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  • Updated 22 December 2013
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Horn-call of Buckland

The alarm-call of the Shire’s Eastmarch

"AWAKE! FEAR! FIRE! FOES! AWAKE!"
The Horn-call of Buckland1
The Fellowship of the Ring I 11
A Knife in the Dark

The alarm signal of the Hobbits of Buckland, calling them to action against invaders and incursions into their land. Also called the Horn-cry of Buckland, it roused the Hobbits of the Eastmarch to the immediate defence of their land. The call presumably originated during the early years of Buckland's settlement, before the establishment of the Hedge, when its people were under constant threat by the strange forces of the Old Forest to the east.

Before the events of the War of the Ring, the Horn-call had not been used for more than a hundred years. Its last previous use was in the Fell Winter, when white wolves entered Buckland and crossed the frozen Brandywine into the Shire itself.

Its next use was to warn the Bucklanders of the invading Nazgûl, who attacked Frodo's house at Crickhollow in their search for the Ring. Though at that time the Horn-call had not been blown for 107 years, the people of Buckland sprang into action, and the Black Riders, having found that the Ring had already gone, galloped away out of the Hay Gate in pursuit of their quarry.

The final recorded use of the Horn-call was not within Buckland at all, but within the Shire itself. After their return, the Travellers resolved to rouse the Shire against the new regime of Sharkey and his ruffians. Merry Brandybuck used the Horn of the Mark to blow the Horn-cry and raise the people of the Shire to throw off Sharkey's yoke. After they succeeded, it became an annual tradition in Buckland to blow the Horn and celebrate their victory every 2 November.


Notes

1

These words 'Awake! Fear! Fire! Foes!' are used several times in different combinations to represent the Horn-call. Of course, horns cannot actually produce words like this, so perhaps they represent the urgent sound of the alarm, rather than representing the Horn-call literally. On the other hand, given that the alarm was also called the 'Horn-cry', perhaps we're to take it that the Hobbits literally cried these words as they blew their horns.

See also...

Buckland, White Wolves

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