Dare I say only 15 more pages? In about two weeks, I find my end.
Today brings us a description of the night’s events in The Prancing Pony as the people of Bree come out to see the hobbits and Gandalf. It’s a lively night in such a down and out town, and everyone wants to get their story in. In fact, people agree that Frodo should add a bit about Bree to his book. It’ll be boring otherwise, you know?
The night somewhat mimics the hobbits’ first night in Bree, though it is generally agreed upon that there will be no signing. Things ended strangely after that last time.
The group spends the night once more, and prepares to set out in the morning. The weather is still lousy, and they hope to make it to the Shire by nightfall. After some words of warning from Butterbur, they set off, once again surrounded by curious Bree folk.
It’s a full circle. The hobbits’ first night in Bree featured an uproarious night at The Pony, and then was followed in the morning by a curious and nosy crowd. No different here. Bree. Bree never changes.
And the folks’ questions bring about a question of my own: are we actually reading Frodo’s “addition” to his story about Bree? It does feel oddly pointed for this part of the tale. Since Frodo is supposedly writing all this, is this the part that he added to satisfy those in Bree who wanted a bigger part to play? Maybe. It’s super meta to think about, but it’s entirely possible.
Every time I try and think about the framing structure of this narrative, I get myself confused. How can we trust Frodo as a narrator? He wasn’t around for much of the story (while he and Sam were separated from everyone else), so how can he really know what happened? Assuming he’s going off of what he heard from his friends after the fact, the narrative is amazingly detailed. He’s either a fantastic writer, everyone else did an amazing job of relaying what happened, or we have to throw out the framing structure a little bit. Take your pick.
No one dies today.
“‘Whatever it is,’ said Pippin, ‘Lotho will be at the bottom of it: you can be sure of that.'”