Venture to imagine this with me: the creek of a sizable, circular wooden door as it swings open. The smell of cheeses, breads, ales and pipe-weed. The booming laughter of a room filled with small, hair-ridden, smile-wearing folks. Welcome to Bag End, the dwelling place of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins in the Shire. The Shire rests unbothered on the outskirts of Middle Earth.
This atmosphere and its inhabitants came from the imaginings of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the “Lord of the Rings” book saga, as well as its predecessor “The Hobbit”. In December of 2001, 2002 and 2003, film adaptations of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy were released. In celebration of their twentieth anniversary, and in the spirit of ringing in colder weather amidst the holiday season, this piece will delve into how you can attempt to replicate the pleasing lifestyle of the Shire’s hobbits.
For optimal enjoyment of this article, I suggest you listen to “The Shire” and “Bag End,” among other songs from Howard Shore’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – The Complete Recordings.” Without further ado, here is your guide to achieving hobbit core aesthetics and experiences this winter.
1. Mind your own business.
The habits of the hobbits are easily summed up in one of the first scenes from the extended edition of “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” Bilbo’s (Ian Holm) voiceovers align with the words he writes in his book: “There and Back Again. A Hobbit’s Tale.” He begins by describing hobbits’ contentment with both ignoring and being ignored by other beings throughout Middle Earth. Bilbo and Frodo each nearly pass up on the adventures they are offered because of the quaint societal norm hobbits cultivate; it is unlike a hobbit to go out into the world and explore. Bilbo writes, “…where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet, and good tilled earth.” For this step, disentangle yourself from drama and the trappings of social media.
2. Seek a restful dwelling place.
The Shire is a vibrant, fertile walkable community. Although it may be unrealistic to advise that you move to a similar place, it would be wise to make your home as much like a hobbit hole as possible. Hobbit holes are filled with warm colors, curved wooden architecture, functional fireplaces, books, teas, booze and foods. Go the cottage core route with your decor.
3. Eat, feast, snack, and munch.
Hobbits observe the following meals: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. They are farming people, so ensure that you taste some delectable harvests. On Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo’s (Elijah Wood) tiresome journey to Mordor, Sam’s consistent complaint is their lack of food. He remarks that what they’re truly in need of is, “a few good taters.” Gollum (Andy Serkis) inquires as to what exactly a potato is. “PO-TAY-TOES!” Sam impatiently replies. “Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.” If your mouth is watering, you may just have some hobbit blood in you.
4. Drink, sing, dance.
Although hobbits are a peaceful folk, when the cider flows the party grows. This step is particularly reminiscent of the characters Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd). If you feel so inclined as to replicate the fun this mischievous pair has, maybe you’ll find yourself dancing on a table, setting things on fire, or being reprimanded by a tall wizard for your misconduct. Don’t take his scolding to heart; keep your child-like spirit intact.
5. Care for one another.
If there’s one hobbit who deserves recognition it is Samwise Gamgee. Sam epitomizes loyal friendship as he journeys with Frodo across Middle Earth to the fiery evil realm of Mordor. Although there are certainly hobbits residing in the Shire that would elect to indulge in a pastry instead of helping out their neighbor, Tolkien centered his novels on a select few hobbits that prevail in allegiance to one another and to the fellowship they serve.
If after these recommendations you are still unable to achieve the level of hobbithood you desire, I recommend locating the most hobbit-like person you know and pursuing a relationship with them. Hear me out — they are likely a short king with fantastic curly hair, a kitchen full of delicious food and beverages, and perhaps they even speak with an English accent. Ignite your fireplace, heat the tea kettle, and either embody a hobbit or snuggle up with one. Happy hobbiting!
By Risa Bolash