The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most adored books in modern history. Its chief character, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins is a fish out of water on his adventure in the wider world of Middle Earth. The Desolation of Smaug, the second part of Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book, lands in theaters this December and this Hobbit's Survival Guide infographic will recap everything you need to know going into the movie. Look at the choice gear & and equipment for a hobbit, combat & defense strategies, a rundown of a hobbit's companions & allies, and some wise words from our favorite wizard.
[Click on the infographic for a larger view.]
Embed this Image on Your Site:
The Hobbit's Survival Guide to Middle Earth Transcript
Being simple and gentle folk from the land of The Shire, hobbits are content tending to their gardens and enjoying a good day's meal. Only the odd few stray beyond their own borders and explore other realms in Middle Earth. When they do venture into the wild, hobbits must rely on their sensibilities, wit, a little trademark luck and proper gear for an adventure.
Gear and Equipment
- Elvish Blade- Glows when orcs are near, feared by the spiders of Mirkwood.
- Mithril Shirt- Forged by the dwarves, hard as dragon scales yet light in battle.
- Pipe- Sturdy to withstand a long journey, the pipeweed calms a hobbit's nerves.
- Deed of Contract- Best to have all affairs in order—in writing, witnessed and signed.
- Handkerchief- An extra comfort of home—may be substituted for a torn shirt.
- Mushrooms- A favorite snack: foraging skills are a must for a hobbit in the wild.
- Ring of Power- Makes its wearer invisible, a tool not to be underestimated.
- Book of Riddles- When stalling is the only defense, wit and riddles can do the trick.
- Map- Middle Earth is large and larger still for a hobbit—study the lay of the land.
- Barrels- An excellent hiding place, good for planning a covert escape.
No Shoes Required
In the first draft of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins wore shoes. Author J.R.R. Tolkien initially thought the hobbits' feet would not be able to handle the difficulty and thus, Bilbo had the elves at Rivendell fashion him a pair of boots to wear on the rest of his journey. Tolkien later abandoned the idea and gave hobbits leathery soled feet. Bilbo can be seen wearing boots in many illustrations of Tolkien's illustrations for The Hobbit.
Combat and Defense
Stalling for time is a crafty tactic for hobbits to employ against the dim-witted creatures of Middle Earth.
- Example- Engaging a troll in conversation will distract from the oncoming sunrise. Swift is the dawn as it turns the befuddled and hapless trolls to stone.
For an opponent not interested in talk, flail a sword forward until the foe impales itself on the blade.
- Example- This is a proven method for disposing of orcs, goblins, wargs and spiders. Dangerous as they come, these creatures attack recklessly at a seemingly helpless hobbit.
Flattery is a valuable asset to a hobbit contending with more intelligent creatures. Inflate the ego of your adversary before making your escape.
- Example- Dragons never turn a deaf ear on boasts of their own greatness.
Companions and Allies
- Dwarves- A proud and courageous folk, dwarves are fiercely devoted to their kin.
- Wizards- Guardians of Middle Earth, wizards are coveted companions.
- Elves- Despite their distrust for dwarves, look to elves for wisdom and counsel.
- Men- Steady bowmen and warriors, men can either be treacherous or virtuous.
- Eagles- Not concerned with people's affairs, eagles will only assist when most needed.
- Beorn- Mysterious in his comings and goings, the "skin-changer" is a powerful ally in battle.
Why the Hobbit?
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don't know. Perhaps I am afraid, and he gives me courage.
-Gandalf the Grey
Sources: The Hobbit (book), The Hobbit (film series)