What Is a Harfoot? A Peek at the 'Rings of Power' Hobbit Ancestor

Meet the Harfoots in Prime Video's featurette on the early Hobbits.

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Erin Carson
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With just days to go before the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Prime Video is making a more formal introduction to one of Middle-earth's more mysterious inhabitants: the Harfoots. 

In a featurette shared with CNET, the actors playing various Harfoots talk about the early Hobbits. 

"We're smaller than man, tribelike and brilliant at hiding," says Lenny Henry, who plays a Harfoot named Sadoc, in the video out Friday. If you've been keeping up with trailers, you'll recognize Henry as the Harfoot who whispers, "The skies are strange."

The video starts with a map showing a place called Rhovanion and includes new footage of Harfoots going about their lives in the woods -- hiding, celebrating, being pursued by a beast. Sara Zwangobani, who plays Marigold, talks about how at the time of The Rings of Power, very few people in Middle-earth know they exist or have even seen them. 

A family of Harfoots in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

A family of Harfoots in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Prime Video

Still, Harfoots are not immune from the tumult in Middle-earth. 

"What is happening in their world at that time is unprecedented. I do think it means the Harfoot community now have to reevaluate what needs to change," says Markella Kavenagh, who plays Nori.

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and related works, didn't leave an abundance of information on Harfoots. The bulk of what's known about the Hobbit ancestor comes from the prologue to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, called Concerning Hobbits.

In this prologue, Tolkien describes three breeds of Hobbits: Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides. 

"The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller and shorter, and they were all beardless and bootless," he wrote, "their hands and feet were neat and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides."

He also explained that the Harfoots had dealings with the Dwarves, and of the three types, they were the most numerous.

"They were the most normal and representative variety of Hobbit," Tolkien said. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It hits Prime Video Sept. 2.