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Ah, Hobbit fandom. Ah, Martin Freeman in braces and a striped shirt and a very mod waistcoat. It’s enough to make any refugee from the Sherlock fandom swoon.
I stumbled into the Hobbit fandom on my birthday last year, which was the day The Hobbit was released where I live. Got up at 8 and took a bus down to the cinema and caught it alone, sitting in the theatre with a chocolate bar and a bottle of water. Martin Freeman was astonishingly proper and well-suited to the role of Bilbo, a very proper Hobbit, previously played by Ian Holm in the LOTR trilogy. No adventures, no wizards, and certainly no dragons. You could almost hear the scathing ‘my goodness‘ at the end of each sentence. As I watched, I knew… Knew that I wasn’t the only one seeing a giant fucking cruise liner of a ship appear before my eyes. The only other ship I’ve seen that way was in X-Men First Class and how that ended, you don’t need me to tell you. (A bullet fired into the spine. That’s how it ends. The Beach Divorce. Sob.)
And then a kink meme appeared the next day. It starts slow, glacial, even, and then it picks up and you’re getting eleven fills a day sprouting up in your inbox. The AO3 welcomed us with open arms. Some detractors looked upon the fandom, scandalised.
“Hobbit sex,” they said, and promptly fainted dead away at the amount of explicit fic this fandom churned out. Which is to say, a lot.
The Hobbit fandom is still young. Most of us read the book as a child, caught it in theatres, and the next thing we know, we’ve just uploaded a 10k word-long coffeeshop AU in which Bilbo is an employee and Gandalf is a meddling boss full of tricks and eyebrow waggles, shoving him across the counter at [insert dwarf of choice]. It’s a very fast downward spiral, unlike some of the other fandoms I’ve been in. What makes this one so special? What attracts people to it? What are our most popular pairings? Who on earth is Bilba, and why are there so many fics that have been tagged ‘BoFA AU- everyone survives’? And, touching on the Hobbit cast RPF, why is there such a massive amount of angst in Richard Armitage-centric fic?
These are questions I will now attempt to answer to the best of my ability.
What makes this fandom special is that it never really started as a baby fandom. There were two significant ones that tied into its conception– Sherlock and LOTR. LOTR, a sprawling mother of a fandom, is somewhat diminished by now, but this is where Sherlock comes in. Some of us in the Hobbit fandom came over from Sherlock. Tired of writing about cockblocked army doctors and asexual sociopathic flatmates, we cast a longing eye to the green rolling hills of the Shire and the dark grandeur of Erebor. An endless parade of simple, provincial hobbits and proud dwarves marched on through our stories. Bizarre courting rituals, misunderstandings, sex in bedrolls, are you feeling my enthusiasm yet? (See also: cooking fat as lubricant by the campsite. Don’t look at me. I’m blushing. There’s a fic where Bilbo has to decide between having crispy chips and getting fucked. Guess which he chose. P.S: Nobody complained.)
Then we hit a dead end.
I can recite the actual phrase Bofur says here, which is ‘cheese knife? He eats it by the block’. But this is much better. Do carry on.
Massive amounts of feels, there. They had a moment. An embracing-in-the-sunlight moment full of feelings and repressed sexual urges.
I might have taken some liberty with that last bit. Whatever. Other very popular pairings are Thorin and Dwalin- from sword bros to boner bros. They fought in a war together and Dwalin has been by Thorin’s side for years. Who’s to say nothing happened?
Or, alternatively, have a salad of Durincest as a side to your main pairing. The most widely-written Durincest involves the brothers Fíli and Kíli, heirs to the throne after Thorin. They’re his nephews, and if you believe some fic, lost the ponies because they were having a quick shag up against a nearby tree.
Also, what the books have but Peter Jackson doesn’t is size kink. Dwarves (or dwarrows, as Tolkien prefers) are actually bigger than hobbits. They range from 4 to 5″, whereas Hobbits top their own charts at 3.5 to 4″.
Next explanation: Bilba Baggins. Sometimes Belladonna Baggins, mostly Bilba, sometimes still Bilbo. Essentially genderswap fic. I love me some fem!action, but it comes across as skeevy when you consider the movie in the Bilbo-has-been-genderswapped context. Would you like thirteen hairy dwarves with weapons and things trampling through your home with absolutely no given notice at all? Some authors took this into consideration and completely Rule 63’d the whole Company of dwarves. There’s amazing fanart of it.
Now, for Richard Armitage.
“I didn’t really unpack my bag for about three weeks, ’cause I thought that I was going to be on the plane going home.” – Richard Armitage (x)
Let me repeat that. The man playing one of the lead characters didn’t unpack his bag for three weeks because he thought they were going to send him home. I have no words for this, mostly because I’m too busy hanging around the RPF post on the hobbit kink meme furiously writing fic where Richard is self-conscious and embarrassed and Martin Freeman’s just a really nice dick.
That didn’t come out right, but you get my drift.
The hobbit fandom is huge and what I’ve managed to illustrate here is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got loads more pairings and AUs, brilliant ones, ranging from modern day!the-Company-is-really-the-Mafia AU to everyone-dies-but-they-meet-up-again-in-the-undying-lands not so AU. (“Headcanon,” the majority of us say, and cover our ears.) The artists and the writers are wonderful and good at art and fic, and since I last checked, the Hobbit 2012 tag on AO3 is updated with at least 10 fics everyday.
I’m proud to be part of this. So come on in, you’re very welcome, wipe your feet on the mat but not mother’s glory box. The Hobbit fandom, at your service!
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1. Randomly hitting your keyboard to express overwhelming emotion, such as anger or excitement.
ot5 \ oh-TEE-fahyv \ noun
1. Favorite combination of five persons in a fandom.
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