Sunday, 12 April 2009

COMING SOON: THE NECROMANCER'S FORTRESS?

After Lothlórien, what? There has been much conjecture and scratching of heads over this one, and Lotro Follower, for one, has posted a longish entry discussing possible destinations; he finally, if speculatively, comes down in favour of a journey south along the river Anduin, following in the tracks on the Fellowship.

I have to say I disagree, because the conclusion of Book 7 seems to me quite unambiguous: our next mission will be to enter Mirkwood, rescue the captive dwarves from the fortress of Dol Guldur, and destroy that standing threat to the safety of Lothlórien. At the conclusion of Chapter 9, Celeborn himself announces that "... its power is growing. We cannot wait for the force of Dol Guldur to come forth in strength". And Haldir, before he hands over the reward for completing Book 7, warns the player in the starkest possible terms: "The winds of change are blowing, and I fear they carry with them the onset of war. Lothlórien cannot remain isolated and in safety forever. Lord Celeborn's gaze must turn toward Mirkwood and the great shadow that lies over Dol Guldur. When the time comes to cross the river and fight, as it seems we must, I will call for you". Could anything be clearer? I would hazard a guess that Haldir's promise will be fulfilled no later than Book 8, since there is not all that much left to do in Lorien itself.

Dol Guldur ("The Hill of Sorcery" in Sindarin) was Sauron's first stronghold in Middle-earth, and remains a place of great evil. Here it was that King Thráin II, who bore the last of the seven Dwarven rings of power, was captured: "Only long after was it learned that Thráin had been taken alive and brought to the pits of Dol Guldur. There he was tormented and the Ring taken from him, and there at last he died." (The Return of the King, Appendix A).

This all sounds fascinating enough, but study of the lore suggests the exciting possibility that in Dol Guldur, players will find themselves coming up against one or more Nazgûl, presumably by now at the height of their power. According to Appendix B of The Return of the King, amongst other ominous events which took place in the year 2951, "Sauron [sent] three of the Nazgûl to reoccupy Dol Guldur". Now, I have felt all along that the Nazgûl defeated in the treasury of Helegrod (SoA/B5/C8, "Fire and Ice") was a bit of a pussycat, and that the developers had missed an opportunity, throwing away one of the most powerful enemies of the Free Peoples on a mere fellowship quest - whereas a Ringwraith is obviously destined to be the end boss of a major raid. It may be that that oversight is soon to be rectified...

For those who wish to learn more about its history and lore, an excellent article on Dol Guldur can be found in Wikipedia.

4 comments:

The LotRO Follower said...

BLASPHEMY, disagreeing with me, how dare you :P. I also thought the Nazgûl fight was a bit of a pushover for what he was.

Frankl said...

Just discovered your blog. Keep it up. There seem to be a dearth of LOTRO blogs.

David said...

Just discovered your blog as well. Interesting thoughts, however I disagree some with your conclusion.

I don't believe we will be getting to assault Dol Guldur in the next content update but I do believe we will be going to Mirkwood. How so? I believe that they will add all of Mirkwood in order for the players to get Thranduil and his people to help. Don't forget that in the books Dol Guldur is assaulted by both Celeborns AND Thranduils forces.

Dol Guldur itself will be left for the last content patch before the next expansion.

While the northern area might be close to the Lonely Mountain don't forget as well that the Elves of Mirkwood have absolutely nothing to do with the Siege of Erebor.

Anyways the Fellowship won't start moving again till the next volume, just as how they sat in Rivendell till volume 2.

Kairos said...

David may well be right. I have no doubt that we will be assaulting Dol Goldur at some time in the relatively near future, but I could be rushing things by assuming it will happen in Book 8. If that proves to be the case, it will be interesting to see what the designers come up with to occupy us in Mirkwood before the time comes for the Necromancer's fortress. Something to do with spiders, perhaps?