Anyway, as some sources say, Hobbits were supposed to be Tolkien’s stand-in for middle-class Englishmen and how they saw the world around them, what with the German-themed Riders of Rohan and the Semitic culture of the dwarves. As can be seen from both the books and the films based on the books, Hobbits are quite intelligent but have little to do with the grand schemes of other races, their powerful sorcery or their technological advancements and prefer their simplistic lifestyle in their little slice of paradise in Middle-Earth. Of course, with all the orcs, goblins, spiders and lurking about, who can really blame them?
Anyway, with the success of Tolkien’s work, it comes as no surprise that the little creatures make appearances in other media as well. Of course, with the word “Hobbit” coined by Tolkien and, unlike Tolkien’s other creatures like dwarves and elves who are already part of ancient folklore, Hobbits are technically Tolkien’s intellectual property and this is what prompted many companies to create similar substitutes instead. The word “Halfling”, actually one of several nicknames for Hobbbits in general, is sometimes used.
Dungeons and Dragons, with most of its elements already inspired by Tolkien’s work, took their own take on the creatures themselves with their “Halflings” and, later on, introduced the really strange and kleptomanic little people called “Kenders.” At first, Halfling’s were almost an alternate company equivalent to Tolkien’s owns creatures but as time went on and the lawyers of Tolkien Enterprises began to raise their eyebrows, D & D gradually tailored their creatures further and further away from their roots in Tolkien’s lore. To the point that, in their more modern incarnations, Halflings are more like shorter versions of elves rather than their Tolkienesque predecessors while keeping much of their love of nature and rather laid-back attitude.
Another, more interesting take on the idea of Hobbits, must come from Games Workshop, those same people who bring us nightmarish worlds and hellish landscapes filled with demons, monsters and nine-foot tall armored warriors wielding chainsaw swords and rapid fire rocket launchers that can be held in one hand. In the settings created by Games Workshop, more specifically Warhammer 40,000, home of the aforementioned armor clad giants, there are “Ratlings”, short humanoid creatures with a penchant for being sneaky, being good cooks and excellent marksmanship. Of course, being in a setting that sucks for everyone, what with monsters wanting to rape, kill and eat (and not precisely in that order either) you at almost every turn, even the Ratlings are somehow corrupted into their worst form possible. In 40k, they are widely known for being thieves, gamblers and rather perverted, leading the setting’s humans (not that they’re any better) to feel disgusted about them.
Then there are the countless parodies of Tolkien’s works such as Bored of the Rings with their Boggies to The Soddit which is a parody of The Hobbit overall. Well, whatever the case, hobbits, much like orcs, have also become a staple of fantasy literature and further enrich stories by having an ingénue race serve as a surrogate audience.