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Hey, Fantasy Readers, a Question For You!

Just out of curiosity, if you exclude Tolkien specifically, and Dungeons and Dragons tie-in fiction, what fantasy works can you name that include creatures recognizable as "halflings"?

I ask this because I had a neat idea for a story involving halflings, and I'm interested in looking around at precedents, if there are any.

So far, again excluding the obvious Tolkien and D&D I've been able to think of three:

  • The Wizard of Oz -- I've not read the books, only seen the famous film, but the Munchkins in the movie seem pretty halflingish, if more than a little over-the-top.

  • Willow -- The "Nelwin" of Willow are pretty obvious !Hobbits.

  • In the '80s there was a series of fantasy novels, of which I've forgotten both the author and title, alas, but which were explicitly "MOAR Lord of the Rings except with the serial numbers shaved off" (as in, the author came out and said as much in a prologue), and which featured a halfling hero. I wish I could remember the name of this series.

Can anybody come up with others?

-The Gneech

EDIT: The Iron Tower trilogy, that's it!


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 17th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Everquest is a big one - complete with a rather complex halfling culture.

Dec. 17th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
I'd call EQ and its kin "D&D tie-ins". It's obvious what they're TRYING to be, even as they're trying NOT to be.
Dec. 17th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
If you count video and computer games, then you have just about any fantasy RPG made in the U.S. or Europe before Diablo.
Dec. 17th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Generally computer games are different flavors of D&D, so I'm not really looking at that. Thanks anyhoo! :)

Dec. 17th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Mary Gentle's Grunts - although there is some question whether the "halflings" in there are more a hobbits or half-elves. There seem to be elements of both.

Also, most modern works which include "gnomes" - since Disney came out with The Gnome-mobile, modern portrayals of gnomes have more or less been hobbits without the ADD/frivolity. To which you can add the Littles and other similar such.
Dec. 17th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
An Unexpected Apprentice, by Jody Lynn Nye, is about a halfling woman whose family is slaughtered in a McGuffin Beast Attack. Since, in her quaint little faintly-Amish halfling community, a woman can't own property, she's almost instantly slated to be married off to someone not of her choosing, to manage her extensive family properties. So, she takes a letter of introduction originally sent one of her now-deceased brothers and sets off to become apprentice to a wizard.

I really liked this one, and I'm not usually one for conventional fantasy settings. This is a particularly GOOD take on the ISO Standard Fantasy Setting, and the protagonist is engaging and likable.

First in a trilogy or series; I'm waiting for the rest.

Edited at 2009-12-17 05:46 pm (UTC)
Dec. 17th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
That sounds pretty cool, I'll definitely look into it. Thanks!

Dec. 17th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Dec. 17th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Having realised that might have been taken as a facetious suggestion, I should add that, while it was semi-serious suggestion, Halflings, Hobbits, Warrows and Weefolk might be a more useful resource for you. :)
Dec. 17th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
Would you count the Dragonlance books as "D&D tie-in"? 'Cause that's the only thing I could come up with.
Dec. 17th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, Draginlance is the definition of D&D Tie in. Not only were the books produced by the company responcible for D&D, the setting was converted into a game setting.

Strangely, Dragonlance spawned another very similair archtype to the Tolkein halfing: the mechanical obsessed gnome. They were originally a branch off of the hobbit tree I think, since Dragonlance's gnomes are the first place I've seen them. They made it into the Warcraft universe, and now it's another default acrhtype like hobbits.

Almost every stock fantasy world has one or the other, or in some bad cases both.
Dec. 17th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
I didn't know that! LOL
Dec. 18th, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
You probably know this :P
But to clarify; not 'converted' into a game setting; it was more simultaneous than that. In fact, the first book of the orignal trilogy is very closely based on the authors running the original module of the Dragonlance setting (which they also wrote). That's why the fights in it go so very badly for the characters sometimes; the first time they run into the draconians is a good example, because they almost get TPKed there. There's real dice rolls behind what happens in that book.

The second and third books diverge more from the game, because they wanted to split the party and so forth. But anyway, the game modules came 'first'.. they weren't released until the same time or after the books, but they were written first.
Dec. 18th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Re: You probably know this :P
Oh yes, i did. :) you can also tell exactly who are the DM npcs, who the dead character replacement's are, and so forth.

You can also tell when they skipped whole dungeons because they just weren't interesting enough to make part of the story.
Dec. 17th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)

I have that one, although i never finished it. I should give it another shot, someday.

I also have "Grunts" mentioned above, which i have finished. (and enjoyed immensely.)

Would you like the loan of either?
Dec. 18th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
An interesting take would be the wolf-rider elves and trolls out of the "ElfQuest" comic series by Wendy and Richard Pini. I saw a lot of their concepts borrowed in many a D&D game. The graphic novels (1-4) are a good read as a long arc and are usually in the local library.

Hobbits also remind me of the myriad of various demi-creatures in celtic lore, many bad, a few good, but all tied to the land in some way.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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