Bard I (died c. Third Age 2977) of Lake-town was one of the most skilled archers among Men and was the heir of Girion, the last king of old Dale. Bard was able to slay the Dragon Smaug with a single arrow after a tip from the old thrush (who had overheard Bilbo Baggins' description of Smaug) revealed an unarmoured spot on the Dragon's underside. Because of his miraculous shot he was given the epithet Bard the Bowman.
Bard claimed a twelfth of the treasure amassed by the dragon, 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. Four years later, after the rebuilding of the city, Bard became the first King of restored Dale. His success was chronicled in The Hobbit.
Tolkien does not provide us with a meaning of the name Bard. Robert Ireland and Ruth S. Noel provide Celtic origins, bárd ("guardian") and bard ("poet"). However, these are not Old Norse. In other names (such as Isembard, bard refers to beard. This could be either the facial hair, or more likely "Axe" (beard is also a term for a part of an axe).
Girion, 174 years earlier
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