Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger is a hobbit in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He is a minor character who appears in the first part of Tolkien's masterwork, The Fellowship of the Ring. Bolger is not a well known character as he appears very early in the book and has a minor role in the events of the story. However, Bolger's contribution to essential early plot developments and his ultimate fate should not be overlooked.
Fredegar Bolger is a member of the Took family of hobbits, a large, influential and somewhat eccentric "clan" in the Shire. His nickname derives from his incredible girth, often a symbol of stature among hobbits; it should not be considered derogatory. He is a close friend of the major protagonist of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins. Along with Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck, Peregrin "Pippin" Took and Sam Gamgee, he is part of the group of childhood friends, family relations of a similar age (mostly cousins) and associates with whom Frodo has surrounded himself. All of these friends have varying roles to play in their support of Frodo and his quest to destroy the One Ring.
"Fatty' Bolger is important in that he is made aware very quickly that Frodo has inherited Bilbo's "magic ring." When it becomes apparent that the ring is far more than it seems and that Frodo is in danger, he joins Frodo's other friends in a deception they hope will allow Frodo to leave the Shire undetected by the agents of the Dark Lord Sauron.
Bolger, who is unwilling to leave his beloved Shire and deeply afraid of the Old Forest, offers to live at Frodo's house in Crickhollow in the hope that observers will believe Frodo has stayed in the Shire. This arrangement may have allowed Frodo the extra time to leave the Shire unobserved by the Old Forest route. Frodo's house is attacked by the Black Riders (the Nazgul, Sauron's Ringwraiths) but Frodo is gone and "Fatty" is unhurt.
The character has one more role to play, as a "partisan" leader of those hobbits fighting against "Sharkey's" (Saruman) attempt to take over the Shire after Saruman's alliance with Sauron is discovered and he is banished from the lands of Rohan. Because Bolger is captured and jailed by Saruman's forces, he loses a great deal of weight and is no longer called "Fatty." However, he is hailed as a hero of the resistance so perhaps the trade does not seem all bad to him!
The character of Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger was left out of Peter Jackson's immensely popular series of LOTR movies based upon the books but he clearly had a role to play that drove the original story forward and will be remembered for that.