With the FIFA World Cup about to kick off I thought this might be an excellent idea for a bit of Middle Earth trivia about football.
For those of you outraged at the very idea that I dare mention football and Middle Earth in the same sentence… this bit of trivia might just give you a shocker.
Did you know that football was around in Middle Earth?
Poppycock I hear you say. No, I couldn’t be more serious, it was… furthermore, it was known to the dwarves… and I quote from the Hobbit, Chapter 4 Over Hill and Under Hill:
“This won’t do at all!” said Thorin. “If we don’t get blown off or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football.”
One of the Stone Giants in the first Hobbit movie.
And from down the same book (Chapter 8 Flies and Spiders): “There was a noise like the kicking of a flabby football, and the enraged spider fell off the branch, only catching itself with its own thread just in time.”
Not only did the dwarves know about a football, the fact that they know it is supposed to be kicked seems to indicate they played it themselves, or at least saw it being played. Thorin Oakenshield is the only Tolkien character that personally mentions the attribute of the sport. Who knows, perhaps Thorin was the striker in the local Thorin’s Hall “Ai-Mênu FC” football squad. Nah, surely he was the manager with Bombur in the goal and maybe one of them quick hobbits up front.
Seriously though, why does Tolkien mention “football” at all in his works? Well, most likely J.R.R. Tolkien (who wrote The Hobbit for his young boys initially) wanted to put a few familiar objects into the text.
So, go out there and enjoy the World Cup and just imagine Thorin shouting by the sideline and Bombur getting the golden glove award.
By the way… one rule if you wish to post reply to this post, YOU MUST tell us who your favorite team is for the upcoming world cup.
Go Red Devils… BELGIUM (what did you expect folks?)
Roy “The Dwarrow Scholar”
A Belgian native with a tremendous love for languages, Semitic cultures and fantasy literature, in particular the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.Speaking four languages and ever eager to learn new ones, currently studying Hebrew and Arabic. Has a healthy obsession with anything related to Tolkien’s Dwarves and writes with great joy about them in his own blog: http://dwarrowscholar.mymiddleearth.com/