Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shire Reeve

One weak spot in the Lord of the Rings is the hangover from The Hobbit, which is the whole situation of the Shire. The Shire is, of course, rural England, but Tolkien's determination to see it unstained by commerce or craft means that it has nothing other than gentry and yeomen farmers and peasantry -  no soldiers, no lawyers, no MPs; no governance structure of any sort, and no defence.  We're told that they're protected by the Rangers, but we're not told why.  Why doesn't Rohan look for lebensraum? What are their major exports?  Nobody else seems to value pipeweed. It's very hard indeed to splice a 1910 rural village on to warrior societies like Rohan and Gondor, and the economics and politics have to be written in as exceptions virtually hobbit by hobbit. Has anybody attempted to do the politics of the Shire?  Are police mentioned at any point:  what preserves the social hierarchy?  Where is the hangman?

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