The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 20 October 2012
  • Updates planned: 2

Brown Family

The family of Sam Gamgee's mother-in-law

A family of Shire-hobbits, of which the only known member was Lily Brown, who married Farmer Tolman Cotton (she appears briefly in the The Lord of the Rings, where she is referred to as 'Mrs. Cotton'). Samwise Gamgee married their daughter Rose, and thus he had a family connection with the Browns, as the former Lily Brown became his mother-in-law.

We have no more general information about the Brown family, but the name itself may offer a minor clue. As a real surname, 'Brown' usually derives from brown hair (and we know of another Hobbit family, the Brownlocks, whose name makes the connection explicit). That fact doesn't tell us a great deal (since brown was by far the most common hair colour among Hobbits) but it at least implies that the Browns were not descended from the fairer Fallohide branch of that people.

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