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"In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole and that means comfort."
The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"

Smials were the hobbit-holes tunelled into earth mounds and hills.

For generations the Hobbits, made diggings in the earth to live. By the later Third Age the poorest Hobbits still went on living in burrows of the most primitive kind with only one window or none.

For the most well-to-do hobbits, smials were luxurious versions of those primitive diggings of old. Their tunnels had rounded walls and branched to other rooms.[1] Smials included Bag End and the smials along Bagshot Row of Hobbiton, the Great Smials of Tuckborough[2] and Brandy Hall.[3] The latter two were large enough to have ample room for a hundred Hobbits.

When suitable sites for these large and ramifying tunnels were not everywhere to be found, many Hobbits lived in wood, brick or stone houses.[1] This was the case with some muddy regions of the Eastfarthing, such as the Marish.[4]


[edit] Etymology

The word smial is an invention of Tolkien based on the Old English word smygel. Smial is a translation of the Hobbitish word trân (Rohirric trahan "burrow").[5]

Tolkien explained in his Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings the origin of the name Sméagol in the lemma on smials:

"Smials. A word peculiar to hobbits (not Common Speech), meaning 'burrow'; leave unchanged. It is a form that the Old English word smygel 'burrow' might have had, if it had survived. The same element appears in Gollum's real name, Sméagol."
― Tolkien [6]

The names Smaug and Sméagol are etymologically related.

[edit] In real world

"Smial" is a term used by Tolkien fans to refer to divisions of Tolkien Societies.

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Concerning Hobbits"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Short Cut to Mushrooms"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings", published in A Tolkien Compass (edited by Jared Lobdell)