Friday, August 16, 2013

Fredegar Bolger

Ah, Fredegar Bolger. You remember him, don't you? No? He was one of the brave hobbit-heroes in The Lord of the Rings, one of Frodo's friends; he played an important role in the quest of the Ringbearer.

Almost nobody remembers Fatty Bolger, of course, because he never left the Shire. Fredegar's role in the plan was to stay in the Shire and pretend to be Frodo, so that no one would know that he had left, at least for a while, and also to let Gandalf know what was going on when he turned up. As the narrator darkly remarks (Book I, Chapter v), "They little thought how dangerous that thought might prove." Since Frodo and friends were actually just skirting doom by a hair, and Gandalf was a bit occupied elsewhere, Fredegar narrowly managed to escape three Ringwraiths (Book I, chapter xi).

This is not the last we hear of Fredegar, though. He is rescued by the returning questers after the Scouring of the Shire. When the Shire began to be overrun with ruffians, he did not stand idle: he led a band of rebels in the north until he was finally smoked out and thrown into the Lockholes in Michel Delving (Book VI, chapter ix). Not every hero leaves his home.


  1. Will Duquette4:49 PM

    Fatty loomed larger (if I can put it that way) in some of the earlier drafts of the tale, if I recall correctly. I believe in one draft, at least, he accompanies Frodo. (Except that in that draft it was Bingo Baggins, not Frodo, and aren't we glad Tolkien changed the name?)

  2. I had forgotten that he winds up a rebel against Sharky and the Chief. As I recall, his name is somewhat less appropriate after his stay in the Lockholes, but I may be making that up. I have always liked the scene where he sounds the alarm in Crickhollow.

  3. branemrys7:24 PM

    A lot of the names were rather weird at the beginning; imagine having to follow the adventures of Marmaduke Brandybuck.

  4. branemrys7:25 PM

    That's right -- he was apparently nearly starved in the Lockholes; not only was he no longer fat, he had difficulty even walking without help.


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