One of the many-many-many things I love about fantasy is the unique races. Where else can you find everything from fierce dwarvish warriors to mischievous fairies?
Granted, races aren’t as diverse as creatures, which we’ll get to next week, but they’re still a huge part of fantasy.
Plenty of options to pick from.
However, the clear winner for my favorite fantasy race is…
I know, big surprise. What can I say?
I can’t go wrong with this one. Despite being created by Tolkien, hobbits have become as much a part of society as hamburgers or sporting events. They’re so popular and well known it’s easy to forget they’re an imaginary race.
Why pick hobbits when I could chose the likes of mighty elves from Middle-earth or warrior-minded Aiel from the Wheel of Time? After all, by fantasy standards, hobbits aren’t that impressive. They’re not skilled in battle. They don’t build magnificent cities or wield impressive powers.
That’s the point. Hobbits are ordinary in most regards, as close to normal in fantasy as you can get. The fact that they’re basically mini humans (quite English in many ways) with furry feet bridges the gap between our world and the wonders of fantasy. It gives readers the foundation of a familiar element amidst uncharted lands, bizarre beasts, and strange powers.
Beyond that, hobbits are, well, hobbits.
- Their innocence and optimism is charming
- They use words like Elevenses
- They have names like Fatty Bolger and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins
- They love to eat, drink, and be merry
Of course, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin are a huge part of why I picked hobbits as my favorite fantasy race. You can throw Bilbo in there, too. Following them on an epic quest reveals angles you didn’t expect and brings their characteristics out in ways you can’t help but love.
Frodo and Bilbo display strength of will and determination fit for folk twice their size. Merry and Pippin start off as mischief-makers, but over the course of the quest, they go from innocent hobbits to devoted companions and brave warriors.
Then there’s Sam. Loyal, kind, tender, pure, protective. I could write an entire post about Sam.
When someone mentions hobbits, I think of Sam. He’s the definition of a hobbit. A gardener who loves the Shire yet has such a large heart he’ll follow his Mr. Frodo through danger and hardship to the Sulfurous air of Mordor.
Hobbits may be small in stature, but as Gandalf discovers, they have a certain strength of character that even great men and elves lack.
Who could ask for more?
Hobbits aren’t cool or powerful, and that’s fine. In our modern mindset, we can put too much emphasis on how physically impressive or epic something is. Everything needs to be bigger, faster, more powerful.
Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes it’s good to take a deep breath, step back from the rush, and, like hobbits, enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as family and friends.
Deep down, don’t we all wish we could be hobbits?
What’s your favorite fantasy race? I would love to hear your thoughts.