December 29, 2011

The Bird and Baby Inn

Again, this is old news to Tolkien enthusiasts, yet there are countless LOTRO players who still don't know this story.  I have been in and out of the Bird and Baby so many times this past week since Yule Fest started that I feel I almost live there, and of course I can't help but think of this wonderful nod to Tolkien himself that Turbine incorporated into the game.

Those of you who have been running in and out, drinking yourself dizzy on an Inn League quest or trashing ale barrels for the Ale Association (you daft cows!), have probably noticed the group of oddly named Hobbits who are congregating in the back room at the Bird and Baby Inn.  Those aren't just random Hobbit names, and there isn't a bunny rabbit hiding in the room just because it's, well, a weird animal to place inside a tavern.

These Hobbits represent The Inklings, the real-life literary group that Professor Tolkien was part of, along with other notable authors such as C.S. Lewis of the Chronicles of Narnia.  Professor Tolkien read early drafts from the LoTR trilogy to this group, and his own son, Christopher, became part of the informal group as well.

There is no "Bird and Baby Inn" to be found in Professor Tolkien's writings about Michel Delving.  Rather, Turbine cleverly adapted the nickname of the "Eagle and Child," the real-life pub in Oxford where the Inklings would often meet and which was frequently dubbed the "Bird and Baby" by its clientele.

Owen Farfield, Carlo Williams, and Jack Lewisdown
In the Lord of the Rings Online game, the Hobbits found here are Jack Lewisdown (C.S. "Jack" Lewis), Owen Farfield (Owen Barfield), and Carlo Williams (Charles Williams).  Read more about The Inklings and their own literary works on the Tolkien-Online site, and how the group was fit into LOTRO on LOTRO-Wiki.

And what about the bunny rabbit?  The back room at the Eagle and Child that The Inklings met in came to be known as the Rabbit Room.

But wait a minute - where is the most famous member of The Inklings himself?  Clearly nowhere to be found sitting around in the Bird and Baby.  But he's in LOTRO's Middle Earth, oh yes.  That, however, is the topic of another post.

Say hello to these men (er, Hobbits) as you pass by on your ale-related quests.  And if anyone can tell me what the open book on the table is, I would love to hear it!

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