The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Created after III 2340, and probably much later1
Location
In the western Old Forest, near the Hedge that protected Buckland
Origins
The remains of a great bonfire of trees made by the Bucklanders
Race
Created by Hobbits
Culture

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About this entry:

  • Updated 26 March 2022
  • Updates planned: 1

Bonfire Glade

A burnt glade in the Old Forest

A reminder of the strange 'war' that took place between the malevolent trees of the Old Forest and the Hobbits of Buckland, long years before the War of the Ring. The trees attacked the Hedge that protected the Bucklanders, and in retaliation, the Hobbits invaded the forest and burnt hundreds of trees in a huge bonfire. The Bonfire Glade was the place of that great burning, and even after many years, the trees left it an open and empty place.


Notes

1

III 2340 was the date of the founding of Buckland, and so the Bonfire Glade, which was created by the Bucklanders, cannot have appeared earlier than that date. The fact that it could still be seen at the end of the Third Age strongly suggests that it was much more recent than that, as does the appearance of fire-weed still growing there (which would usually indicate a very recent burning). Our only specific comment on the subject, however, is that the glade was made 'long ago', according to Merry Brandybuck in The Fellowship of the Ring I 6, The Old Forest. Despite Merry's comment, the fact that the trees of the Old Forest had not yet begun to grow again in the area seems to imply that the glade was, at most, a few decades old.

These clues seem to be mutually contradictory, but perhaps we could take them to mean that the burning that created the Bonfire Glade was not a single event. Instead, after one enormous bonfire long ago, the Bucklanders continued to keep the trees in check with further regular bonfires. In fact, this would seem to be necessary for the Hobbits to maintain a cleared space beyond their Hedge, and it would also help to explain why a path led from Buckland to the Bonfire Glade. If such continued burnings did occur, however, Merry fails to mention them in his brief account of the glade's history.

Of course, any discussion on points like these needs to take account of the strange nature of the forest and its trees. It may be that the trees were 'choosing' to keep the glade clear for reasons of their own (we do know that they were affected the course of the path that led toward it). If this is the case, then the Bonfire Glade might very well have been rather older than it appeared.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 26 March 2022
  • Updates planned: 1

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