December 25, 2012

Bert, Tom, and Bill

[I just discovered that an article I had published long ago has apparently been sitting in draft form for a very long time!  I must have put it back into draft form somehow without realizing it, so keeping with the theme of The Hobbit movie release in the U.S., I guess the timing is good!]

Almost every player who has made it as far as the Trollshaws has come across Bilbo's Trolls - Bert, Tom, and Bill - at some point.  And most of us can remember how wonderful it was to discover such an iconic part of the Lore that ties us to both the Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit.  Right down to Bill still stooping over where the dawn caught him, to the bird's nest behind the ear of one of the others, they were such a treat to encounter.

One point of Lore that you don't often hear people mention, however, is the cave that the three trolls were using.  For it is indeed there, back up the path that heads northwest away from the three (and in the direction that the big boy, Dhit, paths for the bounty runs).

"They followed the tracks up the hill, until hidden by bushes they came on a big door of stone leading to a cave.  But they could not open it, not though they all pushed while Gandalf tried various incantations.  'Would this be any good?' asked Bilbo, when they were getting tired and angry.  'I found it on the ground where the trolls had their fight.'  He held out a largish key, though no doubt William had thought it very small and secret.  It must have fallen out of his pocket, very luckily, before he was turned to stone.

'Why on earth didn't you mention it before?' they cried.  Gandalf grabbed it and fitted it into the key-hole.  Then the stone door swung back with one big push, and they all went inside.  There were bones on the floor and a nasty smell was in the air; but there was a good deal of food jumbled carelessly on shelves and on the ground, among an untidy litter of plunder, of all sorts from brass buttons to pots full of gold coins standing in a corner."

The troll cave is locked.
Among the treasure in this locked cave were various swords of all sizes and makes.  "Two caught their eyes particularly, because of their beautiful scabbards and jewelled hilts.  Gandalf and Thorin each took one of these; and Bilbo took a knife in a leather sheath."  Hello Glamdring, Orcrist, and Sting.

The cave in LOTRO is unfortunately once again locked.  There does, however, remain one more bit of Lore attached to the three trolls which I have been unable to locate in the game, if it does even exist.  That is the spot where the company hid the treasure they took from the cave.

"Then they brought up their ponies, and carried away the pots of gold, and buried them very secretly not far from the rock by the river, putting a great many spells over them, just in case they ever had the chance to come back and recover them."

Late in The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn and the Hobbits pass this spot after finding the trolls.  "After a few miles they came out on the top of a high bank above the Road.  At this point the Road had left the Hoarwell far behind in its narrow valley, and now clung close to the feet of the hills, rolling and winding eastward among woods and heather-covered slopes towards the Ford and the Mountains.  Not far down the bank Strider pointed out a stone in the grass.  On it roughly cut and now much weathered could still be seen dwarf-runes and secret marks."

The terrain in the Trollshaws of LOTRO does of course differ from how it appears in the books - the place where the trolls were camped seems as if it should have been much closer to the River Hoarwell - so it is difficult to guess precisely where the treasure could potentially have been placed by the company.  With so many other wonderful Lore nuggets, I would be surprised if that bit was left out, but perhaps it was.  If anyone has ever come across the place where the company left their treasure, please let me know!

Sources:  The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring


  1. It's mentioned in the Hobbit, and I believe in the Fellowship, that Bilbo had dug up the treasure on his way home from the Lonely Mountain.

    It is possible, even likely, that after Bilbo dug up the treasure, the original marking stone was discarded. Even should we find it, it's unlikely it will be anywhere near where the treasure was buried.

    1. Good idea, but not correct! If you go back and read the reference above, or read in the FotR since there is more to the scene than I quote here, you will see Aragorn and the Hobbits passing THE stone, and taking note of the weathered runes. Definitely the treasure was removed long before and is no longer there. But the stone itself is there as of the FotR, and is passed by the five of them just after they encounter the trolls. So it is the stone/site that I'm hoping could someday be discovered in the Trollshaws (though it very well may never have been included in the game - I just want it to be there lol). Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hmmm... I seem to remember a rather humorous event involving Bilbo's Trolls, the Bounty Troll, McFarlane and a very young Issy.
    Does this sound familiar? "We can take him, I'd die in shame if we couldn't" :P

    1. LOL! Good old Dhit, or whatever his name is. Well we can take him NOW!