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Thought some of you might find this Slate piece interesting. Matthew Yglesias looks at whether hobbits and other M-E races should be considered human. Personally I think he equivocates between mannish peoples and human a little too easily, but then he's a mainstream journalist rather than someone in fandom, so I'll give him a bit of leniency there.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/12/are_hobbits_human_can_elves_and_humans_and_dwarves_interbreed.html

Thoughts?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
alexcat
Dec. 30th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
I actually found the whole article a bit silly sounding.

First, hobbits and such are not real so it's a moot point.

Second, we live in a world where we are arguably the only beings like ourselves. The Sci-fi folks would call it humanoid, I suppose. Middle Earth was peopled with all sorts of humanoid people: elves, humans, dwarves, hobbits, orcs and even the wandering maiar. The elves and maiar are a bit different in that they can live indefinitely, I suppose.

When he got to the mule analogy, I had shake my head. The interbreeding in Tolkien was sort of a sanctioned thing, approved by a higher power, as it were. In each case, special dispensations came into play. Luthien and Arwen became mortal. Tuor became immortal.

He might have been more convincing if he'd actually read a bit further than he did.
mrowe
Dec. 30th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
Tolkien himself said (in a letter in 1954): "Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race [species], or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring – even as a rare event: there are two cases only in my legends of such unions, and they are merged in the descendents of Earendil.”

And without digging out the references I think there's something about Hobbits being a branch of Men as well somewhere.

Orcs: depending on whether you go with the 'corrupted Elves/Men' version or the 'animal' origin, are quite likely also humanoid (and there are suggestions of interbreeding in Saruman's experiments, so I'd say 'human')

Dwarves: given their origin, I could happily argue that they're probably not fertile with the other sentient races of ME; on the other hand, I could equally happily argue that they are.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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