The Master of Lake-Town or The Master was the original leader of Laketown, that is, Esgaroth, 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. In the book, he is portrayed as a close companion to Bard, the captain of the town archers, allowing him to remain in Laketown while the Lakemen recovered from their ordeal with Smaug.
In The Hobbit, he is not given an actual name.
The Master of Laketown ruled from 2920 to 2941 of the Third Age and he would have been approximately thirty years old when he began leadership. This would make him fifty years old at the time of the Battle of the Five Armies and The Quest of Erebor, as these events both occurred in the year 2941. The Master's rule in Laketown 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 friends came to wrest dominion of the Lonely Mountain and its riches from Smaug, who had arrived 120 years before the Master's rule, in the year TA 2770.
When the Dwarves arrived, the Master of Laketown greeted them generously, but only to keep public spirits up. After the destruction of Laketown 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 Laketown'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.
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 Dain II Ironfoot) to the Master, for the re-building of Laketown. Unfortunately, the Master succumbed to greed and fled Laketown with most of the gold, and later died of starvation in the wastes, after being deserted by his companions. He is therefore described as weak, because he is easily overcome by the lust of the treasure Smaug held, and by the dragon-spell.
Taking great pride in his power and position, the Master cares 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 ruthlessly suppresses 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.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
The Hobbit film trilogyEdit
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 Laketown’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 Laketown armory, 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.
Later, as Bard attempts to reach the windlance ballista atop the Laketown 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 councilor Alfrid Lickspittle, who performs tasks that the Master deems beneath himself, such as emptying his chamber pot.
After when Bard was arrested under fabricated charges and when the dragon Smaug attacked Lake-town, the Master tried to escape on a boat with all of the town's gold as an act of cowardice along with his servant Alfrid, the captain of the guards Braga, and a few guards, but when Smaug was killed by the Black Arrow shot by Bard, his boat, himself, and everyone on it were crushed to death under the weight of the dragon's dead body.
In the play adaptation of The Hobbit by Edward Mast, the Master of Laketown is named Maxwell, though this is not considered canon.
- 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.
Voice Dubbing actorsEdit
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
- The Hobbit (First appearance)
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
- LEGO The Hobbit sets
- LEGO The Hobbit: The Video Game
Translations around the WorldEdit
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 Esperanto Mastro de Lago-urbeto Estonian Kapten Järve-linna Finnish Mestari Järvikaupungin French Le Maître de LacVille Frisian Master fan Mar-stêd Galician Mestre da Cidade do Lago Georgian ოსტატი ტბის ქალაქი German Bürgermeister von Seestadt Greek Πλοίαρχος του στη λίμνη της πόλης 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 Mester Tóváros Icelandic Skipstjóri af Stöðuvatn-bærinn Irish Gaelic Máistir Loch-bhaile Italian Governatore di Pontelagolungo Japanese レイクタウンのマスター Kannada ಮಾಸ್ಟರ್ ಲೇಕ್ ಪಟ್ಟಣದ Kazakh Cyrillic Көлі-қала шебері 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 Malay 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 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 Sudanese Ngawasaan ti Danau-kota Swedish Mästare på Sjöstaden Tajik Cyrillic Магистри Лейк-шаҳр Tamil ஏரி-நகரம் மாஸ்டர் Telugu లేక్ పట్టణం మాస్టర్ Thai ต้นแบบของเมืองริมทะเลสาบ Tigrinya ሐይቅ-ከተማ መምህር 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
Rulers of Dale and Laketown Lords of Dale Girion Rulers of Laketown Master of Laketown Kings of Dale Bard I • Bain • Brand • Bard II