The Difference Between Hobbit Feet And Harfoot Feet In The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power [Exclusive]

If you've been watching the Prime Video series "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," you'll know that there are hobbit-like creatures called harfoots wandering the land. The harfoots are the precursors to the hobbits, as this series takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies (which are set in the Third Age).

Unlike the homebody hobbits who live in the Shire and mostly don't like to leave, the Harfoots are nomadic. They still have the curly hair, the diminutive stature, and the friendly nature of hobbits, but they're not quite the same. They also have the giant hairy feet that the hobbits sported in the movies, but the prosthetic feet are a little more advanced in "The Rings of Power." 

/Film's own Vanessa Armstrong recently spoke to Jamie Wilson, the head of prosthetics for "The Rings of Power." Wilson has had a long career in Middle-earth, working for Weta Workshop during the production of Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and serving as the armor and weapons production manager for "The Hobbit" trilogy. He explained that while harfoot and hobbit feet are fundamentally the same, advances in hairy foot technology since over the last two decades mean that there's a new and improved recipe for "The Rings of Power."

Oversized hairy feet'

While the "Rings of Power" prosthetics team are still making "oversized hairy feet," the big difference is in the movement and tech that created them. After all, this is one of Wilson's areas of expertise: "I started making hobbit feet in 1999, and I'm still doing it." 

Wilson and the rest of the team at Weta made 1,800 pairs of hobbit feet for the four lead hobbit actors in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and Martin Freeman estimated that he went through three or four pairs of feet per day while making the "Hobbit" movies. After two decades and thousands of pairs of feet, "the technology has gotten better." The latest iterations of the hairy feet that we see in "The Rings of Power" are more comfortable for the actors to work in, and look more realistic:

"We did that by thickening of the soles and different ways, and we made the toes moveable when they were wearing them to get more animation out of the feet and have it look less like a giant clown shoe that they're wearing. But the actual look is pretty much the same — they're big, hairy feet with mud on them."

Neither of them sounds particularly comfortable, but the idea of making them more realistic and less "like a giant clown shoe" does seem like it would make the lives of the harfoot actors wearing them much easier. 

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is currently streaming on Prime Video, with new episodes released every Friday.