The Chicago Herald
August 22, 2021
CHICAGO Bombur the Dwarf has caused a big uproar in Chicago Public Schools.
Bombur is the creation of JRR Tolkien in his children's book, The Hobbit. He is one of the 13 dwarves who go on a quest with hobbit Bilbo to slay a dragon and claim his treasure. He is also, Tolkien makes clear, very fat.
The Chicago School Board finds it unacceptable and has ordered the book removed from classrooms.
“Throughout the book, Bombur is repeatedly the butt of jokes and referred to as 'fat,'” says School Board member Alice Bridges. “It's simply not healthy for our children to read such things.”
Tolkien's legion of fans is outraged.
“Bombur was fat,” says Alfred Newmyn, President of the Suburban Chicago Shire Club, a group dedicated to celebrating Middle Earth, “but he was courageous and part of the team. It's not a case of fat-shaming, but simply character development. Each dwarf has his own personality and traits.”
But the School Board isn't budging.
“Tolkien wrote in a different time, before we moved beyond weight stereotyping,” says Bridges. “We don't need our children to read about a fat dwarf moving slowly or being less healthy than the other dwarves. It just reinforces negative stereotypes.”