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Trotter

Afalstein

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So what does everybody think of this character? For those of you unfamiliar, "Trotter" was the precursor to "Strider." He was a wild hobbit ("Rangers" originally meant wild tramp-like hobbits) who joined Frodo and the others at Bree, and filled many Strider-like roles. Obviously he wasn't King of Gondor, but he was a solid adventurer and well-known in Rivendell.

Oh, and he had wooden shoes.

Anyway, what does everyone think about him? On the one hand I found it fascinating to have a warrior/hero hobbit running around, on the other it kinda spoiled the lovable homey sense of the hobbits. And it was REALLY hard to get used to a hobbit talking about Beren and Luthien.
 

Prince of Cats

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Hey Afalstein,

Could you, for my benefit, give reference to which HOME and page numbers have 'Trotter?'

Personally, I wasn't aware of the myth and find it and the development fascinating; thanks for bringing it up!
 

Gúthwinë

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The "first germ" of the character that later evolved into Aragorn or Strider was a peculiar hobbit met by Bingo Bolger-Baggins (precursor of Frodo Baggins) at the inn of The Prancing Pony. His description and behaviour, however, was already quite close to the final story, with the difference that the hobbit wore wooden shoes, and was nicknamed Trotter for the "clitter-clap" sound that they produced. He was also accounted to be "one of the wild folk — rangers", and he played the same role in Frodo's journey to Rivendell as in The Lord of the Rings.[6]
Later Tolkien hesitated about the true identity of "Trotter" for a long time. One of his notes suggested that the Rangers should not be hobbits as originally planned, and that this would mean that Trotter was either a Man, or a hobbit who associated himself with the Rangers and was "very well known" (within the story).[7] The latter suggestion was linked to an early comment of Bingo: "I keep on feeling that I have seen him somewhere before".[8] Tolkien made a proposal that Trotter might be Bilbo Baggins himself, but rejected that idea.[7]
Another suggestion was that Trotter was "Fosco Took (Bilbo's first cousin), who vanished when a lad, owing to Gandalf".[7] This story was further elaborated, making Trotter a nephew of Bilbo, named Peregrin Boffin, and an elder cousin of Frodo. He was said to have run away after he came of age,[9] some twenty years before Bilbo's party, and had helped Gandalf in tracking Gollum later. A hint was also given as to why Trotter wore wooden shoes: he had been captured by the Dark Lord in Mordor and tortured, but saved by Gandalf; a note was added by Tolkien in the margin, saying that it would later be revealed that Trotter had wooden feet.[10]
The conception of Trotter being a hobbit was discarded with the following recommencing of writing; another short-lived idea was to make Trotter "a disguised elf − friend of Bilbo's in Rivendell,” and a scout from Rivendell who "pretends to be a ranger".[11]
Quite soon Tolkien finally settled on the Mannish identity of Trotter, from the beginning introducing him as a "descendant of the ancient men of the North, and one of Elrond's household", as well as the name Aragorn.[11] While the history of Númenor and the descendants of Elros and Elendil was not fully developed, the germs of it were in existence, and would come to be connected with The Lord of the Rings as the character of Aragorn developed. Thus the evolution of the history of the Second and Third Ages was dependent on the bringing of Trotter to association with them.
Just a little info...
 

Afalstein

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Thanks a lot, Guthwine.

As for book and pages... the book is "Return of the Shadow," the first of the LotR drafts compiled by Christopher Tolkien. Trotter references are interspersed in several places, but let me see if I can nail down the most notable.

RotS: pg 137-216. Trotter appears at Bree Inn. Described as a "queer-looking, brown-faced hobbit." A friend of Gandalf's and of elves, guides the hobbits to Rivendell, fights off wraiths at Weathertop.

RotS: pg 223-224: Tolkien's notes on Trotter, he expresses doubts about having Trotter and Rangers be hobbits, also decides Bree should be at least partly a human settlement

RotS: pg.332--end. Trotter again appears at the inn and guides them to Rivendell. Frodo (at this point Bingo), notes that he looks familiar, and he is later revealed to be Peregin Boffin, a cousin of Frodo's who grew obsessed with Bilbo's stories and wandered off with Gandalf. He is also revealed to have been tortured by the Necromancer (hence the wooden shoes), and Tolkien toyed with the idea of him even having no feet at all, just false wooden ones. He leaves with the Company and goes to Moria

Definitely an interesting character, though darker than most hobbits tend to be.
 

Starbrow

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I kind of like the idea of "ranger" hobbits. It would account for what happened to some of the more adventerous hobbits who left the Shire. :*)
 

Afalstein

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I kind of like the idea of "ranger" hobbits. It would account for what happened to some of the more adventerous hobbits who left the Shire. :*)
That was kind of the idea, at least behind Trotter. He was one of "those mad lads and lasses" that Gandalf inspired to go running off on mad adventures. Makes you wonder how many of them he had, and what they did for him. Gandalf must have had a regular network of agents throughout Middle-Earth.

The term "ranger" itself, though, meant essentially a hobbit bum in it's early stages, or I suppose a wild hobbit. Essentially a hobbit that lived in a cave and not in a proper house. At least that's the impression I got of Tolkien's meaning in the first draft. Obviously it changed a good deal from that as time went on.
 

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