Lack of preciousss vitamin made Gollum a loser

December 15, 2013
Lack of preciousss vitamin made Gollum a loser
Credit: Wikipedia.

Think kindly of the dragon Smaug. Shed a tear for Gollum. And give an orc a hug.

If only they had tucked into the occasional quiche and salad or a touch of smoked salmon, or had a few sessions on a sunbed. How much kinder history would have been to them.

So suggests an offbeat study, released on Sunday, which concludes that the evil characters in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" lost their battle against men, elves and dwarves because they suffered from .

Shunning sunlight, surviving on a sketchy or unbalanced diet based on rotten meat or (in Gollum's case) the occasional blind fish, they lacked vitamin D, a key component for healthy bones and muscle strength.

The idea is proposed by Nicholas Hopkinson, a doctor at Imperial College London and his son Joseph, in the Christmas edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.

They scoured "The Hobbit" for references to characters' living conditions, habits and diet.

They used these clues to rate each character for levels of vitamin D, produced when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light or derived from foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and cheese.

Bilbo Baggins, the hero of "The Hobbit," had a vitamin D-enriched life, they found.

True, Bilbo lived in a hole, but it had windows and he enjoyed sitting in the sun in his garden.

"The diet is clearly varied, as he is able to offer cake, tea, seed cake, ale, porter, red wine, raspberry jam, mince pies, cheese, pork pie, salad, cold chicken, pickles and apple tart to the dwarves who visit to engage him on the business of burglary," Imperial College said in a press release.

In contrast, the villains spend most of their time in darkness, and their diet is poor or single-sourced.

"Systematic textual analysis of 'The Hobbit' supports our initial hypothesis that the triumph of good over evil may be assisted to some extent by the poor and lack of sunlight experienced by the evil characters," the researchers conclude.

Explore further: Low vitamin D causes brain damage

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8 comments

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chardo137
not rated yet Dec 15, 2013
This is one of the most ridiculous things that has ever had an article written about it.
davidivad
not rated yet Dec 15, 2013
this reminds me of a recent article on wormholes.
sirchick
3 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2013
Some scientists really don't deserve the title of a scientist when they waste time on stupid stuff like this. Far more important problems in the world to worry about.
Egleton
2 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2013
Go get some rays sirchick.
Shakescene21
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2013
This type of article helps get the message to non-scientists that Vitamin D has critical health benefits. (You don't want to become Gollum, do you?) It also helps scientists lighten up a bit.
EnricM
not rated yet Dec 17, 2013
What do they know about the physiology of Orcs?
And Smaug was not a nightly creature.

Gollum was a "mutated" hobbit changed by forces of magic, we can't make any inferences on his physiology either.

Shootist
5 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2013
No. Wearing a ring infused with the essence of the dark Lord Sauron for 600 or so years almost fully corrupted the aged Stoor. Nothing so mundane as vitamins.

The rocks and pool
Is nice and cool
So juicy sweet

Our only wish
To catch a fish
So juicy sweet
sirchick
not rated yet Jan 16, 2014
This type of article helps get the message to non-scientists that Vitamin D has critical health benefits. (You don't want to become Gollum, do you?) It also helps scientists lighten up a bit.


Such info does not belong on a website specifically with an audience who should already be well informed on what Vitamin D does for you. Otherwise 99% of the articles are likely to be beyond their understanding if they can not grasp basic diet knowledge which everyone is taught as children.

Dumbing it down to explain a fictional character to get some point across that Vitamin D is important is rather ridiculous.

If any thing i applaud LOTR for an accurate (ish) body form of a vitamin D deprived being, looks like they cared about the finer details.

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