Welcome back to LotRO and Lore, an article series where we take a look at a few of the stellar ways that Turbine ties Tolkien’s wonderful writings into the realm of the MMORPG. This week we survey the statues of the hobbits, a curious race of halfling inhabiting the Shire.
Hobbits have no want for intricate masonry or tall towers; their architects build only comfortable homes of wood and brick. They are little interested in history, save what directly concerns the Shire and their own families. Indeed, they have no desire to show off their works to the outside world, for they prefer that the outside world stays outside of the Shire. So the question one has to ask when travelling through the Shire is, ‘for what purpose might a hobbit construct a statue?’
There are 2 statues we can find in the Shire, both carved out of wood and likely whittled away from a singular tree. We will take a look at the first statue where it stands in the center of Michel Delving.
First, a bit of history. In the mid-Third Age, about 1700 years before Frodo begins his quest to destroy the One Ring, the Shire did not exist the way we know it to be. Instead, it stood as a province of the ancient kingdom of Arthedain. The rolling hills and vast fields of the Shire made for excellent farming land, but it was scarcely populated. Years of war and kinstrife reduced the realm from the proud land it once was to a smaller, martial nation. At the time, the Hobbits were simply assimilated into their neighboring kingdoms and counted as their subjects. Then, one day, two hobbits from the town of Bree had a vision to head west and settle a land to call their own. After officially acquiring permission from the king of Arthedain at Fornost, they set out on a quest to found a new homeland.
These two hobbits were Marcho and Blanco. The statue in Michel Delving depicts these two, obviously tired from the long journey and resting against their walking sticks while one wipes sweat from his brow. It is fitting to place the statue in Michel Delving, which is the unofficial “capital” of the Shire and holds the office of the Mayor.
Another statue may be found in the northern parts of the Shire, at the outskirts of the town of Brockenborings. It features a hobbit with a large club standing over a severed head. This carving commemorates the Battle of the Greenfields, a time when goblins from Mount Gram swept down into the Shire, lead by Golfimbul, their chief. A particularly brave and tall hobbit by the name of Bandobras “Bullroarer” Took lead a resistance effort against the goblin invaders, riding a horse into battle and swinging his great club as he decapitated the head of the goblin leader. He successfully defended his home from marauding enemies that day, and the Hobbits of the Shire were thankful for it, erecting this statue in his honor.
Have you found other ways that Turbine has placed bits of lore in the Shire? Share your discoveries and any comments on this week’s article below!