The dogs are called off. For now…
Farmer Maggot invites the three hobbits in, offering good ale and (more importantly) stories of this strange traveler that happened upon his farm recently. He calls off the dogs, and Pippin introduces him to Frodo and Sam. Farmer Maggot recognizes Frodo, as we would assume. He ushers them in. Pippin finds the beer to be to his taste, as does Sam, although he’s apparently naturally suspicious of just about any hobbit that he doesn’t already know. Maggot begins talking, asking why the hobbits were on their way to his gate. Pippin admits that they were cutting across the countryside, and were going through his fields. He doesn’t seem to be too worried about that, although he cracks that Frodo must still have a hankering for mushrooms.
-Mrs. Maggot: Farmer Maggot’s wife. If it were not for the fact that she happens to supply the beer in this scene, I think she’s relatively unimportant.
To be honest, Pippin doesn’t seem to actually introduce Sam. He gives Frodo’s name, and Farmer Maggot reacts so strongly to it that we never hear if Pippin got to introducing Sam. Is Sam getting the shaft again? No wonder he’s suspicious of everyone, but he should truly be suspicious of people like Frodo and Pippin who keep mistreating him. Between sleeping on the ground and being looked over in introductions, Sam just can’t catch a break.
So now we’re going to spend some time talking to Farmer Maggot. I get the feeling that instead of feeling comforted that they’re in a friendly setting, the hobbits are going to hear creepy stories of black riders roaming the countryside. Typical evening conversation.
Also, randomly, why doesn’t Frodo seem to care about Gandalf anymore? All this thought of black riders, and he doesn’t once stop to wonder why Gandalf isn’t here to protect him. For all we know, he could be dead in a ditch somewhere. (He’s not.) Frodo is more worried about Farmer Maggot’s dogs than what may have happened to his wisest friend. We haven’t even mentioned Gandalf since when Gildor asked about him and Frodo quickly glossed over the fact that he left without giving him enough information on what may be chasing them. Oy.
“‘I had just heard the name…'”