The Return of the King

The Return of the King

by

J. R. R. Tolkien

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Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) Character Analysis

Merry is one of the four hobbits included in the Fellowship of the Ring, and Pippin’s best friend. He offers his sword to King Théoden and is made his squire but is told to stay behind when the Rohirrim ride to Gondor because Théoden predicts he’ll be more of a burden than a help in battle. Merry rides into battle anyway when Éowyn, disguised as Dernhelm, takes him secretly on her horse. He assists Éowyn in her defeat of the Lord of the Nazgûl by striking him behind the knee, after which Merry becomes sick with the Dark Shadow and can only be revived by Aragorn’s healing skill. The value of Merry’s bravery and loyalty is acknowledged when Éomer knights him. He proves his newfound knowledge of battle strategy in the Battle of Bywater, which leads to the hobbits’ successful reclamation of the Shire from the Chief and his ruffians.

Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) Quotes in The Return of the King

The The Return of the King quotes below are all either spoken by Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) or refer to Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
).
Book 5, Chapter 3 Quotes

He sat for a moment half dreaming, listening to the noise of water, the whisper of dark trees, the crack of stone, and the vast waiting silence that brooded behind all sound. He loved mountains, or he had loved the thought of them marching on the edge of stories brought from far away; but now he was borne down by the insupportable weight of Middle-earth. He longed to shut out the immensity in a quiet room by a fire.

Related Characters: Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry)
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

The world was darkling. The very air seemed brown, and all things about were black and grey and shadowless; there was a great stillness. No shape of cloud could be seen, unless it were far away westward, where the furthest groping fingers of gloom still crawled onwards and a little light leaked through them. Overhead there hung a heavy roof, sombre and featureless, and light seemed rather to be failing than growing.

Related Characters: Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry), Sauron
Related Symbols: The Shadow
Page Number: 66-67
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 5, Chapter 6 Quotes

“Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!”

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn am I, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

Related Characters: Lord of the Nazgûl (speaker), Éowyn/Dernhelm (speaker), Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry), Théoden
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 5, Chapter 8 Quotes

“Do not be afraid,” said Aragorn. “I came in time, and I have called him back. He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Éowyn, daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.”

Related Symbols: The Shadow
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6, Chapter 7 Quotes

Then the hobbits suddenly realized that people had looked at them with amazement not out of surprise at their return so much as in wonder at their gear. They themselves had become so used to warfare and to riding in well-arrayed companies that they had quite forgotten that the bright mail peeping from under their cloaks, and the helms of Gondor and the Mark, and the fair devices of their shields, would seem outlandish in their own country.

Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

“Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,” said Merry. “We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.”

“Not to me,” said Frodo. “To me it feels more like falling asleep again.”

Page Number: 299
Explanation and Analysis:
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Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) Character Timeline in The Return of the King

The timeline below shows where the character Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) appears in The Return of the King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 5, Chapter 1 
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...two. At Denethor’s request, Pippin describes Boromir’s death and his effort to save Pippin and Merry, another of the hobbits of the Fellowship. Pippin’s gratitude to Boromir moves him to lay... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 2 
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Merry, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli prepare to leave the wreckage of Isengard alongside Théoden, King of... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...Halbarad Dúnadan, Ranger of the North, and reveals that they’ve been looking for Aragorn. To Merry’s relief, Aragorn greets Halbarad like an old friend and introduces the Dúnedain riders as his... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...plan to rest and discuss their next movements. In the morning, Legolas and Gimli wake Merry to show him around the fortress. Gimli is eager to visit the caves, but there... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Gimli, Legolas, and Merry walk together and observe the wreckage that was left from the battle at Helm’s Deep.... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 3
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Riders of Rohan arrive at Harrowdale. Merry is tired from the long journey, and lonely—he thinks of all his friends who are... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
...the Dwimorberg—the same mountain Aragorn’s party rode into. Éowyn greets the king and his guard. Merry suspects she has been weeping, though she tells Théoden all is well. She confirms that... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Théoden invites Merry to sit beside him. They eat silently together until Merry asks about the Paths of... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Théoden suggests that his company rest, and he tells Merry to be ready at sunrise. Merry vows to ride with him, and goes to sleep... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Théoden releases Merry from his service and instructs him to stay behind with Éowyn. Merry is dismayed. All... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
The Riders of Rohan assemble, joined by a large host of men on spare horses. Merry rides behind Théoden past the ranks of men. One Rider, smaller than most others, catches... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 5
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
A day’s ride away from Minas Tirith, Merry lies restlessly in a forest where the Rohirrim have camped. He’s exhausted, lonely, and has... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
The Rohirrim ride through the night. Merry rides with Dernhelm, and he notices he has left his place in his designated company... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 6
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
...of Théoden’s knights have been slain or carried away by their spooked horses, Dernhelm and Merry are alive nearby. When Dernhelm speaks to the Lord of the Nazgûl, ordering him to... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Merry feels the urge to help Éowyn and crawls towards the Lord of the Nazgûl. The... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Merry goes to kiss Théoden’s hand. Théoden opens his eyes, and he tells Merry he is... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...to rejoin the battle and he rallies his soldiers to assail the remaining enemy forces. Merry is left behind. He sees that the sword he used to stab the Lord of... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 8
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Merry reaches the smoldering city in a haze beside the bodies of Théoden and Éowyn. Suddenly... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Faramir, Éowyn, and Merry are laid in the Houses of Healing, where the Healers are unsure how to deal... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...the room where the sick lie. Aragorn tends first to Faramir, then to Éowyn and Merry, and judges that he’ll have to use all his skill and strength to attempt to... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Finally, Aragorn goes to revive Merry. He is confident that Merry’s buoyant spirit will help him recover quickly. Merry wakes and... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 9
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...plan their next move against the enemy. After speaking with Imrahil, they go to see Merry and Pippin. The four walk and sit together. Merry begs Gimli and Legolas to recount... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...they took the ships, Aragorn held the Dead’s oath fulfilled, and they departed. Gimli tells Merry and Pippin that the armies of men that had been fighting nearby then came to... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 10
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Two days later, the army assembles. Merry is dismayed to find he won’t be going, as he still needs to rest, but... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 1
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...at all. At this point in time, Aragorn has taken the fleet at the river, Merry is a day away from Minas Tirith with the Rohirrim, and Pippin waits on Denethor,... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 4
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...with Gimli and Legolas. When two esquires come to serve wine, they recognize them as Merry and Pippin. After the feast, the hobbits talk with Gandalf, Legolas, and Gimli about their... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 5
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...warden to tell him everything he knows about Éowyn, but the warden tells him that Merry would be able to provide more insight. Merry helps Faramir to understand Éowyn’s sadness, but... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 6
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...parting with Elrond is incredibly painful: they will never see each other again. Éowyn gives Merry an ancient horn as a token of his service to Rohan. The group rides on... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 7
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Gandalf urges the hobbits to hurry to the Shire before the gates are locked. Merry reminds him there aren’t any gates—but Gandalf replies that they might not find that to... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 8
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...asks him if the Chief is Lotho, his unpopular relative, and the hobbits confirm this. Merry and Pippin climb the gate and have the gatekeeper unlock it, threatening him with their... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Merry asks for the group to be put up at the guardhouse, but Hob, one of... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...with a small band of guards in the morning. Though the guards believe Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin to be their prisoners, the four hobbits make the guards walk in front... (full context)
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
...any case, the four of them are in danger and have no place to hide. Merry urges the others to gather all the people they can at once: they’re going to... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Frodo repeats that he doesn’t wish anyone to die. Merry tells him he has a plan. Some hobbits arrive from Hobbiton to say that the... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...rise up, but that they needed to be marshalled by a leader: it’s good that Merry came back. Merry says there’s much more to do before they have a victory. The... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
That night, Frodo and Merry go with Farmer Cotton back to his farm, where he tells them what happened in... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Merry asks who Sharkey is. Cotton says he’s the most wicked of all the ruffians and... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...messenger arrives to say that Pippin’s father has rallied the whole of their county. But Merry comes with worse news—a band of around a hundred ruffians is on the way, and... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
Merry and Pippin will later be remembered as the brave captains of this battle, while Frodo’s... (full context)
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...so densely that they cut off all light to the hobbit hole’s windows. Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin go inside to find the house stinking and cluttered. They search for Lotho... (full context)
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...body to see its skin age and decay suddenly. He covers it with a cloak. Merry hopes that this is the very end of the war. Sam expects that cleaning up... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 9
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...does with this power is to reduce the number of guards to their original group. Merry and Pippin take on the task of hunting out the last ruffians. By the end... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...of room. Frodo eventually resigns the office of Deputy Mayor and focuses on his writing. Merry and Pippin live together for a while and are known around the Shire for their... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...Shire’s social life and isn’t paid much attention. The other hobbits are more excited by Merry and Pippin, and Sam, too, though Sam doesn’t realize it. In autumn, Frodo tells Sam... (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...watches the Elves board the ship and thinks about his journey home alone, but then Merry and Pippin ride up—Gandalf told them to come.  (full context)
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...says that Sam’s journey back will be better with company. He says goodbye to Sam, Merry, and Pippin, and tells them they shouldn’t avoid crying: “Not all tears are an evil.”... (full context)