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 and Unfinished Tales .
According to the author in the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, hobbits are "relatives" of the race of Men . Elsewhere, Tolkien describes Hobbits as a "variety" or separate "branch" 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. 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 and Rohan .
* 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
Tolkien believed he had invented the word hobbit as a speculative
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.
In the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, 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 with slings and 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 most hobbits hardly ever wear shoes. The race's average life expectancy is 100 years. Two Hobbits, 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 does not describe hobbits' ears in 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'". 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).
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 and the large prosthetic feet used in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy . Tolkien does not specifically mention foot size as a generic hobbit trait, but does make it the distinctive trait of the Proudfoot hobbit family.
In his writings, 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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
In their earliest folk tales Hobbits appear to have inhabited the
Anduin , between
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 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
Gladden Fields where the Gladden
The Fallohides , the least numerous, were an adventurous people that preferred to live in the woods under the 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 (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
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
In the year 1601 of the
Third Age (year 1 in the Shire Reckoning),
Fallohide brothers named Marcho and Blanco gained permission from
the King of
Arnor at Fornost to cross the
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 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
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.
* 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 coined the term as analogous to "hairfoot". * 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 created the name from the archaic meanings of English words "fallow" and "hide", meaning "pale skin". * 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 says they were "less shy of Men ". Sméagol and Déagol were Stoors. Tolkien used an archaic English word stor or stoor "strong".
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. 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 wrote at the same time as the first nine chapters of The Lord of the Rings . 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. Thus, upon recovery from the wound inflicted by Angmar on Weathertop , Gandalf speculates that the hobbit Frodo "may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can". Similarly, as Frodo nears 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."
IN POPULAR CULTURE
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 and
Dungeons & Dragons
* ^ 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. Guide to the Names of the Lord of the Rings,
* ^ 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 refers to the
One Ring as his "birthday
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. (1955),
The Return of the King , The Lord of
the Rings , Boston:
* Carpenter, Humphrey (1977). J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography. George
Allen & Unwin.
* Carpenter, Humphrey , ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien