Hobbits are renowned for their good food, airy and sunlit homes, humour and love of stories.
Yes, they also liked to smoke a lot but that reflects the time of the author, JRR Tolkien.
On the others side, the forces of the dark lord, the Orcs and assorted nasties, spend their time underground gnawing on meat.
A study, reported in the Medical Journal of Australia, looks at the proposition that aversion to sunlight and an unwholesome diet could be a significant contributor to the triumph of good over evil in fantasy literature.
This lifestyle would leave the forces of evil weaker and less able to win at combat.
Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, lives in a hole in the ground but with windows to bring in sunlight with a dose of healthy Vitamin D.
The hobbit diet is varied as Bilbo is able to offer cake, tea, seed cake, ale, porter, red wine, raspberry jam, mince pies, cheese, pork pie, salad, cold chicken, pickles and apple tart to visiting dwarves.
The dwarves also show evidence of a mixed diet and although they “like the dark, the dark for dark business” they do spend much time above ground and have plenty of sun exposure.
However, sun avoidance is a recurring theme among evil characters.
The trolls shun the daylight to avoid the petrification and live on an exclusively mutton diet.
They are certainly strong but consume jugs of “good drink” which befuddle their wits.
The study reports:
“Textual analysis of The Hobbit supports our initial hypothesis that the triumph of good over evil may be assisted to some extent by the poor diet and lack of sunlight experienced by the evil characters.
“For the purpose of this study, we have not discriminated between creatures that can be considered, broadly speaking, to be mammalian and those that are not and whose physiology is more obscure. These include dragons, whose generation of fire has been discussed previously, as well as giant spiders and birds of unusual size.”
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