With the launch of The Hobbit I’m reminded of a niggle I had with Lord of the Rings film.
Not that I’m knocking it. PJ and team with their commentaries helped me through the dark days after viral burn-out of brain. But, this really sticks.
PJ said to his design team, “I want it real.”
All those Oscars, assuredly deserved, but can anyone tell me whence the food in Rohan and Gondor and Mordor?
Théoden’s mead hall was gloriously thatched with golden straw. But where did it grow? That magnificent hill rising out of the Plains of Rohan was surrounded on all sides by grazing – for horses. We saw them trekking out to Helms Deep. Did they pass arable lands? No, they did not. Never mind the orchards and kailyards, where did the Rohirim grow the oats for the winter fodder, and the barley for brewing their ale? Did they live exclusively on horse meat and kumiss?
Again with Gondor, we were shown Minas Tirith fronting an enormous uncultivated plain. We know they ate tomatoes but where did they grow them? Did you see any gardens, greenhouses, perhaps with hydroponics? I didn’t see as much as a pigsty.
And then Mordor. Yea, I know, the orcs feasted on man-flesh whenever they got it. But the rest of the time they ate maggoty bread. Was that rye-bread, perhaps, with grain tainted by ergot? That would explain their demonic behaviour. But where did it grow? Not in Mordor. No sun ever shone there. And when Sauron’s black cloud had covered Middle Earth, where then the rye to make the bread?
It seems the only place in Middle Earth where food was grown was the Shire. Those Hobbits must have had a colossal export business, yet only pipe-weed gets mentioned. On which note – Saruman’s comment to Gandalf that the Hobbits’ pipe-weed had softened his wits? No, Professor Tolkien wasn’t implying that said weed was cannabis – which at the time of his writing had yet to come to the British attention. It really was tobacco. When first imported to England it was call sop-wit, believed to sop the senses, make the smoker less than 100% fit in the head.
But I do have the answer to my question.
Big Macs and KFC.