The Littlest Shieldmaiden

The early ancestors of the Hobbits lived east of the Misty Mountains, in the Vales of  Anduin. There, they had contact with the Northmen, and even shared their speech. By the end of the Third Age, many generations later, these two peoples had been long parted, for the ancestors of the Hobbits had crossed the mountains and settled in the Shire, and the Northmen had broken into a number of different peoples, some of whom passed down the Vales of Anduin into the distant south, where they would come to be known as the Eorlingas. But even then, these two long-estranged folk, Big and Small, yet recalled each other in their ancient tales and legends of the heroic past, and their speech, words, and names preserved echoes of their former association.

In the waning days of the Third Age, this hobbit-lass has been caught up in most unexpected events and has journeyed far from her home in the Shire. Along the way she has experienced adventures to shake a hobbit to the core, yet she has come through them with a stolid determination that surprises her. She has found herself in a strange village in a distant land whose existence she had never even guessed at, and she has found her courage. To the folk of this southern land, the Eorlingas descended from the Northmen of old, this halfling-maid has appeared out of legend like a fetch conjured by the songs sung in the mead-halls, the ones that tell of ancient days in the far-off Northlands when Men still knew the holbytlan. Despite her small size, she has been accepted as a shieldmaiden and given the smallest and lightest helm, habergeon and shield that could be found: those made for the young son of the ealderman of the village she has joined. Thus clad, she will stand with these Big Folk against the streaming tide from the East — the littlest shieldmaiden.

Up to this point I’ve never featured a hobbit-lass in heavy armour, and I decided it was time to change that. I like the roundness of the helm and feel it reflects the roundness of a hobbit, and I also wanted to highlight the unusual cream base colour of the chest piece that matches so well with the shoulder guards, cloak, and the interlaced ribbon detail on the sides of the trousers. The whole thing comes together in a (to my eye) very pleasing grey, cream, and crimson colour scheme. Once the outfit was assembled, though, I found it hard to contextualise for the blog in lore-appropriate terms, so I’ve kind of glossed over the wherefores of whatever this lass’s situation might be to instead spotlight the historical and linguistic relationship between Hobbits and the Rohirrim.

It’s a well-known anecdote that the writing process for The Hobbit began when Tolkien wrote “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” on a blank page of a School Certificate paper he was marking, but it wasn’t until writing The Lord of the Rings that Tolkien attempted to fit the word “hobbit” into the carefully considered linguistic structure of Middle-earth. “Hobbit” is presented as the English translation of the actual Westron word kuduk in the dialect of the Hobbits. Westron, the Common Speech, is related to the tongue of Rohirrim similarly to the way in which modern English is related to Old English, and therefore M.E. and O.E. are used to “translate” Westron and the speech of the Rohirrim. Thus, when Merry and Pippin come to Rohan, the Rohirrim recognize the hobbits’ name for their own race, kuduk, as being related to the Rohirric word kûd-dûkan, meaning “hole-dweller”. Translated into Old English, “hole-dweller” is *hol-bytla; thus we can see that W. kuduk is etymologically related to R. kûd-dûkan similarly to the way in which M.E. “hobbit” is (fictionally) etymologically related to O.E. *hol-bytla.

  • Head: Steel Helm (crafted — metalsmith T3; or looted — world drop/general), grey
  • Shoulders: Bronze Shoulder Guards (crafted — metalsmith T1; or looted — world drop/general), white
  • Back: Master’s Cloak (crafted — tailor T6), red
  • Chest: Dwarf-make Steel Armour (crafted — metalsmith T3; or looted — world drop/general), white
  • Hands: Durn-durnvol (looted — Rise of Isengard instance cluster), burgundy
  • Legs: Ceremonial Silver-voice Leggings (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Helegrod cosmetic clothing – light), grey
  • Shield: Shield of the Eglan-mender (bartered — Agamaur Eglain vendor)

Tips: If you don’t have access to the cloak I used in this outfit, an excellent and readily-available alternative is the Quilted Cloak (crafted — tailor T2; or looted — world drop/general), dyed white. I have left the shoulders dyed white to highlight their cream base colour which matches perfectly with the trim on the chest piece and the cloak, if you would like to emphasize the crimson component of this outfit’s colour scheme, they look great dyed crimson as well (and a small patch of the cream base colour remains visible). The shield in this outfit is usable by Captains and Minstrels.

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Thain of
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of Rohan

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5 Responses to The Littlest Shieldmaiden

  1. Oooo this is soo lovely! All those dark red details that you have put into it, gloves, leggins, beautiful shield, combined with grey and then the finishing touch with the cloak that looks absolutely superb with this outfit. Never thought I’d see it look this good, but it’s perfect for a hobbit. A bit dirty and used, yet for a brave fighter. For a “smallest and lightest helm” that helmet still looks huge on her, but maybe she has a big head of hair to support it! 🙂

    • Yay, thanks Hymne! Hehe, I really liked the almost comic effect of the too-big helm and yes, I think she probably has a big head of curls under there!

      I must admit I’m not too big on the cloaks in this style either, they’re a little too “High Middle-ages” for me which I think is out of place in Middle-earth, but the colours with this one were too perfect to pass up. 🙂

  2. Laenlis says:

    OMG, the littlest shieldmaiden! She’s fantastic. My usual fawning compliments apply, along with a shout-out for that shield — it’s perfect.

    • Thanks so much Laenlis! I’m in love with this shield. Every time I see it in my vault I say a little prayer for cosmetic shields and weapons. In my fantasy world the shields would also be dyeable and we’d be able to hide glow effects on weapons. 😀

  3. Alastan says:

    Realy nice outfit! It fits a hobbit-lad too! ( if you want to have Merry in rohan armor it looks realy nice 🙂 )

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