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This article is about the event itself. For the chapter, see The Scouring of the Shire.

The Scouring of the Shire was an event that took place in the Shire at the end of the War of the Ring, and was the only time the Shire was attacked during the Great Years.



While Frodo Baggins and company were away, Lotho Sackville-Baggins began a massive land grab with the money he had made from Pipe-weed sales to Saruman at Isengard. This gave him great power. Lotho, now calling himself the Chief, began to stretch forth his authority and sought to control the Shire for himself. With help from Dunlendings and Goblin-men sent by Saruman, Lotho took over control of the Shire, imprisoning many, including important folk. He then began industrializing the once green and agrarian Shire, causing much damage. Soon Saruman arrived and took full control and Lotho was deposed, imprisoned, and later killed by Wormtongue. The pace of destruction greatly increased afterwards.

The Shire's fate if Frodo's mission failed - as shown in the Mirror of Galadriel

Before returning to the Shire, Frodo Baggins and his companions stayed overnight at The Prancing Pony in Bree where they caught up on the last year's local events with the proprietor Barliman Butterbur. They learned that strangers from the South had come to settle in and around Bree, much to the discomfort of the peace-loving Men and Hobbits indigenous to the region. A fight had then occurred in Bree between Bill Ferny's friends and some Bree-men such as Mat Heathertoes, with the former then driven out.

Gandalf took the four Hobbits - Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck, and Peregrin Took - part way to the Shire but detoured to have a long talk with Tom Bombadil. He assured the four that their training in the War of the Ring would be sufficient to settle the troubles.[1]

The Battle of Bywater

When they discovered that the evil they had fought had come home to roost, they roused the Shire and were able to kill or drive off the evil-doers that infested it. With the assistance of Farmer Cotton, Merry and Pippin led the Battle of Bywater, the last battle in the War of the Ring, in which 19 hobbits and 100 Ruffians were killed; the remaining Orcs and Ruffians retreated away from Hobbiton.

Saruman and Wormtongue came to their ends shortly thereafter, when Wormtongue avenged a kick from his master by cutting his throat and was thereafter shot to death by arrows from Hobbits. An eerie column of mist arose from Saruman's corpse and was blown away in the wind, a scene reminiscent of Sauron's demise.[1]


Despite J.R.R. Tolkien's much-publicised dislike of allegory, this chapter can be viewed as the most directly allegorical component of the book. The transformation of the Shire from rural idyll to industrial wasteland heavily parallels Tolkien's own views of the destruction of the English countryside by the steady creep of industrialisation. In particular, the loss of the old Mill in Bywater, only to be replaced by a much larger, grimier version, mimics an event from Tolkien's childhood. Tolkien himself commented that the symbolism lay in the feeling of loss he felt after returning from the First World War, to discover that many of his close friends had died, and the world he remembered from his youth had largely disappeared.[citation needed]

Portrayal in adaptations

"I know what it is you saw... for it is also in my mind. It is what will come to pass if you should fail."
Galadriel to Frodo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring

The Scouring of the Shire is among the most prominent scenes not featured in the theatrical release of the The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, except for one part of it which is shown in the Mirror of Galadriel in the Fellowship of the Ring movie. However, later scenes of Frodo's return to the Shire in the Return of the King show the Shire as completely unchanged, so within the film adaptation it is intended as an alternate future that was avoided. But in the Fellowship of the Ring film, the industrialized and enslaved Shire is shown in the Mirror, but instead of Ruffians, there are Orcs that serve Sharkey in battle armor with whips, torches, and axes; and they send the hobbits to workhouses. Samwise is shown in a chained line of Hobbits.

While the Scouring itself does not occur in the canon of Peter Jackson's trilogy, the extended edition of The Return of the King references the original Scouring of the Shire. In a scene exclusive to the extended edition, the party from Helm's Deep arrives to interrogate Saruman at flooded Isengard for information on Sauron's plans. During the interrogation, Théoden attempts to reach out to Gríma, but Saruman strikes Wormtongue. In anger and retaliation, Gríma stabs Saruman in the back (as opposed to slitting his throat from behind, as in the book), and Legolas quickly shoots him (referencing Wormtongue being shot by hobbit archers).


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Skuur van die Shire
Albanian Pastrim i Shire
Amharic ሽሬ መንጻት
Arabic شاير تجوب
Armenian սծոուրինգ ոֆ տհե սհիրե
Basque Shire du Marruskatzen
Belarusian Cyrillic Які чысціць Шыра
Bengali শিরে এর মাজন
Bosnian Ribanje Okrug
Bulgarian Cyrillic Почистването на Графството
Catalan Purga del Comarca
Chinese (Hong Kong) 收復夏爾
Croatian Ribanje shirea
Czech Vymetení Kraje
Danish Rengøring af Herredet
Dutch Schuren van de Gouw
Esperanto Traserĉante la Graflando
Estonian Šairi puhastamine
Finnish Konnun puhdistus
French Purge du Comté
Galician Expurgo do Condado
German Säuberung des Auenlandes (first translation) Befreiung des Auenlandes (second translation)
Greek Καθαρισμός του Σάιρ
Gujarati સોર્સિંગ પર્ગિંગ
Hebrew טיהור הפלך
Hungarian A Megye Feldúlása
Icelandic Þrifið á Skíri
Italian Percorrendo la Contea
Irish Gaelic Sciúradh an Shire
Japanese ホビット荘の掃討
Kannada ಷೈರ್ ಉಜ್ಜುವಿಕೆ
Latvian Mazgāšanu no Širė
Lithuanian Šveitimo iš Širės
Macedonian Cyrillic Чистење на Шире
Maltese Għorik tal-Shire
Mongolian Cyrillic Мужийг цэвэрлэх
Norwegian Rensing av Hobsyssel
Polish Czyszczenie z Shire
Portuguese Expurgo do Condado
Persian تمیز کاری شایر
Romanian Curăţat de Comitatul
Russian Чистящий Шира
Scottish Gaelic Sgùraidh na t-Sìorrachd
Serbian Чишћење грофовија (Cyrillic) Čišćenje grofovija (Latin)
Sinhalese මෙම ෂයර්හි ක ෙශෝධක
Slovak Vyčistenie Grófstva
Slovenian Čiščenje šajerska
Spanish Saneamiento de la Comarca
Swedish Skur av Fylke
Telugu షైర్ యొక్క నమోదుచేసి
Ukrainian Cyrillic Очищуючий Шира
Welsh Sgwrio y Sir
Yiddish סקאָורינג פון די תהירע