what the heck is a hobbit?

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Eyowyn 2 13 10/Dec/2006 at 03:03 PM
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What are hobbits? I know that there have been sooooo many forums opened on this subject but I have never been able to get a straight answer out of any of them. Is a Hobbit a form of man or elf or something? Could a hobbit be a mutated breed of woodland elf? Maybe it was a crossbreed of two animals? But what is a hobbit? The appendices in RotK are very vague about Hobbits. Sure it mentions the Shire calander and stuff but I didn’t see anything about the origin of hobbits. Maybe I just didn’t look very hard, but I didn’t see anything. If any one could help clear this up for me I would be quite greatful!!!!!!!!!!
Vugar 10/Dec/2006 at 03:19 PM
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Hobbits are most similar to Men, and are supposed to be an off-branch of the race.  Of course, within the story the Hobbits hold themselves apart from Men.  There are several quotes that address the matter.

"It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves. Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion, and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered. The beginning of Hobbits lies far back in the Elder Days that are now lost and forgotten." (Prologue, FotR)

"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." (Letter #131, Letters of Tolkien)

As it at least recorded in terms of history, the Hobbits were known to have originated in the Vales of Anduin.  They crossed the Misty Mountains roughly around the year of T.A. 1050 possibly due to the nearby presence of the Necromancer i.e. Sauron in Mirkwood.  The Shire was founded in the year T.A. 1601 by the brothers Marcho and Blancho after they had gained permission from the King of Arnor at Fornost to cross the Brandywine and settle.  The year T.A. 1601 is equivalent to year 1 in the Shire Reckoning.

Stiffler Vaneyar 10/Dec/2006 at 06:21 PM
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Well, along with what Achius said, I can also give you this to look at! In the Plaza Library, there is a lot of useful information. Take a look at these articles on Hobbits:

http://www.lotrlibrary.com/racesofarda/hobbits.asp

There’s a lot of good stuff in there. Including where they came from, a list of different hobbits, and some more!

Eorl Boarhelm 11/Dec/2006 at 09:27 AM
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You’ll also want to read the prologue to LOTR. It contains some useful info about hobbits, since it was written for the benefit of those wishing to know more about hobbits or had not read the prequel ’The Hobbit’. (Have you? It’s an awesome book).
Lindir13 12/Dec/2006 at 06:49 AM
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In the Lotr Hobbits are clearly mentioned as the little people...so I would assume that means that they are a smaller version of humans. They could be midgets, I highly doubt this as they don’t show any signs of mental retardation that seem to appear in people that suffer from lack of size. My friend Tristen Taylor is a midget and she is smaller than a hobbit.
aclj 12/Dec/2006 at 03:10 PM
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Tolkien points out that in the appendixes that follow the ROTK, that hobbit history and hobbit beginnings remain for the most part unclear.  The hobbits kept up with genealogical records, and they knew who birthed who and so on.  Yet, given the fact that the race was not at all keen on adventures big or small of any sort, very little if any information tells us where their true beginnings lie.

For me, I think their race is more in line with that of Men.  Their small size might be partly due to the area in which they live.  the Shire seems just the place for an innocent race to reside-- maybe this has something to do with their height, who knows?  To put them with the Dwarves might be an insult, but both races share a common greediness in their blood. (Even though the hobbits dislike adventures, they seem to love the sight of gold and worth-- which is probably an obvious statement)

what may be interesting is a connection between them and the Elves.  Bilbo and Frodo both felt a somewhat familiar draw to the Elves of Rivendell and Lothlorien.  It may have been just admiration, but both hobbits gave a very intrigued note there. 

Of course, they could be just a unique race the Creators decided to conjure up from the ashes, who knows?

Angdring 13/Dec/2006 at 06:17 PM
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But what are Hobbits ?

We all think of it as three races or peoples  , Elves  , Dwarves, and Men.    We know all about how the Elves , and Dwarves got to Middle Earth .   But we know very little about Illuvatar’s plan concerning men.   We’re not surprised to find men walking out of the East , not even knowing  how they got there . Paraphrasing " our( men’s )  memory is a darkness ) , or something to that effect .

So I would say Hobbits , and Pukel Men ,  ( You think Hobbits are different ? ). are men , but , just a little different  from us, .......... Or  Iluvatar just made more races , than we thought , Elves , Dwarves, Men, and  Hobbits, and Pukels .  And didn’t let us in on that either.

Vugar 13/Dec/2006 at 06:30 PM
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To put them with the Dwarves might be an insult, but both races share a common greediness in their blood.

aclj, I am not sure such a statement would hold true for the majority of Hobbits.  True, there are some exceptions like Lotho Sackville-Baggins.  But most Hobbits seem to have had an underdeveloped sense of greed, if any at all.  As Tolkien commented in Letter #131, they were represented as being "abnormally, for humans, free from ambition or greed of wealth."

Mirkwoodworker 13/Dec/2006 at 09:00 PM
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Uh, was Eyowyn 2 13 asking a serious question?
Endril 13/Dec/2006 at 09:46 PM
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As we know, hobbits were a branch of men, not of dwarfes or any other race. They had all the features of men, except the fact that they were shorter than normal people. The pukel people were a different thing, also a branch of men, but having nothing in common with the hobbits, and having very different features.
Mithrandír 14/Dec/2006 at 04:21 AM
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A hobbit is descended from the branch of Men, for your question. They spoke the language of Men( although they feared them as they were bigger in stature, courage and risk than them)as Achaius said, they were more far away from us than the Races of Dwarves and Elves.

you mentioned Woodland Elves. what, do you mean the Elves that lived in Mirkwood with prince Tharundil? i really do not think that they were descended from them....

Qtpie 14/Dec/2006 at 08:08 PM
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I think Eyowyn was more like referring to wood-elves. This term is used to categorize any elves that lives in forest as you can see in the name. Thranduil would be a wood-elf since he lives in the forest Mirkwood. But no hobbits aren’t a mutated breed of wood-elves. They were just a side-branch of the family of Men.
elvenboy20 15/Dec/2006 at 02:22 PM
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what do you mean EYOWYN 2 13 have you read the hobbit in the biggining of the book not actually in the book but like the pages before the book when you first open it it explains what a hobbit is i mean its easy they are short people who like peace and dont really go on any adventures until gandalf came around and bilbo whent with wich is the hobbit and they only grow to about three foot nine inches or something.
Naduil 16/Dec/2006 at 06:43 AM
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Hobbits be halflings. They are probably descended from men. Men and dwarf women, or women and dwarf men probably mated and their offspring were the hobbits. Thats why hobbits are small and tough, but also smart and like using swords and daggers. So that, my friends, is how hobbits were made. (I’m not going on fact here. Just natural intuition.)
Vugar 16/Dec/2006 at 08:19 AM
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While I could see how one could draw certain similarities between Hobbits and Dwarves (no doubt the height), it is not very likely that the Hobbits possessed any Dwarven ancestors.  Given what writings we have, the most logical conclusion is that Hobbits were an offbranch of Men and Men only.  However, within the story they did regard themselves as distinct from Men.  There are also many differences between the Hobbits and Dwarves.  One of the most prominent would be the the quality of greed for wealth.
Arvellas 19/Dec/2006 at 06:39 PM
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Tolkien himself told us several times that Hobbits were just very small Men with very hairy feet.  No cross-breeding is necessary to account for the difference in height; if any portion of a species is isolated, it will develop independently of the rest of that race.  That is what I think happened with Hobbits.  Why they were isolated could simply have been the natural stay-at-home attitude shared by most Hobbits.
Poppy Burrows 25/Dec/2006 at 01:06 PM
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A hobbit is a creature closly related to men. They are about 2-4 foot when fully grown, they eat a lot and smoke pipes. They don’t normaly go on adventures (untill Gandelf came and ruined the peace lol) They love peace and quite, well tilled country side. They live in hobbit holes are often rather fat with hairy feet, curly hair and big mouths. Also they have a passion for family history and riddles, ale, and partys and lots of pressents! i’t quite hard to summerise them with out writing a whole book! lol Any way Tolkien says him self that they were a race of there own because in the books (but not in the actual story) he says that they ’awoke’  around the same time as men, so that must mean that they were NOT desended from men at all.
Eyowyn 2 13 25/Dec/2006 at 04:10 PM
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So hobbits are men? i just can’t see that! hobbbits just always seemed like a kind of dwarf except in attitude when they seem like quiet elves, oh yeah except when their drunk then they seem like men.
Aslar Haechil 25/Dec/2006 at 04:34 PM
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I’d say that hobbits are merely the product of natural selection over an extended period of time living in a relitively stress free environment, lacking the selective forces that may have otherwise been natural. Those hobbit women didn’t want any tall, awkward, or overly risk prone individuals and opted for calm little guys that fit neatly in their little burrows. And shoes were out of style...for a long time.
Arvellas 25/Dec/2006 at 06:55 PM
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Aslar-Yeah, I figure it was probably natural selection to, and maybe a bit of isolation, too, if they were living in separate communities from taller Men.

Eyowyn 2 13-How can’t yo see Hobbits being Men?  They are not that different, if you excuse their hights and hairy feet.  By contrast, Hobbits do not seem to resemble Dwarves that closely.  For one thing all Dwarves have beards, but I cannot remember one single mention of a bearded Hobbit.  Dwarves also tend to be greedy, but Hobbits are generally not very greedy at all--neither do they seem to be affected by the Seven Dwarven Rings, and therefore probably not related to Dwarves.

geordie 26/Dec/2006 at 11:30 AM
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So hobbits are men? i just can’t see that! hobbbits just always seemed like a kind of dwarf... oh yeah except when their drunk then they seem like men.

Lost me there. When do we see drunk hobbits?
Isabeau Mordagnir 30/Dec/2006 at 11:41 AM
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It makes sense that hobbits are related to men.  One of the words used to describe them is Halfling- similar to humans except half their size.  And like Achiaus has said, they are not thrill or wealth seekers.  It took a lot of persuasion to get Bilbo out the door.  And after he did, there were many times he wished that he hadn’t.  The Hobbit alone should show how different hobbits and dwarves are from one another.  Hobbits cannot grow beards, they have exceptional hearing and can walk without making a sound.  Dwarves may be short, but hobbits are shorter still.  On many occasions Bilbo commented on how different the dwarves were from himself.

As for Bilbo and Frodo’s connection with the elves, they were considered odd among their people because of their interest in elves.  Most hobbits did not care to know what went on outside the borders of their homeland.  Ownership of the One Ring for a time could also have set them apart from the others, which may have furthered their bond with elves since they knew about the Ring and what it meant to be a ringbearer.

Endril 30/Dec/2006 at 12:25 PM
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Hobbits are indeed related to men and not to darves. Dwarves are stronger and have a different way in which there bodies look like. They are short but very strong. Hobbits are short but not always strong and they don’t usually fight. They are related to men indeed except there shortness and hairy feet. They are not similar to dwarves for they do not have beards even if they can let them grow.