The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

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Monday, September 3, 2007

hobbit


Hobbits are a diminutive race that inhabit the lands of Arda. They are a "variety" or separate "branchof the race of men, but they consider themselves a separate race. They live in the Shire and in Bree in northwestern Middle-earth.


Description
In the introduction to The Lord of the Rings Tolkien said that Hobbits are between two and four feet (0.6-1.2 m) tall, the average height being three feet six inches (1 m). They tend toward stoutness and have slightly pointed ears. Tolkien himself describes Hobbits thus:


"I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of fairy rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: 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. Clothing: green velvet breeches; red or yellow waistcoat; brown or green jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf)."

Elsewhere he wrote that they dress in bright colors, favoring yellow and green. Nowadays, they are very shy creatures, but they are and have been capable of amazing things. They are adept with slings and throwing stones.

Their feet are covered with curly hair (usually brown, as was the hair on their heads) with leathery soles, so most Hobbits hardly ever wear shoes. They are fond of an unadventurous bucolic life of farming, eating, and socializing. Hobbits can sometimes live for up to 130 years, although their average life expectancy is 100 years. The time at which a young Hobbit "comes of age" is 33. Thus a fifty-year-old Hobbit would only be middle-aged.

Hobbits enjoy at least seven meals a day, not including snacks, when they can get them - breakfast, (arguably) second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea, dinner, and later, supper. They like simple food such as bread, meat, potatoes, and cheese, have a passion for mushrooms, and also like to drink ale and beer, often in inns — not unlike the English countryfolk.

Hobbits also enjoy an ancient variety of tobacco, which they referred to as "pipe-weed", something that can be attributed mostly to their love of gardening and herb-lore.

The Hobbits of the Shire developed the custom of giving away gifts on their birthdays instead of receiving them. They use the term mathom for old and assorted objects, which are invariably given as presents many times over or are stored in a museum (mathom-house).


Some Hobbits live in "hobbit-holes", which were the original places where they dwelt underground. They were found in hillsides, downs, and banks. By the late Third Age, they were replaced by brick and wood houses, however, some older style Hobbit-holes are still in use by more established Shirefolk, such as Bag End and Great Smials. Like all Hobbit architecture, they are notable for their round doors and windows, a feature more practical to tunnel-dwelling that the Hobbits retained in their later structures.

Etymology
Hobbits are also called Halflings (in Sindarin, perian singular and periannath collective) because of their small stature. However, the term is slightly offensive to Hobbits; they do not consider themselves 'half' of anything and usually do not use the term to refer to themselves. Tolkien's etymology for 'Hobbit' is interesting as well: obviously constructed without prior intent, it would have been natural for him to connect it to the German prefix hob meaning small. However this prefix dates back only to the 13th century, too late by Tolkien's standards, and so he constructed an alternative etymology, from Old English hol-bytla, "hole-dweller".
When later he began to work out the language relations further, Hobbit was to be derived from the Rohirric Holbytlan (hole builders). In the original Westron, the name was Kuduk (Hobbit), derived from the actual Rohirric kûd-dûkan (hole dweller).

History
Historically, the Hobbits are known to have originated in the Valley of Anduin, between Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains. They have lost the genealogical details of how they are related to the rest of mankind. At this time, there were three Hobbit-kinds, with different physical characteristics and temperaments: Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides. While situated in the valley of the Anduin River, the Hobbits lived close by the Éothéod, the ancestors of the Rohirrim, and this led to some contact between the two. As a result many old words and names in "Hobbitish" are derivatives of words in Rohirric.

The Harfoots, the most numerous, were almost identical to the Hobbits as they are described in The Hobbit. They lived on the lowest slopes of the Misty Mountains and lived in holes, or Smials, dug into the hillsides. The Stoors, the second most numerous, were shorter and stockier and had an affinity for water, boats and swimming. They lived on the marshy Gladden Fields where the Gladden River met the Anduin (there is a similarity here to the hobbits of Buckland and the Marish in the Shire. It is possible that those hobbits were the descendants of Stoors). The Fallohides, the least numerous, were an adventurous people that preferred to live in the woods under the Misty Mountains and were said to be taller and fairer (all of these traits were much rarer in later days, and it has been implied that wealthy, eccentric families that tended to lead other hobbits politically, like the Tooks and Brandybucks, were of Fallohide descent).

About the year T.A. 1050, they undertook the arduous task of crossing the Misty Mountains. Reasons for this trek are unknown, but they possibly had to do with Sauron's growing power in nearby Greenwood, which was later named Mirkwood because of the shadow that fell on it as Sauron searched the area for the One ring. The Hobbits took different routes in their journey westward, but as they began to settle together in Bree-land, Dunland, and the Angle formed by the rivers Mitheithel and Bruinen, the divisions between the Hobbit-kinds began to blur.
In the year 1601 of the Third Age (year 1 in the Shire Reckoning), two Fallohide brothers named Marcho and Blanco gained permission from the King of Arnor at Fornost to cross the River Brandywine and settle on the other side. Many Hobbits followed them, and most of the territory they had settled in the Third Age was abandoned. Only Bree and a few surrounding villages lasted to the end of the Third Age. The new land that they founded on the west bank of the Brandywine was called the Shire.

Originally the Hobbits of the Shire swore nominal allegiance to the last Kings of Arnor, being required only to acknowledge their lordship, speed their messengers, and keep the bridges and roads in repair. During the final fight against Angmar at the Battle of Fornost, the Hobbits maintain that they sent a company of archers to help but this is nowhere else recorded. After the battle, the kingdom of Arnor was destroyed, and in absence of the king, the Hobbits elected a Thain of the Shire from among their own chieftains.

The first Thain of the Shire was Bucca of the Marish, who founded the Oldbuck family. However, the Oldbuck family later crossed the Brandywine River to create the separate land of Buckland and the family name changed to the familiar "Brandybuck". Their patriarch then became Master of Buckland. With the departure of the Oldbucks/Brandybucks, a new family was selected to have its chieftains be Thain: the Took family (Indeed, Pippin Took was son of the Thain and would later become Thain himself). The Thain was in charge of Shire Moot and Muster and the Hobbitry-in-Arms, but as the Hobbits of the Shire led entirely peaceful, uneventful lives the office of Thain was seen as something more of a formality.
The Hobbits' numbers dwindled, and their stature became progressively smaller after the Fourth Age.

Spiritual Nature
Characters within Tolkien's works consider Hobbits to be a separate race from Men, but Tolkien made it clear that they are actually an offshoot of the race of Men; they and the "Big Folk" are far more closely related to each other than to either Elves or Dwarves. Thus Hobbits are among the Younger Children of Eru Ilúvatar and are the result of the same act of creation as Men. This would imply that Hobbits have the Gift of Men to pass entirely beyond Arda, which also means that the avoidance of the Gift of Men in Hobbits, like in Men, can be physically and morally destructive. Sméagol, who had originally been a Hobbit, was transformed into the monster Gollum by a combination of the evil of the One Ring and the resulting avoidance of the Gift of Men. Bilbo Baggins became "thin and stretched" from the immortality that the One Ring granted to him, since neither Men nor Hobbits are intended for immortality in this world. Men and Hobbits appear to have the same spiritual nature.


A Special thanks to Wikipedia, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the movie makers of the Lord of the Rings!

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