There's something missing in 'The Hobbit' that a lot of people didn't notice at first.

The worst part? We perpetuate this cycle without even knowing that we're doing it.

Patrick Rothfuss is a fantasy author best known for his series "The Kingkiller Chronicle."

He's also pretty well-known for generally being a badass bringer of real talk. Case in point: During a Q&A at a pop culture event in Chicago, he was asked the following question:

"What would you change about fantasy?"


"We have huge problems with how we portray women." YES.
The best part is, when he said this, the crowd went wild. In a good way.

#NotAllPrincesses. But OK, point taken.

Ugh, worst endless cycle ever.

And this is where he takes on Tolkien:

Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly in "The Hobbit" movies, does not exist in the book.


Excellent use of the word "vomit" here. 10/10 would use "vomit" again.

Rothfuss hit the nail on the head: Until an author purposely counteracts the fact that many fantasy stories (weirdly) don't feature female characters, the pattern is pretty boring and predictable. Not to mention sexist.

And, like he says, most authors don't even realize they're perpetuating it. But they do have the power to change it.

Don't miss the full recording of his answer below. My favorite part is where he admits to having written a fantasy novel in high school that didn't have a single female character. "Not even a serving girl. No one even thinks about their mom."

Think it's safe to say Rothfuss has since learned from that mistake? I'd say so.

FACT CHECK TIME!

  • Just to be extra-super-duper clear, we're talking about "The Hobbit" the book.
  • I wasn't sure I believed that there were no women in "The Hobbit" — I mean, I had never noticed that before ... surely there had to be someone. So I looked it up. And I found that there are three female characters mentioned in "The Hobbit": Bilbo's mother (Belladonna Took), the unnamed mother of Fili and Kili, and the unnamed wife of Girion of Dale. None of these female characters have active roles; they simply provide connections between other (male) characters.
  • There may be mentions of other female characters, but they definitely don't get names or actual roles. And besides, if we're gonna get caught up in arguing the details of how many daughters Old Took may or may not have had ... then we're kind of missing the point.
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My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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