The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-26-2017, 06:09 PM   #1
Rhun charioteer
Animated Skeleton
 
Rhun charioteer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 40
Rhun charioteer has just left Hobbiton.
Banditry in middle earth and the third age

Banditry or the iconic image of raiders and criminals living in the woods raiding travelers and passerbys seems to have a minor role in the Legendarium. However I am curious during the late third age was there much banditry in Eriador? Western gondor? Rohan? These regions were fairly loosely populated so it seems unlikely.

But Saruman as Sharkey acquired dozens of ruffians to lord over the shire. Where did he get them?

Was there a lot of human bandits scurrying about on the path the fellowship traveled?

Thoughts?
Rhun charioteer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2017, 01:06 AM   #2
Zigūr
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Zigūr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 693
Zigūr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Zigūr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhun charioteer View Post
But Saruman as Sharkey acquired dozens of ruffians to lord over the shire. Where did he get them?
Dunland, it would seem. Butterbur observes that "newcomers and gangrels [...] began coming up the Greenway last year". However, those among them who were "bad men, full o' thievery and mischief" were joined by Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf from Bree.

This suggests that the ruffians were a mixture of Dunlendings and Breelanders who joined them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhun charioteer View Post
Was there a lot of human bandits scurrying about on the path the fellowship traveled?
We certainly don't see any during the Quest for Erebor or the Quest of the Ring, but perhaps they were driven into hiding by Tom, Bert and William in the former case and the terror of the Nazgūl in the latter.

Butterbur also says "we're not used to such troubles; and the Rangers have all gone away, folk tell me. I don't think we've rightly understood till now what they did for us." This suggests to me that the Rangers probably kept the level of mundane criminal activity in Eriador fairly low. As for Gondor and Rohan, I couldn't say.
__________________
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
Zigūr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2017, 12:59 PM   #3
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,307
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zigūr View Post
This suggests that the ruffians were a mixture of Dunlendings and Breelanders who joined them.
With the odd half-orc thrown in, as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zigūr View Post
Butterbur also says "we're not used to such troubles; and the Rangers have all gone away, folk tell me. I don't think we've rightly understood till now what they did for us." This suggests to me that the Rangers probably kept the level of mundane criminal activity in Eriador fairly low. As for Gondor and Rohan, I couldn't say.
I'm inclined to think outlaw Men weren't a problem in Eriador in the Third Age, before Saruman's mischief. Aragorn makes mention of guarding Bree and the Shire from creatures that seem more sinister.

Quote:
'But when dark things come from the houseless hill, or creep from sunless woods, they fly from us.'
Quote:
'"Strider" I am to one fat man who lives within a day's march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly.'
FOTR The Council of Elrond

Then again, when Butterbur hears Gandalf mention Lake Evendim when he and the Hobbits returned to Bree after Sauron's fall, he remarked that it was "haunted" there, and "none but a robber would go". Was the idea of it being suitable for a miscreant in place before the War, or was it a recent thought connected with the Ruffians?
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2017, 07:16 PM   #4
Zigūr
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Zigūr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 693
Zigūr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Zigūr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Aragorn makes mention of guarding Bree and the Shire from creatures that seem more sinister.
Yes, and this is consistent with the rest of Butterbur's quote:
"the Rangers have all gone away, folk tell me. I don't think we've rightly understood till now what they did for us. For there's been worse than robbers about. Wolves were howling round the fences last winter. And there's dark shapes in the woods, dreadful things that it makes the blood run cold to think of."
So perhaps the evil things in the wilds of Eriador limited how much ordinary criminal activity went on.
__________________
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
Zigūr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2017, 01:48 PM   #5
Kuruharan
Regal Dwarven Shade
 
Kuruharan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: A Remote Dwarven Hold
Posts: 3,547
Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots

I think part of the reason why banditry is so limited is the low population of Middle-earth.

Outcasts and other undesirables who were driven out of their societies (the usual ultimate source of gangs of bandits), assuming that enough of them banded together, could easily start up their own people in the wilds of Eriador rather than being a bandit gang per se.

In a way it is almost a "frontier" effect.

I think Rohan might have had a similar situation in that Rohirric outlaws could go to Dunland or somewhere in the wilds to the north.

Gondor is the only place in the West that I think had more ideal conditions for "banditry" being a more settled society, although even Gondor had sparsely populated hinterlands.

I agree with Zigur that the presence of more dangerous and malicious types of evil had a bit of a deterrent effect on the more ordinary kind.
Kuruharan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2017, 10:05 AM   #6
Boromir88
Laconic Loreman
 
Boromir88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 7,013
Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via AIM to Boromir88 Send a message via MSN to Boromir88
There must be bandits, robbers, thieves...etc in Middle-earth. Afterall, every society has laws and thus every society is going to have people who break them and like-minded criminals will band together. Since this is story primarily revolving around war, you're not going to get too much detailing the common bandits, but there are glimpses.

Some examples already pointed out here, including Harry and Bill Ferny banding to join Sharkey's men. Even in the Shire, there were hobbits who joined up with Sharkey's men.

You can call Shagrat and Gorbag talking about getting trusty lads together to raid and loot away from the "big bosses" is a conversation about forming an orc-gang.

I also think in Lord of the Rings, you have to look at the path that the Fellowship travelled. Much of it was not on a main road or paths that are travelled often. What good does it do bandits, who survive by looting travelers to be on paths that don't get travelled or are secret? The hobbits go through the Old Forest - no bandits will be in there, there are things far more dangerous (heh suddenly reminded of the 3 dangers in the fire swamp. ). Aragorn leading them from Bree to Rivendell, I'm a little rusty but he seems to have some trouble as he's taking a path he hasn't travelled in a long time and Rivendell is a hidden refuge that's hard to find even for those who have been there before. They can't go through the gap of Rohan and decide to try to go over the Misty Mountains but are beaten by a mysteriously violent blizzard and "spirit of Caradhras." So they have to go through Moria, which is infested with goblins and home to a demonic spirit from the First Age. After finding refuge in Lothlorien, the rest of the Fellowship's journey is floating down a river.

In The Hobbit there is a humorous conversation on how the dwarves hire Bilbo as a burglar. The dwarves say the sign that Gandalf put on the door means "burglar wants a good job, plenty of excitement and reasonable reward." Bilbo is offended by the thought of being hired as a burglar.
__________________
I used to be for flip-flopping. Now I'm against it.

Fenris Penguin
Boromir88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 12:11 PM   #7
Faramir Jones
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Faramir Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lonely Isle
Posts: 678
Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Faramir Jones is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Boots The trolls

If you want to talk about bandits, the first we see are the trolls in Chapter 2 of The Hobbit, who aren't just prepared to rob and kill people, but to eat them as well...
Faramir Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:11 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.