Hobbit appearance

Archive Home > Middle-earth People & Races
Frammer 21/Dec/2006 at 03:32 PM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 141 Posts: 7 Joined: 21/Dec/2006
? Where did we Hobbits get our over-large feet ?

After intense studies of ’The Hobbit’ and ’tLotR’, I could not find any hint of Tolkien himself describing over-large feet as a rule for hobbits. Instead the ’long and skilful fingers’ LotR; Fellowship; Prologue; 1. Concerning Hobbits suggest in my opinion, that also our feet should be not over-large, but slim and maybe with long toes. The ’leathery sole’ same place does not necessarily imply large feet!

(This is, where in a German Forum a storm of protest came... because most German Fans are Movie-Fans of the late P. Jackson Trilogy.)

I am looking forward to deep-delving answers and maybe more misinterpretations of hobbits made by the movies to be discussed.
Arvellas 21/Dec/2006 at 06:12 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 5462 Posts: 3016 Joined: 16/May/2006
It is exactly as your search suggested: Tolkien never said that Hobbits have big feet.  The idea of Hobbits having oversized feet is a misconception, though I am not precisely sure how it came about.  The only thing I can remember even close to that is a Mr. Proudfoot having big feet, but he was merely an individual, and that is not to say that the whole race had big feet, because they didn’t.
Ankala Teaweed 21/Dec/2006 at 08:00 PM
March Warden of the Shire Points: 6116 Posts: 4487 Joined: 15/Apr/2002

In fact despite the lack of any language supporting the notion of oversized feet anywhere at all in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, various illustrators have drawn hobbits with big feet. Why? Did they just overemphasize the feet in order to make the hair on them more pronounced? The idea brings back to mind some of the Hildebrandt brothers drawings. But these German fans now--where are they getting that from, for there was no morphing of the actors’ feet to a larger size in the Jackson films?

Endril 21/Dec/2006 at 09:29 PM
Healer of Imladris Points: 9193 Posts: 9362 Joined: 15/Jan/2006
I didn’t had that image of hobbits having extremly large feet, they were just furry but not large. That image was probably generated by the movies and by certain representations of hobbits. BTW, I have on my LOTR book a Frodo with very large feet. Dunno why they made him look like that but whatever.
Galin 22/Dec/2006 at 03:59 AM
New Soul Points: 3638 Posts: 1945 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
And Tolkien did not depict Bilbo with disproportionally large feet in his drawings at least (see his comments about his drawings of Hobbits in Letters however). JRRT also depicted Bilbo with boots on too, incidentally.
 
Anyway, the Stoors were described as having larger hands and feet by comparison to the Harfoots (note, not just feet in any case), but, they were generally of heavier build too -- early English stor, stoor ’large, strong’.

The Harfoots were said to be far the most numerous, and the ’... most normal and representative variety of Hobbit’ -- their hands and feet were ’neat and nimble’. As the Stoors were larger Hobbits in general, I think their ’larger’ hands and feet need not be disproportionally overlarge. Mr. Proudfoot had exceptionally furry, large feet, but how large is large even for this Hobbit?
Frammer 23/Dec/2006 at 12:17 PM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 141 Posts: 7 Joined: 21/Dec/2006
Thank You all for Your answers!

At least I see that my assumption of hobbits having no oversized feet at all seems to be confirmed by You. But I am not going to stop at this but would like to get to the very heart of the question:

? Who pictured hobbits first with oversized feet ?

There ist the early 1978 motion picture of Ralph Bakshi, where the hobbits are painted with those oversized feet. Then there are the pictures of the brothers Hildebrand, but unfornutately I have absolutely no clue, when they pictured hobbits first with those feet.

Maybe You can help me in this, because I am desperately seeking the first ’wrongdoer’ !
Mithrandír 23/Dec/2006 at 12:26 PM
Linguist of Lothlorien Points: 3280 Posts: 3291 Joined: 13/Mar/2006
no, i dont think that Hobbits had large feet, as you say, but had hary feet. All Hobbits had this, and they could not alter this except for obviously shaving it of (wich i dont think they did).
Now, to your other Question:
? Who pictured hobbits first with oversized feet ?
In all the pictures i have come across, i have not seen Hobbits having their feet large.strange....
geordie 24/Dec/2006 at 12:28 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
There ist the early 1978 motion picture of Ralph Bakshi, where the hobbits are painted with those oversized feet. Then there are the pictures of the brothers Hildebrand, but unfornutately I have absolutely no clue, when they pictured hobbits first with those feet.

The first Hildebrandt calendar was for 1976; so published 1975. Let’s see - yup. First illo. is of Gandalf & Bilbo outside Bag End, and there are the big feet. Mind you, in the illo for March ’At the Prancing Pony’ - we see Aragorn telling all four hobbits his story - well, never mind that - thing is, we get a better look at a hobbit in the Hildebrandt imagination. Not only feet too big in proportion to the torso, but hands and heads too. I’d guess the head to torso ratio to be that of a child. So, they’ve broken the cardinal rule of hobbit illustration - - in a conversation with Tolkien, Pauline Baynes was asking advice, esp. on hobbits, and she says ’he got quite testy. ’They’re just people - ordinary people’ he said.

[see his illo of Bilbo in Bag End - ignore the proportions of the door, and the odd shadows etc.]

Poppy Burrows 25/Dec/2006 at 01:18 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 174 Posts: 43 Joined: 25/Dec/2006
I am not sure but I think that the only time Tolkien actualy mentioned the size of the hobbit feet was in the first chapter of the fellow ship of the ring were he says that mr proudfoot’s feet were very hairy and large and both were on the table! (this is not in his exact words so maybe check for your self?)  As this is the only time he said any thing about  feet size I think every one must have just taken it for granted that this was relivent to all hobbits! Intresting topic any way! lol
Arvellas 25/Dec/2006 at 06:43 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 5462 Posts: 3016 Joined: 16/May/2006

Yes, the only incident as far as I know of the footsize of a Hobbit being mentioned was the case of Mr. Proudfoot, and his feet were probably meant to be large in comparison to other Hobbits’ feet, and so that does not speak for all Hobbits.  My copy of TH has Tolkien’s illustrations, and no, Bilbo does not have oversized feet.  He looks like any full-grown human, just smaller.