History[edit | edit source]
After the Battle of Five Armies, Bard gave a large amount of gold to the Master of Lake-town to help the Lake-men. However, the Master caught the dragon-sickness, stole most of the gold and fled with it from Lake-town. After his companions had deserted him, he starved to death in the Waste, sometime between T.A. 2941 and 2949[note 1].
Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]
In an earlier version of the The Last Stage chapter, the Master was murdered by his companions for the gold and thrown into the waste afterwards. In a modification of this earlier version, the Master's companions simply left him and the Master died of starvation in the waste. In a slightly later version, the Master died of starvation within the waste without any companions being mentioned. The word waste was uncapitalized in all of those versions,
Speculation[edit | edit source]
It is possible that the capitalization of the word Waste within the published book may have been a mistake or a last minute change by J.R.R. Tolkien or by the publisher.[source?] Robert Foster has suggested that the Waste may possibly have been another name for the Desolation of Smaug, though how he came to this conclusion is unknown.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Last Stage"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entries for the years 2941 and 2949, p. 1089
- J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, The Third Phase, "'And Back Again'"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, The Third Phase, "The End of the Journey"
- Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry Waste, p. 419