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Thread: Where do the Hobbits come from

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In The Silmarillian you get an explanation for almost everything, but not for this. We know where the Elves, Men and Dwarves come from, but what about the Hobbits?
Or is it explained in another book?
Check in the Appendix in ROTK.
It's mentioned in the prologue/introduction of LOTR, I believe.
Yes the origin of the hobbits and their early history is covered in the first five pages to the Prologue at the beginning of FotR.
I got the impression that Hobbits were one of the new things that were unlooked for in each age-- and unheralded by the music -- things Eru brought about without telling anyone else. Or am I way off base?
I think it was mentioned in the introduction that they were related to the River people, who themselves were related to Men.
I wonder why Peter Jackson decided to give the Hobbits pointy ears then.
I've often wondered that too. Especially in the scene at the Grey Havens. It is so obvious there that Frodo and Sam have pointy ears! It is also strange that there was no hobbit with a beard in the movies (or at least I don't recall any). It is almost as if PJ wanted to make hobbits like Elves, which is inaccurate, but still works. I mean, hobbits are so fair of heart that it's sortta nice to have them fair of face as well.
I don't know if all PJ's Hobbits had pointy ears, but I guess Bilbo, Frodo and the other major ones could've pointy ears since they're Fallohides and hence adventurous..
It is also strange that there was no hobbit with a beard in the movies (or at least I don't recall any).

From the Prologue at the beginning of FotR where Tolkien tells us about farmhouses and barns in the Marish (like those of Farmer Maggot). I've highlighted the pertinent part. Teacher Smilie
The Hobbits of that quarter, the Eastfarthing, were rather large and heavy-legged, and they wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather. But they were well known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that grew on their chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard.
I don't know if all PJ's Hobbits had pointy ears, but I guess Bilbo, Frodo and the other major ones could've pointy ears since they're Fallohides and hence adventurous..

But why would they have pointy ears if they are adventurous?

I also wonder if Tolkiens elves had pointy ears, I have not read about that in any of the books.
I guess Tolkien wrote about that in one of his Letters.. I remember asking this question once to a person of the Tolkien Society via e-mail and he confirmed that Elven ears were at least slightly pointed.. I don't remember the details, but it had something to do with the Elvish word lass’ which means 'leaf'.
There is not much to Hobbits.
They are simply a branch of Men that awoke (or evolved?) early in the mid-late Third Age by the banks of the River Anduin. They devided into seperate major groups (3 I think) and most departed and ventured over the Mountains and were allowed access to a small part of Arnor.

I am not too knowledgable about Hobbit-lore but its goes something like that.
This i have wondered.
do hobbits go to the halls of wait or there were men go?
Elves are classicaly known to have pointy ears, i'm sure it says it some where in Tolkien's work, perhaps in The Hobbit?
Strangely, I just happened to stumble on a site and read this gentlman's attempt to explain the origin and nature of Hobbits.
What do you think?

Where did the hobbits come from?

From: Mark Berlin

Although Tolkien says, that the Hobbits are closer to men, than to any other race of Endor, the question of their origin is still open.

Despite we are separated now, the hobbits are close kin to us; anyway, they are closer to us than Elves, and even from the dwarves. In the ancient days they spoke in the human tongues, with a special dialect, and the same habits like us they have, for good and bad.

[Prologue, The Lord of the Rings]

From this short extract some have deducted, that the hobbits are kind of humans.

But, as Tolkien himself says, the hobbits lived at first near Mirkwood.

Their [the hobbits? M.B.] most ancient stories give us clues to the years in which they settled near Anduin's shores, between the Green forest [Mirkwood? M.B.] and the Misty mountains.

[Prologue, The Lord of the Rings]

And the question is asked, from what people did they derive?

It's commonly known, that no people lived then near the Anduin:

The Edain lived in Beleriand, and later in Numenor;

The Western Easterlings lived in Eriador, Dunland and the Gray mountains (remember the Rohirrim);

And the Eastern Easterlings lived in Harad, Umbar, Rh’n and Hildorien.

Now, why I do not count the Third Age? Because by the time of the T.A. the hobbits had already been an independent folk.

As Tolkien says:

Their own accounts speak of the multiplying of Men in the land, and of a shadow that fell on the forest, so that it became darkened and its new name was Mirkwood.

[Prologue, The Lord of the Rings].

Apparently, you can think that it is the proof, that the hobbits come form the people. Even in the paragraph before you could've thought it, because the Rohirrim knew about the hobbits!

As is written in the LOTR:

Are not these the Halflings, that some among us call the Holbytlan?

[The Road to Isengard, The Lord of the Rings]

And I answer: No! The hobbits definitely did not derive from the Rohirrim! Although they knew about each other, that does not mean that the hobbits derived from them! No! They were a separate folk by the time of the T.A., as I've said.

And now, to my hypothesis.

I think, that the hobbits partly derived from the people. But only partly. Their roots, as I think, are in the Avari.

Because, where did these Avari disappear to?

As my theory says, the Avari came along with the Western Easterlings (of Bor's kin), and they mixed up to the hobbitfolk.

Why do I think so?

First, because the Avari did not disappear. Some of them must've gone a little westerner, towards Mirkwood, which is not so far from Cuivienen. All this happened through the Age of Melkor's unchaining, and through the 1st Age.

Second, their "inner strength," as Gandalf calls it. In some places he mentions, that the hobbits are hardier than people.

For example: after Frodo was stabbed in his shoulder at Amon-S’l, he withstood 17 days.

After the Chief Nazg’l hits Merry in Pelennor, Aragorn says to the hospital man, that the hobbits are hardy, despite their small height.

From what can this hardiness come?

Here we can see a sign of Elfish past, for the Elves are hardier than people, and the hobbits have inherited it.

Another clue is the love for water in the hobbits, or, I should say, in the Stoors, a branch of them.

As Gandalf says:

Long after [After the year 3 T. A., in which Isildur died M.B.], but still very long ago [About the year 2469 T.A. {See The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B} M.B.], there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people. I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors, for they loved the River, and often swam in it, or made little boats of reeds.

[The Shadow of the Past, The Lord of the Rings]

It's commonly known that the Elves loved water; and this was also inherited form them by the hobbits.

Those were the Nandor; and they became a people apart, unlike their kin, save that they loved water, and dwelt most beside falls and running streams.

[Quenta Silmarillion, The Silmarillion]

The Nandor derived from the Teleri, of whom part remained near Cuivienen became Avari. From this we can deduce that the Avari liked water and part of the hobbits has inherited it, too.

Another explain for my hypothesis is the place of the first hobbit settlement. You can see that in that place there lived Avari and Western Easterlings, which could've mixed up, as explained below.

References to The Lord of the Rings are given by the book and the chapter - please note that I didn't write that book.
The hobbits weren't descended from the Elves, which they would have had to be were they of the Avari. The Silvan Elves of the Great Greenwood (Mirkwood)were some of the descendants of the Avari. The Rohirrim came from the plains between Mirkwood and the river; the hobbits from the Anduin River valley. They weren't directly related, but had lived near one another in times past.

Consider the Pygmies in Africa and their full sized neighbors: both are men, but somehow or other they developed differently. Same with hobbits and their neighbors.

Of course The Hobbit was originally a stand alone story and when asked for more by his publisher and fans, Tolkien started writing {i]LotR. He had to tie them into the peoples of Middle-earth he had already developed in his manuscript and multiplicity of notes for The Silmarillion. That he didn't explain their origin with more detail merely means that to know more wasn't necessary at the time, and is only needed now for those who make doing so an almost religious experience. Still, it is a fun subject to contemplate.

However I could be wrong on all or just some of the above. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

Moderator Smilie Were we able to move threads, this topic would not have remained under The Silmarillion threads, but would have been entered under The Hobbit or better yet under Characters. Moderator Smilie
The Nandor derived from the Teleri, of whom part remained near Cuivienen became Avari. From this we can deduce that the Avari liked water and part of the hobbits has inherited it, too.

The Teleri did not descent from Avari. The Quendi were from the very beginning separated in Eldar, who wanted to join Orom’ to the west, and the Avari, who would not.

The Eldar themselves were separated in three groups : the Vanyar, who went first, the Noldor, who went second, and finally the Teleri, the largest group which dwindled a lot along the way, hence the many that left the journey along the way.

As to the rest, Hobbits descended from the race of Men, not from Elves.
The Quendi (as opposed to Men known as Atani) split into three groups on the westward journey, The Noldor, the Teleri and the Vanyar.
The Vanyar were led by Ingwe, High King of all the Elves and they dwell always with Manwe and Varda upon Taniquetil.
The Noldor also came to Valinor and were led by Finwe.
The Teleri were the greatest host and were led by Elwe (Elu Thingol) but becuase he was ensnared by Melian the host split in two. One part tried to find Elwe there lord whilst the other part took Elwe's brother, Olwe, for there lord and set sail with Orome into the west and established there dwelling between Valinor and the Great sea in Aman (Valinor is only the name for the land contained within the Pelori, not for the whole continent of Aman) there chief city was Alqualonde I believe.

The Elves that made it to Valinor are called the Caliquendi (Elves of Light). The Caliqundi call the Teleri which turned aside on the rode or became lost the ’manyar.
The Elves which never went on the westward journey are known as the Avari, The Unwilling. Some of the Avari were captured by Melkor to make the Orcs.
Both the Avari and the ’manyar are called the Elves of Darkness, becuase they never saw Valinor.
The Elves which after found there King Elwe, Thingol, established the realm of Beleriand and became known as the Sindar, the Grey Elves (though Thingol is counted amoung the Calaquendi even though he has never seen Valinor).

The name 'Eldar' was at first a name given to the Elves that went on the Westward journey, and that name was given to them by Orome. However in after years all the Elves, Calaquendi, ’manyar and Avari were known by that name.

When the Noldor were exiled from Valinor Finarfin abadoned Feanor and Finarfin and turned back and was pardoned by the Valar, and his host of the Noldor came to settle of the Ilse of Eressea and he became king of all the Noldor after Gil-Galad (the last king of the Noldor of Middle-earth, and indeed the last king of Elves in Middle-earth) fell in the Battle of the Last Alliance.

The Sindar developed different speech to the Calaquendi of Valinor but I am not sure if the sub-groups of the Elves of Valinor, in turn developed there own seperate speeches apart from eachother.
Of the Avari no further Tale tells.

This is my entire knowledge of the original catagorisation of the Elves. Any corrections please don't hesitate to make.
What a tough and exacting crowd! Smile Smilie. Good thing this poor fellow didn't submit his theories in person.
A family member told me last night that Aragorn said something that showed plainly that the Hobbits were as has been expounded on, none of the above. But suddenly as I sit here half asleep I cannot for the life of me remember what he said. I will find out what and where he read that this evening.
I have to say on a personal note that all of you are amazing. For reasons I can't fully explain, all my reading was rather stuck on Russian classics and Celtic myths and legends and it was only two winters ago that I saw Fellowship of the Rings and then the others and I was swept away.So I saw two of the movies first. And then for that Christmas I was given a boxed set of the LOTR and the next thing I knew every member of the family here was reading the books in tandem. Then we got Silmarillion, then Unfinished tales, then Perilous land and on and on and now I think we have everything except what has just been announced by Christopher's people. But the nature of the critical work I do gives me so little time to just veg out and study and study as you all obviously have. So I am going to learn , if I may , from you all . I will start taking notes and hopefully by this time next year I will not be the odd girl out in knowledge.
Some aspects take time. I have only recently bothered to start paying attention to Elven lore and now I am pretty genned up on the major stuff. I don't know much Hobbit lore though...
I also wonder if Tolkiens elves had pointy ears, I have not read about that in any of the books.

The debate lives on, but JRRT did not describe Quendian ears in any work he published, nor in any post-Lord of the Rings 'unpublished' texts so far (that is, any later texts published to date, including those not published by Tolkien himself). The two most often cited sources, a letter, and entries from a text called Etymologies, are both on the early-ish side with respect to dating. The linguistic debate is a bit complicated, and as a cursory look at the issue will likely only confuse matters, I'll leave off here for now.

Of course there's more to this discussion in general. I've often wondered, if indeed Tolkien wanted other artists to portray his Quendi a certain way, where is his advice? To be published perhaps? It was not relatively long ago that we got more information on bearded Elves for example.

The name 'Eldar' was at first a name given to the Elves that went on the Westward journey, and that name was given to them by Orome. However in after years all the Elves, Calaquendi, ’manyar and Avari were known by that name.

Legend has it that Orome first gave Eldar to all Elves: all Elves were Eldar or 'Star-folk' however this designation (at least technically) came to refer to The Marchers, the form Eldo 'one of the Marchers' dropping out of use. When it went out of use, Elda remained the chief word for 'Elf' in Quenya, but it was not in accurate use held to include the Avari (when they were remembered or considered); i.e. it took on the sense of Eldo.

Tolkien adds that it may have been partly due to its older sense that in popular use it was the word ordinarily employed for any Elf, that is, as an equivalent of the Quende of the Loremasters. When one of the Elves of Aman spoke of the Eldalie 'the Elven-folk', he meant vaguely all the race of Elves, though he was probably not thinking of the Avari.

According to The Lord of the Rings the definition seems to have narrowed: Eldar was the name of the Three Kindreds that sought for the Undying Realm and came there at the beginning of Days (save the Sindar only).
More on Quendian ears: in the recent publication Parma Eldalamberon 17 Tolkien looks at the Elvish word lassi. One of the most often quoted passages on Quendian ears is from (around) the late 1930s, in Etymologies (found in The Lost Road, The History of Middle-Earth Volume V), and goes in part...

LAS1- *lass’ leaf: Q lasse, N lhass; Q lasselanta leaf-fall, autumn, N lhasbelin (*lassekweene), cf. Q Narquelion [KWEL]. Lhasgalen Greenleaf (Gnome name of Laurelin). (Some think this is related to the next and *lass’ ear. The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than Human).

'listen'. N lhaw 'ears' (of one person), old dual *lasu -whence singular lhewig. Q lar, lasta- 'listen'; lasta 'listening, hearing' - Lastalaika 'sharp-ears', a name, cf. N Lhathleg. N lhathron 'hearer, listener, eavesdropper' ( *la(n)sro-ndo ); lhathro or lhathrando 'listen in, eavesdrop'.

OK, that's an 'oldish' look. Now however we have something post-Lord of the Rings, from Words, Phrases and Passages, posted here to compare with the older Etymologies entry...

Q lasse 'leaf' (S las); pl. lassi (S lais). It is only applied to certain kinds of leaves, especially those of trees, and would not e.g. be used of leaf of a hyacinth (linque). It is thus possibly related to LAS 'listen', and S-LAS stem of Elvish words for 'ear'; Q hlas, dual hlaru. Sindarin dual lhaw, singular lhewig.

lasse 'leaf'.

Obviously the description and the comparative statement to humans does not appear here, but what do you think about what is here? Also I have yet to read PE17 in full, so there may be more, but I thought I would see if anyone had any comments on this section at least.
Did Tolkien not say in a letter or something that Hobbit's ears were "only slightly pointed and elvish"?

Debate about Eldarin ears aside, this at least shows that PJ wasn't wrong (a rarity indeed!) in giving Hobbit's slightly pointed ears.
The origin of Hobbits remains by this day unknown from the published sources. Many have attempted to prove and find the missing link, which is named "Ancestral Hobbits" and is thought to be the relation between Men and Hobbits. It is not known where did Hobbits came first into being, not when nor why. They are first mentioned in 1050 of TA as dwellers around Anduin river, between Greenwood the Great and the Misty mountains. Later they move to North-East, where they found the Shire. Thereafter their history is relatively well known.

It always seemed to me that in the prologue to TLOTR, Tolkien describes the three "breeds" of Hobbits so that each breed is somewhat similar to one of the other three races of people.

Fallohides are fair of skin and hair, are taller and slimmer, love trees and woodlands, and have skill in language and song. All of these are also Elvish traits. They were also most friendly with Elves.

Harfoots were shorter, most liked living in holes and tunnels, and were more friendly with Dwarves.

Stoors were in between Fallohides and Harfoots in size, and were the least shy of men.

I have never been sure if this correlation between the three breeds of hobbits and the other three races is because of some ancient descent or connection, or just shows that Hobbits tend to copy/borrow from other races, and these three breeds each just picked a different race to emulate.

I don't remember the prologue to LotR at all,but from whatever I can recall there is no explanation regarding how Hobbits came to be.I don't recall that being in The Silmarillion or The Hobbit either.It's just how this race looked like,how much they ate,what kinds inhabited The Shire and Bree etc.

Hobbits are as different from Men as the Woses led by Ghân-buri-Ghân are.  I think that they are both simply strains of men who evolved differently.  Ive always thought of them as a kind of Neanderthalic type variant on Early man.

Theres some great info here.

Yes...i think the ethos within this canon is what is called "Evolutionary Creationism"...basically this means that Eru originally created Elves & then Men (these were the Children of Ilyuvatar)...the Dwarves were actually made by Aule.....originally an illegal act...but they were subsequently accepted by Eru....following on from this creation, there was an evolutionary process which produced dfifferent breeds of men.....i.e. Hobbits.; the pukel-men etc......very interesting......

I imagine Hobbits to be a diminutive branch of humanity without evolving into Hobbits -- in other words, I think they were short and hairy-footed from the beginning. They seem to have been 'gentle' from early on, or at least...

'In their unrecorded past they must have been a primitive, indeed 'savage' people*...'

*In the original sense of 'savage'; they were by nature of gentle disposition, neither cruel or vindictive.'
JRRT, Of Dwarves And Men 


 In any case, if they were always basically 'Hobbits', they did change somewhat in size over time, and diverged in ways, considering the Harfoots and Stoors for example. As a branch of humanity, the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings (at least) see themselves as distinct from Men, or the Big Folk, but they are mortal and leave the Circles of the World when they die (based on letter 325 for example). 


I was pondering this fascinating topic again today and the only thing I can come up with or the Hobbits having certain traits that 'lean' toward Elven ones is the very fact that in the story there is a Creator. As I see it, just as an artist that draws pictures, say, for a children's tale or whatever often incorporates certain traits of his or her own facial features, the eyes, the nose, whatever into the work, for no other reason than the fact we see ourselves in mirrors daily and perhaps see ourselves for longer periods or more often than we see others in a normal day--- well then perhaps the Creator simply incorporated something of His self into all the creatures , because All were his children as it were. Nothing more.