Buyers remorse. Frodo’s got it.
Frodo really regrets taking the path through the Old Forest. However, a ray of hope shines through the wood. Up ahead is a hill, green and bare of trees. The path seems to be headed that way. In fact, it takes the hobbits right to it, and they lead their ponies up the steep hill in circles. At the hilltop is a gorgeous view. It’s too hazy to see horribly far, but they find themselves above a sea of trees in every direction. To the south, heavy mist rises from a valley, which Merry points out as the Withywindle River. It’s apparently the kind of place you don’t want to find yourself in. They stop for lunch, as it’s around 11 o’clock. As the sun goes overhead, they think they can make out the end of the forest in the east.
-the Downs: Also called the Barrow-downs. A hilly area east of the Old Forest. Inhabited by evil spirits…so it’s not exactly any better than the forest.
In case you forgot, the hobbits are planning to head for the East Road. That’s reiterated on this page. Considering I’ve read this before and I know how things turn out…
Well, let’s just say I’m paying close attention to what happens from here up until the next part that I remember. Forgetting certain parts is fun! And if you’ve only ever seen the movies, you must be really lost already. Just you wait.
Fun geography fact: This wasn’t really specifically mentioned before, but in terms of rivers, the Withywindle flows out of the Downs, and into the Brandywine River at Haysend. So, you know, if you didn’t pick that up from a map or didn’t know that already…now you do.
What gets progressively frustrating about these last few pages is that the hobbits aren’t even really talking. They’re just passing through the forest. If they were at least talking about something, there would be more interesting things to talk about. However, on this page the only spoken text is Merry explaining the Withywindle and how strange it is. That’s six lines long. The rest is narration about the hobbits walking, or climbing up the hill. Sorry, but there’s not too much there. I can talk about a lot when the characters are talking about a lot, or when there’s a lot going on, or both. Unfortunately, right now there’s neither.
We’ll get there.
“As the sun rose and passed noon they glimpsed far off in the east the grey-green lines of the Downs that lay beyond the Old Forest on that side. That cheered…”