Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Reveals New Look at Harfoots, Ancestors of Hobbits

Meet the Harfoots, Middle-earth's Second Age ancestors of the Hobbits in Prime Video's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. J.R.R. Tolkien specifically noted that Hobbits played no great role in the happenings of Middle-earth prior to Bilbo Baggins finding the One Ring. That left The Rings of Power's writers in a bind. It's hard to have a show based in MIddle-earth without somehow featuring Tolkien's most beloved creations. Middle-earth did start in a book titled The Hobbit after all. The show's writers found a loophole in the Harfoots, the Hobbits' ancestors/cousins. While they are technically different from the Hobbits featured in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings film trilogies (which Rings of Power is not trying to compete with), Lenny Henry, who plays Sadoc Burrows, says they fall into a familiar archetype.

"We're the traditional Tolkien little guy," Henry tells Empire Magazine. "Traditionally, the little people in this world provide comedy but also get to be incredibly brave. You're going to see us run the full gamut of emotions and actions in this adventure."

(Photo: Prime Video)

Henry also commented on joining Middle-earth as a person of color, adding some diverse representation to a franchise and genre where such roles are often rare. "If you can't see it, you can't be it," Henry says. "Finally, in this show, kids are going to see people of color taking up space in the center of a fantasy series. We're very visible in this world and that's very exciting."

The Rings of Power co-showrunner Patrick McKay previously touched on the Harfoots' role in the series. "One of the very specific things the texts say is that hobbits never did anything historic or noteworthy before the Third Age," McKay said in an interview with Vanity Fair. "But really, does it feel like Middle-earth if you don't have hobbits or something like hobbits in it?

"They may not live in The Shire, but they are satisfyingly hobbit-adjacent. McKay and [co-showrunner J.D.] Payne have constructed a pastoral harfoot society that thrives on secrecy and evading detection so that they can play out a kind of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead story in the margins of the bigger quests. Two lovable, curious harfoots, played by Megan Richards and Markella Kavenagh, encounter a mysterious lost man whose origin promises to be one of the show's most enticing enigmas."

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Prime Video on September 2nd.