The Good Earth

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Title: The Good Earth (individual works are "Gardening", "A Growing Family", and "The Bad Season")
Author(s): The Feels Whale
Date(s): February 13, 2013 - March 4, 2013
Length: ~28,000 words
Genre: Canon Divergence AU (The Hobbit), Everyone Lives (The Hobbit), Kidfic, Misunderstandings
Fandom: The Hobbit (film series)
External Links:

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The Good Earth is a three-fic series written early in the The Hobbit fandom by The Feels Whale. It inspired many of the tropes that became standard in Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield works later in the fandom.

The summary of "Gardening" (the first fic) is:

Bilbo Baggins arrived home late one afternoon in the middle of the week and the entire west Farthing is still talking about it.

Poor Mister Baggins. He was doomed to be a nine-days wonder no matter what and is it any wonder after a year-long adventure? Even the Tooks haven’t the influence to hush that up, but Mad Baggins seems to have managed to silence every tongue in the Shire on that subject which would be awe-inspiring ...if not for the way he decided to go about it.

OR: That one where Middle Earth seems to be unclear about where baby Hobbits come from.[1]

Fannish Elements

The first work is set Post-Quest for Erebor, when Bilbo returns home. It was the first instance of Cabbage Patch Hobbits,[2] a trope that has since been featured several times in works involving Bilbo Baggins. It also indirectly inspired the Born from Stone trope.[3]

Other common fannish elements include:

  • Kidfic - Specifically faunts (Hobbit children). This series doesn't go as far as some later ones would in treating hobbit children as an irresistible force of cuteness, but it does make gestures in that direction.
  • Hobbit Culture - In addition to how children are born, the work also discusses Hobbit growth and education, childhood behaviors, and similar subjects.
  • Dwarven Culture (Tolkien) - A number of dwarven traditions, small and large, are incorporated into the work. Some of them help cause the miscommunications that drive the story's plot.
  • Miscommunication - Not only do Bilbo and Thorin fail to sort out their relationship during the quest, but they also fail to understand the aftermath of the quest and each misinterpret the events after the battle. There is also the little matter of Hobbits and other races not agreeing on where babies come from.
  • Everyone Lives (The Hobbit) - A classic early example of the trope.
  • Bilbo Returns to Erebor - Instead of Bilbo remaining in Erebor, "Gardening" provided a realistic purpose for him returning home to the Shire, then traveling back east again. Many other works in 2013 also used the returning trope instead of having Bilbo simply remain in Erebor after the battle.
  • Original Characters - Bilbo's sons are OCs (sort of), and they're major players in the story.


By August 10, 2015, "Gardening" had over 93,000 hits, over 3,100 kudos, and over 940 bookmarks. The second story in the series, "A Growing Family", had over 40,000 hits, over 1,700 kudos, and over 150 bookmarks. The series as a whole had over 830 bookmarks (separate from any individual work). When "The Hobbit - All Media Types" was sorted by kudos, "Gardening" was on the first page of results.[4]

"The Good Earth" spawned at least two tropes, and may have encouraged the Returned to Stone/Mountainsleep concept. It was a forerunner of the miscommunication trope, which became a staple of Bilbo/Thorin post-quest happy ending works in the first year or so of the fandom, especially works that also incorporated Bilbo Returns to Erebor.

Commenters often mentioned how unique the Cabbage Patch Hobbits device was. ferretbaby said, "it works perfectly into the whole Tolkien mythos that I can actually see hobbits coming from a garden (also, I can't find their creation myth so its always possible they were never necessarily created by Eru, so they could have 'literally' been born from the earth)."[5]

MrsPeel commented, "Ohhhh. This story is the first Bilbo/Thorin that really makes sense to me. And it also has a delightful premise. How to do mpreg without doing, you know, mpreg. Beautifully written too. Best 'birth' scene ever."[6]

Many commenters also expressed their love for the original child characters Grim and Bobbin, as well as for the relationships between the members of the Durin family.

Future of the Story

The third story in the series deals with the One Ring. Though that story is an unfinished work in progress, The Feels Whale has given some hints as to the eventual outcome for various characters:

Bobbin is going to wrap a whole bunch of uncles (blood relations and otherwise) around his little finger and then give them to his brother and cousins as chew toys. Then one day he'll grow up to be a terrifying and devious strategist who is going to make Sauron very sorry he ever even considered sending an army anywhere NEAR Erebor.[7]


  1. ^ Gardening by The Feels Whale, posted February 13, 2013. Accessed August 10, 2015.
  2. ^ "I reread the Gardening Verse by The Feels Whale (Miscellea) a few days ago and I simply had to write this." - Introductory notes to Flowers of Yavanna by SOABA. Posted August 11, 2014. Accessed August 10, 2015.
  3. ^ "Also, this fic was totally inspired by The Feels Whale's fic, Gardening." Felek, introductory notes, by sunryder. Posted October 17, 2013.
  4. ^ The Hobbit - All Media Types (sorted by kudos), showing "Gardening" as number 18 on the list.
  5. ^ ferretbaby on Chapter 7, posted February 25, 2013, accessed August 10, 2015.
  6. ^ Bookmark by MrsPeel, posted February 15, 2013, accessed August 10, 2015.
  7. ^ The Feels Whale on Chapter 7, posted February 25, 2013, accessed August 10, 2015.