Sadoc Burrows was one of the Harfoot-folk, a race of men who were little people in the world of Middle-earth. Not much was known about Sadoc Burrows, apart from the fact that he worked with the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm as they constructed The Great Gates of Moria and he also tried to stop Frodo Baggins from leaving with The One Ring as it was clear to him it was not safe for anyone to keep the ring at that time in history. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows

Who was he?

Lenny Henry’s character in The Lord of the Rings is a small and scruffy Harfoot elder, who introduces himself to Frodo. He admits to having a weakness for Hobbits’ good food, leading to an increased size despite his small stature. His wit is sharper than that of other Elves and Harfoots, and it is noted that he was more quick witted than most elves during the time when elves and dwarves still remained friends. Despite his age, he proves to be brave and courageous in battle against Sauron’s forces.

What did he look like?

In the movie version, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which was released in 2003, Lenny Henry portrayed a Harfoot elder named Sadoc Burrows. He was one of many tribes to join the fight against Sauron and the Mordor forces. He gave Frodo advice about how to destroy the ring before he left for Mordor. On their way back from Mount Doom, and victory at hand, one day from Mount Doom he collapsed from his illness and died soon after.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows

Did he have powers?

Sadoc and his family were the first folk Frodo met in the woods on the way to Rivendell. Frodo, who had never seen one before, mistook him for a little person, but no more than half his height. But Sadoc’s voice boomed like thunder when he called out Who goes there? And though dwarfed by size, he seemed to tower over Frodo with a strength borne of age and authority.

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I am an old man, said Sadoc. A Harfoot elder, who has lived longer than most.

He then instructed them all how they should proceed safely through the wilds so that they might make it to Rivendell by nightfall.

Who else did he interact with?

Henry, who voices the character of Sadoc Burrows in The Lord of the Rings: The RIngs of Power, was a Harfoot elder. In LOTR’s lore, Harfoots are among the most commonly found people in Middle-earth. They primarily make their homes in the foothills and valleys around Dunland and the eastern edge of Rohan. A shy folk by nature, they were traditionally given to lives of simple labour but also had a long tradition of providing for other races through crafts such as metalworking.

Henry explained that it is these small folk that provide comedy but also get to be incredibly brave in Tolkien’s world. It’s often overlooked that they were warriors when they needed to be, he said. They would go into battle with those crazy helmets on and those spears.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows

What happened to him?

Sadoc Burrows is an elder among the Harfoot tribe. He was eager to help Gandalf and company when they came to Dol Guldur seeking answers about the Nazgul, but he refused to believe in their story without proof. When the Eagles rescued him from a band of Wargs, he took it as his chance to return home. But once there, he realized that Sauron’s forces had taken over his village, rendering it uninhabitable. His people have been enslaved by Sauron’s forces and now live under his will in forced servitude.

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Behind the scenes

The filming for the Harfoots scenes in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power happened over the course of a few days. In one scene, the actors are running and on fire, carrying weapons with rubber tubing attached. The filming set used to create their village looked like it had never been inhabited by humans. They lit fires around the buildings to show that people had lived there, but not for many years. The crew started shooting some of the children’s scenes first because they were so small. These shots were filmed outside so that they could capture all of the natural light that would be available during winter in New Zealand (where they filmed).

Critical reception

– He has described the Harfoots as the traditional Tolkien little guy… the little people in this world provide comedy but also get to be incredibly brave.

– The production team sought out Warwick Davis, Dominic Monaghan and Toby Jones for the casting process.

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– Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett both approved of their portrayal by Watkin Tudor Jones and Richard Lintern respectively. However they did not approve of the age discrepancy between them, with McKellen being only 16 years older than Blanchett. As a result they were digitally made to look closer in age using CGI.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows

– One member of the cast who was aware that he was playing a Nazgûl character is John Noble, who played Denethor II.

On screen

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf tells Frodo and his friends about the One Ring, an artefact that was made by Sauron to control those who could not resist its power. In order to combat this evil, the dwarves forged Seven other rings which were placed into Dwarf-kings’ tombs. When Sauron found out about these rings, he created his own set to oppose the dwarven set. These were called The Rings of Power. And so began a war between Sauron and the free peoples of Middle Earth; but with the help of a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, the One Ring is destroyed at Mount Doom.

In popular culture

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel set in Middle-earth by J. R. R. Tolkien, published in 1937 and telling the tale of one hobbit’s adventures with dwarves, elves, wizards, goblins, orcs and ultimately dwarfs. Tolkien created an entirely fictional language for his Middle-earth world and wrote about common historical events such as battles so that they fit into his invented narrative history. Among the sources he used were old English literature; stories told to him by soldiers who had seen action in World War I; Anglo-Saxon texts on Beowulf; Icelandic sagas; Roman histories, notably Tacitus’ Germania (freely translated from Latin) and Pliny’s Natural History from which he drew information on geology and other matters.

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