If you don’t want any spoilers, do like Gandalf says and don’t pass this point. If you, like me, have major problems with The Rings of Power and want to scream about it, read on fellow hero. The biggest problem with the series isn’t that they made the Dwarves silly rock pounders, it’s not that the green screen looks flat and lifeless, it isn’t even that Galadriel decided to jump off a boat and swim through the WHOLE DAMN OCEAN. The biggest problem is with the proto Hobbits, the Harfoots, and how freakishly dirty they are.
Nomadic cultures are present in every populated continent, for centuries they’ve been lifelines of trade and cultural exchange. But you know what they’re not? They’re not grubby as hell. There’s a harmful stereotype of “dirty travelers”, often centered around nomadic Romani peoples.
And the filthy hands and faces of the Harfoots play right into it. In the whole of the animal kingdom, grooming is paramount. Only animals which are very, very sick get that dirty. Staying clean and well-groomed is something squirrels do, birds do, and migratory societies the world over know is crucial to survival. They have access to running water, they have plenty of time to groom themselves. Even if they’re trying to camouflage, they don’t need to have dirt-caked hands and faces. They forage for food for chrissake. Wash your damn cuticles before picking those berries. Their clothes are filthy and tattered, again, a stereotype about nomadic cultures and again untrue. If you have only the possessions you travel with, you take damn good care of them.