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Old 06-03-2016, 12:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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Are there smaller creatures that don't have higher metabolisms, though? o:

Cold-Blooded creatures?
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Old 06-03-2016, 04:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

I agree with those that say hobbits being overweight and apparently gluttonous is a result of their sedentary lifestyle with plenty of available food. Every town has a butcher, too, by all accounts, so they have cattle and pigs for draft and eating, no doubt (although the Nelwyns in Willow were not specifically hobbits, they're the same basic idea, and the title character there used pigs to pull his plow). I wouldn't put it past hobbits to have four-field crop rotation, either.

The books say "six meals a day, when they could get it." That last phrase is key: "when they could get it." They're not required to be constantly eating. Pippin, being the son of a very wealthy hobbit himself - Frodo, Merry, and Pippin were all Wealthy if not Very Wealthy or even Filthy Rich, by hobbit standards - and heir to the only hereditary title inside the Shire (the Thane) is used to having many meals. "Breakfast, second breakfast, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and second dinner (supper)" make sense for the six meals; "elevenses" was added in the movies to make it seem like they had a meal every two hours in the average day: breakfast at seven, second breakfast at nine, elevenses at eleven, luncheon at one, afternoon tea at three, dinner at five, supper at seven. I wouldn't put it past such a well-to-do hobbit family to have a separate "dessert" at nine in the evening, either, before going to bed, making it eight distinct meals.

As for Sam, he appears to be stronger than the typical hobbit, though we don't see it until they hit Mordor. He carried Frodo for several days across the plains to Mount Doom, IIRC. Then again, he was a hobbit who was a field hand/hireling, for the most part, earning his living from Bilbo and later Frodo, so he was probably stronger due to working out more. In that sense, the live-action movie depiction can be believed to if we take him being larger as being more muscle than fat.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:14 AM   #13
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
I agree with those that say hobbits being overweight and apparently gluttonous is a result of their sedentary lifestyle with plenty of available food. Every town has a butcher, too, by all accounts, so they have cattle and pigs for draft and eating, no doubt (although the Nelwyns in Willow were not specifically hobbits, they're the same basic idea, and the title character there used pigs to pull his plow). I wouldn't put it past hobbits to have four-field crop rotation, either.

The books say "six meals a day, when they could get it." That last phrase is key: "when they could get it." They're not required to be constantly eating. Pippin, being the son of a very wealthy hobbit himself - Frodo, Merry, and Pippin were all Wealthy if not Very Wealthy or even Filthy Rich, by hobbit standards - and heir to the only hereditary title inside the Shire (the Thane) is used to having many meals. "Breakfast, second breakfast, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and second dinner (supper)" make sense for the six meals; "elevenses" was added in the movies to make it seem like they had a meal every two hours in the average day: breakfast at seven, second breakfast at nine, elevenses at eleven, luncheon at one, afternoon tea at three, dinner at five, supper at seven. I wouldn't put it past such a well-to-do hobbit family to have a separate "dessert" at nine in the evening, either, before going to bed, making it eight distinct meals.

As for Sam, he appears to be stronger than the typical hobbit, though we don't see it until they hit Mordor. He carried Frodo for several days across the plains to Mount Doom, IIRC. Then again, he was a hobbit who was a field hand/hireling, for the most part, earning his living from Bilbo and later Frodo, so he was probably stronger due to working out more. In that sense, the live-action movie depiction can be believed to if we take him being larger as being more muscle than fat.
Sam was a son of a favored client of a wealthy hobbit. While he would not have done as well as a Baggins or a Took or a Brandybuck, he would have gotton on well.

As for Brandybucks, there are hints that they are weirdly martial for Hobbits even more then Tooks. Merry notes offhand that about chopping down evil trees some years earlier. And when the Nazgul came for Fatty Bolger they had a regular system for sounding an alarm almost as if they were used to raids. I wonder if a Brandybuck aristocrat would be as chubby as all that; he might well make up for gluttony by keeping in shape artificially.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:27 AM   #14
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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Sam was a son of a favored client of a wealthy hobbit. While he would not have done as well as a Baggins or a Took or a Brandybuck, he would have gotton on well.

As for Brandybucks, there are hints that they are weirdly martial for Hobbits even more then Tooks. Merry notes offhand that about chopping down evil trees some years earlier. And when the Nazgul came for Fatty Bolger they had a regular system for sounding an alarm almost as if they were used to raids. I wonder if a Brandybuck aristocrat would be as chubby as all that; he might well make up for gluttony by keeping in shape artificially.
Part of that, too, comes from Buckland effectively existing outside the Shire, on the other side of the Brandywine. They're stated as being more used to boats than most hobbits (who didn't care for them; Frodo lost his parents in a boating accident while at Buckland as a youth, and that he was half Brandybuck was a source of contention or at least gossip when he came of age), and I got the feeling that Buckland as a whole was a bit more "wild" than Hobbiton or Bywater. So yeah, I'll agree that the Brandybucks and their ilk (including Farmer Maggot, though he lived inside the Shire, not in Buckland) were more used to being in danger from the wilds bordering it. It's interesting to note that Merry didn't complain as much as the other Hobbit gentility in the party about the rations; I seem to recall, though I don't have a quote, a line from him about considering hunting, which surprised some of the Fellowship who didn't expect it from a hobbit.


I'm not so sure "client" is the right word for the Gaffer, though it fits from a certain point of view. I got the feeling that the Gaffer had worked Bilbo's farmland as a youth in exchange for rent, and "retired" to being Bilbo's gardener, which he passed on to Sam. The Gamgees always seemed more "blue collar" than most of the other hobbits shown; Status -1 (assuming Maggot and Cotton to be Status 0, owning their farms instead of working others' lands) rather than the Status 1 or Status 2 of the Big Name Families ("Bagginses and Boffins; Tooks and Brandybucks; Grubbs, Chubbs, Hornblowers, Bolgers, and Proudfoots!" "ProudFEET!"). Bilbo and Frodo (and later the Sackville-Bagginses) were certainly his landlords, but "client" seems wrong, impersonal. Frodo felt personally responsible for the Gaffer being turned out by the SBs, which makes it a bit more personal than just "client".
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:49 AM   #15
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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The books say "six meals a day, when they could get it." That last phrase is key: "when they could get it."
Interesting that their preferred number of meals actually matches up with what Bio Tech predicts. That makes me think maybe they do have dietary needs appropriate for their SM, it's just that instead of eating six hobbit-sized meals they prefer to eat six human-sized ones (thanks to their Gluttony).

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Sam was a son of a favored client of a wealthy hobbit. While he would not have done as well as a Baggins or a Took or a Brandybuck, he would have gotton on well.
I think it's safe to say he was stronger than the other Hobbits in the Fellowship, as he consistently carried far more weight in his packs without issue or complaint. Of course, Sam's strength seemed to be more in terms of loyalty and determination - "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you." Still, he clearly doesn't skimp on the yardwork, and cares for the whole of Bag End by himself with minimal issue, which certainly doesn't imply physical weakness. He probably looks like a typical hobbit, but I suspect has more muscle hiding under a thinner layer of fat than most.
He's almost certainly better off than similar hobbits of his Wealth, simply because his Patron (past and present) is a particularly nice hobbit.

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As for Brandybucks, there are hints that they are weirdly martial for Hobbits even more then Tooks. Merry notes offhand that about chopping down evil trees some years earlier. And when the Nazgul came for Fatty Bolger they had a regular system for sounding an alarm almost as if they were used to raids. I wonder if a Brandybuck aristocrat would be as chubby as all that; he might well make up for gluttony by keeping in shape artificially.
IIRC, the hobbits are rather surprised when the bell is rung, as it's been a long time since there were any attacks (there's some implication it was kept around more for calling for help combating fires than combating foes), but hobbits in general are far hardier and more capable of violence than anyone (including themselves, and possibly Gandalf) would anticipate. All four Fellowship hobbits acquit themselves well in combat (in the books, anyway; in the movies, Frodo is useless), and probably the softest of hobbit main characters, Bilbo Baggins, single-handedly wiped out a large tribe of monstrous spiders. Once roused, the hobbits of the Shire throw out their half-orc invaders with minimal issue. That said, Meriadoc probably is the most violent and militarily-competent hobbit we see, although it's unknown if that's just a quirk of his own or a trait shared by the other Brandybucks (who are odd sorts already, what with their love of boats and other such nonsense).
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
I'm not so sure "client" is the right word for the Gaffer, though it fits from a certain point of view. I got the feeling that the Gaffer had worked Bilbo's farmland as a youth in exchange for rent, and "retired" to being Bilbo's gardener, which he passed on to Sam. The Gamgees always seemed more "blue collar" than most of the other hobbits shown; Status -1 (assuming Maggot and Cotton to be Status 0, owning their farms instead of working others' lands) rather than the Status 1 or Status 2 of the Big Name Families ("Bagginses and Boffins; Tooks and Brandybucks; Grubbs, Chubbs, Hornblowers, Bolgers, and Proudfoots!" "ProudFEET!"). Bilbo and Frodo (and later the Sackville-Bagginses) were certainly his landlords, but "client" seems wrong, impersonal. Frodo felt personally responsible for the Gaffer being turned out by the SBs, which makes it a bit more personal than just "client".
I'd be inclined to treat the senior Took, at least, as Status 3, or even 4 - the Thane has a hereditary title and a (vaguely) fortified hall, he's definitely a full-blown aristocrat, albeit in a fairly egalitarian culture that doesn't take his title very seriously most of the time.



On the original topic, though, I guess one way to look at it: Do we get any impression of whether hobbits are more or less able to carry a comparable number of days of rations, compared to larger folk? They presumably are not, in general, as strong as beings twice their height (though I'd argue for Samwise having a bit of Lifting ST, in both book & film he notably overpacks) - if they need to (as opposed to wanting to) consume as many calories per day as Aragorn or Boromir, then presumably they have to restock twice as often. If they're able to go just as long without stopping for more food, then either they are all much stronger than they look (stronger, as distinct from tougher, which they definitely are), or they're eating less food per day (regardless of however many times they stop to eat it).
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Old 06-03-2016, 01:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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Isn't there a bit in Biotech about more frequent meals for smaller critters? Sort of like hummingbird syndrome - they eat smaller amounts, more often - but probably require more energy by mass due to the whole surface area:volume thing to maintain body temperature...
Metabolic rate scales as mass to the 3/4th power, but there's some inter-species variability. On the other hand, you have to remember that the volume of the stomach varies as mass to the third power. Cold-blooded creatures have about 1/8th the Basal Metabolic Rate of warm-blooded creatures, a D&D kobold would eat much less than a Halfling.
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Old 06-03-2016, 01:48 PM   #18
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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Interesting that their preferred number of meals actually matches up with what Bio Tech predicts. That makes me think maybe they do have dietary needs appropriate for their SM, it's just that instead of eating six hobbit-sized meals they prefer to eat six human-sized ones (thanks to their Gluttony).



I think it's safe to say he was stronger than the other Hobbits in the Fellowship, as he consistently carried far more weight in his packs without issue or complaint. Of course, Sam's strength seemed to be more in terms of loyalty and determination - "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you." Still, he clearly doesn't skimp on the yardwork, and cares for the whole of Bag End by himself with minimal issue, which certainly doesn't imply physical weakness. He probably looks like a typical hobbit, but I suspect has more muscle hiding under a thinner layer of fat than most.
He's almost certainly better off than similar hobbits of his Wealth, simply because his Patron (past and present) is a particularly nice hobbit.



IIRC, the hobbits are rather surprised when the bell is rung, as it's been a long time since there were any attacks (there's some implication it was kept around more for calling for help combating fires than combating foes), but hobbits in general are far hardier and more capable of violence than anyone (including themselves, and possibly Gandalf) would anticipate. All four Fellowship hobbits acquit themselves well in combat (in the books, anyway; in the movies, Frodo is useless), and probably the softest of hobbit main characters, Bilbo Baggins, single-handedly wiped out a large tribe of monstrous spiders. Once roused, the hobbits of the Shire throw out their half-orc invaders with minimal issue. That said, Meriadoc probably is the most violent and militarily-competent hobbit we see, although it's unknown if that's just a quirk of his own or a trait shared by the other Brandybucks (who are odd sorts already, what with their love of boats and other such nonsense).
Well all attacks have an element of surprise in the first few minutes unless the defender knows the exact details beforehand. But the Brandybucks recovered surprisingly well, certainly better then modern suburbanites would have. Fires do however make more sense. Or floods, could the Brandywine be prone to flooding?
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Old 06-03-2016, 01:53 PM   #19
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

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On the original topic, though, I guess one way to look at it: Do we get any impression of whether hobbits are more or less able to carry a comparable number of days of rations, compared to larger folk? They presumably are not, in general, as strong as beings twice their height (though I'd argue for Samwise having a bit of Lifting ST, in both book & film he notably overpacks) - if they need to (as opposed to wanting to) consume as many calories per day as Aragorn or Boromir, then presumably they have to restock twice as often. If they're able to go just as long without stopping for more food, then either they are all much stronger than they look (stronger, as distinct from tougher, which they definitely are), or they're eating less food per day (regardless of however many times they stop to eat it).
We never get a definitive answer, no. In The Hobbit, Bilbo is traveling lightly alongside a group of 13 strong dwarves, meaning they could easily have carried extra weight to make up for him. In Fellowship, the hobbits are only traveling a short distance by themselves, with plenty of land for easy foraging, before they are incorporated into the Fellowship, where like Bilbo their extra loads could easily be shared amongst the strong dwarf, elf, and humans. When Frodo and Sam make off on their own, they are equipped with magically-light lembas bread, and Sam is potentially strong enough to make up for any differences on his own. Gollum, who has probably been changed enough by the Ring to require less food, is a proficient hunter who can rather easily supplement the hobbits' diet with fresh rabbits and fish while feeding himself. When Merry and Pippin get captured, they are forced to share in orc rations (which they don't carry on their own), then stay in one place with plenty of food complements of the Ents, then invade Orthanc, which has large stockpiles of food. When they join back up with Aragorn, he has a full military - and, presumably, baggage train - supporting him, making rations a non-issue for those hobbits.

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... a D&D kobold would eat much less than a Halfling.
If you're using the lizard-like kobold instead of the furry ones from earlier additions, and you opt to have them be cold-blooded. I personally tend to interpret dragons as being more "primordial mammalian" (the earliest milk-producers were scaled) than reptilian, and associate them more with late dinosaurs than with proper reptiles - in either case, this lends itself to being warm-blooded. As the scaly kobolds are meant to be related to dragons, I'd be inclined to have them be warm-blooded as well.

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Well all attacks have an element of surprise in the first few minutes unless the defender knows the exact details beforehand. But the Brandybucks recovered surprisingly well, certainly better then modern suburbanites would have. Fires do however make more sense. Or floods, could the Brandywine be prone to flooding?
I think the hobbits in general react better than modern suburbanites - they're meant to be a hardy folk. I suspect the Brandywine it's very susceptible to dangerous flooding, as that would make the Shire much less idyllic than Tolkien appears to have intended.

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Old 06-03-2016, 03:38 PM   #20
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Default Re: Hobbits: Hungry Quirk, or Human-Sized Appetite?

In Fellowship, the hobbits are in fact shows foraging, getting excited over tasty edible mushrooms in the movie. I don't remember if that's also in the books, but they're clearly keeping an eye out - and experienced. Wild mushrooms aren't things you just casually pick because you were hungry - or at least, if you do that, you won't live long enough to be hungry.
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