War of the Ring

Attack on the Woodland RealmSauron's assault on OsgiliathWeathertopBalin's TombDurin's TowerAmon HenFords of IsenAttack of the RohirrimBattle of the HornburgIsengardIthilienBattle of OsgiliathSiege of GondorBattle of the Pelennor FieldsDaleBattles of LórienMirkwoodCirith UngolBlack GateDol GuldurBattle of Bywater

The Battle of Bywater was a battle for control of the Shire and the final battle of the War of the Ring.



The Battle of Bywater was a battle between the Hobbits of The Shire and a band of Ruffians who followed "Sharkey" (Saruman). Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) and Peregrin Took (Pippin) were the informal leaders of the hobbits. The courage and skill they had discovered during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields had made them confident in their abilities, and this enabled them to rally the Shire-folk against the invaders.

The Battle of Bywater occurred on November 3, 3019 or SR 1419 by Shire-reckoning in the Shire Calendar and was the last major military engagement of the War of the Ring.

Gathering Hobbits for Battle

Upon arriving in Bywater, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin were questioned by the Ruffian Leader as to their intentions. After he had insulted Frodo, the Leaders challenge of authority was met by Pippin, who declared himself as a messenger of the King, and drew his sword against him, Sam and Merry followed suit. The Leader and his men fled, leaving the four hobbits to raise the Shire, and to rally their troops. Merry used the Horn of Rohan to great effect, his call was met by many hobbits throughout that part of the Shire.

The Battle

After returning, then being surrounded by a ring of hobbits, the Leader, now with more men, was pierced by four hobbit arrows as he attempted to break away and maim Merry. He died instantly. His gang was then rounded up and locked away. More Ruffians had been sent by Sharkey (Saruman) to suppress the Hobbit revolt breaking out in Bywater. However, the Hobbits scouts gave them advanced warning. The Hobbits then devised a plan to surround and trap the Ruffians when they arrived. Makeshift mobile roadblocks were made out of carts and wagons, and after the Ruffians reached the center of the town the road was blocked in front and behind them. The Ruffians then tried to fight their way out through the Hobbits, some breaking through. These were then encircled and engaged until the battle was won.

The Hobbits were informally commanded by Merry and Pippin. Technically, Pippin was still a Knight of Gondor, as King Elessar had not released him from service but granted him indefinite leave, and when he departed Aragorn reminded Pippin that his restored kingship now extended to the old northern lands which included the Shire. Therefore, Pippin loosely saw himself as fighting off the Ruffians with the authority of the King supporting him. Sam Gamgee also fought in the battle. Frodo was also present at the battle, though he did not fight: he spent the battle making sure that no Ruffians who threw down their weapons were killed as well as making sure that none of the hobbits who had joined the Ruffians were killed stating that no hobbit had killed another hobbit and that it was not going to start there.


The next day, Frodo and his three companions, leading the Hobbits of the Shire, marched to Hobbiton. There Frodo confronted Saruman and exiled him from the Shire. Then Wormtongue killed Saruman by slitting his throat, on the very doorstep of Bag End. Before Frodo could react, the Hobbits of the Shire shot Wormtongue dead with three arrows.[1][2]

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  1. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter VIII: "The Scouring of the Shire"
  2. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth

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