Lobelia was a hobbit of the Bracegirdle family of Hardbottle, possessed of a distinctly sour personality and a “face that could curdle new milk”. She was married to Otho Sackville-Baggins, a cousin to both Frodo and Bilbo, and they had a son, Lotho. Because Bilbo had no children and no siblings, his cousin Otho would have been considered his heir. Lobelia had long coveted ownership of the magnificent smial at Bag End, and when Bilbo disappeared for a year and was presumed dead, Lobelia was eager to move in. She was in the midst of auctioning Bilbo’s possessions when he returned from his adventure in far-off lands, quite alive after all. Lobelia was outraged. She had no choice but to return Bag End to Bilbo (though she did keep a fair few of his spoons). This began a long-standing feud between Bilbo and Lobelia that worsened when Bilbo adopted Frodo as his heir and willed all of his possessions to him, including Bag End. Calling on Bilbo to see that the will was in good legal order (it was), Lobelia angrily insisted that Frodo was more Brandybuck than Baggins and that he did not belong at Bag End (and, as Frodo discovered, she had also stolen several small but valuable articles and hidden them in her umbrella). And so Frodo too earned Lobelia’s fierce ire. In the autumn of IIIA 3018, Lobelia’s dream finally came true when, in preparation for his departure from the Shire, Frodo sold Bag End to her for a surprisingly low price. Lobelia was by that time a widow and a very old lady, at a hundred years of age, but she moved triumphantly into Bag End with her son Lotho.
Here Lobelia is seen proudly inspecting the grounds of her new property. At last that wretched Frodo has gone off back to Buckland where he came from and left her her rightful dues. A wide-brimmed floppy hat keeps the autumn sun out of her eyes, and her dress is decorated with embroidered lace. She also wears a cloak to keep her old bones warm against chill autumn breezes. The cloak is decorated with a firework motif, for she remembers with envy the fireworks at Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday party nearly twenty years ago. Why shouldn’t she too become known for magnificent fireworks? Perhaps she will have fireworks at her own birthday celebration; after all, it has taken nearly eighty years longer than she hoped, but Bag End is hers at last!
I’ve been wanting to use this floppy hat in a portrait of Lobelia for some time now, but I needed some appropriate pieces to go with it, without being too matchy-matchy by using the spring simbelmynë cosmetic items. I noticed that the lacy trim on the Tattered Dress works well with the unusual base colour of the hat, but I still wanted at least one more unrelated item for a simple but satisfying three-piece outfit combination. The sixth-anniversary event fireworks cloak proved to be the perfect accessory!
As for the reason that I was eager to portray Lobelia: there is a lot of fun poked at her character (both in- and out-of-game), and it’s true that she was no doubt a very unpleasant old lady. Still, she was not evil at heart, and in the end proved to be one of the most brave (if ornery) hobbits in the Shire. When her son Lotho seized control of the Shire only to become a pawn of Sharkey’s thugs, who in turn ruined the countryside and put the Hobbits under martial law, Lobelia’s spirit shone through. She met a group of Big Folk coming up the Hill with orders from Sharkey to put up sheds at Bag End. “I’ll give you Sharkey, you dirty thieving ruffians!” she cried, and attacked them with her umbrella. She was arrested and imprisoned, and remained in a dark, narrow cell until the return of Frodo and his companions and the scouring of the ruffians from the Shire. When they brought Lobelia out of her cell, she insisted on hobbling out on her own two feet, leaning on Frodo’s arm and still clutching her umbrella. There was such applause and cheering for her from the gathered hobbits that she was quite overwhelmed, and drove off in tears. She had never been popular in her life. She was devastated to learn of her son’s murder and would not return to Bag End. She gave it back to Frodo and went to live with her relations in Hardbottle. When she died the next spring at the age of 102, Frodo was moved to find that Lobelia had left him all that remained of her money for use in helping the hobbits made homeless by Sharkey’s men.
- Head: Wide-brimmed Spring Hat (bartered — spring festival rewards quartermaster/cosmetics), washed
- Back: Dark Sky Firework Cloak (bartered — anniversary event games-master/cosmetics), indigo
- Chest: Tattered Dress (looted — lootbox; or looted — Hobbit presents), rose
Tips: If you didn’t pick up the Dark Sky Firework Cloak during this year’s anniversary event, keep an eye on the auction house over the next several weeks, as there are sure to be quite a few for sale. Alternatively, you could use the Simbelmynë Cloak (bartered — spring festival rewards quartermaster/cosmetics). This year’s spring festival should be coming up soon, giving you a chance to collect the Wide-brimmed Spring Hat; you could also swap out the Tattered Dress for the Symbelmynë Dress (bartered — spring festival rewards quartermaster/cosmetics).
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