Talking purse

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.
Talking Purse
money bag
The Hobbit (2003) Wallet.png
"Talking wallet" by The Hobbit (2003 video game)
AppearanceIt is said to have been huge and "as big as a bag to Bilbo".[1]
Notable forCatching Bilbo in the act of pickpocketing it.
"'Ere, 'oo are you?"
― Talking purse to Bilbo in The Hobbit, "Roast Mutton"[note 1]

The talking purse was the purse of the troll William.


When Bilbo Baggins tried to pick the purse from William's pocket, the purse squeaked, alerting William of the attempted burglary and captured Bilbo.[1]


Fans have suggested that the purse was perhaps not made by trolls, but that it was stolen and, because of it ability to speak (like the sword Gurthang), of dwarvish or elvish origin.[2][3][4] Elrond certainly guessed that the trolls had some plunder from Moria, although he was specifically referring to Glamdring and Orcrist.[5]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

1989: The Hobbit (comic):

David T. Wenzel portrays the purse having holes resembling a shouting mouth.

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

Not only does the purse (called "wallet" in the game) talk, but it has eyes that open up when Bilbo touches it.[6]
  1. Unless one interprets the talking purse's words as fantastical elaboration by Bilbo, there exists only one other item in the legendarium which shows an ability to speak: Gurthang, the bloodthirsty sword of Túrin Turambar.