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Bilbo hobbit

Hobbit / Halfling
 pl. Hobbits / Halflings 
Bilbo hobbit
Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit from the Shire
 Caves Hills House 
Sapience level Sapient
Lifespan c. 100-150 years
Average height Roughly half human height (2-4 ft.)
Location / range see below ↓
Language Hobbitish, Halfling
Nature Jovial, good-natured
Subspecies see below ↓
Related species Dwarf, Gnome, Kender

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Hobbits or Halflings are a race of short human-like folk inhabiting various realms, primarily the Shire in western Middle-earth.

As the name implies, halflings are roughly half the size of a human, though otherwise very similar in appearance. They are typically good-natured homebodies with a passionate love for food and family. However, their curious nature sometimes leads them into adventure, where their small stature, charm and good luck make them well-suited for the role of thief. In areas where hobbits and humans coexist, hobbits refer to humans as "Big Folk" and are themselves often admirably called "Little Folk".

Anatomy and appearanceEdit

"I picture a fairly human figure [...] 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."
—J.R.R. Tolkien, describing the Hobbits of Middle-earth

Halflings are between two and four feet tall, making them roughly half-human in height. They are not quite as stocky as the similarly-sized dwarves, but still tend to be stout, with usually rounded body shapes. Another distinguishing factor between these two races is that Halflings most often cannot grow beards.

Hobbit feet

Hobbits have furry feet.

Halfling feet typically have leathery soles and are covered with curly hair. However, this feature is not universal to all halfings, and seems to be particularly associated with the Hobbits of Middle-earth. Their feet are also sometimes disproportionately oversized; this was a common trait of the Stoor family.

Halflings have lifespans comparable with, but slightly longer than, humans. Their average life expectancy lies between 100 and 150 years. The time at which a young hobbit "comes of age" is roughly 33, thus a fifty-year-old hobbit would only just be entering middle age.

Society and cultureEdit

Halflings are by nature joyful and friendly with a love for home and family. The halfling mind is practical and halflings tend to concern themselves with their immediate surroundings and take pleasure in simple things, with few aspiring to greatness in the same manner as humans. Some halflings do become adventurers, but usually this is a practice taken up for reasons of necessity rather than personal drive. Halflings are courageous, more so than many races, and their daring is often difficult to match. Many halflings also have a strong appetite for food and drink as well as narcotics, notably ale and tobacco (or "pipe-weed"). Similarly, many halflings are enthusiastic collectors and hold on to many strange and useless possessions.

Theshire

The Shire, Middle-earth.

The Hobbits of the Shire are fond of an unadventurous bucolic life of farming, eating, and socializing, although they capable of defending their homes courageously if the need arises. They enjoy six meals a day, if they can get them, and enjoy simple food—such as cake, bread, meat, potatoes, tea, and cheese—with a particular passion for mushrooms. Hobbits also like to drink ale, often in inns. Hobbits also enjoy an ancient variety of tobacco, which they refer to as "pipe-weed", something that can be attributed mostly to their love of gardening and herb-lore. They claim to have invented the art of smoking pipe-weed, which has since spread to all over Middle-earth.

Shire-hobbits also developed the custom of giving away gifts on their birthdays, instead of receiving them, although this custom was not universally followed among other Hobbit cultures or communities. They use the term mathom for old and useless objects, which are invariably given as presents many times over, or are stored in a museum (mathom-house).

Some hobbits live in "hobbit-holes" or Smials, traditional underground homes found in hillsides, downs, and banks. Like all Hobbit architecture, they are notable for their round doors and windows.

DemographicsEdit

ArdaEdit

Hobbits-distribution

Historical (light green) and recent (dark green) distribution of hobbits in Middle-earth.

Originally a widespread people, hobbits were found in much of the north of Middle-earth and down the Vales of Anduin. As the Third Age passed, the Hobbits moved north and west, eventually founding the land of the Shire. Hobbits are also found in the town of Bree, where they live side-by-side with humans. By the end of the War of the Ring, some hobbits had moved out to the Tower Hills and to Gondor and Rohan.

AthasEdit

Halflings are the oldest race on Athas. Most of them became barbaric cannibals, while a handful of them inhabited the Pristine Tower.

EberronEdit

Halflings usually live in nomadic tribes in the Talenta Plains where they train dinosaurs as mounts.

TorilEdit

The halfling race has had many traditional homelands, though as a whole they are traditionally nomadic. Many halflings who do not wander live primarily within human-dominated states. The center of halfling culture was, until relatively recently, the kingdom of Luiren. The land was devastated by the Spellplague however, as were other halfling homelands such as Arnock and the Chondalwood. Since then, halflings have become even more displaced than before.

Since the Spellplague, halflings have been found in their greatest concentrations within the nation of Amn. Though formerly met with prejudice, halflings have earned acceptance here through their skill as merchants and business partners. Halflings can also commonly be found along the Sea of Fallen Stars, particularly in human-dominated cities. In fact, human cities are often the most common place to find halflings, who frequently find ways to exploit the ever-changing climate of human societies, although Dwarven cities are also accommodating.

NorrathEdit

The mischievous halflings of Norrath hail from Rivervale, a whimsical village located between the grassy, dark fields of Misty Thicket and Kithicor Forest in eastern Antonica. After the fall of Rivervale, Halflings now make their home in the district of Qeynos known as Baubbleshire.

Halfling subracesEdit

  • Fallohides: The least numerous group of Middle-earth hobbits and the second to enter Eriador. They were generally fair-haired and tall (for hobbits). They were often found leading other clans of hobbits as they were more adventurous than the other races. They preferred the forests and had links with the elves.
  • Ghostwise: The rarest of the halfling races of Faerûn; reclusive and known for their strange talent for communicating without speech.
  • Harfoots: The most numerous group of hobbits in Middle-earth and also the first to enter Eriador. They were the smallest in stature of all hobbits. They had closer relations with dwarves than did other hobbits.
  • Lightfoots: The most common variety of halfling on Faerûn, typically nomadic, who take pleasure in travel and the experience of meeting new people.
  • Stronghearts: A martially inclined and well-organized race of Faerûn halfling, comparable in many ways to the industrious dwarves.
  • Stoors: The second most numerous group of Middle-earth hobbits and the last to enter Eriador. They were broader than other hobbits and less shy of Men. They mostly dwelt beside rivers and were the only hobbits to use boats and swim. Males were able to grow beards.

TriviaEdit

  • "Hobbit" is a trademark owned by the Tolkien estate. For this reason, Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy settings tend to refer to Hobbits and Hobbit-like races as Halflings instead.

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