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Bilbo is said to have been more adventurous than most hobbits because of his mother's side of the family. Peregrin Took is a bit foolish and this, also is attributed to his "Tookishness." Not only is he a Took, but a "fool of a Took" which makes it so much worse. So what about this family makes them such oddballs in Hobbit Society?

I know about the passage that says there was a marriage once upon a time to a fae, but it is followed by another statement saying this was just rumor. While, this could be a device that actually gives the answer in a package realistic to the idea of Bilbo writing this himself, I wondered if there was any other canon explanation.

It was often said in other families that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was, of course, absurd but certainly there was still something not entirely hobbit-like about them, and once in awhile members of the Took clan would go and have adventures.

The Hobbit, J.R. Tolkien pg. 2-3.

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This is addressed in the prologue to FotR, "Concerning Hobbits"; the Tooks were ancestrally a branch of one of the ancient three kindreds of Hobbits, the Fallohides, and of the Fallohides Tolkien writes that they:

were more friendly with Elves than the other Hobbits were, and had more skill in language and song than in handicrafts; and of old they preferred hunting to tilling ... being somewhat bolder and more adventurous, they were often found as leaders or chieftains among clans of Harfoots or Stoors.

Interestingly, Tolkien also notes that the Brandybucks (or more specifically, the Masters of Buckland) also possessed a "strong Fallohidish strain", hence the fact that they also seem more adventurous. Going in boats! Living near the Old Forest! Preposterous for a Hobbit!

This begs the question: "what is it about the Fallohides?"

The answer is also (at least partially) given in "Concerning Hobbits" and it's not so much that there is anything special about the Fallohides, but rather that the Harfoots (who, together with the Stoors, completed the three kindreds) were the ones that were different, and:

They were the most normal and representative variety of Hobbit, and far the most numerous. They were the most inclined to settle in one place, and longest preserved their ancestral habit of living in tunnels and holes.

(My emphasis)

So the Fallohides only seem different by comparison to the most common Hobbit variety, which represents Hobbits of a different kindred anyway.

This splitting of a "race" into three kindreds, each with different temperaments, is a common trope in Tolkien's writings. We see it with the Elves (Vanyar, Noldor, Teleri), with Men in the First Age (House of Beor, House of Hador, House of Haleth), with the Noldor themselves (House of Feanor, House of Fingolfin, House of Finarfin), and likely many other examples elsewhere. Hobbits are just following the same pattern.

  • Wow! I guess I'd just completely forgotten about this aspect of the Hobbit history - as I'm sure I'd've read it at one time or another. Guess its time to read it again (good thing that is the plan!) Thanks and very thorough. – balanced mama Nov 29 '13 at 21:55
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I'm sure a major feature is that the family history of being violent, rash & adventurous is drummed into them from childhood. Which makes sense, proud of the family history, Hobbits talk a lot about their families & events occurred in Middle-earth history that gave them the opportunities to do what they did.

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    Except the Tooks aren't supposed to be proud of their family history - according to the rest of hobbiton that is. Bilbo is even a bit ashamed of it at the beginning and it takes Gandalf showing him he should be proud of bullroarer and etc. to get the Hobbit to consider the journey more fully. – balanced mama Dec 11 '13 at 15:12
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    You might get a different answer of how proud Tooks are of "Tookishness" in their own part of the Shire rather than placid Hobbiton. – Oldcat Jan 8 '14 at 0:53

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