Harry Goatleaf

From Tolkien Gateway
Harry Goatleaf
Man of Bree
Harry Goatleaf from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Biographical Information
LocationWest-gate of Bree, Chetwood/wilds north-way
AffiliationBree-landers, Ruffians
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Harry Goatleaf

Harry Goatleaf was a Man of Bree and a member of the Goatleaf Family.


Harry Goatleaf worked as a Gate-keeper stationed at the western gate in the great hedge that surrounded the township of Bree.[1] On 23 September, Strider observed the Nazgûl having a conversation with Goatleaf before leaving him white and shaking.[2] When Frodo Baggins and his companions arrived at the town, he got a lantern and questioned them gruffly about their intentions, silently observing that they came from the Shire before letting them in. Before wishing them good night, he warned them that there would be more folk besides him at The Prancing Pony who would ask them questions.[1]

After Strider advised the four Hobbits to be more careful as the Nazgûl were seen passing the Greenway the previous Monday, Frodo realized that he should have known this from the way the Goatleaf spoke. Later, when Strider predicts that something may happen that night before they leave Bree, he mentioned that the Goatleaf may be a spy for the Nazgûl, noting the conversation he had overheard.[2]

Before the end of T.A. 3018, the Men of Bree kicked the Ruffians among the Southerners out of Bree. Early in the New Year however, the town was attacked in the night by the very same Ruffians. During the battle, Goatleaf fought on the side of the Ruffians along with Bill Ferny. After the battle, Goatleaf left Bree alongside the other Ruffians, hiding out in either the Chetwood beyond Archet, or in the wilds north of Bree. Later, it was believed by Barliman Butterbur that Goatleaf and Ferny were the ones who let the Ruffians in on the night of the battle.[3] Goatleaf's position as a Gate-keeper was presumably later taken by another Gate-keeper.

Other versions of the legendarium

In an early draft, Harry Goatleaf whispered with Bill Ferney and the squint-eyed southerner in a corner of the Prancing Pony and slipped out behind them after Frodo's song. He is described later on in the draft as "a mean old curmudgeon". In another draft, Gandalf is at the gate and asks Goatleaf if he had seen any Shire-hobbits. Goatleaf revealed that he did not as he was in Staddle and his brother, Ned, was at the gate in his place. After advising Gandalf to head to the inn, he shut the gate. Later in this draft, the Black Riders came to the gate and Harry revealed Gandalf's entry. A few moments later, when Frodo passed through, he was more friendly than in the published text, and the dialogue was slightly expanded.[4]

Portrayal in adaptations

2001: Pán prsteňov (2001-2003 Slovak radio series):

Harry Goatleaf makes a brief appearance early in the second episode of the radio series. He is portrayed by an uncredited actor (making him the only notable character in the entire series to go uncredited).

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

Harry Goatleaf (portrayed by Martyn Sanderson) is never named, but is referred to as the Gate Keeper in the end credits. Unlike the novel, he doesn't seem to be in league with the Black Riders. In fact, he is killed when the Black Riders knock the gate down and crush him underneath it as they storm Bree.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Harry Goatleaf is first encountered as one of the patrons in the Prancing Pony Inn, where he warns Frodo that suspicious folk have been seen in Bree, and seemingly shows concern for Frodo's safety and well-being. He is later seen in a cutscene opening the town's gates and letting wolves loose into the streets. After this, he is never seen again. He is voiced by an uncredited Tom Kane.
Harry Goatleaf in The Lord of the Rings Online

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Harry Goatleaf is found at the west gate of Bree, and for a long time he was not involved in any quests. He later appeared alongside Bill Ferny as one of Lotho Sackville-Baggins' enforcers in the Shire and participated in the attack on the Prancing Pony during the winter of 3019.