From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about the region where the Master of Lake-town died. For the large northern region, see Northern Waste.

The Waste was a region that was located somewhere within Middle-earth.[1]


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.[1] After his companions had deserted him, he starved to death in the Waste,[1] sometime between T.A. 2941 and 2949[note 1][2].

Other versions of the legendarium

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.[3] In a slightly later version, the Master died of starvation within the waste without any companions being mentioned.[4] The word waste was uncapitalized in all of those versions,[3][4]


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,[5] though how he came to this conclusion is unknown.


  1. The old Master could have died any time between the end of the Quest of Erebor (T.A. 2941) and Gandalf and Balin's visit to Bilbo in T.A. 2949.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Last Stage"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entries for the years 2941 and 2949, p. 1089
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, The Third Phase, "'And Back Again'"
  4. 4.0 4.1 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"
  5. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry Waste, p. 419