The Harfoots, Explained: How Were They Different From Hobbits? Who Was “The Meteor Man” Whom “Nori” Met?


“The Rings of Power,” once again make us privy to the peculiar yet fascinating life of Hobbits, though this time they are ages away from building the shire, and also from the events that we witnessed in the “Lord of the Rings,” during the Third Age of Middle Earth. We still remember the coziness and comfort of the shire, as shown in Peter Jackson’s masterpiece, and the inquisitiveness of the folks that resided there. Hobbits were peculiar creatures, and they had their own idiosyncratic way of living life. Hobbits did not like getting into the complexities of things. They ate, drank, and had as much fun as they could have in their plush and secured burrows. It was a place that was untouched by evilness. It felt like nothing could ever go wrong in the shire. We witnessed relationships evolving, memories being made, moments being cherished, and a collective liking experienced by all the hobbits for anything that grew. But before the time period that is known as the “Wandering days,” during which the Hobbits began migrating, they didn’t live in orderly communities such as the shire, or like the settlements in Bree and Chetwood, the likes of which we saw in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. 

In “The Rings of Power,” we get introduced to a small group of hobbits that call themselves the “Harfoots.” At this point in the Second Age, the hobbits were divided into three categories: Stoors, Fallohides, and the Harfoots. All three had their own peculiar set of characteristics. Each category had its own distinctive physical traits that made it non-identical to the other two. The Harfoots, for example, had darker skin and were shorter in height as compared to the other two categories. They didn’t have any beards and generally resided on highlands and hillsides. The Stoors were a bit bulky and preferred to make their burrows on the plains and near the river. Fallonhides were the most skilled among all three categories. They were more friendly with the elves, and unlike a quintessential hobbit, they preferred hunting rather than cultivating the land. The Harfoots were a tad bit larger in size as compared to the hobbits that lived in the shire in the Third Age. They were extremely shy (more aptly scared) of men, whom they called the “Big Folks.” 

The Harfoots had a close relationship with mother earth. Maybe that’s why they could so skillfully dig burrows and camouflage themselves whenever the Big Folks passed through their territory. They had a characteristic nimbleness like that of a squirrel or a rabbit that also explains the word “har” in their name, which can be a reference to “Hares.” They could disappear as and when they wished. Some people thought that they were magical beings, but that was not true. They respected the land that gave them food to eat, they respected the delicate balance of things in nature, and never even once did they try to plunder it. Maybe that’s why they could figure out ways to build this close bond with Mother Earth and also find ways to thrive on it. Though the “War of Wrath” had ended, and with Morgoth’s defeat, all evilness was supposed to be vanquished from the face of the Earth, there were some anomalies that were being observed by the highbrows of the Harfoot community.

Who Was The Meteor Man Whom Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot Had Met? 

Elanor Brandyfoot was probably the most snoopy and curious of all the Harfoot kids. Her father, Largo Brandyfoot, pampered her and gave her the freedom that she craved for. Nori had gone to the old farm to eat berries, though she had been told by Marigold Brandyfoot, her mother, time and again to not go there. Nori had felt the presence of some creature, and she thought that she saw somebody prying upon her and her friends. She thought that it was a wolf, and she didn’t tell anybody about it. Elanor was always curious about what was happening in the world. Though the Harfoots considered themselves to be free from the worries of the world, Nori couldn’t stop thinking about what existed beyond their wandering. That’s why she always went and poked her nose in the affairs of Sadoc Burrows and his small team of intellectuals. Sadoc Burrows, an academician of sorts, was a Harfoot who studied the constellations, kept a keen eye on the patterns of nature, and tried to find some rationale behind the mysteries of the world. Sadoc studied the constellations and knew instantly that something was not right. He was not able to clearly explain what the issue was, but he said to Nori that the skies were strange. Nori was curious to know more about his findings, but he didn’t want to share a lot of details with her. The Harfoots kept migrating from one place to another, and before one such migration, something extraordinary happened. Nori saw a meteor in the sky. She followed it and found that it had crashed at a nearby site, very close to the Harfoot settlement. She saw that an unconscious man lay in the middle, circumscribed by fire on all sides. Nori and Poppy Proudfellow had figured out that the man could not be an elf or a Big Folk. In the latter half of episode one of “The Rings of Power,” high king Gil-Galad saw a leaf falling from the tree and evilness running in its veins. Maybe it was a metaphor to denote what was going to happen in the near future. Maybe the meteor man was a fallen angel. 

Though the identity of this man was not revealed by the end of “The Rings of Power” Episode 2, there are hints that tell us that he probably belongs to the very first creations of Eru Iluvatar, known as Ainurs. The Ainurs comprised the Valar and the Maiar. It is important to mention here that Gandalf was an Ainur, but he was born years after the present timeline. Eru Iluvatar taught the Ainurs to make music, and through it, they created the world together. An aerial view of the meteor man gives us the impression that the fire, with him in the middle, made a sort of symbol that denoted something significant. It looked like the makers wanted to pictorially depict harmony and collective consciousness that led to the creation of the world. When the Great Music began, the Ainurs were in harmony and cooperated with each other. Maybe it symbolized that, and the fallen angel was an Ainur. Also, we see that Nori isn’t burned by the fire. It could be indicative of the fact that it was indeed the secret fire, also known as the Flame Imperishable, that gave the power of creation to Eru Iluvatar. The meteor man was constantly trying to communicate by making some cryptic symbols. He was not able to speak or understand the tongues of Nori and Poppy. Ainurs, too, communicated through thoughts and didn’t need a proper language like mortals. Keeping the speculation aside, the man was in desperate need of help. He didn’t remember anything and was in a harried state. Something troubled him, and maybe he knew that evil was going to rise once again like the old times. Possibly, he knew something about Sauron and what he was planning to do.

All these hints and evidence do point towards the possibility that the fallen man could indeed be an Ainur, though the mystery will unfold in the upcoming episodes of “The Rings of Power,” and the real identity and the intentions of the Meteor man will be revealed.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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