The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Apparently born some time after III 2941; lived until at least III 3018
Location
Led a people who dwelt in the Vales of Anduin between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood
Race
Division
Culture
Meaning
Probably 'grim bear'1
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  • Updated 18 November 2008
  • This entry is complete

Grimbeorn the Old

Lord of the Beornings

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Beorn
Grimbeorn
the Old

The son of Beorn, who became a great lord in his own right. Like his father, he could take on the shape of a bear, and he dwelt in the same regions of the Vales of Anduin, between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood.

His people, the Beornings, kept the roads through their lands open and clear of Orcs and Wolves. They maintained the Ford of Carrock that crossed the Great River, and the High Pass through the Mountains. Without them the passage across the northern Vales of Anduin would have been hard or impossible, though Grimbeorn's people charged a hefty toll for their services.

Grimbeorn himself is always referred to as 'Grimbeorn the Old', though we have no dates on which to base a detailed estimate of his age. When Bilbo and his companions met his father Beorn in III 2941, he apparently lived alone. Based on that circumstantial evidence, we can assume that Grimbeorn was born after this, which would make him at most seventy-seven years old when the War of the Ring started.


Notes

1

Old English grim can mean sometimes mean 'spectre' or 'sprite', rather than simply 'grim' in its modern sense. Especially given his father's serious demeanour, though, 'grim bear' seems the more likely interpretation of Grimbeorn's name than 'spectral bear'.

See also...

The Old

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