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Bombur was one of the Dwarves of Thorin's company who journeyed to Erebor to challenge the dragon Smaug. Bombur's distinguishing characteristic was his size for he was the fattest of the thirteen Dwarves. After the death of Smaug, Bombur lived at the Lonely Mountain.
Bombur's parentage is unknown; the only familial connections mentioned are his brother Bofur and his cousin Bifur. Bombur was not of Durin's line although he was descended from Dwarves of Moria. His birth year is also unknown. However, from Bilbo Baggins' account of the quest to Erebor it is known that the brothers Fíli and Kíli were the youngest of the thirteen "by some fifty years" and that after Thorin had been captured, Balin was "the eldest left". Since Fíli was born in T.A. 2859 and Balin was born in 2763, this would put Bombur's birth between 2809 and 2763, and he would have been between 132 and 178 years old during the quest to Erebor. Prior to the quest Bombur probably lived in the Blue Mountains with Thorin after the loss of Thráin II.
The Quest of Erebor
In T.A. 2941, Bombur was one of the four Dwarves in the fifth group to arrive at Bag End. When Bilbo jerked open his door the four fell on top of one another, with Thorin on the bottom and fat Bombur on top. Bombur wore a pale green hood and asked for pork-pie and salad for his refreshment. When Thorin later called for music, Bombur played a drum.
Despite his size, before the Trolls could capture Bombur he fought like mad. Because of the trouble he caused them the Trolls put him near their fire.
When Gandalf was telling the story of the company's adventures to Beorn, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur were the last of the Dwarves to show up. Gandalf had told Bombur to arrive last and alone because he was the fattest, but the offended Dwarf had refused to wait.
Bombur's most notable "adventure" occurred at the Enchanted River. Beorn had warned them about its water and they did try to cross without touching it, but due to the charge of the deer, Bombur fell into the river. The company threw him a rope and he caught it, but upon landing he fell into an enchanted sleep. For six days the company took turns carrying the heavy slumbering Dwarf. When finally awake he had forgotten everything since the quest began and lamented waking up to no food, especially since his dreams had been about a great forest feast. After a day of walking Bombur had had enough and refused to take another step.
It was then that the first of the feasts of the Elves appeared north of the path. Bombur was for rushing to it but was restrained by the caution of the others. When they did attempt to enter the feasts everything vanished and eventually all of the Dwarves except Thorin were captured by the spiders. After the spiders had strung up the Dwarves, Bombur's fatness was again a problem for it attracted the attention of one of the creatures who bit him on the nose. Bombur kicked the spider, who would have killed him had Bilbo not intervened. Despite this activity Bombur was nearly exhausted; when freed he fell off his branch and luckily had his fall cushioned by leaves.
While the rest of the company climbed up to the "doorstep" on the side of the Lonely Mountain, Bombur and Bofur remained in the valley to tend to the ponies. While Bofur was willing to ascend by rope for changes of the guard, Bombur demurred, claiming that he would either grow dizzy or the rope would break. However, when Smaug came roaring out to scour the mountainside Bombur's reluctance vanished and he was hauled up the cliff.
Although Bombur supported Thorin's decision to defy the Elves and Men and withstand a siege, he felt it was a "sorry business altogether" and deemed Thorin "ever a dwarf with a stiff neck". Wishing for a strong drink and a soft bed, Bombur was easily convinced when Bilbo offered to take his turn as watchman. Bombur did sleep and thanked Bilbo later when the Hobbit woke him up after midnight.
At Rivendell in December, T.A. 3018, Glóin told Frodo Baggins that Bombur was still alive and living in Erebor. In fact, Bombur appeared to have used some of his wealth to increase his girth – he was unable to move alone from couch to table and required the aid of six young Dwarves to lift him. Given his age and immobility it is doubtful that Bombur fought in the Battle of Dale.
Other versions of the legendarium
In one of the early manuscript fragments of The Hobbit, Bombur produced a drum from nowhere, whereas in the published text he just produced it from the hall. John Rateliff (author of The History of The Hobbit) said that in the earliest phase Tolkien had added fairy tale touches of Dwarven magic to emphasize the uncanny, other-worldly nature of the Dwarves as opposed to Bilbo's ordinariness.
On the wet night before meeting the Trolls the prepublication version had Bombur and Bofur failing to light a fire and quarrelling about it, with Dori and Nori getting into a fight. In the published version Tolkien added a comment that Óin and Glóin were especially good at making a fire, made them the two who could not do it that night, and had them start fighting.
Originally, when Bombur needed propping up in Mirkwood after being cut from the spiders' webbing, it was his cousins Bifur and Bofur who provided support. In the published story this was changed to Bombur's cousin Bifur and brother Bofur. Also, in the earlier version, when Smaug first came out and the Dwarves in the valley had to be hauled up to the Back Door, Bifur cried out to save Bombur and Bofur, who were both his brothers. In the published text Bifur cried out for his two cousins.
In Tolkien's unfinished 1960 rewrite of The Hobbit, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur were Thorin's attendants. John D. Rateliff assumes this made them either courtiers or honor-guard. Although this relationship did not appear in the published story, it may be noted that Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur arrived at Bag End with Thorin and the same three Dwarves climbed the same pine tree with Thorin in the glade of the Wargs.
Portrayal in adaptations
|Bombur in adaptations|
1966: The Hobbit (1966 film):
- Bombur is omitted. Thorin Oakenshield only travels with an unnamed guard and the princess of Dale.
1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):
- Bombur is played by Paul Frees.
2012-4: The Hobbit films:
- Bombur is played by Duncan McIntyre.
- No actor is specified for the role of Bombur.
1982: The Hobbit (1982 video game):
2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):
- No actor is credited for the role of Bombur.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Barrels Out of Bond"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Roast Mutton"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Warm Welcome"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "On the Doorstep"
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Thief in the Night"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
- ↑ Chester Nathan Gould, "Dwarf-Names: A Study in Old Icelandic Religion", published in Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, Vol 44 (1929), issue #4, pp. 939-967
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", p. 36
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", (iii) Dwarven Magic, p. 54
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Trolls", p. 91
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Mirkwood", p. 313
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Conversations with Smaug"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, "The Fifth Phase", "A Well-Planned Party", p. 774
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, "The Fifth Phase", "Arrival in Rivendell", note 32
- ↑ "The Hobbit.mp4" dated 5 January 2012, YouTube (accessed 10 January 2012)
- ↑ Peter Jackson, "Production begins in New Zealand on The Hobbit" dated 20 March 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)
- ↑ ZX Computing, 8304 (April/May 1983), p. 76, accessed April 24 2011
|Members of Thorin and Company|
|Thorin · Balin · Dwalin · Fíli · Kíli · Dori · Nori · Ori · Óin · Glóin · Bifur · Bofur · Bombur · Gandalf · Bilbo Baggins|