Is the height of races (men, elves, orcs, goblins, etc.) ever mentioned by Tolkien? If not, did the movies just make up the various heights?



Númenóreans (2nd age) - 7'

Halflings was derived from the Numenorean name for them (in Sindarin Periannath). ... The name thus evidently referred to their height as compared with Numenorean men, and was approximately accurate when first given. The Numenoreans were a people of great stature.... Their full-grown men were often seven feet tall.
Private memorandum critiquing Pauline Baynes’ poster-map, quoted in The Lord of the Rings A Reader's Companion

Dúnedain (3rd age) - 6'4"

The Númenórean ranga was slightly longer than our yard, approximately thirty-eight inches, owing to their great stature. ... Account has to be taken both of the great stature of the Númenóreans (since hands, feet, fingers and paces are likely to be the origin of names of units of length), and also of the variations from these averages or norms in the process of fixing and organising a measurement system both for daily use and for exact calculations. Thus two rangar was often called "man-high," which at thirty-eight inches gives an average height of six feet four inches; but this was at a later date, when the stature of the Dúnedain appears to have decreased, and also was not intended to be an accurate statement of the observed average of male stature among them, but was an approximate length expressed in the well-known unit ranga.
Unfinished Tales - "Númenórean Linear Measures"

Elendil the Tall - 7'11" or 7'

It is however said of the great people of the past that they were more than a man-high. Elendil was said to be "more than man-high by nearly half a ranga;" but he was accounted the tallest of all the Númenóreans who escape the Downfall.
Unfinished Tales - "Númenórean Linear Measures"

Isildur - 7'

Aragorn - 6'6"

Boromir - 6'4"

the Numenoreans before the Downfall were a people of great stature and strength, the Kings of Men; their full grown men were commonly seven feet tall, especially in the royal and noble houses. In the North where men of other kinds were fewer and their race remained purer this stature remained more frequent, though in both Arnor and Gondor apart from mixture of race the Numenoreans showed a dwindling of height and of longevity in Middle-earth that became more marked as the Third Age passed. Aragorn, direct descendant of Elendil and his son Isildur, both of whom had been seven feet tall, must nonetheless have been a very tall man ..., probably at least 6 ft. 6; and Boromir, of high Numenorean lineage, not much shorter (say 6 ft. 4).
A "late, unpublished note" quoted in The Lord of the Rings A Reader's Companion

Rohirim - shorter than 6'4"

Éomer - 6'6"

The Rohirrim were generally shorter, for in their far-off ancestry they had been mingled with men of broader and heavier build. Éomer was said to have been tall, of like height with Aragorn; but he with other descendants of King Thengel were taller than the norm of Rohan, deriving this characteristic (together in some cases with darker hair) from Morwen, Thengel's wife, a lady of Gondor of high Númenórean descent.
Unfinished Tales - "Númenórean Linear Measures"

Hobbits & Dwarves

Fallohides - taller than 3'6"

Harfoots - 3'6"

Stoors - shorter than 3'6"

Shire Hobbits - 3'-4'

The descriptions and assumptions of the text are not in fact haphazard, and are based on a standard: the average height of a male adult hobbit at the time of the story. For Harfoots this was taken as 3 ft. 6; Fallohides were slimmer and a little taller; and Stoors broader, stouter, and somewhat shorter. The remarks in the Prologue [concerning the height of Hobbits] . .. are unnecessarily vague and complicated, owing to the inclusion of references to supposed modern survivals of the race in later times; but as far as the LR [Lord of the Rings] is concerned they boil down to this: the hobbits of the Shire were in height between 3 and 4 feet in height, never less and seldom more. They did not of course call themselves Halflings; this was the Númenórean name for them. It evidently referred to their height in comparison with Númenórean men, and was approximately accurate when given.
Private memorandum critiquing Pauline Baynes’ poster-map, quoted in The Lord of the Rings A Reader's Companion and Unfinished Tales

Dwarves - 4'

Hobbits today - less than 3'

The description of the height of hobbits is perhaps unnecessarily vague and complicated in the Prologue.... But it boils down to this: Dwarves were about 4 ft. high at least. Hobbits were lighter in build, but not much shorter; their tallest men were 4 ft., but seldom taller. Though nowadays their survivors are seldom 3 ft. high, in the days of the story they were taller which means that they usually exceeded 3 ft. and qualified for the name of halfling. But the name 'halfling' must have originated circa T[hird] A[ge] 1150, getting on for 2,000 years (1868) before the War of the Ring, during which the dwindling of the Numenoreans had shown itself in stature as well as in life-span. So that it referred to a height of full-grown males of an average of, say, 3 ft. 5. The dwindling of the Dunedain was not a normal tendency, shared by peoples whose proper home was Middle-earth; but due to the loss of their ancient land far in the West, nearest of all mortal lands to 'The Undying Realm'. The much later dwindling of hobbits must be due to a change in their state and way of life; they became a fugitive and secret people, driven as Men, the Big Folk, became more and more numerous, usurping the more fertile and habitable lands, to refuge in forest or wilderness: a wandering and poor folk, forgetful of their arts and living a precarious life absorbed in the search for food and fearful of being seen; for cruel men would shoot them for sport as if they were animals. In fact they relapsed into the state of 'pygmies'. The other stunted race, the Druedain, never rose much above that state.
Private memorandum critiquing Pauline Baynes’ poster-map, quoted in The Lord of the Rings A Reader's Companion

Bilbo - 3' or 3'6"

Actual size – only important if other objects are in picture – say about three feet or three feet six inches. The hobbit in the picture of the gold-hoard, Chapter XII, is of course (apart from being fat in the wrong places) enormously too large. But (as my children, at any rate, understand) he is really in a separate picture or 'plane' – being invisible to the dragon.
1938 Letter to the Houghton Mifflin Company, published in Letters of J.R.R Tolkien

Pippin - Shorter than Frodo, Sam, and Merry

'Yes,' he said, 'they are quite plain: a hobbit's footprints. Pippin's I think. He is smaller than the others.
The Lord of the Rings - Book III Chapter 2 - "The Riders of Rohan"

Merry and Pippin after drinking ent-draughts - 4'

I am nearly twenty-nine, so I pass you there; though I am but four feet, and not likely to grow any more, save sideways.’
The Lord of the Rings - Book V Chapter 1 - "Minas Tirith"

Orcs, and talking trees, and leagues of grass, and galloping riders. and glittering caves, and white towers and golden halls, and battles, and tall ships sailing, all these passed before Sam’s mind until he felt bewildered. But amidst all these wonders he returned always to his astonishment at the size of Merry and Pippin; and he made them stand back to back with Frodo and himself. He scratched his head. ‘Can’t understand it at your age!’ he said. ‘But there it is: you’re three inches taller than you ought to be, or I’m a dwarf.’
The Lord of the Rings - Book VI Chapter 4 - "The Field of Cormallen"


Male elves - 6'6"

Female elves - 6'

The Quendi Elves were in origin a tall people. The Eldar ... were those ... who accepted the invitation of the Valar to remove from Middle-earth and set forth on the Great March to the Western Shores of Middle-earth. They were in general the stronger and taller members of the Elvish folk at that time. In Eldarin tradition it was said that even their women were seldom less than six feet in height; their full-grown elfmen no less than six and a half feet, while some of the great kings and leaders were taller.
A "late manuscript" quoted in The Lord of the Rings A Reader's Companion

Galadriel - 6'4"

The Eldar of the Elder Days were also very tall. Galadriel, "the tallest of all the women of the Eldar of whom tales tell," was said to be man-high, but it is noted "according to the measure of the Dúnedain and the men of old," indicating a height of about six feet four inches.
Unfinished Tales - "Númenórean Linear Measures"


[Celeborn] was held by them to be tall, as his name indicated ("silver-tall"); but the Teleri were in general somewhat less in build and stature than the Noldor.
Unfinished Tales - "Númenórean Linear Measures"

Legolas - Shorter than 6'6"

Aragorn was the tallest of the Company, but Boromir, little less in height, was broader and heavier in build.
The Lord of the Rings - Book II Chapter 3 - "The Ring Goes South"


Gandalf - 5'6"

But his colours were always white, silver-grey, and blue – except for the boots he wore when walking in the wild . . . Gandalf even bent must have been at least 5 ft. 6 . . . Which would make him a short man even in modern England, especially with the reduction of a bent back.
Private memorandum critiquing Pauline Baynes’ poster-map, quoted in The History of the Hobbit

  • Pippin was slighter than Merry but nonetheless taller. – Buzz Jul 19 at 16:37
  • @Buzz - I was following Hammond & Scull, who interpret Christopher Tolkien's commentary about that line as a reference to Pippin's height. (They index it in The Reader's Companion under Took, Peregrin ‘Pippin’, height.) – ibid Jul 19 at 17:05

Yes, he has, but as far as I remember, not for all the races.

  • Hobbits were 3 to 4 feet tall -- average 3 feet, 6 inches ( Letter #27)

    Actual size – only important if other objects are in picture – say about three feet or three feet six inches.


  • Orcs were 3 & 1/2 to 4 feet tall ( The Fellowship of the Ring)

The size of the Elves and the men was similar. There was a mention I think that the dwarves had similar height to the Hobbits, if not slightly taller.

  • 2
    What's your specific reference for orc height? That doesn't sound right to me. – Matt Gutting Apr 18 '15 at 18:30
  • @MattGutting I don't know but I'd guess that height would be for regular orcs. Not Uruk Hai. – sevvack Apr 19 '15 at 5:00
  • 1
    Elves and men are of similar height, but not all men and elves are... Numenoreans and high elves are often more than 6'6, like Aragorn and the Dunadan, Celeborn and Galadriel (which is reputed very high for a woman). Elrond and his sons are also said to be very tall. Other men are usually more like the modern standard in height, between 5 and 6 feet high. Uruks are almost normal man height, so I put them in the low 5'. But they are said to be very broad in chest. – Joel Apr 20 '15 at 14:43
  • The Goblins of the Misty Mountains are probably small like that. The Gundabad (e.g. Bolg) and Mordor orcs (e.g. Gorbag) should be more man-sized, if they stood up straight. – OrangeDog Jul 19 at 9:55

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