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Squint-eyed Southerner

Location(s): Dunland, Bree, the Shire

Race/Species: Man

Type/Kind: Men of Shadow

Title(s): Saruman's agent in Bree

Dates: 3019 III

Description:
... one of Saruman's most trusted servants (yet a ruffianly fellow, an outlaw driven from Dunland, where many said that he had Orc-blood) had returned from the borders of the Shire, where he had been negotiating for the purpose of "leaf" and other supplies. ... This man was now on his way back to continue the business, and to arrange for the transport of many goods.... He had orders also to get into the Shire if possible and learn if there had been any departures of persons well-known recently. He was well supplied with maps, lists of names, and notes concerning the Shire.

This Dunlending was overtaken by several of the Black Riders as they approached the Tharbad crossing. In an extremity of terror he was haled to the Witch-king and questioned. He saved his life by betraying Saruman. ...

The Witch-king ... saw ... that Bree ... would be an important point, at least for information. He put therefore the Shadow of Fear on the Dunlending, and sent him on to Bree as an agent. He was the squint-eyed southerner at the Inn.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Other Versions of the Story

'And there are some folk in Bree who are not to be trusted,' [Aragorn] went on. 'Bill Ferny, for instance. He has an evil name in the Bree-land, and queer folk call at his house. ... He was very close with one of the Southern strangers.... Not all of those Southerners mean well; and as for Ferny, he would sell anything to anybody; or make mischief for amusement.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 10, Strider

The Men and Dwarves were mostly talking of distant events and telling news of a kind that was becoming only too familiar. There was trouble away in the South, and it seemed that the Men who had come up the Greenway were on the move, looking for lands where they could find some peace. The Bree-folk were sympathetic, but plainly not very ready to take a large number of strangers into their little land. One of the travellers, a squint-eyed ill-favoured fellow, was foretelling that more and more people would be coming north in the near future. 'If room isn't found for them, they'll find it for themselves. They've a right to live, same as other folk,' he said loudly. The local inhabitants did not look pleased at the prospect.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 9, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

Presently [Bill Ferny] slipped out of the door, followed by the squint-eyed southerner: the two had been whispering together a good deal during the evening. Harry the gatekeeper also went out just behind them.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 9, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

The southern travellers had lost several horses and blamed the innkeeper loudly, until it became known that one of their own number had also disappeared in the night, none other than Bill Ferny's squint-eyed companion. Suspicion fell on him at once.

'If you pick up with a horse-thief, and bring him to my house,' said Butterbur angrily, 'you ought to pay for all the damage yourselves and not come shouting at me. Go and ask Ferny where your handsome friend is!' But it appeared that he was nobody's friend, and nobody could recollect when he had joined their party.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 11, A Knife in the Dark

But as they drew near to the further gate, Frodo saw a dark ill-kept house behind a thick hedge.... In one of the windows he caught a glimpse of a sallow face with sly, slanting eyes; but it vanished at once.

'So that's where that southerner is hiding!' he thought. 'He looks more than half like a goblin.'

Over the hedge [Bill Ferny] was staring boldly.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 11, A Knife in the Dark

[Said Merry,] 'All Saruman's people were marching away. ... Most of them were ordinary men.... But there were some others that were horrible: man-high, but with goblin-faces, sallow, leering, squint-eyed. Do you know, they reminded me at once of that Southerner at Bree: only he was not so obviously orc-like as most of these were.'

'I thought of him too,' said Aragorn. 'We had many of these half-orcs to deal with at Helm's Deep. It seems plain now that that Southerner was a spy of Saruman's; but whether he was working with the Black Riders, or for Saruman alone, I do not know. It is difficult with these evil folk to know when they are in league, and when they are cheating one another.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 9, Flotsam and Jetsam

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 23Oct05, 5Nov05, 24Nov05

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