The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 29 December 2011
  • Updates planned: 2


Those from beyond the borders

In the Shire, a term used by the Hobbits who lived there for visitors who entered the land from outside. These Outsiders were the province of the Bounders, who were charged with the guarding of the Shire's frontiers, and with ensuring that Outsiders who entered the land behaved as they should. At the end of the Third Age, the number of Outsiders wandering the borders or entering the Shire had become much greater than in former years, and so the number of the Bounders had also increased. The Hobbits were right to be concerned: these incomers would eventually attempt to take over the Shire, and only be driven out at great cost.

The term 'Outsiders' had another more specific meaning to the Shire-folk, who also used it to refer to other Hobbits who did not dwell inside the Shire. That number included the Bree-hobbits, as well as less civilized folk who dwelt in the wilds. The number of these Outsider Hobbits was not known, but there were thought to be a considerable number of them.

Finally, the term 'Outsiders' had quite a different meaning to the Bree-landers. For them, it was visitors from outside the Bree-land who were the Outsiders, and that included travellers from the Shire to the west.

See also...

Bounders, Inside

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