How is everyone enjoying Update 6 so far? I am loving it! Yes, I had the day off yesterday and spent many hours exploring from the moment my update completed. Some kinmates and I even tried out the new instance last night on Tier 2 - easy it ain't! We worked out how to get past the first boss, but the last boss...I'll just leave that to you all to discover on your own!
New content is always exciting, but particularly with this latest update I expected lore to be abundant in this new area, and already on the first day I have not been disappointed. There is so much lore in previous areas I have yet to cover, and I don't want to engage in spoilers for the new content since it is only a day old.
But just ONE couldn't hurt, right? At any rate, I can't resist. I'm not even going to try to resist.
Let me say I absolutely love the village of Stangard. That's ALL I'll say about it for now. But as I traveled to the west of Stangard, I encountered a truly breathtaking sight - two humongous statues so large it was difficult to fit them in my screen or find a good spot to view them from. It felt like standing underneath a miniature version of the Argonath.
So who exactly were these two, and what was the battle on the Field of Celebrant, and why do we need to know about them?
Cirion was the Steward of Gondor, 12th in line after the last King of Gondor, Eärnur, died/disappeared without an heir (and my goodness, is THAT a story for some other time - although we aren't anywhere near the point of seeing lore about him yet in LOTRO-see my comments below) in year 2050 of the Third Age.
During the time of Cirion's Stewardship Gondor was invaded both by Easterlings as well as Orcs from the Misty Mountains. The host from Gondor was threatened and defeated in one area and driven toward the Limlight, with things looking dire indeed. Cirion had sent a call to help to the north to a people who were led by a man named Eorl the Young.
"Eorl the Young was lord of the Men of Éothéod. That land lay near the sources of Anduin, between the furthest ranges of the Misty Mountains and the northernmost parts of Mirkwood. The Éothéod had moved to those regions in the days of King Eärnil II from lands in the vales of Anduin between the Carrock and the Gladden, and they were in origin close akin to the Beornings and the men of the west-eaves of the forest. The forefathers of Eorl claimed descent from the kings of Rhovanion, whose realm lay beyond Mirkwood before the invasions of the Wainriders, and thus they accounted themselves kinsmen of the kings of Gondor descended from Eldacar." [note from McF: this is NOT the same Eldacar who was a king of Arnor and part of the Tombs of Elendil tour]
Once Eorl heard of the need of his friends to the south, he led a large host of riders and came to the Field of Celebrant - or Parth Celebrant (hey, one of the areas in Update 6!) - as was called the land that lay between the Silverlode and Limlight. The riders from the north helped Gondor utterly defeat the invading hosts.
"Cirion, therefore, in reward for his aid, gave Calenardhon between Anduin and Isen to Eorl and his people; and they sent north for their wives and children and their goods and settled in that land. They named it anew the Mark of the Riders, and they called themselves the Eorlingas; but in Gondor their land was called Rohan, and its people the Rohirrim (that is, the Horse-lords). Thus Eorl became the first King of the Mark, and he chose for his dwelling a green hill before the feet of the White Mountains that were the south-wall of his land. There the Rohirrim lived afterwards as free men under their own kings and laws, but in perpetual alliance with Gondor."
Was the land completely empty when Cirion gifted it to Eorl and his people? Hardly. Ever wonder why the Dunlendings hate the Horse-lords so much? Here lies the root of that hate. As is always the case with history, there's more than one side to a story.
This is why I find Turbine doing such a wonderful job in examining the great events of Middle Earth from more than one perspective. I can't wait to see what I find around the next corner.
Sources: Lord of the Rings Appendices A and B