Before There Were Harfoot Feet In The Rings Of Power, There Were Harfoot Slippers [Exclusive]

Is there any image in J.R.R. Tolkien's land of Middle-earth that's more famous than a big old pair of hobbit feet? Well, sure, there's the one ring itself, but that powerful relic isn't nearly as endearing as the fuzzy-footed group of heroes who end up saving the world from its dark magic. 

When Tolkien dreamed up "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "The Hobbit," and their accompanying texts, he described a people whose most noticeable feature — other than their diminutive size — was their hairy feet. Little did he know, those initial descriptions would lead to some creative movie magic decades down the line.

Despite a twenty-year gap between productions, the prosthetic feet for Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the new Prime Video series "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" were actually designed by the same person, the show's head of prosthetics Jamie Wilson. Wilson worked on the feet for the hobbits and the harfoots, the nomadic precursor to hobbit peoples who lived years before Frodo, Sam, and the rest of the gang we know and love. Intrepid and caring adventurer Nori, played by Markella Kavenagh, is our main harfoot hero in "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," and she spoke with /Film's Jenna Busch about the on-set hobbit foot experience.

Getting into character, harfoot style

"The prosthetics team was amazing," Kavenagh said. "At the end of the day, you'd have 300 sets, pairs of feet just hanging in the prosthetic tent, just dangling at the end of the day." The actress also describes the foot prop as "a big flipper that comes up to just above your knee," which sounds like it would make walking tough, but in his own previous interview with /Film, Wilson says the new feet are way more flexible than the version Elijah Wood and his co-stars strapped on. "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," he explained.

The process of putting on the feet also seems to be streamlined, with Kavenagh sharing that it only took 20 minutes to get the prosthetics in place. Plus, the actors apparently had placeholder hobbit slippers to wear before the completed prosthetics were available. Kavenagh says they helped her and her co-stars get in the headspace of the good-natured group of travelers, sharing, "Earlier on, before we had them, we had slippers to help get into character, these big long slippers. It was so helpful."

While we haven't spotted any behind-the-scenes photos of the preliminary hobbit slippers (I wonder, were they roughly hobbit-like in appearance, or simply massive house shoes?), they sound like a sight to behold. The final product, though, was invaluable when it came to bringing to life a brand new Tolkien hero. "They are such an important part of the character, so I couldn't imagine doing it without them," Kavenagh admits.

The full first season of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is now available on Prime Video.