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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Under what circumstances did Hobbits wear shoes?
Author Topic: Under what circumstances did Hobbits wear shoes?
Lórien
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I know this question was sort of addressed in HOME and others..

Do you think that Hobbits wore some sort of sock or shoe in the winter to protect their feet? I've heard many different explainations but I am wondering what the general opinion is here.

From: thats completely up to you. | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorin
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Indeed, they did sometimes wear shoes.

quote:
They dressed in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and were clad in a thick curling hair, much like the hair of their heads, which was commonly brown... The Hobbits of that quarter, the Eastfarthing, were rather large and heavy-legged, and they wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather.
[Prologue, LOTR]

And Bilbo had a pair during his adventure.
quote:
There is in the text no mention of his acquiring of boots. There should be! It has dropped out somehow or other in the various revisions – the bootings occurred at Rivendell; and he was again bootless after leaving Rivendell on the way home. But since leathery soles, and well-brushed furry feet are a feature of essential hobbitness, he ought really to appear unbooted, except in special illustrations of episodes.
[Letter 27]

And in the painting Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft Elves that the Professor made, you can see Bilbo's boots. Here is a portion of that painting:
 -
Here is a good thread about this: Bilbo's Boots?

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Thingol of Doriath
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Did Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry have boots? I'm thinking mainly in the chapter The Ring Goes South. I don't recall if any were mentioned...
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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No, I think the only mentions of hobbits and footwear in LOTR are in the Prologue. I should check HoME, just out of curiousity, to see if there were any mentions that didn't make the final cut.

Edit:
Well, I had forgotten about Trotter, of course! He wore wooden shoes because he had been tortured somehow. The other hobbits were very fascinated by the fact that he wore shoes. HoMEs 6 and 7 talk about this in various places.

And here note an earlier draft of the Foreword. Here the statement was clear: they did not wear shoes. Later it was changed to "seldom" as I quoted above.

quote:
They dressed in bright colours, being particularly fond of green and yellow; but they wore no shoes, because their feet grew natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair, curly like the brown hair of their heads.
[Foreword - Concerning Hobbits, HoME 6]

But this contradicts information about The Hobbit. Perhaps this is why the passage was changed.

[ 02-20-2007, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: Thorin ]

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Roll of Honor Gna
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A note in HoMe VI explains that, after an encounter with the Dark Lord, Trotter was meant to have wooden feet. Here's a passage in which the torture is mentioned:

quote:
Thus it was that Frodo learned how Trotter had tracked Gollum as he wandered southwards, through Fangorn Forest, and past the Dead Marshes, until he himself had been captured and imprisoned by the Dark Lord. 'Ever since I have worn shoes,' said Trotter with a shudder, and though he said no more Frodo knew he had been tortured and his feet hurt in some way. But he had been rescued by Gandalf and saved from death.

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Roll of Honor Thorin
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quote:
With that [Legolas] sprang forth nimbly, and then Frodo noticed as if for the first time, though he had long known it, that the Elf had no boots, but wore only light shoes, as he always did, and his feet made little imprint in the snow.
[The Ring Goes South, LOTR]

Frodo seems surprised at this. But what exactly he is surprised at may be speculated upon. Is he surprised that Legolas isn't wearing boots like everyone else? Or is he surprised that Legolas isn't wearing boots like the other Big People? Or is he surprised that Legolas didn't leave much of an imprint on the snow? Or even a combination?
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Roll of Honor Athene
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I don't think it's so much that he is surprised, rather that he is seeing the grace and agility of Legolas in a new setting (heavy snow) and so is seeing a new aspect of something he already knew.

So it's not so much "He has no boots!" because Frodo already knew this, it's more "Even though it's pelting avalanches and brass monkeys out here, he STILL has no boots on; AND he's not sinking into the snow! Elves ROCK!"

I am paraphrasing, of course. []

From: Hades, UK | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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