Harfoots

From Tolkien Gateway
Harfoots
People
Lidia Postma - Hobbits comparison.jpg
Hobbits by Lidia Postma
General Information
OriginsA group of Hobbits
LocationsVales of Anduin, Bree, The Shire
LanguagesHobbitish, Westron
Physical Description
Lifespanc. 96 years
Average heightShorter than the other Hobbits
Hair colorNo beards
Skin colorBrowner than the other Hobbits
ClothingNo footwear

Harfoots are one of the three breeds of Hobbits. The Harfoots were the most common and typical of the kinds.[1]

Characteristics[edit]

They were shorter and smaller than the other breeds, browner of skin, had no beards, and did not wear any footwear; Their hands and feet were neat and nimble. They liked highlands and hillsides, and lived in holes they called smials, a habit which they long preserved. They were accustomed to settle in one place longer.[1]

They were also on very friendly terms with the Dwarves, who travelled through the High Pass on the Great Road.[1]

History[edit]

In their earliest known history, the Harfoots lived in the lower foothills of the Misty Mountains in the Vales of Anduin, in an area roughly bounded by the Gladden River in the south and the small forested region where later was the Eagle's Eyrie near the High Pass to the north.

They were the first to migrate westward into Eriador, beginning thus the Wandering Days of the Hobbit peoples[1]. They were first recorded in Arnorian records around T.A. 1050 and it was to them that the name Periannath (Halflings) was first applied by the Dúnedain of Arnor.

They tended to settle down for long times, and founded numerous villages[source?] as far as Weathertop while at the same time their kin were still back in the Vales.[1] By the 1300s of the Third Age they had reached Bree, which long was the most western village of any Hobbits.[2]

The Harfoots were joined between T.A. 1150 and T.A. 1300 by the Fallohides. The Harfoots took Fallohides, a bolder breed, as their leaders.

When the Shire was colonized in T.A. 1601, most of its people were Harfoots.[1]

Etymology[edit]

Harfoots means "one with hairy feet", and is a translation of an archaic Hobbitish form of an old Westron name.

The word is supposed to represent archaic English hǣr-fōt > herfoot > harfoot.

Tolkien noted that Modern English hair, though related, is not a direct descendant of Old English hǣr, hēr and therefore *"hairfoot" would not be a faithful translation.[3][note 1]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

2022: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:

The Harfoots are portrayed as ancient halfling travelers of highlands and hillsides. Harfoots dwell within portable homes in a caravan that could blend into the natural environment. They delighted in parties, coming up with the traditional Harvest Festival to prepare for their migrations from one seasonal haven to another. The Harfoots utilize symbols within a pictographic writing system to produce meanings and note natural rhymes and tabulations to prepare for migrations. Each Harfoot caravan has a Trailfinder who leads them. Trailfinders utilize a Star-book inherited through generations to aid their caravan on the safest course in each migration. During migrations, the Harfoots carry their most valuable possessions inside carts. If a Harfoot falls behind, the caravan moves on without them, instead taking them with them only in spirit, in essence, abandoning them to die or "decaravanized". In addition, Harfoots can also be "decaravanized" by breaking the rules of the community.

Notes

  1. However, Wiktionary shows hair as derived directly from hǣr.

References