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Tooks of Great Smials

Other Names:
the House of Took
the Took family

Location(s):
the Great Smials, and the surrounding Tookland

Race/Species: Hobbit

Title(s):
clan leader only:
The Took
the chief Took
the Thain of the Shire (after III 2340)

Dates:
late Third Age

Description:

One of the two most prominent families of the Shire, who dwell in the Great Smials and the surrounding Tookland:
The full list of [the hobbits'] wealthier families is: Baggins, Boffin, Bolger, Bracegirdle, Brandybuck, Burrowes, Chubb, Grubb, Hornblower, Proudfoot, Sackville, and Took.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 25 to the editor of 'The Observer', 20 February 1938

[The] Took family had long been pre-eminent; for the office of Thain had passed to them (from the Oldbucks) some centuries before, and the chief Took had borne that title ever since. The Thain was the master of the Shire-moot, and captain of the Shire-muster and the Hobbitry-in-arms, but as muster and moot were only held in times of emergency, which no longer occurred, the Thainship had ceased to be more than a nominal dignity. The Took family was still, indeed, accorded a special respect, for it remained both numerous and exceedingly wealthy, and was liable to produce in every generation strong characters of peculiar habits and even adventurous temperament. The latter qualities, however, were now rather tolerated (in the rich) than generally approved. The custom endured, nonetheless, of referring to the head of the family as The Took, and of adding to his name, if required, a number: such as Isengrim the Second, for instance.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Of the Ordering of the Shire

[Headship customs] differed in cases where the 'head' [of a family] died leaving no son. In the Took-family, since the headship was also connected with the title and (originally military) office of Thain, descent was strictly through the male line. In other great families the headship might pass through a daughter of the deceased to his eldest grandson (irrespective of the daughter's age). This latter custom was usual in families of more recent origin, without ancient records or ancestral mansions.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 214 to A. C. Nunn (draft), probably late 1958-early 1959

The Fallohides, the least numerous [type of Hobbit], were a northerly branch. They were more friendly with Elves than the other Hobbits were, and had more skill in language and song than in handicrafts; and of old they preferred hunting to tilling. They crossed the mountains north of Rivendell and came down the River Hoarwell. In Eriador they soon mingled with the other kinds that had preceded them, but being somewhat bolder and more adventurous, they were often found as leaders or chieftains among clans of Harfoots or Stoors. Even in Bilbo's time the strong Fallohidish strain could still be noted among the greater families, such as the Tooks and the Masters of Buckland.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

The Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others; they were lovers of trees and of woodlands.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

[The] mother of... Bilbo Baggins... was the fabulous Belladonna Took, one of the three remarkable daughters of the Old Took, head of the hobbits who lived across The Water, the small river that ran at the foot of The Hill. It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was, of course, absurd, but certainly there was still something not entirely hobbit-like about them, — and once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures. They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushed it up; but the fact remained that the Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, though they were undoubtedly richer.

The Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

Even the Tooks (with a few exceptions) thought Bilbo's behaviour was absurd. For the moment most of them took it for granted that his disappearance was nothing more than a ridiculous prank.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 1, A Long-expected Party


Notable Tooks
Isumbras I becomes thirteenth Thain [in 2340], and first of the Took line.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

Isengrim II becomes tenth Thain [of the Took line, in 2683] and begins the excavation of Great Smials.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

According to the Red Book, Bandobras Took (Bullroarer), son of Isumbras the Third, 1 was four foot five and able to ride a horse.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

[The] only [battle] that had ever been fought within the borders of the Shire, was beyond living memory: the Battle of Greenfields, S.R. 1147, in which Bandobras Took routed an invasion of Orcs.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

[The] Old Took himself had... reached 130....

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 1, A Long-expected Party

'Tooks started [the shooting]. You see your dad Mr. Peregrin, he's never had no truck with this Lotho...: said that if anyone was going to play the chief..., it would be the right Thain of the Shire and no upstart.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 8, The Scouring of the Shire

'The Thain has raised all our country,' [the messenger] said.... 'The ruffians that were watching our land have fled off south, those that escaped alive. The Thain has gone after them, to hold off the big gang down that way....'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 8, The Scouring of the Shire

[The Battle of Bywater] has a chapter to itself in the Red Book, and the names of all those who took part were made into a Roll, and learned by heart by Shire-historians.... [At] the top of the Roll in all accounts stand the names of Captains Meriadoc [Brandybuck] and Peregrin [Took].

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 8, The Scouring of the Shire


Dwellings
The Shire was divided into four quarters, the Farthings...; and these again each into a number of folklands, which still bore the names of some of the old leading families.... Nearly all Tooks still lived in the Tookland, but that was not true of many other families, such as the Bagginses or the Boffins.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Of the Ordering of the Shire

The houses and the holes of Shire-hobbits were often large, and inhabited by large families.... Sometimes, as in the case of the Tooks of Great Smials, or the Brandybucks of Brandy Hall, many generations of relatives lived in (comparative) peace together in one ancestral and many-tunnelled mansion.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

'Tooks are lucky, they've got those deep holes in the Green Hills, the Great Smials and all, and the ruffians can't come at 'em; and they won't let the ruffians come on their land. If they do, Tooks hunt 'em. Tooks shot three for prowling and robbing.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 8, The Scouring of the Shire

'Yes, it is all very dim, and stuffy, in here,' said Pippin. 'It reminds me... of the old room in the Great Place of the Tooks away back in the Smials at Tuckborough: a huge place, where the furniture has never been moved or changed for generations. They say the Old Took lived in it year after year, while he and the room got older and shabbier together — and it has never changed since he died, a century ago.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 4, Treebeard


Notes
1Editions of The Lord of the Rings prior to 2004 said that Bandobras was the son of Isengrim the Second, but later editions corrected the statement to match the Family Trees published in Appendix C.

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 11Sep06, 25Nov06, 5Jun08

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