Three is Company: Where exactly is that Elven hall?

Blad The Inspirer

New Member
I have been carefully re-reading Three is Company, and for the first time ever I own a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring that contains a detailed map of part of the Shire, so I have been following the hobbits' path very closely - but now I've gotten stuck.
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After the hobbits meet up with the elves, they continue on the path towards Woodhall. Then the text says, "At last the Elves turned aside from the path. A green ride lay almost unseen through the thickets on the right; and this they followed as it wound away back up the wooded slopes on to the top of a shoulder of the hills that stood out into the lower land of the river-valley. Suddenly they came out of the shadow of the trees, and before them lay a wide space of grass, grey under the night. On three sides the woods pressed upon it; but eastward the ground fell steeply and the tops of the dark trees, growing at the bottom of the slope, were below their feet. Beyond, the low lands lay dim and flat under the stars. Nearer at hand a few lights twinkled in the village of Woodhall."

At first, I naturally thought that this place was at the location labeled A on the map. But as I read the passage again, I started to second-guess myself and wonder if they are actually at location B, particularly because of the parts of the passage that I have typed in bold.

At this early stage of the course we were still moving pretty quickly, so I don't think we covered this. I expect that you can visit this location in LOTRO, but I don't have access to it.

Does anyone have any additional information about this? Thanks!
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Hi Blad,

Location B is a better candidate.

The best indication of location B is from 'A Short Cut to Mushrooms'. "'We can cut straighter than the road anyway,' answered Frodo. 'The Ferry is south-east from Woodhall; but the road curves away to the left - you can see a bend of it away north over there." The curve of the road 'away to the left' is north from location B, but west from location A.

The Hobbits then come down into the valley of the Stockbrook, but follow it on the left bank for quite a ways while it is running in a steep ravine, before crossing it when the land levels out, and pluging into woods on the other side. Dropping down to the Stockbrook from location A would seem to reach the brook after it had left the ravine and reached more level land, and there would not be woods on the other side if they dropped down from location A, went downstream a bit, and crossed the Stockbrook there.

I would say location B is more likely the spot. It is also where the map shows hills.
 

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
I had always read it as being to the right side of the road, but on closer rereading it doesn’t make it clear which way they turned off the path, just that the ride is to their right as they walk.

From ‘A short cut to mushrooms’
The hobbits scrambled down a steep green bank and plunged into the thick trees below. Their course had been chosen to leave Woodhall to their left, and to cut slanting through the woods that clustered along the eastern side of the hills, until they reached the flats beyond. Then they could make straight for the Ferry over country that was open, except for a few ditches and fences. Frodo reckoned they had eighteen miles to go in a straight line.
That, along with Flammifer's finds, suggests B more than A.

In LotRO the scale they’ve chosen for the game seems to have driven them to put the Stockbrook immediately to the right of the road, leaving no room for a secluded camp in sight of Woodhall. Instead they’ve placed it to the left of the road immediately west of Woodhall.
 

Blad The Inspirer

New Member
Thank you for the replies!

Yes, now that I am reading "A Short Cut to Mushrooms", it is clear that they started out from location B. I am absolutely shocked at how much I was missing by not having this map. I feel like I am understanding these chapters for the first time.

It is also interesting to see that Pipping knows the area fairly well, but they still get into trouble because they are travelling in a direction that he is not used to. He doesn't recognize that the stream is in fact the Stock-brook until they reach more open land. Once he sees that, he knows that they must bear right from the river to reach the ferry, but misjudges how far.

I have been trying to estimate where exactly they emerge from the wood. When Pippen comments on the size of the wood, he says "It is not a very broad belt - I should have said no more than a mile at the widest." However, from the map it seems significantly wider than that. From the point where they cross the Stock-brook, it sounds like they travel for half an hour before recognizing that they may be headed in the wrong direction, then travel for "perhaps another couple of miles" before lunch. After that the text says, "before long the wood came to a sudden end."

So, perhaps four miles would be a good estimate for how far they travel through the wood? It seems like that would put them pretty close to the southern edge of the wood. As they emerge, the text says that the hill of Bucklebury is "now to their left", but that is not very specific. Also, it seems like distances on this map are not very consistent. In "Three is Company", the distance between the water and the East Road is described as "a mile or two", even though Pippin's best estimate of the wood is no more than a mile. Is this really a problem with the map, or is Pippin just wrong about the width of the wood -- or am I misunderstanding something?
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Your map is an adaptation of the map 'A part of the Shire' which is at the end of the prologue in my 1962 UK edition of 'The Fellowship of the Ring. It is a pretty close adaptation (as far as I can see), but not exact.

Particularly for your question about where they emerge from the woods, the eastern boundary of the woods south of the Stockbrook is somewhat different on the two maps. Also, both maps do not show part of the eastern boundary, due to eliminating the drawing of the woods to provide a blank background for the label, 'Woody End'. This blanking is larger on the original map than on the map you are using. One of the main differences is that your map shows a much thinner projection of trees extending to the north-east, above the legend Woody End, than the map in the book does.

We have a pretty good datum for calculating disances in The Shire. In 'The Scouring of the Shire' we learn that, "It was a good forty miles from the Bridge (Brandywine Bridge) to Bag End". Near the start of the hike to the Ferry, Frodo, "reckoned they had 18 miles to go in a straight line." On the map in the book, using Brandywine Bridge to Bag End = 40 miles as a yardstick, 18 miles is bang on from your location B to the Ferry.

By the map in the book, if they cross the Stockbrook and then strike south-east, to cut through the projection of the forest, they will cross through the forest in about one mile. As they deviate from south-east, tending more to the south, they walk through more than one mile of forest before emerging. Where exactly they emerge is hard to determine, as it is probably in the area that is blanked out to give a blank background for the legend 'Woody End', so the profile of the edge of the woods in this area is not defined.

Where, earlier, in 'Three is Company' it is said that the distance from The Water to the East road is 'a mile or two', we do not know exactly where, west of Bag End, they crossed The Water. However, according to the Book map, the closest point between the two, west of Hobbiton, is slightly more than 2 miles (about 2.3 miles?).

Hope that helps.



 
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