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 Pipe Weed in LoTR....

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Grand Wizard

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Join date : 2011-02-02

PostSubject: Pipe Weed in LoTR....   Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:23 pm


Pipe-weed, an herb with sweet-scented flowers, was evidently brought to Middle-earth by the Númenóreans during the Second Age, as Merry speculates in the Prologue,[32] and as suggested by its common name in Gondor: westmansweed.[33] It was known among the Dúnedain as sweet galenas for its fragrance.[32] As the Hobbits' custom of smoking it became more widely known, the habit spread to Dwarves and the Rangers of the North, and the plant became known as Halflings' Leaf.[34]

Pipe-weed was first grown among Hobbits by Tobold Hornblower in Longbottom (a region in the Southfarthing of the Shire). Despite its foreign origins, the Hobbits (possibly those in Bree) were the first to use it for smoking. (As Merry points out, not even the Wizards had thought of that.)[32] Popular Hobbit-grown varieties include Longbottom Leaf, Old Toby, and Southern Star; its cultivation became an established industry in the Southfarthing.

The Wizard Gandalf learned to smoke pipe-weed from the Hobbits. In The Hobbit he turns smoke-rings into different colours. One palpable description of the weed's effects is given by Gandalf to fellow wizard Saruman upon a meeting of the White Council:
"You might find that smoke blown out cleared your mind of shadows within. Anyway, it gives patience, to listen to error without anger."[34]

Although Saruman initially derided Gandalf for smoking, at some point he took up the habit himself. After the destruction of Isengard, pipe-weed is found among its food stores, but the Hobbits Merry and Pippin fail to realize the sinister implications of the discovery that Saruman has had commerce with the Shire.

The word pipe-weed first appears in the Prologue to The Lord of the Rings in the section called "Concerning Pipe-weed". Tolkien says the Hobbits of old "imbibed or inhaled through pipes of clay or wood, the smoke of the burning leaves of an herb, which they called pipe-weed or leaf, a variety probably of Nicotiana."[32] In the same paragraph, Tolkien as narrator refers to "the tobacco of the Southfarthing." Throughout The Lord of the Rings none of the characters ever uses the word tobacco. The word tobacco is only used in the narrative voice of the books.

For example; in The Two Towers, tobacco is used once. In the chapter "Flotsam and Jetsam" Tolkien as narrator says "He produced a small leather bag full of tobacco." Merry is then quoted saying "we found they were filled with this: as fine a pipe-weed as you could wish for, and quite unspoilt."[35] Pipe-weed is used 4 times in The Two Towers.[36]

Author T. A. Shippey speculates that Tolkien may have preferred the Old World sound of pipe-weed, because tobacco, an Arawakan name for a New World plant, would be an anachronism, and have a "foreign feel" in the world of elves and trolls.[37]

The Hobbit, which was written before the The Lord of the Rings, uses tobacco exclusively. Pipe-weed does not occur at all.[38
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PostSubject: Re: Pipe Weed in LoTR....   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:03 pm

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