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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
bilbo too tall part 2


Mar 22 2013, 3:43pm

Post #1 of 13 (2312 views)
bilbo too tall part 2 Can't Post

just want to reaffirm the point previously made.

i never really thought about it much untill ive just seen a clip on Facebook from 'the hobbit movie' official fb page of the blu ray extras ' a hobbits tale part 1'

at exactly 6 seconds in bilbo pats balin on the shoulder, he actually has to look down at balin , there is some perspective invloved, but it is clear bilbo is half a head taller than balin,

according to the charts bilbo is 4 2, (too tall) this would make balin 3ft 10 inches or so.

it may be small but surely youve lost the whole point of everything if bilbo is taller than a dwarf!

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro

(This post was edited by jimmyfenn on Mar 22 2013, 3:49pm)


Mar 22 2013, 4:23pm

Post #2 of 13 (1799 views)
They are the same height [In reply to] Can't Post

You can see this when Balin first enters Bag End; they appear equal in height:


Balin is just a short dwarf (would "tall dwarf" be an oxymoron?).

Don't mess with my favorite female elf.


Mar 22 2013, 4:35pm

Post #3 of 13 (1793 views)
no shoes [In reply to] Can't Post

ahh but balin has big boots on and bilbo is barefoot!

which again would make bilbo taller!

i know its knitpicking, but in my world biblo should be more hobbit sized, at least shorter than the dwarves.

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro

Tol Eressea

Mar 22 2013, 5:04pm

Post #4 of 13 (1800 views)
Well, in the LotR films [In reply to] Can't Post

they didn't scale the hobbits to the dwarves using effects, they did it with the height of the actors. In LotR, all the hobbit actors were 5'6-5'7", and John Rhys-Davies was 6'1", so the scaling between them was essentially done "in camera". But in the Hobbit films, they did not cast all 6'+ actors as dwarves, so the scaling is a bit off. Martin Freeman is 5'7" (Ian Holm is 5'6" fyi) and only 3 of the dwarf actors are 6'+ (Armitage, McTavish, Turner). 6 are 5'8"-5'11" (Nesbitt, Kircher, O'Gorman, Callen, Hambleton,Brophy). The rest are all 5'7", the same height as Martin Freeman (Stott, Hunter, Brown, Hadlow). Clearly they went with actors who they thought most suited the roled and not height. I guess the company is just full of short dwarves.

(This post was edited by sauget.diblosio on Mar 22 2013, 5:06pm)


Mar 22 2013, 5:24pm

Post #5 of 13 (1763 views)
knitpicking [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmmmm, knitpicking, is that related to crochet? A wonderful game, if you've got the balls for it! Wink

Don't mess with my favorite female elf.

Tol Eressea

Mar 22 2013, 7:15pm

Post #6 of 13 (1710 views)
bwaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa [In reply to] Can't Post



yes, some Dwarves are short.

Go outside and play...

Tol Eressea

Mar 22 2013, 8:30pm

Post #7 of 13 (1693 views)
Also, there's Weta's character height chart [In reply to] Can't Post

from an issue of Empire magazine, i believe...


and it shows even the shortest dwarves being 3" taller than Bilbo, so i guess they heightened some of the actors with lifts in their already huge boots.


Mar 22 2013, 8:40pm

Post #8 of 13 (1705 views)
annoying [In reply to] Can't Post

according to that chart balin is alot taller than bilbo! must be old!

4ft 2 is far to big for bilbo, its a shame, hobbits are tiny if you actually go by tolkiens heights! thats why its so awesome they destroyed the ring!

heck next time just make em human sized and call them hubits!

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


Mar 22 2013, 11:08pm

Post #9 of 13 (1625 views)
On a hill [In reply to] Can't Post

You might also consider that Bilbo is standing upslope from Balin in that scene. That gives Bilbo a little lift.


Mar 22 2013, 11:19pm

Post #10 of 13 (1613 views)
i did [In reply to] Can't Post

oh cmon, he walks right past him , at that point they are on the same gradient!

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro

Tol Eressea

Mar 22 2013, 11:34pm

Post #11 of 13 (1631 views)
I just watched the beginning of AUJ, [In reply to] Can't Post

and when Balin arrives at Bag End, he and Bilbo are standing right next to each other, and they look to be the exact same height.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 22 2013, 11:35pm

Post #12 of 13 (1809 views)
I don't know about the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of the Weta charts, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

I did some calculations of relative heights (not using abitrary stated heights) based on information from the book and actual heights of actors, as follows:

From the LOTR Prologue:

For they (hobbits) are a little people, smaller than Dwarves: less stout and stocky, that is, even when they are not actually much shorter. Their height is variable, ranging between two and four feet of our measure. They seldom now reach three feet; but they have dwindled, they say, and in ancient days they were taller. According to the Red Book, Bandobras Took (Bullroarer), son of Isengrim the Second, was four foot five and able to ride a horse. He was surpassed in all Hobbit records only by two famous characters of old....

So Hobbits are anywhere from two to four feet (which is a pretty wide range) with Merry and Pippin being the tallest at roughly 4'6" or 4'7" after meeting Treebeard.

If we allow for a dwarf range between 4 and 5 feet, then there is actually quite a bit of room for overlap in hobbit and dwarf heights, with the tallest dwarves being roughly 6" taller than the tallest hobbits, but the tallest hobbits being roughly the same amount taller than the shortest dwarves. And according to Tolkien, dwarves are more stout and stocky than hobbits of roughly equivalent heights.

I decided to have a little fun with numbers here and went looking for the heights of our hobbit and dwarf actors to see how they measure up:

Lord of the Rings

Ian Holm 5' 6" (1.68m)
Elijah Wood 5'6" (1.68m)
Billy Boyd 5'6 1/2" (1.69m)
Dominic Monaghan 5'7" (1.70m)
Sean Astin 5'6" (1.68m)

Average hobbit height in LOTR: 5' 6 1/2" (1.686m)

John Rhys Davies/Gimli 6'1" (1.85m)
Average Dwarf height: One can't calculate an average with only one available dwarf to measure, as we don't know whether he was of average height or not.

LOTR: Dwarf/average Hobbit height difference: 6 1/2"

The Hobbit

Martin Freeman 5' 7" (1.70m)
Many of the older people I know complain about shrinking slightly in their old age: apparently Bilbo experienced the same as he was an inch taller when he went on his adventure. Wink

The Hobbit Dwarves (from tallest to shortest):

Richard Armitage/Thorin 6'2" (1.88m)

Graham McTavish/Dwalin 6'2" (1.88m)

Aidan Turner/Kili 6' (1.83m)

James Nesbitt/Bofur 5 11 1/2" (1.82m)

John Callen/Oin - 5' 11 1/4" (1.81m) Thanks to Carne for finding his correct height!

William Kircher/Bifur 5'9 1/2"(1.76m)

Dean O'Gorman/Fili (5'8" (1.73m)

Peter Hambleton/Gloin - I couldn't find a height but looks slightly shorter than John Callen - say 5'8" (1.73m)

Jed Brophy/Nori 5.8" (1.73m)

Mark Hadlow/Dori - 5"7" (1.7) Again, thanks to Carne for the info!

Ken Stott/Balin 5'7" (1.70m)

Stephen Hunter/Bombur 5'7" (1.70m)

Adam Brown/Ori - Unlisted and difficult to judge from pictures. I'm guessing 5'7" (1.70m)

Dwarf height range: 5'7" to 6'2" - a range of 7" from shortest to tallest
Average Dwarf height: Roughly 5' 9 1/2"

Average Dwarf/Hobbit height difference in TH: 2.5" or 1.76m

While the overall height difference is slightly less in the hobbit, it can't be a direct comparison because in LOTR we had several hobbits to average but only one dwarf, and in The Hobbit we have several dwarves to average and only one hobbit. In LOTR, the largest hobbit/dwarf span (between Frodo and Gimli) was 8". In The Hobbit, the largest hobbit/dwarf span (between Bilbo and Thorin) is 7". That's only one inch less.

Now, if we assume that Merry and Pippin at roughly 4'6" or 4'7" were the tallest hobbits (being the "famous characters of old" mentioned by Tolkien as surpassing 4'5"), and if dwarves commonly range between 4 and 5 feet, what we have are two hobbits who would be average height for dwarves! Sam tells them at the Field of Cormallen that they're "three inches taller than they ought to be", so they must have been around 4"2" or 4'3" before they grew from the Entdraught if three inches caused them to top the record. So it seems that an average hobbit might well be the same height or just a little shorter than the shortest dwarves - which is exactly what we have here: Martin Freeman is the same height as the shortest of our dwarf actors, and has nearly the same height difference with the tallest of the dwarves as the hobbit/dwarf ratio in LOTR.

It seems that of all the races of Middle-earth, people picture the dwarves as being the most uniform. We have evidence from both the books and movies of a lot of latitude in the heights of Men - anything from the "short, squat" Woses (who I've always pictured to be not much taller than 5') to the Dunlendings to the Rohrrim to the very tall Dunedain with their Elvish blood (who I assume to average around 6' or more). Tolkien tells us that the Hobbits' heights varied widely - from 2 to 4 feet on average, with a few exceeding that by several inches. I assume they were not the only tall hobbits ever, just the tallest, so likely there were some others who topped 4 feet by an inch or two but didn't set any records by doing so. The Elves are generally "tall", but we're not given a lot of exact information, although we do know that Galadriel was unusually tall for an Elf woman (I think I remember reading somewhere that she was well over 6 feet). I expect there is some range there as well. But when it comes to dwarves, I think we expect them all to fall into a much narrower overall range.

However, faced with the task of differentiating and casting 13 distinct dwarves, I think the concern was more toward character and less toward uniformity of any kind. Besides, we have so little real information. Nowhere does Tolkien give a maximum or minimum dwarvish height, except to say that hobbits are more slender than dwarves even when they're not much shorter, implying that at least some hobbits and some dwarves are close in height. If hobbits range between 2-4 feet with some exceptions, and Men range between 5 and 6' 6" on average, why should the dwarf range be narrower than either and without overlap?

As to the impression that the majority of the movie dwarves are Hobbit-sized, in fact 5 out of 13 are - roughly 38%. The rest are taller, some much taller. The range of heights in the movie may not please everyone, but that's because it clashes with our own imaginations, not with the text. Clearly the filmmakers went with the option which gave them greater latitude to cast distinct and interesting characters, which was to assume a wide range of possible dwarf heights with overlap into the height ranges of hobbits on one side at least, if not also into the ranges of some of the lesser races of Men on the other.


(This post was edited by Silverlode on Mar 22 2013, 11:41pm)


Mar 22 2013, 11:36pm

Post #13 of 13 (1657 views)
boots [In reply to] Can't Post

yeah someone posted that picture before, bilbo has no shoes on and i presume balin has boots on, so if balin took his boots off he would be shorter than bilbo!

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


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