Why We Read Part 1,568,792, or: Is Barack Obama Like a Hobbit?

Chestnut: Why didn't Mubarak want to leave?

Father: That's how people are with power. Once they have it, they don't ever want to let it go. Except for King Juan Carlos of Spain. And George Washington.

Me: Unless you're a hobbit.

Chestnut: How does being a hobbit help?

Mother: In The Lord of the Rings [note: not a book I was a massive fan of as a child], the hobbits were the only ones who weren't totally susceptible to the ring's power, even though it still hurt them. But everyone else it ruined. People respond to power the same way. Mubarak might not have been so bad when he first got power, but unadulterated access to unlimited power ruins you.

Diana: It corrupts you, like Gollum.

Chestnut: You mean, it can kill you?!

Diana: No, it corrupts you, which is worse. Though I'm not sure why Gollum got that way….

Mother: He's like all the rest of us. Like most of us anyway.

Chestnut: So is King Juan Carlos of Spain like a hobbit?

Diana: Kind of.

Chestnut: Do you think Barack Obama is like a hobbit?

All of Us: Maybe.

*Note: I think I managed to somehow say that our method of government was sort of designed to prevent Gollum's, but I can't quite piece what I said together here.

9 thoughts on “Why We Read Part 1,568,792, or: Is Barack Obama Like a Hobbit?

  1. I love trying to explain the “adult world” to little ones. It never fails to show how inconsistent and ridiculous we adults are.
    I’m going to have to remember this one. There are far too many times when Gollum is the perfect example of human behavior.
    And on the subject of hobbits, they’re also brave and true. Please let this apply to our president!

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  2. But I am bothered by this inconsistency: Gollum started out life as a hobbit. It’s just that so many years of being with the ring messed him up. So maybe being a hobbit isn’t enough? Maybe you have to be Frodo? Was Gollum still technically a hobbit at the end? Or was he, as my husband maintains, a creature of the ring? These are the questions that plague our times.

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