in Lothlorien where, in response to being asked if the elvish cloaks were magic, the elf being questioned was like “I don’t really know what you mean by that, but sure?” in the same way that a modern-day person might respond if they gave someone a bullet-proof camouflage vest and were asked “Is this a technology?” For an equivalent in our world it’d probably be like being able to sense and maybe even manipulate the Earth’s magnetic field. If your whole race can do that at a fairly competent level then you’re probably going to develop electricity and associated tech a lot faster than people who can’t, but from their point of view it’s not, like, mystical or anything.
Also, because it’s passed down via bloodline, most people who have the thing live in a community where the base assumption is that everyone has the thing, and most people who don’t have the thing “know” that it’s this exotic talent that only turns up in Magical Beings, so the idea that it might turn up in a Gondorian isn’t really an everyday concern or something people are on the lookout for. So it takes an outsider observer like Gandalf to be like “Two of these Men are not like the others, and the specific way in which they are not like the others is similar to this other thing”, while Faramir’s just going around with his psychic powers like
Pointless LOTR headcanon of the day: Frodo & Merry both take after their mothers, meaning Frodo looks more like a Brandybuck than a Baggins and Merry looks more like a Took. This is a constant source of petty contention.
(Pippin meanwhile absolutely takes after his father & is the most Tookish looking)
Merry: call me a Took one more time
Gandalf: if it looks like a Took and acts like a Took it’s a Took
Merry: I will END you
Gandalf is the only nonhobbit in the fellowship who understands the minutiae of Took Vs Brandybuck Vs Baggins rivalry & he delights in it, everyone else baffled
Frodo: look it’s perfectly simple. The Brandybucks don’t like the Tooks because they play golf and think they’re better than everyone because they occasionally go on adventures. The Tooks don’t like the Brandybucks because they live on the wrong side of the river and like boats. And nobody likes the Bagginses because they’re annoying.
Aragorn: are you… Including yourself in that
Frodo: I said what I said.
Frodo: now the Bagginses don’t like the Brandybucks OR the Tooks because they’re highly disrepectable but also richer than they are. And as far as a lot of the Bagginses are concerned I’m a Brandybuck because I grew up in Buckland and I have the Brandybuck Profile
Merry: which just means he’s not pug-ugly
Aragorn: this is all ridiculous. Keep going.
Gandalf: Hm now I wouldn’t say UGLY but… every Baggins I’ve ever met has been perfectly Round or perfectly Square… There is no middle ground.
Gimli, baffled: Frodo isn’t round OR square
Merry: that’s because he has the Brandybuck profile
Gimli: so… Is he a Brandybuck…
Merry: ABSOLUTE not
Frodo: slander!! I’m a Baggins how dare you
Pippin: was your father a Round Baggins or a Square Baggins
Frodo: my father… Was the ROUNDEST Baggins who ever lived… A perfect Sphere of hobbit…
Hobbits are basically the total inversion of the whole “looks about nine years old but is totally an adult, trust us” trope. Shifty little bastard spend their entire lives looking ambiguously thirtysomething, and far more respectable than they have any right to be – they’re like an entire species with resting responsible-adult face. That’s why you never see them coming.