Hey, it's been a while!!! But I'm rereading FOTR and discovered an interesting something in regards to birthday customs of Hobbits that could probably be stretched to some sort of discussion and theories: The Hobbits give other Hobbits presents on their birthdays. Yet when Smeagol claims the Ring is his birthday present for his birthday, and Deagol states he already gave him a birthday present, it would seem the river Hobbits follow a different custom. They recieve birthday presents on their birthdays. So where did this difference arise? Why would it arise? Is there something about the river culture that would make these Hobbits develop this custom differently from those in the Shire? I'd be interested to hear others takes on this.