Farmer Tom Cotton is Sam’s wife Rosie’s father, and also appears primarily in the “Scouring of the Shire” sequence at the end of The Lord of the Rings. This entire section of the story was cut from the films, with just a brief vision given to Sam in Galadriel’s mirror in the Extended Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring referring to it. Rather than killing Saruman in Orthanc, in the book Saruman and Wormtongue are set free and make their way to the Shire together.
Saruman’s rule over the Shire under the name of “Sharkey” is ended at the Battle of the Bywater, the last battle of the War of the Ring, fought in the Shire itself. Merry and Pippin are the military leaders, having fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the Battle of the Morannon respectively, but they are leading armies of Hobbits, and Farmer Cotton is one of their most important men, as he acts as bait in a trap for Sharkey’s men.
The eventual end of the War of the Ring comes at Bag End itself where, just like in the films, Wormtongue kills Saruman before being shot to death by arrows himself. The whole sequence is full of action and enriches the overall picture of the Shire, as well as giving Merry and Pippin some good uses for their newfound fighting skills. But feature films understandably do not have time to cover it no matter how long (or Extended) they are, and it is all a bit anti-climactic after the dramatic destruction of the Ring. But perhaps some of it could become a TV miniseries one day. There’s certainly plenty of material there, waiting to be adapted.
Lord of the Rings Book Characters Who Do Appear in the Movies But in Altered Form
There’s of course a special group of book characters who do technically appear in the Jackson films, but in such a heavily altered form they barely resemble their counterparts on the page, or in a role so minor you’d barely notice they’re in the movies at all. Some book characters only appear in the Extended Editions and not in the original theatrical cut of the trilogy. Here are some of the standout examples…
Fredegar “Fatty” Bolger
Fredegar Bolger is a Hobbit that appears in the films, but in name only. Bilbo greets “Fatty” as he arrives at Bilbo’s birthday party, but that is the extent of his role on the big screen. In the books, he had quite a lot more to do.
Fatty is a very good friend of Frodo and Merry and is basically the Fifth Beatle of the core group of Hobbits. He, along with Merry and Pippin, got Sam to spy on Frodo, found out Frodo was planning to leave, and was determined to help him. However, Fredegar did not want to leave the Shire, so his role was to stay at Frodo’s new home in Crickhollow, on the edge of Buckland (where Frodo had pretended to move, having sold Bag End – the whole plan to run was much slower and more elaborate in the book). Fredegar was to act as a decoy, wearing Frodo’s clothes so that no one would realize Frodo had left the Shire. Tolkien’s narration mentions that “They little thought how dangerous that part might prove” and poor Fredegar is terrified and forced to flee after a night-time visit from the Black Riders. He survives, only to end up locked away in prison and too weak to walk when the Shire comes under the control of first Lotho Sackville-Baggins, and then Saruman at the end of the book. He is eventually rescued by his friends, at which Pippin cheerfully tells him he would have been better off coming with them after all.