Origin of Hobbits:

by Varda-(Valar)
Dec. 5, 2001


  JRRT purposely made the origin of hobbits a mystery but left clues, then told us outright in the book, "The Letters of JRR Tolkien". The hobbits went unnoticed by the peoples who kept written letters and themselves kept only a vague oral tradition until coming into contact with the last remnants of the Kingdom of Arnor, the north kingdom. They have forgotten themselves, mostly. Thus the stories themselves can hardly do more than give hints of the origin.

  JRRT tells us this in his "Letters" p. 158 footnote which I paraphrase for brevity:
  The Hobbits are meant to be a branch of the human race, not dwarves or elves. Hence the two kinds can live together as they do in Bree, calling themselves the Big Folk and the Little Folk. They have no non-human "powers" but are more in touch with nature such as the soil, plants, and animals. Abnormally for humans, they are free from ambition or the greed for wealth. They are small, half human stature and dwindling with the passing of years. The size is partly to exhibit the pettiness of plain, unimaginative, parochial man. The other reason is to show, in creatures of very small physical power, the amazing and unexpected heroism of ordinary men "at a pinch".

  The Hobbit is written purposely in the style of a child's fairy-tale as a study of ordinary man, neither artistic, noble, nor heroic but carrying the seeds of these things. The story gradually shifts into a high setting as the hobbit develops these qualities during his travels, then purposely shifts style back down with the hobbit's return home to others who have not been through what he has, yet with hints of his hidden continuing with the touch of outside and greatness. For he has the One Ring, by design of the Valar, poised for the destruction of the rising Shadow in Mirkwood which is Sauron.

Reference: The Letters of JRR Tolkien