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Tolkien’s Legendarium is one of the biggest, most popular and most interesting fictional universes we have. It is – in a way – the epitome of a fantasy-based universe and served as a prototype for all later similar universes that are part of the fantasy genre. Tolkien’s universe has a lot of mysteries and while some of them are unclear, there are some that are solved but need further clarification. One of them is the topic of today’s article, and that is – the eating habits of Beorn, the skin-changer from The Hobbit. What does Beorn eat? Keep reading to find out!
Despite transforming into a bear, Beorn keeps a simple, seemingly vegeterian diet that consists of bread, honey and clotted cream. Quite unusual for a forest-dwelling character that transforms into a bear, but it seems that he eats that and that only.
In today’s article, we are going to introduce you to Beorn and his eating habits. You are going to find out what Beorn eats, as well as why his diet consists of simple vegetarian dishes. We’re going to give you lots of interesting information, so keep reading until the end to find out everything you wanted to know!
Who is Beorn?
Beorn is a fictional character that appears in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. He is a Northman, a skin-changer and a Beorning chieftain who lived near the river Anduin between Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains. The name Beorn originates from an Old English term that means “warrior”. It is a homophone of Old Norse bjǫrn which means “bear”.
Beorn is a skin-changer, a Man that is able to change his “skin” (i.e., his shape) as he transforms into a large black bear. In human form he was a tall, black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard. Beorn is, due to being able to transform into an animal himself, quite connected with the animals in his forest and has kept a lot of animals in his home. He was also knowledgeable of their language so he was able to speak with the animals.
He played a prominent role in The Hobbit when he provided shelter for Thorin, Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins and their company on heir way to Erebor. Beorn, though not overly fond of Dwarves, provided the company with food, supplies, and guidance after being persuaded to do so by Gandalf, who told him a very entertaining story. As Beorn was fond of interesting stories, he opted to help Thorin and his company on their journey.
Later, he sensed trouble at the Lonely Mountain so he arrived just in time to participate in the famous Battle of the Five Armies. He later carried Thorin from the battlefield after the dwarf was mortally wounded. Beorn later accompanied Gandalf and Bilbo on their return journey as far as his home, where he allowed the two to stay over the winter.
Not much is known about his later life, but he did become a famous chieftain and had a son. He died at some point before the War of the Ring began.
What does Beorn eat?
The question of Beorn’s eating habits is one of the more interesting ones in the book. Namely, Beorn is a Man, meaning that he is naturally an omnivore. He also transforms into a bear, an animal that is also omnivorous, with some species being more carnivorous than others. So, a Man transforming into a bear should certainly be a carnivore, if not an omnivore, right? Let us see this scene:
As we can see in the scene taken from The Desolation of Smaug, there’s no meat on Beorn’s table, not even for the omnivorous Dwarves, whom Beorn is not quite fond of. This suggests that Beorn is vegetarian, which is confirmed in the books, where it is revealed that Beorn’s diet consists of bread, honey and clotted cream.
This is a rather peculiar fact about Beorn and something that is completely odd when you look at his character from a superficial standpoint. Everything about him suggests that he should be a carnivore and yet the guy wouldn’t touch meat, which is a brilliant twist if you ask us. In the final section of this article, we are going to tell you why that is.
Why does Beorn eat only cream and honey?
So, now that we have established that Beorn has a vegetarian diet that consists of bread, honey and clotted cream, we can tell you why that is. The answer to this question is connected to his relationship with the animals he cares for and protects. Namely, Beorn is very fond of animals and all living creatures in general. Living where he does, he is in a way their protector and is responsible for their lives.
Killing animals is murder and Beorn is aware that by killing them and later eating them, he would be doing the one thing he, as the animals’ protector, is not supposed to do. He has the utmost respect for his animals and he treats them as equals, which makes sense since he himself can turn into an animal and knows very well how that feels.
By doing this, he shows that he cares a lot for all benevolent living creatures and that he is a protector of life. In that aspect, he also sets an example for his bear form (the degree of control he has over it varies), showing that it should also care for all those living creatures, which it might not do otherwise. This is why Beorn’s character is so interesting and why the fans generally like him in both the book and the movies.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!