More than Elves and Dwarves, Hobbits are one of J.R.R. Tolkien's greatest creations. They were unique to his world of Middle-Earth, and despite their short stature, their influence on the fantasy genre has been immense. No Dungeons & Dragons game could be complete without one halfling, am I right? Plus, the idea of a member of a sheltered society going off to have an adventure is one of the best tropes in fantasy. And there is no society more sheltered than the Hobbits' in the Shire.
Despite the popularity of Hobbits, some facts regarding Tolkien's beloved creatures might surprise you. If there was one thing Tolkien was known for, it was for going deeply into the lore and building a world with the most solid of foundations. Tolkien included much about the genealogy and history of Hobbits within the hidden recesses of his books. Since movies have a specific time for which they can run, not all information about the Hobbits could be included in the films.
Not to worry, for we are here to fill you in on those important Hobbit facts. I don't know about you, but if I had to pick one of the many races in The Lord of the Rings to be in a fantasy universe, it would be a Hobbit. Hobbits are the best. They have a bunch of secret abilities that no one would suspect them of having, and they are prone to proclivities that seem to be oodles of fun. Well, some of them can be a bit weird, but still. Read on if you want to learn about all the things that make Hobbits great.
It may surprise you to learn that J.R.R. Tolkien did not explicitly write in his books that Hobbits have especially large feet. Isn't it strange, then, that Hobbits in art, comics, and movies have pretty big feet?
This idea began with artwork done by the Brothers Hildebrant.
Whenever they depicted scenes from Middle-Earth, they always drew the Hobbits as having large feet. However, technically, Tolkien himself never stated that a Hobbit's feet were large for his/her size.
Hobbits are known to have extremely good eyesight. This is an ability that came in handy during the events of The Lord of the Rings. It is just a shame that most Hobbits don't go on adventures and utilize their sweet, sweet vision skills. They just stay safe at home in the Shire.
Who wouldn't want to go on a life-threatening adventure and be able to see danger coming from a mile away? Well, okay, maybe the Hobbits' reluctance to leave their home makes some sense.
Despite the differences in their height, Hobbits and Men are closely related. That is why Hobbits share more similarities with those they call the Big People than they do with Elves and Dwarves.
Unfortunately, due to the passage of time, Hobbits and Men have lost genealogical references that would have detailed how exactly they are related to each other. I wonder if Hobbits think they got the short straw in that regard. Short straw? Get it?
Before differences were smoothed out, there were three distinct types of Hobbits. These types were called the Fallohides, the Stoors, and the Harfoots. Eventually, the variations between these kinds of Hobbits disappeared, with the occasional trait from a type appearing in a Hobbit from time to time.
However, specific traits related to a specific type were present in many of our favorite Hobbits. We'll get into these specific types at a later time though.
Hobbits have a slightly longer life expectancy than the average Man. The average Hobbit can expect to live somewhere between 90 to 100 years of age. Of course, there are Hobbits who exceed this average, but we are referring to the everyday Hobbit.
We can't all expect to live as long as good old Gerontius Took. (That's a little bit of Tolkien humor for all of you Tolkienites out there.) Guess that sedentary lifestyle of no adventure does those Halflings a lot of good.
Hobbits truly do live in a fantasy world. Otherwise, their long lifespans might not be so long, given how much Shire-folk like to smoke pipes.
It is a commonly known fact that Hobbits are huge smokers.
One of their favorite things to do is sit on their front step and blow out smoke rings. Despite this proclivity, they seem to suffer none of the adverse effects that actual, real-life smoking brings upon actual, real-life people. Can Hobbits get lung cancer?
In The Lord of the Rings films, the Hobbits are frequently referred to as "Halflings" by people who know nothing about their society. Hobbits find the term "Halfling" to be quite rude.
They believe the word implies that they are "half" of something else.
True, they may actually appear to be half the height of a normal Man, but they think it is offensive to point that out. Plus, couldn't it just be that Men are double the height of a Hobbit? Why shouldn't Men, therefore, be called "Doublings" or some such nonsense like that?
They don't go on adventures often, but given their skill sets, they should really consider going out more. Hobbits are notoriously quiet folk. They are able to move fairly silently when they want to. This makes them perfect for jobs such as a Burglar or a Thief.
As a matter of fact, that is what Bilbo was hired to be for Thorin and Company in The Hobbit. It is also why we can't find too many Hobbits these days. They just sneak past whenever they hear us Big Folk coming.
Hobbits are small. That is stating the obvious. But how small are they? A Hobbit can be anywhere from two to four feet tall. (Maybe they really should call themselves "Halflings.")
Their small size helps them sneak around places and through battlefields. Because they're so diminutive, no one thinks to look for them. This proved helpful for Merry and Pippin when they escaped the band of Uruk-Hai in The Two Towers. If they had been a tad taller, they might have accidentally gotten targeted by the Rohirrim.
Of the three kinds of Hobbits we mentioned earlier, the Stoors were the ones who liked to spend time by river fronts.
Stoors were also the only kind of Hobbit that could grow facial hair.
The Hobbits we have seen in the films have not a trace of facial hair, not even a mustache. But rest assured, there are a very small amount of Hobbits that can sprout themselves a beard. Whichever Hobbits can grow facial hair owe this to a lineage tracing back to the Stoors.
In most of the Western world, the age that most people consider to be the beginning of adulthood is eighteen. When a young person reaches that age, they are allowed to perform certain adult activities.
With Hobbits, a Hobbit is considered to have come of age when they become 33-years old. That allows for a nice long time before Hobbits have to be considered adults. Honestly, given how immature college-age kids can act in the real world, maybe the age of adulthood should be 33 here, too.
Hobbits have a kind climate up at the Shire. They live in the mild temperature of the North of Middle-Earth. As such, their skin color ranges from nut-brown to white. I think the Hobbits definitely lucked out in where they chose to settle.
Honestly, there does not seem to be much variation in the ways Hobbits appear. I think the major difference in how Hobbits look is how long the belts around their waists are. Their skin colors are pretty much all the same.
The Shire has always been on the top of my list of favorite fantasy places I would want to settle down in. The place is gorgeous. Tolkien described it as such in the books, and the films did his descriptions justice.
The Shire is located in the North of Middle-Earth.
It consists of farmlands and rolling green hills with a few trees dotting the landscape. It truly is a paradise, and I can completely understand why Frodo would go on an adventure in order to save it.
All Hobbits are inclined to be a little tubby. It is actually a common physical trait that many Hobbits share. A round Hobbit is a healthy Hobbit.
Don't you wish that modern society could share the same ideals? Instead of chasing after a half-starved, thin appearance, we would all appreciate a fuller figure. It actually hurts my heart a little to think of a Hobbit going hungry or missing even a single meal. They do so love their food.
The tops of a Hobbit's feet are covered in a thick matting of hair. It is one of their most noticeable traits. If you were to meet a Hobbit for the first time, the first thing you would notice about them is that they are not wearing any shoes. The second thing you would notice is the fact that hair sprouts from the tops of their feet the same way grass sprouts from the ground.
Even lady Hobbits have hairy feet. Since they are fastidious folk, you can bet Hobbits groom their foot hair though.
The bottom of a Hobbit's foot is no less impressive than its top. While the tops may be covered in hair, the bottoms are toughened and leathery. That is why Hobbits are able to go barefoot over all kinds of surfaces.
Their feet are tough enough to withstand any except the roughest of terrains.
Some might find Hobbit feet disgusting since they step all over the place, but I think they are quite practical. Think of all the money they save not having to buy themselves shoes.
With some eerie help from the One Ring of Power, Bilbo Baggins was able to become the longest-living Hobbit in the history of Hobbits. Before Bilbo, the Old Took was the oldest Hobbit at the age of 130.
Bilbo was able to celebrate his 131st birthday.
By reaching that mighty age, thirty-one years past the average life expectancy of a Hobbit, Bilbo became the oldest Hobbit in living memory. I can't imagine another Hobbit who deserves such recognition for his age.
Hobbit hair is typically seen in darker colors. It is rare to find a Hobbit with a blonde head of hair. In the movies, we see plenty of Hobbits with blonde locks. But according to Tolkien, it was not a common sight.
Some of our favorite Hobbits from the films have blondish hair, including Merry Brandybuck and Samwise Gamgee. However, most of the blonde hair we end up seeing in The Lord of the Rings movies comes from the Elves of Lothlorien.
Hobbits have always been smaller than Men. But as the ages have passed, they have gotten even smaller. Apparently, in the years prior to the Hobbits moving to the Shire, Hobbits were a mite taller than they were during the events of The Lord of the Rings.
This is a trend that is happening to modern humans as well, so it makes perfect sense that it would happen to Hobbits too. It's amazing to think that Hobbits used to be taller. I wonder if they cracked five feet.
They do not showcase in the films how much Hobbits love to wear bright colors. It's true; Hobbits like to wear bright colors. Yellows, greens, and blues are some of their favorite colors to adorn their outfits with.
That's a far sight from what we see in the movies. In the movies, the Hobbits we see going on an adventure are wearing sedate colors, like brown and grey. Admittedly, they are on a journey that does not see them stopping at a tailor's shop often.
For the most part, Hobbits look like mini-humans. Though they are tremendously shorter than the average Man, their limbs and features are all proportionately similar.
However, when it comes to their ears, Hobbits appear to look slightly more Elvish. A Hobbit's ears are somewhat pointed at the tips. As most Lord of the Rings fans know, Elves have pointed ear tips as well. A Hobbit's ears are not as pronounced as an Elf's, but the similarity is apparent.
Of the three types of Hobbits that used to exist, the Fallohides were the tallest. They were the least numerous of the three kinds of Hobbits, even though their stature was a head or two above the rest.
Of all the Hobbit-kind that existed back then, the Fallohides formed close relations with the Elves. Maybe with such heights within their reach, they felt they were able to form bonds with taller people. Frodo himself was part Fallohide according to his lineage.
Hobbits love to eat. Their love of food made for some great laughs in The Fellowship of the Ring. But did you know that Hobbits typically eat six meals a day? They practically run their lives based on when they eat.
Elevenses is a Hobbit's third meal of the day. Before that, they have breakfast and second breakfast. After that, they have luncheon, afternoon tea (which still involves food), dinner and supper. As you might be able to guess, their meals are all quite hearty.
You may or may not have noticed that many Hobbits have nice, curly locks. That characteristic is common among Hobbits. Most Hobbits have curly hair. I actually can't think back to watching any of The Lord of the Rings films and seeing a straight-haired Hobbit.
Huh. A Hobbit with straight hair would be pretty odd to see now that I'm considering it. It'd be like seeing a zebra with polka dots instead of black-and-white stripes.
The Hobbits did not always live in the North of Middle-Earth. The Shire was a place they moved to.
Before that, the Hobbits lived close to where the people of Rohan live.
In fact, because of the Hobbits' close proximity to the ancestors of the Rohirrim, there is a shared vocabulary between the two cultures the persisted through the Hobbits' move North. When Merry ended up riding with the Rohirrim in the Battle of Pelennor Fields, it was in its way fortuitous.
The Harfoots were one of the three kinds of Hobbits that eventually settled in the Shire. They were the most plentiful of Hobbits there, and a lot of the practices the Hobbits eventually adopted came from their way of living.
It was the Harfoots who began the practice of living underground. The majority of Hobbits in the Shire have some Harfoot blood in them. The dark hair and nut-brown skin also came from the Harfoots' lineage.
Hobbits are short for a reason. While they may be generally proportioned with Men's sizes, they do have shorter legs.
That is actually how you would be able to tell the difference between a Hobbit and a child of Men. The Hobbit's legs would seem to be more squat than the kid's. Young children's legs are not the longest of limbs, but in comparison to a Hobbit's legs, they would seem quite lengthy. Their squat legs are probably what inspired artists to give them large feet.
The homes of Hobbits are one of the most intriguing things about them. They live in holes underground, but what lavish holes they are. Just take a look inside Bag End, the Hobbit hole of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
The films do a wonderful job of showcasing how rich and comfortable a hole in the ground can be. I would not mind living in one of those Hobbit holes myself. Hobbits can live above-ground, but the best Hobbit homes are those that are underground.
Hobbits can rely on their good hearing as well as on their good eyesight. They can hear things from greater distances than your average Man. This helps them to run away when they hear Big Folk thundering around on a walk nearby.
They can hear people like us from a mile away. Their excellent auditory senses allow them to avoid trouble when they can. And as everyone knows, avoiding trouble and bother is another thing that Hobbits excel at.
It is clear that Hobbits enjoy soft living. Anyone can see that. But despite their pudgy and giving natures, Hobbits are little bubbles of resilience. They can withstand some of the worst forms of influence.
A fantastic example is Frodo's ability to withstand (for the most part) the temptation of the One Ring. It took him three movies before he finally succumbed. But he sure handled the Ring better than Galadriel, and she was the Lady of Lothlorien.