Forum: Hobbiton

Discussing: Where did Hobbits come from?

Where did Hobbits come from?

Eru made the Ainur first, then Elves and finally Men. Aulë made the Dwarves. Morgoth created Orcs from captured Elves, and who knows what else. Hobbits were not accounted for in the Silmarillion. If they are evolved humans, when did this happen? It was only 7,000 years since the awakening of men. Given Hobbits long adolesence, they only have 3 generations per century, so they would have to have evolved in 200 generations. Humans have not changed significantly in the last 7,000 years, no new races have appeared in that time frame. Any thoughts on where and when Hobbits branched off from Men?

 

 

Re: Where did Hobbits come from?

There is a rather good story about that over at the Hidden Archives of Middle Earth, entitled Come Back to Me.

It's possible that Hobbits are not accounted for in the Silmarillion because the Silm was written by elves, who find hobbits dull, and presumably not worth writing about. This is the sort of explanation Tolkien gives, I think in the preface to LOTR.

If hobbits did evolve from men (which in itself would be quite curious, since everything else in Middle Earth arose from divine creation), then why do they have pointy ears? Or is that only in the movie?

 

 

Re: Where did Hobbits come from?

I have only seen pointy ear Hobbits in the Movie. I never pictured a pointy eared Elf in a few dozen readings of the books either. There is an entry in History of Middle Earth that describes Elf ears as leaf shaped. In the Silm, there is a place where one Elf says to another I see you are one of our kinsmen by your eyes. I believe it is while attempting to enter Gondolin. That seems to imply that Elves and Humans looked outwardly the same.

I always assumed the Silmarillion was Bilbo's three books of translations from Elvish. A work of great scholarship. He interviewed old Elves and read old writings in Imladris and used that info to write the history of the World, which we call The Silmarillion. Surely he would have found Hobbits interesting enough to include their story, if it existed.

 

 

Re: Where did Hobbits come from?

From letter 27 - To the Houghton Mifflin Company - Tolkien answering a request for drawings of Hobbits:

"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 greeen jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf).

Actual size -- only important if other objects are in picture -- say about three foot or three foot six inches. "

The letters of JRR Tolkien

Ang

 

 

Re: Where did Hobbits come from?

From letter 131 (near the end - it is a long letter) to Milton Waldman, an editor at Collins. The bulk of the letter is Tolkien's synopsis of the history of Arda. This is what he says of Hobbit origins:

In the middle of [the Third Age] the Hobbits appear. Their origin is unknown* (even to themselves) for they escaped the notice of the great, or the civilised peoples with records, and kept none themselves, save vague oral traditions, until they had migrated from the borders of Mirkwood, fleeing from the Shadow, and wandered westward, coming into contact with the last remnants of the Kingdom of Arnor.

*The Hobbits are, of course, really meant to be a branch of the specifically human race (not Elves or Dwarves) - hence the two kinds can dwell together (as at Bree), and are called just the Big Folk and Little Folk. They are entirely without non-human powers, but are represented as being more in touch with 'nature' (the soil and other living things, plants and animals), and abnormally, for humans, free from ambition or greed of wealth. They are made small (little more than half human stature, but dwindling as the years pass) partly to exhibit the pettiness of man, plain unimaginative parochial man -- though not with either the smallness or savageness of Swift, and mostly to show up, in creatures of very small physical power, the amazing and unexpected heroism of ordinary men 'at a pinch'."

So, from this, I deduce that Hobbits are a branch of the Human family (just the way "Petty Dwarves" are a branch of the Dwarven family), that is declining in size. Their origins would have been in the far east, and their migration westwards was later than that of other humans, possibly due to their smaller stature and secretive ways. I imagine that they were probably close to regular human size (maybe being the height of a dwarf) in the very early days, but would have experienced a steady, downward trend in their height over time.

Ang

 

 

Re: Where did Hobbits come from?

And of course we really do have a "race" of unusually short people in the world today, the pygmies...... minus the furry feet, but still....

Jo

 

 

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