We arrive in Snowbourn among the refugees from Garsfeld. We are also due to meet up again with Éomer. In both instances we end up needing to see the Reeve of Sutcrofts, Fastred. The initial impression we have of Fastred is not overly positive – he is described as “brutal” very early on. This is actually a somewhat unfair description, but he is a violent man, consumed with the desire for vengeance for the recent death of his father. He acts on this desire by spending alot of his time riding out and killing orcs … and here is the thing – while it may not be precisely the wisest thing to do, it is really incredibly hypocritical of my character to complain to anyone on Middle-Earth that they are spending too much time killing orcs. Well, my character is not Reeve of Sutcrofts true enough, and perhaps Fastred should pay more attention to his people. Éomer wishes his agreement to have them evacuated to a safer place – the choice of Garsfeld in effect. Fastred refuses, mostly out of stubbornness – but while he may refuse for the wrong reasons I think refusing is still the better option. One cannot run forever.
There are several series of quests around Snowbourn. Some of these focus on helping the refugees from Garsfeld. Others concern the presence of a possible traitor. Finally more centre around Fastred himself and his need for vengeance. Despite the other goings on Fastred really dominates the entire show, even in the epic book. Young, brash, heroic, stubborn, and violent – there is a lot to this youthful lord. He may only be pixels, but they are pixels filled with the energy of righteous fury.
I also think the questlines in Snowbourn have suffered because of Hytbold. I put off starting Hytbold until after I completed the epic book, but now I think I would have preferred until after the ordinary questline itself was complete. Rather than spending my time focused in one area I am now dividing my time between the Hytbold activities and the questlines.
What is also lacking from Snowbourn is a sense of conclusion. Book IX of the epic questline wraps up in a nicely dramatic fashion, but the quests in Snowbourn themselves have not. This may be because there is a going to be another series of quests in Snowbourn – but the time being the questlines are pointing me to the last town in East Rohan – Walstow.