Tolkien Gateway

Bill Ferny

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Bill Ferny
Man
Biographical Information
BirthLate Third Age
Physical Description
GenderMale

Bill Ferny was a man of Bree.

Contents

History

Bill Ferny lived on the last house of Bree, and was an opportunistic backstabber, who was little liked by respectable folk of the town. He served as a spy for the Ringwraiths, and relayed information about Shire-hobbits to them.

After the Ringwraiths raided The Prancing Pony, Bill and his allies went to the inn's stables and set all mounts loose. There was only one pony left in all of Bree: Bill's mistreated one. He sold him for twelve silver pennies to Strider and the Hobbits. As a parting gift, Samwise Gamgee threw an apple at his head.[1]

When trouble came up the Greenway from the South, Bill Ferny and several others opened the gates to them, and left with them after a short battle.[2] He joined Sharkey, and guarded the gate at the Brandywine Bridge. His command over the local Shirriffs was hard, but he was no match for the four Hobbits who tried to break in. He fled into the night, but not after his old pony had kicked him in the back.[3]

Etymology

Bill is a name Tolkien used to represent the Westron name Bil, which was a short for names as Arambil, Bildad and Bilcuzal, all of unknown meaning.[4] Ferny is a reference to the plant, as many surnames of Bree were botanical in nature.[5]

Portrayal in Adaptations

2001-2007: The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game:

One of the men seen in Bree in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is identified as Bill Ferny.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Bill is one of the guests at the Prancing Pony, who doesn't want to be disturbed by Hobbits. Afterward, he confronts Strider in the streets, and is killed.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Strider"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Homeward Bound"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Scouring of the Shire"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Appendix on Languages"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 757