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This article is about the character in The Hobbit. For the the King of Dale in the Fourth Age, see Bard II.
Bard I
Biographical Information
DeathT.A. 2977
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Bard I
"Arrow! Black arrow! I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!"
― Bard[1]

Bard the Bowman (died Third Age 2977), was a man of Lake-town, and later the restored King of Dale.



Bard served as a soldier in Lake-town, and was one of the most skilled archers among Men. He was the heir of Girion, the last lord of Dale. Noted for his grim face and spirit, he was an able archer and considered his Black Arrow lucky and always used it last.[1]

Bard organized the defense of the town when the Dragon Smaug attacked. When the old thrush (who had overheard Bilbo Baggins' description of Smaug[2]) revealed an unarmoured spot on the Dragon's underside to Bard, he shot the dragon's heart with the Black Arrow. Because of his miraculous shot he was given the epithet "the Bowman" and "the Dragon-slayer".[1]

After the disaster, he led the Lake-men to the Lonely Mountain demanding a part of the treasure from the Dwarves.[3] Afterwards he led them in the Battle of Five Armies.[4]

Bard claimed a twelfth of the treasure amassed by the dragon,[3] which he subsequently shared with the Master of Lake-town to rebuild the town. However, the Master stole the money and ran off into the wild where he died.[5] Three years later, after the rebuilding of the city, Bard became the first King of restored Dale as a wise and able ruler.[6]

He was succeeded by his son, Bain.[6]


As a Lake-man, Bard's name was in the language of Dale, which is represented by Old Norse in the book.[7][8] In other Germanic names (such as Isembard), bard refers to beard. This could be either the facial hair, or more likely "Battle-Axe" (beard is also a term for a part of an axe).

Robert Ireland and Ruth S. Noel, who perhaps overlooked the connection to Old Norse, provide as translations the Celtic words, bárd ("guardian")[9] and bard ("poet").[10]


d. 2977
d. 2977
d. 3007
d. 3019
Bard II

Portrayal in Adaptations

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Bard is played by Peter Williams.

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

Bard's voice is provided by John Stephenson.

1979: The Hobbit (1979 radio series):

No actor is specified for the role of Bard.

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

No actor is credited for the part of Bard, but it appears to be André Sogliuzzo. He is portrayed as the Captain of the guard, a stout black haired man with a full beard. Bilbo helps him retrieve the Black Arrow and stop a gang of Orcs and men from taking over Laketown.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Fire and Water"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Gathering of the Clouds"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Last Stage"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)
  9. Robert Ireland, Lord of the Rings Dictionary, A - C
  10. Ruth S. Noel, The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth, "The Languages of Rhovanion"
Heir of Girion, Lord of Dale
Born: ? Died: T.A. 2977
Title established
King of Dale
T.A. 2941-T.A. 2977
Followed by: