A hobbit is a fictional character brought to life in the books written by J.R.R. Tolkein. The hobbit is a very small humanoid race who live in the lands known as Middle Earth. Hobbits were first introduced to us in Tolkein’s novel The Hobbit, and then later appeared in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, with brief mentions in the novels The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. The hobbit is said to be a relative of man, but yet they consider themselves to be a separate group of little people. Tolkein even went so far as to give an etymological meaning for the fictional term “hobbit” that appears in the appendix of the trilogy novels. The appendix states that the word was derived from the word holbytla, which means hole-builder.
Where Do The Fictional Hobbits Originate?
Some of the most popular Hobbit characters from the Tolkein novels are Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Peregrin Took, Meriadoc Brandybuck, and Samwise Gamgee. There are also several other less important Hobbits mentioned in the novels who play no major roles but add interest to the stories. Aside from originating in the mind of author J.R.R. Tolkein, the fictional Hobbits are said to have originated in the Valley of Anduin, which is located between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood. Although related to regular sized humans which they refer to as Big People, the genealogy of how this situation came to be has been lost through the ages. The Hobbit race consists of three different “breeds”, including the Harfoots, the Fallohides, and the Stoors. Each of these breeds possess slightly different temperaments and characteristics.
The Three Different Breeds of Hobbits
The Harfoots, who lived in holes, are the type of Hobbits generally referred to in the popular Tolkein novel The Hobbit, and are the most numerous of the Hobbit breeds. The second most numerous breed, the Stoors, live mainly in the marshy areas of Gladden Fields. They were a little shorter and slightly stockier in build than the Harfoot breed. The least numerous of the breeds was the Fallohides, who were a little bit taller and fairer in complexion than the Harfoot and Stoor breeds. Frodo, Pippen, and Merry from the Lord of the Rings novels and movies were all of the Fallohide breed of Hobbits.
What Does A Hobbit Look Like?
The average hobbit is generally around three feet six inches tall, with the height range varying between two and four feet tall. They tend to be shy and peaceful beings, however, when necessary, are capable of possessing great strength and enormous courage. They are highly skilled in the areas of throwing stones and using slings. Most hobbits need not worrying about shaving, since they are incapable of growing facial hair, with the exception of a few of the male hobbits from the race of Stoor. They also have no need to wear shoes, because their feet have naturally tough soles much like leather, and the tops of the feet are covered with furry hair. The hobbit prefers to dress in brightly colored garments, and prefers the colors green and yellow in their wardrobe. These tiny humanoids have a long life span of approximately 100 years, with some even living to be around 130 years old. The 33rd birthday is a milestone in hobbit years, as this is considered to be that age at which they “come of age”.
A typical hobbit would have slightly pointed ears , somewhat short legs, and a bit of a belly on him. He would typically have curly brown hair, and a round, pleasant looking face. He would dress in a red or yellow waistcoat, green velvet breeches, a brown or green jacket with gold or brass buttons, with a dark hood or cloak. They are also thought to have feet that appear somewhat large for their body.
Roles of The Hobbits In The J.R.R. Tolkein Novels
Hobbits play some very important roles in the Tolkein novels, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In The Hobbit, the main Hobbit featured in the story is Bilbo Baggins. One day a great wizard named Gandalf approaches Bilbo and introduced him to thirteen dwarves. Bilbo was then to set off on an incredible adventure with them that would find him in situations where he would seek great treasure, destroy an evil dragon, and become lost in the black mines of the enemy Orcs. There he would find a magic ring. He then encounters a rather creepy little creature named Gollum who has been searching for this ring and refers to it as his “precious”. Now Bilbo finds himself having to escape not only the enemy Orcs, but Gollum as well. Bilbo keeps the ring with him throughout his journey and finds it very useful on the remainder of his quest.
In the first part of the trilogy, entitled The Fellowship of the Ring, the Baggins family continues to play a major role, this time with the young Hobbit Frodo Baggins, cousin of Bilbo, taking the lead in the story. On Bilbo’s birthday, he mysteriously disappears and also bequeaths the magic ring to his cousin Frodo. With the ring comes a great quest that Frodo must now complete. This Hobbit’s mission is to take a perilous journey across Middle Earth and risk his life to destroy the magic ring by throwing into the fires of the Cracks of Doom.
Throughout the other two parts of the trilogy, The Two Towers and Return of the King, Frodo proceeds with his difficult quest, and is accompanied by his fellow Hobbits and good friends, Merry, Pippen, and Sam. All of the Hobbits display great friendship, loyalty, and extreme bravery in their devotion to help Frodo complete his assigned duty. The reason this magical ring must be destroyed is to keep Sauron, the Dark Lord, from coming into complete power by possessing all of the magical rings. The fate of Middle Earth rests solely on these small Hobbits, who leave home merely as little people, and return home respected and treated as heroes.