From Tolkien Gateway
Andy Smith - Bofur.jpg
"Bofur" by Andy Smith
Biographical Information
LocationThorin's Halls
Lonely Mountain
AffiliationThorin and Company
Dwarves of Khazad-dûm
LanguageKhuzdul and Westron
BirthBetween T.A. 2763 and c. 2814NB
Notable forThe Quest of Erebor
Physical Description
HeightLarger than Bifur[1]
ClothingYellow hood
GalleryImages of Bofur

Bofur most likely lived in the Blue Mountains with Thorin after the loss of Thráin II.[2] Bofur was one of the thirteen Dwarves of Thorin's company who journeyed to Erebor to challenge the dragon Smaug. After the death of Smaug, Bofur lived at the Lonely Mountain in great wealth.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

Family and birth[edit | edit source]

Bofur's parentage is unknown; the only familial connections mentioned are that Bombur is his brother and Bifur is his cousin.[4] He was not of Durin's line although he was descended from the Dwarves of Moria.[2] His birth year is also unknown.

However, in Bilbo Baggins' account of the quest to Erebor he stated that the brothers Fíli and Kíli were the youngest of the thirteen "by some fifty years"[5], and that when Thorin was missing Balin was "the eldest left".[6] Since Kíli was born in T.A. 2864 and Balin was born in 2763,[2] this would put Bofur's birth between 2763 and c. 2814, and he would have been between c. 127 and 178 years old during the quest to Erebor.

The Quest of Erebor[edit | edit source]

In T.A. 2941, Bofur was one of the four Dwarves in the fifth group to arrive at Bag End, wearing a yellow hood along with his cousin Bifur. He asked for mince pies and cheese as also stating what Bifur and Bombur wanted also. During the evening when Thorin called for music, Bofur (along with Bifur) played a clarinet.[7]

After escaping the Goblins, the company was chased by wolves into a glade, Bofur shared a pine tree with Bifur, Bombur, and Thorin, and later was rescued by the Eagles[8]. When Gandalf was telling the story of the company's adventures to Beorn, Bofur, Bifur, and Bombur were the last of the Dwarves to show up. The following morning, Bilbo realizes Bofur had fallen over him and then told him about breakfast left for Bilbo from the skin-changer[9]

Later on in Mirkwood when Bombur needed support to escape the spiders, Bifur and Bofur helped him. Then after the barrel ride down the River Running both Bofur and Bifur came out fairly dry and not very knocked about, but they lay down and refused to do anything.[10]. Later Bofur and Bombur would stay down to take care of the ponies, nearly killed by Smaug, though saved.

Bofur fought in and survived the Battle of Five Armies. He was given his share of the treasure by Dáin Ironfoot, Thorin's cousin and now king under the mountain after Thorin's death, and made his home in Erebor along with Bifur and Bombur and the other survivors of the Battle.[11]

Later life[edit | edit source]

At Rivendell in T.A. 3018, Glóin told Frodo Baggins that Bofur was still alive and living in Erebor, along with Bifur and Bombur [3]. It is possible that Bofur fought in the Battle of Dale against Sauron's forces the Easterlings. His death date is unknown though it would have been before Dwalin as he was the last dwarf of the company to pass away in Fo.A. 91.[12]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name Bǫvurr appears in the Dvergatal. Its meaning is unknown.[13]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

fl. T.A. 2941 - 3018
fl. T.A. 2941 - 3018
fl. T.A. 2941 - 3018

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In one of the earliest manuscript fragments of The Hobbit, Bofur and Bifur went into the hall and came back with their walking sticks, which they turned into clarinets.[14] In the published text the two Dwarves came back from the hall with clarinets that they had left with their walking sticks.[7] 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.[15]

Originally, when Bombur needed propping up in Mirkwood after being cut from the spiders' webbing, it was his cousins Bofur and Bifur who provided support.[16] In the published story this was changed to Bombur's cousin Bifur and brother Bofur.[4] 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.[17] In the published text Bifur cried out for his two cousins.[18]

In Tolkien's unfinished 1960 rewrite of The Hobbit, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur were Thorin's attendants.[19] John D. Rateliff assumes this made them either courtiers or honor-guard.[20]

Notes[edit | edit source]

In the earliest partial manuscript of The Hobbit more of the dialog later assigned to a few of the Dwarves is more evenly distributed. In the opinion of John Rateliff this streamlining strengthened the story through simplification, but at the cost of relegating some of the Dwarves to obscurity since they barely speak at all. Bofur is one of these "silenced" members of the company.[21]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

Bofur in adaptations

Films[edit | edit source]

1967: The Hobbit (1967 film):

Bofur is omitted. Thorin Oakenshield only travels with an unnamed guard and the princess of Dale.[22]

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

No actor is specified for the role of Bofur. If he does speak, it is only ever in unison with the rest of the Dwarves.

2012-14: The Hobbit (film series):

Bofur was portrayed by James Nesbitt.[23] A description of Bofur in The Hobbit films was released by the studio:

Endearing and likeable, Bofur has a disastrous tendency to state the obvious and blurt out things without thinking. With a love of music and a fine singing voice, Bofur delights in good food and good company and is unfailingly optimistic. Though not especially brave, he will do his best to help those in need, especially those he counts as friends. Along with his brother Bombur and his cousin Bifur, Bofur joined the Quest for the Lonely Mountain partly to seek his fortune – and partly because he was told the beer was free.
Warner Bros.[24]

In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, due to excessive partying the night before, Bofur ends up oversleeping and being left behind in Lake-town when the other Dwarves finally head up to the Lonely Mountain. With Óin and Fíli also having stayed behind to tend to the sickly Kíli (due to having been struck by a poisoned arrow), he joins them in doing so. He is ultimately assigned with the task of finding some Kingsfoil to help heal Kíli's wound, which he does.

Radio series[edit | edit source]

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Bofur is played by Denis McCarthy.

1979: The Hobbit (1979 radio series):

No actor is specified for the role of Bofur.

1989: Hobit (1989 Slovak radio series):

Bofur is present, but no actor is specified for the role of Bofur.

Games[edit | edit source]

1982: The Hobbit (1982 video game):

Bofur is omitted; Thorin is the only companion of the player, Bilbo Baggins.[25]

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

No actor is credited for the role of Bofur.

2013: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Bofur, the official "Master of Chisels" in Erebor, appears alongside his cousin Bifur to brief the player in the "The Fires of Smaug" raid at Ravenhill. Later, he appears in various locations in Erebor, and journeys to the Ered Mithrin as part of Dori's Expedition to rescue Nori.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, "Addendum: The Seventh Phase", "iv. Personae" p. 900
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Barrels Out of Bond"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Warm Welcome"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  13. 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
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", p. 36
  15. 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
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Mirkwood", p. 313
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Conversations with Smaug"
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Pryftan Fragment", (i) The Lost Opening, p. 14
  22. "The Hobbit.mp4" dated 5 January 2012, YouTube (accessed 10 January 2012)
  23. Peter Jackson, "Production begins in New Zealand on The Hobbit" dated 20 March 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)
  24. Warner Bros., "Hobbit Movies" dated 7 September 2012, Apple iPhone/iPad App (accessed 19 September 2012)
  25. 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
Route of Thorin and Company
Bag End · Green Dragon · The Shire · Lone-lands · Last Bridge · Trollshaws · Trolls' cave · Rivendell · High Pass · Front Porch · Goblin-town · Goblin-gate · Eagle's Eyrie · Carrock · Beorn's Hall · Wilderland · Forest Gate · Elf-path · Mirkwood · Elvenking's Halls · Forest River · Lake-town · Long Lake · River Running · Desolation of the Dragon · Ravenhill · Back Door · Lonely Mountain · Great Hall of Thráin
The Hobbit film series
Source material: The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
Films An Unexpected Journey (extended editionThe Desolation of Smaug (extended edition) · The Battle of the Five Armies (extended edition)
Music An Unexpected Journey (Special Edition) · The Desolation of Smaug (Special Edition) · The Battle of the Five Armies (Special Edition) · "Song of the Lonely Mountain" · "I See Fire" · "The Last Goodbye"
Tie-in books An Unexpected Journey Official Movie Guide · Visual Companion · Movie Storybook · Annual 2013 · Chronicles: Art & Design · Chronicles: Creatures & Characters · The World of Hobbits
The Desolation of Smaug Official Movie Guide · Visual Companion · Movie Storybook · Annual 2014 · Chronicles: Art & Design · Chronicles: Cloaks & Daggers · Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon · Activity Book · Sticker Book · Ultimate Sticker Collection
The Battle of the Five Armies Official Movie Guide · Visual Companion · Movie Storybook · Annual 2015 · Chronicles: Art & Design · Chronicles: The Art of War · Activity Book
Video games Kingdoms of Middle-earth · Armies of The Third Age · Lego The Hobbit
Characters Bilbo · Thorin · Gandalf · Balin · Fíli · Kíli · Dwalin · Dori · Nori · Ori · Óin · Glóin · Bifur · Bofur · Bombur · Smaug · Radagast · Elrond · Galadriel · Saruman · Azog · Bolg · Thranduil · Legolas · Tauriel · Bard · Bain · Tilda · Sigrid · Master of Lake-town · Alfrid · Dáin Ironfoot · Necromancer · Bert · William · Tom · Beorn · Thráin · Thrór · Goblin King · Gollum · Frodo