Today's Date in the Shire
Fun and Games
Walk to Rivendell
Malbeth the Seer
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)
Hobbit of the Shire (T.A. 2990 – after 4thA 64). Son of Paladin Took II and Eglantine (Banks). Husband of Diamond of Long Cleave (m. 4thA 6). Father of Faramir I. Member of the Company of the Ring. The Took and Thain of the Shire (4thA 14 – 64).
Pippin was the youngest friend of Frodo Baggins to join him in the journey to Rivendell and later in the Company of the Ring. He was captured several times along the way, once by Old Man Willow, then by the Barrow-Wight and lastly by orcs at Parth Galen. His escape from the orcs, along with his best friend Merry, led them into contact with Treebeard in Fangorn Forest. The news they brought the old Ent led Treebeard to lead an assault on Isengard. After the fall of Saruman, Pippin and Merry were reunited with most of the Company and, after a close call while peering into a palantir, Pippin was rushed off to Gondor by Gandalf. There he was made a member of the Guard of the Citadel of Minas Tirith, and in that position he was able to summon Gandalf to the aid of Faramir when Denethor went mad and tried to kill him. When the Battle of the Pelennor Fields was over, Pippin accompanied the armies of Gondor to the Black Gate and slew a great troll-chief. After the crowning of Elessar, Pippin returned to the Shire and helped drive out Sharkey’s Men with the aid of his family clan. He then got married, became a father, and became the Thain of the Shire, a position he held until 4thA 64. In that year he turned over his office and his posessions to his son and, together with his old friend Merry, traveled again to Gondor where, after a few short years, he was laid to rest beside King Elessar.
As the son of the Thain of the Shire and a relative of Bilbo Baggins, Pippin, as he was called by everyone, most likely attended the famous farewell Party. He had been in and out of Bag End for years visiting Bilbo, and already knew Frodo, 22 years his senior, very well. After Bilbo’s disappearance, Frodo became the Master of Bag End and, as Pippin’s visits continued over the years, the two hobbits became fast friends. Along with Meriadoc Brandybuck and Fredegar Bolger (and later Samwise Gamgee), they formed a close-knit group of trusted companions.
Pippin and his friends formed a conspiracy to aid Frodo in his quest to remove the Ring from the Shire. He helped pack Frodo’s belongings for the move to Crickhollow and accompanied Frodo and Sam on the walk to Buckland. When they reached the Marish, his friendship with Farmer Maggot made their run-in with the old hobbit more pleasant than it might have.
Beyond the Shire, Pippin’s luck wasn’t so good at first. He was trapped by Old Man Willow and then by the Barrow-wight, rescued both time by Tom Bombadil. But the last event did win him a weapon – a blade of Westernesse. Through the long leagues of Eriador his good temperment and cheerful disposition helped the party in their trek.
At last he and the hobbits, led by Strider, made it to Rivendell where the Council of Elrond was held. At first, Pippin was not among those selected to accompany Frodo on his quest. Instead, it was hoped that he would return to the Shire to alert the hobbits of their danger. But Pippin insisted on joining the Company of the Ring until Elrond at last relented and allowed him to join the Quest.
He somwhat regretted his determination to join the party when he nearly froze to death during the attemped crossing of the Redhorn Gate pass. But his good mood returned once they decended the mountain. In fact, his inquistiveness got him in hot water with Gandalf when he throw a stone into a deep well while in Moria. It is possible that the sound of the stone alerted the orcs, trolls and Balrog to their presence in the Dwarven mines.
Upon entering Lothlórien, Pippin proved very nimble and athletic when he easily crossed the rope bridge of the the Elves. Later as the Company was leaving the Golden Wood everyone received elven cloaks from the rulers of Lórien. Pippin also got a silver belt with a clasp wrought like a golden flower.
Pippin and Merry became separated from the other members of the Company during the fighting at Parth Galen. Boromir rushed to their aid but was overcome by the sheer of orcs. The orcs grabbed Pippin and Merry and immediately began running towards Isengard. The barrow-swords were left behind.
Forced to run with the orc pack, Pippin managed to free his hands and make a mad sprint for freedom. He was quickly caught, but not until he dropped the brooch of his elven cloak as a sign for the pursuers that he hoped were following. He was promised punishment for the attempted escape, but it never came, for the orcs were surrounded by the horsemen of Rohan. Grishnâhk attempted to avoid the Rohirrim and escape with the two hobbits, but Pippin tricked the orc into thinking that he possessed the Ring. Before Grishnâhk could determine if Pippin did have the prize, he was slain by horseman riding up in the dark. The two hobbits were left alone in the night.
Deep in Fangorn Forest, Pippin and Merry met Treebeard. After the Ent heard the story of their capture and escape he determined that the news must be shared with the other Ents of the Forest. The following meeting stirred the Ents to war against Saruman at Isengard, and soon Pippin found himself on the shoulder of Treebeard as he marched towards the Wizard’s Vale.
At Isengard, Pippin witnessed the awesome destructive power of angry Ents. He and Merry were nearly drowned when Treebeard ordered the ring of Isengard flooded. They survived though and were soon reunited with Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and the returned Gandalf.
At the tower of Orthanc, Pippin recovered the palantir that Wormtongue threw from above. He only looked into it for a moment, but that one glance was enough to make him steal it from Gandalf later that night. But when he looked into the device he was immediately dominated by Sauron who mistakenly thought it was Saruman. Pippin barely survived the ordeal.
To ensure Pippin did not try anything else foolish Gandalf gave the palantir to Aragorn and took Pippin with him to Minas Tirith. Once there, Pippin was made a member of the Guard of the Citadel and met Beregond and Bergil. It was his friendship with Beregond that later saved the life of Faramir when Beregond, at Pippin’s urging, left his post and rescued Faramir from certain death at the hands of his own father, Denethor.
As the Battle of the Pelennor Fields wound down Pippin found Merry wandering about in the fourth circle of the city and brought him to the Houses of Healing. After the Battle he accompanied the armies of Gondor to the Black Gate. There he faced and slew a troll-chief before he was buried beneath the troll’s falling body. Fortunately Gimli found the hobbit and dug him out from beaneath the monster.
After the war Pippin returned to the Shire with his friends and found it occupied by Sharkey’s Men. He gathered up his relatives from Tookland and returned to Bywater just in time to participate in the Battle of Bywater.
In 4thA 7 he married Diamond of Longcleeve. Three years later their son Faramir was born. In 4thA 14 he was made the Thain of the Shire and named a Counsellor of the Northern Kingdom. He held these positions for many years until in 4thA 64 he handed over his offices to his son and, together with his old friend Merry, he traveled one last time to Gondor where he was laid to rest after a few short years.
REF: [PRO]29, 35, 36 [I]65, 95, 153, 184 [II]330, 335, 410, 442 [III]18, 20, 26, 31, 44, 59, 80, 87, 110-111, 138, 147, 148, 187, 190, 223, 322 [A]349 [B] 432-433 [C]