Green Brother

From Tolkien Gateway

The Green Brother is a mysterious character in the Father Christmas Letters. He is the son of Grandfather Yule and the brother of Father Christmas.[1]

Like Father Christmas, the Green Brother collects food, clothes, and toys for poor children.[2] Father's Christmas's green trousers were a present from his green brother.[3]


While Deborah and Ivor Rogers argued in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Critical Biography (1982) that the Green Brother represented "the embodiment of ancient springtime fertility myths" (suggestive of the Green Knight), Kris Swank has suggested that the Green Brother:

might have been Tolkien’s explanation to his children why Victorian pictures of Father Christmas showed him wearing green robes. Grandfather Yule, whose name is also Nicholas ‚after the Saint‛ (FCL 39), might, then, refer to the pre-Victorian image of the mid-winter spirit

The Green Brother would thus in the latter's interpretation rather be a Christmas figure than a summer figure.[5]


The world of the Letters from Father Christmas
Main characters: Father Christmas · North Polar Bear · Ilbereth
Other characters: Mr Cave Bear · Green Brother · Grandfather Yule
Man in the Moon · Paksu & Valkotukka · Snow Man
Races & Peoples: Goblins · Green elves · Red Elves · Snow-elves · Snow-men
Other concepts: Arktik · Goblin Alphabet · Windbeam