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Hobbits[1] are a fictional, diminutive, humanoid race who inhabit the lands of Middle-earth
Middle-earth
in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fiction. They are also referred to as Halflings. Hobbits first appeared in the novel The Hobbit, whose titular hobbit is the protagonist Bilbo Baggins. The novel The Lord of the Rings includes as major characters the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Peregrin Took, and Meriadoc Brandybuck, as well as several other minor hobbit characters. Hobbits are also briefly mentioned in The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion
and Unfinished Tales. According to the author in the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, hobbits are "relatives"[2] of the race of Men. Elsewhere, Tolkien describes Hobbits as a "variety"[3] or separate "branch"[4] of humans. Within the story, hobbits and other races seem aware of the similarities (hence the colloquial terms "Big People" and "Little People" used in Bree). However, within the story, hobbits considered themselves a separate people.[5] At the time of the events in The Lord of the Rings, hobbits lived in the Shire and in Bree in the north west of Middle-earth, though by the end, some had moved out to the Tower Hills and to Gondor
Gondor
and Rohan.

Contents

1 Development 2 Appearance 3 Lifestyle 4 Fictional history 5 Divisions 6 Moral significance 7 In popular culture

7.1 Music

8 In science 9 See also 10 Notes and references

10.1 Notes and citations 10.2 General references

11 External links

Development[edit] Tolkien
Tolkien
believed he had invented the word hobbit as a speculative derivation from Old English
Old English
when he began writing The Hobbit
The Hobbit
(it was revealed years after his death that the word predated Tolkien's usage, though with a different meaning).[6] Tolkien's concept of hobbits, in turn, seems to have been inspired by Edward Wyke Smith's 1927 children's book The Marvellous Land of Snergs, and by Sinclair Lewis's 1922 novel Babbitt. The Snergs were, in Tolkien's words, "a race of people only slightly taller than the average table but broad in the shoulders and have the strength of ten men."[7] Tolkien
Tolkien
wrote to W. H. Auden that The Marvellous Land of Snergs "was probably an unconscious source-book for the Hobbits"[6] and he told an interviewer that the word hobbit "might have been associated with Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt" (like hobbits, George Babbitt enjoys the comforts of his home). However, Tolkien
Tolkien
claims that he started The Hobbit
The Hobbit
suddenly, without premeditation, in the midst of grading a set of student essay exams, writing on a blank piece of paper: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit".[8] While The Hobbit
The Hobbit
introduced this comfortable race to the world, it is only in writing The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
that Tolkien developed details of their history and wider society. He set out a fictional etymology for the name in an appendix to The Lord of the Rings, to the effect that it was ultimately derived from holbytla (plural holbytlan), meaning "hole-builder" (and corresponding to Old English). In the language of the Rohirrim the hobbits were called kûd-dûkan (in plural?), which had rendered the autonym kuduk.[9] Appearance[edit] In the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien
Tolkien
writes that hobbits are between two and four feet (0.61–1.22 m) tall, the average height being three feet six inches (107 cm). They dress in bright colours, favouring yellow and green. Nowadays (according to Tolkien's fiction), they are usually shy, but are nevertheless capable of great courage and amazing feats under the proper circumstances. They are adept at throwing stones. For the most part, they cannot grow beards, but a few of the race of Stoor can. Their feet are covered with curly hair (usually brown, as is the hair on their heads) with leathery soles, so hobbits hardly ever wear shoes. The race's average life expectancy is 100 years. Two Hobbits, Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo Baggins
and the Old Took, are described as living to the age of 130 or beyond, though Bilbo's long lifespan owes much to his possession of the One Ring. Hobbits are considered to "come of age" on their 33rd birthday, so a 50-year-old hobbit would be regarded as entering middle-age. Hobbits are not quite as stocky as the similarly-sized dwarves, but still tend to be stout, with slightly pointed ears. Tolkien
Tolkien
does not describe hobbits' ears in The Hobbit
The Hobbit
or The Lord of the Rings, but in a 1938 letter to his American publisher, he described them as having "ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'".[10] Tolkien
Tolkien
describes hobbits thus:

I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of 'fairy' rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg. A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'; hair short and curling (brown). The feet from the ankles down, covered with brown hairy fur. Clothing: green velvet breeches; red or yellow waistcoat; brown or green jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf).[11]

Hobbits and derivative Halflings are often depicted with unusually large feet for their size, perhaps to visually emphasize their unusualness. This is especially prominent in the influential illustrations by the Brothers Hildebrandt
Brothers Hildebrandt
and the large prosthetic feet used in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
film trilogy. Tolkien
Tolkien
does not specifically mention foot size as a generic hobbit trait, but does make it the distinctive trait of the Proudfoot hobbit family. Lifestyle[edit] In his writings, Tolkien
Tolkien
depicted hobbits as fond of an unadventurous, bucolic and simple life of farming, eating, and socializing, although capable of defending their homes courageously if the need arises. They would enjoy six meals a day, if they could get them.[12] They were often described as enjoying simple food, though this seems to be of an Oxfordshire style, such as cake, bread, meat, potatoes, ale and tea. They claim to have invented the art of smoking pipe-weed, and according to The Hobbit
The Hobbit
and The Return of The King it can be found all over Middle-earth. The hobbits of the Shire developed the custom of giving away gifts on their birthdays, instead of receiving them, although this custom was not universally followed among other hobbit cultures or communities.[13] They use the term mathom for old and useless objects, which are invariably given as presents many times over, or are stored in a museum (mathom-house). Some Hobbits live in "hobbit-holes" or Smials, traditional underground homes found in hillsides, downs, and banks. It has been suggested that the soil or ground of the Shire consists of loess and that this facilitates the construction of hobbit holes.[14] Loess
Loess
is a yellow soil, it causes the colour of the Brandywine River, and it was used in making the bricks at Stock, the main Shire brickyard.[15] Like all Hobbit architecture, the hobbit holes are notable for their round doors and windows. The hobbits had a distinct calendar: every year started on a Saturday and ended on a Friday, with each of the twelve months consisting of thirty days. Some special days did not belong to any month— Yule
Yule
1 and 2 (New Year's Eve & New Years Day) and three Lithedays in mid-summer. Every fourth year there was an extra Litheday, most likely as an adaptation, similar to a leap year, to ensure that the calendar remained in synch with the seasons.[16] Fictional history[edit] In their earliest folk tales Hobbits appear to have inhabited the Valley of Anduin, between Mirkwood
Mirkwood
and the Misty Mountains. According to The Lord of the Rings, they have lost the genealogical details of how they are related to the Big People. At this time, there were three "breeds" of hobbits, with different physical characteristics and temperaments: Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides. While situated in the valley of the Anduin
Anduin
River, the hobbits lived close by the Éothéod, the ancestors of the Rohirrim, and this led to some contact between the two. As a result, many old words and names in "Hobbitish" are derivatives of words in Rohirric. The Harfoots, the most numerous, were almost identical to the Hobbits as they are described in The Hobbit. They lived on the lowest slopes of the Misty Mountains
Misty Mountains
and lived in holes, or Smials, dug into the hillsides. The Stoors, the second most numerous, were shorter and stockier and had an affinity for water, boats and swimming. They lived on the marshy Gladden Fields where the Gladden River
River
met the Anduin
Anduin
(there is a similarity here to the hobbits of Buckland and the Marish
Marish
in the Shire. It is possible that those hobbits were the descendants of Stoors). It was from these Hobbits that Déagol and Sméagol/Gollum were descended. The Fallohides, the least numerous, were an adventurous people that preferred to live in the woods under the Misty Mountains
Misty Mountains
and were said to be taller and fairer (all of these traits were much rarer in later days, and it has been implied that wealthy, eccentric families that tended to lead other hobbits politically, like the Tooks and Brandybucks, were of Fallohide descent). Bilbo and three of the four principal hobbit characters in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
(Frodo, Pippin and Merry) had Fallohide blood through their common ancestor, the Old Took. About the year T.A. 1050, they undertook the arduous task of crossing the Misty Mountains. Reasons for this trek are unknown, but they possibly had to do with Sauron's growing power in nearby Greenwood, which later became known as Mirkwood
Mirkwood
as a result of the shadow that fell upon it during Sauron's search of the forest for the One Ring. The Hobbits took different routes in their journey westward, but as they began to settle together in Bree-land, Dunland, and the Angle formed by the rivers Mitheithel and Bruinen, the divisions between the Hobbit-kinds began to blur. In the year 1601 of the Third Age (year 1 in the Shire Reckoning), two Fallohide brothers named Marcho and Blanco gained permission from the King of Arnor at Fornost to cross the River
River
Brandywine and settle on the other side. Many Hobbits followed them, and most of the territory they had settled in the Third Age was abandoned. Only Bree and a few surrounding villages lasted to the end of the Third Age. The new land that they founded on the west bank of the Brandywine was called the Shire. Originally the hobbits of the Shire swore nominal allegiance to the last Kings of Arnor, being required only to acknowledge their lordship, speed their messengers, and keep the bridges and roads in repair. During the final fight against Angmar
Angmar
at the Battle of Fornost, the Hobbits maintain that they sent a company of archers to help but this is nowhere else recorded. After the battle, the kingdom of Arnor was destroyed, and in the absence of the king, the Hobbits elected a Thain of the Shire from among their own chieftains. The first Thain of the Shire was Bucca of the Marish, who founded the Oldbuck family. However, the Oldbuck family later crossed the Brandywine River
River
to create the separate land of Buckland and the family name changed to the familiar "Brandybuck". Their patriarch then became Master of Buckland. With the departure of the Oldbucks/Brandybucks, a new family was selected to have its chieftains be Thain: the Took family (Pippin Took was son of the Thain and would later become Thain himself). The Thain was in charge of Shire Moot and Muster and the Hobbitry-in-Arms, but as the Hobbits of the Shire generally led entirely peaceful, uneventful lives the office of Thain came to be seen as something of a formality. The Hobbits' numbers dwindled, and their stature became progressively smaller after the Fourth Age. However, they are sometimes spoken of in the present tense, and the prologue "Concerning Hobbits" in The Lord of the Rings implies they had survived into Tolkien's day.[17] Divisions[edit]

Harfoots: The Harfoots were the most numerous group of hobbits and also the first to enter Eriador. They were the smallest in stature of all hobbits, and the most typical of the race. They had closer relations with Dwarves than did other Hobbits. Tolkien
Tolkien
coined the term as analogous to "hairfoot".[18] Fallohides: The Fallohides were the least numerous group and the second group to enter Eriador. They were generally fair-haired and tall (for hobbits). They were often found leading other clans of hobbits as they were more adventurous than the other subraces. They preferred the forests and had links with the Elves. Tolkien
Tolkien
created the name from the archaic meanings of English words "fallow" and "hide", meaning "pale skin".[18] Stoors: The Stoors were the second most numerous group of hobbits and the last to enter Eriador. They were broader than other hobbits. They dwelt mostly beside rivers and were the only hobbits to use boats and swim. Males were able to grow beards. Tolkien
Tolkien
says they were "less shy of Men". Sméagol and Déagol were Stoors.[19] Tolkien
Tolkien
used an archaic English word stor or stoor "strong".[18]

Moral significance[edit] Kocher notes that Tolkien's literary techniques require us to increasingly view hobbits as like us, especially when placed under moral pressure to survive a war that threatens to devastate their land.[20] Frodo becomes in some ways the symbolic representation of the conscience of hobbits, a point made explicitly in the story "Leaf by Niggle" which Tolkien
Tolkien
wrote at the same time as the first nine chapters of The Lord of the Rings.[21] Niggle is a painter struggling against the summons of death to complete his one great canvas, a picture of a tree with a background of forest and distant mountains. He dies with the work incomplete, undone by his imperfectly generous heart: "it made him uncomfortable more often than it made him do anything". After discipline in Purgatory, however, Niggle finds himself in the very landscape depicted by his painting which he is now able to finish with the assistance of a neighbour who obstructed him during life. The picture complete, Niggle is free to journey to the distant mountains which represent the highest stage of his spiritual development.[22] Thus, upon recovery from the wound inflicted by the Witch-King of Angmar
Angmar
on Weathertop, Gandalf
Gandalf
speculates that the hobbit Frodo "may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can".[23] Similarly, as Frodo nears Mount Doom
Mount Doom
he casts aside weapons and refuses to fight others with physical force: "For him struggles for the right must hereafter be waged only on the moral plane."[23] In popular culture[edit] Main articles: Halfling and Halfling (Dungeons & Dragons) Originally, halfling comes from the Scots word hauflin, meaning an awkward rustic teenager, who is neither man nor boy, and so half of both. Another word for halfling is hobbledehoy or hobby. This usage of the word pre-dates both The Hobbit
The Hobbit
and Dungeons & Dragons.[24] Dungeons & Dragons began using the name halfling as an alternative to hobbit[25] for legal reasons.[26] Music[edit] Comic horror rock band Rosemary's Billygoat
Rosemary's Billygoat
recorded a song and video called " Hobbit Feet", about a man who takes a girl home from a bar only to discover she has horrifying "hobbit feet". According to lead singer Mike Odd, the band received over 100 pieces of hate mail from angry Tolkien
Tolkien
fans.[27] In science[edit] Main article: Homo floresiensis The skeletal remains of several diminutive paleolithic hominids were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores
Flores
in 2004. These tiny people, named Homo floresiensis
Homo floresiensis
after the island on which the remains were found,[28] were informally dubbed "hobbits"[1] by their discoverers in a series of articles published in the scientific journal Nature.[29] The excavated skeletons reveal a hominid that (like a hobbit) grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child and had proportionately larger feet than modern humans.[30] See also[edit]

Middle-earth
Middle-earth
hobbits:-

The Hobbit List of hobbits List of hobbit families Shire calendar

Halfling Hob (folklore) Homo floresiensis Pygmy

Notes and references[edit] Notes and citations[edit]

^ a b Zimmer, Carl (20 June 2016). "Are Hobbits Real?". New York Times. Retrieved 21 June 2016.  ^ Tolkien: The Fellowship of the Ring. Prologue. "It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves. [...] But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered." ^ Tolkien, J. R. R.
Tolkien, J. R. R.
Guide to the Names of the Lord of the Rings, "The Firstborn" ^ Carpenter: The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, #131 ^ Tolkien: The Fellowship of the Ring. Many Meetings. “If you can’t distinguish between a Man and a Hobbit, your judgement is poorer than I imagined. They’re as different as peas and apples.” ^ a b Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel (1988). Douglas Anderson, ed. The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0-395-47690-9.  ^ Carpenter: J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography, p. 165. ^ Carpenter: J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography, p. 172 ^ "Holbytlan: The ancient origin of the word 'Hobbit'". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2016.  ^ Carpenter: The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, #27 ^ Carpenter: The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, #27. The description specifically refers to Bilbo Baggins. ^ The Fellowship of the Ring, Prologue. "And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them)." ^ The hobbit Gollum
Gollum
refers to the One Ring
One Ring
as his "birthday present" in The Hobbit
The Hobbit
and The Lord of the Rings. ^ Smalley,I.J.,Bijl,S. 2003. Hobbit holes as loess dwellings and the Shire as a loess region. New Zealand Soil News 51, 158-159 ^ Smalley,I.J.,Bijl. 1995. Bricks and brickmaking in the Shire. Amon Hen 128, 18-19 ^ * Tolkien, J. R. R.
Tolkien, J. R. R.
(1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Houghton Mifflin
(published 1987), Appendix D, ISBN 0-395-08256-0  ^ Tolkien: The Fellowship of the Ring, Concerning Hobbits. ^ a b c Tolkien, J. R. R.
Tolkien, J. R. R.
(1967). "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings" (PDF). A Tolkien
Tolkien
Compass. Retrieved 23 January 2012.  ^ Tolkien, J. R. R.
Tolkien, J. R. R.
(1980), Christopher Tolkien, ed., Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Part Three, IV. "The Hunt for the Ring", p 353, note 9, ISBN 0-395-29917-9 . In a letter quoted by Christopher Tolkien, Tolkien
Tolkien
refers to Déagol and Sméagol as Stoors. ^ Kocher, p. 118. ^ Kocher, pp. 161-169. "These chapters brought Frodo and his hobbit friends as far as the inn at Bree." ^ JRR Tolkien. Leaf by Niggle. Dublin Review. 1945. January. 216. ^ a b Kocher, p. 120 ^ Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-playing Games, McFarland, p. 36, ISBN 0786460091.  ^ Weinstock, Jeffrey, ed. (2014), The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., p. 193, ISBN 1409425622.  ^ Langford, David (2005), The Sex Column and Other Misprints, Wildside Press LLC, p. 188, ISBN 1930997787.  ^ Koudounaris, Paul (January 16, 2013). "Rosemary's Billygoat: A Big Hairy Kick in the Behind from Hobbit Fans". LA Record.  ^ Morwood, M. J.; Soejono, R. P., Roberts, R. G., Sutikna, T., Turney, C. S. M., Westaway, K. E., Rink, W. J., Zhao, J.- X., van den Bergh, G. D., Rokus Awe Due, Hobbs, D. R., Moore, M. W., Bird, M. I. & Fifield, L. K. (October 28, 2004). "Archaeology and age of a new hominin from Flores
Flores
in eastern Indonesia". Nature. 431 (7012): 1087–1091. doi:10.1038/nature02956. PMID 15510146. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Brown, P.; Sutikna, T., Morwood, M. J., Soejono, R. P., Jatmiko, Wayhu Saptomo, E. & Rokus Awe Due (27 October 2004). "A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia". Nature. 431 (7012): 1055–61. doi:10.1038/nature02999. PMID 15514638. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ McKie, Robin (21 February 2010). "How a hobbit is rewriting the history of the human race". The Observer. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 

General references[edit]

Carpenter, Humphrey (1977). J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography. George Allen & Unwin.  Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-31555-7  Kocher, Paul (1972). Master of Middle Earth. The Achievement of JRR Tolkien. London: Thames and Hudson. . Tolkien, J. R. R.
Tolkien, J. R. R.
(1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Houghton Mifflin
(published 1987), ISBN 0-395-08254-4 

External links[edit]

"Hobbits". Tolkien
Tolkien
Gateway.  Were Hobbits a sub-group of Humans? from the Tolkien
Tolkien
Meta-FAQ, compiled by Steuard Jensen Concerning Hobbits: Welsh Fairies in Oxford from the Tolkien
Tolkien
Library

v t e

J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium

Writings

Principal works

The Silmarillion The Hobbit The Lord of the Rings

The Fellowship of the Ring The Two Towers The Return of the King

Other works

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil The Road Goes Ever On

Posthumous publications

Unfinished Tales The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien The History of Middle-earth
Middle-earth
(12 volumes) Bilbo's Last Song The Children of Húrin The History of The Hobbit The Tale of Beren and Lúthien

Fictional universe

Characters

Peoples Individual Dwarves Individual Elves Individual Hobbits Hobbit families Individual Númenóreans Individual Orcs Kings of Arnor

House of Isildur Rangers of the North Arvedui Aragorn Eldarion

Kings of Dale Kings of Gondor

House of Anárion Eärnil II

Kings of Rohan

Éomer Théoden

Rulers of Númenor Realms

Objects

Rings of Power

One Ring Three Rings

Palantír Silmarils Mithril Weapons and armour

Sting

Concepts

Cosmology Ages or timeline Animals Plants Food and drink Wars and battles Rivers

Anduin

Roads Languages Magic Hobbit Day

Secondary works and legacy

The Atlas of Middle-earth The Complete Guide to Middle-earth A Guide to Middle-earth The Individuated Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien
Encyclopedia Journeys of Frodo The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion Images of Middle-Earth Related fiction

video games

Things named after Tolkien
Tolkien
and his works Tolkien's Ring Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings"

v t e

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

Hobbit (word) Legendarium Middle-earth

Editions

English-language editions Early American editions The Annotated Hobbit Translations

Characters

Bilbo Gandalf Thorin Oakenshield Balin Dwalin Fíli Kíli Dori Nori Ori Óin Glóin Bifur Bofur Bombur Tom, Bert & Bill Elrond Great Goblin Gollum Lord of the Eagles Beorn Elvenking Master of Lake-town Smaug Bard Dáin Náin

Related works

The History of The Hobbit Bilbo's Last Song

Adaptations and derivatives

Radio

The Hobbit
The Hobbit
(1968)

Film

The Hobbit
The Hobbit
(1977) The Hobbit
The Hobbit
(1985) Hobitit
Hobitit
(1993)

Peter Jackson series

An Unexpected Journey (2012) The Desolation of Smaug (2013) The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) Original characters Music

Video games

The Hobbit
The Hobbit
(1982) The Hobbit
The Hobbit
(2003) Guardians of Middle-earth
Middle-earth
(2012) Lego The Hobbit
The Hobbit
(2014) Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014)

Toys

Middle-earth
Middle-earth
Lego sets

portal category wiktionary commons

Middle-earth
Middle-earth
portal

Authority control

.