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T.A. 3018 - The Fellowship of the Ring departs Rivendell at dusk.
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Brandybuck, Meriadoc Print this article

Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck was one of the three hobbits to accompany Frodo Baggins on his big journey to destroy the One Ring. An offspring of the wealthy Brandybuck clan from Buckland, he was especially close friends with Peregrin Took, with whom his name in the Ring War is closely associated.

Merry, whose True Westron name was Kalimac, abbreviated as Kali, meaning exactly ‘merry’, also became known as Holdwine in Rohan and as Meriadoc the Magnificient in the Shire for the part he played in the Ring War and ensuing events. The Brandybuck clan was well-off and well established in Brandy Hall, but they were often considered as a bit peculiar by other hobbits for living so near to a river and other strange lands. Merry, however, was an educated gentlehobbit, and did not hesitate to help Frodo when he needed it, as well as being true to his name and seeing hope in the dark days they lived through.
Having helped moved Frodo to Crickhollow, Merry met up with Sam, Pippin and Frodo who had set out from Hobbiton at Bucklebury Ferry. At Crickhollow, he revealed himself as one of the ‘conspirators’ who were determined to follow Frodo on his journey eastwards no matter where it may take them.
Because of his friendship with Frodo, he was also chosen as a member of the Fellowship of the Ring at Rivendell. However, for a long time Meriadoc had little chance to show anything than perhaps the perseverance and courage needed to follow Gandalf and Aragorn through the hardships of Eregion, Moria and beyond. Merry and Pippin’s greatest deeds were to begin with the breaking of the Fellowship.

By order of Saruman, his Uruk-hai were to capture ‘the halflings’ – but Frodo and Sam escaped, and they took Merry and Pippin prisoner instead. When the band of orcs was attacked by the Riders of Rohan, Merry and Pippin managed to escape and sneak off into the hardly inviting Fangorn Forest. By chance, they came upon the forest’s guardian, Treebeard, who quickly perceived their well-mannered and harmless hobbit nature. To Treebeard, the coming of the two hobbits was nevertheless also an indirect culture shock. Too long ago had news from outside of the forest ceased to reach him, and the grave news the hobbits told him even caused the Ents to rise against the threat of Isengard.
Only with these armies could Isengard be taken, and the assault on the Hornburg to the south be thwarted. Merry and Pippin stayed at Isengard, and when the victorious Rohirrim rode north to see the defeated Saruman, the hobbits met up again with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, who had before followed the trail of the captured hobbits for days, and Gandalf the White. The wizard left with Pippin for Minas Tirith, but Merry stayed with the Riders. King Théoden soon grew a liking for him, and Merry’s respect for the kind old King made him spontaneously swear his allegiance.
When the army of the Riders was to set out from the muster of Dunharrow, Merry was however not considered able to ride with them even though he wished to. Éowyn, riding along in the disguise of Dernhelm, offered to take Merry along secretly, and so he was present when Théoden fell, and the Lord of the Nazgûl assaulted Éowyn. As dauntless as he was hopeless in the great battle of the Pelennor, Merry sprang to her aid, and stabbed the Witch-king from behind with his barrow-blade. The Lord of the Nazgûl fell, and the Free Peoples won the day.

Pippin later found Merry wandering bewildered and afflicted by the fight with the Nazgûl in the streets of Minas Tirith, and so the friends were reunited. The battle had taken its toll on Merry, and he had to recover in the Houses of Healing, staying behind when the rest of the West’s armies went to the Black Gate for the last stand.
Heading homewards victoriously, the hobbits found the Shire in the hands of Sharkey and his ruffians. Merry and Pippin, strenghtened, grown and matured by their experiences (and to some extent, the Ent-draught they had drunk), had by now become as lordly and awe-inspiring as hobbits can be, and had little trouble rousing the Shire and driving the ruffians off.

After the War, Merry married Estella Bolger and became head of the Brandybuck clan. Much information on the Third Age is traditioned thanks to the efforts of Meriadoc, who apparently became a quite scholarly hobbit: among the books he wrote were the Reckoning of Years, Old Words and Names in the Shire, and Herblore of the Shire; the latter two obviously in memory of King Théoden of Rohan, with whom Merry never got to talk about these things which interested the late king. Merry kept strong ties to Gondor under King Elessar, and especially to Rohan and King Éomer throughout his life.


See also: Buckland, Dernhelm, Ents, Peregrin Took, Rohan, Treebeard, Uruk-hai, Witch-king

(References: LR passim, see esp. Prologue; I,v; App. C)


Abbreviations:
b. = born     d. = died     F.A = Fourth Age     fl. = flourished
T.A. = Third Age     WoR = War of the Ring     S. = Sindarin     C.S. = Common Speech



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