Weekly Lore #5 — PAX East Trivia Special

This week, Weekly Lore will be doing a special expansion on the Trivia contest that was held via LoTRO’s Twitter account for mount codes. The questions and correct answers will be listed first, followed further below by a brief summary and explanation. Due to the nature of the questions, these do not particularly pertain to content currently in LotRO, with the exception of the White Hand.

Questions (and Answers):

What color was the Book of Westmarch? (Red)

“All that glitters is not gold, …” (“not all those who wander are lost”)

What are the last words in The Lord of the Rings? (“‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”)

What was the symbol on the tall black pillar, just outside Isengard? (A white hand)

Be warned: the entire rest of this column contains heavy spoilers.

The Red Book of Westmarch was originally Bilbo Baggins’s diary of his adventures, eventually much expanded upon by Frodo Baggins. Bilbo went through a number of titles, each one crossed out as the next was added: “My Diary. My Unexpected Journey. There and Back Again. And What Happened After. Adventures of Five Hobbits. The Tale of the Great Ring, compiled by Bilbo Baggins from his own observations and the accounts of his friends. What we did in the War of the Ring.”

Eventually, Frodo settled upon the title “The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King (as seen by the Little People; being the memoirs of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire, supplemented by the accounts of their friends and the learning of the Wise.) Together with extracts from Books of Lore translated by Bilbo in Rivendell.”
The finished book was 80 chapters long, the last chapter having been finished by Samwise Gamgee. It consisted of Bilbo’s aforementioned diary, three volumes bound in red leather, and eventually an added volume containing “commentaries, genealogies, and various other matter concerning the hobbit members of the Fellowship.” It was referred to as the Red Book of Westmarch due to the colour of the binding and that it was kept by the Fairbairns, Wardens of the Westmarch, descended from Samwise Gamgee through his daughter Elanor.

The original Red Book was lost to time, but many copies were made, one version of which had “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen” as well as “Translations from the Elvish,” three volumes by Bilbo concerning the Elder Days.

In practical terms, it seems that the first volume was equivalent to “The Hobbit,” while the next three were “The Lord of the Rings,” and the last volume (along with “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen”) is the Appendices. Bilbo’s “Translations from the Elvish” appears to be “The Silmarillion,” or at least the three most-developed segments: the Story of Beren and Lúthien the Elfmaiden, the Children of Húrin, and the Fall of Gondolin.

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“All that glitters is not gold, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

This poem was written by Bilbo about Aragorn. They appear twice in The Lord of the Rings: The first time in Gandalf’s letter left at the Prancing Pony for Frodo; the second by Bilbo at the Council of Elrond in response to Boromir’s doubting of Aragorn.

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The last words in The Lord of the Rings were spoken by Samwise Gamgee to Rose Gamgee (formerly Rose Cotton) and Elanor Gamgee upon his return from the Grey Havens after Gandalf, Frodo, Elrond and others left Middle Earth.

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Saruman’s symbol (and, by extension, that of Isengard as a whole) during the War of the Ring was “a small white hand in the centre of a black field,” although occasionally a white S-rune was used in conjunction. When Gandalf and certain men of Rohan rode to Isengard to confront Saruman after the Battle of Helm’s Deep, the hand on the black pillar outside Isengard was not white, but instead had changed such that it appeared “stained as with dried blood; and […] its nails were red.” The forces of the White Hand appear as adversaries throughout LotRO, carrying out Saruman’s will.

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