Bombur

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Character
Name: Bombur
Occupation: Cook, Adventurer
Title/Rank: None
Location: Ered Luin, various Middle-earth, Erebor
Status: alive
Relationships: cousin to Bifur, brother to Bofur, has additional family in the movies
Fandom: The Hobbit
Other:
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Bombur was a dwarf, a member of Thorin's Company in The Hobbit. He joined the quest for Erebor with his cousin Bifur and his brother Bofur and survived to see Erebor retaken. He spent the rest of his life there.[1]

On AO3, Bombur was tagged in about 9.5% of all Hobbit works by early 2015,[2] and he had a similar number of works on deviantArt.[3] In contrast, he was only tagged in about .5% of works on fanfiction.net (where character tagging is limited). [4]

Canon

In the book, Bombur was one of the few dwarves to be referenced several times, though he didn't speak much. He is a descendent of the dwarves of Khazad-dum but is not a noble of Durin's line.[5] In a scene that was not included in the movie, Bombur was knocked into the Enchanted River in Mirkwood while trying to cross. As a result, he fell into an unnatural sleep from which the rest of the Company couldn't wake him, so they had to carry him for several days. When he finally woke up, he couldn't remember any of the quest after they left Bilbo's house.[6] Bombur was also mentioned as one of the three dwarves to be relatively unaffected by gold sickness once they regained Erebor.[7] He was the unfortunate dwarf whose evening watch Bilbo took over in order to leave the mountain with the Arkenstone.[8] Whenever the company went to do something by ones or twos, he was always last.[9]

In the movie, Bombur was a cook[10] who was born in Ered Luin,[11] where he had 14 children (the only dwarf of the company to have any besides Glóin).[12] His weapons of choice were a cooking ladle and butcher's knife.[13] He was an active participant in the battle with the orcs as the Company escaped the Elvenking's dungeons; he could be seen spinning, leaping, and vaulting his way down the river as he fought with whatever weapons come to hand.[14] In the movies, Bombur had almost no lines and very few non-comedic scenes.

Brother to Bofur and cousin to Bifur, Bombur is the chief cook amongst The Company of Dwarves. His immense size and voracious appetite causes frequent problems – and laughter – for himself and The Traveling Party. Despite his size he can be surprisingly effective as a fighter – and woe betide anyone who makes him late for dinner![15]

Relationships in Fandom

Romantic Relationships

Romantically, Bombur/His Wife is by far the most common ship. He has the unusual distinction of being a character with almost as many gen relationships tagged on AO3 as romantic/sexual ones.[16]

Bombur is rarely slashed with other members of the Company, but he does have two romantic ships with 10 or more works:

Family Relationships

Bombur's most common relationships in fanworks are with his family, generally either his unnamed wife or his brother and cousin. In some works, some of his children also appear. Fandom has given the name Ur Family to Bombur's extended family.

Bombur's relationship with Bifur in fanworks is generally supportive in both directions. Though they rarely interact in great detail on-screen, Bilbo or a dwarf's behavior toward Bifur will sometimes determine how Bombur treats them afterward, and vice versa. Bombur, along with Bofur, usually cares for Bifur after his injury.

Bombur's relationship with Bofur in fanworks is generally light-hearted, with the two of them sometimes teasing each other but almost always sharing whatever they have. (Bofur and Bombur by cuddlesaurus21 captures the general tone.) Bofur will usually defend his brother, and vice versa. In most fanworks, Bombur is taken to be the younger brother because his name is usually said after Bofur's in canon, though their exact ages in the books are not known. As children, Bofur generally is the one to drag Bombur into trouble, but sometimes it's the other way around, as in some young bofur and bombur by hvit-ravn.

Friendships

In fanworks, Bombur is often friends with Bilbo in the background, usually resting on their mutual love of cooking. Examples include On Omelletes by icarus_chained, but the trope occurs frequently as a minor element in works focused elsewhere.

Fannish Tropes

  • Cook - Following movie canon, Bombur is generally the camp cook on the quest. In many post-Erebor works, he takes up the role of Head of the Kitchens (in some works, a Guildmaster position; in others, simply a sign of royal favor). As a cook, Bombur frequently spends his time encouraging others to eat. In some works, Thorin accepts the entire Ur Family's request to go on the quest based on Bombur's reputation as a camp cook.
  • Husband and Father - Though he isn't often portrayed acting in this role, Bombur frequently is married and has children in movie-based fanworks, especially post-quest works. Sometimes he is seen interacting with his wife and children.
  • Shyness - Bombur's silence in the movies in often interpreted in fanworks as a result of shyness. However, Bombur is also often one of the first dwarves to warm up to Bilbo, which usually makes Bifur and Bofur quickly follow suit.
  • Food - Art in particular is likely to portray Bombur with food.[17] Most fics also mention food in relation to Bombur at some point as well, even if he is a minor character who barely appears in the story.
  • Weight - Some fanworks, often modern AUs, discuss the mistreatment Bombur may receive as a result of his weight. In many other fanworks, jokes are made about Bombur's weight or the amount he eats.
  • Sunglasses - There are set pictures showing Bombur's actor Stephen Hunter wearing sunglasses while in costume behind the scenes. The trope caught on mildly in 2014, so there are several macros and works of art depicting Bombur in sunglasses. Examples include Bombur being fabulous by haleyhss, Valentine 2014: Bombur by Kumama, Bombur the Fierce by Aegileif, and OAKENSHIELD by aimo.
  • Barrel - In the movie, Bombur had a memorable scene during the barrel-riding, in which he bounced and rolled his way through a large number of orcs, spinning and fighting, completely destroying his barrel, then hopping into another. This scene has been a common source of Bombur gifs and some artistic inspiration. It's also mentioned in a few fics.

Example Fanworks

Archives and Resources

Fanart

Gifsets

Fanfiction

References

  1. "Bombur: Spent the rest of his life in Erebor (date of death unknown.)" -askmiddlearth, After the Battle of Five Armies
  2. 1675 Bombur works out of 17708 total Hobbit works on March 28, 2015.
  3. Bombur on deviantArt had 1,782 works on March 30, 2015.
  4. Bombur filter on ffnet, on March 30, 2015, contained 51 works out of about 10,100 works in the Hobbit as a whole.
  5. Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, genealogical table for Durin's Folk (footnote).
  6. The Hobbit, Chapter 8.
  7. The Hobbit, Chapter 13.
  8. The Hobbit, Chapter 16.
  9. Examples: arriving at Bilbo's home, arriving at Beorn's home, crossing the Enchanted River, and entering Erebor (the latter was the only one that was his choice).
  10. Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur by tootiredforatitle on askmiddlearth
  11. Bifur, Bofur, & Bombur’s Place of Birth by askmiddlearth.
  12. "Incidentally, only two of the dwarves have children. Glóin, who has Gimli. And Bombur, who has 14. We decided that for dwarf women Bombur is the most sexy!" ~Phillippa Boyens The Deconstruction of Smaug article in Empire Magazine, written by Nick de Semlyan.
  13. Weapons of the Company of Thorin Oakenshield by askmiddlearth.
  14. See this gifset and this other gifset by msfili.
  15. Official movie blurb.
  16. Discounting duplicates on the Bombur tag landing page, Bombur had 39 total ship tags by March 28, 2015. Of these, 21 used a "/" and 18 used an "&".
  17. Examples from popular Bombur works on deviantArt: Bombur by aegileif, Bombur, you've had plenty! by haleyhss, It is mine by NaruDossu (cosplay), etc. Of the top 24 Bombur works to appear on deviantArt on April 5, 2015, 12 (50%) included food.