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Archive for the ‘7 – Homeward Bound’ Category

I think I put off writing this post tonight because I really have nothing (or very little) to say about this page. It’s another one of those short little blurbs that doesn’t feel like a real page. Well, it’s the end of another chapter, and I guess we don’t have many more of those to go.

Merry notices that it’s down to just the four hobbits who started this whole thing out together. How fitting. It feels like waking up from a dream.

THEY WERE ASLEEP THE WHOLE TIME.

THEY WERE ASLEEP THE WHOLE TIME.

Frodo disagrees. He feels like he’s going back to sleep.

Not sure what he means by that. Did he feel truly alive on this journey? That’s funny, because what about that whole time that Frodo was basically a zombie? Yeah, that happened.

And so, it’s another chapter gone. Believe it or not, we’re less than two weeks out from the end. Page 1000 is just around the corner, and that feels like it’ll be quite the milestone of just feeling old. Four digits, man.

No one dies today.

“‘To me it feels more like falling asleep again.'”

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Away from Bree, the hobbits are able to talk openly about their fears with Gandalf. Has something happened to the Shire?

Yes.

Yes.

But that’s okay! They have Gandalf! Everything will be just fine.

NO.

Gandalf means to leave the group, and instead have a long talk with Tom Bombadil. He has full faith that the hobbits can solve the problems of the Shire on their own. They’ve been through a lot worse, remember. Even though Gandalf’s pretty sure that Saruman is behind all of this, his time is over, and it’s the hobbits’ turn to shape their world.

Wait, haven’t they done that already? Yeah, whatever.

There’s a weird hint here about Tom Bombadil that I haven’t heard anyone mention before. Gandalf calls him “a moss-gatherer,” (WAIT, THAT’S IT!), and Gandalf is “a stone doomed to rolling.” No, Tom isn’t just a moss-gatherer. It’s an analogy, but one that makes me wonder if Gandalf and Tom Bombadil are closer in relation than most people think. What if they’re two beings, much alike, but going about their business in opposite ways? Gandalf is the hands-on one, and Tom prefers hands-off. That would lead me to believe that Tom is some sort of Maia, but that’s about all that I could conjecture. I don’t even think I’m right. It’s just an interesting connection that Gandalf draws.

Connections: I make them.

Connections: I make them.

Tomorrow will bring about a short end to this chapter, and thus bring one more question: will it be the LAST chapter, or just the SECOND TO LAST?!

Be on your toes, ladies and gents.

No one dies today.

“He turned Shadowfax off the Road, and the great horse leaped the green dike that here ran beside it; and then at a cry from Gandalf he was gone, racing towards the Barrow-downs like a wind from the North.”

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Dare I say only 15 more pages? In about two weeks, I find my end.

Sometimes.

Sometimes.

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.

That's a videogame quote popular enough that I always forget it's from a videogame.

That’s a videogame quote popular enough that I always forget it’s from a videogame.

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.'”

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Butterbur finally realizes that it’s Aragorn – his mysterious Strider – that has become king of men. That elicits a lot of this:

WHA-

WHA-

This does seem to confirm that better times are coming for Bree. Butterbur is ready to turn in for the night when he remembers one more thing. Bill the pony, who Sam took along with them once upon a time ago, has returned! He found his way back to Bree, messy and hungry, but alive. Sam demands to see him.

The four hobbits and Gandalf stay in Bree the next day, and interest grows in their appearance. Butterbur’s business is good the next night.

I’m gathering that this means we’ll be moving on from Bree soon. I think we’ve exhausted the possibilities here. Butterbur’s story is tied up (and Bill the pony’s), and he’s ready for his happily-ever-after. Pretty much everyone else has had that moment. The hobbits just need to get back to the Shire to have theirs.

You get a happy ending! YOU get a happy ending!

You get a happy ending! YOU get a happy ending!

Unfortunately, it’s not like I see the end of the chapter approaching. I’m thinking we have one more left after this, but I guess it could be possible to squeeze two more in. We’re looking at 16 more pages, so two short chapters wouldn’t be crazy.

I know I could look this stuff up, but it’s about the journey!

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-horsethieving

Because that’s a totally necessary word. Why not?

No one dies today.

“For a while out of…”

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More to come of the conversation with Butterbur, which is really just catching us up on the goings on of the northern lands.

It would seem that Bree is safe from marauders for the time being. They must be afraid of the five companions who rode into town in armor and heraldry, and, more importantly, the rangers who have been returning north. I had forgotten about this, but I finally realized why it made sense for Aragorn to continue riding north for a while: the rangers were leaving Gondor. They traveled north with the four hobbits and numerous elves, and have now returned to the lands that they were long protecting.

And yes, the people of Bree have finally noticed that the rangers were actually doing something good for them.

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

Gandalf makes sure to tell Butterbur that times will improve. Aragorn will be sending more men north to the old kingdom of Arnor to rebuild it. He will come himself, sometime, and there will be many folk passing by Bree. Good for business!

Strangely enough, I can actually reconcile some of the changes made in the film adaptation. Bear with me here…

So, in the films, no rangers ride to meet Aragorn in Rohan. Halbarad and his Dúnedain do not feature in the events of the story. Let’s think logically from that point. If no rangers ride south, then they must all still be in the North. If they remain in the North, they continue to protect the lands around Bree and the Shire. With the rangers still about, wayward bandits cannot come unchecked into the area and terrorize its inhabitants. Thus, the events of the Scouring of the Shire cannot happen. The rangers would not allow it. That’s why it doesn’t happen.

BOOM.

Of course, some would argue that the films kill off Saruman, thus further negating any possibility of his occupation of the Shire. However, Saruman’s death only appears in a deleted scene added to the Extended Edition of Return of the King. So, it’s not necessarily a part of the films!

Okay, okay, I’m stretching here. But why not try and make sense of the cuts? I have little else left to do.

But I can't make sense of these cuts.

But I can’t make sense of these cuts.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Erain

-Norbury

Both added/different names for Fornost, old capital of Arnor. Because more is better!

No one dies today.

“‘And the King will come there again one day; and then you’ll have some fair folk riding through.'”

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Ah, let’s have the story all about how Bree got flip-turned upside down.

This man is an acclaimed actor.

This man is an acclaimed actor.

Butterbur relays the information of how Bree went sour, starting with the arrival of plenty of unsavory folks from down south. They formed up in a group, and some men of Bree betrayed the town and let the scoundrels in. A fight ensued, and five people (at least from Bree) were killed, two men and three hobbits. This makes Butterbur sad.

As a result, security has been heightened in Bree, and they feel that the roads are unsafe. The four hobbits and Gandalf, however, rode safely. Probably because they’re decked out in armor and weaponry.

First Mentions:

-Tom Pickthorn: A hobbit who lost his life in the “battle” of Bree. He’s actually the only one we hadn’t heard of before.

That’s right, most of the other guys were mentioned back in our first go at The Prancing Pony, though really just by their last names. We learn some first names today, and they’re much less interesting.

I’m interested to know what types of men these southerners were! They couldn’t have been led by Saruman, because he only just recently came this way. My bet is that the men of the hills who allied with Saruman went this way after their defeat and retreat. They were unsavory raiders to begin with, and seeing a town like Bree would have been inviting for them.

Kind of like in the Old West.

Kind of like in the Old West.

In other news, the men that aided (and later joined) the bandits were Harry, the gatekeeper, and Bill Ferny. Because of course Bill Ferny. Jerkface. Both ran off and are now living with their new “friends”. Maybe the woods are better than Bree, but I doubt it.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-gangrels

-Rowlie

-Pickthorn

Total losses from Bree: Mat Heathertoes, Rowlie Appledore, Tom Pickthorn, Willie Banks, and an Underhill. No first name for him, I guess.

But remember, that wasn’t today!

No one dies today.

“And Gandalf, too, was now…”

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Yes, Nob and Bob, the greatest rhyming hobbit duo this side of the Brandywine, have been split up somewhat. Bob now spends more time at home with his family. Things are bad in Bree, you see.

Rhymes! Rhymes everywhere!

Rhymes! Rhymes everywhere!

Butterbur leads the hobbits and Gandalf to their room, and promptly leaves to get things ready for their meal. He checks back up on them afterwards, also craving some time to speak with them. After seeing so much afoot in Bree, everyone wants to have such a talk. To start, Gandalf requests some pipe-weed. Well, that’s the problem, you see…

First Mentions:

-Southlinch: A brand of pipe-weed grown just south of Bree. Inferior to Longbottom Leaf from the Southfarthing, but continuing in the tradition of southerly-grown pipe-weed. Because that’s totally a tradition.

Yes, there hasn’t been a good flow of pipe-weed coming from the Shire. I highly doubt that that’s why everyone’s acting so strangely, but it doesn’t hurt the cause.

Of course, you don’t have to look far back to remember Saruman’s not-so-veiled threat to curtail the production of pipe-weed in the Shire. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the connection there.

WHO'S EXCITED FOR COSMOS?!

WHO’S EXCITED FOR COSMOS?!

Amazingly, we’re going to be spending more time with Butterbur than we have with some other important characters lately. When you look at what time is left, though, there isn’t too much to be spent here. In the earlier chapters, the forthcoming discussion would have taken quite a few pages. I expect it, here, to be over by tomorrow, or *gasp* the day after that at the absolute latest.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Southlinch

No surprises there. Very few surprises left, really.

No one dies today.

“Most of the things which they had to tell were a mere wonder and bewilderment to their host, and far beyond his vision; and they brought forth few comments other than: ‘You don’t say,’ often…”

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