Archive for the ‘5 – A Conspiracy Unmasked’ Category

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.

Otherwise known as: fading into obscurity.

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.

First Mentions:

-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.

There's also the Washington Monument, but that seems less likely.

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.”

Read Full Post »

The time for games is over.


Frodo’s thinking about getting things done. How long would it take for the black riders to get over the river? Does that save any time to wait? According to Merry, they could have gotten to Crickhollow by the Brandywine Bridge by now, but they were likely delayed by the guards at the north entrance to Buckland. There’s no telling how long they’ll stand to be held out by a bunch of hobbits. Frodo decides that it’s time to go. They’ll leave at sunrise. However, any typical way is sure to be watched. He proposes they leave through the Old Forest. Fatty Bolger is NOT OKAY WITH THAT. He’s deathly afraid of the Old Forest. Merry argues that they’ll be fine. The Brandybucks have an entrance into the forest, and Frodo’s used it before. Fatty says that they should do what they want, as it seems he’s not planning on joining them.

First Mentions:

-the North-gate: The northern entrance to Buckland, guarded just south of the Brandywine Bridge.

-the East Road: Road from the Brandywine Bridge out of the Shire traveling east.

Okay, so I was a little confused by how the North-gate relates to the bridge and road spatially, and why there are guards there. Think of it like this: Buckland is beyond the traditional eastern boundary of the Shire, the Brandywine River. Once the bridge crosses the river, north of Buckland, heading east it becomes a well-traveled road (the East Road), no longer in the Shire. Buckland’s northern boundary is just south of the East Road. Thus, this entrance to Buckland is one of the entrances to the Shire, although most would take the Brandywine Bridge into the rest of the Shire proper. We already learned about guards at other entrances, why not this one too? It gets confusing when Buckland is commonly referenced as being separate from the Shire. In reality, it’s within the Shire, but it’s more of an expansion upon it than anything.

It’s like the hobbits’ version of Manifest Destiny. Right? Does that make any sense?

More sense than this? Good.

So Fatty Bolger backs out of accompanying Frodo, which answered the question of whether or not he was in on the whole conspiracy to being with. Although, I’m not actually sure if he was planning on coming with anyway. In other news, I’m pretty sure he’s not a killer robot from the future, as we discussed earlier.

Tomorrow is the last page of Chapter 5! These last few chapters have been considerably shorter than the first couple, which I totally wasn’t expecting. Things are moving quickly towards the journey really beginning. As long as the hobbits are still in the Shire, it’s hard to call it a journey yet. Did you know I’m like 1/10th of the way through? Yeah, since the entire book is just over 1000 pages, 100 is a tenth! SO MUCH LEFT.

“‘I am more afraid of the Old Forest than of anything I know about: the stories about it are a nightmare; but my vote hardly counts, as I am not going on…'”

Read Full Post »

After some arm twisting…

"Frodo, you WILL let us come with you!" - Merry (in my mind)

Frodo lets Merry and Pippin come along with him. Okay, there really isn’t any arm twisting. Frodo accepts it pretty much right away. They refer to the four of them as “Captain Frodo and company”, which just sounds like a bad spinoff waiting to happen. Then, because they’re hobbits, they sing a song. Merry and Pippin wrote new lyrics to a tune that sent Bilbo off on his own adventure so long ago, and perform it as they dance around the room. It references leaving before daybreak, so Frodo assumes that this is the plan, and starts thinking about what they need to do before then. Pippin thinks otherwise.

Yes, Pippin, who just was allowed to accompany Frodo on his arduous journey, is already trying to procrastinate. The song? Just “poetry”! They never meant to leave that soon. Right, guys?


But seriously though, why did no one ever make a terrible spinoff titled “Captain Frodo and Company”? If anyone reading this has mad comic drawing skills, let’s do it. A retelling of Lord of the Rings, but with the four hobbits as superheroes led by Frodo being totally rad all the way to Mordor. This just can’t go wrong.


Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

So Merry and Pippin sing this song:

“Farewell we call to hearth and hall!

Though wind may blow and rain may fall,

We must away ere break of day

Far over wood and mountain tall.

To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell

In glades beneath the misty fell,

Through moor and waste we ride in haste,

And whither then we cannot tell.

With foes ahead, behind us dread,

Beneath the sky shall be our bed,

Until at last our toil be passed,

Our journey done, our errand sped.

We must away! We must away!

We ride before the break of day!”

It comes from a dwarven song, originally sung to Bilbo in The Hobbit. A blast from the past, I present:

Sloop Pip T

(Sloop John B – The Beach Boys)

When I realized that this was a throwback song from Bilbo’s earlier days, I knew that I needed to base it off an oldies song. For some reason, the joy of The Beach Boys screamed to be used. A nice fit.

I do apologize for the odd placement in my voice. If you didn’t know I’m a bass before, now you do. It was either really low or really high in my range. Given that choice, I choose low.

“‘The answer to the second question,’ said Merry, ‘is that we could…'”

Read Full Post »

Wait. Stop. A retraction I need to make:

Yesterday I said that I would be stepping in for a friend of mine in a show. That is no longer happening. The director is going to do it. Just need to clear the air on that one. I got two very excited/distressed messages about that, one from each parent.

On the plus side, my parents read my blog semi-regularly, guys! I’m so cool!

Mom is always there with a big chocolate cake, and Dad with the bowtie!

Today, Merry explains how he kept an eye on Bilbo after watching him disappear. He got a quick glance once at Bilbo’s book (he’s writing what we know as The Hobbit), which surprises Frodo, as it was one of Bilbo’s better kept secrets. He kept everything to himself until this past spring, then shared it with Pippin and brought Sam in to help gather information. Yes, Sam was spying the whole time, even before being caught by Gandalf. Sam is very embarrassed to be outed as the snitch, but says that Gandalf didn’t want Frodo to go alone, and this was a way to get his trusted friends in on it. Merry pushes the fact that they are trustworthy, and will follow Frodo into whatever danger. Even if he won’t allow them to come with, he can’t stop them from following his trail.

My favorite part of this page is when Merry reveals Sam as their informant. Frodo is shocked, having “expected a masked and sinister figure to come out of a cupboard.” WHAT? Things only ever work like that in the movies, Frodo! (I guess hobbits don’t have movies…you know what I mean.) What did he really expect, some shady, previously unknown hobbit to show up out of nowhere? That really only works in certain circumstances, and usually only best when it’s consciously funny.

Why, look, a masked and sinister figure! Emerging from a cupboard, no less!

So ultimately Frodo ends up feeling a little silly. His big secret, which he thought only Gandalf and Sam knew, is common knowledge among his friends. Although, is Fatty Bolger in this room? Does he know? Unclear. Nevertheless, even though this is exactly what Frodo didn’t want to happen, it’s going to make his life easier in the long run. Unless, of course, Pippin continues his tirade of hunger and laziness. He’s been terribly unhelpful this whole time. Fool of a Took!

I guess you could call these four members of the Fellowship officially together! Pending, of course, Frodo’s acceptance of the fact that they’re coming with him. Is there really any doubt? Merry surely isn’t taking no for an answer.

On a final note, here’s something that I caught circulating the interwebz today:

99% of Middle-earth's power is bound up into 1% of Middle-earth's rings.

I LOL’d. Like you do.

Fun fact that you didn’t really care about: buildings sway. Maybe that isn’t new news to anyone, but when you live on the 26th floor of a building during a Chicago wind-storm, you notice how much the light fixtures sway with it.

“‘I don’t deny it,’ said Frodo, looking at Sam, who was now…”

Read Full Post »

Advice for today:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Save Ferris.

This morning, I read an email from a friend of mine about the show she’s in starting this weekend. A few hours later, I suddenly find myself in that show. Another friend of mine (also in the show) might have mono. We preview Thursday, open Friday. Once I’m done with this post, I have a lot of memorizing to do.

Don’t worry, this is applicable to today’s page! You know who hasn’t let life pass them by? Merry and Pippin. Talk about observant. They didn’t want Frodo to slip away without them knowing about it. They want to come with! You see, Merry and Pippin already know about the ring. What? Yes, although it wasn’t through any fault of Frodo’s. Bilbo had the ring for so many years, and although he tried to keep it secret, it inevitably showed up from time to time. One day, while Merry was walking through Hobbiton, he realized he was a few paces behind Bilbo. Far in the distance, coming the other way along the road, he could see the Sackville-Bagginses. Bilbo saw them too, and suddenly disappeared into thin air! Merry was so amazed that, after hiding in the bushes from the Sackville-Bagginses, he watched Bilbo reappear, and slip something golden into his pocket.

Okay, wait, this is the conspiracy, not Frodo’s leaving. Merry and Pippin had this all planned out. I don’t understand why they kept it secret from Frodo, since I’m sure he would have felt better knowing that more of his friends had his back than Sam, but I don’t know if he really could have counted on Pippin during the whole time when they were being followed by black riders. He is a little lazy. Merry is clearly the more responsible of the two.

On an interesting note, I’m writing this post with Elvis music on repeat blasting through my ears. That’s a really odd combination of things to be thinking about at the same time.

I'm trying to get it stuck in my head, which is a terrifying, terrifying thought.

In other fun news, the re-formatting project is done! My typed copy of Lord of the Rings looks so much prettier now! (No, you’re not going to see it. Copyright, remember?)

Lots of work to do now. I feel like I’m going on a…quest!

“‘I caught a glint of gold as he put something back in his trouser-pocket.'”

Read Full Post »

Silly Frodo, tricks are for hobbits!

Does that make any sense?

No. To be fair, neither does Trix cereal.

Merry and Pippin pry the information out of Frodo. He admits that the black riders have something to do with Bilbo’s treasure, and that he feels very unsafe. Frodo then suddenly begins a metaphorical drum roll as if he were about to announce his departure. Merry beats him to it. Yes, Frodo, Merry and Pippin have figured you out. While Frodo was busy making up stories as to why he was selling Bag End and saying goodbye to his favorite parts of the Shire, Merry and Pippin noticed the pattern. They figured out that he was going to leave the Shire a long time ago. Frodo is shocked. Does every hobbit know of his plans? No, apparently. The secret is safe with Merry and Pippin, for now.

Looking back on everything, yeah, Frodo is an idiot. Of course everyone else has figured it out! Frodo was so morose and distant ever since the sale of Bag End. There was always clearly something bigger going on. It all makes him look like a fool when he tries to make such a big deal out of it. From what they say, it doesn’t seem like Merry and Pippin are that fazed by the prospect of Frodo leaving. Maybe they’re ready to get rid of him. Either way, that stupid lead-up to Frodo’s announcement (what I termed the “drum roll”) was just ridiculous. I’ve learned that a big drum roll like that is only good in one situation:

A kiss! What were you expecting?

Here’s the thing: do Merry and Pippin know that Sam is involved? Sam stays out of this conversation, as usual. Do they have any idea about the semi blood oath that he swore to Gandalf to stick with Frodo? I do guess, however, that Sam is just dumb enough to seem like he tagged along for the walk to Crickhollow without any idea of the implications. Maybe Merry and Pippin don’t see that there’s a reason behind his sidekickishness. (Yes, I just made that word up.)

So, this is the conspiracy that gets unmasked in Chapter 5, “A Conspiracy Unmasked”. I wish it were more exciting than that.

Fatty Bolger is actually a KILLER ROBOT FROM THE FUTURE!

Hey, I can dream.

“‘After all, you must remember that we know you well,…'”

Read Full Post »

I’m home! Back in my own apartment, on my own couch, doing this on my own time.

And I’m late. Oops. Sorry to anyone who follows this so religiously that the fact that two posts will be dated on the same day will be troubling to you. Actually, if you care that much about this, I should probably be thanking you. See, whether or not you can figure this out, the whole “page-a-day” concept as I define it means each 24-hour period of my conscious being. So, yes, this will be posted after midnight, which is what WordPress determines as the divider between one day and the next. For me, however, tomorrow starts when I wake up. So there.

Today’s page! Frodo comes out of the bathroom to dry, since the room is completely soaking from Pippin’s splash-fest. Merry peeks his head into the bathroom to view the carnage, and indeed, Pippin’s bathwater is EVERYWHERE.

This is vaguely relevant, and looks AWESOME.

Merry threatens Pippin with a lack of supper if he doesn’t clean up. The food is served. More mushrooms, even though Frodo, Sam, and Pippin had plenty earlier. You see, hobbits apparently LOVE mushrooms, so the more the better! Supper is good, as it should be, and Merry pushes the three travelers for more information about why they, and Farmer Maggot, were so afraid earlier. Pippin offers up information, giving a full account of their encounters with the black riders, and Sam pitches in somewhat. Frodo stays silent, prompting a jab from Pippin.

Pippin and Sam, in retelling the story, get lucky here as Merry saw the black rider snooping after them at the Bucklebury Ferry. Merry admits that he probably wouldn’t have believed the story if it weren’t for that, which I wouldn’t blame him for. I myself probably wouldn’t believe half (or more than half) of anything Pippin says, and Sam just seems unreliable in terms of anything other than gardening. Frodo is definitely the most trustworthy of the three, but his silence doesn’t help his case. Is he really that hung up on trying to figure out how to tell the others that he’s running away?

In reality, this hesitation by Frodo (I think) is hurting his ability to slip away unnoticed. Obviously Sam knows somewhat about what’s going on, but the constant pressure from Pippin and Merry to figure this all out is going to come down on Frodo eventually. I wouldn’t be surprised if they press him for the truth, which he so clearly understands at this point, on tomorrow’s page. As soon as that happens, there’s no quick exit for Frodo. If Frodo was even just to give them a lie at this point, it might satisfy their curiosity long enough. Saying nothing makes them clamor for some semblance of information.

Gosh! I’m wordy tonight!

It's because I spent too much time this weekend being not-wordy while climbing around this buliding made of hipster jungle gyms.

Undoubtedly, Frodo will get what is coming to him. But, you know, he’ll save the world later. So there’s that.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


Merry shouts “Lawks!” when he sees the mess that Pippin has made. Is it a variation on “Lord”? A hobbit-style “OMG”? Don’t know. I don’t even feel like I can blame the English for this one. It’s just weird.

“‘So far we have been given nothing more to go on than Farmer Maggot’s guess that it has something to do with old Bilbo’s treasure.'”

Read Full Post »

Busy, crazy day! Even more so, because…it’s a song day!

Don't get so excited.

Merry makes everyone’s day better by announcing that a bath has been prepared for the travelers. While Pippin celebrates, Frodo burns him by calling him slow, not to mention too young to go first. However, Merry says that there are actually three tubs, all ready! Frodo, Sam, and Pippin rejoice while Merry and Fatty go to prepare supper. Soon, the house is filled with bathing songs. Pippin’s rises above the others, and he splashes his water around in the tub.

My first question when Merry announced bath time was this: Are the three tubs literally in the same room, or are there walls between them? I’m no expert on hobbit modesty. Is communal bath-taking a normal occurrence? Keep in mind, these aren’t the bathhouses of ancient Rome. Merry specifically mentions three individual tubs, with one tub of hot water in the middle. Who knows how open that room is…

And I’m assuming that hobbits don’t take showers. I don’t think they have the plumbing for that.

And CERTAINLY not the technology for this.

And Pippin sings a bath song. Now, who was well-known for singing this very song? Bilbo, of course! I feel like everything can be traced back to him, like he was the hobbit version of Ben Franklin or something.

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

Pippin’s (Bilbo’s) song goes like this:

“Sing hey! for the bath at close of day

that washes the weary mud away!

A loon is he that will not sing:

O! Water Hot is a noble thing!

O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,

and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;

but better than rain or rippling streams

is Water Hot that smokes and steams.

O! Water cold we may pour at need

down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;

but better is Beer, if drink we lack,

and Water Hot poured down the back.

O! Water is fair that leaps on high

in a fountain white beneath the sky;

but never did fountain sound so sweet

as splashing Hot Water with my feet!”

It’s a happy thing, though very irregular in rhythm. With (some) difficulty, I present:

Bath’s Got You Clean

(She’s Got You High – Mumm-Ra)

This one was hard to figure out. I’m not sure how I like it yet, but it works. I’m a little pressed for time, so it had to be what it had to be.

Doing this on a trip is HARD, although I admit I expected that. It’s working out. At least I like to think so. Trip home tomorrow!

“It appeared that a lot of Pippin’s bath had imitated a fountain and leaped on high.”

Read Full Post »

I keep coming up with better and better formatting ideas. This is quickly becoming quite the major project! I guess there’s no better way to explain it than saying that I’m essentially sitting here and making sure everything lines up. It’s so anally perfectionist of me, but I guess that’s what I do.

Format THIS!

As Frodo, Sam, and Pippin start to walk back to the new house at Crickhollow, Merry rides on ahead, both to let Fatty Bolger know that they’re coming and to prepare some dinner. He takes Frodo’s basket of mushrooms. The walk for the three is a few more miles, but it passes uneventfully. They finally reach the house, which is set back from the lane quite a bit, and is very dark. Perfect for Frodo to run away from! They knock on the door and Fatty answers. Merry shows Frodo that he and Fatty tried to arrange all the furniture as best as they could in a short time to look the most like it did at Bag End. Major Bilbo-pining commences from Frodo. Once again, he feels bad to have put his friends through all this trouble when he just plans on leaving, something he thinks he must tell them before they go to bed.

To get an idea of what this house looks like, we’re told that it’s really not all that different from a hobbit hole. It’s long and only one story, with grass on the roof just as if it were built into a hill. So, really, this is Bag End 2.0, just not a hole. Even the furniture is arranged in a similar way, so you can just imagine it as being the same place. I won’t tell on you. Except, it’s a house. That’s the one big difference.

Also, gluttony alert. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin had that hearty farm-meal with Farmer Maggot, yet they are all ready and waiting to eat something more when they arrive in Buckland. Hobbits, stop being so hungry all the time! It’s literally a second supper. Ask yourself this, guys, do you really need that second helping of mushrooms?

It can't hurt to have one more triple-decker burger, right?

I guess when you have one guy nicknamed “Fatty”, you know you have a problem.

So how long will it take for Frodo to tell everyone? I’m going to go ahead and assume he procrastinates this for as long as hobbitly possible. He’s just not taking this whole situation seriously enough yet. Get with it, Frodo! There are black riders chasing you, remember?

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


“Storey”, as in a one-storey building. Let’s just add an “e”, because “English” starts with “e”!

They're watching us.

“Yet that would have to be done that very night, before they all went to bed.”

Read Full Post »

I’m reporting from enemy territory in St. Louis, MO. If you don’t know me, you should at least know that I’m a huge Cubs fan, and the fact that I’m in St. Louis as the Cardinals play in the National League Championship Series is truly painful for me. However, as they play against Milwaukee, I really can’t decide which team I want to lose to the AL representative in the World Series. I hate them both.

Let's be honest, I don't have anything better to do this MLB offseason.

Today, we hear about the hedge that runs along the eastern border of Buckland, protecting it from that creepy Old Forest. How creepy? Bucklanders lock their doors at night. That’s creepy stuff. Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry land the ferry on the Buckland bank of the Brandywine. As they disembark, and Merry and Pippin deal with the ferry and pony, Sam looks back over the river. He sees something, and calls to the rest. There, on the opposite dock, is a black figure, crawling around. Naturally, Merry FREAKS OUT. Frodo says that he’ll explain later, but it’s time to go. That thing can’t get over the ferry, right? No. Boats aren’t kept on that side of the river, so he’ll have to go ten miles north to the Brandywine Bridge. That should take long enough…

First Mentions:

-the Four Farthings: Essentially, another name for the Shire. Although, not including Buckland. Buckland is not technically a farthing.

-the High Hay: Hedge running along the eastern border of Buckland. Twenty miles long!

-Haysend: Town on the south end of Buckland. It’s where the HAY ENDS! GET IT?!

-the Withywindle: Some sort of river that flows out of the Old Forest. WORST NAME EVER.

Gosh darn black rider! Crawling around like a creeper! Seriously though, the crawling gets to me more than anything. I brought that up before, but it’s WEIRD. Like, there is no other physical thing that a black rider could do that would make my skin crawl like that. Do I have some phobia? Crawl-a-phobia? Does that exist?


So how does Frodo explain that sort of thing to Merry? That’s going to take a lot. And how do you explain it without bringing up the ring? That’s kind of important, and I think Pippin’s gotten around it so well because he’s too frightened (or, lazy) to really care about the reasoning. That’s a good friend.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:



Well, things to do. Doing this on a trip is going to be interesting. I’ve already been getting pressured to finish up so we can go somewhere. World, thanks for being understanding that sometimes I just need to nerd out for a while. I do this now. Can’t miss a day!

Also, big formatting project has happened to the file that I type the book up in. Not bad, just something I want to do to make it look as perfect as possible. Something more to keep me busy!

“‘You and Pippin know your way; so I’ll just ride on and…'”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »