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  1. #1

    Bree landers and Shire folk, where they uninformed and ignorant about the southern eastern lands?

    It seems to me that the Bree Landers and Shire folk don't know much about the outside world and the bigger picture of whats really going on. They seem content in their own little community and don't seem to go on many adventures.

    It makes me wonder if they have known of the lands of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor in the south east of Middle Earth. Or what goes on there. Or vise versa, do you think the Rohirrim and Gondorians knew about them? I say not, since Eormer didn't seem to know what a hobbit was after Aragorn ask have they seen Merry and Pippin as the Rohirrim were raiding the Uruk Hai they were pursuing.

    Also, do you think any of them had bothered to travel to their both distant lands? Breelanders to Rohan and Gondor, or vise versa, the Rohirrim and Gondorians to Bree Land? I know for a fact that the hobbits, with the exception of Frodo, Bilbo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, wouldn't bother traveling to distant lands, since they seem very content and sheltered in the Shire, and maybe Bree.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodgoing View Post
    It seems to me that the Bree Landers and Shire folk don't know much about the outside world and the bigger picture of whats really going on. They seem content in their own little community and don't seem to go on many adventures.

    It makes me wonder if they have known of the lands of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor in the south east of Middle Earth. Or what goes on there. Or vise versa, do you think the Rohirrim and Gondorians knew about them? I say not, since Eormer didn't seem to know what a hobbit was after Aragorn ask have they seen Merry and Pippin as the Rohirrim were raiding the Uruk Hai they were pursuing.

    Also, do you think any of them had bothered to travel to their both distant lands? Breelanders to Rohan and Gondor, or vise versa, the Rohirrim and Gondorians to Bree Land? I know for a fact that the hobbits, with the exception of Frodo, Bilbo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, wouldn't bother traveling to distant lands, since they seem very content and sheltered in the Shire, and maybe Bree.
    The Rohirrim have legends, of which the hobbits are apart. But they barely know much about Fangorn, which is right on their border, so I would say they know little to nothing about the north. Gondor I think would know more. Since they have histories about Arnor, perhaps they even know of Dale. As for Bree I don't think they know much about the outside world, nor would they care if they did. Aragorn says at the Council of Elrond that there are evils within a few days of Bree that would freeze the blood of the people of Bree. Yet the people go on living their content lives. Barliman himself says on at least one occasion that they simply want to be left alone to live their lives as they always have.

  3. #3
    There was essentially no legit traffic between West and East by that time for centuries. Apart from the rangers roaming around and an unwholesome folk sometimes packing through Enedwaith, communication was pretty much nil.
    As we can see from the beginning of the LotR practically the only reliable nuggets of news came to the West via Dwarves and even those interacted only reluctantly.

    As for the Bree and Shire folk, they did not care to know and certainly did not want to travel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    As for the Bree and Shire folk, they did not care to know and certainly did not want to travel.
    The Shire-folk certainly didn't want to know, but the Bree-folk did get news from passing travellers even if they didn't go places themselves. For example, Barliman had heard of Mordor:

    'They come from Mordor,' said Strider in a low voice. 'From Mordor, Barliman, if that means anything to you.'

    'Save us!' cried Mr. Butterbur turning pale; the name evidently was known to him. 'That is the worst news that has come to Bree in my time.'


    (Also - 'strange as news from Bree' was apparently proverbial in those parts).

  5. #5
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    My two coppers... Utterly, completely based off on what I remember from reading the books, and given the lateness of the hour. Or earliness.

    In short: Trade means traffic. Traffic means people moving. People moving means talk. Talk means news, rumours and gossip. Restless times encourage travel and rumours. And rumours, despite their frail connection to truth, were still treated as valid information: "true until proven wrong", more or less.

    Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age couldn't be called an information society, compared to modern day RL. But that doesn't mean that folks were utterly in the dark about things beyond their immediate surroundings. People are different, though: a 'politician' would be more interested in what's going on than the farmhand.

    Shirefolk in general wouldn't care a whit about the world outside their borders.
    But stories do travel, and even amongst Hobbits there were ears keen to hear about things beyond their ken. Some of those ears belonged to folks who'd wander off, too. They'd be in distinct minority, but they would be there.

    Given that Bree is a town in the intersection of two biggest roads (North-South and East-West Roads) in NW Middle-earth, I'd daresay that if you wanted to know, you could gather info, relatively easy, too. You could hear from the travelling salesmen what goes on where. Rumours travel, and Bree did have its share of "people passing through", being a trading post by its very nature. But a 'basic' Breelander who's just trudging through his regular day, working the fields or whatever? Why would they be interested? Regardless whether they're Men or Hobbits.

    Rohan appears to be pretty closed off, but that might be said about everyone. Especially the closer the War of the Ring comes, everyone seemed to be shuttering up. Or fleeing.
    People still went through the area; Gap of Rohan was a main route, as part of the North-South Road, for a fact used by both Boromir and the Black Riders. It was suggested as a route for the Fellowship, even if it was abandoned practically immediately.
    People of Rohan knew of Halflings, in their own tongue Holbytla; Hobbit was a strange term, being the Shirefolk's name for themselves. Far as Rohirrim knew, though, Halflings were the stuff of fairytales.
    Gondor was close to Rohan, so far that Gondorians seemed to have almost blind faith in that the Rohirrim would come to their aid when called. I suspect the two kingdoms were roughly equally aware of what went on in the other.

    Talking of Gondor... Gondor probably has records. They've always struck me as folk who'd be nuts about stuff like that. Histories, genealogies, bloody budgets and what not.
    During the later Third Age that's probably suffered, too, though.
    But I'd be willing to bet they'd know about Erebor (Battle of Five Armies was probably the biggest shindig in 'recent' years), Dale, and a lot of stuff. Dale was, after all, a renowned tradetown on its own.

    The main hub, information-wise, was without a doubt Rivendell. They had a reason to gather as much data as possible; Elrond was renowned enough for folks from far away to seek his counsel.
    But given that rumours were apparently treated true until proven false, it's a question of how valid all the information gathered was. Besides which, there's the issue of time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    Given that Bree is a town in the intersection of two biggest roads (North-South and East-West Roads) in NW Middle-earth
    That's a little bit of a red herring: the north-south road was so little used it was overgrown and people called it the Greenway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    That's a little bit of a red herring: the north-south road was so little used it was overgrown and people called it the Greenway.
    Correction: the North Road was rarely used (save by the Dúnedain) after the fall of Arnor, since the Northern Lands were "desolate".
    The South Road, on the other hand... that saw constant use. There was quite a number of folks "coming up the Greenway" in the LotR. Black Riders rode along the South Road, too, as well as Boromir, even if he did turn towards Rivendell rather than Bree.

    Before the fall of Arnor the North-South Road as a whole was well-used. And though its use lessened later on, it never apparently ceased. What's more, a road that's built upon relatively fertile soil... doesn't take that long to grow green, once it stops being constantly trampled. As it is, during 3018 T.A. it was apparently still recognizably a road. Not lost, not forgotten, nor hard to find.
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    Seems to me The shire and Breeland are places were people get news by either going places or by someone giving news, The BreeLanders knew hobbits and thats saying a lot most people there are oblivious to the happenings of the world.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    The BreeLanders knew hobbits and thats saying a lot most people there are oblivious to the happenings of the world.
    Seeing as quite a few of the Breelanders ARE hobbits I'd say that's not exactly surprising

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    I think Bree Landers were akin to Dunledings according to lore, quick to respond against anything "Ilustrated" even news, Hobbits atleast had courage.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    That's a little bit of a red herring: the north-south road was so little used it was overgrown and people called it the Greenway.
    Not to mention, NW Middle earth, other than the Shire, can be described as a desolate wilderness. The Bree of the books is nothing like the vibrant, densely populated town we see in game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seschat View Post
    Not to mention, NW Middle earth, other than the Shire, can be described as a desolate wilderness. The Bree of the books is nothing like the vibrant, densely populated town we see in game.
    Dug out the book. Here's a handful of relevant (imo) quotes concerning Bree.

    "Darkness came down quickly, as they plodded slowly downhill and up again, until at last they saw lights twinkling some distance ahead.
    Before them rose Bree-hill barring the way, a dark mass against misty stars; and under its western flank nestled a large village."

    "Bree was the chief village of the Bree-land, a small inhabited region, like an island in the empty lands round about.-"

    "There were also many families of Hobbits in the Bree-land - (who) lived mostly in Staddle though there were some in Bree itself, especially on the higher slopes of the hill, above the houses of the Men."

    "The Bree-folk, Big and Little, did not themselves travel much; and the affairs of the four villages were their chief concern. Occasionally the Hobbits of Bree went as far as Buckland, or the Eastfarthing-"

    "It was not yet forgotten that there had been a time when there was much coming and going between the Shire and Bree."

    "The village of Bree had some hundred stone houses of the Big Folk-"

    "Road - was barred by a great gate. There was another gate in the southern corner where the Road ran out of the village. The gates were closed at nightfall; but just inside them were small lodges for the gatekeepers."

    "But the Northern Lands had long been desolatem and the North Road was now seldom used-"

    "The Inn of Bree - was a meeting place for the idle, talkative, and inquisitive among the inhabitants, large and small, of the four villages-"

    As the Hobbits gain entry through the West-gate (it's past nightfall), they're warned by Harry the gatekeeper that "There's queer folk about."
    The Prancing Pony's practically bustling, "the gathering was large and mixed".

    There's also a specific mention about how "Men of Bree --- were more friendly and familiar with Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, and other inhabitants of the world about them than was (or is) usual with Big People." As well as how the "Rangers --- brought news from afar, and told strange forgotten tales which were eagerly listened to".

    "The Men and Dwarves were mostly talking of distant events and telling news of a kind that was becoming only too familiar. There was trouble away in the South, and it seemed that the Men who had come up the Greenway were on the move, looking for lands where they could find some peace."
    As an aside, it's mentioned how Bree-folk weren't "ready to take a large number of strangers into their little land."

    "Mordor" is also known, even to Barliman.

    When the four Hobbits and Strider are leaving the town, it's in a-buzz due to the previous night's events, people crowding the streets to see them off, peeking out of windows and doors and over walls and fences. They're followed by "children and stragglers" who leave them alone only when they reach the South-gate.

    Now, then...
    What do you base on your opinion that book-Bree "is nothing like the vibrant, densely populated town we see in-game"?
    There's preciously little in the Fellowship of the Ring, far as Bree's daily life is concerned.
    The Hobbits come there after nightfall, and leave in the morning: when would be there time to observe the Bree-folk's normal lives?

    Where your interpretation of Tolkien's text leads you to see a town lacking in life, my interpretation leads me to believe practically the opposite: there are people, there are inhabited houses, there are routines fitting the way the world in general is described. There's talk and rumours and news and gossip. There's curiosity.
    Shire-Hobbits coming to Bree, especially at night, is nigh-unheard of, but other travellers aren't apparently considered to be any stranger than normal. Barliman's busy, but there's the suggestion that he's always like that.
    Sure, things are worse in The Return of the King; Bree's felt the effects of war, too. Houses are kept tightly locked, so are the gates, even during the day. People are armed. People have died and there are ruffians in the woods outside the hedge and the dike of Bree. But that hasn't come to pass, yet, in the game.

    Had you said that book Bree-land is not like the vibrant, populated area we see in-game, I'd have agreed with you.
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    I stand corrected BreeLanders are not ignorant as I thought they were.

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    One of the main sources of news is trade, when one considers Boromir lost his horse on the ruined bridge at Tharbad, it would infer that trade to the South East was almost non existent by the time of the war of the ring. Caravans would have to ford the Gwaltho at the last Bridge and head south (I cant see pack mules or wagons faring better than Boromirs horse), when one considers the perishable produce of the Shire and Bree trying to send this down to markets in Rohan through hostile Dunland would not seem profitable (although shire apples and pipeweed was found in Isengard). Was Tharbad 100 years before was still a source of trade and news?, and did refugees from Tharbad resettle in Bree? (where else would they go?, did they all conveniently drown?) are other factors that may have increased Brees population by the time of the war of the ring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morthaur View Post
    One of the main sources of news is trade, when one considers Boromir lost his horse on the ruined bridge at Tharbad, it would infer that trade to the South East was almost non existent by the time of the war of the ring. Caravans would have to ford the Gwaltho at the last Bridge and head south (I cant see pack mules or wagons faring better than Boromirs horse), when one considers the perishable produce of the Shire and Bree trying to send this down to markets in Rohan through hostile Dunland would not seem profitable (although shire apples and pipeweed was found in Isengard). Was Tharbad 100 years before was still a source of trade and news?, and did refugees from Tharbad resettle in Bree? (where else would they go?, did they all conveniently drown?) are other factors that may have increased Brees population by the time of the war of the ring.
    All indications were that there was no trade to speak of any more past Dunland, which was (for example) why hobbits were only a legend to the Rohirrim. I imagine quite a few refugees had come north from Tharbad after it had been abandoned, but that had been several generations back, beyond living memory for Men. Tharbad had gone to seed and its population had fallen due to lack of trade before the flood trashed it, which was why the locals didn't rebuild - its already delapidated state, plus the flooding combined with the breaking of the bridge to make it pointless.

  16. #16
    I would think, for the most part, that the average inhabitant of any country/village was relatively ignorant of the wider world. Witness Faramir and Boromir: well-educated and connected Lords of Gondor, not having even heard of Rivendell, Imladris, or Elrond before their dreams came to them. It seemed that Denethor was one of the very few who knew something of these names, but even he knew only a vague location, calling it a “far northern dale” (FOTR, The Council of Elrond). If the best educated and wisest of Gondor knew only of Imladris as a far northern dale, how much less would they have known of The Shire, Bree, Dale, or Erebor – all much further away than Rivendell?

    And I would venture to say that Denethor and his sons should have been some of the most knowledgeable men of the happenings in the wider world, with their positions of power, education, access to extensive history books, and (in Denethor’s case anyway), a palantir. It would be my opinion then that the average inhabitant of Gondor, Rohan, Dale, Bree, The Shire, etc. would be mostly in the dark concerning not only events in the wider world, but also the existence of specific countries or settlements.

    But it is interesting some of the things that were retained through stories, such as Sam’s awareness of Oliphaunts, even if only thinking them a fairy-tale (just as the Rohirrim and Gondorians thought of hobbits as fairy-tale material!). I think it is Tolkien’s love for stories which comes out as story-telling being the medium which best preserves some pieces of history.
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    Carrying on, on my bridge theme, Hobbits and non "modern" peoples have extremely low rates of being able to competently swim, making the Gwaltho an impassable barrier to news from the South East, interestingly I visited the ruins of Ostia Antica outside Rome this year and for a town that was abandoned after a flood approximately 1000 years ago its is remarkably intact which is interesting when considering Tharbad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morthaur View Post
    Carrying on, on my bridge theme, Hobbits and non "modern" peoples have extremely low rates of being able to competently swim, making the Gwaltho an impassable barrier to news from the South East, interestingly I visited the ruins of Ostia Antica outside Rome this year and for a town that was abandoned after a flood approximately 1000 years ago its is remarkably intact which is interesting when considering Tharbad.
    Ofcourse you have to take into consideration that that is a town in the real world and Tharbad is in a fictional world where the laws of nature obey Tolkien's every desire.

    Also as far as trade through Bree is concerned. Gondor had enough resources in the south that it was content with not braving the dangers of Dunland and the North in general, Rohan had no interest in passing through Dunland while Gondor was still present in the south as a good trading partner. The only trading route still in use was the Great East-West road which the dwarves used to travel between Ered luin, Erebor and Iron Hills. The only other source of information was the Dunedan of Arnor whose main objectives were to defend the towns of the north and gather information about the enemy and they also remembered most of the historical records and stories of Arnor hence the reason the people of Bree would know about Mordor, Angmar and other such places.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AtalKh View Post
    -The only other source of information was the Dunedan of Arnor whose main objectives were to defend the towns of the north and gather information about the enemy and they also remembered most of the historical records and stories of Arnor hence the reason the people of Bree would know about Mordor, Angmar and other such places.
    "The Men and Dwarves were mostly talking of distant events and telling news of a kind that was becoming only too familiar. There was trouble away in the South, and it seemed that the Men who had come up the Greenway were on the move, looking for lands where they could find some peace."

    That's directly from the Fellowship of the Ring, when the evening at the Prancing Pony is described.
    "Mordor" was known not from old stories and legends, but from the latest 'news' available.
    Assuming the Dwarves mentioned were from Dale and Erebor (where else?), it'd be safe bet that all these things were talked about in those places, too. Even more so since the Black Rider tried to chat with Dáin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilros View Post
    -If the best educated and wisest of Gondor knew only of Imladris as a far northern dale, how much less would they have known of The Shire, Bree, Dale, or Erebor – all much further away than Rivendell?
    If memory serves right, Elrond and co. took quite good care that it was hidden, that its exact location was far from common knowledge; a shadow of Gondolin, for all intents and purposes.
    Bree and Dale, on the other hand, had no reason to hide; on the contrary, being towns surviving (if not thriving) because of trade, their location, I'd bet, was quite well known.
    Shire, I agree, wouldn't be all that known beyond Bree-land, save for its pipeweed. Which was, if I remember right, known in Dale and Erebor. On the other hand, Shire's not a threat to anyone, in any way...so why would the world's 'powers' care about it enough to know about it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilros View Post
    -It would be my opinion then that the average inhabitant of Gondor, Rohan, Dale, Bree, The Shire, etc. would be mostly in the dark concerning not only events in the wider world, but also the existence of specific countries or settlements.
    I agree. A common man, whose level of literacy might be questionable, whose days are spent in the fields and farmwork, trying to make sure their family has roof over their heads and food in their bellies... why would such a man care about far-off regions, towns within?
    The description given of the Bree-folk, that their chief concern were "the affairs of the four villages", is applicable to any common folk, I think.

    Need to look at the books again, at a better time... about some points raised in the thread.
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    If memory serves right, Elrond and co. took quite good care that it was hidden, that its exact location was far from common knowledge; a shadow of Gondolin, for all intents and purposes.
    Bree and Dale, on the other hand, had no reason to hide; on the contrary, being towns surviving (if not thriving) because of trade, their location, I'd bet, was quite well known.
    Shire, I agree, wouldn't be all that known beyond Bree-land, save for its pipeweed. Which was, if I remember right, known in Dale and Erebor. On the other hand, Shire's not a threat to anyone, in any way...so why would the world's 'powers' care about it enough to know about it?
    To not know the exact location of Rivendell is quite understandable, as I believe it was known as a ‘hidden valley’. But for neither Boromir or Faramir to have even heard of its existence or of the name of Elrond seems poor. Rivendell played a large role in history which I would have thought at least Faramir would be familiar with. Established as a stronghold during the 2nd Age War of the Elves and Sauron (which Numenor participated in), noted during the Last Alliance of Elves and Men (Elendil stopped in Rivendell for 3 years with Gil-galad before crossing the Misty Mountains, also Elrond was Gil-galad’s 2nd in command), Isildur was travelling to Rivendell to meet up with his family when he was ambushed and killed, and Rivendell’s participation in the Battle of Fornost in which Gondor participated (including Glorfindel – a resident of Rivendell – making his famous prediction about the Witch King). So to not have even heard the name seems strange to me and indicative of a general lack of knowledge of the wider world.

    Now perhaps this was more a characteristic of Gondorians, since they seem to have an attitude that the world centers around their country, and that their conflict with Mordor was the only real front in the battle against Sauron. One could argue that Bree-landers, people of Dale, or other locales were much less city-centric, and much more aware of the wider world and of the general happenings in ME. And though there is some truth to this, I tend to wonder how much more aware of the wider world would the ‘common man’ of say Bree be than the most educated and powerful men of Gondor? I would venture to say, not much, if any.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilros View Post
    -But for neither Boromir or Faramir to have even heard of its existence or of the name of Elrond seems poor.-
    How do you know they hadn't heard of Elrond?
    Remember, in the dream the brothers had the voice said:
    "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."


    Rivendell's named Imladris in that rhyme; Elrond isn't mentioned.
    As Boromir explains in the Council: "This only would (Denethor) say, that Imladris was of old the name among the Elves of a far northern dale, where Elrond the Halfelven dwelt-"
    Nothing, imo, suggests that the brothers didn't know who Elrond was. Case might be made for Rivendell; Imladris is not known for the brothers, not surprising since it's not a 'Mannish' name, but that Boromir refers to "a far northern dale" instead of Rivendell... that might inspire doubt about the brothers' schooling. Assuming Rivendell was mentioned in the histories they were taught.

    Another way of explaining my point with Imladris... How many know of Trann? Remember Minas Ithil? Heck, Minas Anor? ...in Bree?
    Things change and have different names, and people only (care to) know the names most familiar to them. Unless they're extremely well-educated, especially in a setting like Tolkien suggests Middle-earth to have, at the end of Third Age.

    Actually, how much do we know of the schooling systems in Middle-earth?
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  22. #22
    You may be correct Daeross that I am being a little too harsh on Boromir and Faramir here. It is fair to say that neither Elrond or Rivendell were mentioned in the dream, only Imladris. I suppose that from reading this I got the impression that they were fairly ignorant of the whole thing, but perhaps they at least had heard of the name Elrond before this.

    And I don't think we really know anything of the schooling system in ME, unless someone can bring something to our attention?
    "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend," Faramir in TTT by JRRT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilros View Post
    And I don't think we really know anything of the schooling system in ME, unless someone can bring something to our attention?
    Knowledge was passed down from parents to children so if the parents were not interested in a particular subject the knowledge would not reach the children unless by chance they met someone who knew that subject and was prepared to share that knowledge. Boromir was interested in feat of arms not lore so he could be expected not to have shown any interest to anything even if Denethor had tought something to him, Faramir on the other hand was interested in lore but he was too friendly with Gandalf and for that reason Denethor chose to ignore him as a son and favored Boromir.

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    Another thing that I think most people have forgotten is that the entire Middle Earth is a War Zone. There is Dunland right on the North South Road between Rohan and the North, anyone south of Dunland will most likely seek refuge in the inner regions of Rohan and Gondor and not travel right past DUNLAND to the North, a land they know nothing about which as far as they are concerned might be full of wild things allied with the orcs. So when they say refugees from the south they mean north of Dunland. As for the Dwarves they have enough on their plate with Gundabad and Carn-Dum in the mountains to the north, Moria and the Misty Mountains right the middle to their kingdom, Dol-Guldor to the south of Erebor (where three Black Riders were stationed during the war to command the northern army under Khamul the Black Easterling lieutenant of the Witch King) and they have Rhun to worry about to the East of Iron Hills so I dont think the dwarves have time to worry about Mordor. As stated before the Bree-landers main source of information about Mordor must be the Rangers.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cookie Land
    Posts
    1,617
    What is of more interest to me is what disinformation/information was coming in from the forces of evil and naughtiness. And how they were trying to affect events and consciousness. (if at all)

 

 
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