Tolkien Gateway

Squint-eyed Southerner

Jon Foster - Squint-eyed Brute.jpg
Squint-eyed Southerner
Man
Biographical Information
PositionSpy
LocationDunland
AffiliationSaruman
BirthThird Age
Physical Description
GenderMale

The Squint-eyed Southerner was an outlaw driven from Dunland whose name was not known. He served as an agent of Saruman; one of Saruman's most trusted, in fact. It was rumored there was Orc-blood within him (and therefore perhaps being one of the half-orcs).[1]

Contents

[edit] History

The Southerner at one point was stationed on the borders of the Shire to negotiate the purchase of "leaf" and other supplies which Saruman was storing in preparation for the war. Saruman had ordered the man to infiltrate the Shire and learn of any Hobbits who had departed recently in hopes of finding out who possessed the One Ring. The Southerner was well supplied with maps, lists of names, and notes concerning the Shire.

In September of T.A. 3018, the Dunlending was traveling back to the Shire when the Black Riders came upon him at the Tharbad crossing. When questioned, the Southerner told the Witch-king everything, betraying Saruman, which made the Witch-king realize Saruman was not a true ally. The Witch-king was made aware of the name Baggins and Hobbiton was singled out for immediate visit and inquiry.

The Witch-king put the Shadow of Fear on the Dunlending and sent him to Bree to listen for information of Baggins. The Southerner met up with Bill Ferny and at the Prancing Pony on September 29th, the two of them saw Frodo Baggins vanish into thin air. After reporting the information to the Nazgûl, the Ringwraiths came to attack that night.[1]

Aragorn kept the hobbits safe through the night and the next morning the Squint-eyed Southerner was spotted inside Bill Ferny's house when the company set out to Weathertop.[2]

Nothing else is recorded of the Squint-eyed Southerner, however in 3019, many of Saruman's agents occupied the Shire and oppressed the Hobbits.[3] It is possible the Southerner was among them as many of the Men resembled him. The Men were driven out of the Shire in the Battle of Bywater on November 3rd.

[edit] Description

"Just what my father meant to convey by the 'squint-eyed Southerner' at Bree I'm not sure. I don't think that he can possibly have meant that the man had 'slit-eyes' (goblin-like). He may have meant that he actually had a squint (optical disorder), but that seems unnecessarily particular. So the likeliest meaning, I think, is that the man didn't look straight, but obliquely, watchfully, sideways, suggesting craftiness and crookedness."
Christopher Tolkien[4]

[edit] Portrayal in Adaptations

[edit] Films

2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

A character credited as "Squint" appears in the prologue in Bree. Along with another character credited as "Bill Ferny, Sr." (loosely based on Bill Ferny), Squint has seemingly tracked Thorin to the Prancing Pony (presumably to collect on the bounty put out on Thorin's head). The two Men are preparing to confront Thorin when Gandalf goes over and sits and starts talking with the Dwarf. When it becomes apparent the Wizard is not going anywhere, Bill and Squint get up and leave the inn.

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", "Concerning Gandalf, Saruman, and the Shire"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Knife in the Dark"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Scouring of the Shire"
  4. "The Squint-eyed Southerner", Beyond Bree, May 1990, p. 9