|See also:||The Hobbit (book) and The Hobbit (film series)|
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Hobbit is a self-descriptive term used by a race originating in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth -verse. Hobbits first appear on the scene in Tolkien's book of the same name (The Hobbit), which chronicles the journey of reluctant adventurer Bilbo Baggins. In the Lord of the Rings, readers come to know hobbits in more detail, as they follow the paths of four hobbits (Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took) through many of the lands of Middle-earth, on a great and perilous journey.
Hobbits are a peaceful agrarian race. Their appearance is of a half-height human, with hairy feet; unlike Dwarves they habitually go barefoot. Hobbits are quiet and surprisingly tough creatures; although they prefer home, hearth and comfort, they are able to endure great hardships and privations, both mental and physical.
Fans often say they identify with hobbits for their good humor and enjoyment of food (especially mushrooms), drink, smoking pipeweed, and other simple pleasures. They also take inspiration from hobbits' courage in dire situations. Connie Marie contrasted Frodo's strength with that of traditional action heroes in the essay One Step More: The Heroism Of Frodo Baggins.
The hobbit section of The Lord of the Rings fandom is rather disconnected from the rest of the fandom. Many archives, mailing lists, challenges, and communities have been run specifically for hobbitfic. Many hobbit fans have little contact with fans of Men and Elves, although some are interested in the other races of Middle-earth. Fannish activities include cosplay, sometimes with prosthetic hobbit feet (which went on long before the Jackson films), and feasts featuring mushroom dishes.
Most fan activity focuses on the Travellers, the four hobbit characters who went on the Quest. Frodo/Sam and Merry/Pippin are popular slash pairings. Interspecies pairings with humans, such as Frodo/Faramir, also have a following but tend to divide fans. Many fans prefer gen, including fic about Frodo's relationship with his adopted "Uncle" Bilbo. Fics may be labeled pre-Quest (tending to be fluffier), Quest (action/adventure), or post-Quest (angsty!). Other fans are interested in hobbit society, including the lives of minor hobbit characters (such as Rosie Cotton, Fatty Bolger, and names on the family trees) during the Troubles, the year the Travellers went away and the Shire was occupied by Saruman and his henchmen.
There is some notable fanon associated with hobbits and hobbit culture; one example is the "hobbitpile", popularized in Baylor's The Care and Feeding of Hobbits, in which hobbits sleep piled up together for warmth and comfort; other fanon deals with hobbit and Shire society, or with hobbits who are only mentioned in Appendix C of LotR, the Family Trees. For example a common fanon is to pair Frodo with Pippin's eldest sister Pearl, or that prior to Bilbo, Saradoc and Esmeralda Brandybuck (Merry's parents) were Frodo's guardians.
Notable Hobbit Fanfic
- Pretty Good Year by Mary Borsellino
- Rites of Passage by Willow-Wode
- On Gorgoroth Plain, by Teasel – winner of the Lord of the Rings category in the Mithril Awards 2003
- Legacy, by Anglachel – winner of the Hobbits category of the Mithril Awards 2003
- Care and Feeding of Hobbits, by Baylor – winner of the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit & gen categories of the voted section of the Mithril Awards 2003