Meriadoc, called Merry for short, was born in 1382 of the Shire-reckoning to the Master of Buckland, Saradoc 'Scattergold' Brandybuck, and Esmerelda Took.
Tolkien's theme "princes are born leaders" applies at all scales, from the Heir of Isildur down to the son of a minor Hobbit nobleman. Merry, during the War of the Ring, lead the irresponsible tweenager Pippin after the breaking of the Fellowship. He lead Pippin through FangornForest, and (indirectly) to the Palantír, both places where young Hobbit males' natural mischievousness could do the most damage to the enemy.
The Hobbits stirred up the Ents, who would have remained sleepy with their sorrows. Then Peregrin Took triggered the War of the Ring by looking into the Palantír.
During the Battle of the Pelennor Fields Merry, again, showed princely characteristics when he helped slay the former Witch-king of Angmar.
In feudal mythology (and somewhat different from feudal reality), princes are often sent on errantries, to learn their trade. When they return they are expected to lead military campaigns around the homeland. True to this myth, after surviving and learning during the War of the Ring, Merry lead the Hobbits who scoured the Shire, rounding up Saruman's agents.
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