Weathertop (Amon Sûl in Sindarin) was a large hill in Eriador which had built upon it a formidable watchtower. The watchtower was built by the Dúnedain under Elendil to protect Arnor and the Great East Road. Inside of it was put one of the
Palantíri which made the watchtower even more strategically important as a center of reconnaissance and communication. After the death of the final king of Arnor, King Eärendur, the Kingdom was split and Weathertop lay on the very border between the new realms Arthedain, Rhuduar, and Cardolan. The bickering lords of the crumbling Arnorian kingdoms were eventually defeated by the Witch King of Angmar. He manipulated the hillmen of Rhuduar and brought his orcs from the north, overthrowing the old kingdom. Amon Sûl was sacked by the Witch King and King Arveleg I of Arthedain was slain here. The Dúnedain managed to escape with the Palantír. After it’s destruction it remained a ruin for the remainder of it’s history. During the War of the Ring the watchtower saw two major events occur. Gandalf fought with the Nazgûl on it’s summit, and days later in a different engagement Aragorn defended the hobbits from the Black Riders, but Frodo was stabbed with a Morgul Blade and was gravely wounded.
“The Men of the West did not live here; though in their latter days they defended the hills for a while against the evil that came out of Angmar. This path was made to serve the forts along the walls. But long before, in the first days of North Kingdom, they built the great watch-tower on Weathertop. Amon Sûl they called it. It was burned and broken, and nothing remains of it now but a tumbled ring, like a rough crown on the old hill’s head. Yet once it was tall and fair. It is told that Elendil stood there watching for the coming of Gil-galad out of the West, in the days of the Last Alliance.” -Aragorn explaining the importance of Weathertop to the hobbits. A Knife In the Dark, Fellowship of the Ring.
Rivendell was an Elven stronghold founded by Elrond during the War of Elves and Sauron. It was not built as a fortified castle but rather an outpost with a garrison, using the surrounding of the treacherous steep rocks and rivers as a natural defense. Located at the base of the Misty Mountains in Eastern Eriador along the river Bruinen, hidden within the valley. It’s location, decided during a war, became a sanctuary for those engaged or fleeing from future wars, Notably survivors from the Destruction of Eregion.
It would face a siege from the forces of Angmar but prevailed from Gil-Galad’s reinforcements.
It’s second major military engagement was it’s service as a staging point for Gil-Galad’s army during the War of the Last Alliance. During the 2nd Age it was deemed one of the safest places for the Free People’s and became the home of both artifacts (Shards of Narsil and the Ring of Barahir), the remaining Dúnedain, and many of the Noldor before they passed to the Undying Lands. The 2nd and 3rd age would see Rivendell grow in importance as a center of learning and refuge, notable people including Aragorn and Arwen (falling in love (Aw)), and home of notable Elves such as Glorfindel, Elladin, Elrohir, and Gildor. By the Third Age Imladris (as it was called in Sindarin) was a notable stopping point for anyone affiliated with the elves. Gandalf and his dwarven company stopped there on their Quest for Erebor. Bilbo Baggins fled there upon his 111th birthday. Upon the discovery of the One Ring it was decided that the Ring should be brought to Rivendell and a Council was held on it’s fate. Here the Fellowship of the Ring was formed and set out for it’s ultimate quest. During the War of the Ring it remained a base of operations for the Commanders of the West, but never fell to siege or war. The Destruction of the One Ring was followed by a mass exodus of the Elves of Rivendell as they all went West. It’s legacy remained as a place of history and culture rather than a military position, and it was invaluable in preserving the history and alliance of the Free Peoples.
“’What about Rivendell and the Elves? Is Rivendell safe?’”.
“‘Yes, at present, until all else is conquered. The Elves may fear the Dark Lord, and they may fly before him, but never again will they listen to him or serve him. And here in Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes: The Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power’“.
– Gandalf reassuring Frodo of the safety of Rivendell, Fellowship of the Ring, Many Meetings.
A lovely painting of the Two Trees of Valinor, Laurelin and Telperion, done by @exploremyysoul!
Tolkien’s rendition of Bag End, I don’t know the date don’t sue me.
Fellowship of the Ring movie set (2001
Bag End was a hobbit hole (smial) belonging to the Baggins family. By Shire standards it was very luxurious as the Baggins family was wealthy. Described as a dwelling built into The Hill with a large green door and bright brass knob. Inside was almost entirely wood including polished chairs, lots of pegs for hats and coats (for visitors), high ceilings for wizards, and plenty of storage for plenty of food – All on the same floor. The best rooms were on the left side as that side had windows. Located in Hobbiton and built by Bungo Baggins, it remained the home of the Baggins Dynasty until the departure of Frodo Baggins where it was given to Samwise Gamgee. It was the setting for Gandalf’s invitation to Bilbo to join his adventure to Erebor and the dwarf party that ensued. Bilbo left Bag End for little over half a year and all the hobbits (led by the opportunistic Sackville-Bagginses) deemed him “Presumed dead”. Bilbo came back to his home and belongings being auctioned off! He foiled the plan and lived there with his adopted heir Frodo Baggins. When Frodo became the Master of Bag End (as Bilbo was fleeing to Rivendell in his old age) the events of the One Ring transpired. In order to mask their quest Frodo sold Bag End to the dreaded Sackville-Bagginses and purchased a smial in Crickhollow. Frodo’s return to the Shire was dampened by it’s occupation by Ruffians under the leadership of Sharkey (spoiler alert it’s Saruman). Saruman was using Bag End as his headquarters in the mass occupation and resource extraction of the Shire. It was formerly occupied by Lotho Sackville-Baggins but once Saruman arrived he was disposed of (and possibly eaten by Wormtongue). Following the Battle of Bywater Saruman was slain by the tormented Grima Wormtongue on the very doorstep of Bag End. The Shire was restored, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins gave Bag End back to Frodo, and the quest was over. Frodo went to the Undying Lands and then gave Bag End to Samwise Gamgee (who served at the estate’s gardener prior) who I assure you took good care of it.
“’Our last meal at Bag End!’ said Frodo, pushing back his chair. They left the washing up for Lobelia. Pippin and Sam strapped up their three packs and piled them in the porch, Pippin went out for a last stroll in the garden. Sam disappeared. – The band’s last meal in Bag End before their Quest of the One Ring, Fellowship of the Ring, Three Is Company
“Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur’s Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.”
– A voice Boromir heard in a dream, “the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice”. Faramir heard the same prophecy but did not speak of it. Fellowship of the Ring, Council of Elrond.
Gorlim The Unhappy was a man during the First Age. He served Barahir during the ill-fated battle of Dagor Bralloch, though they fought bravely (and saved Finrod) the battle was a massive defeat and all the land of Barahir fell under Morgoth’s control. Gorlim survived the disaster and returned home only to find his home plundered and his wife, Eilinel, missing. He returned to Barahir’s service during his time as an outlaw. Often times during Barahir’s guerrilla war Gorlim would return to his destroyed home in hopes Eilinel would return as well. This knowledge passed to Morgoth, where Sauron set a trap at Gorlim’s home. Gorlim returned to his home and saw a shimmering light, and his wife Eilinel, However it was a trap and he was captured by Morgoth’s orcs. He was tortured and interrogated but gave no information, and ultimately was brought before Sauron made a deal with Gorlim; Reveal the location of Barahir and his followers and he would see his wife again. Gorlim accepted this deal and surrendered Barahir’s hiding spot; Dorthonion.
Sauron revealed to Gorlim that his wife Eilinel had been dead this whole time, and he would be returned to her. Gorlim cursed himself was slain.
Barahir and his men were all slain save his son, Beren. Beren had been out hunting when the ghost of Gorlim appeared to him, revealing his treachery and warning him. Beren was too late, but would recover the Ring of Barahir from the orcs.
“Thus guerdon shall he have that bore
these tidings sweet, O traitor dear!
For Eilinel she dwells not here,
but in the shades of death doth roam
widowed of husband and of home –
a wraith of that which might have been,
methinks, it is that thou hast seen!
Now shalt thou through the gates of pain
the land thou askest grimly gain;
thou shalt to the moonless mist of hell
descend and seek thy Eilinel.”
– Sauron’s speech before executing Gorlim. Beren and Lúthien, The Lay of Leithian, Canto 2, Lines 72 – 82 (Extract).
Barliman Butterbur was a Man of Bree and owner of the Prancing Pony. A simple man, very hospitable, but very forgetful (which he attributes to being so busy). He runs the successful Prancing Pony inn, employing two hobbits Bob and Nob. He was a trusted friend of Gandalf and was tasked with giving Frodo Baggins a letter upon Frodo’s arrival at Bree, which he gave to him much later in the night. He is good-hearted and helpful, but refuses to leave Bree and his business upon hearing about the Quest. He is very skeptical of Strider and upon hearing about the Quest from the company he becomes frightened, a testament to his innocence. He gave the company food and rest, and that night the inn was attacked, come morning the horses were stolen – delaying the group. The town blamed him for this but he knew the real thief was sent from Bill Ferny, a southerner in league with Saruman. Despite the setback he aided the group as best he could with food and information (Bill Ferny had a pony for sale, who cheated them) and sent them on their way. During the War of the Ring he remained the owner of the Prancing Pony despite the unease and banditry plaguing Bree-Land. After the destruction of the Ring the hobbits and Gandalf return to the Prancing Pony where Butterbur tells them of the Ruffians, casualties, pipe-weed shortage, and the increased security around Bree. He is surprised to learn that Strider had become king “Him with a crown and all and a golden cup! Well, what are we coming to?” (Return of the King, Homeward Bound). He remembers to tell Samwise Gamgee that his pony (Purchased from Ferny, who left before the Mines of Moria), Had returned to the Prancing Pony stables, to which Sam is delighted. Butterbur is throughout the books a good man, and a strange choice of ally for Gandalf.
“PPPS. I hope Butterbur sends this promptly, A worthy man, but his memory is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried. If he forgets, I shall roast him. Fare Well!” – Gandalf’s ending to his letter to Frodo, playfully (?) threatening Butterbur for his poor memory. Fellowship of the Ring, Strider.