January 14, 2012


Sometimes the smallest touches can bring that warm fuzzy glow of recognition. 

After Strider and the Hobbits set forth from Bree, and are stuck several days in the Midgewater Marshes, one night in camp they see flashing lights far off in the eastern sky.  Eventually they come to Weathertop and the ruins of the old watchtower of Amon Sûl.  Exactly as in the chapter "A Knife in the Dark" from The Fellowship of the Ring, we see the grass inside the crumbled ring is black and scorched as if set on fire.  In the center is faithfully placed a cairn of stones.  At the foot of the stones (and not on top, as in the book), we find a lighter, flat stone with what appears to be some etchings on it.  Of course it is none other than the G Cirth, or Rune, left by Gandalf, followed by three hashes to suggest he was there on the 3rd of October, as Strider deduces.

If we wander around to the western side of Weathertop, we find the remains of a small camp with a spring nearby and, beyond some fallen rocks, stacks of firewood.  This is none other than a perfect picture of the camp Strider and the Hobbits stumbled upon, which Strider believed was recently visited by Rangers (who left the firewood) as well as Gandalf.

"They had explored the small dell and the surrounding slopes.  Not far away they found a spring of clear water in the hillside, and near it footprints not more than a day or two old.  In the dell itself they found recent traces of a fire, and other signs of a hasty camp.  There were some fallen rocks on the edge of the dell nearest to the hill.  Behind them Sam came upon a small store of firewood neatly stacked."

Weathertop and the Weather Hills were crucial ground in the millenia before the time of the War of the Ring.  It is said that Elendil stood here, watching for the Elven-king Gil-galad to come from the west, in the days of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age.  After the Kingdom of Arnor had been split into three separate kingdoms in year 861 of the Third Age, the area was highly desired by all three.  Not only did Weathertop command a wide view of the East Road and the lands around, but the tower of Amon Sûl contained one of the chief Palantir of the north.  Unfortunately, over the centuries Rhudaur was falling under the sway of Angmar, and waged war against Arthedain and Cardolan.  In the year 1409, Amon Sûl was burned and razed by a host from Angmar.

If Rhudaur sounds familiar from things you have seen in the game, there are very good reasons, particularly in this region.  Signets of Rhudaur sound familiar to anyone?  As should a series of quests in a nearby area...but that's a whole separate blog post!

Sources:  The Fellowship of the Ring and Appendix A:  The Lord of the Rings

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