Thu, Jan 02, 2014 - Page 10 News List

Lack of vitamin made Gollum a loser

Fans are dressed as characters of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic The Hobbit in a forest in northern Czech Republic on May 25 last year.

Photo: AFP

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 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 vitamin deficiency.

Shunning sunlight, surviving on a sketchy or unbalanced diet based on rotten meat, 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.

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.

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











1. if only phr.

要是;只要 (yao4 shi4; zhi3 yao4)

例: If only she would arrive on time.


2. tuck into v. phr.

痛快吃喝 (tong4 kuai4 chi1 he1)

例: She tucked into the beer and chips.


3. a reference to n. phr.

關係;關聯 (guan1 xi1; guan1 lian2)

例: It is not a reference to you.



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