Are things starting to feel real yet? I hope so.
The black rider sits, crouched on his horse, sniffing the air. Frodo, scared out of his mind, suddenly has the urge to put the ring on. He could become invisible. He could vanish instantly and be done with this. Thankfully for him, the rider moves off, just as he is touching the ring. Frodo watches him go, and the horse appears to turn into the trees to the right some ways ahead. Pippin and Sam, undeniably smarter than Frodo, didn’t see a thing, so Frodo explains. Sam realizes that he knows where the black rider came from, and where he’s going. That conversation Frodo overheard between the Gaffer and someone at Bag End? The black rider. (Duh.) The Gaffer told him that Frodo was moving to Bucklebury, so it’s likely he’s headed in that direction. The Gaffer remarked how nasty the thing was, and that it gave him chills.
You don’t think about it at first, but it’s oddly disconcerting how the rider turns off into the forest instead of just continuing on the path. Now it’s lurking, somewhere in the trees. And the sun is setting.
How appropriate. Of course all of this is happening as it’s getting dark. Three hobbits, alone in the woods with a faceless evil black rider? Perfect.
Let’s turn to something lighter. Want to hear something adorable? Pippin and Frodo each refer to men at one point as “Big People”. Awwww! That’s like little baby child-speak! It’s so naive. “Big People! Mommy! There’s a Big People all dressed in black chasing me through the woods!” As we know, our heroes will meet plenty of Big People later.
In fact, I do find it difficult to remember all the time that hobbits are so significantly shorter than the average human. In my mind, characters are typically around the same height, so it takes some mental tricks to tell myself that I have to think about how much shorter these guys are. Not only is the black rider intimidating because it’s terrifying, it’s also like double the height of the hobbits. And, it’s on a horse.
Also, be on the lookout: there are reports of trouble with men in the Southfarthing. Why? I have no clue. Is it important? Probably not, but we have the time to look into such things.
“‘He was tall and black-like,…'”