J.R.R. Tolkien and The Origin of Hobbits

May 23, 2013

For the UALR English Department, this is J. Bradley Minnick with Facts About Fiction.

“Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum. I don’t know where he came from, nor who or what he was. He was Gollum… as dark as darkness.”

For J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit began while he was marking exam papers as an Oxford college professor when, in a moment of boredom, he scribbled on a blank page what would become one of the most famous lines in children’s literature: 

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”  

Here are the facts: 

Like his old Gollum, Tolkien would obsess over the ring. Over the next few years, he would read to his family at night as they gathered around the fireplace.

He also gathered a company of colleagues at Oxford, including C.S Lewis and Charles Williams, who were known to bemoan "Oh, not more hobbits!" when they read his newest pages.