- "It's an ill wind as blows nobody no good, as I always say. And all's well as ends Better!"
- —The Gaffer, following the Scouring of the Shire
Hamfast was the son of Hobson "Roper" Gamgee. He married Bell Goodchild, with whom he had six children, including Samwise Gamgee, his youngest son. He was a gardener on the Baggins property at Bag End for many years. He was frequently consulted for his knowledge of root vegetables (generally over a pint at the local inn), and was seen as a particular authority on the growing of potatoes. As the time of Bilbo Baggins's birthday party drew near, he was also in demand for his stories of Bilbo and his family. He didn't particularly like Sandyman the miller.
On the evening that Frodo Baggins left Bag End, the Gaffer encountered a Black Rider asking about Frodo. He told the Rider that Frodo had gone to Bucklebury. He later reported the conversation to his son Sam, who in turn told Frodo about it.
During the troubles fomented by Lotho Sackville-Baggins, the Gaffer was turned out of his hole at Number Three, Bagshot Row, as Sam saw in Galadriel's mirror. Farmer Cotton helped look after him, sharing food, although this was against the Rules that the Chief and later Sharkey made up. When Sam arrived back in the Shire, the Gaffer was rather disbelieving of his son's adventures and disapproved of Sam's wearing "ironmongery." Once the Shire had been cleaned up, the Gaffer was restored to Number Three of the new, brick-lined holes in the hill where he was well-looked after by Widow Rumble. He would live there until his death in SR 1428.
Hamfast means 'stay-at-home' or 'Home-fast' in the Hobbits' own language, and the full name is translated into Westron as "Ranugad Galbasi".
Portrayal in adaptations
Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy
- "That's for Frodo. That's for The Shire. And that's for my old Gaffer!"
- —Samwise Gamgee in The Return of the King upon slaying three orcs
1981 Radio series
Hamfast is portrayed in The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series), voiced by John Church.
Hamfast appeared as a child in The Hobbit (2003 video game).
In the Fellowship of the Ring video game, he appears as an NPC in his conversation with the Black Rider on the hill.
Voice dubbing actors
|Foreign Language||Voice dubbing artist|
|Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD)||Mauro Castro|
Behind the scenes
The word Gaffer means "the chief electrician in a film production". It is also a historical and contemporary British colloquialism that refers to an overseer or boss, who is often older than his subordinates. (Tolkien was more likely thinking of the latter definition when he gave Sam's father his nickname.)
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Бързохам Майтапер|
|Catalan||Hamfast Gamgí, el Vellot|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||詹吉·老人|
|Danish||Hamfast Gammegod, farlille|
|Lithuanian||Hemas Gemdžis, Gaferas|
|Russian||Хэмфаст "Жихарь" Гэмджи|
|Swedish||Hamfast "Tjyvgubben" Gamgi|
|Thai||แฮมฟาสท์ "พ่อเฒ่าแกฟเฟอร์" แกมจี|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Хемфаста "Геффера" Гемджі|
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation"
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix C, "The Longfather-tree of Master Samwise"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Ch. I: "A Long-expected Party"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Ch. III: "Three is Company"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Ch. VIII: "The Scouring of the Shire"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Ch. IX: "The Grey Havens"