Well, that’s a title.
This page isn’t really at all that depressing. Frodo asks Gildor if he’s seen Bilbo. They’ve crossed ways twice, but Gildor says no more. He wants to know what is bothering Frodo. He can tell that Frodo is leaving the Shire, but he doesn’t understand why. After Frodo remarks that his leaving was meant to be a secret, Gildor replies that it will be kept as secret as possible from Sauron. Gildor doesn’t know why the black riders are pursuing Frodo, but he can tell that Sauron has interest in Frodo’s travel. Frodo is surprised at how much Gildor has figured out, and asks Gildor for more information about the black riders. Gildor refuses, on the grounds that if Gandalf did not give Frodo that information, it isn’t his place to do so. He tells Frodo that the Shire is no longer safe. He must leave as soon as possible. Frodo tells him his intention to make for Rivendell, and Gildor agrees that this is probably best.
Hey, Gandalf! Frodo hasn’t been as worried about him for the last few pages. Frodo brings him up for the first time (that we know of) to the elves here in this conversation. I would assume that Gildor can’t be too surprised that Frodo is associated with the wizard. He obviously knows Bilbo, and must certainly know of Bilbo’s journey and friendship with Gandalf. Strange happenings with Bagginses? Probably Gandalf’s doing.
Gildor brings up an interesting point here about how hobbits feel so arbitrarily safe and secure within the Shire. “The wide world is all about you,” he says: “you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.” The false sense of security that hobbits feel can be ridiculous. Really, the Shire doesn’t have guarded borders, to my knowledge, so there isn’t anything keeping the outside world out. Why do hobbits feel like the Shire is such a safe haven? It’s this “not here, in my home” mentality. It’s horribly unhelpful for the situation Frodo finds himself in. Regardless of how “safe” he feels at home in the Shire. He isn’t safe anymore. Not anywhere close to it. Time to learn that lesson the hard way.
We’re nearing the end of the third chapter, which will likely be when this stay with the elves ends in the morning. Is this going to be an awkward morning-after?
“‘I think you should still follow that plan,’ said Gildor. ‘I do not…'”