Who are the Harfoots? The Rings of Power has an ever-expanding number of plotlines. The fantasy series follows the adventures of Galadriel in Númenor, Bronwyn and Arondir in the Southlands, Elrond and the rest of the Elf-gang in Lindon, and Durin and the Dwarves in Khazad-dûm.
Then, of course, there’s the Harfoots and The Stranger. Their adventures might seem to be at a slower pace with lower stakes. However, we’re sure that they’re bound to be just as important.
But who are the Harfoots, are they Hobbits, and what on Middle-earth are they up to? Fair warning, you might need to get out a map of Middle-earth for this.
Are the Harfoots Hobbits?
First off, yes, the Harfoots are Hobbits – just not quite as we’re used to seeing them.
In the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien describes that, before they had even settled in and around the Shire, Hobbits had already split into three discernible ‘breeds’. These are the Harfoots, the Stoors, and the Fallohides.
The Harfoots are the most numerous of all the three varieties of Hobbits, and are described as being ‘browner of skin’ and preferring highlands and hillsides. In contrast, the Stoors (from which Gollum was descended) had a preference for rivers, and they had larger hands and feet, while the Fallohides were the most Elf-like, being taller and slimmer, with lighter hair and skin, and having a love for trees and woodlands.
So, yes, the Harfoots are indeed Hobbits, just like the ones you’re used to in the Lord of the Rings movies. In fact, they are the most common type of Hobbit.
Where are the Harfoots going?
The Rings of Power follows a band of Harfoots, including the Rings of Power character Nori Bradyfoot, during their ‘Wandering Days’ – a period in which they were prone to migration, including their eventual movement over the Misty Mountains. This allows us to see all the different facets of Middle-earth through the eyes of our 3-foot-friends.
In the fantasy series, Nori’s band of Harfoots is migrating. The exact starting point of their migration, and their destination, are both not explicitly spelt out yet.
What we do know is that when we first see them, the Harfoots are around the Rhovanion region of central Middle-earth. And, from the changes in the landscape and small glimpses of maps, it seems like the Harfoots are certainly migrating East, towards the Southlands and what will eventually become the land of Mordor.
This eastward movement could be how the Harfoots connect with the greater storyline. It might also be how The Stranger’s identity is revealed if he comes into contact with someone who knows who he really is.
What’s next for the Harfoots?
We also know that, according to Tolkien’s prologue in The Lord of the Rings, the exact reason behind the Harfoots’ eventual migration over the Misty Mountains and into Eriador is not known. However, it’s speculated that it could be due to the expanding territories of men and evil growing in Greenwood (later renamed Mirkwood).
If, in The Rings of Power, the Harfoots discover the growing evil presence around the Southlands, that could also be a major factor for their journey eastwards, over the Misty Mountains, and the formation of the Shire. Because if we know one thing about Hobbits, it’s that they like their peace and quiet.
If you’re still left with burning questions about The Rings of Power, check out our guide to Sauron’s magic rings. Or, perhaps the finale left you wondering is Isildur really dead? If you’ve got questions about the future of Middle-earth, we have a guide to the Rings of Power season 2 as well as an article on the Rings of Power cast.