mellicious: pink manicure (lotus)
[personal profile] mellicious
Anybody who is a Tolkien geek at all should go play LOTRO for a while. Seriously, just make a hobbit and run around the Shire and geek away. It has been a pleasure to me just to get the map of the Shire straight in my head. My copy of Fellowship of the Ring has gone AWOL (it's here someplace, I had it a month or so ago) so I can't verify exactly how accurate it is, but it all tallies with what I remember. The only thing not "canon" is that they've shrunk the distances quite a bit, presumably because if they were accurate nobody would want to play. MMOs get too frustrating if the monsters you have to kill (or, in the case of the Shire, the pies you have to carry to Holly Hornblower) are miles away from you. So the twenty miles from Buckleberry Ferry to Brandywine Bridge becomes about 500 feet. Which I can't say bothers me a great deal. It's just so fun to see all the minor characters: Farmer Maggot in front of his farm, with Grip and Fang (Fang is always asleep). Gaffer Gamgee, and Lobelia, and Shirriff Robin Smallburrow holding down the bar at the pub. And the pubs! The Green Dragon, the Golden Perch in Stock - that's the one Frodo wouldn't let them go to, to Pippin's dismay - and if you get to Bree (which isn't difficult) there's the Prancing Pony, too, complete with Butterbur, and Strider lurking in a back room. (The foursome of Frodo, Pippin, Merry and Sam has not been seen so far - although I hear rumors we may catch up with them later. I think at the point we're currently at in the story, they're still lost in the forest.) If you haven't figured this out already, I seriously recommend it. Go get a free 10-day trial and take a tour. (I'm really not trying to get you to come play with us or anything, I just think more people should see this thing.)

And a note to [ profile] columbina : the game is all downloaded and installed on the laptop and seems to be working fine, so I should be able to play tonight with or without the recalcitrant monitor. Which is good because I may not make it to Best Buy this afternoon. I am about to go take a long nap.

Minutiae for completists only

Date: 2009-05-05 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here's Christopher Tolkien's redraw of his dad's map of the central Shire which is one of the front-matter maps in most editions of Fellowship. I have Fellowship in front of me and this is almost an exact copy of JRR's map, just relettered.

When Karen Wynn Fonstad did her Atlas of Middle-Earth - a book I HIGHLY recommend for both Tolkien fans and cartography wonks, by the by - she had a fair bit of work to do to try to reconcile times and distances with the faint clues Tolkien gave. In particular there are several pages devoted to the Bag End-Rivendell journey, trying to reconcile the fact that in The Hobbit, the journey takes 38 days on ponies, and in Fellowship it takes 28 days largely on foot. Either the dwarves took a longer route, or they stopped a hell of a lot. It took Bilbo and company four days to get to the Brandywine; Frodo and pals got from Bag End to Crickhollow, on a less direct road (the southern Stock Road, rather than the Great East Road, plus an overland shortcut) in three. But I digress.

Anyway, Fonstad's maps attempt to make somewhat more sense of distances, but the basic geography is the same. Here's a map that attempts to reconcile the two, and doesn't do a bad job of it.

Apart from places where details are omitted because the bounds in game are strictly limited, here are the major differences in game:

- Little Delving is basically a "suburb" of Michel Delving, and you cannot get to Waymoot (Waymeet in game) directly from it without passing through/around MD;

- Needlehole has been moved off on the northwest road (which now goes through, rather than west, of the bog) by itself; Nobottle is missing.

- The Bindbole wood (there seems to be some confusion, possibly purely due to map lettering, whether it's Bindbole or Bindbale) has been moved much farther south, and Overhill is now in the middle of it, taking the place of the hypothesized Bindbale town in the second map.

- It is impossible to get to the Oatbarton/Dwaling road without passing through Scary/Brockenborings area. There is no direct road from Oatbarton to the Great East Road. Overhill connects through the woods to Brockenboring, not Oatbarton. (This is mostly because Oatbarton and Dwaling are in a harder zone of the game to the north of the Greenfields, and connections to that zone are limited.) By the by, they have also moved Dwaling north of Oatbarton.

- It is possible to continue on the Hobbiton-Bywater road south of the Great East Road directly to Tuckborough.

- Whitfurrows has been moved north of the Water, across the ford (it's possible Tolkien intended "Budge Ford" to be just a ford and not a town) and is now the town of Budgeford.

- The Stock Road and the Great East Road come much closer together as they near the Brandywine, and the town of Stock has been moved somewhat north to that intersection, just below the Brandywine Bridge.

- Woodhall is on the north side of the Stock Road.

- Maggot's farm is, proportionately, about where Deephallow is on these maps.

- Rushey and Standelf don't exist. Hay's End is shown as a location, but has no town.

- The South Farthing is not shown and cannot be visited in game. Pincup and the Shirebourne do not exist. The map edge follows the bottom of the Green Hills area, cuts down to include the Woody End (but not Willowbottom) and what would be Deephallow, but goes no further south than Hay's End and the bottom of the Old Forest.

Re: Minutiae for completists only

Date: 2009-05-06 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, y'know, I have a copy of Atlas of Middle Earth somewhere (right in my bookshelf in the bedroom, I'm sure) and somehow I always forget about it.

Oh, yeah, as long as I'm thinking about it

Date: 2009-05-05 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We were discussing how to pronounce the Michel in Michel Delving. The reason I suspected it was "mickle" is because I had a vague recollection of an archaic English word "mickle" - but I wasn't sure what it meant.

Well, it turns out it means "great." So there you have it: Little Delving and Michel (Big) Delving.

Date: 2009-05-06 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, man, why did you have to introduce me to this crack... er, game? I downloaded the 10-day trial, and am now stuck trying to find the Frost... something's horn.

Date: 2009-05-06 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmm, something's horn? I've forgotten that one already (which is not unusual). Columbine may remember, he remembers everything. :)

Date: 2009-05-06 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Frostmantle's Horn. I can't find it!

Date: 2009-05-07 03:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Are you out of the beginner area yet? At some point they give you a couple of tokens that you can turn in for various items, and I THINK Frostmantle's Horn is one of those items. You may not get these until level 7-ish.

Date: 2009-05-06 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You do meet all of the characters. And they move around depending on which quests you've completed - for example, the time will come when Stride will no longer appear to you at the PP but he's visible to a friend who hasn't done that string of quests, etc.


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