The Hobbit

Hobbits of Color Need Not Apply

Bagshot Row Bulletin

November 30, 2010
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According to a report in today’s New York Times Arts Beat Blog, a casting agent for the upcoming Hobbit films recently posted an advertisement looking for extras with “light skin tones.”

According to the Agence France-Presse, an actor with a Pakistani background was dismissed at a casting session, and promptly started a Facebook group, “Hire hobbits of all colours! Say no to hobbit racism!”

A spokesperson for Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films has stated that the casting director had received no such instructions, and the studio does not condone discrimination. According to a report on CNN’s Entertainment Blog, the casting director in question has been dismissed.

JRR Tolkien’s Prologue to The Lord of the Rings contains a section titled “Concerning Hobbits,” which tells us that the Harfoots (apparently ancestors of the Bagginses and other Hobbits of the Shire) “were browner of skin” than other Hobbits. It would seem that most Hobbits in the Third Age might be considered “people of color.”

Tolkien has sometimes been accused of racial prejudice. The passage in “Concerning Hobbits” seems to discredit that view. Let’s hope that Jackson and crew will continue to dismiss those who seem uninformed about Tolkien’s intentions, instead of dismissing actors based on their skin tone.




Mark received an Associates degree in Pastoral Ministries in 1989 and was licensed to the Gospel Ministry in 1997. Mark and his wife, who have been married over 30 years, live in northern Indiana. They have four grown children, two granddaughters, and one grandson. Besides his job for a manufacturing company, Mark also sells books—mainly related to C S Lewis and JRR Tolkien—on eBay (iHaveAnInkling).

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