Here are the notes from the Historical Field Trip to Greenfields on March 4th 2012. Here you’ll learn a bit more about Bullroarer Took and the battle with the goblins. I hope yer enjoy it!
Welcome ter this sixth historical field trip! Today, we have returned ter the place of our first trip, from two and a half years ago!
So why are we here in Brockenborings, yer may ask? Well, first of all, this is certainly a fair village, with lush forests and rolling fields nearby. And a rather fabulous inn, I should add. The Plough and Stars has long been home ter the local ales and many a happy hobbit.
Now, Brockenborings, as some of yer will know, means “badger borings”, or “badger tunnels”. This is a name yer will understand when yer head into the fields outside. Yer can hardly move out there without tripping on a badger or stumbling in one of their holes.
Besides the badgers, Brockenborings is famous fer historic reasons. The village, or rather the Greenfields outside, was home ter the last major battle in the Shire. Over 270 years ago, goblin invaders roved outside our homeland. Some of them found their way into Greenfields, and a battle with a quickly assembled band of hobbits ensued.
What happened during the battle, yer might ask? Well, the statue in the village here gives yer part of the answer. It shows the leader of the hobbit defenders dispensing with the goblin chief. But the details… they are less known. That’s why we have prepared this collection of stories from the battle. Some of the details are true, some are uncertain, and some…well, we like ter think them other details are true as well, but… No matter, all of them are vital ter understand the stories of old, the stories of the Battle of Greenfields.
The Goblins Come
I’d like ter take yer back to the of 1147, by Shire reckoning. That year, roving bands of goblins set out from a tall peak called Mount Gram. No-one knows quite where Mount Gram is, but rumours say it lies in a tall, cruel, misty range of mountains far ter the northeast.
The goblins were led by a ferocious goblin king called Golfimbul. They behaved horribly, torching houses, plundering and killing as they moved. And after a while, a goblin band led by the king himself reached the Shire.
News of the invaders soon spread across the North. A hobbit called Bandobras Took soon mustered a force of hobbits ter meet the threat. Dispatches were sent out, pony riders travelled, and a band of several hundred hobbits were gathered, with axes, spears, clubs and bows. They set up camp north of Brockenborings, just where the camp today is situated, over to the north of the village. And here they waited fer the enemy to arrive.
As the night before the battle set in, the assembled hobbit force grew nervous. These were just yer average hobbits; farmers, hunters, millers and gardeners. The thought of going ter battle against fierce, battle-hardened goblins put the chill into their bones. Most of them also had ter move swiftly, hardly bringing enough food with them ter last beyond elevenses. So as the night fell, and as their stomachs began ter rumble, spirits lowered.
However, them locals from Brockenborings soon came ter their aid. Sheep were slaughtered, vegetables collected and grains of barley were rounded up. And the housewives brought cauldrons of hot, hearty mutton stew to the camp. Some casks of ale were rolled out, and lo, if there wasn’t a bottle or two of brandy passed around as well. A sack of the finest pipe-weed was opened. And just for a moment, the worried defenders forgot the dangers of the following day.
Them locals, always a music-loving folk, brought their instruments to the camp. As the defenders leaned back after their meals, cups of tea with brandy in their hands, the locals played a selection of calming songs, traditional tunes and lullabies. The music eased the nerves of the defenders. They soon fell asleep, with faint smiles on their faces.
Bandobras “Bullroarer” Took
As night passed and morning approached, distant shrieking noises could be heard from the north. The hobbit defenders, having slept fitfully, opened their eyes. They ate a quick meal of bread and stew leftovers, before their leader told them to get ready for battle.
The hobbit force was led by the hobbit Bandobras Took. He was also called the “Bullroarer”. There are many stories as ter why he was given that particular nickname. One says that he, one time he was a wee boy, found himself alone in a fenced area. Or not alone, really, a fierce, violent bull was there with him. The bull kicked the ground and looked ready ter attack. However, Bandobras, never afraid, went up to the bull, punched it in the nose and roared! The bull slinked away, and Bandobras had forever gotten his nickname.
A more probable reason fer his name is that Bandobras had a really loud voice, strong, yet vibrant. Whenever he barked out orders during the battle, his voice carried over the noise. It sounded a bit like the high, growling sounds yer get when yer tie a piece of wood ter a rope and twirl it around fast over yer head. Hence, the name “Bullroarer” was given to him.
Now, Bandobras was the second son of Thain Isumbras III. While he never became Thain himself, he was a mighty hobbit. They say he stood a full four feet five inches tall! Ponies were too small for him – he had ter ride a full-sized horse. Truly, this was an inspirational sight fer the hobbits during the battle.
As the battle was about ter start, Bandobras sent scouts ahead ter look fer them invaders. He lined up the rest of the mustered hobbits on the southern edge of the fields, just north of the village. Melee fighters were in front, archers in the back. In the distance, the scouts could see grey figures moving in the morning mist. The howls and growls came closer. Wolves travelled with the goblins! The howling attackers broke through the mist, looking wild-eyed and gleeful at the village in front of them. As they saw the hobbit defenders, they shrieked. Then they charged forward.
As hobbit knees began ter wobble, Bandobras yelled fer the hobbits to stand steady. And he provided an inspirational speech fer the worried hobbits. The speech mustered the courage of them hobbits defenders. They were ready.
Wolves approached from both sides of the hobbits, the band of goblins was in the middle. The earth shook beneath the feet of the defenders. Over the noise, Bandobras roared: “Archers, fire!” A swarm of arrows flew into the sky. Goblins began to drop. But most kept coming forward! And the armies clashed together.
Battle on Greenfields
The fighting broke out. Arrows rained over the goblin intruders, and many fell. However, most made it through ter the hobbit lines. Soon weapons crashed against each other, against the opponents’ bodies. Wolves snarled and bit anything that moved. Many a brave hobbit fell during the battle, slain by the vile invaders.
King Golfimbul, the goblin leader, was particularly vicious. His club swept wide, often crashing into his fellow goblins. But sadly, more often, it smashed into nearby hobbits.
Bandobras saw the bloody slaughter happening near Golfimbul. He jumped onto his massive horse and rode straight through the battlefield. And he engaged the king in a duel!
Bandobras wielded a massive club himself, rivalling that of the goblin king. Golfimbul, though vicious and battle-hardened, must surely have felt his knees tremble. The tall, wild-eyed hobbit stood in front of him, letting out a roar that made the fighting nearby stop.
The vile goblin stood no chance against the angry Bullroarer. Their clubs crashed together. Golfimbul’s splintered, and he fell to his knees. Bullroarer stood over him, then used all his might and smashed his club straight at the goblin’s head. They say the impact was so hard that Golfimbul’s head was ripped clean off his body. Local folklore has it that it flew twenty feet away and landed in a badger hole nearby.
As the goblins saw their king fall, their fighting spirit shattered. Many of them ran away, yelping. Those that stayed and fought were soon brought down by the hobbits, who sensed that victory was near. As the sun rose over the field, the battle was over.The Shire was safe again!
After the battle, the surviving hobbits started to gently remove the fallen from the battlefield. The goblin corpses were moved ter a nearby valley and burned. The place is still black and desolate to this day. They even say that goblins have been spotted there recently. Possibly they are there ter seek revenge over the hobbits that killed their king so long ago?
Now, glad as the hobbits were to have chased them goblins off, the sight of fallen friends and family on the battlefield made even the sturdiest lads weep. The fallen were laid on a grassy field just outside of the village, just about where the fence-running celebrations are held nowadays.
The locals soon came to pay their respects to the fallen, and families came to say farewell to loved ones. Many a housewife had lost her husband. Many hobbit children had to grow up without a father. Many families in the Northfarthing had lost a relative. And the grief and sorrow was not ter endure.
However, friends and neighbors tried their best ter help the grief-stricken families after the battle. Food was shared, crops were tended to, and the mathoms given during birthday celebrations were especially valuable in the years after the battle. As time passed, the wounds of the battle slowly healed. But even to this day, the hobbits of the north remember their fallen kinsmen. And after long nights at the inn, most Brockenborians raise their final mug of ale in respect of those brave hobbits from 270 years ago.
As for the Bullroarer, he spent his days after the battle in Long Cleeve further north. He raised a large family, and from him descended the North-Tooks. Apparently, he was the great uncle of that strange old Bilbo Baggins, another hobbit worthy of a tall tale or two. The Bullroarer lived to the respectful age of 102 – he passed away nearly sixty years after the battle took place.
Still, his name lives on, and his deeds are not forgotten. His mighty club is on display in the Mathom house in Michel Delving. Or at least one of the numerous clubs they say belong to him can be found there. The statue here in Brockenborings shows the moment of victory as he knocked Golfimbul’s head off. And many a song about him is still sung to this day. Songs that remember us of the heroes of old. Songs that remember us of the Battle of Greenfields.
These are a collection of tales told over the campfire during a field trip to Greenfields in the Lord of the Rings Online game. While some of the details are made up, they are inspired by or based on the works of JRR Tolkien or literature based on those. A few sources of information used in producing this text are as follows: