If there is one thing certain in this part of Middle-Earth it’s that you will encounter boars on your travels. Lets face it, you only have to take five paces outside any settlement and you will either trip over one or one will aggressively charge you. So Evendim has come as something of a surprise. Let me explain.
I visited Ost Forod and encountered the usual character who wanted a job done. He had the splendid name of Parr Chopley and he said to me
“’Well, another stranger to this town! Now I’m not the only one. My stomach is always getting me into trouble, and this is no exception. I was in the mood for a nice, thick boar-steak – cooked to perfection, sizzling in its own juices – and so I decided to go hunting in the North Moors. Well, I went a little further than planned and wound up here. Never knew anyone lived in this place…they say it’s haunted!
Well, anyway, I decided I never had Evendim-boar before, so I thought I might as well try some while I’m here…it should have been a simple matter of finding a nice, healthy boar, but you know what? I haven’t seen a single boar since I’ve come here. That can’t be right. How do people up here manage without plenty of boars to satisfy their cravings for delicious steaks? That’s just unnatural.
There have to be boars in Evendim; there just have to be. Go look for boars, Seolferwulf, and don’t come back until you’ve searched high and you’ve searched low. I’m not interested in boar-meat from other places, either; it’s Evendim or nothing. Now it’s a matter of professional responsibility and curiosity — find me an Evendim-boar, and find one quick.”
So off I went – and, you know what? I searched high and low, I killed many creatures on the way but did I see a boar? No, I did not. Now, this is ridiculous. Boars are everywhere, we all know that. So where in Evendim are they hiding? Or is it the alleged ghosts of the region that scares them off?
Well, I returned despondent but Parr didn’t seem to be to concerned.
“Well, we must not let life’s day to day upsets get to us, Seolferwulf. There may not be boars in Evendim, but they say there are a great number of bears throughout the hills of Tyrn Fornech, and especially at Nan Orngon to the east.
Bear-steaks, while still delicious, are certainly no match for a sizzling boar-steak. My friend Ronald Dwale once went on at great length about the similarities between those two words, you know, “boar” and “bear,” but I must confess that I do not share his same love for words. Words are often an inconvenience and get in the way when you are trying to express yourself…to get to the real meat of an idea, if you will.
The meat in question here, for example, is certainly a choice cut of bear-meat! Bring me back several cuts, and I will share them with some of my neighbours. There will be a bit of coin in it for you, as well, and we can mourn the absence of boar over a delicious bear-steak. How does that sound?”
Job soon done but I do wonder over the puzzle of the missing boars.
Many players have commented on the amount of boars in Lotro and even if they really deserve such a place. But in Tolkien’s Anglo-Saxon background boars took a prominent place, not least as the most dangerous beast for a nobleman to hunt. They were aggressive tusked beasts common to woodland regions and in Lord of the Rings, the most famous of all the boars of Middle-earth was the great Boar of Everholt, a monstrous beast that lived beneath the trees of the Firien Wood. This boar was hunted by King Folca of Rohan, and though he eventually killed his quarry, the King was mortally wounded in the encounter.
Folca (T.A. 2804 – T.A. 2864, aged 60 years) was the thirteenth King of Rohan. He was a great hunter who famously cleared his country of the scourge of the Orcs, in vengeance for the death of his father Walda at their hands
Everholt was the name the Rohirrim gave to a section of the Firien Wood. The name means “boar-wood”. The first element comes from Old English eofor, “boar”. Interestingly, the town of York in England owes something to this word.
The Celts used to call this particular area Eborakon, or “place of yew trees”. When the Romans took over, as was their want, they changed the name ever so slightly to Eboracum. Then came a couple of misunderstandings. The Anglo-Saxons heard Ebor as their own Eofor, and changed the name to Eoforwīc, or “wild-boar town”. The Vikings in turn heard Eoforwīc as their own Jórvík, or “horse bay”. Ever the economizers, the Normans then simplified this to “York”.
Firienholt was a wood that stood on the borders of Rohan and Gondor, about and on the slopes of the Halifirien. Firien holt means “mountain wood”, though it is rather more commonly referred to simply as the Firien Wood, taking its name from Halifirien.
From beneath its trees flowed the Mering Stream, which marked the precise border between the Eastfold, and the Gondorian land of Anórien. To the south of the wood, the White Mountains rose up, and in particular a prominent peak stood above the forest: the Halifirien, which for many years was the site of the Tomb of Elendil.
“Yonder is the Firienholt. But what lies beyond no man knows.” – The War of the Ring, Part Three, Many Roads Lead Eastward, pg. 318