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The New Notion Club Archives


The Shire; a few smaller Tribal Realms
Westron or other local mannish Tongue
Height & weight of average adult
Between 3' and 4' & 60-110 lbs
Average Lifespan
100 Years
Renowned individuals

The Hobbits: (W. "Kuduk") known to foreigners as halflings, were the shortest and youngest of the Free Peoples, though very ancient themselves. They were a curious and rustic people, but hearty and noble folk as a rule, from Stoor to Harfoot and most of all Fallohide. The largest and most organized population in the Westlands dwelt in the green countryside of the Shire.

While the original Holbytlas of the Glennen had divided themselves into three kindreds, the aforementioned Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides, the Shire Commoners' represented a homogenized blend of all three tribes and only a few families still proudly traced back their ancestry to one of the old Clans (for example the Tooks professed to possess a strong strain of Fallohide-blood while the Marish-folk and the Bucklanders were believed to descend largely from the southern Stoors). In any case, regardless of the barriers between their peoples, all Hobbits were, as a rule, quiet, peaceful, and clever little folk, sometimes as hearty peasants, sometimes as wily tribesfolk, but always clannish and numerous.



The grand history of Middle-earth had been dominated by the intertwined histories of the great races. The Elves founded the first languages and crafts, and ordered the world before the rising of the Sun. Their sibling-race Men came forth and excelled in heroism, versatility, and in hardihood, and with many strange gifts in youth and old age wove conflicting histories of valor and woe. The strange folk of the Dwarves and Ents tended respectively to the mountains and forests. Orcs, Trolls, Undead and Dragons raided, ruined, pillaged, thieved, and corrupted all from their deep dens, guided by Balrogs and demons fell and wicked. And above all, the Ainur, from the Valar to the Istari, by their divine and ancient lineage and arcane craft, guided all to ends light and dark at the pinnacle of their ages. But in these conflicting webs, small peoples of peasants and simple folk of clans and tribes tended to become rather lost. Such was the fate of the Hobbit-folk. The work of the lords and warriors of Middle-earth occupied each book of lore, and if this overshadowed even the small lives of their own people, such folk as Hobbits went almost entirely unnoticed. Indeed, no historical record was made of these people, not even by themselves, until the Third Age. The Hobbits were absent entirely from the records of the Elder Days, though surely they were alive and active by this time in their own right. No artifacts of renown had been crafted by their clever hands. None of their lords had commanded the vast legions of Middle-earth. But, they did have their strength: a great gift, but one frequently accounted only as of little value. Were it not for the power of Hobbits, Sauron could have succeeded, and dawn would have perhaps never again broken over the world.


As has been stated, early records of the Hobbits were virtually nonexistent. Before TA. 1050, there were no records of the Hobbits at all. The most frequent and respected theory regarding their origin was that they awoke in the East at the same time as Men, and perhaps shared the same ancestors as Men or were even descended from some branch of Men. Just as the Men formed three different families, so did the Hobbits: the Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides. From their awakening, they apparently migrated west and south. Perhaps the greatest bulk of the Hobbitish peoples dwelt in the Vales of the Anduin during all the years before they were noticed by the historians of the Big People. However, it was probable that there were communities of Hobbit-kin in the East and South which had not to this day been noted in any significant historical record. Wherever Hobbitish communities were founded, they remained quite contentedly overlooked in their quiet townships and shires for more than two Ages of Middle-earth.


Wanderings of the Hobbit Tribes

While the Little People sometimes were accidentally caught in the overflow of the campaigns of larger creatures, such as Men and Orcs, their lack of aggression and presumption had kept their history largely peaceful. Small skirmishes involving Hobbitish defenders were considered by them to be major campaigns, and surviving leaders were remembered as mighty heroes. Hobbits had only occasionally had significant dialogue and traffic with Men and the Dwarves, and more rarely with the Elves. In fact, that latter dialogue was so rare that some Hobbits doubted the very existence of the Elves. But, as provincial as they were, the greatest Hobbitish interaction with the world was also the most significant work in the terrible War of the Ring, in which a few Hobbits literally succeeded in saving all their world. The earliest record of the Hobbits mentioned that in TA 1050 they resided with the Northmen in the Anduin Vales between the Misty Mountains and the Greenwood. Meriadoc Brandybuck, many years later, discovered in the Hobbitish dialect words and names reminiscent of this period. When the Great Evil entered Greenwood, changing it into the awful Mirkwood, Hobbits migrated west over the Misty Mountains into Eriador, finding both Men and Elves in a broad and fertile land. Fallohides and Stoors entered Eriador later than Harfoots, coming in TA 1150 and TA 1300, respectively. There the Hobbitish peace-loving character again served them well, allowing them to remain unembroiled in many tragic conflicts. Except for the desperate scavenging incited by the Great Plague in TA 1636, there were no armed conflicts in the Shire until TA 2747. The only battle fought there in that year was remembered and celebrated grandly by the Hobbits was the Battle of Greenfields. It was in the world's perspective only a minor Orcish raid. But it was in this conflict that Bullroarer Took distinguished himself, and the game of Golf was invented by the detachment and rolling of the hapless Orc-leader Golfimbul's head. In truth, the suffering and predations of the Long Winter of TA 2758 were far more serious and significant than this earlier skirmish. The Hobbits lived in a long period of peace, even while the greater races warred and struggled all about them. Before the War of the Ring, even Sauron was unaware that they existed!


Throughout time, their characteristic lack of stature benefited Hobbits, for no one assaulted them, and their communities expanded and prospered: Hobbiton, Tuckborough, Michel Delving, Oatbarton, Frogmorton, Longbottom, Tighfield, Bree, and others. Hobbits honored some of their number highly. Before the War of the Ring one of the most famous Hobbits of all time was Bandobras Took, the largest of all Hobbits to that date—4'5" tall. Bandobras, better known as Bullroarer, was the hero of the Battle of Greenfields, and the slayer of Golfimbul, the enemy Orc-chieftain. Also celebrated were Marcho and Blanco, the Hobbitish leaders who negotiated the acquisition of the Shire lands from the Dunedain of Arnor under King Argeleb II. This king granted to the Hobbits all the land from the Brandywine River to the Far Downs, to settle and farm indefinitely; the Hobbits were only required to acknowledge and support Arthedain's kings and decrees, and their messengers. Additionally, they maintained the Great Bridge. Marcho and Blanco had led the Hobbits into the Shire in the dramatic march from Bree over the Bridge of Stonebows, They were also noted as those who played the greatest roles in settling the unrest which naturally occurred during the division of the properties to different tribes. Twice later, these lands were extended: once in TA 2340, when the Oldbucks settled Buckland; and in FO 32, when King Elessar (i.e. Aragorn II) added the Westmarch to the holdings of the Shire.


Hobbitish history made note of Bucca of the Marish, the Shire's first Thain and founder of the Thain's hereditary line. Also remembered was Isengrim Took, named Isengrim II, who was the twenty-second Thain of the Shire. Grandfather to Bandobras, Isengrim was the largest Hobbit on record (until his grandson attained adulthood) and was the architect of the Great Smials (i.e., Hobbit-holes) of Michel Delving. But the most revered Hobbit before the War of the Ring was Tobold Hornblower of Longbottom. This celebrated hero was the first to cultivate the plant Galenas, later called pipeweed. Pipeweed became a mainstay of Hobbitish culture, relaxation, and enjoyment, and many made their toasts in Toby's honor. Tobold forever had an unfading place in Hobbitish hearts, and they had named an extremely fine strain of pipeweed, "Old Toby", in his honor. But there were no world-famous Hobbit heroes until the Quest of Erebor and later, the awesome War of the Ring. Bilbo Baggins, one of the leading heroes of the campaign in which Smaug the dragon was slain, distinguished the Hobbits for all time. He acquitted himself with bravery, strength, and finesse; Gandalf saw in the Hobbit potential that other races could not equal. Bilbo later made additional major contributions by his numerous scholarly writings, memoirs, and poems. But his most important role in world history was the fated discovery of Sauron's One Ring in Gollum's lair. This terrible item was passed on to his heir Frodo Baggins who, along with Samwise Gamgee, saw to its destruction in the critical events of the War of the Ring. They were assisted by two other Hobbits whose names became nearly as famous as their own: Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck. They went on to achieve further startling victories and status, not to mention gratitude, among the Free Peoples. Their feats included being knighted by Gondor, serving as the squire of King Theoden, Troll-slaying, and the defeat of the Witch-king of Morgul, First of the Nazgul. These five remarkable Hobbits —Bilbo and those of the Ring company—lifted their people from virtual obscurity to stand as the champions of the free earth. And so the Hobbits were sung of by the Big Peoples of the world, although they, in their provincialism, did not return the favor.




The greatest power of the Hobbits was their changeless, childlike innocence and simplicity. While seldom noted as a world-changing power, Hobbitish innocence was, in fact, the power which saved the Free World. Although this character had produced among the Hobbits an insular, provincial, and unambitious society, Hobbitish interactions were also nearly harmless in the best sense of that word. Seldom duplicitous or mean, Hobbits usually aspired only to relax, eat, smoke pipeweed, and produce lovely, homey little communities. Very importantly, these traits rendered Hobbits incredibly difficult to seduce. Being uninterested in sophisticated knowledge or power and happily ignorant of most evil or cunning, Hobbits possessed the strongest naturally occurring racial resistance to all forms of magic. Likewise, they could also resist for a long period of time the massive wills of artifacts or spirits. In this way, the Hobbits Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise were able to resist the power of Sauron's own One Ring for a far longer time than could have any other beings. Thus, Frodo attempted to give the One Ring away to Gandalf, to the Lady Galadriel, and to the other lords of the Free Peoples. These lords, amazed, and knowing their own weaknesses, feared to take the Ring and refused Frodo's generosity. Each suspected that he could not resist for an instant that which Frodo bore for nearly the entire journey to Orodruin. Yet some Hobbits lost the protection granted by their simplicity. So it was that the greedy Stoor Smeagol, later known as Gollum, was almost immediately bewitched by the One Ring and served as the agent of Sauron's will again and again. Conversely, Bilbo's merciful decision not to slay the pathetic Gollum worked with destiny to destroy the Ring at Mount Doom. Hobbits were discomfited by the presence or interests of a greedy or cunning character. While ignorant of a subtle person's intent or capabilities, a Hobbit often would quickly distrust or dislike such persons. Frodo, who had willingly offered the Ring to others, instinctively did not trust the weak-willed Boromir, and thus prevented a greater disaster than that which befell the Company. In the end, it was Hobbitish innocence which saved Middle-earth from Sauron and his Ring, power which Sauron could not understand, properly estimate, or conquer. The Dark Lord could never consider that anyone might be interested in destroying the precious and evil One Ring rather than using it for himself. So, Sauron chased the Company, but he did not guard the place of the Ring's destruction as he might have.


Only in the moment when Frodo wore the Ring at the very crack of Mount Doom did Sauron realized his error. No one but a Hobbit could bear the burden of the Ring and deliver it to the place of its unmaking. None but the Hobbits could resist its insidious eroding influence long enough to succeed in the great quest. (This subtle power Gandalf recognized long before anyone else.) The lords of the Free Peoples based their last desperate hope upon a Hobbit, and by him Middle-earth was rescued from the brink of destruction.

Physical Characteristics


Hobbits were best known by their unique blend of physical traits. They were the smallest of the speaking peoples, averaging between 2 and 4 feet in height. For this reason, they were often (and early on) referred to as "Halflings" (Rh. "Banakil").

They tended to eat prodigiously, and so most ranged in girth from pudgy to obese. Protruding round bellies were ubiquitous among their kind. For all their stoutness, Hobbits were remarkably dextrous in body and hand. They were quick, subtle, and agile. This made them excellent sneaks, fine archers (although their bows by necessity were quite small), and admirable craftsmen. Hobbitish hands sported surprisingly long, slender, and nimble fingers, which were gifted in performing almost any non-magical or non-technical craft. Thus their homey art, decor, implements, toys, gardens, doming, and adornments were usually of very fine quality. Their hands and feet were oversized and more hairy than the other speaking races, enough to be considered furry. In addition to their deftness, Hobbits possessed endurance and constitution rivaling the Dwarves. They were resistant to temperature extremes, especially in their hands and feet. For this reason, all Hobbits (except some Stoors) usually went barefoot, even in the most inclement of weather. Although most Hobbits insisted on regular feeding and relaxation; if pressed, every Hobbit could endure extended travel over very rough terrain. Hobbit ears were only slightly pointed and 'elvish'.


Hobbits aged more slowly than humans, attaining adulthood only in their thirties, and many lived longer than a hundred years. Any Hobbit over one hundred-twenty was considered ancient and would be recorded as part of their Hobbit-region's lore. There were three distinct races of Hobbits, varying not so much in color as in build. By far the most common, Harfoots were also the shortest Halflings. They rarely exceeded three feet in height and possessed uniformly curly nut-brown hair and brownish skin. They grew no facial hair but, as their name indicates, had very hairy feet. Harfoots were the stereotypical Hobbits and were what most folks imagined whenever they thought of them. They were famous for building Hobbit-holes (as dwellings) called Smials, which earned the ancient name for their race: Kud-dukan (Rh. "Hole-dweller"). Harfoots were the first of the Hobbit peoples to enter Eriador.


Stoors were, in general, stouter and stronger than Harfoots and also a little taller. They resembled Dwarves more than did other Hobbits, even sporting the facial hair almost entirely unknown among Harfoots and Fallohides. Some had postulated that the Stoors were a result of the genetic mixing of Dwarves and Hobbits, but neither Dwarves nor Hobbits took these theories very seriously; nor did Hobbits especially consider this to be a polite topic at dinner. Stoors often had skin color a little lighter than the Harfoots. Surprisingly however, a Stoor would occasionally be born with exceptionally dark pigmentation, ranging closer in color to the darkest human races. Stoors were often more adventurous than Harfoots, but not nearly so much as the Fallohides. They were considered the most Mannish of Hobbits, conversing with Men often and living in houses built above-ground, made of thatch, wood, and stone. Stoors were the last of the three Hobbit peoples to enter Eriador, arriving in T.A. 1300. Some Stoors returned to such locales as the Gladden Fields after the Witch-king's might began to be exerted in Angmar and could be found there for many years after TA 2500. It was from such a clan that Smeagol, known as Gollum, descended. Most of the Dunland Stoors eventually migrated to join their kin west of the Baranduin in the region later called Buckland shortly after the founding of the Shire (T.A. 1601). These Hobbits of the Eastfarthing and Buckland ever after seemed a little foreign to the other Hobbits of the Shire.

The tallest Hobbits were Fallohides. They tended to be the slimmest as well and, as their name indicated, the lightest in pigmentation. Although sandy-brown curly hair predominated, Fallohides had produced a surprising number of blonds. Sometimes appearing almost like tiny Elves, Fallohides were the most beautiful of the little people. They were also the rarest Hobbits and were occasionally altogether overlooked or inaccurately cataloged in their locales as being a pygmy human culture. It was noteworthy that, speaking in percentages, Fallohides had produced by far the greatest number of Hobbitish adventurers throughout history. In fact, many of the adventurers of the other clans, such as individuals from the Harfoot tribes, partook of some Fallohide ancestry. Fallohides were the second Hobbitish people to enter Eriador, coming a full century behind the Harfoots in TA 1150.

Culture and Society


The values at the foundation of Hobbitish culture were conservatism, cheeriness, peace, and contentment. They judged everyone by his degree of conformity and satisfaction with quiet village life. Typical Hobbitish activities included eating, relaxing, smoking pipeweed, gardening, unhurried working, and large social gatherings, mostly distinguished by eating and gift-giving. Ambition, adventurous spirit, discontent, and worldliness were frowned upon. The local subsistence activities depended, of course, on the geography of the community, and preference varies by race.

Harfoots cherished the hillsides, highlands, and downs. Stoors preferred riversides, valleys, and flatlands. Fallohides delighted in cool northern woodlands. Most Hobbits uniformly enjoyed the simple working life of farming, milling, and crafting. Hobbitish dwellings also varied by clan, but all were low structures. Hobbits disliked heights in general, despising towers and staircases, and rarely constructed anything over one-story in height Occasionally an entire Fallohide community would break the stereotypes, perhaps enjoying such a close relationship with a nearby Elven community that they built homes in trees, as did many Silvans.


Each Hobbitish community had its own independent governmental style, such as the hereditary Thain office in the Shire. Hobbits were monogamous, and bachelorhood (like that of the Ringbearers) was rare: most married. Hobbits typically traced family lines both paternally and maternally, although Stoors traced their lines only through the maternal side.

Hobbits preferred their lives to be happy and dull, chiefly taken up by six large meals per day, comfortable labors and crafts, various mundane enjoyments, and bright clothing: usually green and yellow. They were conformist and disliked the bizarre and unusuall more than anything else—except Wargs and Orcs (which were uniformly hated by all Hobbits). They shunned adventurers and did not mingle with the other races much, considering them too loud and trouble-making. Yet, Fallohides at times enjoyed the company of Big People, especially the Elves; Harfoots preferred the quiet Dwarves; and Stoors were most comfortable with Men, even those of the Dunland, from whom they had derived a strange Hobbitish/Dunnish dialect. However, almost all Hobbits had, since the 13th century of the Third Age, adopted a common Westron dialect in preference to their own abandoned tongue called Kuduk. In this significant way, Hobbits had adapted to their neighbors. Hobbits occasionally liked to tell stories about adventuresome characters, especially about other Hobbits; yet they were tremendously reserved and suspicious when raced with such ill-fitting and individualistic characters in real life. They were so provincial that when Frodo accomplished the salvation of the free world, they were more impressed with Merry and Pippin who threw the undesirables out of the Shire after the Ring quest, and with Samwise Gamgee, who helped the local fruit trees bear rich crops.

Hobbits found excuses to hold parties often, as frequently as once a week or more. Their informal religion also engaged them several times a year in festivals where they celebrated the gifts of nature, especially at the New-Year, Mid-Year's Day, Harvest, and Yule. These festivals were significant enough that the Hobbits interrupted their regular dinner parties for these more splendid feasts.

Stoors and Fallohides exhibited some personal characteristics peculiar to their clans. For example, the Stoors, living in flat river lands, learned much better than other Hobbits water skills such as boating, fishing, and swimming. They also wore shoes or boots more frequently than the other usually barefoot Hobbits; it was necessary in the often-muddy weather of their homelands. Fallohides, meanwhile, were hunters rather than farmers and were more aggressive and possessed of leadership-character than were other Hobbits. As noted before, these traits had surfaced in some families with mixed Fallohide genealogy, most notably the Tooks, Brandybucks, and Bolgers. The Fallohides also excelled in the Elvish skills, such as language and song more than in common handicrafts such as weaving or woodworking.



Hobbits, especially Harfoots and Stoors, excelled in the crafts common among rural peoples. Their skillful slender fingers produced high-quality products in wood and leather. Their designs were pragmatic and light and benefited from centuries of undistracted experience. Harfoots frequently made archery equipment. Stoors produced remarkable fishing lines, poles, nets, hires, and small, light boats. Should a rare Hobbitish craftsman apprentice in a more urban area, he could produce exceptional ivory and metalwork of decorative, practical, or even military nature. Occasionally Hobbitish craftsmen were employed to do filigree and other engravings on items of great value - such as weaponry, armor, and jewelry for noble families. Such workmanship frequently commanded prices up to ten times normal (although it was often not the Hobbits who primarily benefited from the increase).



Naturally, the Hobbits' smallish frame dictated much of their approach to armed conflict, which fortunately they encountered rarely. In size, of course, Hobbits gave way to all other speaking races and could challenge only the smallest Goblins or Orcs face-to-face.

Since Hobbits could almost never adequately confront other peoples in melee, they had done very little in the area of shield or armor work, or with weapons that depended on mass for effectiveness. Short swords, daggers, slings, and short bows were by far the most common Hobbitish implements for war. However, many rural and farming Hobbits were fond of axes in combat. The only shield or armor they used had to be light or fine enough to not interfere much with Hobbit agility, which was their only advantage. Occasionally a very large and aggressive Hobbit would wield a broad sword, javelin, club or handaxe with two hands (since for him it was like any other races' two-handed weapons). Bullroarer Took, the largest of all Hobbits (that was, before Peregrin and Meriadoc drank the Ent draughts) became famous by wielding his over-sized club two-handed and knocking the head off the Orc-chieftain Golfimbul.

Most frequently, when Hobbits were on the battlefield, they were organized into an archery contingent which supplements the work of other more primary battlefield units of the Free Races. In such contingents, the Hobbits could be much more than a nuisance to then-enemies as the skies filled with their small but accurate deadly missiles. The only Hobbitish unit which stood with any kind of regularity was called the Hobbitry-in-Arms, the Shire militia. It must be noted, however, that many generalizations collapsed when one looks at the War of the Ring, and especially its last conflict, the Battle of Bywater. This incident featured not only the Hobbitry-in-Arms, but also the regular troops of the Thain, Paladin II. Paladin and his son Peregrin ("Pippin") which were remarkably successful in a frontal conflict against the human ruffians, the Chief's Men. Due to their skill, boldness, and determination, they trounced their enemy, killing seventy and losing only nineteen.

Very rarely were Hobbits mounted in battle. They used tiny Hobbit ponies which they addressed by common first names. Hobbits showed a surprising amount of gristle and determination and will never abandon friends still in conflict on the battlefield. Their traditional caution was overcome by their belief in personal loyalty. While full of fear, a Hobbit would still brace himself and face the foe if he felt he must help a friend in need. Seldom did anyone notice a Hobbit's heroism, except the friend who might be rescued, for Hobbits did not perform heroically to be noticed.

Magic and Religion


Hobbits were more disinclined to use magic than any other race, with the exception of Orcs. Hobbits simply were not interested in the complexity of the theory, philosophy, and alchemy of magic. The most common "magic" spoken of in reference to Hobbits was their uncanny quietness and their ability to suddenly disappear when Big People came lumbering around. Likewise, their skill with a sling, short bow or thrown dagger was nearly magical. Yet within any large community of beings, there were exceptions. And indeed, some very rare Hobbits indulged in arcane arts. Those who did lost something of their innate character, becoming extremely un-Hobbitish early in their apprenticeships. Then-simplicity and innocence were hopelessly compromised as they explored knowledge of good and evil, which was part and parcel of the magical arts. They learned for the first time that their world was not as simple and friendly as they had always thought. (Hobbits who developed as spell-casters, even just semi-users, had only half their normal racial resistance bonuses versus magic). Once this tremendous barrier was crossed however, a Hobbit might be found in any field of magic, as all were equally foreign to his nature. Naturally, since Hobbit magic users were so rare, the few that did exist almost invariably caught those around them by surprise. As might be expected, Hobbitish religion was extremely folksy and mundane. The whole of it, not unlike the Elves, was spent in an uncomplicated celebration of the wonders and gifts of nature, although Hobbits were not likely to know the names of the Valar (whom they collectively called "the Authorities" or "High-ones"). They simply played games, wrote happy poems, and danced. Many adults acted like the children, and indeed all felt free to do so if the mood stroke them. But unlike Elves, Hobbits didn't feel that they had celebrated till they had finally eaten so much that they could do nothing but sit and chuckle, which was in truth the favorite Hobbitish sport. In short, Hobbits' religion was like those few (among the Big People) who had never felt out of accord with Eru and the Divine Music. Unlike those constrained to better themselves because of an awareness of their sinful souls, Hobbits were born, lived, and died in joyful harmony with their world, maintaining a delightfully child-like relationship with the powers.

Hobbit Families

Hobbits organized themselves into large tightly-knit families, a holdover from the clans of their Wandering Days, many of them originating well before the founding of the Shire. Each Hobbit family had its own character and home territory, though as Bree and the Shire had grown more settled, they've tended to spread out a bit more.

Hobbit Families of the Bree-land

Hobbit Families of the Shire

Hobbits of Renown








BURROWS FAMILY:thumb|link=File:RiddlingTalk.jpg


GAMGEE FAMILY:thumb|link=File:Twoofoot.jpeg

GARDNER FAMILY:thumb|link=File:Melilot.jpg





SANDYMAN FAMILY:thumb|link=File:EnduringTales.jpg


WOOLFOOT FAMILY:thumb|link=File:Flies.jpg


See also