Everything is cleared up now: Fatty Bolger never intended to come with Frodo. He’s playing the part of that one guy who stays behind to keep everything hunky-dory at home.
Fatty has no desire to leave the Shire, and thus is going to stay and make sure that everyone thinks that Frodo still lives at Crickhollow. He’ll be the one to tell Gandalf of Frodo’s plan if he shows up. The hobbits head to bed after getting everything ready to go, with Merry set to wake them all up first thing in the morning. Once asleep, Frodo has a mysterious dream. At first he is looking down on a dark forest, hearing the sounds of sniffing, presumably from black riders. Suddenly he hears and smells the sea, and is looking up to a white tower on a hill. He wants to climb it and look out over the sea, and as he does so, the sky lights up and thunder rolls.
-Budgeford: Town where Fatty Bolger is from. In the Eastfarthing.
-Bridgefields: Region encompassing Budgeford. Just west of the Brandywine Bridge, thus Bridgefields.
Lost in a single sentence on this page is this minor detail, concerning Fatty Bolger staying behind: “They little thought how dangerous that part might prove.” Is that foreshadowing on Fatty’s peril? Death? What’s with this sudden darkness? I don’t know how to interpret that. There’s no doubt that what Fatty Bolger is doing is actually very important to keeping Frodo safe. And there’s also no doubt about the possible danger he could face. Do we have to go ahead and possibly foreshadow his death? It kind of comes out of left field there.
Secondly, what are we to make of Frodo’s dream? He’s definitely having a nightmare about black riders, but then what? There are a few white towers that he could be looking at, though those at the Grey Havens seem to be the most likely, with the sounds of the sea.
Is Frodo looking that far into the future? So much happens between now and the Grey Havens that there are so many more interesting things to have a dream about. Well, I guess that’s why it’s a mysterious, chapter-ending dream.
Words My Computer Didn’t Like:
Fun fact: If Tolkien had changed one word in this last sentence of the chapter, he would have majorly ripped off the last sentence (and title) of a Ray Bradbury short story published a few years previously.
“He started to struggle up the ridge towards the tower: but suddenly a light came in the sky, and there was a noise of thunder.”