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Timeline Event

Travellers pass through the Trollshaws

Event Type: General

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Dates: October 13, 3018 ~ October 18, 3018


An event in Frodo's Departure from the Shire and in the prelude to the Ambush at the Ford of Bruinen; see either entry for an overview.
13 October

They crossed the [Last Bridge] in safety.... A mile further on they came to a narrow ravine that led away northwards through the steep lands on the left of the Road.... [Soon] they were lost in a sombre country of dark trees winding among the feet of sullen hills....

[This] new country seemed threatening and unfriendly. As they went forward the hills about them steadily rose. Here and there upon heights and ridges they caught glimpses of ancient walls of stone, and the ruins of towers: they had an ominous look....

'Who lives in this land?' [Frodo] asked. 'And who built these towers? Is this troll-country?'

'No!' said Strider. 'Trolls do not build. No one lives in this land. Men once dwelt here, ages ago; but none remain now. They became an evil people, as legends tell, 1 for they fell under the shadow of Angmar. But all were destroyed in the war that brought the North Kingdom to its end. But that is now so long ago that the hills have forgotten them, though a shadow still lies on the land.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford

14-15 October

The hills now began to shut them in.... The travellers came into a long valley; narrow, deeply cloven, dark and silent. Trees with old and twisted roots hung over cliffs, and piled up behind into mounting slopes of pine-wood.

The hobbits... had to pick their way through a pathless country, encumbered by fallen trees and tumbled rocks. As long as they could they avoided climbing for Frodo's sake, and because it was in fact difficult to find any way up out of the narrow dales. They had been two days in this country when the weather turned wet.... By nightfall they were all soaked, and their camp was cheerless, for they could not get any fire to burn.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford

16 October

The next day the hills rose still higher and steeper before them, and they were forced to turn away northwards out of their course.... It went on raining.

That night they camped on a stony shelf with a rock-wall behind them, in which there was a shallow cave.... Frodo was restless. The cold and wet had made his wound more painful than ever.... He lay tossing and turning.... He felt that black shapes were advancing to smother him; but when he sat up he saw nothing but the back of Strider sitting hunched up, smoking his pipe, and watching.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford

17 October

In the morning he woke to find that the rain had stopped.... Immediately after their cold and comfortless breakfast Strider went off alone.... He was going to climb up..., and get a look at the lie of the land.

When he returned he was not reassuring. 'We have come too far to the north,' he said.... 'If we keep on as we are going we shall get up into the Ettendales far north of Rivendell.... We could perhaps... come round to Rivendell from the north; but... our food would not last. So somehow or other we must find the Ford of Bruinen.'

The rest of that day they spent scrambling over rocky ground. They found a passage between two hills that led them into a valley running south-east, the direction that they wished to take; but... they found their road again barred by a ridge of high land.... They had a choice between going back or climbing over it.

They decided to attempt the climb, but it proved very difficult. Before long Frodo was obliged to dismount and struggle along on foot.... The light was nearly gone, and they were all exhausted, when at last they reached the top.... Frodo threw himself down, and lay on the ground shivering. His left arm was lifeless.... The trees and rocks about him seemed shadowy and dim.

'We cannot go any further,' said Merry to Strider. 'I am afraid this has been too much for Frodo. I am dreadfully anxious about him.'....

'What is the matter with my master?' asked Sam in a low voice.... 'His wound was small, and it is already closed. There's nothing to be seen but a cold white mark on his shoulder.'

'Frodo has been touched by the weapons of the Enemy,' said Strider, 'and there is some poison or evil at work that is beyond my skill to drive out. But do not give up hope, Sam!'

Night was cold up on the high ridge. They lit a small fire down under the gnarled roots of an old pine.... They sat huddled together. The wind blew chil.... Frodo lay half in a dream, imagining that endless dark wings were sweeping by above him, and that on the wings rode pursuers that sought him in all the hollows of the hills.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford

18 October

The morning dawned bright and fair.... Their hearts were encouraged, but they longed for the sun to warm their cold stiff limbs. As soon as it was light, Strider took Merry with him and went to survey the country from the height.... The sun... was shining brightly when he returned with more comforting news. They were now going more or less in the right direction.... Strider had caught a glimpse of the Loudwater again, and he knew that... the Road to the Ford... lay on the side nearest to them.

'We must make for the Road again,' he said. 'We cannot hope to find a path through these hills. Whatever danger may beset it, the Road is our only way to the Ford.'....

They climbed slowly down the southern side of the ridge... [The] slope was far less steep on this side, and before long Frodo was able to ride again. Bill Ferny's poor old pony was developing an unexpected talent for picking out a path, and for sparing its rider as many jolts as possible. The spirits of the party rose again. Even Frodo felt better in the morning light, but every now and again a mist seemed to obscure his sight, and he passed his hands over his eyes.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford

The Trollshaws are never identified by name in a canon text, but the name and location are shown on the map of Eriador in The Lord of the Rings; see the Trollshaws entry for the map.
1In Rhudaur an evil folk, workers of sorcery, subjects of Angmar, slay the remnants of the Dúnedain and build dark forts in the hills.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Northern Line of Arnor: The Isildurioni

Elena Tiriel 15Jul06, 21Oct11

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