None of these are new, but they may be new to you as they were to me, fellow readers.
There are notoriously few female characters in Tolkien, and even fewer allowed some dialogue and personality, but thankfully, this has not stopped fandom to work with what is there and flesh out the ladies in question. Take Bilbo’s mother Belladonna Took, of whom we solely know that she had adventures, knew Gandalf, and that that Bilbo’s father Bungo built Bag End with her money. Two stories providing wonderful versions of Belladonna:Light words about nothing, and other pleasures
: in which she encounters Thorin’s sister Dis (remember, dwarves have a far longer life span than Hobbits, who in turn live longer than humans); Dis herself, whose pov the story takes, is also a Tolkien female of whom we only know the name and whose relation she was, and who took on a life of her own in fanfiction. More often than not, she’s stuck with the role of shipping cheerleader, but not so here. Back, and there again
: Tolkien was clear on what kind of afterlife was available for elves and dwarves, but not so much for Hobbits. This means some creative liberty for fandom, and not least due to Sansukh
, afterlife reunions have become an entire subgenre. In this version, Belladonna and Bungo have been waiting for Bilbo to join them after his long life is finally over. But one hobbit’s paradise is not another’s, and so Belladonna goes on one more adventure, together with and for her son. The Crone of Bagshot Row
: no Belladonna in this one, but an old friend of hers, who has been keeping an eye on her son from afar.
But of course the most famous female Hobbit in Tolkien’s world is also the one with the worst press: Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. Lobelia is usually used as comic relief (fair enough, that’s how Tolkien uses her, with one remarkable exception), if she isn’t used as in an uncanonical mean stepmother role for Frodo so he can be rescued. (As ridiculous as that is, it pales next to the AUs where Lobelia gets to be Bilbo
‘s mean aunt. I mean, AU or no AU, she’s younger than Bilbo in canon, and my own preferences for AUs is that they should keep the generational outlines of the original.) legionseagle
wrote a witty and spirited defense of Lobelia
, which I urge you to read, so I shan’t repeat to her but will quote the moment of glory Tolkien gives her, during the Scouring of the Shire, as recounted to Frodo: it’s Lobelia Sackville-Baggins versus Saruman (via his henchman): ‘ “I’ll give you Sharkey, you dirty thieving ruffians!” says she, and ups with her umberella and goes for the leader, near twice her size. So they took her. Dragged her off to the Lockholes, at her age too. They’ve took others we miss more, but there’s no denying she showed more spirit than most’.
Bearing this in mind, I can entirely believe the following AUs take on what would have happened if Lobelia in her penchant for acquiring shiney objects of metal not hers (shared, as legionseagle
mentioned, by Cousin Bilbo) would have gotten hold of the One Ring: The curious case of Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and her magic ring
And lastly, not a female-centric tale but one of the funniest I’ve ever read (with one angsty interlude), using the movieverse circumstance of Thorin addressing Bilbo as a“Mr. Baggins“, „Master Baggins“ or „Master Burglar“ up to and until he’s entered the Lonely Mountain, at which point he switches to „Bilbo“ to spin a hilarious yet entirely in character explanation (Thorin didn’t catch Bilbo’s first name before Bilbo had won his respect near the end of the first movie and afterwards was too embarassed to ask directly) into this glorious epic: The Naming of Hobbits