Squint-eyed southerner

From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
Squint-eyed southerner
"Squint-eyed Brute" by Jon Foster
Biographical Information
AffiliationSauron (Nazgûl & Saruman)
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Squint-eyed southerner

He looks more than half like a goblin.

The squint-eyed southerner was a brigand driven from Dunland, rumored to have a strain of Orc-blood in him. He initially acted as one of the corrupted Wizard Saruman's most trusted agents, before being compelled into the service of the Nazgûl as an informant.


Hailing from Dunland, the squint-eyed southerner was banished by his fellow hillmen due to a rumor that he had Orc-blood coursing through his veins (implying he may have been one of the Half-orcs or Goblin-men).[2]

Having entered the employ of the Wizard Saruman, the southerner was at one point stationed on the borders of the Shire to negotiate the purchase of "leaf" and other supplies which were stored in Isengard in preparation for the war. The squint-eyed southerner had been instructed by his master to infiltrate the Shire and learn of any Hobbits who had departed recently in hopes of finding the Ring-bearer. 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-robed Nazgûl came upon him at the Tharbad crossing. When questioned, the southerner told the Witch-king everything, betraying the White Wizard; this proved Saruman was withholding information from his own master, Sauron. The Lord of Morgul 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 southerner and sent him to Bree as a spy, warning him he now answered to the Red Eye and not the White Hand. The Dunlending 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 Nine Black Riders came to attack that night.[2]

Aragorn kept the Hobbits safe through the night. The next morning, the squint-eyed southerner was spotted inside Bill Ferny's house when the company set out to Weathertop.[1]

Nothing else is recorded of the squint-eyed southerner. However in 3019, a large number of Ruffians occupied the Shire and oppressed the Hobbits.[3] It is possible the southerner was among them as many of Saruman's agents there resembled him. The Men were driven out of the Shire in the Battle of Bywater on November 3rd.


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.

Portrayal in adaptations

Squint-eyed southerner in adaptations
The Squint-eyed Southerner in The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game
The Squint-eyed Southerner in The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game  
"Squint" in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

2001-2007: The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game:

A Decipher card identifies one of the Men at Bree in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring as the Squint-eyed Southerner.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

A character called The Southerner (loosely based on the novel character) attempts to talk Harley Bramble into joining with a gang of outlaws. After Bramble is convinced not to by Eradan, Andriel and Farin, the Southerner threatens that his "powerful friends" will trouble the trio. If the player returns to Bree after the mission to Mount Gundabad, it will be revealed that Ruffians have attacked the town but have been defeated, with Bramble claiming he himself made sure the Southerner will trouble Bree-folk no more.

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.