December 29, 2011

Hobbit Archers at Fornost

Looking up into the city of Fornost.
Hobbits are known for being insular, generally preferring to keep to themselves, rarely traveling beyond the borders of The Shire.  Bree-land Hobbits are of course an exception, living side by side with the Big People.  But an exception nonetheless.  Hobbits for the most part have preferred to stick to their own territory and not mix with outsiders.

They do travel, of course.  Their ancestors traveled a great distance from the banks of the Anduin, across the Misty Mountains, some settling into parts of Bree-land and Dunland.  The two Fallohide brothers, Marcho and Blanco, received permission from the Arnorian King Argeleb II at Fornost to cross the Brandywine River and settle what became The Shire.  This was in the year 1601 of the Third Age, or the year 1 in Shire Reckoning. Ever wonder why The Shire is full of crumbling old ruins that look like they just miiiight have been made by Men?  Well, this is why!  The Shire was part of the Kingdom of Arthedain (and Arnor, before it was split up) long before Hobbits arrived on the scene!  Very nice touch, Turbine.

So for a few centuries, Hobbits of The Shire were subjects of the Kings of Arthedain at Fornost, and were responsible for guarding and maintaining the Brandywine Bridge for the kingdom (then called the Bridge of Stonebows).

In the year 1974, as the appendices to the LoTR trilogy show us, Fornost was overrun by the Witch King of Angmar and his forces.  This occured over 1000 years before the events of the War of the Ring in 3019.  When the kingdom of Arthedain fell, the Hobbits moved on and began their own system of stewardship, electing a Thain to run The Shire until the kingdom was restored.  Contact between the Hobbits of The Shire and men was largely sundered - many men forgot Hobbits existed, most Hobbits tried to avoid the Big People.  Somewhere in the mists of all those years, many therefore also forgot that Hobbits had actually gone to the aid of the King of Arthedain to help defend Fornost, and sent some Hobbit archers from The Shire.

Searching for Hobbit Arrowheads in Fornost
In LOTRO, if you travel to Fornost and elect to participate in the quests for the Fornost instance (a long instance, but very much worth it!), you will meet Bartelot and Penny Took, two modern-day Hobbits on an archaeological excursion of sorts, looking for evidence of the Hobbit participation in the defense of Fornost. You will be able to pick up a quest (The Forgotten Company) that will send you into Fornost looking for old arrowheads from those long-ago Hobbit archers.

By the way, Gondor and Rivendell did try to go to the aid of Arthedain - they just got there too late.  They did however still march to Fornost, and booted out the Witch King and his forces.  The Elf-lord Glorfindel was there, and made one of the most infamous prophecies in the War of the Ring lore:  "Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."

So for those who may scoff at the ability of Hobbits to be Hunters in LOTRO, let this be a lesson to you!

Sources:  Appendix A, The Lord of the Rings trilogy


  1. There's a two-handed weapon you can get (though now I can't remember if it's a drop or a quest) that touts "once being used by a Hobbit captain at Fornost".

  2. Thanks for the info! Next time I'm in that area I'll have to keep an eye out.

  3. Where are you getting the number '500'?

  4. Thank you for pointing that out, that number is not canon, and I knew that neither the Concerning Hobbits nor the Appendix mentioned 500, both state simply, "some" but I must have been looking at some other sources and it caught in my mind as I was writing it. I have corrected it. Thank you!