The LEGO Company recently announced the upcoming release of a “Lord of the Rings” series of sets and figures to be marketed directly to hobbits. With this release LEGO has moved a step farther from its history of providing species-neutral toys that promote playing safely at home on the floor.
Exactly what messages are these LEGO sets sending to our hobbit children? That they should leave their cozy earthen homes and endanger their own lives and the lives of their friends? That hobbits are courageous adventurers who literally hold the fate of Middle Earth in their hands?
Our hobbit children have been absorbing these stereotypes for thousands of years now and it has affected their impressionable minds. Studies have shown that left on their own hobbits as young as 35 and 40 years old will start playing at killing orcs, slaying dragons and climbing trees. Should a responsible toy company be encouraging our hobbit children to climb five or six feet into a tree instead of staying well underground where it is safe?
And why are the sets marketed to hobbits mostly in bricks of muted browns and grays? Contrary to the stereotype, hobbits enjoy a dash of bright color now and then. By making these sets in such drab colors, LEGO is sending a clear message: Hobbits Only. Most stores will be stocking these sets in the Halfling aisle of their toy sections where human, elf and dwarf children are discouraged from shopping.
Why does LEGO see the need to market a line of sets aimed directly at hobbits, anyway? What happened to the old philosophy of a species-neutral LEGO universe? LEGO should stop telling our hobbit children to run off on foolish and dangerous adventures and associate with dwarves. LEGO should stick to its respected tradition of encouraging our hobbit children to become pirates, ninjas or hairdressers.