Archive for the ‘10 – Strider’ Category

Does this count as a page? In total, it’s not even four full lines.

Why, but yes! I said a page a day, and a page a day it shall be!

This, I proclaim!

Merry thinks that Frodo’s song was ridiculous, and that the stories will be told of it in Bree for a hundred years. Aragorn says that he hopes this is true, and the hobbits all go to sleep.

That is all!

Note that it doesn’t say that Aragorn falls asleep. Most good. He should be guarding the door.

But really, that’s it. Um…I don’t know what else to do. Why does Aragorn hope that the story of the song is remembered? Maybe it’s better for that to be talked about than the odd disappearance of Frodo and the approaching evil. I don’t know. Dude is cryptic sometimes.

Anyway, thanks for reading today. Sorry there isn’t much more to say. I needed to write something. Even though there might occasionally be days like this, it doesn’t deter me from my goal:

It had to happen at some point.

See you tomorrow for Chapter 11!

“Then they all fell silent, and one by one the hobbits dropped off to sleep.”

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It’s amazing when you consider how much you can do in a single day, while here at the blog each page only passes such a short amount of time in the book. Not that a lot can’t happen. It’s all relative.

Anywho, Aragorn believes that an attack will come tonight. Probably not from the riders, who are not at full strength, but their influence has stretched over the weaker men of Bree. Bill Ferny, and possibly even the gatekeeper, Harry, may be at their beck and call. You see, their power lies in fear, and apparently anyone in terror of the hooded demons will do their bidding. Aragorn could see an attack from the riders themselves coming sometime out in the wild.

Should've brought Bear Grylls along on this one...

As for tonight, the hobbits will not return to their rooms. They’re staying in some sort of parlor, which isn’t attached to their rooms as I had thought. Aragorn and Nob leave briefly to grab the hobbits’ luggage, and Nob sets up the ruse that each is asleep in their beds. They bar the door, close the windows, and settle in, with Frodo explaining all the recent events to Merry.

First Mentions:

-Eriador: Region of northwestern Middle-earth from the sea to the Misty Mountains. We’ve been in there the whole time.

-the Sickle: Constellation, also known as Valacirca. Analogous to the Big Dipper in our sky. A symbol of hope for the forces of good.

Okay, I admit that I had the totally wrong idea about the setup of the hobbits’ rooms in The Prancing Pony. They’ve been in a parlor this whole time, and I had assumed that it was directly connected to their rooms. There’s nothing earlier that says it is (I checked), though that would make sense, right? Apparently, they feel totally safe staying in this parlor while they avoid going to their rooms. So, I guess it’s not connected.

I'm sorry for being wrong. Please enjoy this elephant made of towels.

Talk about trusting Aragorn. If he actually was evil, then he would have an easy opening to slit all their throats tonight. Thankfully, that’s not true, but it’s fun to imagine if it were. This story would end pretty darn quick.

But, it doesn’t! We have hundreds of pages to go!

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


Tune in tomorrow for the (brutally short) end to Chapter 10! There’s not much there. Hopefully I find something to rant about.

“‘Jumped over the Moon!’ chuckled Merry as he rolled himself in…”

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Merry’s back, with troubling news: it’s not Gandalf’s boat.

Nope. He was just out golfing.

Really, Merry was out for a walk, and about to return, when he felt like he was being watched. He saw a dark shape a ways off, and followed it east along the road through Bree. He lost it, and heard whispering in the bushes. He suddenly felt something behind him, and collapsed. Nob found him shortly thereafter, lying on the ground with two men standing over him. Nob yelled, and they vanished. He roused Merry, who then ran straight back to The Prancing Pony. Aragorn says that he’s been set upon by the black riders.

First Mentions:

-the Black Breath: Attack used by the Ringwraiths. An aura of fear extends, incapacitating anyone caught nearby.

Merry’s story actually provides quite a bit of information. The black riders have entered Bree, and were seen outside Bill Ferny’s house, likely meaning that they’ve heard of the night’s events at The Prancing Pony. It sounds like they were already staking out the inn.

Here’s what might be bad: Merry bolted right back to Frodo. If anyone was tailing him, they would know right where to go. Part of the plan? I wouldn’t doubt it.


In his agitated state, Merry almost doesn’t notice Aragorn, though Frodo tells him that everything will be explained later. Need any more proof that Aragorn’s been accepted into the group? One letter from Gandalf goes a long way.

So, these guys need to move fast. Everything is basically working against them now, but they have Aragorn. Faster decisions can be made, since Frodo isn’t going to take the time to waffle for page after page. Because of that, things of all kinds are going to come flying at us. Hooray!


We can haz action? Oh, we CAN HAZ action.

“‘They will know all the news now, for they have visited Bill…'”

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What better thing to add to your Christmas evening than a dose of Lord of the Rings? I said I’d do this everyday. Today is just another day.

Aragorn will guide the four hobbits, and plans to make for a hilltop about halfway between Bree and Rivendell. They will have a good view of their surroundings from there, and if Gandalf follows, he will know to make for that point. When asked about Gandalf, Aragorn replies that he last saw him in May, while Aragorn was guarding the boundaries of the Shire. Gandalf told him to expect Frodo to be leaving Bag End by the end of September, but went away on business of his own, as did Aragorn. Upon his return, Aragorn learned that Frodo had left Bag End, but heard no more. He is worried about Gandalf.

Pippin, meanwhile, is extremely tired, and worried as well, about Merry.

Where did everybody go?

First Mentions:

-Weathertop: A large hill, once the site of a great tower. Are we going there? Oh, we’re totally going there.

-Sarn Ford: Ford on the Brandywine River. Aragorn was here the last time he saw Gandalf.

So, to keep track, Aragorn and Gandalf last met on May 1st. At this time, Frodo had already made up his mind to leave on his birthday, September 22nd, and Aragorn expected Gandalf to accompany him. It is very unlike Gandalf to be away without leaving word of his whereabouts or sending messages. This is what worries Aragorn. Gandalf is usually more on top of things.

"You never write, you never call!"

Aragorn believes, of course, that Gandalf’s disappearance has something to do with Sauron. We know differently. That is, if you know already what’s happened. If you don’t, you’ll find out!

Let’s just say that a certain Sith Lord kidnapped him. Let’s call him…Darth Tyranus.

Pictured here.

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Stupid proper nouns. Etiquette is for losers.

“‘It would be the last straw, if we had to go out in the dark to look for him.'”

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Merry Christmas Eve, to those of you that celebrate it! I do, and as such I have to get this out before we head out to the traditional family get-together. There will be glorious food to be had.

Yes, maybe even enough for second breakfast.

But, in other news, Frodo has accepted Aragorn! Hooray! Sam continues to dog Aragorn, saying that he may be a traitor, having killed the true Strider and stolen his clothes. But, no. Aragorn threatens Sam, saying he could kill him right now if he wanted to, but he backs down. He also jokes about stealing the ring, which I don’t believe anyone has brought up yet, and backs down again. He admits that his true name is Aragorn. Frodo is disposed to believe him, and doesn’t believe that one of Sauron’s spies would be so light with him. Aragorn agrees, and begins to recite the rhyme in Gandalf’s letter, not having read it. Frodo asks about it, and Aragorn says that the rhyme goes with his name, and produces his sword, broken a foot below the hilt.

Oh, BIG movie difference there! Narsil isn’t just sitting in Rivendell on display, Aragorn carries it, broken, everywhere.

First Mentions:

-Arathorn: Aragorn’s father. Thus, also a descendant of Isildur, and previous heir to the throne of men. What happened to him? Shot in the eye by orcs. Ouch.

This page has the best paragraph ever. Three words: “Sam said nothing.” Followed by blank space, and a new paragraph. Aragorn just shuts him down. HE’S THAT GOOD.

Sam, rendered speechless.

In essence, the reason Frodo trusts Aragorn is that he doesn’t seem like a spy of the enemy. According to Frodo a spy would “seem fairer and feel fouler,” or, in other words, act more like a used car salesman. Aragorn has a rascally air, yet speaks honestly. Frodo has taken to that, and for good reason. Finally, it appears that we can get past the game of trying to figure the Ranger out.

And to be fair, what evil character would carry around a broken sword? There’s no advantage in that. You would only waste energy lugging around a broken weapon if it meant something to you, which, in this case, it does, and evil beings don’t tend to put a lot of meaning in useless objects.

It will always get remade later on anyway.

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Have a Merry Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus/Wookiee Life Day/December 25th everybody!

“‘Well,’ said Strider, ‘with Sam’s permission we will call that settled.'”

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Can we get sentimental here for a moment? Okay, I’m going to get sentimental.

A very important anniversary passed sometime recently, and I only realized it just a few days ago. What were you doing around this time ten years ago? I was in 7th grade, and on the last day of school before Winter Break, our entire grade went on a field trip. Where we went, well, it was a big moment in my life. We saw a movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. That was ten years ago! Can you believe that? At the time, I had read The Hobbit, having been in a stage production of it, but not Lord of the Rings. That was a pretty big step for me. Look where I am now. I did read the book, and soon. I think I got it in paperback for Christmas. Anyway, I thought that was important to note.

And how awesome was that day, for me, ten years ago? After the movie was over and I went home, my aunt took me to Medieval Times. On the way there I retold the first half of the movie. On the way back, I finished it. It was a pretty great day.

I still have no clue how they manage to joust without actually killing each other.

So, today’s page! Gandalf’s letter has three postscripts. In the first, he reminds Frodo not to use the ring. The second advises him to check to make sure that Strider is the true Strider, revealing his real name of Aragorn along with a rhyming riddle that must mean something. The third postscript is in hopes that Butterbur sends the letter quickly. If he does not, Gandalf intends to “roast him”.

Yeah! Roast Butterbur!

The letter ends, and Frodo asks Aragorn why he did not identify as a friend of Gandalf’s from the beginning. Aragorn admits to have had no knowledge of this letter, and needed to get his own proof that Frodo was who he appeared to be. Aragorn has seen trickery from his enemies before.

Meaning, this road goes both ways. Not only did Frodo have to trust Aragorn, but Aragorn had to trust Frodo as well. I think Aragorn has already come to believe that Frodo is genuine, and hopefully this letter goes to prove the same about Aragorn to Frodo. The rhyme is clearly about Aragorn, concerning itself with a broken blade (Narsil, Elendil’s sword which cut the ring from Sauron’s hand) and the re-crowning of a king.

Um...wrong myth. Get out of here, Arthur.

Also, this is the second time Gandalf has mentioned actually doing harm to someone in retribution for disappointing him. He first mentioned turning Sam into a toad. This guy really must have some neat powers, but only mentions them in sarcasm. Come on, man!

I guess Gandalf had an Uncle Ben too.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:



Okay, this thing not recognizing “Gandalf” simply because it’s in all caps is ridiculous. And “crownless”? I’ll admit that that’s a pretty typical word. Dictionary.com seems to think it’s totally an acceptable adjective form of “crown”. And Dictionary.com never lies.

“‘They are – at first sight at any rate,’ laughed Pippin with sudden…”

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Let’s read the letter! Let’s read the letter!

Considering we haven’t seen or heard from Gandalf in over 100 pages, this is kind of a big deal. But, we have a few things to get through first.


Butterbur agrees to let Frodo stay the night in The Prancing Pony, and keep a close guard on the door. You see, stories of Bilbo’s strange disappearance reached Bree, and people can put two and two together to start to suspect something about this “Mr. Underhill”. News will reach the black riders, and soon. Frodo asks for breakfast to be ready at 6:30am, and they’ll be off early. Suddenly, everyone notices that Merry is still missing. Butterbur sends Nob to look for him and bring him back. Butterbur leaves, and Aragorn prompts Frodo to read Gandalf’s letter.

The letter, written in The Prancing Pony, begins with Gandalf saying that he has heard bad news, and must leave. He urges Frodo to leave the Shire as soon as possible, which at that time was by the end of July. He tells him he can trust Butterbur, and to look out for a friend, called Strider, on the road.

See, Gandalf says we can trust Aragorn! What more can Frodo ask for?

What can Frodo ask for? Merry to stop being hypocritical. He was the one warning Frodo, Sam, and Pippin not to do anything stupid, which, of course, they failed at, but what’s he up to? Wandering the streets of Bree late into the night? Sure, that’s safe!

"Ah, the night air is nice! Look, a cozy alleyway! This looks safe!"

And how much can we actually trust Butterbur to lock the doors tight? I’m not putting a lot of faith there. You know what? The people of Bree need to get better at security. Our friend Harry at the gate let Aragorn just jump right over, and Butterbur, the only other man we truly get to know, seems totally ineffectual.

Note this: Gandalf wanted Frodo to get out of the Shire by the end of JULY. Frodo left Bag End on September 22nd, and finally left the Shire through Buckland early on September 25th. Oops. Two months late is better than never, right? For reference, it’s now the night of the 28th. Yes, Frodo’s almost been traveling for a week!

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What, Gandalf can’t be possessive? You exhaust me, spellcheck.

You may meet a friend of mine on the Road: a Man, lean, dark, tall, by some called Strider. He knows our...”

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All sorts of Middle-eart stuff happening in my life right now!

First off, if you haven’t seen it already, here’s the first trailer out for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

It’s coming in a year from now! Which means we’ll be around page 530 or so. Halfway!

In other news, friend, reader, and occasional photo mockery subject Dan sent me an interesting theory on Tom Bombadil. While there isn’t a ton (or any, really) of text to back it up, the argument is pretty good. To read it for yourself,  head over to:


Is Tom really an incredibly opportunistic evil being? Hm…

Oh, yeah, and we have today’s page to talk about!

Butterbur explains how a group of black riders came calling looking for “Baggins”. He sent them off, but has heard that they’ve been searching the entire area. That Ranger, Strider, too came looking for the hobbits.

Suddenly, BOOM! Aragorn appears out of the shadows, startling Butterbur. Frodo lets Butterbur know that Aragorn is in the room by his permission, and Butterbur relaxes a bit. Butterbur advises them against allying with Strider, but Aragorn argues back that Butterbur wouldn’t exactly be able to help them much better. Frodo tries to explain what’s going on, and Aragorn cuts in with the fact that the black riders come from Mordor, making Butterbur finally realize the gravity of the situation. He agrees to help Frodo as best as he can, although Aragorn knows that there isn’t much a quaint innkeeper can do.

Butterbur mentions that when the black riders come a-calling, the dogs and geese in Bree are restless. Mirroring what happened with Farmer Maggot’s dogs, we’re seeing how animals react to the fear emanating from the Ringwraiths.


But you know what, though? I think this is all helping to show that the hobbits can trust Aragorn. It’s clear that Butterbur can be trusted, as Gandalf trusts him. Aragorn is giving Butterbur information and telling him how he can help the hobbits. Someone evil wouldn’t do that. Though Butterbur and Aragorn don’t get along, it’s obvious that they both want the same thing, and if that can be made clear to Frodo, then it won’t be long before he accepts Aragorn into their company. It’s amazing how hearing one little thing about Gandalf can show Frodo who is worth putting faith in. It’s like that time when Finnick shows up wearing Haymitch’s bracelet.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you have another movie trilogy to watch out for.

I think that’s it for today. Watch that trailer, if you haven’t already like ten times.

“‘You can let Mr. Underhill stay here…'”

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The first line of the page kind of says it all. He comes back to us now, at the turn of the tide.

Whoops. That's later.

Gandalf was the one who told Butterbur to be on the lookout for Frodo! Butterbur takes his time getting to this, and Frodo grows impatient, wanting to know why the innkeeper constantly believes that he’s done some sort of harm. As it turns out, Gandalf wanted Butterbur to deliver a letter to Frodo while he was still in the Shire. Butterbur promised to send the letter right away, but couldn’t find anyone willing to take it to the Shire. After a while, he forgot about it, until just now, when he put two and two together about the hobbit named Baggins, going by Underhill, who Gandalf had hinted might pass through Bree.

So, Butterbur: well-intentioned, but ineffectual. Gandalf really shouldn’t have relied on someone so forgetful. Nevertheless, he does deliver the letter to Frodo, albeit some three months late.

Not unlike holiday shipping!

Gandalf also warned Butterbur to take care of Frodo because trouble may be behind him, especially if Gandalf himself were not there to accompany him. Well, look at this now, Gandalf isn’t here, and trouble is right behind Frodo! How good of you to predict so well, sir!

Of course, all this news makes Frodo very happy, seeing as he felt very forgotten by Gandalf. If you notice, he hasn’t even thought of Gandalf for a while. Remember when we were leaving Bag End and all Frodo could worry about was what could be delaying Gandalf from meeting up with him as he said he would? We’ve moved on from that. Now there are evil things to deal with, and a mysterious Ranger lurking somewhere in the shadows of this room, hiding from Butterbur’s mutton chops.

All those years out in the wilderness really hone a man's skills.

Now, before I get to the last line of the page, let me warn you: this line, taken out of context, sounds like the beginning of something horribly racist. If you’ve been following, you know it’s not, but let me explain. Butterbur isn’t talking about skin color here. In this universe, calling something “black” refers to its countenance, like how the language of Mordor is called Black Speech, evil things associated with Mordor are called “black”.

I really hope I didn’t just dig a deep hole for myself there. Cut to the chase: BUTTERBUR IS TALKING ABOUT THE BLACK RIDERS.

“‘These black men,’ said the landlord lowering his voice. ‘They’re…'”

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Decisions, decisions. Frodo is bad at them.

This girl: better at decisions than Frodo Baggins.

Pippin has nothing to add after Sam’s disapproval of Aragorn, and Frodo admits that there is something honest about the Ranger, though he wants to know more about who he is. Aragorn understands, but scolds Frodo for taking so long to make up his mind. Just as he starts to explain everything we all want to know…

A knock at the door! It’s Butterbur, coming as he said he would to talk with Frodo. He has candles, and Nob follows with hot water. After sputtering a bit, Butterbur admits that he has been on the lookout for Frodo, being told to look for a hobbit named Baggins, but going by Underhill. He even has a description of Frodo. Naturally, Frodo wants to know where this description came from.

So we go back and forth about whether or not Frodo is going to let Aragorn come with him, and Butterbur’s appearance doesn’t help, actually forcing Aragorn to hide in a corner. Yes, we want Frodo to trust him, but is hiding from the jovial innkeeper going to further that process?

Granted, I might be afraid of the man's mutton chops too.

Need more proof of the strength of the characterization in this book? Just look at this differences in speech patterns between Aragorn and Butterbur. Aragorn is quick to get to the point. We saw that yesterday, and again today. Butterbur’s speech wanders around, eventually getting somewhere. “It’s like this,” he says. “If I’ve done any harm, I’m sorry indeed. But one thing drives out another, as you’ll admit; and I’m a busy man. But first one thing and then another this week have jogged my memory, as the saying goes; and not too late I hope.” Get to the point, Barley! He’s honest, sure, but certainly not reliable, as it takes him this long to remember or say anything.

The description given of Frodo is funny, however. Pippin laughs at first because it seems very generalized. Then, when it gets specific, I find it to be comical. It says that Frodo has a cleft in his chin, or, as the more crass of us would call it, a butt-chin.


We learn who gave this description tomorrow…

“‘He said it? And who was he?’ asked Frodo eagerly.”

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