There is a vast history of little people being used in a fantasy setting, whether they be dwarves, gnomes, hobbits, munchkins, or whatever else you’d like to call the wee half men. I’m not sure what it is that makes our fantasy want to have tiny versions of people in them. Perhaps the fascination that a little person instills in a child feels like it would naturally fit in with the fantasy realms we create as we grow older. Maybe instead it is really quite opposite, and fantasy worlds give us the opportunity to place folks of all stature on even if not even higher ground.
Whatever the true case is that causes our fantastical obsession with smaller version of people, I’m am going to now list the five best little people in fantasy of sci-fi, according to my opinion.
Though technically not people, they are a high enough life form to create and maintain their own society, so they count. A band of nomads roaming the deserts of the Skywalker home planet of Tatooine collecting spare parts and stolen items and selling them on an underground market that is maintained by them as well.
Jawas are the shady used car dealers of the Star Wars universe, and without them we wouldn’t have such a colorful society in the deserts of Tatooine. I personally feel that much more could have or still could be done with a Jawa character, and if you Star Wars fans are going to come at me with species limitations or whatever, just remember that Lucas has already done far “worse” things that have completely changes things in the universe.
4. The Lollipop Guild
Though the actual importance of The Lollipop Guild isn’t much in the overall story of Oz, they are one of the first things that people think of when thinking of little people in epic worlds. The song they sing is nearly as iconic as Judy Garland singing “Over the Rainbow.” Though they simply fit in to the overall scene on Dorothy falling in munchkin land, they are the munchkins that become most memorable.
3.The Seven Dwarves
Sure, you can look at them as simply cartoon characters taking care of a cartoon princess, but in many versions of the classic Snow White story that have been done since the original, the dwarves become much more than that, often thrust into the roles of thieves in the vein of Robin Hood, or often even fighting alongside Snow White against the queen.
I personally still love the classic cartoon versions of the dwarves however. There is just something about Disney songs that make you forget what the characters look like, and just sing along.
Some people might be saying that this isn’t fair, using groups of little people in the fashion I am, so if I have to choose one, I choose Dopey. Deal with that shit right there.
2. Frodo and Bilbo Baggins
I realize that these are two completely individual characters, but if I gave each of them their own spot, this would be a fairly lame list of five, don’t you think?
Frodo and Bilbo are obvious choices, being the first of the little folk to be the main focus of an epic fantasy, and be the heroes that took it upon themselves to vanquish evil and all that. Hobbits are an interesting character class as well since it is rarely seen, if at all, outside of Middle Earth.
If I were to rank between the two of them I think I’d choose Bilbo, mostly do to his overall willingness and excitement about his journey, while Frodo always seemed less adventurous and more like he was attached to a sense of duty, which is respectable in its own right.
I would say, “One does not simply walk into Mordor,” but Frodo actually did exactly that. He and Sam walked right in and dropped the ring.
By the way, Samwise deserves an honorable mention here, as he literally carries Frodo across the finish line on his back.
1. Tyrion Lannister (don’t worry I think I have left out any spoilers)
Some may cry bandwagon hopping do to the recent surge in popularity for George R.R. Martin’s characters thanks to HBO making the series Game of Thrones base off of the Song of Ice and Fire books, and perhaps there is some merit to the claim. However let me defend.
Of all the little person characters, Tyrion is the first that is not a member of a separate race of people that are by nature smaller that humans. Tyrion isn’t a dwarf, hobbit, or gnome, he is a human, and not just any human, but a member of one of the most recognized families in the Seven Kingdoms, seeing as his sister starts as the Queen, and his nephew starts as heir to the throne.
Tyrion must deal with the knowledge that his father love him less because of his “deformity,” and must live with the fact that his family are a group of powerful and attractive people. Yet everything that Tyrion lacks in the physical department, he more than makes up for in smarts and wit.
Tyrion quickly becomes one of the most complicated characters I’ve ever read as he is thrust in the middle of family drama that has no direct link to him, and still manages to play all sides against each other for his own end game. Which initially seems to be living a happy life, and at times, just living all together.
Tyrion is given a rich back story and complicated relationships with those that are and are not his family. He is the first little person who doesn’t just follow the role that he is forced into, but rather makes his own destiny. He embraces the mocking terms of the Imp and halfman that others use to describe him, because he knows who and what he is, and feels it foolish not to face your own shortcomings, no pun intended.
It doesn’t hurt that Peter Dinklage has brought the character of Tyrion to life in a beautifully acted way in the series.
That’s it, that’s the top five. Who would you add or remove? Are pissed that Willow didn’t make the cut? Leave a comment below.