Bill Ferny

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Bill Ferny is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Ferny lived in Bree near the end of the Third Age. He spied on Frodo there, and was witnessed by Meriadoc Brandybuck relaying details of the hobbits' adventures at the Prancing Pony to one of the Nazgûl.[1]

After the attempted murder of the four hobbits in the raid of the Prancing Pony Inn by the Nazgûl, the travellers discovered that all the donkeys and ponies (including their own) had been let loose from the Inn's stable. The only replacement available for sale belonged to Bill Ferny. He charged the exorbitant price of twelve silver pennies for the mistreated, miserable-looking creature — whom Sam Gamgee afterwards also named Bill. The Hobbits then left Bree with Strider. Bill Ferny jeered at their departure and Sam retaliated with a quickly-thrown apple, hitting Ferny square on the nose. Strider chose their route out of Bree knowing that Ferny would report it to the Nazgûl.[2]

In discussion with the wizard Gandalf in the House of Elrond, Frodo Baggins called Ferny "stupid and wicked."[3]

When the four hobbits of The Fellowship returned to the Shire, Bill Ferny had left Bree and was in charge of the hobbits guarding the new gate at the Brandywine Bridge. Frodo promptly ordered him out of the Shire.[4]

Ferny was probably allied with Saruman, as he housed[2] and conspired with[5] the southern traveller who looked "more than half like a goblin",[2] similar to people the hobbits later saw at Isengard. After escaping imprisonment in Isengard, Saruman took command of the Shire using many of these part-goblin men (whom he bred) as thugs.[4]

References

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