From Tolkien Gateway
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"A Heavy Load" by Suzy Almblade
Biographical Information
LocationThorin's Halls
Lonely Mountain
AffiliationThorin and Company
LanguageKhuzdul and Westron
BirthBetween T.A. 2763 and c. 2814NB
Physical Description
ClothingPale green hood
GalleryImages of Bombur

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.[1] After the death of Smaug, Bombur lived at the Lonely Mountain.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

Family and birth[edit | edit source]

Bombur's parentage is unknown; the only familial connections mentioned are his brother Bofur and his cousin Bifur.[3] Bombur was not of Durin's line, although he was descended from the Dwarves of Moria.[4] 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,[4] this would put Bombur's birth between 2763 and c. 2814, and he would have been between c. 127 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.[source?]

The Quest of Erebor[edit | edit source]

In T.A. 2941,[7] 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.[1]

When the company dealt with the trolls, before the Trolls could capture Bombur, he and Bifur fought like mad and were especially troublesome for the trolls to capture. Because of the resistance he and Bifur put up the Trolls put him near their fire.[8] Bombur expressed disappointment that Bilbo had tried to steal the troll's purse instead of heading straight back and telling the company what he'd found.

Running from the Goblins through their tunnels, Bombur carried Bilbo for part of the way, although he grumbled about it as he staggered with sweat dripping from his nose.[9]

In the glade of the Wargs Bombur shared a pine tree with Bifur, Bofur, and Thorin.[10]

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.[11]

Alan Lee - Bombur sleeping

Bombur's most notable "adventure" occurred at the Enchanted River. Beorn had warned them about its water[11] 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 slumbering Dwarf. When finally awake he had forgotten everything since the quest began and lamented waking up to no food, since he couldn't eat anything while he was asleep for six days, and since the company had eaten the rest of the food the night before and saved none for him. Bombur felt weak and wobbly in the legs and sat down and wept. Bombur began to tell the rest of the dwarves about his beautiful dreams, but Thorin told him to be quiet and declared that everyone was annoyed with Bombur and that they should have abandoned him if he hadn't woken up when he did, and pronounced Bombur's dreams to be idiotic. When they were walking that day, Bombur kept on wailing that his legs wouldn't carry him. The others rebuffed him and refused to assist him. After a day of this, Bombur had had enough and refused to take another step. He flung himself to the ground and told them that that they could go on without him if they had to and that he was going to dream of food, if he couldn't get it any other way. He finished by exclaiming he hoped he never woke up again.

It was then that the first of the feasts of the Elves appeared north of the path. Bombur wanted to go to the lights, since his memory of the journey had been wiped clean and he didn't remember the warnings was for rushing to it but was restrained by the caution of the others, although Bilbo interceded for him. 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, all of the dwarves were noted to be underfed, despite Bombur being the fattest of the bundles. Bombur was chosen to be killed first, but Bombur managed a weak kick which knocked the spider off the branch, which only briefly delayed the spider's attack and momentarily humiliated his tormentor. Due to this activity and everything else he had endured, Bombur was nearly exhausted; when freed he fell off his branch and luckily had his fall cushioned by leaves. He was noted to have been pinched and poked, and it could only have been the spiders or the impatient dwarves.[3]

After the barrel ride down the River Running Bombur was found to be asleep or senseless.[12]

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 was too fat for such sky-walks and he would either grow dizzy or the rope would break.[13] However, when Smaug came roaring out to scour the mountainside Bombur was hauled up the cliff, puffing and blowing.

When Thorin called for a siege and refused to negotiate, the other dwarves all seemed to share his mind except for Bombur, Fíli, and Kíli. Though Bombur later admitted to Bilbo that he was hesitant to defy Thorin to his face. [14]

When Bilbo was going out to deliver the Arkenstone to elves and men, Bilbo passed him, invisible, sneaking out with the arkenstone, but stopped when he saw Bombur sitting on the edge of a cliff. Bombur lamented to Bilbo how cold it was, and Bilbo urged him to come inside where it was warmer. Bombur agreed, but grumbled that he couldn't come inside because he was out on watch duty until midnight. The two have a chat about how they both think Thorin is being unreasonable, Bombur felt it was a "sorry business altogether" and deemed Thorin "ever a dwarf with a stiff neck". Bilbo wishes to feel the grass beneath his toes, and Bombur longs for a soft bed, a strong drink, and a good supper, Bilbo offers to take Bombur's watch. Bombur did sleep and thanked Bilbo later when the Hobbit woke him up after midnight.[15]

Bombur fought in and survived the Battle of Five Armies. He was given his share of the treasure by Dáin Ironfoot, and made his home in Erebor.[16]

Later life[edit | edit source]

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.[2] Given his age and immobility it is doubtful that Bombur fought in the Battle of Dale.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Bombur, or Bumburr, is a dwarf from the Dvergatal. His name most likely means "the Swollen One".[17]

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 early manuscript fragments of The Hobbit, Bombur produced a drum from nowhere,[18] whereas in the published text he just produced it from the hall.[1] 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.[19]

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.[20] 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.[8]

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.[21] In the published story this was changed to Bombur's cousin Bifur and brother Bofur.[3] 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.[22] 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.[23] John D. Rateliff assumes this made them either courtiers or honor-guard.[24] 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[1] and the same three Dwarves climbed the same pine tree with Thorin in the glade of the Wargs.[10]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

Bombur in adaptations

Films[edit | edit source]

1966: The Hobbit (1966 film):

Bombur is omitted. Thorin Oakenshield only travels with an unnamed guard and the princess of Dale.[25]

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

Bombur is played by Paul Frees. Apart from Thorin, he is one of the only three other Dwarves who speaks with any regularity (Balin and Dori being the others). Unlike in the book, Bombur dies during the Battle of Five Armies, along with Thorin and five other unnamed Dwarves.

2012-14: The Hobbit (film series):

Bombur is played by Stephen Hunter.[26] A description of Bombur in The Hobbit films was released by the studio:

Brother to Bofur and cousin to Bifur, Bombur is the chief cook amongst The Company of Dwarves. His immense size and voracious appetite causes frequent problems – and laughter – for himself and The Travelling Party. Despite his size he can be surprisingly effective as a fighter – and woe betide anyone who makes him late for dinner!
Warner Bros.[27]

Bombur rarely ever speaks throughout the film series, save for in the background. The only time he speaks prominently is in the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, where, after Bifur gets the axe from his head dislodged during the battle, recovers it and brings it back, though Bifur declines it.

Radio series[edit | edit source]

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Bombur is played by Duncan McIntyre.

1979: The Hobbit (1979 radio series):

Bombur is voiced by Pat Franklyn.

1980: Der Hobbit (1980 German radio series):

Bombur is played by Herbert Grünbaum.

1989: Hobit (1989 Slovak radio series):

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

Games[edit | edit source]

1982: The Hobbit (1982 video game):

Bombur is omitted; Thorin is the only companion of the player, Bilbo Baggins.[28]

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

Bombur is voiced by an uncredited Daran Norris.

2018: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Bombur is found feasting in the "Hall under the Mountain" in Erebor, as well as in other locations in the Lonely Mountain where he holds the position of the of Warden of the Larder. At some point after the Battle of Dale he and the other surviving dwarves of the Company pay respect to tomb of Thorin Oakenshield, now next to that of King Dain Ironfoot. A popular drink in the Thorin's Hall Inn in Ered Luin, "Bombur's Beard Lager", is named after him.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Barrels Out of Bond"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Roast Mutton"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Warm Welcome"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "On the Doorstep"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Thief in the Night"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Thief in the Night"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  17. 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
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", p. 36
  19. 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
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Trolls", p. 91
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Mirkwood", p. 313
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Conversations with Smaug"
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. "The Hobbit.mp4" dated 5 January 2012, YouTube (accessed 10 January 2012)
  26. Peter Jackson, "Production begins in New Zealand on The Hobbit" dated 20 March 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)
  27. Warner Bros., "Hobbit Movies" dated 7 September 2012, Apple iPhone/iPad App (accessed 19 September 2012)
  28. 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