Merry Brandybuck was born in 2982 of the Third Age to Saradoc ‘Scattergold’ Brandybuck and Esmeralda Took. His full name, Meriadoc, was initially supposed to mean jolly, though it is an abbreviation of the Buckland name Kalimac. However, this was seldom remembered.
The Brandybucks of many generations lived in Brandy Hall where all hobbits were “clannish and reckoned up their relationships with great care, [drawing] long and elaborate family-trees with innumerable branches.”(LOTR, “Prologue”)
The first discoveries of the custom of smoking pipeweed were made by Merry Brandybuck. He and the tobacco of the Southfarthing would play a part in the history, with his remarks in the introduction to Herbivore of the Shire.
In LOTR, Merry was first seen at Bilbo’s and Frodo’s party guarding Bag End and protecting Frodo from unwanted guests, particularly the Sackville-Bagginses. By then, he would already know of the One Ring and its power of invisibility.
Merry would later meet up again, helping Frodo move to Buckland before traveling east with the fellowship. Merry would buy a little house for his friend in Crickhollow beyond Buckleberry – as Buckland was on the eastern borders of the Shire, where Frodo also lived in his childhood.
He would provide a shortcut to the Old Forest, starting on the left along the Hedge. Past the tunnel there would be a faint path leading up to the Old Forest.
However, at Bree, Merry wasn’t present when Frodo put on the ring, but he was nearly killed by the Nazgul when they arrived.
Council of Elrond
At the Council of Elrond, Merry and Pippin would be elated after Elrond said they could go with Frodo. However, at first they would not be so excited that Sam was invited to join Frodo on the quest.
Gandalf would insist that nothing would be decided by then until they found out about the Riders. Merry would insist that they were all destroyed in the flood, to which Gandalf responds:
“‘You cannot destroy Ringwraiths like that,’ said Gandalf. ‘The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him. We hope that they were all unhorsed and unmasked, and so made for a while less dangerous but we must find out for certain.’”(FOTR, “The Ring Goes South”)
Little did Merry know that he would one day play a major role in defeating the Witch-king of Angmar.
Then Gandalf would decide to come with Frodo. Elrond would doubt Pippin’s wisdom, and would be left with seven members out of the intended nine.
“‘There remain two more to be found,’ said Elrond. ‘These I will consider. Of my household I may find some that it seems good to me to send.’
‘But that will leave no place for us!’ Cried Pippin in dismay. ‘We don’t want to be left behind. We want to go with Frodo.’
’That is because you do not understand and cannot imagine what lies ahead,’ said Elrond.
‘Neither does Frodo,’ said Gandalf, unexpectedly supporting Pippin. It is true that if these hobbits understood the danger, they would not dare to go. But they would still wish to go, and wish that they dared, and be shamed and unhappy. I think, Elrond, that in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom. Even if you chose for us an Elf-lord, such as Glorfindel, he could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the Fire by the power that is in him.’
‘You speak gravely,’ said Elrond, ‘but I am in doubt. The Shire, I forebode, is not free now from peril; and these two I had thought to send back there as messengers, to do what they could, according to the fashion of their country, to warn the people of their danger. In any case, I judge that the younger of these two, Peregrin Took, should remain. My heart is against his going.’”(FOTR, “The Ring Goes South”)
Though later both Merry and Pippin would be included in the fellowship, filling the tale of nine – seven days before the fellowship left Rivendell.
After the Breaking of the Fellowship
Merry would be injured in Amon Hen by the Uruk-Hai, and would be captured by the Uruks, who would give him an Orc drink keeping him alive on his way to Isengard. Boromir would try to defend him, though he would die during the attempt.
“Slowly in Pippin’s aching head memory pieced itself together and became separated from dream-shadows. Of course: he and Merry had run off into the woods. What had come over them? Why had they dashed off like that, taking no notice of old Strider? They had run a long way shouting – he could not remember how far or how long; and then suddenly they had crashed right into a group of Orcs: they were standing listening, and they did not appear to see Merry and Pippin until they were almost in their arms. Then they yelled and dozens of other goblins had sprung out of the trees. Merry and he had drawn their swords, nut the Orcs did not wish to fight, and had tried only to lay hold of them, even when Merry had cut off several of their arms and hands. Good old Merry!
Then Boromir had come leaping through the trees. He had made them fight. He slew many of them and the rest fled. But they had not gone far on the way back when they were attacked again, by a hundred Orcs at least, some of them very large, and they shot a rain of arrows: always at Boromir. Boromir had blown his great horn until the woods rang, and at first the Orcs had been dismayed and had drawn back; but when no answer but the echoes came, they had attacked more fiercely than ever.”(TTT, “The Uruk-Hai”)
Later, Merry and Pippin would escape into Fangorn Forest and meet Treebeard and also drink the Ent-draught, causing them to be the tallest hobbits there ever lived. They would be set as guardians on their way to Isengard, and Merry would meet Theoden and reunite with the members of the fellowship, except Frodo and Sam who were going to Mordor.
Gandalf would take Pippin to Gondor and separate him from Merry. Merry would swear fealty to Theoden before goin on the Battle of Pelennor Fields.
Defeat of the Witch-King of Angmar
Merry would start to feel a sudden change before the battle, during the ride of the Rohirrim. At that moment there would be a flash, “as if lightning had sprung from the earth beneath the City. For a searing second it stood dazzling far off in black and white, its topmost tower like a glittering needle; and then as the darkness closed again there came rolling over the fields a great boom.” (ROTK, “The Ride of the Rohirrim”)
Then he would cry in a loud voice:
Then he would seize a great horn from his banner-bearer, Guthláf, and all the horns would be lifted up in music. All the host of Rohan will burst into song as the battle would begin.
Merry would find he would be with Éowyn who he initially thought was Dernhelm – whom he would ride to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields with. They would see the Nazgûl.
“Éowyn it was, and Dernhelm also. For into Merry’s mind flashed the memory of the face that he saw at the riding from Dunharrow: the face of one that goes seeking death, having no hope. Pity filled his heart and great wonder, and suddenly the slow-kindled courage of his race awoke. He clenched his hand. She should not die, so fair, so desperate! At least she should not die alone, unaided.”(ROTK, “Battle of the Pelennor Fields”)
Merry would crawl aside, and the Black Captain would heed him as a worm in the mud. Éowyn would strike a skilled and deadly stroke, and and a light would fall upon her as she sprang backward.
The Black Rider would finally arise, towering above her before Merry’s sword would stab the Rider from behind. Éowyn would drive her sword between the crown and mantle before falling forward. This would mark the defeat of the Witch-king of Angmar, though Merry wished he had not gone at it with Éowyn alone, saying:
They would later be healed in the Houses of Healing.
Battle of Bywater
After the Fall of Sauron, Merry would reunite with the rest of the Fellowship and head back to the Shire. However, little did they know there would be another battle, the Battle of Bywater.
The hobbits would be faced by Saruman, who was presented as the mysterious boss, “Sharkey.” There were also half-dozen Men who claimed to not answer to Lotho, who is the Hobbit Chief. The men threaten Frodo, though the other three hobbits were the one drawing swords.
Merry and Pippin wanted to start a fight in order to destroy him and were shocked when they heard that Frodo seemingly wanted to save Lotho instead.
Sam decides to find Tom Cotton, who then eventually started the fight along with Merry and Pippin. Eventually, Sam ran off with Frodo to meet the Cottons, while Merry decided to arrange lookouts and guards for the night as they spent it at Tom Cottons.
There, they find out about Lotho and his desire to sell property he had from the Southfarthing. The mayor tried to protest, but to no avail – he was locked, and Lotho (Pimple) called himself “Chief.”
The next morning, the hobbits found themselves in a battle with the ruffians, men and other hobbits, which was later known as the Battle of Bywater, 1419. 70 ruffians died, along with a dozen prisoners, 19 other hobbits were killed, while 30 were wounded. It was the only battle fought in the Shire and the only one in the Northfarthing since the Greenfields.
Merry would reside in Brandy Hall and Crickhollow, and become the Magnificent and the Master of Buckland in 1432 SR (11 4A). Great gifts from King Éomer and Lady Éowyn would be sent to him. He would wed Estella Bolger, and it was said that he would have at least one son.
Merry would also write Old Words and Names in the Shire, showing the relation between the language of Rohirrim and that of the Hobbits, presumably Westron or common-speech.
At the age of 102, Merry would get a message coming from Rohan to Buckland that King Éomer wanted to see him again. He would take counsel with his friend Pippin, and they would go to Edoras to stay with King Éomer before he died that fall.
After Éomer’s death, Merry and Pippin would go to Gondor and dwell there until they would die and be laid in Rath Dínen among the great of Gondor, with their beds set beside the great king Aragorn.