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Topic: Merry and Pippin ~ Transformed by Friendship

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Oct 19, 2010
Merry and Pippin ~ Transformed by Friendship

Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck are major supporting characters in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
They both start out as friendly simple hobbits.  Then, in following their friendship with Frodo Baggins, they go on a series of adventures that transform them both.


"Dear me! We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can't live long on the heights." (Pippin says)
"No," said Merry. "I can't. Not yet, at any rate. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honor them. It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not."
(The Lord Of The Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter  VIII ~  "The Houses of Healing", pg. 146)

So let us follow that transformation.
First some basic facts.


Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) was born in 2982 of the Third Age. He was the only son and heir of the Master of Buckland, Saradoc Brandybuck, who was known as "Scattergold." The Brandybucks were a wealthy and respected family who lived in Buckland across the Brandywine River, though some folk in the Shire thought them rather queer. Through his mother, Esmeralda Took Brandybuck, Merry was first cousin to Pippin Took, who was his closest friend and companion on the quest.

Peregrin Took (Pippin) was born in 2990 of the Third Age, the only son of Paladin Took and Eglantine Banks Took. Pippin's father farmed the lands around Whitwell near Tuckborough, and he also held the title Thain Paladin II. The Thain was master of the Shire-moot and captain of the Shire-muster and the Hobbitry-in-arms. These titles had become largely nominal dignities, but the Thain was accorded a special respect among Hobbits. As the Thain's heir, Pippin was a young gentlehobbit of rank and wealth.. He had three older sisters, Pearl Took, Pimpernel Took, and Pervinca Took. His best friend Meriadoc Brandybuck was his cousin, son of Paladin's sister Esmeralda Brandybuck.

Second?  Two quotes that give us some insight into each of them.

Merry :
"You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin - to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours - closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo." (Merry says)
(The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter V ~ "A Conspiracy Unmasked," pgs. 115-16)

Pippin:
"The Company proceeded down the Anduin to Amon Hen, where Frodo went off on his own to decide what to do. Pippin was concerned about his friend.
"We must stop him," said Pippin. "And that is what he is worrying about, I am sure. He knows we shan't agree to his going east. And he doesn't like to ask anyone to go with him, poor old fellow. Imagine it: going off to Mordor alone!" Pippin shuddered. "But the dear silly old hobbit, he ought to know that he hasn't got to ask. He ought to know that if we can't stop him, we shan't leave him." (The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter X  ~  "The Breaking of the Fellowship",  pg 419)

What are the character traits of each of these Hobbits and how does their "adventures" change them?


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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Oct 20, 2010
I haven't read the book in a while, so the memory of how they behaved prior to the "Quest" and after it isn't very clear, but I think it is fair and obvious to state that the Quest had transformed them from simply countryfolk, a tad on the troublesome side if I remember (or is that solely in the films?), into mature Hobbits, even moreso than many of the gaffers and elders in the Shire. The imagination and scope of mind of a Hobbit must have is so limited living in the Shire where even the maps are blacked out beyond the borders, the Quest must have changed them in ways more extreme than face value would indicate. I suppose it would be akin to some tribesman in some far-off remote corner of our world being brought into Western civilisation. Combine that with the actual heavy purpose of the Quest and the dire evil they faced and you have a potent mix.
In this regard I am not sure Tolkien made it all that realistic. I know Hobbits like the quiet life, but Merry and Pippin seemed to acquire a much greater thirst for adventure after the quest, or so I thought, that life in the Shire afterwards would surely become far too mundane. I can't recall but how many trips out of the Shire did they have after the War of the Ring was over?

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Oct 26, 2010
Anyone else with opinions on this subject? Leave no stone unturned!

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Date: Oct 26, 2010
As I remember it the Quest taught these two playful Hobbits a full measure of bravery and strong desire to fight and protect what was theirs. They mustered the other Hobbits in the ravaged Shire to stand up to Saruman and after the death of the old villian and Wormtongue to drive the ruffians out of the Shire for all time. They even became far traveled visiting Aragorn and Arwen in Evendim and Gondor. They often visited Rivendell and its library. There were trips to visit Faramir and Eowyn.

As for it not being realistic, I know that I have been a "backwoods bunny" all my life. But providence has allowed me to travel. I have been across the US living on the Checker Board area of the Navajo Res. I have been to Canada, Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island. I have even flown over seas to visit Isreal. Do I feel changed? Oh yes I do. I am bolder, more sure of myself. I can stand up for myself in ways I never thought possible. Broaden your horizens and see what happens.

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Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Date: Oct 26, 2010
The greater Middle Earth was saved and the poor hobbits had to return to the peaceful land that they left only to find it in turmoil and seige. The larger theme of good triumphing over evil is done and now the very ones who were largly responsible for that goal being reached ride from the peace of Gondor and the larger realms into the war of their own lands. That Tolkien could have left off the seige of the Shire is possible. So what was he trying to get across to us? Also, the Shire would have had to be saved by the king and his men if the Hobbits had not been through all the trial before. As it was, they were capable of saving their own homes and people only because they had been so far and learned and done so much to save everyone elses.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Oct 27, 2010
First Peregrin Took and some of his youthful indiscretions.
Pippin's youth and curious nature got him into trouble on occasion, but his steadfast friendship and unquenchable cheerfulness helped carry him and his companions through the darkest times.
Let me take these hobbits one at a time with a brief summary of events.
In Bree, at The Prancing Pony, Pippin began telling humorous stories about the Shire in the common room. He foolishly allowed himself to get carried away by the attention - and perhaps by too much ale - and he came dangerously close to mentioning Bilbo's disappearance at his birthday party, a definite security blunder.
He even manages to annoy Gandalf and Elrond several times ...
First at Rivendell at the council where he was not invited ;

"We hobbits ought to stick together, and we will. I shall go, unless they chain me up. There must be someone with intelligence in the party."
"Then you certainly will not be chosen, Peregrin Took!" said Gandalf...
When it came time for Elrond to select the members of the Fellowship who would accompany Frodo, he was inclined to send Merry and Pippin back to the Shire to raise the alarm.
"In any case, I judge that the younger of these two, Peregrin Took, should remain. My heart is against his going."
"Then, Master Elrond, you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack," said Pippin. "For otherwise I shall follow the Company."

And a couple of times so dangerous that the Fellowship is seriously threatened.
Then  outside the Gates of Moria, Pippin tried Gandalf's patience by questioning the wizard while he tried to find the spell to open the door. Once inside the Mines, Pippin again incurred Gandalf's ire when he dropped a stone down a well and drums sounded in the deep as if in response ...

"What's that?" cried Gandalf. He was relieved when Pippin confessed what he had done; but he was angry, and Pippin could see his eye glinting. "Fool of a Took!" he growled. "This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you will be no further nuisance. Now be quiet!"

After gaining the assistance of Treebeard and the Ents against Saruman and the victory at Helm's Deep when Gandalf confronted Saruman at Orthanc, Pippin picked up the palantir that Grima threw down from Isengard. Pippin was consumed by curiosity about the strange globe and later took it from Gandalf while he slept. When Pippin looked into the palantir, he saw Sauron who demanded to know who he was. Pippin answered, "A Hobbit," and thus his act of mischief had an unexpected beneficial effect: Sauron thought that the Ring-bearer was in Isengard.

Next time ~ The transformation of  Peregrin Took


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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Oct 28, 2010
That raises another interesting question: was the mischief of Pippin a boon or bane to the overall progress of the War of the Ring?

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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I would say it was a boon in the long run. It got him placed in Gondor to be on hand to help save Faramir from being burned alive by Denethor.

Gandalf might get put out with him and scold him often, but in reading those parts the crusty old wizard usually had a twinkle in his eye.....maybe not in Moria...but most of the time.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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"That raises another interesting question: was the mischief of Pippin a boon or bane to the overall progress of the War of the Ring?" (Tolkien Forums > The Little Peoples > Merry and Pippin ~ Transformed by Friendship > Glorfindel 1235 > October 28th, 2010)

In a least one incident Tolkien answers your question definitively.
And that is the case with the Palantir.

"Look at me!' said Gandalf.
Pippin looked up straight into his eyes. The wizard held his gaze for a moment in silence. Then his face grew gentler, and the shadow of a smile appeared. He laid his hand softly on Pippin's head.
'All right!' he said. 'Say no more! You have taken no harm. There is no lie in your eyes, as I feared. But he did not speak long with you. A fool, but an honest fool, you remain, Peregrin Took. Wiser ones might have done worse in such a pass. But mark this! You have been saved, and all your friends too, mainly by good fortune, as it is called. You cannot count on it a second time. If he had questioned you, then and there, almost certainly you would have told all that you know, to the ruin of us all. But he was too eager. He did not want information only: he wanted you, quickly, so that he could deal with you in the Dark Tower, slowly. Don't shudder! If you will meddle in the affairs of Wizards, you must be prepared to think of such things. But come! I forgive you. Be comforted! Things have not turned out as evilly as they might.'
He lifted Pippin gently and carried him back to his bed. Merry followed, and sat down beside him. 'Lie there and rest, if you can, Pippin!' said Gandalf. 'Trust me. If you feel an itch in your palms again, tell me of it! Such things can be cured. But anyway, my dear hobbit, don't put a lump of rock under my elbow again! Now, I will leave you two together for a while.'
With that Gandalf returned to the others, who were still standing by the Orthanc-stone in troubled thought. 'Peril comes in the night when least expected,' he said. 'We have had a narrow escape!'
'How is the hobbit, Pippin?' asked Aragorn.
'I think all will be well now,' answered Gandalf. 'He was not held long, and hobbits have an amazing power of recovery. The memory, or the horror of it, will probably fade quickly. Too quickly, perhaps. Will you, Aragorn, take the Orthanc-stone and guard it? It is a dangerous charge.'
'Dangerous indeed, but not to all,' said Aragorn. 'There is one who may claim it by right. For this assuredly is the palantír of Orthanc from the treasury of Elendil, set here by the Kings of Gondor. Now my hour draws near. I will take it.'
Gandalf looked at Aragorn, and then, to the surprise of the others, he lifted the covered Stone, and bowed as he presented it.
'Receive it, lord!' he said: 'in earnest of other things that shall be given back. But if I may counsel you in the use of your own, do not use it - yet! Be wary!'
'When have I been hasty or unwary, who have waited and prepared for so many long years?' said Aragorn.
'Never yet. Do not then stumble at the end of the road,' answered Gandalf. 'But at the least keep this thing secret. You, and all others that stand here! The hobbit, Peregrin, above all should not know where it is bestowed. The evil fit may come on him again. For alas! he has handled it and looked in it, as should never have happened. He ought never to have touched it in Isengard, and there I should have been quicker. But my mind was bent on Saruman, and I did not at once guess the nature of the Stone. Then I was weary, and as I lay pondering it, sleep overcame me. Now I know!'
'Yes, there can be no doubt,' said Aragorn. 'At last we know the link' between Isengard and Mordor, and how it worked. Much is explained.'
'Strange powers have our enemies, and strange weaknesses!' said Théoden. 'But it has long been said: oft evil will shall evil mar.'
'That many times is seen,' said Gandalf. 'But at this time we have been strangely fortunate. Maybe, I have been saved by this hobbit from a grave blunder. I had considered whether or not to probe this Stone myself to find its uses. Had I done so, I should have been revealed to him myself. I am not ready for such a trial, if indeed I shall ever be so: But even if I found the power to withdraw myself, it would be disastrous for him to see me, yet - until the hour comes when secrecy will avail no longer.'
'That hour is now come, I think,' said Aragorn.
'Not yet,' said Gandalf. 'There remains a short while of doubt which we must use. The Enemy, it is clear, thought that the Stone was in Orthanc - why should he not? And that therefore the hobbit was captive there, driven to look in the glass for his torment by Saruman. That dark mind will be filled now with the voice and face of the hobbit and with expectation: it may take some time before he learns his error. We must snatch that time. We have been too leisurely. We must move. The neighbourhood of Isengard is no place now to linger in." (The Lord Of The Rings,Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter XI ~ "The Palantir,"  pgs 598-599)

Pippin, in his curiosity and foolishness, has saved much being revealed to Sauron.
But the other incidents such as in Moria or at The Prancing Pony it remains to be seen.


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