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How Are Frodo, Pippin, And Merry Actually Related?

Meriadoc Brandybuck (aka Merry) is referred to as Frodo’s friend when he first shows up in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. However, Frodo himself is more than half Brandybuck by blood, and both hail from the same larger family tree, making the two fellows close relatives. Most of Frodo’s Brandybuck blood comes from his mother, Primula Brandybuck. Primula is the daughter of Old Master Gorbodoc, who functions as the de facto ruler of his family’s geographic region of the Shire (called “Buckland”).

The quickest and easiest way to trace the relationship between Frodo and Merry is via the appendices of “The Return of the King.” In those hallowed extra materials, Tolkien provides visual family tree breakdowns for the Baggins, Brandybuck, Took, and Gamgee families. And we’re not talking about a generation or two here. Each one stretches back generations, tracing hundreds of years of Hobbit history in the process.

Frodo shows up in three of the four genealogies, including the Brandybuck one, where he’s listed on the opposite side of the tree from Merry. The principal connection between the two? Merry’s grandfather, who goes by the splendiferous name of Rorimac “Goldfather,” is the brother of Frodo’s mom, Primula.

Thus, we can connect via the quagmire that is family ancestry categorizations that the closest family connection between Merry and Frodo is that they are first cousins once removed, Frodo on his mother’s side and Merry on his father’s side. As an added bonus, Merry is also related to Bilbo. Their closest connection is that the two are first cousins twice removed.

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