The Lord of the Rings is, in addition to a great quest epic, the chronicles of the great war of the third age of Middle Earth. As with any such conflict, real or fictional, a large number of people attempted to flee the violence and turmoil, seeking peace in new lands. The story is familiar to those of the 21st Century or any time of tumult.
All of Tolkien’s legendarium is a story of migrations. At the direction of Eru (God) the Valar first moved into Arda, for its shaping and management. The races of Middle Earth- Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Hobbits – continually drifted about in search of territory, happiness and purpose. The Men of Numenor migrated out of Middle Earth in triumph only to migrate back on the wings of the storm. Later the Elves took leave of mortal lands permanently.
During the War various folks were on the move, seeking to distance themselves from the imminent threat of Sauron. In the middle western lands droves of disorganized people headed north from the areas around Rohan and to such peaceful and open places as Bree and the Shire.
Many were residents of Dunland, more a place than a nation. Their plight was similar to the picture painted of those leaving modern Libya and Syria – in or on the borders of war.
As with our mass of refugees Tolkien described these disaffected people as mostly decent, seeking only better lives. Any disruption they caused may have been frowned upon but their situation was most sympathetic.
However, among the refugees were a large number of “ruffians” – men who desired to take what they wanted by force or theft. These would equate to the welfare-seekers and common criminal elements associated with the current third world migrations into Europe and America.
Worse still were the enemy agents who accompanied the refugees. More than mere ruffians their aim was conquest of the new lands – by any means necessary. Being relatively few in number, disorganized, and poorly armed they relied on guile and subversion, taking advantage of the native sympathies and naivety, and on acts of violent terror. They, for the most part, worked for Saruman. They were the ISIS fighters of Tolkien’s world.
*For those only acquainted with Peter Jackson’s movies, most of this history is unknown. Please consult the book.
This still may represent the totality of Jackson’s representation. Google.
Saruman initially sent them north for two purposes. The first was to establish a supply line to feed his military efforts. The second reason was a backup plan, to establish a new petty realm in the event (as actually happened) the wizard’s war effort failed.
These projects were underway even at the beginning of the events of the first book. Frodo and company encountered one or more of these invaders and their corrupted local allies during their turbulent journey through Bree. Back in the Shire the plan had already been unfolding for some time though it was largely unnoticed by the native populace.
Early on the happy little lands of the north were silently guarded by the Rangers, descendants of Numenor. At that time the invaders had to maintain secrecy or be crushed and driven back south. The open invasion commenced as soon as the guardians went away to war. The invasion was made easier by the long secret efforts – incrementalism in societal change. Like the proverbial frog in the slowly heated pot the native Hobbits and men did not notice the changes until it was almost too late. Parisian concert goers might appreciate this concept.
In Bree once the changes did manifest there was trouble. Mr. Butternut described the scene as a real “set to” – a battle. Fortunately, the Bree-landers were victorious and repelled the assault. They then essentially found themselves besieged. “Fortress Bree.” They were also, being a little closer to the war, beset by far worse enemies though they were generally spared harm except for fright.
In the Shire, no sooner had Frodo departed did fundamental reorganization begin. Saruman took advantage of the local greed of some. Not understanding his pawn-like nature Lotho Baggins began to acquire real estate, industries and power. All of this would soon serve the “refugees” purpose.
Step by step the newcomers transformed the land to their liking. By the time the Ring-bearers returned a year later the transformation was complete. A nearly utopian society had become a fascist dictatorship. Terror was the new law.
Any Hobbits who resisted were either murdered, disappeared, or imprisoned. The rest lived under a nightmarish regime of force and theft. Like good communist leaders the invaders devised a system of “gathering” and “sharing.” This simply meant they stole for themselves what the decent people produced. In a flash generosity became captive to larceny.
Once the changes were in place (and the greater war lost) Saruman moved in to rule his new caliphate. His servants lived fat and happy and lazily while the Hobbits suffered miserably. Such was the scene to which the four travelers returned.
Fresh from the war and having witnessed the triumph of good over evil they would not tolerate savagery at home. They immediately – even at the border gate – began an insurrection. In very short order and in a remarkably short period of time they raised the Shire and reversed the calamity. The Scouring of the Shire was the final battle in the War. The population was full of pent-up frustration and only required a spark to spring into action.
The ruffian terrorists were given two choices: leave or die. The Hobbits of the quest, Frodo in particular, had seen how the Men of Rohan and Gondor handled similar interlopers. In Rohan they had been the same breed as those which now plagued the Shire. Down south defensive force was justified and utilized to sort out the terrorists from the refugees. Those who surrendered and pledged good conduct were left alone (though not allowed to live off the host nations). Those who fought for evil were defeated.
So it was that Frodo organized the resistance. He wished to avoid any killing, even of the worst invaders, if at all possible. In the end the terrorists forced conflict. Merry and Pippin lead the brief military campaign and the violent savages were confronted, hunted down and destroyed. Those who finally surrendered were disarmed and booted out of the country with warnings not to return.
Saruman worked his own demise, politically and, in the end, personally. The Shire freed itself through resolute action.
Ours is a situation of similar circumstances if vastly different origins of those of the mythical Shire. Theirs was a simple libertarian society. We are plagued with omnipresent imperial governments given to meddling ruin. Many participate in or support the government’s schemes. I suppose this article will primarily resonate with the modern Hobbits – with libertarians and panarchists. We have a decision to make …
For those of us in the real and modern world the time for resolution has come. Either we must act swiftly and totally or else face a rapid decline into barbarism. News comes hourly of perpetual invasion by the enemies of the West and their plans for unending Paris style destruction. It is now admitted there is next to no way to vet terrorist elements from the regular refugees.
As such, a line must be drawn in order to preserve free Civilization. Until vetting is possible (if ever), those mistreated souls deserve our sympathy but not our homes and blood. The violent must be defeated. Period.
The people are ready for action and restoration. They need only a spark.