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Meriadoc Brandybuck

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John Howe - Merry.jpg
Meriadoc Brandybuck
Hobbit
Biographical Information
Other namesMerry, the Magnificent, Kalimac Brandagamba (his true Westron name)
LocationBrandy Hall, Buckland
BirthEarly in the year S.R. 1382
DeathBetween S.R. 1486 and 1495
Family
ParentageSaradoc Brandybuck
Esmeralda Took
Physical Description
GenderMale
HeightTaller than average Hobbit
Hair colorBrown, curly[1]
"You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin - to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours - closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo."
― Merry, A Conspiracy Unmasked

Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck, called The Magnificent, was a Hobbit, the son of Saradoc Brandybuck.[2] Merry (as he was often called), was the heir of the Brandybucks to Brandy Hall, and eventually became the Master there.

Contents

History

Meriadoc was the son of Saradoc and Esmeralda. Claiming descent from Gorhendad Oldbuck, he also had Tookish blood through his mother, and also his father's grandmother, Mirabella Took.[2]

Around T.A. 3000 Merry witnessed a strange scene: he saw Bilbo Baggins becoming invisible in order to avoid a meeting with the Sackville-Bagginses. Startled, he got through the hedge and walked along the field inside, and watched as Bilbo reappeared, and put a glint of gold in his pocket. This made teenage Meriadoc very curious and he even looked into Bilbo's private diary.[3]

Merry kept this knowledge private but was always suspicious. He was present with his family at Bilbo' Farewell Party[2] and since Bilbo's disappearance, he believed that Frodo would soon follow. He shared his secrets with a group of Frodo's friends (namely Samwise Gamgee, Peregrin Took, Fredegar Bolger) the "Conspirators". Especially after April T.A. 3018 he noticed how Frodo was saying "farewell" to his favorite places, selling Bag End to the Sackville-Bagginses, and secretive talks with Gandalf. All along, Sam Gamgee was their "chief investigator" who heard Gandalf's instructions to Frodo for his departure[4], and warned his friends.[3]

At Crickhollow

The Conspirators, sought to protect Frodo (and the Ring). Merry and Fredegar were waiting for him at Crickhollow making preparations for his arrival; knowing that Frodo planned to leave, without his knowledge, they made also preparations for Frodo's and their departure, arranging for provisions and ponies). On the appointed day, Merry was waiting for Frodo's company at Bucklebury Ferry where Frodo, Sam and Pippin arrived on Farmer Maggot's wagon.[5]

When they settled in Crickhollow, Frodo was about to reveal to them that he is not going to stay and he is leaving for Bree. It was then when the conspirators revealed themselves to Frodo and demanded to be taken along when he left Crickhollow. With their preparations they were able to start right away.[3]

Journey with Frodo

Ted Nasmith - Under the Spell of the Barrow-wight

During the following trip to Bree, Merry seemed to have a greater knowledge of the Old Forest than any of the other Hobbits. However, when they encountered Old Man Willow Merry (and Pippin) were both captured and had to be rescued by Tom Bombadil.[6] Merry and Pippin were captured again (along with Sam) by a Barrow-wight upon the Barrow Downs but Tom again came to their rescue. Before leaving, he advised them to take the Daggers of Westernesse.[7]

John Howe - Weathertop on the Horizon

Upon reaching Bree, Merry was out for a walk and saw a Black Rider. When he followed the shadow it disappeared. Merry was then overtaken by the Black Breath and fainted. But before any harm could come to them, Nob came to his aid; he returned to the Prancing Pony and warned his companions who were talking with Strider.[8] During the trip through the wild with Strider, he often saw the most deeply into the others. After Frodo was wounded on Weathertop, he became the one who consulted most with Strider, and in a way became the spokesman for the Hobbits.

After reaching Rivendell, he, with Pippin, insisted on not being left behind on the Quest of the Ring. Therefore they were chosen as the eighth and ninth members of the Fellowship of the Ring.[9]

At the gate of Moria, Gandalf commended Merry for being "of all people" on the right track with the riddle (though this was accidental). His impetuosity in Moria was such that he nearly fell into an ancient well running ahead with Pippin.[10] When they reached Lothlórien, he was allowed to sleep in a talan with Frodo, Sam, Pippin and a few elven guards. He, as with the rest of the Company, walked blindfolded into the Woods of Lorien in a show of support for Gimli, who had to be blindfolded due to being a dwarf.[11]

Alan Lee - Orc hunting

At the Breaking of the Fellowship, Merry and Pippin had run straight into the company of Orcs as they were looking for Frodo. Boromir attempted to rescue them but the number of the Uruk-hai were too many and eventually he was felled. Captured with Pippin by Uruk-hai, the two were separated from the rest of the Fellowship. Merry aided Pippin in an attempt to deceive Grishnákh into thinking they had the One Ring, and he could have it.[12] During the attack by Éomer and his Outriders they escaped into Fangorn Forest, meeting Treebeard.

Merry and Pippin appointed "Door-wardens" of Orthanc

They thus became the first mortals for many centuries to encounter the Ents of Fangorn. They tasted the Ent-draught which caused him and Pippin to become the tallest hobbits in history. Also, they were present at the Entmoot,[13] and the resulting destruction of Isengard after which Treebeard appointed them door-wardens of Orthanc. It was while they were enjoying Saruman's pipe-weed when they saw their former companions arriving after the Battle of the Hornburg.[14]

Esquire of Théoden

While Pippin and Gandalf headed away to Minas Tirith, Merry stayed with Aragorn and the Rohirrim, developing a close friendship with King Théoden. Out of love for him, Merry offered the King his service, which Théoden warmly accepted. "As a father you shall be to me", Merry said at that time, and Théoden responded "For a little while".[15]

As Théoden's esquire, Merry returned with him to Edoras and was forbidden - firmly but gently - by the King to ride with them to the aid of Minas Tirith because he could not ride the mighty horses of the Rohirrim so fast and so far. Merry was disappointed until a young rider named Dernhelm offered to bear him on his horse.[16] In this manner he rode to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, having a secret understanding with Elfhelm and several others of the Rohirrim.[17]

Angus McBride - Eowyn against Witch-king

During the charge and the commencement of the battle he was almost useless, hiding behind Dernhelm and shaking with fright and nausea. However, Dernhelm's steed, Windfola, threw them both upon the coming of the Witch-king. Affected by the Black Breath, Merry lay almost senseless on the ground, hearing the voice of Dernhelm standing over the body of Théoden -- who had been mortally wounded by the Witch-king -- defying the Nazgûl. He was startled as he opened his eyes to find that Dernhelm was really Éowyn, the King's niece. After Éowyn was thrown down, perhaps mortally wounded, Merry rose to attack the Witch-king in order to protect her. He stabbed the Witch-king through the calf with the Barrow-blade he still bore, thus breaking the spell of invulnerability surrounding the Wraith. He fainted as Éowyn finished off the Witch-king with a thrust into the head.[18]

Almost killed by the Black Breath, he was revived with Éowyn by Aragorn in the Houses of Healing.[19] Because of his condition he was unable to take part in the Battle of the Morannon,[20] but afterwards attended the burial of Théoden, at which he wept greatly. Upon his departure for the Shire, he was given a special horn by Éomer and Éowyn as a parting gift.[21]

Upon the return to the Shire, he was, with Pippin, the primary leader of the uprising against Sharkey and his Ruffians.[22]

After the War

At some time he stayed with Pippin at Crickhollow[23] and he married the sister of his friend Fredegar, Estella.

He was afterwards known as Meriadoc the Magnificent, and became Master of Buckland after his father. He wrote several scholarly works which were part of the Red Book: Herblore of the Shire, The Reckoning of Years and Old Words and Names in the Shire. In Fo.A. 14 he was made with Pippin Counsellor of the North-kingdom.

At Fo.A. 64[24] with his friend they resigned from their offices and came down to Rohan (presumably after the death of his wife) at the request of King Éomer, where he was known as Master Holbytla and Holdwine of the Shire.

After the King died, he travelled to Gondor with Pippin, where he was known as Master Perian. They both died several years later, and were laid in Rath Dínen. It was said that they upon King Elessar's death, their bodies were places beside his.[25]

Character

He was a good friend of Frodo Baggins, who eventually became the Ringbearer, and Peregrin Took, a young relative. He was one of the few (if any) who saw Bilbo Baggins, Frodo's uncle, actually use the One Ring. He also managed to read, at least in part, Bilbo's book: There and Back Again, where he learned about the Ring.[3]

He can easily be recognized as a very sharp Hobbit, and his tone throughout The Lord of the Rings depicts him as practical, loyal, resourceful, and the best able to cope with the sudden happenings that drew him out of his peaceful home. He was also praised by Aragorn II as having a 'stout heart'.[8] He was apparently much trusted by Frodo, who sent him along with Fatty Bolger to Crickhollow to prepare his newly-bought home.[26]

Other Versions of the Legendarium

In the pre-publication manuscript of The Lord of the Rings, Merry's name was originally "Marmaduke Brandybuck".[27]

Inspiration

Meriadoc (also spelled Meriadek) was the legendary leader of a group of Welsh mercenaries who settled Armorica (modern Brittany) in the fourth century and founded the house of Rohan.[28] Tolkien himself comments on the Celtic cast of this and other Buckland and Bree names that end in –ac, -ic, -oc. [29]

Portrayal in adaptations

1955: BBC Radio's The Lord of the Rings:

The voice of Merry is provided by Michael Collins.[30]

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

The voice of Merry was provided by Simon Chandler.

1979: Mind's Eye's The Lord of the Rings:

The voice of Merry was provided by Pat Franklyn.

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

The voice of Merry was provided by Casey Kasem.

1981: BBC Radio's The Lord of the Rings:

The part of Merry is portrayed by Richard O'Callaghan.

1992: BBC Radio's Tales from the Perilous Realm:

Matthew Morgan provided the voice of Merry in the two episodes of this series that make up The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

2001-3: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy:

Merry was played by Dominic Monaghan. Some book-readers argue that, like Pippin, he was made far less competent in the movie than he was in the books: instead of a clever "conspirator" who helped orchestrate Frodo's escape from the Shire, he was portrayed as someone who did not know what he was getting himself into.

2002: Vivendi's The Fellowship of the Ring:

The voice of Merry was provided by Quinton Flynn. Merry and Pippin are shown as the Conspirators, although the "three" does not include Sam. Merry meets Frodo in the Green Dragon Inn, and he and Pippin and Sam are not seen again until Bamfurlong.

See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Road to Isengard"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix C, "Brandybuck of Buckland"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Shadow of the Past"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Short Cut to Mushrooms"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Old Forest"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Fog on the Barrow-downs"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Strider"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Lothlórien"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Uruk-hai"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Road to Isengard"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan"
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Houses of Healing"
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Scouring of the Shire"
  23. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Grey Havens"
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Note on the Shire Records"
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "Later Events Concerning the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring"
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Three is Company"
  27. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The First Phase: I. A Long-expected Party, (iii) The Third Version", p. 33
  28. Mark T. Hooker, The Hobbitonian Anthology, p. 57
  29. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Appendix on Languages"
  30. Radio Times, Volume 129, No. 1672, November 25, 1955


Members of the Fellowship of the Ring
Frodo · Sam · Merry · Pippin · Gandalf · Aragorn · Legolas · Gimli · Boromir