Have you ever wondered how much food it would take for you to travel from Rivendell to Mount Doom to destroy the one ring of power? Well, fortunately, scientists Skye Rosetti and Krisho Manoharan have figured it out for you.
Their findings showed that a 92-day walk for an assembly of nine members (four hobbits, one elf, three humans and a dwarf) would require a minimum of 1,780,214.59 Calories. The results are published in Jist.
Rosetti and Manoharan had previously calculated the basic metabolic rate of each species: A humanoid species from Middle Earth is estimated to require around 1,700 Calories per day, a lightweight elf needs only 1,400, and greedy hobbits require 1,800 Calories. While this might not seem like much when compared to our diets (the recommended daily Calorie intake for a human male is 2,500), hobbits are small – on average 107 centimeters (3.5 feet) – which means they undergo a faster rate of heat loss because their surface area is big compared to their volume. Hence, they need more Calories to maintain their body temperature.
But how could anyone carry this much food for 92 days? Hopefully, the answer lies in the Lembas bread. These cakes are described as being very thin, made of meal and light brown on the outside but the color of cream on the inside. They are also packed with Calories. Gimli munches one up when he realizes it's wonderfully delicious, and the elves of Lothlorien exclaim that he has already eaten enough "for a long day's march!"
Based on this and the following description from the elves, the researchers calculated how many Calories were in the bread.
"Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveller on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall Men of Minas Tirith."
From this, they estimated Lembas to contain 2,638.5 Calories. By this calculation, the fellowship would need to bring approximately 675 loaves with them: 304 for the hobbits, 214 for Gandalf, Aragorn and Boromir, 99 for Gimli and only 60 for Legolas.
It makes you wonder how on Middle Earth the fellowship ever managed to make it to Mordor. These results don't even account for diversions in the journey, breaks, or character deaths.
It is the wise words of Boromir that sum up the conclusion of the paper.
Featured Image: Oscar Gende Villar/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).