I understand that Smeagol was a Hobbit-like creature at least and always thought the "river-folk" were distantly related beings (similar to say, the Hyena and the Dog, but not actually exactly the same species. Many people seem to believe the contrary and talk as if the "river-folk" were, in fact, Hobbits for sure.

The Tolkien Gateway, Wikia, and others even specify he was originally a stoorish hobbit, where does the evidence to support this come from - or is there any?

The thing relevant quote from The Hobbit:

Riddles were all [Gollum] could think of. Asking them, and sometimes guessing them, had been the only game he had ever played with other funny creatures sitting in their holes in the long, long ago, before the goblins came, and he was cut off from his friends far under under the mountains.

Gollum brought up memories of ages and ages and ages before, when he lived with his grandmother in a hole in a bank by a river (…) Gollum remembered thieving from nests long ago, and sitting under the river bank teaching his grandmother, teaching his grandmother to suck—"Eggses!" he hissed.

While the idea of the hole, enjoying riddles, and living a seeming idyllic life are reminiscent of Hobbits, they do not generally like water so would not be boatmen or live along a river bank, and thieving eggs for food doesn't sound very hobbitish either.

Of course there are exceptions to the rules of Hobbit society (Bilbo, being one of them) and things evolve and change over-time, perhaps an ancient predecessor society such as that something more than 500 years old (such as Gollum) may have been more of a fishing kind of creature (I believe it was a group of Brandybucks that did enjoy living nearer the river in "modern" Hobbit culture), but I just don't remember anything that said for certain he was in fact a hobbit for sure - let alone specified any stoorish origins. I'd love to know where this idea originates.

I know there are other passages in LOTR's such as the one where he talks about even forgetting what bread tastes like and it has been years since I've read the entire thing so I hope I am not missing something obvious here.

Is there anything more definite or is this just a hinted at thing left up for personal interpretation that most people have interpreted to mean it is a sure thing that he was once a hobbit?

  • 2
    The suggested duplicate asks if Gollum was always a Hobbit in an out-of-universe context (i.e. if Tolkien had intended for him to be a Hobbit at the time he wrote The Hobbit), this one is in-universe.
    – user8719
    Nov 30, 2013 at 0:56
  • @balancedmama - not a bad question (you only got one downvote, so don't get discoureaged!) but it does appear to be a duplicate. Nov 30, 2013 at 13:31
  • I don't believe they are duplications at all. They both use the same quote, and they are both about Gollum's origins. However, my question is about confirmation of Smeagol's hobbitness, where-as the other question is about Tolkien's writing process and when in that process the decision was made to make Gollum a former hobbit. Nov 30, 2013 at 22:44

2 Answers 2



In the Tale of Years for TA 2463 (RotK Appendix B) we have the following entry:

About this time Déagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Sméagol

This is as unambiguous as it's possible to get: Stoors are Hobbits and Déagol was a Stoor.

  • Tale of Years is just one of the Lord of the Rings appendices.
    – Plutor
    Nov 30, 2013 at 13:23
  • Well, it is time to dig out my copy of LotR I guess! Nov 30, 2013 at 15:36

Not exactly, no. Deagol and Smeagol were afflicted by the ring instantly. They didn't even need to wear it, whereas Bilbo and Frodo and Sam and even Merry and Pip didn't seem to bothered by it at first or at all. So I'd have to say they are distantly related, but not the same. I'd say they are probably a hybrid of man and hobbit. Man succumbs to the ring instantly as well. Hobbits have some resistance though, like dwarves. Some of those hobbit woman were pretty cute, so I can see humans hooking up with them.

  • 1
    More like Sméagol was taken in so quickly; poor Déagol didn't have a chance, really. But just like we as people in our world vary in all sorts of ways including strength and weakness (and so badly seeking power is a weakness and even more when you're willing to murder - and that's not even considering the power of the One Ring), so too do hobbits. Look at Sandyman, for example. Look at the other corrupted hobbits at the end. That is plenty of evidence by itself that some were more resilient than others to, let's say, 'life'. The fact of the matter is he was a Stoor.
    – Pryftan
    Jul 22, 2017 at 23:21
  • Right. There are 3 races of hobbit. Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides. Riverfolk were stoor. They were the same but different. Each had their own characteristics. It's just a theory of mine that stoor were mixed with man. It wouldn't be the first time man mixed with another race. I wonder if evolution existed in this world. Since Creationism clearly played a role.
    – user77299
    Jul 23, 2017 at 7:23
  • I would say that it did exist although I currently can't think of an example. What is certain is some hobbits took the idea of houses (from men? elves? both? I can't recall) and improved it (at least for their liking). That's kind of evolution though maybe evolution of doing something. Another example maybe? Glaurung was the father of dragons but he had no wings. I suppose it depends on how you interpret it. The only other thing I can think of is hobbits were rather shy of Big Folk so probably less likely. Either way I still don't believe Riverfolk had the blood of Men in them.
    – Pryftan
    Jul 23, 2017 at 17:52
  • 2
    I was just reminded of one of the Letters from the answer: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/35020/85680 (another question) where Tolkien describes them as a branch of Men. However he meant it at least in my scientifically inclined mind that is evolution. Whether you want to call them part human is another matter entirely; the prologue to The Lord of the Rings makes it clear they don't even know so I think the only correct answer is if they don't know we have to assume they aren't (burden of proof lies on those claiming something exists). With no complete proof it remains a debate, I guess.
    – Pryftan
    Jul 23, 2017 at 18:03
  • 1
    The proof of the pudding would have been to know what Lotho Sackville-Baggins would have done with the ring. Although unanswerable really, I'd speculate it wouldn't have been pretty.
    – Spencer
    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:08

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