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Born III 2923 (1323 by the Shire-reckoning); apparently died in or before III 30181
Roper, connected with the Gamgee family2
Andwise comes from Old English andwís, 'skilful'3
Other names
Referred to by Samwise Gamgee as his 'uncle Andy'


About this entry:

  • Updated 17 July 2017
  • This entry is complete

Andwise ‘Andy’ Roper

Sam’s rope-making uncle

"Why, my grand-dad, and my uncle Andy after him, him that was the Gaffer's eldest brother, he had a rope-walk over by Tighfield many a year."
Words of Samwise Gamgee
from The Two Towers IV 1
The Taming of Sméagol

The son of Hobson, the hobbit known as Roper Gamgee, and the eldest brother of Hamfast Gamgee, the Gaffer. Andwise carried on his family's Tighfield rope-making tradition, a tradition that went back at least three generations to his grandfather Hob Gammidge.

It was Andwise's younger brother Hamfast who broke the roping tradition, and travelled instead to Hobbiton, where his distant cousin Holman Greenhand was a gardener. Thus, Andwise's brother Hamfast laid the foundations for the later Gardner family, descendants of Hamfast's son Samwise Gamgee. Of Andwise's own descendants, though, we know almost nothing, except that he had one son, named Anson.



As Frodo and Sam descended from the Emyn Muil, Sam made a passing reference to Andwise as '...him that was the Gaffer's eldest brother...' (The Two Towers IV 1, The Taming of Sméagol). Sam's use of the past tense here, coupled with the fact that we know that his father the Gaffer was still alive at this point, implies that Andwise had died before Sam left the Shire in III 3018.


It's not absolutely clear whether Andwise's surname 'Roper' established itself as a true family name. It had been used as a professional title or nickname by Andwise's grandfather Hob Gammidge the Roper and his father Roper Gamgee, but Andwise himself is the only Hobbit known for sure to have used it as a surname. We can probably assume that he passed it on to his son Anson (Anson is not named in full as 'Anson Roper' in the genealogies of this family, but it is common for surnames to be omitted in that source).


Tolkien does not explain the name 'Andwise', but the fact that there was an established Anglo-Saxon word andwís for 'experienced' or 'skilful' fits so well with Andwise Roper that it must surely be intentional. Sam even comments at one point on his uncle's skills - 'Not even my uncle Andy ever did a trick like that!' - in The Fellowship of the Ring II 6, Lothlórien.


About this entry:

  • Updated 17 July 2017
  • This entry is complete

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