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The Master of Lake-town or "The Master" was the original leader of Lake-town when Bilbo Baggins and his companions arrived. He is described as being greedy, but not undeserving of his position in terms of intelligence and charisma. He was an acquaintance of Bard the Bowman, and the captain of the town archers, allowing him to remain in Lake-town while the Lake-men recovered from their ordeal with Smaug.

His actual name is unknown.


The Master of Lake-town

The Master of Lake-town ruled Lake-town in TA 2941 of the Third Age, it is unknown exactly when he was elected to the position. The Master's rule in Lake-town was rather amicable, and therefore under his dominion the Men of the Long Lake traded peaceably with the Elves of Mirkwood, creating a steady trade that was kept until 2941, when Thorin and his company came to wrest dominion of the Lonely Mountain and its riches from Smaug.

When the Dwarves arrived, the Master of Lake-town greeted them generously, but only to keep public spirits up.[1] After the destruction of Lake-town and the slaying of the dragon by Bard, the townspeople denounced the Master as a coward and called for Bard's ascension as King. The Master, who was an adroit politician, shifted blame for Lake-town's destruction to Thorin and the Dwarves, who had roused the dragon in the first place. This succeeded in turning the townspeople's ire towards the Dwarves. Bard took the lead in rebuilding the remains of the town and gathering supplies for the coming winter, but was careful to act in the Master's name, so as not to usurp the latter's authority.[2]

After the Battle of Five Armies, Bard became King of Dale, but gave a generous portion of his share of the Lonely Mountain's treasure (received from Dáin II Ironfoot) to the Master, for the re-building of Lake-town. Unfortunately at some point before TA 2949, the Master succumbed to greed and fled Lake-town with most of the gold, and later died of starvation in the wastes, after being deserted by his companions.[3] A new more honest Master was then elected.

Portrayal in adaptations

The Hobbit film trilogy

The Master

In Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, the Master is played by English actor Stephen Fry. In the films, he takes on a more directly antagonistic role, presented as a greedy and corrupt public official, whose primary concern rests with retaining his own power and position. He shows little interest in Lake-town’s destitute state, instead turning his attention to the acquisition of tolls and taxes.

In TA 2941, when the growing civil unrest that concerned his leadership, and threatened for an election, the Master used a network of informants throughout the city to spy on Bard, as he was jealous of the bargeman and was suspicious that he was responsible for the growing threat to his authority.

When Thorin and Company are arrested for stealing weapons from the Lake-town armoury, the Master is quick to label them as enemies of the state. However, the revelation of Thorin’s royal linage and his promise of a share in the riches of the Lonely Mountain, persuades the Master to welcome the Dwarves, seeing the situation as a chance not only to restore his ailing popularity, but also as a way of increasing his own wealth. Providing the Dwarves with weapons and equipment the Master bids them farewell, trusting to their gratitude upon the successful completion of their quest.

Master of Lake-town and Alfrid escaping from the flame of Smaug

Later, as Bard attempts to reach the wind lance ballista atop the Lake-town Town Hall, guards sent by the Master arrest him under fabricated charges. Bard manages to escape, only to be knocked unconscious by the Master himself, who subsequently has him incarcerated. His every whim is attended to by his personal assistant and councillor Alfrid Lickspittle, who performs tasks that the Master deems beneath himself, such as emptying his chamber pot.

After Bard is arrested under fabricated charges, the dragon Smaug attacks Lake-town. The Master tries to escape on a boat with all of the town's gold as an act of cowardice, along with Alfrid, the captain of the guards Braga, and a few guards. But when Smaug is killed by the Black Arrow shot by Bard, the Master, his boat, and everyone on it (except Alfrid, who was abandoned shortly before that) are crushed to death under the weight of the dragon's dead body.


Taking great pride in his power and position, the Master cared only for his own prosperity and gain. His pompous attire manifests as an outward expression of his greed, displaying his wealth for all to see. Harboring a powerful sense of his own self-importance, the Master dresses his guards in regalia every bit as pretentious as his own. Despite his democratically held position, the Master suppressed all challenges to his authority.

In line with the book, the Master is shown to have a good head for business, a talent expressed in the films through the toll gates he has constructed, and the taxes he has levied. He also displays a keen political mind befitting someone of his position, recognizing the arrival of the Dwarves as a way of bolstering his own failing popularity.


  • John Bryning voiced the character in the 1968 BBC Radio radio adaptation of The Hobbit.
  • Heinz Theo Branding voiced the character in the 1980 German radio serial adaptation of The Hobbit.[4]


The Lego Master of Lake-town

Master of Lake-town appears in one LEGO set, 79013 Lake-town Chase. He also appeared in LEGO The Hobbit: The Video Game as an unlockable character. He can be found on a bridge of Lake-town.

Non-canon names

The Master is given a number of names in adaptations or spin-off material, which is not canonical.

In the play adaptation of The Hobbit by Edward Mast, the Master is named "Maxwell".

In The Lord of the Rings Online, he is given the name "Othur".


  • The Master’s affliction with the medical condition Gout as seen in the films is likely a reference to the condition’s historic name – “rich man’s disease”, a reference to the Master’s own financial position.
  • In the Rankin/Bass adaptation of The Hobbit, the Master does not appear, and Bard runs the town instead.

Voice Dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Alfredo Martins
Spanish (Latin America) Alejandro Mayén
Spanish (Spain) Jordi Royo
Italian (Italy) Massimo Lopez
French (France) Michel Papineschi
German Alexander Duda
Polish Jan Prochyra
Czech Jiří Schwarz



Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Meester van Meerdorp
Albanian Mjeshtër i Liqenit-qytet
Amharic ሐይቅ-ከተማ መምህር
Arabic ماجستير في بحيرة بلدة
Armenian Վարպետ լճի-քաղաք
Azerbaijani Göl şəhər Usta
Basque aintzira-herri Masterra
Belarusian Cyrillic Майстар-Лэйк горада
Bengali লেক শহরের মাস্টার
Bosnian Majstor Jezera-grad
Bulgarian Cyrillic Майстор на Езерния град
Cambodian មេនៃបឹងទីក្រុង
Catalan Mestre de la Ciutat del Llac
Cebuano Agalon sa Lanaw-lungsod
Chichewa Mbuye wa nyanja mzinda
Chinese (Hong Kong) 長湖鎮鎮長
Croatian Majstor Jezer-grada
Czech Mistr Jezerní-město
Danish Mestre af Søen-by
Dutch Meester van Meerstad (Master of Lake-town)

Meester van Esgaroth (Master of Esgaroth)

Esperanto Mastro de Lago-urbeto
Estonian Kapten Järve-linna
Finnish Järvikaupungin Isäntä
French Le Bourgmestre de LacVille
Frisian Master fan Mar-stêd
Galician Mestre da Cidade do Lago
Georgian ოსტატი ტბის ქალაქი
German Bürgermeister von Seestadt (Master of Lake-town)

Meister von Esgaroth (Master of Esgaroth)
Meister der Stadt (Master of the City)
Meister von Seestadt (Master of Lake-town)

Greek Άρχοντας της πόλης-Λίμνης
Gujarati તળાવ નગર માસ્ટર ઓફ
Haitian Creole Mèt nan Lak-vil
Hebrew ריבונו של עיר האגם
Hindi झील-टाउन के मास्टर
Hmong Tswv ntawm lub pas dej-lub zos
Hungarian Tóváros Ura
Icelandic Skipstjóri af Stöðuvatn-bærinn
Irish Gaelic Máistir Loch-bhaile
Italian Governatore di Pontelagolungo (Master of Lake-town)

Governatore di Esgaroth (Master of Esgaroth)

Japanese レイクタウンのマスター
Kannada ಮಾಸ್ಟರ್ ಲೇಕ್ ಪಟ್ಟಣದ
Kazakh Көл-қала шебері (Cyrillic) Köl-qala şeberi (Latin)
Korean 호수 마을의 주인
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Лейк-шаардын кожоюну
Laotian ຕົ້ນສະບັບຂອງການສຶກຕົວເມືອງ ?
Latvian Maģistrs ezera-pilsētas
Lithuanian Meistras Ežero-miestelio
Luxembourgish Meeschtesch vum Séi-Stad
Macedonian Cyrillic Господар на езерото град
Malagasy Tompon'ny Farihy-tanàna
Malaysian Induk Bandar-tasik
Maltese Kaptan tal-Lag-belt
Maori Te Kaiwhakaako o Roto-pa
Marathi लेक नगर मास्टर
Mongolian Cyrillic Нуур-хотын мастер
Nepalese लेक-शहर मास्टर
Norwegian Mester av Langsjøby
Pashto د جهيل د ښار د ماستر
Persian استاد دریاچه شهر
Polish Rządca Jezioro-miasto (Master of Lake-town)

Rządca Esgaroth (Master of Esgaroth)

Portuguese (Brazil) Senhor da Cidade do Lago (book)
Mestre da Cidade do Lago (films)
Punjabi ਝੀਲ-ਕਸਬੇ ਦੇ ਮਾਲਕ ਦੇ
Romanian Maestru de Lac oraș
Russian Мастер-Лейк города
Samoan Matai o Leki-taulaga
Scottish Gaelic Mhaighstir de Loch-bhaile
Serbian Мастер Језерград (Cyrillic) Gospodar od Jezer-grad (Latin)
Sesotho Mong'a Letšeng-toropong
Sindhi ڍنڍ-ڳوٺ جي ماسٽر
Sinhalese ලේක්-නගරයේ ස්වාමියා
Slovak Majster Jazero-mesto
Slovenian Mojster Jezero-mesto
Somalian Sayidkiisa oo Badda-magaalada
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Gobernador de Ciudad del lago (Master of Lake-town)

Gobernador de Esgaroth (Master of Esgaroth)

Sundanese Ngawasaan ti Danau-kota
Swedish Mästare på Sjöstaden
Tajik Cyrillic Магистри Лейк-шаҳр
Tamil ஏரி-நகரம் மாஸ்டர்
Telugu లేక్ పట్టణం మాస్టర్
Thai ต้นแบบของเมืองริมทะเลสาบ
Turkish Göl kasabası Efendisi
Ukrainian Cyrillic Майстер-Лейк міста
Urdu جھیل ٹاؤن کا مالک
Uzbek Кўл-шаҳар устаси (Cyrillic) Ko'l-shahar ustasi (Latin)
Vietnamese Thạc sĩ thị trấn Hồ
Welsh Meistr o Llyn-dref
Xhosa Inkosi Edikeni-idolophu
Yiddish האר פון לייק-שטאָט