|Death||T.A. 3019 |
With the War of the Ring raging in the South-east, many refugees came up the Greenway to Bree. Not all these refugees came with the same intentions: a group of ruffians was ousted from the town near the end of T.A. 3018. With the help of Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf, they returned soon after New Year, and a fight ensued. The number of casualties on the side of the ruffians was not recorded, but five of the Bree-folk, three Men and two Hobbits, were killed. Mat Heathertoes was one of them.
Mat was a name employed by Tolkien to translate the common (but untranslated) Hobbit name Matta. The name Heathertoes was, like all surnames of the Men of Bree, a plant name, though this seems to have escaped Tolkien when he wrote a list for translators. In it he said Heathertoes was a Hobbit name, and was given in joke to the unshod Hobbits. While walking, they would gather twigs and moss between their toes. However, Mat was most certainly a Man: given that two of the five were Hobbits, and the last two named victims - Willie Banks and an Underhill were both positively identified as Hobbits as well.
 Portrayal in adaptations
- Though the "set-to" with the ruffians is mentioned by Butterbur, he does not give the names of the casualties.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Homeward Bound"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "II: On Translation"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, page 759
- ↑ Brian Sibley, Michael Bakewell, The Lord of the Rings, "Homeward Bound"