In the summer of 2012, sisters Kellie and Alex Rice visited San Diego Comic Con for the first time. As they marveled at the large buildings and the splendor of the city, new friends asked again and again where they came from to find such wonder and novelty in an urban landscape. The answer was the mountains of northern California. It was at that moment that the elder of the two sisters, Kellie (or “Kili”) realized that by comparison to many, they lived a rural lifestyle akin to hobbits, Elves, and rangers. A few short months later, they began brainstorming a webseries designed to bring Middle-earth to their viewers’ daily lives through sharing aspects of their country life including crafts, recipes, and animal husbandry. After filtering out several potential names (including “The Green Door” and “Not TORn Tuesday”), the two came up with one that fit perfectly: Happy Hobbit.
They debuted their first proper episode about chickens on October 17th, 2012, sharing how to raise hens and collect eggs like a hobbit.
At the time, they never could have imagined the marvelous adventure that starting a hobbity little show would take them on. From their small mountain town to the world premieres of The Hobbit films and now special events for Amazon’s The Rings of Power, it has been a wild ride!
In 2013, the two filmed a reaction video to the trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug that went viral when Peter Jackson saw it and shared it on his Facebook page. He later filmed the Elven cast (Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, and Lee Pace) reacting to the girls’ reaction… which the girls then reacted to again, creating a viral trilogy that was dubbed “Hobbitception” after the film Inception: a reaction within a reaction within a reaction!
You can watch the hilarious magic unfold in the playlist below:
Peter Jackson’s nudge not only increased Happy Hobbit’s viewership, but led to more visibility. While the sisters enjoyed connecting with all of their fellow fans, it was extra special meeting the many hundreds of young women and girls who were not only Tolkien fans, but so excited to see young women like them having their geekniess not only validated, but celebrated.
Though there was a dearth of Middle-earth content between the Hobbit films and the recent Rings of Power TV show, the sisters continued to make their webseries and don’t have any plans to stop! A chronic joint issue called Ehlers-Danlos has made it more difficult for Alex (or Fili) to participate as much as she used to, so these days her sister Kellie (or Kili) sometimes produces solo episodes. Kellie is also a published Fantasy author under her pen name, K.M. Rice (she chose initials in part because of Tolkien’s pen name) and is the co-author of Middle-earth from Script to Screen: Building The World of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
On October 17th, they celebrated their 10 year anniversary of Happy Hobbit by airing their 100th episode! Viewers sent in clips, photos and letters sharing what the show has meant to them and their love of their fans to help make the episode an occasion to remember. Below, you can join Fili and Kili and friends as they share some of the many things that make them happy hobbits!
Many viewers describe the Happy Hobbit series and community as being wholesome and comforting, like snuggling up with a cozy blanket. It is a positive corner of the Shire that many turn to in times of darkness or hardship. With over 100 episodes (including lots of holiday specials and side adventures), there truly is something for everyone in Kili and Fili’s interpretation of Tolkien’s world. Above all, hearing from so many fans and viewers affirmed to the sisters that they had achieved their goal of leaving their audience happy hobbits!
As a post script, the sisters love Halloween and have a wonderfully spooktacular playlist below!