Why my stories contain hauflins not halflings

More than two decades ago while researching the races in fantasy novels and in the Dungeons and Dragons game, I came upon the word hauflin. It was, of course, connected with halfling, which was connected with hobbit.

As the story goes, Dungeons and Dragons first used hobbit as a name for a race of small people. Those controlling Tolkien’s literary work didn’t like it, and the makers of D&D were forced to remove the word from their material. Instead, they opted for halfling. While Tolkien’s work occasionally used this word, no fuss was made, and halflings became a mainstay in the game.

During my research, I dug deep into history to learn more of the origins of words and fantastical beings. I wanted to tap into what Tolkien may have when he created his world, so I could perhaps put a new spin on an old idea. This led me to hauflin.

The word originates with the Scots. It’s meant to describe an awkward, rustic teenager who is neither man nor boy. Another word connected to hauflin is hobbledehoy and hobby. These three words pre-date D&D and Tolkien.

Not wanting to copy what Tolkien has done but instead bring forth that which is older than dirt, I chose to populate my fantasy world with hauflins instead of halflings. They are very similar, yet slightly different.

Terry Brooks, author of the Shannara series, sees halflings differently. In his fantasy world, they are half breeds, usually the off-spring of a female human and a male elf. Other authors give their own treatment to the word halfling, so it is many things to many people.

This leaves me with hauflin, a word unique in today’s fantasy books, brought from the past to the present to be heard again. In a future post, I’ll describe this race along with the other races in my books.

Fantasy Friday Night Write-a-thon

Join me tonight on Twitter where I’m going to add 3,000 words to the current novel I’m writing Dragons in the Dungeon. I’m online shortly after nine o’clock, after the goats are tucked in, with tea in hand, ready to write and share my thoughts.


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