Although most people know that hobbits are excellent custodians of jewelry, there are many lesser-known facts about these unusual creatures that even hardcore fans might not be aware of. We don’t get to see too much of the Shire in the films, but Tolkien wrote extensively about the history of the hobbits and the characteristics of their culture.
From their love of bright colors to the history of their facial hair, there are many tidbits of Tolkien trivia that weren’t included in the movie trilogy (there’s only so much you can squeeze into eleven and a half hours). What they lack in height, they make up for in their unique customs and habits. Here are 10 little-known facts about hobbits:
10. THEY HAVE A PASSION FOR MUSHROOMS
Hobbits have a passion for all things food, but their love of mushrooms rises above the rest (yes, even bacon). Although they tend to shun adventure like a dwarf shuns clean-shaven women, hobbits would cross lava fields and spider-filled forests without a second thought if enough mushrooms were on the other side. In fact, it was because of mushrooms that the four hobbits almost got bowled over by a Black Rider in The Fellowship of the Ring.
If Frodo hadn’t sensed danger and shouted to his pals to get off the road at the last second, the story of the One Ring would have ended with a Ringwraith sneaking up on four hobbits rustling around in a mushroom patch, oblivious to the world around them (which, for a hobbit, wouldn’t be the worst way to go).
9. THEY DON’T GROW BEARDS UNLESS THEY HAVE STOOR BLOOD
Given that both hobbits and dwarves are famous for being short, one might imagine they’d be easy to mix up. But there’s one key feature to keep in mind when differentiating between the two races: beards. While most every dwarf we’ve met in Middle Earth had a beard (including the “little hairy women,” as Gimli put it), most hobbits lack facial hair.
However, in the past, there was one race of early halflings called the Stoors who were capable of growing beards, and some modern-day hobbits with Stoor blood are able to grow facial hair too.
8. THEY LOVE BRIGHT COLORS
Hobbits adore bright colors, especially yellow and green. They often dress in attire that reflects their love of color, from bright green dresses to popping yellow waistcoats.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see too much of this colorful clothing in The Lord of the Rings given that bright yellow breeches aren’t exactly a great way to hide from the Eye of Sauron. Instead, the hobbits wore more earthy tones, which helped them blend into the scenery and avoid detection. But their love of color was reflected in the decor of the Shire, where their doors weren’t the typical greys and browns of the boring old human world, but rather, bright shades of red, yellow, blue and green.
7. THEIR AVERAGE HEIGHT IS 3 FEET AND 6 INCHES (EXCEPT FOR MERRY AND PIPPIN)
Although they’re called halflings, hobbits are a little more than half the height of your average human. They can range from two to four feet in height, but a typical hobbit is around three and a half feet tall. The notable exceptions to this rule are, of course, Merry and Pippin.
Given that they tend to drink anything placed in front of them (especially if it comes in pints), they didn’t exactly exercise restraint when they stumbled across the Ent-draught of Fangorn Forest, a drink that stimulates growth in its partakers. As a result, they became more like three-quarterlings, growing to four and a half feet in height.
6. THEY LIVE MUCH LONGER THAN HUMANS
Despite their habit of overindulging in not just food, but also ale and pipeweed, hobbits live a good deal longer than humans, with an average life expectancy of 100 years. This could be for any number of reasons, from their peaceful way of life to the simple possibility that they’ve just got good genes.
It could also be because they tend to avoid going on adventures that might put them in an early grave. No matter how fun it may be, stealing from a fire-breathing dragon isn’t exactly good for your health.
5. GOLLUM USED TO BE SOMETHING LIKE A HOBBIT
Although he may have looked more like something you’d drag from the bottom of the sea than any sort of human in The Lord of the Rings, Gollum was once something like a hobbit. In fact, he was a member of the Stoor race, which was one of the early forms of halflings (the ones with beards).
However, after the One Ring corrupted him, Gollum retreated to the bowels of the mountains and slowly became the slimy creature we all learn to both love and hate in The Lord of the Rings.
4. IN THE BOOKS, THEY EAT SIX MEALS A DAY, NOT SEVEN
If seven meal a day sounded a tad indulgent to you, know that the hobbits in the book are a bit more restrained than those in the films, limiting their daily intake to a mere six meals per day (egads!). For the movies, dinner and supper were split into two separate meals, but in the books, hobbits only have one meal after afternoon tea.
However, breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, and luncheon are still, of course, of the highest priority (as if that even needed to be said).
3. THEY ARE ABLE TO MOVE EXTREMELY QUIETLY
Although they can make quite a ruckus at the local tavern on a lively evening (especially if there are tables they can dance on), hobbits are known for being able to move around exceptionally quietly. This is how Bilbo Baggins managed to sneak up on the three trolls in The Hobbit without them noticing.
They are also very good at disappearing into the background scenery, which is part of what makes them so good at sneaking into the evil lairs of dragons and/or flaming eyeballs.
2. MOST OF THE MAIN HOBBIT CHARACTERS ARE RELATED TO THE TOOK CLAN, WHICH IS KNOWN TO BE MORE ADVENTUROUS
For a race that’s as famous for being predictable as they are for being short, hobbits sure have a lot of adventures. Whether they’re venturing off to steal from dragons or to throw some jewelry into a volcano, hobbits have been at the center of some of the greatest quests in the history of Middle Earth.
However, most of the hobbits who indulge in the dangerous business of going out their door are related to the Tooks, a family that’s famous amongst hobbits for having far too many adventures (very improper hobbit behavior).
1. THEY ONLY COME OF AGE WHEN THEY TURN 33
Although some of us may act like stupid teenagers all the way into our 30s, we humans are officially adults at the age of 18. Hobbits, on the other hand, only come of age when they turn 33 (but we’re guessing that does little to keep them out of the taverns).
So if their top-notch pipeweed and excellent ale weren’t already making you want to run away to the Shire and embrace the hobbit lifestyle, add 15 extra years of youth to the list of reasons hobbits have it made.