Harfoot hobbits: What exactly is a Harfoot? Fans of Peter Jackson’s movies will recognize a lot of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. However, the Harfoots are new to the Middle-earth world on screen, even though they first appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
The cute Harfoots are actually a type of Hobbit, like Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise. Here, we explain what a Harfoot is and how they’re different from the Hobbits we all know and love, but still very much like them. Don’t worry, there are no “Rings of Power” spoilers below, so you can start reading right away, even if you haven’t seen the first two episodes.
What is Harfoot hobbits
Harfoots are one type of Hobbit ancestor. The other two types are Stoors and Fallohides. By the time the main Lord of the Rings story took place in the Third Age, all three kinds had mixed together for a long time.
The people who came after them were Hobbits like Frodo and Sam. In The Rings of Power, which takes place a few thousand years before Bilbo and Frodo traveled through Middle-earth, you will meet Harfoots named Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot, her mother Marigold and father Largo, and her best friend Poppy Proudfellow. Then there’s the mysterious seer Sadoc Burrows.
The Prologue to The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien says, “The Harfoots had darker skin, were shorter and smaller, and didn’t have beards or shoes. Their hands and feet were clean and quick, and they liked highlands and hillsides.”
Vanity Fair talked to the show’s creator, Patrick McKay, about more about the species in the show (opens in new tab). “One thing that the texts say very clearly is that Hobbits never did anything important or historic before the Third Age,” he said. “But really, does it feel like Middle-earth if there are no Hobbits or things like Hobbits in it?”
One more thing you should know about the Harfoots is that they move around a lot. The Prologue says that the Harfoots “moved westward early and wandered over Eriador as far as Weathertop while the others were still in Wilderland.” They were the first to go to Arnor, where the Dnedain, like Aragorn, lived. They also went as far west as Bree, which was the furthest any Hobbit had ever lived at the time.
Even though they liked to move around, they were also said to be “the most likely to stay in one place and to have kept their ancestors’ habit of living in tunnels and holes for the longest time.” Their holes are called “smials” As you might expect from such a nice group, they also get along well with Dwarves, with whom Tolkien says they used to have “much to do.”
Harfoots were also the most common type of Hobbit. In the Appendices, Tolkien says that the Fallohides and Stoors gave Harfoots the name “hobbit,” which comes from the Rohan word holbytla, which means “hole-builder.”
Is a harfoot a hobbit?
Almost. Harfoots are the ancestors of hobbits like Frodo, Samwise, Merry, and Pippin from the movies. There are three types of hobbits that come from the same stock: harfoots, stoors, and falllohides. Even though they are all different in some ways (fallohides never grew beards, for example), for now we only need to worry about harfoots. In this time in Middle-earth, the source material says that hobbits didn’t do much.
The harfoots are a neat way for the show’s creators to get around a problem. They make the story easier to understand than those snobby elves, and they could have done interesting things in the show’s timeline. The showrunners have made it clear that they won’t stick to the script, and this show has brand-new characters. In fact, this whole series is a creative way to deal with intellectual property and licensing rights, and the harfoots are just one example.
Why do the harfoots talk like they are from Ireland?
Most people’s knowledge of Middle-earth languages likely comes from Peter Jackson’s movies. We have elves, who are English with a bit of aristocracy, dwarves (Gimli had a Welsh accent), and hobbits (short creatures with a Midlands twang). This way of putting things is as lazy as it is good.
Leith McPherson, the show’s dialect coach, told Inverse that the harfoots’ accents have a “Irish base,” but they don’t sound like they grew up on a “particular cross street in Dublin.” She went on to say, “It’s the same, but different. It’s not a completely new language that no one has ever heard before, but it’s meant to sound different.
Making the simple-minded, rural people of Middle-earth sound Irish is definitely a choice. Shouldn’t a show that costs this much (the first season will cost $465 million) have thought this through more? It’s going as well as you might think it is in the shire (sorry, Ireland). Ed Power writes in The Irish Times, “The way ‘Irish’ characters are portrayed as pre-industrial and childlike – as simpletons, really – fits right into the Anglosphere’s rich tapestry of disdain for Celtic peoples.”
A common saying says that you can’t have a $500 million budget without making some enemies.