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Nine Fingered Heroes

Red Country by Joe AbercrombieFiction, and indeed real life, brims over with important folks without the full compliment of digits.  Here’s ten of them.  Alright, nine.

Frodo Baggins

The villain of the Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins, is immortalised by the bards as ‘Frodo of the Nine Fingers.’  The hero of the story, Gollum, is forced to chew off Frodo’s ring finger, nobly sacrificing himself to destroy the One Ring, after Frodo tries to claim it and usher in a new age of darkness over Middle Earth.  It’s a bleak and savage ending but, hey, who gets what they deserve?

Jesse James

The notorious Missouri outlaw is said to have accidently blown off the end of his left middle finger while cleaning his pistol during the American Civil War.  After his murder by Robert Ford, the fact that his body was photographed with the right hand apparently hiding this identifying feature sparked rumours that he was a stand-in, and that James had in fact survived.  He hadn’t.

Davos Seaworth

One of A Song of Ice and Fire’s best loved characters, the so called Onion Knight was once an infamous smuggler, but risked his life to bring food to the besieged Stannis Baratheon.  After the siege was lifted, Stannis knighted Davos as a reward.  Not strictly nine-fingered, but he certainly doesn’t have all ten, as Stannis also ordered the ends of all the fingers on his left hand cut off as punishment for the smuggling.  He now wears the bones in a bag round his neck.  A hard man to please, that Stannis…


Original Star Trekker James Doohan lost a middle finger in heroic action during the Normandy landings.  Efforts were made on the show to conceal the injury, including frequent use of a hand-double at the transporter controls, but in his guest appearance in The Next Generation episode, “Relics”, the missing digit was briefly visible.

Professor Jordan

In the 39 Steps, Richard Hannay knows only that a sinister spy ring is commanded by a man with a missing finger.  Framed for murder and pursued by police, he takes refuge in the house of the urbane and sympathetic Professor Jordan, and reveals to him the whole story.  It is only then that Jordan displays his missing finger…

The Nazca Lines

Strange geoglyphs inscribed on a grand scale upon a desert plateau in southern Peru by the prehistoric Nazca – whose pastimes had included strapping their baby’s heads to make them cone shaped – feature a monkey drawn with nine fingers, and a strange outline called ‘the hands’, also with nine fingers.  You want more?  The archeologist who discovered them, Maria Reiche, had nine fingers.  She’d lost one to gangrene.


The hero of the first Assassin’s Creed game is missing the ring finger on his left hand, supposedly removed so that he can wield the characteristic hidden blade.  By the time Ezio takes over the story in Renaissance Italy, it would appear hidden blade technology has improved to the point where losing a finger is no longer a requirement…

Angel Eyes

The sadistic villain of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, although one could just as easily have mentioned Colonel Douglas Mortimer in For A Few Dollars More, as both were played by that colossus of the western Lee van Cleef.  It would be great if it had been shot off in a gunfight, but he apparently lost the end of one middle finger while building a tree-house for his daughter.

Logen Ninefingers

One man who definitely didn’t lose his left middle finger building a tree-house is infamous barbarian Logen Ninefingers.  He isn’t sure how he did lose it, though, thanks to his unfortunate habit of being taken over at times of high emotional stress by psycopathic alter-ego, the Bloody-Nine.  He wants nothing more than to put his blood-drenched past behind him, but he finds some old habits are hard to break…

A new novel from Joe Abercrombie released in the US this week! Read an excerpt here  from RED COUNTRY – the  exciting new epic set in the world of THE HEROES

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Joe Abercrombie

All Orbit books by Joe Abercrombie

  1. EFritz

    November 14, 2012
    at 4:15 pm

    That was a good read.
    Thanks for the 9 fingered-ness

  2. Justin Steele

    November 15, 2012
    at 8:04 am

    Loved the book!!!! I recently posted a review over at The Arkham Digest.

  3. Steve H

    November 16, 2012
    at 3:48 pm

    1. Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. What, you never heard of him?
    2. Jerry Garcia?

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