This weekend in Hall of Fire we’re taking a quick diversion from our Fellowship of the Ring read-through to talk about a humble yet oddly important part of Middle-earth (and its peculiar inhabitants) — the village of Bree.
“Strange as News from Bree was still a saying in the Eastfarthing, descending from those days, when news from the North, South, and East could be heard in the inn.
What sort of place is Bree? What are its inhabitants like? What conclusions can we draw about them from characters such as Barliman Butterbur, his employees Nob and Bob, as well as folk like Harry the Gatekeeper and Bill Ferny? In what ways are they similar — and different — to the folk of the Shire? Just how do the Big Folk and the Little Folk get on so well? And in the few Bree hobbits we meet, can we see any links in behaviour and culture to the Shirefolk?
And, just how important is this village in shaping the events of the War of the Ring? Consider: Gandalf’s “chance meeting” with Thorin Oakenshield that leads to the Quest for Erebor, and later, a certain letter that Barliman Butterbur neglects to forward to the Shire. Is Bree an often-overlooked gem of Middle-earth?
Join us tomorrow on Saturday April 21 at 6pm EDT when we’ll discuss all these questions and more as we talk about Barliman Butterbur and the oddities of Breefolk!
Bree by Ivan Cavini.
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