To complete the journey from Rivendell to Mordor to destroy the One Ring, the Fellowship from The Lord of the Rings would need to consume exactly 1,780,214.59 calories.
That’s the conclusion reached by a pair of researchers, Skye Rosetti and Krisho Manaharan, who published their results in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics (via Popular Science). The study was titled “Simply Walking into Mordor: How Much Lembas Would the Fellowship Have Needed?”
A previous study (yes, this is at least their second study about the food needs of fictional characters) determined that Hobbits require a daily caloric intake of about 1,800, while elves need only 1,400 to survive. Men, meanwhile, could live on around 1,700 daily calories. A Gimli-sized dwarf needed about 2,300.
This new paper explores how much lembas would be required to sustain the fellowship on their 92-day journey to Mt. Doom had they been provided enough at the onset in Rivendell. The total caloric value of a single piece of lembas was calculated to be 2638.5 calories. Therefore, it was determined that they would have needed 675 total pieces of bread. Specifically, based on species-specific basal metabolic rate requirements, the hobbits would have needed 304 pieces, while Gandalf, Aragorn, and Borormir would have eaten 214 together; Gimli and Legolas each would need 60 pieces.
Some liberties were taken to conduct the study, which presents an “ideal” version of the journey where all nine stay together and survive. (RIP Boromir). “Calculations assume that the members of the Fellowship did not become corrupted by the Ring, remaining together for the entire journey,” the researchers said.
For the purposes of this study, Gandalf and Aragorn were modeled as ordinary humans. This study also assumes that members of the Fellowship would only eat their daily required amounts. This could be considered something of a stretch, given how hungry hobbits are known to be. Second breakfast, anyone?