The Grey HavensHome
Middle-earth Balrogs Dwarves Elves Hobbits Humans Orcs Else Songs & Tales Rings Tolkien URLs Pictures Awards Feedback Bookshop Search Forum Navigation toolbar

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, Rhn 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-Sl, he withstood 17 days.

After the Chief Nazgl 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.
This page is dedicated to the Little People.
To the top
This site is maintained and copyrighted (c) 1996-2002, by Cirdan.
All rights reserved. Hosted by