who am I? who knows? not me, I'm just as confused as you.

Last update
2022-05-17 23:54:51

    Bilbo was declared dead while he was away in the Hobbit (and had to do a bunch of paperwork to get declared alive again) but there’s no indication he was formally declared dead after leaving the Shire, even though most people assumed he had died.

    Therefore I posit: having a missing person declared dead in the Shire requires the consent of their next of kin. Whoever Bilbo’s next of kin was at the time of the Hobbit (possibly Otho? I’m not sure) had him declared dead at the first opportunity but Frodo refused to ever do it.

    Frodo had anxious hobbit bureaucrats knocking on his door every couple of years like ‘Mr Baggins… blease… it’s been 10 years… he was eleventy-one… can we fill out his death certificate yet’ and Frodo was like ‘absolutely not’.

    Early on he genuinely couldn’t bring himself too but after a while it was more that he enjoyed irritating the local magistrate’s office than anything else.


    I raise you: the hobbitish bureaucracy has no means to re-declare someone dead. They had no precedent to declare someone who was once-dead dead again. They would need the Thain, the Mayor, and the Master of Buckland to agree to changing the statute, and since the Thain and the Master are too amused by the whole henclucking that they haven’t gotten round to it just yet.


    I’m upping the stakes with: last time Bilbo was declared dead when he was, in fact, not dead, they removed the law stating that you can have someone declared dead without a body, so when Bilbo left (happily aware of this legal loophole and snickering) he could never become legally dead again.


    I am loving the implication here that Bilbo can literally never die in the eyes of the law. He’d love that.


    a hobbit parent telling their kids the story of Mad Baggins and being like “thanks to a loophole in hobbit law he’s technically still alive today”

    a hobbit child misinterprets this and lies awake at night worrying that Mad Baggins is still out there and will appear in their room without warning 


    Alternatively: the laws for declaring somebody dead if they’re missing for long enough are still in place, but the magistrates are just refusing to enforce them in this particular case.

    After all, last time they declared Bilbo Baggins dead— which involved filling out all the paperwork necessary to declare somebody dead without a body— he had the rudeness to show up again, forcing them to do a lot more paperwork, and this time with an indignant Bilbo having a go at them while they did it.

    As a result, the magistrates have decided that they’re not going to declare Bilbo Baggins dead a second time unless they have a body, a coroners reprt explaining the cause of death, and a three day wake to make sure that he doesn’t get up and walk away again.

    Centuries later, hobbit parents tell their children that Mad Baggins is forever gone from the shire— at least until the day when somebody is stupid enough to declare him legally dead, at which point legend states that he will immediately come marching back, demanding an explanation.


    i love the implication that its considered rude in hobbit society to show up alive after being declared dead


    Two hundred years later the inheritance drama over Bag End is still going strong. The Sackville-Bagginses insist that even if Bilbo isn’t legally dead, he’s clearly abandoned the property; those responsible for overseeing the affair respond by pointing out that, as it’s well known that Bilbo Baggins could turn invisible, they can’t be sure he’s not still in the building.