What are Harfoots? The Rings of Power Hobbits and history explained
Sir Lenny Henry and Markella Kavenagh are playing Harfoots in the new series, but how are they different from the Hobbits we've already seen?
The Rings of Power, Amazon Prime Video’s new prequel to the Lord of the Rings, has finally launched and with it, a whole new race of creatures has come crawling out of the ground.
Much like the original trilogy of movies, this series is bound to follow Tolkien’s teaching that any creature, big or small, can change the world.
With this in mind, The Rings of Power has introduced the Harfoots. Played by the likes of Sir Lenny Henry and Markella Kavenagh, the Harfoots are a group of small beings who, so far, have managed to stay out of the limelight.
But who exactly are they? And why do they look so similar to Frodo Baggins and the other Hobbits?
What are Harfoots?
Harfoots are one of three breeds of Hobbits. As The Rings of Power is set thousands of years before Frodo and the gang go on their adventures to Mordor, these creatures predate all of the halflings we know and love.
Like the two other breeds, Stoors and Fallohides, the Harfoots are short creatures with large, sturdy feet. They live in holes in the countryside called smials and generally avoid all other company.
As we’ve seen in the series, any kind of larger folk is considered dangerous to these people.
Harfoots were the most common type of Hobbit before they moved west and combined with the other breeds to form bigger societies. It is from them that the tradition of not wearing any shoes came, and it was the Harfoots who would eventually go on to colonise Frodo’s home, the Shire.
The history of these creatures is only really explored in the Fellowship of the Ring novel’s opening prologue: ‘Concerning Hobbits.’ Otherwise, not much is known about their exploits.
Yet with the eight-episode season under way, it’s already clear that not all of these halflings like to keep their heads in the sand. Kavenagh’s character Elanor 'Nori' Brandyfoot, who could be the distant ancestor to Hobbits such as Merry Brandybuck (played Dominic Monaghan in the movies), has already pushed the Harfoot tradition of staying out of danger.
At the end of the first episode, we see Nori become an unwitting part of this story as she is the one to see the explosive arrival of the character only known as The Stranger.
Who he is and what he wants remains a mystery for now, but with Nori’s desire for adventure, it’s unlikely to remain a secret for long. As the series goes on, we’ll probably get to see much more on the ways of Harfoots and will find out where the Hobbits of the future get their bravery from.
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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1 and 2 are available now on Amazon Prime Video – you can sign up now for a free 30-day Prime Video trial.