First to the trolls. No, not the Middle-earth trolls who turn to stone in the light of day. Toxic fandom trolls. Before yelling that there are no black hobbits, do like five seconds of research. There is in fact of them races of Black Hobbits. The Harfoots and the Stoors. The Harfoot looked a lot like the Hobbits of the Shire, but moved further west. The Stoors were very unique. They were wearing shoes! We haven’t seen any of them in any of the six Middle-earth movies, but we’ll see them now. Sir Lenny Henry will play the first Black Hobbit in the upcoming Amazon series. Hope the first of many.
How will Amazon represent a Black Hobbit community in the old age?
(Promotional image for Amazon Prime Anansi boys)
With this great news, there is also a bit of trepidation. It could go very wrong, very quickly. But, in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live Show, Henry discussed his role and how the Harfoots will play a role in the series:
“For the past two years I’ve been working on The Lord of the Rings and it’s an amazing thing, it’s the biggest TV show ever made, in terms of money and staff. Literally a hundred people on the set were staring at you and trying to figure out what you would look like four feet tall… I’m a Harfoot, because JRR Tolkien, who was also from Birmingham, suddenly there were black hobbits, I am a black hobbit, that’s awesome.
Why the Harfoot, Gandalf?
(Image: Tolkien Gateway)
Yes, Sir Henry, it really is. But he continues. There’s a particular reason we see the Harfoots and not the Stoors:
“is a prequel to the age we saw in the movies, these are the early days of the Shire and Tolkien environment, so we are a native Harfoot population, we are hobbits but we are call us Harfoots, we are multicultural, we are a tribe not a race, therefore we are black, Asian and brown, even Maori type within it.
The Hobbits were not established as a society in the Second Age, and the Harfoot are generally considered to be the oldest breed of Hobbits. So a tribe, rather than a large race, culture and community, makes sense.
The first Black Hobbit is also a big fan of Tolkien
Image via New Line Cinema
Sir Henry’s enthusiasm for the series is wonderful. It goes beyond discussions about the Harfoots and discusses the series as a whole, especially how it fits into the books and the movies:
“Because it’s based on the Silmarillion which was almost like a cheat sheet for what will happen next in this world in the second and third ages. And the writers are having a lot of fun extrapolating all of that, and it’s going to be very exciting. There is a very strong female presence in there, there will be female heroes in this evocation of the story, they will be little people as usual.
The Silmarillion has many more wives than The Lord of the Rings, who in the books had one featured as a hero (Éowyn), a super powerful woman (Galadriel), and some sort of princess (Arwen). The Hobbit featured… none. They had to create female characters for the movies. The Silmarillion offers a few dozen. Aerin, who burned a Haradrim Palace to the ground. Galadriel, whose beauty inspired the formation of the Simarils. Andreth, the first human to have a relationship with an elf – and helped strategize in times of war. Ilmarë, chief and greatest of the Maiar. Etc.
The formation of a Black Hobbit breed and more badass women? At least we have the Amazon Middle-Earth series release date to look forward to.
from amazon the Lord of the Rings will debut on September 22, 2022.
Featured Image via New Line Cinema
Roman Colombo completed his MFA in 2010 and now teaches graphic novel writing and literature at various colleges in Philadelphia. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He is currently working on his next novel and hopes to find an agent soon.