To the Elves, the Golden Wood of Lothlórien was a beautiful haven utterly unstained by evil, but to the mortal Men of Rohan who dwelt to the south, it was a fearful place shrouded in superstition. Dwimordene they called it, and in their tales filled it with figments of sorcery, phantoms and apparitions. Great was their mistrust of these fay beings and of the Sorceress of the Golden Wood, a weaver of nets and delusions that could ensnare the unwary. Indeed, Lórien was a perilous realm, for within it was the power to change the hearts of those who entered. But as Samwise perceived, the only peril to be found in the Golden Wood was that which the visitor to that land brought within himself.
The Men of Rohan seldom approach even the fading eaves of Dwimordene, for fear of the Elven shadows that haunt the land. This elf, a warden on the marches of the Golden Wood, would be perceived as little more than a figment of the magical forest should she be spotted by one of the Rohirrim. Yet it is unlikely that they would ever see her unless she wished it, for she is swift and silent, masked and clad in the raiment of her folk. The Elves put that which they love into all that they make, including their clothing, and hers is grey like the twilight beneath the boughs of trees and pale blue like the mists that cling to the stocks; yet hints of golden leaves gleam through. Dearest of all to her people is the stylised mallorn-tree that adorns her armoured breast. It is well that the Men of Rohan fear Dwimordene as they do, and dare not approach it, for the Elves mistrust those who live beyond their borders and will suffer none to pass. Men who approach with intent to enter may find themselves assailed by elf-shot, but Orcs who dare to enter the wood are never seen again.
The name for the Golden Wood in the tongue of Rohan, translated in The Lord of the Rings as Dwimordene, means “Vale of Phantoms”, from Old English dwimor “phantom, apparition; illusion” + O.E. denu “vale, valley”, referring to the river valley of the Celebrant. Although Lothlórien is a manifestation of Galadriel’s longing for Valinor, indeed her attempt to recreate Valinor, Lórien is, unlike the Undying Lands, firmly placed in Middle-earth, where time must pass, and all things must decay — even the Elves and all their works. Yet the power of Galadriel and her ring root the realm in the river of time and hold it against the current of the years. Bordered by water on two sides (the rivers Anduin and Celebrant), Lothlórien is an earthly embodiment of Faërie, the perilous realm described by Tolkien in his essay “On Fairy-stories”, and this is why the Men of Rohan fear it. It is an otherworld, a fairyland, outside of time and waking reality; the eroded name Lórien means, simply, “dream”. Tolkien uses Lórien to reconcile the varying accounts of the passage of time in Elfland as depicted in a number of traditional fairy-stories: either faster or slower than in the mortal world. In Lórien, time can be perceived as simultaneously fast and slow; in some instances the wood seems curiously outside of time, as when the Company of the Ring floated downstream away from Lórien, yet looking back it seemed that it was they who remained stationary while Lórien itself drifted away, receding into the past. It is in Lórien that the tale becomes most like a fairy-story as defined by Tolkien: a story about the adventures of mortals within the perilous realm of Faërie.
The various events, contests, and special features over the last two or three weeks brought a bit of an irregular schedule to The Starry Mantle, but I’d like to reassure everyone that we’re now back to our regular scheduled outfit posts! I thought it would be nice to get right back into it with a juicy “lore-ish” post, and I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s look at Lórien, through the eyes of the Rohirrim, as a Fairyland — and of course the outfit itself! I’d also like to remind long-time readers and let new readers know that new outfits are posted each Wednesday at The Starry Mantle, and as always I welcome and value your comments and thoughts as well as your vote on the “star widget” that accompanies the outfits.
- Head: Helm of the Lady’s Secrecy (bartered — Caras Galadhon Burglar trainer), grey
- Shoulders: Ceremonial Shoulders of the Gloom-bane (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Rift cosmetic clothing – heavy), gold
- Back: Fancy Elven Quiver (looted — anniversary event/Elegant, Embossed, or Striped Gift Boxes), violet
- Chest: Elven Soldier’s Armour (crafted — metalsmith T5; or looted — world drop/general), black
- Hands: Scout’s Gloves (crafted — tailor T6), grey
- Legs: Ceremonial Trousers of the Learned (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Helegrod cosmetic clothing – light), black
- Feet: Scout’s Boots (crafted — tailor T6), grey
Tips: The hooded mask in this outfit has the same appearance as the Dungeon Crawler’s Hood (bartered — Ost Galadh Burglar trainer). A cosmetic version is, at the time of the writing, available for sale via in-game clothing mannequin as part of a very lovely combination outfit that I think may have been put together by Hymne of Cosmetic Lotro. The outfit should continue to be offered throughout April, so now is a great time to pick it up if you’ve got some spare Mithril Coins and don’t have access to the regular statted version in-game. The Fancy Elven Quiver is available from gift boxes received in exchange for the metallic tokens that drop from monsters during the anniversary event (which happens to begin next week, on 16 April).
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