The Fellowship of the Ring was the company chosen by Elrond Halfelven to protect and guide the Ring-bearer on his quest to destroy the One Ring in the fire of Mount Doom. The company was composed of nine, and all of the Free Peoples were represented: Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin for the Hobbits; Legolas for the Elves; Gimli for the Dwarves; Aragorn and Boromir for Men; and Gandalf.
Merry (few, we are told, recalled that his full name was Meriadoc) was a member of the old and wealthy Brandybuck family and the son and heir of Saradoc, the head of the family and Master of Buckland. Merry was a cousin to both Frodo and Pippin, and as a Brandybuck had significant ancestry of both Fallohide and Stoor descent. He was the eldest of the three hobbits who accompanied Frodo out of the Shire, and the most level-headed, organised, and intelligent. He was described as having curly brown hair, was good with ponies, and was also the only one of the four hobbits able to handle a boat. It was Merry who purchased the house at Crickhollow on behalf of Frodo after the sale of Bag End, and his careful preparations that allowed the hobbits to flee the Shire so quickly. Merry then led them on a shortcut through the frightful Old Forest on the border of Buckland, allowing them to gain distance from the terrible Black Riders that pursued them. Merry is seen here as a lad about town in Bucklebury, putting the finishing touches to the various preparations for Frodo’s arrival at Crickhollow. Though he will later claim that he would never have left the Shire had he known what the outside world was like, Merry’s loyal, courageous, and quick-thinking personality will be shown many times in the dark days that loom ahead.
This outfit is the eighth in a series of portraits based on the Fellowship of the Ring. Though perhaps not quite as rich as the Tooks, the Brandybucks were very wealthy, so I wanted to put together an outfit for Merry that would look like the clothing of a well-heeled Hobbit, but not quite as sumptuous as that of Pippin. I also wanted to try to portray a relative sense of the hobbits’ maturity (Merry was 36 years old when they set out, eight years older than Pippin). Because of Merry’s great interest in pipe-weed (after the War of the Ring he wrote, among other treatises, an essay on the Herblore of the Shire that was collected in the Red Book of Westmarch), I have shown him blowing great smoke-rings. The most difficult part of putting this outfit together was finding something to match the tunic and trousers! I wanted to use this piece becuase I think it looks suitably Hobbit-y, but the undyeable portion is a soft, butter-yellow colour that is really lovely but impossible to reproduce with dyes. As a colour appearing on cosmetic pieces, it’s also quite rare! I was beginning to think I’d never find anything to match when I remembered the Cloak of Autumn Nights, with its moon showing through gnarled, bare old branches — the perfect piece to match the tunic, and to allude to Merry’s familiarity with the fearsome Old Forest!
- Head: Extravagant Festival Hat (Yule festival quest reward), gold
- Shoulders: Yule Scarf (Yule festival token barter reward), Ranger green
- Back: Cloak of Autumn Nights (Harvestmath festival token barter reward), Ranger green
- Chest: Tattered Tunic and Pants (Riddermark lootbox drop), indigo
- Device: Muddy Foot Pipeweed
Tips: If you don’t have access to the Extravagant Festival Hat, a great alternative is the Shabby Cap (Yule Festival quest reward), but many of the feathered caps available in-game would be great choices with some dye colour experimentation.
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