HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Bag End

Type: Buildings, Halls, Houses

Region: Bree/The Shire

Location: The home of Bilbo Baggins, on The Hill in Hobbiton.

Description:

Bag-End.
The Hall at Bag-End, by JRR Tolkien.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: A very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with paneled walls and floor tiled and carpeted, provide with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats — the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight in to the side of the hill — The Hill, as many people for miles around called it — and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.

The Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party


History
Bag End was originally built by Bungo Baggins, Bilbo's father, for his wife, the former Belladonna Took; Bilbo inherited it from his parents:

Bungo, that was Bilbo's father, built the most luxurious hobbit-hole for [Belladonna] (and partly with her money) that was to be found either under The Hill or over The Hill or across The Water, and there they remained to the end of their days.

The Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

Bilbo passed Bag End to his kinsman and heir Frodo Baggins before he left the Shire for good:

Otho would have been Bilbo's heir, but for the adoption of Frodo. He read the will carefully and snorted. It was, unfortunately, very clear and correct (according to the legal customs of hobbits, which demand among other things seven signatures of witnesses in red ink).

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 1, A Long-expected Party

'[Frodo] ought to be comfortable here. I am leaving everything to him, of course.... I hope he will be happy, when he gets used to being on his own. It's time he was his own master now.'

Ibid.

Before leaving for the Quest of the Ring, Frodo sold Bag End to the Sackville-Baggins:

One summer's evening an astonishing piece of news reached the Ivy Bush and Green Dragon...: Mr. Frodo was selling Bag End, indeed he had already sold it — to the Sackville-Bagginses!

'For a nice bit, too,' said some. 'At a bargain price,' said others, 'and that's more likely when Mistress Lobelia's the buyer.' (Otho had died some years before, at the ripe but disappointed age of 102.)

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 3, Three Is Company

After the death of her son Lotho, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins deeded Bag End back to Frodo:

[Lobelia] was crushed by the news of Lotho's murder, and she would not return to Bag End. She gave it back to Frodo, and went to her own people, the Bracegirdles of Hardbottle.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

Frodo gave Bag End to Samwise Gamgee before leaving the Shire for good:

'But,' said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, 'I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.'

[Said Frodo,] 'So I thought too, once.... I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me.... But you are my heir: all that I had and might have had I leave to you.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

In the next day or two [before their departure for the Grey Havens] Frodo went through his papers and his writings with Sam, and he handed over his keys.

Ibid.


Etymology
Bag End. The local name for Bilbo's house, and meant to be associated (by hobbits) with the end of a 'bag' or 'pudding-bag' = cul-de-sac. Translate by sense. See Baggins; the same element in the language of translation should appear both in Baggins and in Bag End.

"Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
From A Tolkien Compass, compiled by Jared Lobdell
Chicago: Open Court Pub Co, June 1975

Baggins. Intended to recall 'bag'. Compare Bilbo's conversation with Smaug in The Hobbit — and meant to be associated (by hobbits) with Bag End (that is, the end of a 'bag' or 'pudding bag' = cul-de-sac), the local name for Bilbo's house. (It was the local name for my aunt's farm in Worcestershire, which was at the end of a lane leading to it and no further).... The translation should contain an element meaning 'sack, bag'.

Ibid.

Contributors: Moriel 14May03
Lyllyn 14May03
Elena Tiriel 4Jul04, 29Jan12, 17Feb12, 2Mar12

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