As way of introduction, I am reading through “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” by Bilbo Baggins ( and JRR Tolkien!) with my own 7 year old hobbit. He and I have also played some LOTRO together, mostly with me driving and him mashing buttons to kill goblins (or boars or bears…). But as we’ve been reading, he’s suddenly started to recognize a couple of the names of places in the Shire that we’d previously visited.
"Dad, didn't we see that place in LOTRO?" So, we’ve now started to visit the places of Bilbo’s original journey, taking a look around, and taking a screenshot or two. We’re only reading a few pages a day at bedtime, so it will likely take us a while to move our way through. This is our own little photo journal, and in no small part, this idea is copied from Briarflower’s A Long Walk (so thank you for that!).
To make this a little more interesting for us, and to also help me to show my little guy the difference between the time of “The Hobbit” and the latter setting of LOTR, we’ve created a new character, Slamwise, a second cousin twice removed of the more well known Samwise, and a cousin of Halfast who once saw a walking elm tree in the north moors. I've created a bit of an RP backstory for him, to find a way to make sense of having him follow Bilbo's path.
As well, I’d like to quote bits out of The Hobbit, but I’m afraid that probably violates the ToS, so I’ll just put short little bits and clearly note if they’re Tolkien quotes, which I hope will be okay. We will be adding to this a little bit at a time, maybe weekly, maybe a little more often, as we walk around the Shire and make our way to Rivendell and maybe points East. My little guy is driving Slamwise and learning the controls as we go, so the walking speed suits us just fine. If you happen to see Slamwise wandering about (we're still in the Shire) feel free to say hi, but we may not answer - it's hard to type in the chat box when your seven year old is still figuring out the keyboard.
“Mad Baggins”, thought Slamwise, “may not have been so mad after all.” Slamwise had just taken his first trip to Staddle and Archet. The trip had turned frightening – a dark rider, a mysterious evil priest, and in the end, he was a witness to the burning of Archet. He was still shocked and stunned by the memories, and had no desire to ever leave the Shire again. And someone had to return that annoying Lotho Sackville-Baggins to Hobbiton.
Last edited by Elessar2007; Aug 22 2010 at 01:16 AM.
Burning of Archet... a vision Slamwise would not soon forget...
And Lotho, stop snivelling please! I'll see you home!
That chore done, he had left Hobbiton to find his cousin Hal and tell him what had happened. Hal had claimed to see a walking Elm Tree in the North Moors, not too long ago, and that was a claim equally as strange as to what Slamwise had seen in Archet. Of course, at the time, he’d laughed with all the others at Halfast – and poor Hal had been so earnest – now Slamwise was sure something dangerously evil was encroaching on the Shire.
Slammy’s seven year old little hobbit had believed Hal right from the start. Little Slam, of course, also believed all the tales of elves and dwarves that he heard from Mr. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee. Sam (Slammy’s second cousin, once removed) was always telling tales of Frodo’s uncle Bilbo – old Mad Baggins (dragons, elves, trolls!) – and he had also seemed to believe Hal’s tale of a walking Elm Tree.
After the burning of Archet, Slamwise needed to find Hal, he needed to find someone who would believe his story. But now, Hal was not to be found and apparently had gone missing recently. Slamwise was now sincerely worried about his cousin Hal, and knew he had to look further.
So he moved on to see if Sam was at home. But the Gaffer was now telling him that Sam had gone off with Frodo, just recently, and also was no longer at home.
Now that was suspicious, first Hal missing, now Sam had left home? Sam was not the adventurous type. But the biggest shock was that Mr. Frodo had sold Bag-End, and to the Sackville-Baggins to boot! No wonder Lotho had seemed so cocky and eager to return to Hobbiton.
The Gaffer confirmed that Bag-End was now Lobelia and Lotho’s home. Slamwise decided to visit the home to see how Lotho was doing. Maybe he could give him a clue as to where look for Sam and Hal.
Because of the lateness of the hour, Slamwise didn't approach Lotho and Lobelia immediately. He took a few moments to sit on the Baggins' veranda. The view must be remarkable from here during the day. And the gardens were wonderful, even at night. It was a nice place to sit and collect his thoughts.
He decided to wait until morning, then returned to Bag-End, in the brightness of day...
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort…. " JRR Tolkien
Slamwise grimaced when he saw both Lotho and Lobelia on the front porch. Lotho was difficult enough to deal with but Lobelia... she took the cake (and the dish, and the spoons... apparently she loved her spoons).
Slamwise approached and before he could ask about Mr. Frodo and Sam, Lobelia had a request (demand) that Slamwise assist with taking a message to the Mayor.
At least they invited him in for tea, and so he took advantage of the opportunity to have a look around Bag-End. What a neat hobbit hole!
"It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle." JRR Tolkien
If anyone's wondering why so many posts are going up today, it's because I've been thinking this through for awhile and am only now putting it together. This thread will soon catch up to where we are walking along, and then the post frequency will drop!
Once inside Bag End, Slamwise saw “a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with paneled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats.” JRR Tolkien.
Apparently, Bilbo and Frodo had been fond of visitors. Equally apparent, Lobelia and Lotho were a little less hospitable. Still they served up a passable coffee cake and tea. There were no shortage of pantries!
"bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side(going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river." JRR Tolkien.
"The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill - The Hill." JRR Tolkien.
This is an awesome post, in line with the Middle Earth walk. I approve!
And its getting me to want to do the same thing, albeit from the Man side of things.
Originally Posted by darkannex
Thank you for sharing!
There were books and bookcases everywhere. Many hobbits (those who know their letters) do love to read - or at least like to be read to. Nothing stirred a hobbit's imagination like a good tale of adventure, especially while you were safe at home and could pretend that you were really only interested in peace and quiet.
Slamwise had heard tales of the stories of old Mr. Baggins – and tales of the old book that he had been writing before he disappeared at that amazing night at the Party Tree. But these things were all Lotho's and Lobelia's, weren't they? He wouldn't find a clue here. Maybe he was wasting his time.
"Well, this is certainly 'an unexpected party'" said Lotho as he helped himself to another piece of cake. Slamwise could hear Lobelia muttering in the kitchen, then a sudden shriek, "Lotho, in here, now!" Lotho rolled his eyes and hustled off to the kitchen, leaving Slamwise alone.
He scanned the room, and his eye stuck on a painting of a fierce dragon... "Smaug" he whispered... That was the most famous tale of old Bilbo... they said he had slain the dragon (the actual details did seem to shift with each telling of the story). Why would Frodo have left that painting behind...
Slamwise looked a little closer and when he moved the edge of the frame, an envelope fell from where it had been wedged behind the painting. What is this, he thought... a map and, a poem?
The map showed a dragon perched over the Lonely Mountain and the Running River...
This is only a small part of the whole poem
"Far over the misty mountains cold To dungeons deep and caverns old We must away, ere break of day, To claim our long-forgotten gold." ... The bells were ringing in the dale And men looked up with faces pale; The dragon's ire more fierce than fire Laid low their towers and houses frail.
The mountain smoked beneath the moon; The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom. They fled their hall to dying fall Beneath his feet, beneath the moon." JRR Tolkien
Thank you for the kind words! Much appreciated. I'm glad you're enjoying this as much as we are. We're in the Marish now, but I'm still catching up the storyline a little bit. I should be up to date with the story and catch up to where we're walking in the next couple of days.
Slamwise caught his breath at the song. Dragon Gold! Dwarves! He could just picture old Gandalf and the 13 dwarves who travelled with Bilbo - they kidnapped him and stole him away some of the stories said! But Slamwise prefered the stories that told of how Bilbo went willingly....
But as he read about the dragon, about caverns old, his imagination began to run away with him. He felt a burning desire kindled in his heart and in his mind's eye he saw dwarves, and caverns and gold and magic. Suddenly, the horror of Archet dwindled as he caught a vision of elves, and dwarves and "jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns..." JRR Tolkien
It was then that Slamwise noted the map on the wall. Another clue? He was familiar with the bits of the Shire and of course had made his recent trip through Bree to Archet. But now he could see how big the land really was. The North Downs! Forochel (he shivered involuntarily)! the Gray Havens! The map of The Lonely Mountain would seem to fall east of this map, east of the Trollshaws and the Misty Mountains... he shivered again...
"the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains and hear the pine trees and the waterfalls and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick..." JRR Tolkien.
Just then, Lotho and Lobelia came back into the room, "You're still here?" muttered a shocked Lobelia. "Didn't I ask you to take a message to the Mayor! Move along boy, that message won't carry itself!"
"just one moment, Ms. Lobelia" paused Slamwise, putting on his most gallant persona, "Could you tell me about this map? Where did you get it?"
"Oh that thing? It was left behind when the Baggins cleared out. I don't need it, clutters the wall. Takes up space. This is where the portrait of Otho should go..."
"I'd be glad to take it off your hands for you Ms. Lobelia. No problem at all"
"Fine, you can have it. Provided you take my message to the Mayor! Now move along!"
Slamwise gathered the map from the wall, and pocketed the envelope he'd found behind the dragon painting...He thanked the Sackville-Bagginses and exited Bag-End...
Slammy asked the Gaffer what he thought about the clues, and if he knew where to find Sam, or Mr. Frodo, or Hal... “Crickhollow? Over in Buckland, eh? Crickhollow. But Sam was also talking about visiting the elves and dwarves? How mysterious. Ever since I saw that Black Rider near Archet, the world has been spinning crazily out of control.”
The Gaffer stopped suddenly, when Slamwise mentioned the Black Rider… “What do you mean, Black Rider Slamwise” he said urgently, “quick now, speak boy.”
“Uncle, it was near Archet, and it was one of the scariest moments of my life. I think he was after Lotho Sackville-Baggins, but turns out it was the wrong Baggins. Do you think he’s after Bilbo? or Frodo? Oh…” a sudden realization “Sam is with Frodo. He’ll be in danger!”
“There’s been a strange customer asking for Mr. Baggins of Bag End. Hissed at me, he did/ It gave me quite a shudder. He wasn’t a hobbit. He was tall and black-like, and he stooped over me. I reckon it was one of the Big Folk from foreign parts. He spoke funny.” JRR Tolkien
"Slamwise" said the Gaffer, "you need to go to Sam and Mr. Frodo - I hope they're still safe at Crickhollow. I think old Mr. Baggins is in danger, and Mr. Frodo may know how to reach him. If not you've got these maps - I'll wager old Mr. Bilbo is at this Lonely Mountain place if he's anywhere."
"Do you really think so Gaffer? That is such a long way to go. Let me start with Crickhollow and then see where to go next."
"Don't be foolish boy, the Baggins, and our Sam, they may be in serious trouble. You've seen the Black Rider. We must help. You must help. I'm too old, and I can't see much, I would only hinder you. You must run on boy, please. I don't know what I'd do without my Sam."
"But wait. I'm forgetting one thing. The day after old Mr. Bilbo's 'Long-expected Party', the day after he disappeared so mysteriously, Frodo gave out a number of presents. Good old Mr. Bilbo, I got "two sacks of potatos, a new spade, a woollen waistcoat and a bottle of ointment for creaking joints." JRR Tolkien The potatos were wonderful and that ointment - oh what a wonderful ointment. But he also gave me this woolen waistcoat. I thought it was a strange gift at the time as it was missing all it's buttons. I wore it once, and I remember, there was a packet of papers in the inside pocket, like notes, like from a book, but not a book. Just papers wrapped together. Maybe that will help you Slamwise."
Slamwise took the waistcoat and the papers. He would look at them tonight when he rested. For now, he needed to move, and move quickly. He thanked the Gaffer and began to run.
I have not done the hobbit quests - is this a modification or re-telling of these quests? In any case, I'm enthralled by your storytelling!
It's a mashing and merging of the Hobbit introduction instance, plus some of the early Shire quests, but woven together to allow me and my son to walk Bilbo's original path from "The Hobbit". To make it fit into LOTRO, we're throwing in bits from "The Lord of the Rings" as well, but mostly we're trying to walk Bilbo's path together. It's our way of learning Tolkien's stories together. I know the game doesn't go all the way to the Lonely Mountain, but we've set the backstory for Slamwise so he will at least try to head that way. I guess we'll see what happens when we get to the Misty Mountains! I hope Turbine eventually opens up the land of the Beornings, the northern Mirkwood and the Lonely Mountain areas!
We expect to leave the Golden Perch tonight (although, we may just wander that area for a week and return to the Ales and Tales at the Golden Perch next Monday)!
Slamwise paused at the bridge over "the Water" beside the Sandyman's mill. He had a quick look at the package of papers, as he caught his breath...
Wrapped around the top of the package was a worn and weathered note, written in a royal and commanding hand...
"Thorin and Company to Burglar Bilbo greeting! For your hospitality our sincerest thanks, and for your offer of professional assistance our grateful acceptance. Terms: cash on delivery, up to and not exceeding one fourteenth of total profits (if any); all traveling expenses guaranteed in any event; funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for.
Thinking it unnecessary to disturb your esteemed repose, we have proceeded in advance to make requisite preparations, and shall await your respected person at the Green Dragon Inn, Bywater, at 11 a.m. sharp. Trusting that you will be punctual, We have the honour to remain Yours deeply Thorin & Co.” JRR Tolkien
Hmmm... the Green Dragon Inn. That wasn't far, and that might be a good place to spend the night... And then he could further consider, not only this intriguing note, but the maps, and the next steps to take.
oh, and perhaps he could find a mug of ale, while there...
Slamwise found the notes he held looked like bits for a memoir. It was as if Bilbo had used these when writing his fabled book on his adventures... As he walked on past the Mill and over the Water, he found another note...
“to the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more.
Very puffed he was, when he got to Bywater… and found he had come without a pocket handkerchief!” JRR Tolkien
And with that, Slamwise found himself where Bilbo had stood some 60 years ago, in the Bywater town square outside the Green Dragon Inn.
At his table in the inn, Slammy went through the package from the Gaffer in detail. It was amazing. Slamwise had heard Bilbo had been writing a book. These must've been his writing notes. The bits and pieces chronicled his adventures with Gandalf and the dwarves... And there was enough there, that along with the maps, that Slamwise knew where he was headed next... if he went to see the Elves, that must mean this place called Rivendell...
He would check in at Crickhollow first, and he'd see if Mr. Frodo would go to Rivendell to warn old Mr. Baggins about these Black Riders. And he'd make sure Sam was safe, then he'd be able to return home.
The next morning, Slamwise set out bright and early. He left the Green Dragon and, in his mind's eye, he saw Bilbo running to meet the dwarves and their ponies. "all the others came round the corner of the road from the village. They were on ponies, and each pony was slung about with all kinds of baggages, packages, parcels and paraphernalia. There was a very small pony, apparently for Bilbo." JRR Tolkien.
Slamwise thought briefly about finding a pony to help him on his way, but he was not a big fan ... he decided to set out for Crickhollow on foot.
It was a beautfiful morning. The worries of the Gaffer from last night seemed faint and a bt unreal to Slamwise now. How easy it was to let your imagination run away with yourself... Black Riders, psshhh, it was hard to believe in something sinister this morning. But there was Archet... that memory remained vivid...
"well, let's not imagine, let's do" and with that Slamwise began his walk towards Crickhollow. "Frodo will know what to do next and how to find Bilbo, and I'm sure Sam is safe, and Hal is just off on a little trek."
“So after that the party went along very merrily, and they told stories or sang songs as they rode forward all day, except of course when they stopped for meals. These didn’t come as often as [he] would have liked them, but still he began to feel that adventures were not so bad after all.” JRR Tolkien
Slamwise began to feel like quite the adventurer by the time he arrived at Frogmorton... and look, oh, an inn!
The next morning, Slamwise continued through the peaceful lands of the Shire, Green Hill Country, and entering the Marish, an area famous for it's mushrooms.
Hobbits love mushrooms!
But, with an unexpected savagery, a wolf appeared, coming at Slamwise with a ferocity that stunned him. His instinct caused him to strike - and the wolf was brought down. What was happening, that even here in the Shire, these animals were attacking...
By the end of that day's journey, he had made it to Stock and was near the Brandywine Bridge. Tomorrow he'd make it to Buckland and Crickhollow, meet with Frodo and Sam and this whole nightmare would be over.
For tonight... hmmm... The Golden Perch! I guess it couldn't hurt to sample their ale...