Friend of the King’s Butler, the Chief of the Guards worked in the dungeons and near the cellars of Thranduil’s caves. He carried a heavy ring of keys to all the cells that held the Dwarves. When the Chief of the Guards was invited by the Butler to taste the King’s new Dorwinion wine, they consumed so much that they fell asleep enabling Bilbo to lift the Guard’s keys and free the Dwarves.
Analysis: The Chief of the Guards is most likely one of the guards Bilbo followed over several weeks to find all of his companions. This would explain Bilbo’s concern for the guard when he was moved to return the keys to his belt: “He wasn’t a bad fellow, and quite decent to the prisoners.”
- “Very good … I’ll taste with you, and see if it is fit for the king’s table. There is a feast tonight and it would not do to send up poor stuff!” (when invited to taste the new wine)