An important Rider of Rohan, who accompanied the armies of his King, Théoden, when they rode from Dunharrow to Minas Tirith. Harding, whose name appropriately means 'bold one', fought and died defending Gondor from the forces of Sauron in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Harding of Rohan is not to be confused with another 'Harding', Harding of the Hill, who was a Hobbit born in the Shire many years after the Battle in which the first Harding died. The fact that these two shared the same name is probably coincidence, but it is not impossible that Merry Brandybuck was acquainted with the Rider Harding in Rohan, and somehow passed his name on into the traditions of the Shire.
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