J.R.R. Tolkien's Pippin
When J.R.R. Tolkien completed and published The Lord of the Rings in 1954, he created a world that would enchant and capture the hearts of countless generations. Never before has a book impacted me so deeply. Middle-earth in the Third Age (that is, the Age when LotR took place) housed many lively and colorful characters. Out of all the incredible amount of personalities we meet in Middle-earth, none have captured my heart as much as Peregrin "Pippin" Took.
Here is some general information about Pippin:
Date of Birth: 2990
Date of Death: Sometime after the year 64 of the Fourth Age
Parents: Paladin Took (Thain Paladin II) and Eglantine Banks
Siblings: Three sisters - Pearl, Pimpernel, and Pervinca
Spouse: Diamond of Long Cleeve
Children: Son - Faramir Took
Hair color: Brown, but "almost golden" *
Height: Above 4'5" after drinking the Ent-Draught in Fangorn
Sword: An ancient sword of Westernesse, nicknamed "Troll's bane" after Pippin slayed the troll chieftain at the Battle of the Black Gate
* - Pippin's hair color is mentioned in The History of Middle-earth, vol. IX, Sauron Defeated, through the eyes of Pippin Gamgee.
A Brief Telling of Pippin's Tale
At the time of Bilbo's birthday feast, Pippin was 11 years old. The feast took place in TA 3001 and Pippin was born in TA 2990.* In the book, Pippin is introduced (at least in name) in the chapter The Shadow of the Past, and by the time we meet Pippin in Three is Company, the year is TA 3018 - the year of The Quest - when he becomes part of the Three (being he, Frodo, and Sam) that help Frodo "move" to Crickhollow.
One of the most beautiful passages in The Lord of the Rings for me lies at this very onset of the journey from the Shire:
"Well, now we're off at last!" said Frodo. They shouldered their packs and took up their sticks, and walked round the corner to the west side of Bag End. "Good-bye!" said Frodo, looking at the dark blank windows. He waved his hand, and then turned and (following Bilbo, if he had known it) hurried after Peregrin down the garden-path. They jumped over the low place in the hedge at the bottom and took to the fields, passing into the darkness like a rustle in the grasses.
-The Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company
Being the son of the Thain (a title which Pippin later inherits), Pippin knew his way around the Shire very well. During these early stages of the Quest, where danger is hardly felt until a bit later, Pippin appears immature and impatient, and is usually calling for food breaks and/or rests. As Frodo came back to their camp the morning after their first trek, empty handed and without water, Pippin exclaimed:
"Water! Where's the water?"
"I don't keep water in my pockets" said Frodo.
-The Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company
Shortly after they start off again, the hobbits encounter their first scare of running into a sniffing Black Rider. Naturally, the care-free feeling the hobbits were experiencing ended, and the mood become more anxious, until their spirits rose again and the hobbits began to sing songs. Luckily, Pippin, Sam, and Frodo crossed paths with Wood Elves that were leaving Middle-earth, led by Gildor. Comfort was again restored in the hearts of the hobbits as they sang and ate quality food with Gildor and the Elves. The next morning, the hobbits awoke to an empty camp - the Wood Elves were gone. Upon deciding which way to take to arrive at Bucklebury fastest, Pippin and Frodo exchanged some words - words that this site has displayed proudly:
"We could save a quarter of the distance if we made a line for the Ferry from where we stand." (Frodo)
"Short cuts make long delays" argued Pippin. "The country is rough round here, and there are bogs and all kinds of difficulties down in the Marish - I know the land in these parts."
-The Fellowship of the Ring, A Short Cut to Mushrooms
The hobbits, despite more Black Rider scares, were able to eventually reach Bamfurlong, Farmer Maggot's land. Pippin was a friend of Maggot's, so the hobbits were welcomed in and had a nice meal and ale with Farmer Maggot and his family. Coming in contact prior with a suspicious Black Rider, Maggot realized that Frodo and his friends were in trouble. So, upon understanding the rush and trouble the hobbits were in to arrive at the Bucklebury Ferry, Maggot offered to cover them all up in the back of his cart and take them to the Ferry. The hobbits accepted, where they met Merry at the end of the journey with Farmer Maggot. The hobbits were officially now four.
Upon a short stay at Crickhollow, Pippin, Merry, Sam, and Fatty revealed to Frodo that they had known about Frodo's plan, and about Bilbo's Ring. They intended to go with Frodo through the Old Forest and on - they were not going to let their beloved cousin/friend go alone.
Upon entering the Old Forest, queer things immediately started happening to the hobbits - the forest started shifting its path, and faint noises were heard in the distance. Freightened, the hobbits eventually wound up near the River Withywindle. A sudden warmth and sleepiness took the hobbits, and Merry and Pippin were soon consumed in sleep, and then literally consumed (at least in Pippin's case) into the old willow tree in which they laid against! Frodo and Sam tried to help their friends, but their attempts made Old Man Willow even angrier. Thankfully, Tom Bombadil heard the cries of help from Frodo and Sam and commanded Old Man Willow to release M & P. Upon Tom's words, Pippin and Merry were set free. The hobbits were then, thankfully, brought to the house of Tom Bombadil.
In the House of Tom Bombadil the hobbits found a cozy, welcoming, and safe atmosphere with Tom and his enchanting lady, Goldberry. Although during the first night's stay at Tom's all of the hobbits (except Sam) had terrible dreams, the stay brought warmth to the hobbits' hearts. When it was time for the hobbits to go, their hearts were heavy - and it was not too long after they departed Tom Bombadil's that they ran into more trouble at the haunting Barrow-downs.
Becoming seperated from his friends, Frodo became lost and in desperate confusion as to where his friends went. They were warned about the Barrows, and knew a little bit of them. Eventually, after being touched by a Barrow-wight, Frodo awoke to find Merry, Pippin, and Sam in a dark, cold, barrow:
They were on their backs, and their faces looked deathly pale; and they were clad in white. About them lay many treasures, of gold maybe, though in that light they cold and unlovely. On their heads were circlets, gold chains were about their waists, and on their fingers were many rings. Swords lay by their sides, and shields were at their feet. But across their three necks lay one long naked sword.
-The Fellowship of the Ring, Fog on the Barrow-downs
Upon singing the song that Tom Bombadil taught the hobbits in his home, Tom came and sang another verse - and banished the cold wight, and the hobbits were freed. After this ordeal had passed, the hobbits arrived in Bree, at the Prancing Pony Inn, like Gandalf had instructed Frodo to do before he departed all that time ago in the Shire.
Being a place of cultural mixture, Bree housed Men, hobbits, and dwarves. The Prancing Pony Inn was an extremely welcoming Inn being run by Barliman Butterbur - a good hearted man, but blumbering nonetheless. Once the hobbits started to settle in and have a few drinks of ale, Pippin started to get overly comfortable, and became frighteningly close to giving away to the Bree-folk information about Frodo and the Ring:
To his alarm Frodo became aware that the ridiculous young Took, encouraged by his success with the fat Mayor of Michel Delving, was now actually giving a comic account of Bilbo's farewell party. He was already giving an imitation of the Speech, and was drawing near to the astonishing Disappearance...Pippin was evidently much enjoying the attention he was getting, and had become quite forgetful of their danger.
-The Fellowship of the Ring, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
Once Frodo distracted the Bree-folk from Pippin and turned the attention onto himself with a song or two, Frodo accidently put the Ring on his finger, causing a tremendous uproar. After Frodo appeared again, Strider went into the room with the hobbits and made himself known to them. They had no choice but to trust him, as he appeared to know Gandalf. The next morning, they set out of Bree and into the wild.
Traveling with Strider, the hobbits eventually came to Weathertop - the ancient watch tower of the North Kingdom. It was here that the Riders caught up with the Company and, upon being cornered, Frodo was stabbed and wounded. The ensuing journey (which included a stop at Bilbo's old stone trolls) was traveled with heavy feet, as Frodo was badly wounded. Eventually, the Company met up with the elf Glorfindel, who gave Frodo his horse in a last effort to avoid the Riders, who were close by. Frodo, through the grace of one more powerful than he, made it across the Ford, and thus awoke in Rivendell, under the care of Elrond.
End of Book I