Amazon Prime just released the first image of Sir Lenny Henry's Harfoot Sadoc Burrows, and fans have questions about whether hobbits can actually be Black in Tolkien's original books.
'The Rings of Power' series will almost certainly cause controversy upon its release, as Tolkien fandom is known for being incredibly demanding; all LotR-related projects have to be 100% canon-compliant, and Amazon's series creators don't seem to have that goal in mind. With the diverse cast the series boasts, some dedicated Tolkienists are already voicing their concerns about the streaming giant trying to ruin the beloved fantasy world.
However, most fans are still excited that Middle-earth will finally return to their home screens, albeit in a slightly altered form.
As the Amazon series goes back in time, there are bound to be some interesting new characters, and iconic comedian Sir Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows is sure to be on the very top of that list. Henry will play Harfoot, which is one of three breeds (tribes) of Hobbits, and thanks to Peter Jackson's take on Tolkien's history, Hobbits are still considered an exclusively white race. But can a Black Hobbit actually exist within the complex lore of 'The Lord of the Rings'?
Of course, it can. As one fan argues on Twitter, Black Hobbits are certainly a very realistic scenario, but only if Amazon's creative team decides to properly explain their origins. Since the series will take place almost five thousand years before the events of the original trilogy, the Hobbits living there may be different from the likes of Frodo and Bilbo. The origins of the Hobbits may finally be revealed, and thanks to the Tolkien canonical works, fans already know that these little men with hairy legs came from the East, and arrived to the Western parts of Middle-earth much earlier than its other inhabitants.
"I have no intrinsic objection to casting non-white actors because middle earth as written and sketched by Tolkien clearly had major territories (not much explored) with darker peoples. But I hope its done in a way which broadens and deepens the world and not just arbitrary quotas," – @Pythagasaurus3.
Thus, based on this information, hobbits may have originally come to the East from the region commonly known as Harad, a brutal place inhabited by proud darker-skinned people, strengthened by harsh sandy winds and an endless struggle for survival. If Amazon's creative team decides to pursue this line of storytelling, who knows, it may turn out that all the hobbits were originally black.
For that to happen, however, 'The Rings of Power' must be recognized as canon in the first place, and fans will surely decide that for themselves after the series premieres on September 2, 2022.