Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Chapter 4

In the fourth chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, Sam, Pippin, and Frodo learn just how complicated their journey really is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.


I love mushrooms!

I can already guess that there have been volumes of fanfiction written about Frodo, Sam, and Pippin, and I base that claim solely on the fact that the dynamic between this trio is so infectious and well-written. I don’t want to sound like I’m slamming The Hobbit, since I enjoyed it quite a bit, but the character development is much more detailed in The Fellowship of the Ring. Well, on that note, everything is more detailed here, but I already feel like more side characters are being fleshed out in this book than the last one.

Pippin is the most carefree of the bunch, and he seems to approach life with this senseless whimsy to him, as if he’s oblivious to the effects he has on others or the dangers that he faces. I mean, he outright tells Frodo that he had to be convinced to save breakfast for him. On top of that, he seems…fuck, really joyous about seeing more Black Riders? Okay, Pippin, you will probably regret that later, but for now, I fully support your endless glee.

‘And now leave me in peace for a bit! I don’t want to answer a string of questions while I am eating. I want to think!’

‘Good heavens!’ said Pippin. ‘At breakfast?’ He walked away towards the edge of the green.


Frodo is not experiencing anything close to joy at all. In fact, he’s quite upset at the prospect of continuing on. It’s not that he fears the danger and uncertainty of it all. However, he’s bringing his best friend along with him, and that means he is risking his life, too. He even brings it up to Sam, who quickly squashes Frodo’s well-intentioned concern. This is what he wants to do, and he’s aware of the risks that come with it. But seeing Elves for the first time–and spending time with them, no less–has changed Sam Gamgee, and I was pretty stoked to get some character development this early. In a way, it’s like the Elves helped Sam to grow up. They weren’t a myth or a fairy tale to him anymore. He met them, and despite cultural differences, they really weren’t all that different from himself or other hobbits. So when Frodo asks him if he feels a need to leave the Shire as well, since he’s now satisfied a life goal, Sam’s answer is a natural response to what’s happened to him.

‘I don’t know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back. It isn’t to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want–I don’t rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me.’

You could easily read this as a form of foreshadowing from Tolkien, and I’m sure you’d be right. To me, it’s a statement about Sam deciding to acknowledge how serious this situation is, to cast aside some childish preconceptions about where they’re going and why. I think he viewed the Elves in such a fantastical way that he was then grounded when he met them.

And then Pippin shows up and he has no idea what’s going on, and he just wants to get going. So they do! Traveling out of the Shire is fascinating to me because this world seems even bigger than it did in The Hobbit, and I know part of that is because I’ve spent time reading about Middle-earth. I know that was just a small part of the whole, and this is still quite new to me. Given this, I have no idea who I’d side with when it came down to the direction in which they should travel. Pippin insists the way straight across the country is bad, and it’s best to take the road, and Frodo disagrees, thinking the shortest way is best. Generally, though, that is the worst idea, isn’t it? When is the shortest way the best? Rarely. It’s Frodo’s journey, though, and he ultimately makes the decision in his favor. Well, I suppose Pippin’s desire to visit the Golden Perch for beer played a part in that, too. WHO COULD BLAME HIM. So I was not the least bit surprised to learn that the path Frodo chose is hardly easy at all. Then, it gets worse, because OF COURSE IT DOES.

‘Look!’ he said, clutching Frodo by the arm. They all looked, and on the edge high above them they saw against the sky a horse standing. Beside it stooped a black figure.

BY MERLIN’S BEARD, THIS IS TOO MUCH. How does he seem to know where they are going or where they’ll be??? WHAT IS THIS THING. Is it a man? CAN IT SMELL HOBBITS OR SOMETHING. Thankfully, they manage to avoid this thing again, but the trip really doesn’t get easier. My first thought was that they’d actually get lost, and it didn’t help that Pippin decided to casually mention that the woods should only be a mile wide, so it might be possible that they’re traveling diagonally south and THIS IS REALLY WONDERFUL. It’s totally what’s happening, isn’t it?

But Tolkien isn’t content with strange cloaked men and their horses, OR getting lost, OR traveling the wrong way. Because then there’s this:

They stopped short suddenly. Frodo sprang to his feet. A long-drawn wail came down the wind, like the cry of some evil and lonely creature. It rose and fell, and ended on a high piercing note. Even as they sat and stood, as if suddenly frozen, it was answered by another cry, fainter and further off, but no less chilling to the blood. There was then a silence, broken only by the sound of the wind in the leaves.

AT THIS POINT I WOULD HAVE TURNED AROUND AND ALLOWED SAURON TO BURN ALL OF HOBBITON TO THE GROUND. Holy shit, why does this exist? And WHY IS IT NOT IMMEDIATELY EXPLAINED SO THAT I DON’T HAVE TO DREAM ABOUT THIS. You don’t understand. I hike all the time and I learned to attune my ears to picking up any sort of sound just to stay aware and if I heard this shit, I would just give up on life. Like JUST TAKE ME, STRANGE FOREST CREATURE. END ME NOW.

PS: They did turn too far to the south. FUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Four chapters in, and this is already a challenge. And yet, I could not help but laugh because…look, I know this is immature, but: FARMER MAGGOT. It is so distracting to me! How can his name be that??? Okay, I’ll get past that, because it’s honestly the best part of this chapter. Long ago, Frodo used to trespass on this land in order to steal mushrooms from Maggot, so he’s built up a thirty-year scare of the man’s dogs. Leave it to the wonderful, always-cheerful Pippin to ease things over, as it also turns out that he’s actually quite fond of Farmer Maggot.

It’s really like Tolkien is constantly lulling us into a state of trust and security, and then he takes great glee in destroying that. I initially thought Maggot gave Frodo a weird look because he remembered his mushroom-thieving days, but nope! Turns out that wonderfully delightful man in all black also visited the farm, looking for “Baggins.” Maggot turned the man and his horse away, knowing that he meant no good to come of Frodo. This horse rider in black really isn’t subtle at all, is he? He is either that desperate to find him or that confident that no one can really stand in his way.

Frodo wants to leave as soon as possible (WHICH IS ACTUALLY A GOOD IDEA), but Maggot does manage to not only convince them to stay, but also offers up his waggon to give them a ride to the Ferry. This scene makes me wonder if George R.R. Martin got his obsession with food that’s in the A Song of Ice and Fire series from Tolkien. Because sweet lord these characters are always eating, and it never fails to make me hungry.

Dinner is uneventful, and the entirety of the waggon ride to the Ferry is as well, until the very, very end, when a dark, hooded figure rides up to the waggon at the entrance lane to the Ferry. I, of course, completely expected the same man to appear, but was pleasantly surprised that it was Merry Brandybuck, ready to take Frodo across. WHEW. In truth, the end of the fourth chapter is kind of nice, since Maggot hands over a basket of mushrooms his wife prepared for Frodo, but I know that this is probably one of the very few left. Because shit’s going to get real, isn’t it?

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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368 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Chapter 4

  1. Noybusiness says:

    Lol. Mushrooms are, to me, the worst-tasting of all foods. I can taste a single piece hidden in a meal (and will gag). Ha, ha, ha, ha.

    • I utterly refuse to eat mushrooms. I won't do it ever. Not even my love and respect for these hobbits can diminish the fact that mushrooms are some of the nastiest things out there.

    • Tauriel_ says:


      When prepared right, of course. 😉

    • shortstuff says:

      Yea, I can't eat them either. I love most of the rest of the food that falls under umami for taste, but I can't do mushrooms, not at all.

    • SteelMagnolia80 says:

      THIS. I like to think of myself as 98% Hobbit, but we differ in our taste in mushrooms. I had them once fried and it cured me of ever wanting them again…in any way.

    • knut_knut says:

      Most mushrooms are delicious, but portabella ones do nothing for me most of the time. I like their tops though! So soft and silky <3

      • Geolojazz says:

        I love mushrooms…but it seems last night my husband and i got ill likely off of bad mushrooms. Am not going to tell him my deduction so he doesn't avoid mushrooms for the rest of our lives together….XD

    • baruchan says:

      I loved mushrooms as a child and used to eat them with glee, until I learned that they were related to molds, which are, in my opinion, the most disgusting things I've had the misfortune to encounter.

      • echinodermata says:

        (…but we're all related to mold. That's the beauty of life – every living this is related to every other!)

        /ignore me; biology geek

        • misterbernie says:

          *biology geek high five*

          Also, slime molds are fascinating.

        • baruchan says:

          But mushrooms are more closely related to molds than we are, so there ;p

          (Fact: I also freaked out when I learned that bread yeast was also a fungus, until I figured that since I can't really *see* the yeast, I'm not *actually* eating it. I can't explain myself, I have very irrational attitudes towards food.)

          • saphling says:

            But you can see the yeast! In a way… Start you some sourdough starter! Feed it flour and water, and see the yeast go nomnomnomnom. /geek

          • flootzavut says:

            I do, too. I used to love faggots (that's the meaty main course dumpling-y thing, not the offensive use of the word) till I realised they were full of offal. I'm very OCD in many ways and I'm pretty sure my strange food things are part of that.

    • tigerpetals says:

      I've never once eaten a mushroom. I just see them in fairy paintings being cute, and the ones that grow on my lawn after it rains too much. I don't like those, they're creepy for some reason.

    • hpfish13 says:

      I'm going to come down firmly in the middle. I like the flavor of mushrooms (cream of mushroom soup is amazing!), but the texture throws me every time.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      I deal with mushrooms. If they're mixed into things, like a stew, or with other vegetables, I can eat them, especially in a sauce (mmmm, sauce…), but, if it's just a side of mushrooms, nope, not happening.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        I'm used to having them cooked until they're almost crispy, and it seems like putting drier mushrooms in with anything that's even slightly moist makes them go weirdly rubbery. I think it's what made me think I hated mushrooms for so long, because any time I had them they were mixed in with other vegetables.

    • flootzavut says:

      I am firmly on the "mushrooms are the most revolting thing I have ever tasted" side of the fence.

    • marie says:

      Put me in the "mushrooms are never an option camp". I just won't eat them. There are other things I don't like that I'll eat if I have to , but I just can't with mushrooms. Luckily, even though they tease me about it, my family's incredible good at making things so I don't have to.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      It took me a long, long time to like mushrooms. Like, within this past year only. Its certainly an aquired taste, and I find they're done best with either cooked alone in olive oil or done Japanese style. That said, I still don't go overboard on them, and when I see them in food, I sometimes have a knee jerk "ew" reaction.

    • ninjac8 says:

      I'll take mushrooms any day, especially if offered by cute hobbits. But they better be prepared to fight if they offer me celery. Or 'The Devil's Vegetable' as I like to call it. Even Dr. Who wore a pierced and dead one to warn all the other celeries to stay away.

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      I used to quite dislike mushrooms as a child. Then somewhere in my late tweens or early teens I tried some and I was like "Oh wow, these are delicious! What the hell was the problem with past me?" And now I like mushrooms because mushrooms are a food that are often just really rich in flavor and they pair really well with other foods.

      Note that a lot of the people here who say they hate mushrooms I suspect haven't tried the right kind of mushroom. Probably they had the slimy ones that come in cans and decided they didn't like them, when those are not even close to being the best kind of mushrooms – and there are so many kinds!

    • UnstrungZero says:

      LOL I love that the first thread is about Mushrooms and it has ALL THE REPLIES. I've never had mushrooms as themselves, only cream of mushroom soup and mushrooms on pizza, both of which are nommy, but I would never want to just EAT THEM like hobbits do. O__o

    • ladysugarquill says:

      That's me with olives. D:

  2. Jenny_M says:

    Pippin takes breakfast seriously, yo. I wouldn't want to be thinking at breakfast, either. Breakfast is time for watching terrible morning news programs and eating toast. Probably in hobbit culture that equates to like…drinking breakfast beer and tea.

    Also, SAM. All the love!

    • hpfish13 says:

      I know! I usually eat breakfast before anyone wakes up, but yesterday I went to go eat and my brother, my sister, my mom and my sister's friend were all in the dining room when I got up. How dare they disrupt my morning routine!

  3. Kelsey says:

    – Hahahahaha! Oh Mark, wouldn't we all?

    Bxnl, Cvccva, lbh jvyy cebonoyl erterg gung yngre
    – Lbh unir AB VQRN

  4. Tauriel_ says:

    This is a bit off-topic, but I need to share this GIF (which is actually a JPG, come to think of that…) I made yesterday, because it just begged to be made… 😀

    <img src=""&gt;

    That is all. Carry on. 😉

    • saphling says:

      WIN. He now needs a Jaynestown-like song.

      *sings* BOFUR! The dwarf they call BOFUR!

      • Alexander_G says:

        He robbed from the rich
        And he gave to the poor
        Stood up to the Dragon
        And gave him what for
        Our love for him now
        Ain't hard to explain
        The hero of Laketown
        The dwarf they call BOFUR!

        Our Bofur saw the dwarves' backs breakin'
        He saw the dwarves' lament
        And he saw the Dragon takin'
        Every dollar and leavin' five cents
        So he said "you can't do that to my people"
        He said "you can't crush them under your heel"
        So Bofur strapped on his hat
        And in 5 seconds flat
        Stole everythin' Smaug had to steal

        He robbed from the rich
        And he gave to the poor
        Stood up to the Dragon
        And gave him what for
        Our love for him now
        Ain't hard to explain
        The hero of Laketown
        The dwarf they call BOFUR!

        Now here is what separates heroes
        From common folk like you and I
        The dwarf they call Bofur
        He turned 'round his pony
        And let that money hit sky
        He dropped it onto our houses
        He dropped it into our yards
        The dwarf they called Bofur
        He stole away our pain
        And headed out for the stars

        He robbed from the rich
        And he gave to the poor
        Stood up to the Dragon
        And gave him what for
        Our love for him now
        Ain't hard to explain
        The hero of Laketown
        The dwarf they call BOFUR!

    • Latlansky says:


    • flootzavut says:

      Hahahaha brilliant 😀

    • Juliana Moreli says:

      That's brilliant! He's my favourite dwarf so far!!! Bombur looks great too!!!

  5. Ryan Lohner says:

    The Hobbits do have six meals a day, after all. Including “second breakfast.”

  6. cait0716 says:

    Remember in The Hobbit when they had already reached The Misty Mountains by the fourth chapter? And here they're still traveling through The Shire. This journey already feels much longer and more epic. Especially with that black rider one step behind them.

    I laughed when they started singing. I mean, the elves give them a bunch of mead, which they naturally drink and then they get drunk in the middle of the woods with enemies pursuing them and they start singing? Way to be, hobbits.

  7. MrsGillianO says:

    I LOVE Farmer Maggot – and the fact that he remembers young Frodo – he has a backstory too. The picture of The Shire is so beautifully rich, and Frodo has to leave it all behind.

    I actually live in The Shire – Warwickshire, where Tolkien was brought up and which is very clearly the model for his Shire. It's about as English as you can get.

    • Cassie5squared says:

      As I understand it, Lancashire (and, in particular, the Ribble Valley) was actually Tolkien's inspiration for the Shire – and who can blame him? It's still got masses of wide green spaces and countryside, like he loved so much.

      (I live in the Ribble Valley, and as a Tolkien nut I looked up some of these things. >.> We have a Tolkien Walk on offer somewhere, where you can visit all the significant places in the area.)

      • vivelabagatel says:

        Really? I'm also in Lancashire and I've never heard that, that's so cool – do you know what his connection with the area was?

    • flootzavut says:

      I'm in a Shire-esque type area as well (Gloucestershire), and Farmer Maggot reminds me of folks I go to church with 😀

      • acityofdoors says:

        I'm in Gloucestershire as well, the Forest of Dean to be precise. Tolkien once took part in an archaeological dig at my home town at the time he would have been writing The Hobbit. and it's thought that he took some inspiration from all the ancient mine workings in the area.

        • flootzavut says:

          NO WAY! I am from the FoD area too! How random is that?! I'm in the district council area but I don't think I'd be considered a Forester by any means. But wow, I never expected someone who is part of the Mark Reads community to live anywhere NEAR me!! 😀

    • ljrTR says:

      MrsGillianO & flootzavut: how exciting for us over here across the pond to get your comments from England!

    • Parmadil says:

      To everyone in this comment thread:

      I AM SO IMMENSELY JEALOUS!!!!!! I'm a complete Anglophile, and have every intention of moving to your beautiful country as soon as I can…

  8. Tauriel_ says:

    "I want to think!"
    "Good heavens!" said Pippin. "At breakfast?"

    Typical hobbit. 😀 Yes, Frodo, listen to Pippin, for despite his youth he speaks the words of wisdom.

    "Ab! V pbhyq abg!" ur fnvq gb uvzfrys. "Vg vf bar guvat gb gnxr zl lbhat sevraqf jnyxvat bire gur Fuver jvgu zr, hagvy jr ner uhatel naq jrnel, naq sbbq naq orq ner fjrrg. Gb gnxr gurz vagb rkvyr, jurer uhatre naq jrnevarff znl unir ab pher, vf dhvgr nabgure – rira vs gurl ner jvyyvat gb pbzr. Gur vaurevgnapr vf zvar nybar. V qba'g guvax V bhtug rira gb gnxr Fnz."

    Oyrff lbh, Sebqb, sbe lbhe pbaprea, ohg lbh'er FB GBGNYYL ABG CERCNERQ…

    I love the little moment between Frodo and Sam, where Sam's loyalty shines through like a beacon of light through the darkness:

    "If you don't come back, sir, then I shan't, that's certain," said Sam. "Don't you leave him! they said to me. Leave him! I said. I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon, and if any of those Black Rulers try to stop him, they'll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with, I said. They laughed."

    I also like Sam's description of the Elves – how they're "a bit above his likes and dislikes", almost disconnected to the world. And it's interesting how the meeting with them changes Sam inside, makes him more thoughtful. I really love this passage:

    ‘Yes, sir. I don’t know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back. It isn’t to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want – I don’t rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me.’

    If you remember that this is coming from a simple working-class lad, a gardener, whose name even means "half-wise" (= "simpleton"), it has unusual insight. And adds a wonderful character depth to Sam – which maybe even he didn't know about until he met the Elves!

    Love you, Sam. <3


    • Tauriel_ says:

      "All right!" said Pippin. "I will follow you into every bog and ditch. But it is hard! I had counted on passing the Golden Perch at Stock before sundown. The best beer in the Eastfarthing, or used to be: it is a long time since I tasted it."

      I SEE WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO THERE, PEREGRIN TOOK! 😀 (And, of course, Frodo does, too, and doesn't fall for it.)

      When they came to make their meal, they found that the Elves had filled their bottles with a clear drink, pale golden in colour: it had the scent of a honey made of many flowers, and was wonderfully refreshing.

      The Elves' level of coolness has just doubled: They make mead. I LOVE MEAD. <3

      A long-drawn wail came down the wind, like the cry of some evil and lonely creature. It rose and fell, and ended on a high piercing note. Even as they sat and stood, as if suddenly frozen, it was answered by another cry, fainter and further off, but no less chilling to the blood.

      Oh God, the Black Rider's cry. *shudder* One of the (many) things the films nailed absolutely spot on, and it TRULY FRIGHTENING and TERRIFYING.

      Frodo's fear of Farmer Maggot's dogs because he used to tresspass on his land when he was young is so endearing. But then Farmer Maggot shows himself to be quite kind and friendly, invites the hobbits for dinner and even gives them a ride to the Ferry. And proves himself to be a pretty brave man, talking about his encounter with a Black Rider.

      "You should never have gone mixing yourself up with Hobbiton folk, Mr. Frodo. Folk are queer up there."

      This is so funny when you compare it with this quote about the Bucklanders from the first chapter:

      "And no wonder they're queer," put in Daddy Twofoot (the Gaffer's next-door neighbour), "if they live on the wrong side of the Brandywine River, and right agin the Old Forest. That's a dark bad place, if half the tales be true."

      I love how Tolkien plays on the little biases and prejudices that are often so common in village and small town communities! 😀 And also the little detail of how SAM IS NOT AMUSED by the dissing of Hobbiton. You do not insult Hobbiton in front of Sam. It is known.

      And yay for Merry! 😀 And how nice of Farmer Maggot to give them a basketful of mushrooms.

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        "Oh God, the Black Rider's cry. *shudder* One of the (many) things the films nailed absolutely spot on, and it TRULY FRIGHTENING and TERRIFYING. "

        And that's actually the voice of Peter Jackson's wife, no post-production work required.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Yes, I know that, but no need to say it NOW… could've saved the interesting factoid for when Mark is reviewing the LOTR films…

        • ljrTR says:

          yep – Jackson & he wife really did Tolkien proud with their rendering of the Black Riders

        • Parmadil says:

          That part of the book STILL terrifies me…. The scariest thing in the world, to me… Hearing a sound that is the embodiment of fear itself, when you're out in the wilderness, far from home…

      • SteelMagnolia80 says:

        "Oh God, the Black Rider's cry. *shudder* One of the (many) things the films nailed absolutely spot on, and it TRULY FRIGHTENING and TERRIFYING."

        Gung pel jnf FB jryy qbar…vg znqr zl Znevar irg sngure (jub vf nsenvq bs ABGUVAT) whzc va uvf frng qhevat gur fprar jura gur Oynpx Evqre pnzr sebz nebhaq gur gerr juvyr gurl jrer ehaavat gb gur Oenaqljvar oevqtr. Ur fpbssrq vg bss yngre, "Anu…V guvax fbzrguvat ovg zr…"

      • @MeagenImage says:

        Elven mead! Man, the things you miss when you read these books at like fourteen.

        On the other hand that's kind of foreboding. "Take this booze, Frodo son of Drogo. You will have much need of it."

      • ravenclaw42 says:

        I dearly love the small community rivalries in the Shire. It feels so accurate and comfortably non-hostile to me, and absolutely cements the Shire as the ultimate hometown (just as Frodo is the ultimate everyman) – full of relatives and neighbors you know too much about and don't quite like, but who are all probably decent people, even when they have attack dogs and live on the wrong side of the river (or railroad tracks, it would be around here). My little town and another little town about 20 miles away that happens to be the county seat are just like that – glaring at each other across our bit of scrubby woods like we've got any business feeling superior to each other. YE GODS the high school football rivarlry. If the hobbits had organized sports (do they? I can't remember), I could see Hobbiton and Buckland having an epic annual Bowl of some kind. The Mushroom Bowl.

        • flootzavut says:

          Yes, it's like that round here 😀

          I can't see the hobbits being bothered about sport – much too much effort…

        • ljrTR says:

          The Mushroom Bowl! brilliant

        • fourthage says:

          I think Sam is better suited to the Everyman label than Frodo, if only because Frodo is the Shire equivalent of minor gentry, whereas Sam is most definitely not (ng yrnfg ng gur ortvaavat – uvf fbpvny fgnghf pregnvayl evfrf ol gur raq bs gur obbx). But YMMV.

          [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

          • flootzavut says:

            Oh yes, amongst the hobbits, he's the everyman. But I think the hobbits en masse are the everymen(?) of Middle Earth. The men, elves, dwarves, all have big achievements (and naturally big disasters too) and power and so on… the hobbits (even the wealthier ones) are relatively modest, their pleasures are the simple ones of food and drink and good company, they live (with exceptions) quiet, small lives, much more so than the other species.

      • flootzavut says:

        The black riders scared the ever living crap out of me in the books and they are actually WORSE in the movies I think.

        Rfcrpvnyyl jura gurl unir gb uvqr sebz bar rneyl ba, naq vg pbzrf favssvat bire gur ebbg bs gur gerr gurl ner uvqvat haqre.

        And the sound effects – holy crap. I don't know if this should be ROT13'd or not so I will err on the side of caution: Vg'f orra n juvyr fvapr V'ir jngpurq gubfr cnegvphyne rkgenf orpnhfr fbzrbar obeebjrq gung frg bs QIQf, ohg V frrz gb erpnyy gurl hfrq guvatf yvxr gur fbhaq bs n qbaxrl va urng – be jnf vg n fgnyyvba univat vgf frzra uneirfgrq – naq bgure fhpu guvatf… penc, V ernyyl qba'g erzrzore. Naljnl, vg jnf dhvgr na vairagvir yvfg bs perrcl fbhaqf naq ol urpx qvq gurl qb n tbbq wbo jvgu gung :-b

      • ljrTR says:

        note that it was Mrs Maggot (a female character) who sent along the mushrooms!

    • James says:

      The "don't you leave him" bit is pretty much what sealed Sam as my favourite forever. I love me some Merry and Pippin, but Samwise Gamgee is the most wonderful hobbit of all.

    • pennylane27 says:

      Gung vf rknpgyl jul V ybir erernqf fb zhpu. Abg rira Sebqb vf cercnerq! Vg whfg znxrf zr fzvyr.

  9. Ryan Lohner says:

    I'm actually following along on this with the 1981 radio show, which I've never heard before. It's kind of a bizarre experience hearing Ian Holm as Frodo, but Michael Hordern as Gandalf really gives McKellen a run for his money, and it's a great treat to hear a young Bill Nighy (one of my favorite currently working British actors) as Sam. His "Oh, hooray!" at the end of chapter 2 completely sealed my love.

    • Parmadil says:

      OMG!!! The BBC Radio Play of it SEALED my love of Ian Holm!
      Also, inspired me to want to be in theatre- I still harbour a secret ambition to do radio theatre.

      There are certain scenes, some we've already done, that I CANNOT read without hearing that version in my head!
      SO MUCH LOVE!!!

  10. Mauve_Avenger says:

    "To me, it’s a statement about Sam deciding to acknowledge how serious this situation is, to cast aside some childish preconceptions about where they’re going and why. I think he viewed the Elves in such a fantastical way that he was then grounded when he met them."

    I'm guessing Sam's read the singing Rivendell Elves part of the Hobbit then, at least. I mean, "tra la la lally, here down in the valley," "And listen and hark til the end of the dark to our tune, ha ha!"? Now when I read that song my mind always turns it into"trololololo lololo lololo ha ha ha ha ha!"

    Znex fgvyy qbrfa'g xabj nobhg gur Erq Obbx bs Jrfgznepu, evtug? V'z guvaxvat vg zvtug or nqqerffrq cerggl qverpgyl va gur Gebyyfunjf be Eviraqryy, ohg gura V'q gubhtug gur fnzr nobhg puncgre gjb orsber, fb…

    "Long ago, Frodo used to trespass on this land in order to steal mushrooms from Maggot, so he’s built up a thirty-year scare of the man’s dogs."

    The fact that it's Elijah Wood playing Frodo makes me think of Maggot's dogs as copies of Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior from Everything is Illuminated, which definitely decreases their scare factor.

    I think it helps that it never really occurred to me until recently that these dogs would probably be large to average size for herding dogs we have now, so to hobbits they'd seem incredibly massive and threatening. For some reason I'd always imagined the dogs to be scaled down according to the size of the hobbits, so they'd actually seem like strangely mature-acting puppies to the Big Folk.

    • Parmadil says:

      "The fact that it's Elijah Wood playing Frodo makes me think of Maggot's dogs as copies of Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior from Everything is Illuminated, which definitely decreases their scare factor."

      I hadn't even thought of that, but now it's all I can picture… That's so beautiful!

  11. @ljrTR says:

    Oh – I love your comments today especially, Mark, since I was afraid you wouldn't like this chapter. silly me. and I love that you hike a lot, because you can appreciate how true to life Tolkien's descriptions of foot travel are. (yeah I know he can go on just a bit….)
    Tolkien is good at ramping up the suspense, isn't he? and Pippin is quite a character.

  12. threerings13 says:

    That's actually a good idea. I own the cds, but it's been a long time since I listened to them, as I wasn't completely thrilled with all the voices. But it may be time to give it another chance.

    • ljrTR says:

      Theres an unabridged version on CD too, where one actor does all the voices. Listened to part of it when I was laid up after an eye operation. good times.

  13. David M.B. says:

    J.K. Rowling also stated in an interview that, if you notice, she always tells the reader what the characters are eating. I guess she thought it added that extra sense of subtle detail and atmosphere that makes a scene feel more real. Which it does. Think about all the food she describes at the Hogwarts feasts, and all the different candies, holiday meals, all the food and sweet shops at Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. I mean, most of her candies from the books have been mass-produced in the muggle world, as has butterbeer – and she didn't even supply recipes! She does it so well that you never notice it as being intrusive or odd, but when you think about it, food is EVERYWHERE in Harry Potter.

    I wouldn't be surprised if she got some part of this idea from J.R.R. Tolkien. Little as it's talked about in literary circles, describing food can really provide an added dimension to an atmosphere in a story. It's interesting to think about.

    • Dragonsong12 says:

      It seems like overly descibing food is a staple of British fantasy, since I can't think of too many of them that DON'T do it. The Redwall books are a great example too, every single book has multiple feasts, all described out in full detail.
      I'm guessing that all started here with LotR, though. It seems like an interesting thing to take away from this, though. The action, adventure?…THE FOOD!

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        I read something like five or six of the Redwall books back when I was in middle school, pretty much only for the food. Though if I remember correctly the ones with the badgers weren't so heavy on the food porn? For vegetarian me, I think helped that they were the only feasts in books that didn't seem to have tons of meat at them, undoubtedly because it would be weird for all the anthropomorphic herbivores to eat beef and stuff. IIRC, Brian Jacques didn't have the same issue with their having cheese, though.

        I went to check if I was misremembering the meat situation at the feasts, and found out that The Redwall Cookbook is apparently a thing that exists. I knew that there was a Harry Potter one (and that buttered beer is actually a really old recipe), and that a Song of Ice and Fire one is upcoming or possibly already out, but the existence of this one just seems weirder to me somehow. Looks like the only meat is shrimp, which I'm guessing is because of the otters?

        • Alia says:

          They catch a trout for the feast that kicks off the first book, but Jacques clearly hadn’t fully realized his world yet at that point, so it might not be a fair example.

        • stellaaaaakris says:

          There's a Hunger Games cookbook. Which I'm guessing will have to be filled with recipes from the Capitol and Peeta's cakes, because what else can there really be? Katniss's recipe for roasted squirrel: Shoot squirrel, make fire to cook or toss at nearest force field, enjoy. Very few of the meals in those books came even close to sounding appetizing.

        • knut_knut says:

          I love literary cookbooks!! I have the Harry Potter and Roald Dahl ones even though I don't use them that often (I don't really need to eat Snozzcumbers). I have no recollection of the food in the Redwall series though :/

        • Brian Jacques tried to include details that dealt with smell, taste, hearing, and touch because his books are based on the stories he used to come up with for kids at a school for the blind. The feasts and all the dishes he invented were part of that reasoning.

          On a personal note, Brian Jacques descriptions of deeper'n'ever' pie, turnip'n'tater'beetroot pie, hot root soup, leek soup, and all his other dishes helped me get over my dislike of vegetables when I was a kid. I was an extremely picky eater, but now I'll eat just about anything (including delicious mushrooms)!

          But not pickles. Fuck pickles.

      • Dru says:

        I think pretty much EVERYTHING I read as a child had detailed, loving descriptions of food (I read a TON of Enid Blyton books, and people were always having midnight feasts or picnics and ginger beer). Of course, most of what I read was children's books from the UK, and I never really thought of the food descriptions as excessive or unusual when I hit Harry Potter etc, because I was so used to it. This is literally the first time I've seen it pointed out.

        I mean, even Paddington Bear is constantly eating (and not just marmalade sandwiches either).

    • You Are Not Alone says:

      She said it was inspired by Elizabeth Gouge's 'A Little White Horse' where as a kid she found all the descriptions of food very satisfying.

  14. Fuchsia says:

    And this chapter right here is the basis of my love for Pippin. I love him SO MUCH, nothing you can say will stop me from claiming him as my favourite character.

    • flootzavut says:

      naq V xvaqn fbegn snyy va ybir n yvggyr ovg jvgu Ovyyl Oblq rirel gvzr V jngpu gur zbivrf (I don't know if the actor's name is spoilery) so I am with you all the way <3 <3 <3

      • calimie says:

        Gur bar gung vf na nofbyhgr fcbvyre vf Frna Orna (orpnhfr ur xrrcf qlvat!) ohg V guvax gur yrff jr zragvba bgure anzrf, gur yrff ur'f tbvat gb abgvpr gur ynpx bs pbzzragf nobhg zbivr!Obebzve bhg bs pbqr.

      • Fuchsia says:

        V nz pbzcyrgryl va ybir jvgu Ovyyl Oblq. V tbg gb zrrg uvz sbe zl 21fg oveguqnl naq ur tnir zr n uht naq vg'f fgvyy gur terngrfg qnl bs zl ragver yvsr.

        V guvax vg'f orra nterrq hcba abg gb zragvba anzrf bs gur npgbef orfvqrf gur guerr Znex xabjf. Naq V'z gelvat abg gb zragvba Cvccva fb zhpu ng gur zbzrag orpnhfr evtug abj, Znex guvaxf ur'f tbvat gb yrnir gur wbhearl jura gurl ernpu Ohpxynaq fb V qba'g jnag gb znxr uvz guvax gung Cvccva unf n ovttre ebyr va gur fgbel ohg nuuuu V whfg ybir uvz fb zhpu.

        • flootzavut says:

          Lrnu V nz gelvat gb or pnershy ohg vg'f uneeeeeeeeeeeeeeq.

          Naq V nz gbgnyyl raivbhf – ba nyy gur rkgenf ur frrzf yvxr fhpu n uvynevbhf naq fjrrg thl, naq V nz na nofbyhgr FHPXRE sbe n Tynfjrtvna npprag, gbb.

          Bar bs zl nofbyhgr snibhevgr ovgf bs gur rkgenf ba gur rkgraqrq rqvgvba vf jurer gurl gryy gur fgbel bs Ivttb naq Ovyyl xvffvat jura vg jnf Fnz naq Ebfvr Pbggba'f jrqqvat fprar orvat svyzrq, Ovyyl gnyxvat nobhg vg nsgrejneqf, Qbz'f ernpgvba, Ovyyl fnlvat "V'yy xvff nalobql" – nofbyhgryl ulfgrevpny, V ybir vg. Rira jevgvat nobhg vg vf znxvat zr fzvyr :Q

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Hahaha…love that part in the EE extras!!

            • flootzavut says:

              Totally cracks me up. Ovyyl <3 Qbz <3 Ivttb <3 zl nofbyhgryl snibhevgr ovg bs gur rkgenf, abgjvgufgnaqvat nyy gur snagnfgvpnyyl vagrerfgvat fghss, guvf vf Gur Rkgen gung arire snvyf gb znxr zr ynhtu naq fzvyr :Q

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                V guvax cneg bs gur ernfba V ybir gur rkgenf fb zhpu vf orpnhfr, jryy, vg'f whfg vf fb njrfbzr gung YbgE jbhyq oevat gbtrgure nyy gurfr qvssrerag crbcyr jub jbhyq orpbzr yvsrybat sevraqf. Gung'f fbzrguvat V guvax Gbyxvra jbhyq or unccl gb frr nf n erfhyg bs uvf obbxf: vg oebhtug crbcyr gbtrgure va sevraqfuvc naq ybir! V erzrzore frrvat na vagreivrj bs Qbz va juvpu ur qvfphffrf ubj orvat va YbgE pbzcyrgryl punatrq uvf yvsr naq uvf ivrj bs eryngvbafuvcf. Gur pybfrarff orgjrra gur uboovgf va gur fgbel raqrq hc orvat zveeberq va erny yvsr, naq fnqyl V qba'g guvax jr frr rabhtu bs gung pybfr obaq bs qrrc sevraqfuvc, cnegvphyneyl va gur zrqvn. <3

                • flootzavut says:

                  ARE YOU ME???!

                  And yes, I totally agree. It's the kind of deep friendship I've longed for my whole life, and having finally (in my 30s) found friends like that, it's both amazing and also terrifying. But so wonderful. And it is SOOOO heartwarming to see that in those extras.

                  On a side note, given how different they are both in Real Life and on film, I find it deeply amusing that Ivttb and Ovyyl seem to have such huge followings and SUCH a big overlap between people who like them both. It's not the most obvious combination, but so many (and I place myself firmly IN this category!) seem to adore them most out of all the fabby people involved in the thing.

                  And also – if I invented time travel, I would travel back a decade or so and try to get a job – ANY job – working on the movies. It's so joyous to watch it makes me wish I had been a part of it, even if I was just buying sandwiches for the 3rd AD or the Best Boy or something!

                  • AmandaNekesa says:

                    I'm beginning to wonder that myself…hmm…are you from a small town in Wisconsin, by chance?? O_O

                    In a lot of ways I think I'm still searching for that sort of deep friendship. I've experienced some amazing things the last 7 years of my life (college, traveling abroad) that have changed my entire perspective of the world. But…it was all pretty much away from any friends and family, and when I returned home I found everything virtually the same, but I knew I was changed. Gung'f jul, ng gur raq bs gur EbgX zbivr, jura gur sbhe uboovgf ner va gur cho, ybbxvat nebhaq yvxr, "rirelguvat vf gur fnzr ohg lrg rirelguvat vf punatrq" V GBGNYYL eryngr gb gung. Tenagrq, V unira'g cynlrq n cneg va gur qrfgehpgvba bs gur zbfg rivy sbepr bs zl gvzr, ohg V unq n fvzvyne srryvat jura V erghearq ubzr. Maybe it's why I gravitate towards the hobbits so much. Can I have a hobbit friend of my own?? Please? 🙂

                    Ivttb naq Ovyyl are just awesome, though in interestingly different ways, so it's no wonder they have such a large following! I also have a bit of a soft spot for Qbz.

                    Can I come along? I would love to come along with you on your time travel adventures!! I would have actually needed time travel to even be involved in them since I was like, 14 when the first movie came out, and I wasn't into LotR until about 2003…We should totally collaborate on this time travel idea! 😀

                    • flootzavut says:

                      *laughs* no I'm from a very small village in England. But besides that… maybe you're a long lost relative – I have a few of those I have adopted over the years 😀

                      Yeah, although the longest time I spent abroad (Russia in 3rd year of uni) was a somewhat shared experience as so many other linguists were doing the same, and I was in the same city as about 7 or 8 others from my course in the second period I was there, it did seem so strange to come back, so weird that some of my friends were already graduating, etc. Also coming back home from uni… Strangely enough, of all the friends I have suddenly had come along into my life, one of the ones I'm closest to is actually in terms of life experiences incredibly *different* to me, flunked out academically at school, did a vocational course, doesn't read a lot… we are so different that it is really weird that we are such good friends LOL! It would be really weird to him to hang out on a blog and talk about books *grin* But yeah it is amazing after so many years to have genuinely close friends who know my darkest demons and have seen me when I have been falling apart and still seem to like me. I'm not (yet, she says with hope) confident of these friendships still, it's so outside my experience, but it has been a wonderful thing even though it still scares me almost as much as it delights me.

                      Where did you travel to? I could be wrong, but my impression is that travelling, particularly internationally, is not so commonplace in the States. I have friends who've not ever even left the state they were born in and that is unimaginable to me! I think it's because we have Europe literally next door, to travel abroad does not seem a big deal, whereas especially some inland states getting to another country is a huge undertaking. So I'm guessing that may be something that fewer people have in common with you than if you were in Britain? Of course I might be talking rubbish 😉 but it's the impression I get from a lot of Stateside friends that it's much less common to be well travelled.

                      Yeah they are both really cool – and I have a definite soft spot for Qbz too, more so even than I do for the character he plays I think! It just amuses me greatly that two admittedly very cool but sooooo different people have so much overlap between fans. It tickles my funnybone 😀

                      Oh we should definitely collaborate on the time travel thing… though I should warn you that although I was good at sciences and maths at school, I didn't take them as A Levels and so I've not studied anything remotely helpful since I was 16… which was 17 years ago *feels old*… the most science I get these days is from the Big Bang Theory…! Wouldn't it be cool though… 😀

                    • AmandaNekesa says:

                      hehehe….sure, let's just go along with being long lost relatives. 😉 lol

                      I think the whole friendship area for me has been getting better over the last few years, especially since I moved back home after college. I did develop some great friends in college, but after graduation we all kind of went our different ways, right around when we were building deeper roots with each other. We still keep in touch on facebook and stuff but it's not the same. With my friends from back home, we've all either changed (or not changed) in ways that have kind of forced us to get to know each other again. It's kind of funny because one of my closer friends from back home is *also* quite different from me. She dropped out of high school, parties a lot with her boyfriend, and isn't particularly nerdy like me. I think part of what has kept us friends all these years since high school is that we did grow up together between 11 and 15 (we were neighbors), and we both understand the issues that we come from, particularly family crap. We've been hanging out more lately and discovering that we have some fairly similar views on life and the world in general, which has been great.

                      My first trip overseas was a 2 1/2 week trip to Kenya with a group of fellow teens from my church, working with the schools on community projects. That was the summer right before I went to college, and definitely changed my perspective of the world. I decided to change my major to Intercultural Studies, having been thoroughly fascinated by the cultural differences between my American culture and Kenyan culture. Part of my studies included 2 required trips overseas. Both trips I spent in Uganda – the first was 5 weeks long and the 2nd was a 2 month internship. It doesn't seem like that long, when I write that down, but being in the middle of nowhere in Africa was a beautiful, challenging, and extremely powerful experience. Then I came home, and nothing was changed, even though I was. Let me give you an idea of what I came home to. When my parents picked me up at the airport, they didn't ask anything like: "How was your trip" or "What did you do on your trip". We pretty much hopped in the car, my dad swore and complained about bad driving directions from my mom, complained about the "vacation from hell" they had with my aunt and her kids, and we sat in silence the rest of the ride home. I was in culture shock for quite awhile, needless to say.

                      Yeah I think traveling outside the U.S. depends on a lot of things. I have some friends that have barely been out of the state, let alone out of the country. For the most part, (at least in my corner of the U.S.) there's either fear to travel overseas, financial reasons (it's pretty expensive, depending upon where you live), very little interest of the world outside, or overall ignorance. Like you said too, it's also dependent upon geography as well. With landlocked states, and only having 2 bordering countries, traveling overseas tends to involve expensive flights, for the most part. Otherwise traveling tends more towards exotic vacations on beaches (which are usually heavily tourist-filled. One of my college roommates grew up in Italy and she said she was always traveling to other countries, growing up. At the age of 24 I think she said she'd been to about 25 different countries at that point, which really took me by surprise.

                      I'm not sure if I'd be that much more help with the time travel collaboration… While I was fairly good at math and science, I didn't exactly enjoy it very much and didn't take much more than the requirements in high school and college. Hmm… I think we may have encountered a speed bump in our plan here… 😛

                      Also: yay for the Big Bang Theory. <span class="idc-smiley"><span style="background-position: -48px -12px;"><span>&lt;3</span></span></span> I only recently saw a few episodes, and loved it, but I'm holding off watching any more until I can manage to borrow or buy the previous seasons.

                      Wow. Long comment is long.

            • flootzavut says:

              PS I can't tell you how joyous it is to me to mention that bit and for people to say "Oh I LOVED that" rather than "What? I don't think I remember that"/"oh I didn't watch all the extras"…

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                I feel the same way!!! I swear I'm the only one out of all of my friends and family members who seems to get really into movie extras. I've got virtually all of the ultimate edition Harry Potter movies, and I want to get the bluray LotR EE sometime, so I can finally have it in my own movie collection (I just always steal my parents' movies). I'm never able to really share my appreciation and glee over stuff like this, so it's so exciting to share stuff like this and not get weird looks from people as if I'm from another planet or something. Yaaay! 😀

  15. monkeybutter says:

    The other hobbits were right about Frodo being a weirdo. Breakfast isn't time for thinking, it's time for dancing in the meadows. Sheesh! Pippin is funny and carefree, and Sam is more complicated than he appears. They're both wonderful. I agree about the amount of character development here vs The Hobbit. It's not just that Tolkien's storytelling has improved, but it's also helped along by having our travelers know each other already, and Frodo, while the same age as Bilbo when he set out, seems a lot younger and less crotchety. There's lots more time for character interaction!

    The silhouetted Black Rider on the edge reminded me of Robert Mitchum's preacher in The Night of the Hunter, who is one of the most unsettling film characters ever. The scene with him slowly walking his horse as John watches from the hayloft is forever burned into my mind ("Don't he never sleep?"). I was going to say that his crooning of a psalm is far more disturbing to me than an unearthly wail, until I read your review and realized how many times I've scared myself halfway to a heart attack after hearing a noise while walking alone through the woods. So yeah, that shit is terrifying, and solitary horseback riders are not to be trusted (ponies are okay.)

  16. So tangential story for you all- my father is really fond of taking shortcuts and stuff on highways, especially roads that we haven't traveled before. My family has learned without fail that if we mention Pippin's quote of "Short cuts make long delays" we are guaranteed to get lost. I don't know why. But if we so much as mention this phrase it's almost a virtual certainty that we'll get stuck wondering around farm country for several hours. I mentioned it once when I was ten and my dad was taking me to a gymnastics meet- we ended having to cut sharply across an exit ramp Bourne-style to make sure we didn't get off at the wrong place.

    Right, LOTR. Anyhow, I remember reading the rider's cry and just cringing in my chair. One minute they're singing and happy, the next we have that delightful reminder they're being followed. Mood whiplash y'all.

    Oh and as one last thought, V'z bar bs gur naablvat obbx chevfgf jura vg pbzrf gb gur svyz. V pna sbetvir phggvat Gbz Obzonqvy, ohg V jvyy arire rire rire sbetvir gur zbivr sbe phggvat Snezre Znttbg. V qba'g pner ubj haernfbanoyr guvf znxrf zr, V JNAGRQ GB FRR GUNG THL.

  17. Marie the Bookwyrm says:

    After all the comments by Frodo's neighbors about the strange folk in Buckland, it's rather amusing to find that Farmer Maggott is just as prejudiced against the people of Hobbiton. (And Sam gives him the stink-eye. :))

  18. Starsea28 says:

    Pippin's just adorable. He's like a little ray of sunshine. Even if I do find him a bit irritating sometimes but I can't stay angry at him for long.

    Black Rider's cry was done so well in the movie that I go cold when I think about it.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      The radio series too. It's almost like an air raid siren; quite fitting when you remember the books were being written during World War II.

  19. shortstuff says:

    Zl snibevgr Snezre Znttbg naq snzvyl fprar npghnyyl pbzrf va EBGX, jura gurl pbzr onpx naq fgneg ebhfvat gur uboovgf gb qevir bhg gur Zra sebz gur Fuver. Gur yvggyr qnhtugre nfxf Fnz jul, vs ur'f cebgrpgvat Sebqb, qbrf ur yrnir uvz ng gur svefg fvta bs qnatre? Gur dhbgr sebz gur obbx vf fb shaal, fbzrguvat nobhg nf na rkcynangvba jbhyq rvgure gnxr jrrxf be abar ng nyy, Fnz ghearq nebhaq naq yrsg. yby

    Ng yrnfg, V guvax vg'f gur Znttbgf. Pbeerpg zr vs V'z jebat.

    • Vg'f gur Pbggbaf. Naq gur qnhtugre'f abg fb yvggyr; fur naq Fnz trg zneevrq. Ohg lbh ner evtug gung gung fprar vf fcrpgnphyne 🙂

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Znex vf gbgnyyl tbvat gb ybir "Gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver".

        • Bu zl ybeq, gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver. Gung ragver cneg hggreyl qrfgeblrq zr jura V ernq vg nf n yvggyr xvq. Vg jnf rdhny cneg uboovg ybir naq urnegoernx gung gur Fuver unq orra znvzrq yvxr gung.

          Naq lrnu, V guvax ur'yy ybir vg 🙂 Jul vf vg fb sne njnl…?

          • ljrTR says:

            There's so much I'm looking forward too!

            • flootzavut says:

              I'm in this state of "I can't WAIT for Mark to get to *insert favourite scene here*" but also I think we will get to the end of the books all too soon (even if it does also take ages) so I don't want to rush through it either because… FUN. Felt the same way when he was reading HP. Though back in the good ole Twilight days I think we were all just praying for it to STOP NOW because it was paaaaaaaaaaaainful.

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                I've felt the same exact way. On the one hand, I keep thinking about all the parts I can't wait for Mark to get to, but on the other hand, I don't want it to go by too quickly.

                I started reading Mark's reviews towards the very end of HP, so I didn't have to endure the painful and (it seems) never-ending Twilight series. I've never read Twilight for myself but after HP I read his Twilight reviews to learn more about all the hype. OH MY…poor, poor Mark. It scares me that I know virtually no one irl that recognizes Twilight as 1) a crap story, poorly written, 2) the worst example of relationships for impressionable young girls, and 3) a lust story, not a love story. I've been told that I'm over analyzing a simple love story. Reeeally? ::facepalms::

                Anyways, back to LotR: I'm looking forward to so many parts, I feel like I can hardly contain myself sometimes. I just sit, reading his reviews everyday, trying to silently squee to myself, and thinking about how utterly unprepared he is for everything.

                • flootzavut says:

                  I started reading sometime during Twilight – I really can't recall exactly how long ago, I am certain it was well before we got to Breaking Dawn but “sometime in the previous three books” is as far as I can narrow it down. It was one man's descent into despair, but it has given me plenty of ammunition to explain to people WHY I didn't like the books (I had only managed to articulate as far as “vaguely squicky feeling” having read Twilight. Reading the MRT ebooks has renewed the horror of realising just how disturbing they are. And how badly written of course, but that is a whole 'nother story.It's satisfying to realise that, thanks to Prof. Tolkien's good old-fashioned longwindedness (and I say that with immense affection :D), we have soooooooooo much joy ahead of us 😀

  20. Erin says:

    I feel like the first time I read this, I was much more suspicious & scared of EVERYONE, especially the Black Rider.

    • cait0716 says:

      I know! When Farmer Maggot insisted that they stay for dinner I though "No! It's a trap!" But then he was just a friendly guy trying to be neighborly. I gotta tone down my suspicion.

      • Becky_J_ says:

        ME TOO. I was cringing, waiting for Farmer Maggot to turn him over to the Black Riders…. I love that we were wrong, cause I feel like there is going to be enough bad luck as there is, for now let's enjoy being wrong!

    • blossomingpeach says:

      Me. too. I was definitely suspicious of Fgevqre jura jr svefg zrrg uvz, too.

      • flootzavut says:

        Definitely. And I think a good chunk of that is because gur grafvba vf fb enzcrq hc gung n zlfgrevbhf qnex punenpgre fvggvat va gur pbeare bs na vaa qbrf ABG frrz yvxr n gehfgjbegul xvaq bs crefba gb qrny jvgu. V ybirq gung fprar va gur zbivr.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Yeah they did really well with that scene, building up the tension between gur funqbjl svther bs Fgevqre, naq Sebqb'f unaqyvat bs gur evat, naq gura uvf nppvqragny qvfnccrnenapr. Gura ntnva, V guvax gur yvfg bs guvatf qbar irel jryy va gur zbivrf sne bhgjrvtuf nalguvat gung pbhyq or pbafvqrerq onq.

          • flootzavut says:

            Yep. V ernyyl trahvaryl qvqa'g xabj vs gurl jrer jvfr gb gehfg uvz svefg gvzr nebhaq, juvpu frrzf fb penml ybbxvat onpx, V zrna ur'f NENTBEA, ur'f n Qharqna, jung jnf V GUVAXVAT… ohg V guvax gung vf n ungf bss gb gur fgbevrf naq gb gur svyzf, gung ur frrzf fb fvavfgre.V'z irel sbaq bs gur zbivrf. V ybbx ba vg nf, Gbyxvra jnf perngvat n zlgubybtl, na nygreangvir uvfgbel. Nf fhpu, vg jbhyq va n jnl or fgenatr vs gur fgbevrf qvq abg punatr va gur ergryyvat – gung'f jung unccraf jvgu zlguf nf gurl trg cnffrq ba. Fb jurgure lbh'er ybbxvat ng vg sebz n svyzznxre'f CBI (gurl punatrq fghss gb perngr fgbevrf gung jbhyq jbex ba svyz) be sebz n zlgubybtl CBI (guvf vf whfg gur yngrfg vgrengvba bs gur zlgu gung unf orra nebhaq sbe gubhfnaqf bs lrnef), vg'f BX gung guvatf punatrq. Gurer ner fbzr punatrf V qba'g yvxr, gurer ner fbzr gung V ybir, ohg tvira jung Gbyxvra jnf gelvat gb qb, V guvax ur jbhyq unir haqrefgbbq, jurgure ur yvxrq vg be abg. Gubhtu fgenatryl, V guvax fbzr bs gur guvatf gung gur snaf tb ba zbfg nobhg jbhyq unir obgurerq Gbyxvra zhpu yrff guna fbzr bs gur guvatf jr yrg tb jvgu yvggyr pbzzrag!! :)Oh, and I gotta add: Ivttb Zbegrafra nf Nentbea: *fjbba*Ivttb Zbegrafra nf Nentbea va uvf “Fgevqre” crefban: *chqqyr ba sybbe*YBY :Q

            • AmandaNekesa says:

              I agree with your ENTIRE COMMENT! V znl or ovnfrq orpnhfr V fnj gur YbgE zbivrf orsber V ernq gur obbxf, ohg V qb nterr nobhg znxvat arrqrq punatrf jvgu zbivrf. V guvax va trareny, jurarire lbh'er genafyngvat n obbx gb n zbivr, gurer unf gb or punatrf be vg qbrfa'g jbex dhvgr evtug. Vs n punatr xrrcf jvgu gur trareny srry naq fcvevg bs gur fgbel, be rira urycf gur fgbel, qhr gb n cybg ubyr be cnpvat vffhr, gura V hfhnyyl nccebir bs vg. V gnxr vg nf gung crefba'f vagrecergngvba bs gur fgbel. Ab znggre jung vf punatrq gubhtu, gurer'f nyjnlf tbvat gb or fbzrbar gung cebgrfgf orpnhfr jr ner gunaxshyyl abg ebobgf, naq unir shapgvbavat oenvaf gung pna sbezhyngr bcvavbaf. V zrna, yvsr jbhyq or qhyy nf rire vs yvsr jnf na raqyrff yvar bs havsbezvgl. Fbzrgvzrf V'z fhecevfrq ol gur guvatf gung snaf trg hcfrg bire, ohg rirelbar unf gurve bja crefcrpgvir nobhg jung vf naq vfa'g zbfg vzcbegnag va gur fgbel orpnhfr jr nyy unir inelvat crefcrpgvirf ba yvsr naq jung gur fgbel zrnaf gb rnpu bs hf vaqvivqhnyyl.


              Ivttb Zbegrafra nf Nentbea: *fjbba*

              Ivttb Zbegrafra nf Nentbea va uvf "Fgevqre" crefban: *chqqyr ba sybbe*

              This. 😀

              • flootzavut says:

                Seriously, you ARE me, I swear 😮

                Take it as read, I agree lol.

                And yeah… I think Fgevqre znantrf gb unir n ybg bs gur "onq obl" nggenpgvirarff bs orvat xvaq bs qnatrebhf naq zlfgrevbhf naq fghooyl puva naq jung unir lbh – naq gur zna pna unaqyr n fjbeq gbb – ohg nyfb ur'f onfvpnyyl aboyr naq svtugf sbe gur evtug naq nyy gung xvaq bs guvat. Vg'f whfg n evqvphybhfyl nggenpgvir pbzovangvba…

                • AmandaNekesa says:

                  Re: Fgevqre – lrnu V guvax vg'f gur jnl ur unaqyrf uvzfrys gung'f fb nggenpgvir gb fb znal crbcyr. Ur'f irel fxvyyrq nf n jneevbe naq n yrnqre, ohg ur'f dhvgr uhzoyr nobhg vg, naq abg dhvpx gb whzc vagb yrnqrefuvc/cbjre. Ng gur fnzr gvzr ur hfrf uvf xabjyrqtr naq yrnqrefuvc gb enyyl crbcyr, sbe gur tbbq bs Zvqqyr Rnegu. Juvyr ur xabjf ur'f gur urve naq evtugshy Xvat bs Tbaqbe, ur qbrfa'g whfg pbzr ba va pynvzvat uvf xvatqbz; ur npxabjyrqtrf gung, gb or ivrjrq ol gur crbcyr nf gurve xvat, ur arrqf gur nccebiny bs gur Fgrjneq.

                  • flootzavut says:

                    Gubhtu va gur zbivrf (juvpu V unir jngpurq gjvpr va gur ynfg pbhcyr bs jrrxf) V guvax gurer vf zber bs gur onq obl ohg abg npghnyyl onq guvat tbvat ba YBY :Q

                    Ur'f whfg fb qnza aboyr naq uhzoyr ohg vaperqvoyl pncnoyr. V nyfb ybir gur jnl fbzrbar jub vf bs aboyr yvarntr naq unf unq fbzr cevivyrtr tebjvat hc ng yrnfg, gubhtu uvf pheerag cngu vf abg na rnfl bar, vf nyfb cbegenlrq nf fb pncnoyr naq cenpgvpny. Xabjyrqtr bs cynagf naq urnyvat, noyr gb srrq naq cebgrpg uvzfrys naq bguref, rgp.

                    V guvax rira gur jnl ur unaqyrf gur jubyr Rbjla guvat, juvpu yrg'f snpr vg vf n cnvashy fvghngvba gb or va, vf irel uhzna ohg nyfb irel tragyr. Abg arprffnevyl cresrpgyl unaqyrq (vg'f orra n juvyr fvapr V ernq gur eryrinag ovgf juvpu vf gur znva ernfba V nz urqtvat) ohg irel zhpu va punenpgre naq jvgu trahvar pbaprea sbe ure naq qvfgerff gung ur unf pnhfrq ure cnva. V NQBER gur yvar evtug arne gur raq bs EBGX: "V unir jvfurq gurr wbl fvapr svefg V fnj gurr. Vg urnyf zl urneg gb frr gurr abj va oyvff." Ur pnerf nobhg ure jryyorvat zber guna fbzr zra pner sbe gur jbzra gurl ner npghnyyl va n eryngvbafuvc jvgu.

                    Whfg ba n inthryl eryngrq abgr: V sbhaq vg fgenatr gung fbzr crbcyr qvfyvxrq Rbjla orvat fubja gb pbbx sbbq va gur RR bs gur GG. V pna haqrefgnaq crbcyr qvfyvxvat gur jnl vg jnf qbar (V pbasrff Nentbea'f "lhx" ernpgvbaf penpx zr hc rirel gvzr… :-b) ohg fbzr crbcyr frrz gb qvfyvxr ure orvat cbegenlrq nf qbvat zravny gnfxf, orvat n avrpr bs gur Xvat naq nyy, jurernf gb zr gung frrzrq irel erny gb ure punenpgre va cnegvphyne naq ure phygher va trareny. Abg gung orvat va gur xvgpura jbhyq va nal jnl or "ure cynpr", ohg ure orvat pncnoyr naq cenpgvpny rabhtu gb ybbx nsgre gubfr xvaq bs arrqf, naq abg whfg orvat cerggl naq qbvat gur eblny cneg bs guvatf… gung frrzrq irel cebonoyr gb zr. N jbzna jub pna unaqyr n ubefr, n fjbeq, naq evqr vagb onggyr… V jbhyq or fhecevfrq vs fur *qvqa'g* unir gur cenpgvpny abapr gb 1) frr n arrq naq 2) shysvy vg ab znggre ubj zravny vg znl nccrne.

                    Naljnl enaqbz ovg gung V jnf erzvaqrq bs orpnhfr V tbg bagb gur jubyr Rbjla fhowrpg naq abj V funyy dhvgr jnssyvat ba…

                    • AmandaNekesa says:

                      "Ur'f whfg fb qnza aboyr naq uhzoyr ohg vaperqvoyl pncnoyr." — Rknpgyl. Ur'f abg whfg gur "evtugshy urve" ohg ur'f irel fxvyyrq naq xabjyrqtrnoyr, va gur zbfg cenpgvpny jnlf, juvpu znxrf uvz iveghnyyl gur zbfg dhnyvsvrq crefba gb svyy gur ebyr bs Xvat. Naq nf n punenpgre gbb, ur'f nyfb gubhtugshy naq tragyr, juvpu bs pbhefr znxrf uvz rira zber yvxrnoyr.

                      Er: Rbjla — V guvax Nentbea'f ernpgvba va gur zbivr frrzrq n gnq zber tragyr guna va gur obbx. Gubhtu va gur obbx, gur aneengvba znxrf vg pyrne gung ur vf fnq naq irel gebhoyrq gb yrnir/erwrpg ure, ur'f nyfb fgenvtug-sbejneq va gurve pbairefngvbaf, fnlvat fur fubhyq fgnl oruvaq. Nyfb, Nentbea nyfb qbrfa'g ercyl qverpgyl jura fur fnlf "gurl tb bayl orpnhfr gurl jbhyq abg or cnegrq sebz gurr — orpnhfr gurl ybir gurr." Vg whfg whzcf gb Nentbea'f qrcnegher, naq Rbjla bssrevat n phc gb Nentbea. Qrsvavgryl abg cresrpg unaqyvat bs gur fvghngvba, ohg vg pbhyq unir orra n YBG jbefr, V thrff. Naq gung dhbgr lbh zragvbarq sebz yngre ba va EbgX tbrf gb fubj ubj zhpu ur ernyyl qbrf pner sbe ure.

                      V guvax ng svefg, V gubhtug vg n yvggyr fgenatr gung Rbjla'f pbbxvat unq gb or fb onq. Yvxr, jul pna'g n jbzna xabj ubj gb unaqyr urefrys jvgu n fjbeq, n ubefr, naq nyfb xabj ubj gb znxr n tbbq cbg bs fbhc nf jryy? Vg'f n cerggl cenpgvpny guvat. V guvax gurer ner jnlf gung gur fprar pbhyq unir orra funcrq qvssreragyl gb unir Rbjla cbegenlrq yrff, V qhaab…frnepuvat sbe Nentbea'f nccebiny bs ure pbbxvat? V guvax gung'f cebonoyl jul gurl phg vg sebz gur gurngevpny irefvba, ohg vg'f abg n greevoyr fprar, naq V qb svaq vg dhvgr shaal. Nentbea'f rkcerffvba nf ur'f fvccvat gur fbhc naq *dhrfgvbanoyr zrng*, naq gura fcvyyf gur cvcvat ubg fbhc va na nggrzcg gb or evq bs vg… 😀

                    • flootzavut says:

                      Lrnu, lbh xvaq bs srry Tbaqbe unf ernyyl yhpxrq bhg gung GUVF zna vf pbzvat gb gur guebja.

                      Gung dhbgr sebz EbgX znxrf zr guvax bs fbzrguvat fbzrbar pbzzragrq erpragyl nobhg orvat fnq jura crbcyr fuvc Sebqb naq Fnz, nf vs gurve univat n "zber guna sevraqf" eryngvbafuvc zhfg or nhgbzngvpnyyl orggre. Nentbea pyrneyl unf qrrc srryvatf naq pbaprea sbe ure rira gubhtu vg vf cher sevraqfuvc. V qba'g guvax vg'f fbzrguvat jr frr va yvsr, arire zvaq va svpgvba, rira orgjrra fnzr frk sevraqf gurfr qnlf – gb frr vg orgjrra n zna naq n jbzna vf n ornhgvshy guvat.

                      V nyjnlf srry yvxr gur znva ernfba Rbjla snyyf sbe Nentbea vf gung ur ernyyl *frrf* ure – gung fur vf n pncnoyr jbzna, gung fur vf zber guna whfg ornhgvshy, gung fur pna unaqyr n fjbeq naq n ubefr – juvpu V fhfcrpg unf abg unccrarq n ybg. Qbrf gung znxr frafr? V pna'g guvax ubj ryfr gb chg vg!

                      V'z cerggl fher gur znva checbfr bs gung fprar vf gb oevat bhg gur snpg gung Nentbea vf n Ahzraberna/zhpu zber irarenoyr guna ur ybbxf, naq vg qbrf znxr zr ynhtu, ohg vg qbrf znxr zr pevatr gung gurl znxr vg frrz yvxr fur pna'g pbbx… fb V pna haqrefgnaq crbcyr univat n ceboyrz jvgu vg ba gung yriry. Ohg fbzr crbcyr trahvaryl frrzrq gb unir na vffhr jvgu ure orvat frra gb or pbbxvat, juvpu frrzf ovmneer gb zr. V pna'g frr n Ebuna jbzna – rira eblnygl – *abg* orvat noyr naq jvyyvat gb pbbx vs gur arrq nebfr. V zrna, fur'f abg rknpgyl nsenvq gb trg ure unaqf qvegl, naq juvyr fur unf hygrevbe zbgvirf sbe evqvat vagb onggyr, vg qbrfa'g punatr gur snpg gung fur QBRF evqr vagb onggyr, xvyy gur Anmthy, rgp – guvf vf fbzr jbzna. Gung nalbar pbhyq ernq/jngpu nyy gung naq gura pynvz gung ure cebivqvat sbbq (fbzrguvat fb vagrafryl cenpgvpny) vf bhg bs punenpgre V sbhaq ernyyl fgenatr!

                      It does make me laugh though. The faces he pulls… 😀

                      I may not be making sense, it's late here and I should be sleeping but I'm trying to get my Kindle to download my latest freebies and time has gone on… 😮

                    • AmandaNekesa says:

                      Bu lrnu, lbh'er znxvat cresrpg frafr – V qrsvavgryl nterr nobhg gur Rbjla/Nentbea sevraqfuvc ovg (naq gur Sebqb/Fnz eryngvbafuvc gbb). Jul gur urpx pna'g gurve sevraqfuvc or whfg nf zrnavatshy (be zber guna) n ebznagvp eryngvbafuvc? V svaq gur vqrn gung ebznapr vf terngre guna sevraqfuvc vaperqvoyl sehfgengvat.

                      "V nyjnlf srry yvxr gur znva ernfba Rbjla snyyf sbe Nentbea vf gung ur ernyyl *frrf* ure – gung fur vf n pncnoyr jbzna, gung fur vf zber guna whfg ornhgvshy, gung fur pna unaqyr n fjbeq naq n ubefr – juvpu V fhfcrpg unf abg unccrarq n ybg." — Lrnu gung'f n tbbq cbvag. V qrsvavgryl trg gur frafr gung Nentbea'f xrra creprcgvba bs Rbjla nf n fgebat jbzna vf fbzrguvat fur qbrfa'g trg nf zhpu sebz crbcyr jvguva ure bja snzvyl/phygher. V pna haqrefgnaq ubj gung jbhyq or na vaperqvoyl nggenpgvir srngher sbe Rbjla gb frr va Nentbea, abg gb zragvba uvf abovyvgl, uhzvyvgl, naq fxvyy.

                      And….I want to reply more but I have to head to work. I'll just say that I agree with what you said about that scene. 🙂

  21. knut_knut says:

    Yea, if I were Frodo I’d have had a heart attack at the first Black Rider and we’d be well on my way to my funeral by now. They’re not even out of the Shire! I feel like we’ve read so much already (in my copy we’re 130-ish pages in) and yet it’s only the 4th chapter and Frodo has barely left home.

    Bless Pippin for wanting to go on a pub run <3

  22. tanbarkie says:

    Merry and Pippin!!! Naq zber gb gur cbvag, Ovyyl Oblq naq Qbzvavp Zbantuna!!! Obgu bs jubz fb PBZCYRGRYL rzobqvrq gurve punenpgref gung gurl'ir orpbzr flabalzbhf jvgu Crerteva naq Zrevnqbp va zl zvaq.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Tvira gung Znex vf n Ybfg sna, V vzntvar gurer'yy or dhvgr gur fdhrr-srfg jura ur frrf Qbz. Gubhtu znlor abg nf zhpu nf Wbua Aboyr, jub'f fgvyy univat ceboyrzf jvgu uvf xvqf.

    • threerings13 says:

      V qba'g rira guvax nobhg vg nalzber, ohg V pna'g uryc cvpghevat NYY gur npgbef va gurve ebyrf jura V ernq gur obbxf abj. Ohg rfcrpvnyyl Zreel naq Cvccva.

    • flootzavut says:

      Me too! So much <3 for them both <3 <3 <3

  23. pennylane27 says:

    I absolutely love this chapter. I think it's shorter than the previous ones, but there are so many great moments there. The rider's cry is just terrifying, and really, DO NOT WANT. I don't think I would have been able to set out in the first place due to terror, but if I had, I would have turned around at this point and/or let the rider find me.

    Also, Naq gura Cvccva fubjf hc naq ur unf ab vqrn jung’f tbvat ba

    Bu zna, gbzbeebj vf tbvat gb or whfg ornhgvshy. 😀

  24. Katie says:

    I hope it's not actually spoilerish when I say that I thought the casting choices for Merry and Pippin in the movies were absolutely wonderfully spot-on in my opinion? I feel like the only possible people who could have played them, were cast.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      And it gets better when you learn Ovyyl Oblq vf npghnyyl gur byqrfg bs gur Uboovg npgbef; ur jnf va uvf rneyl 30f jura gur zbivrf jrer svyzrq naq ghearq 43 guvf lrne! Lrg lbh'er rnfvyl noyr gb ohl uvz nf gur lbhat, varkcrevraprq bar.

      • flootzavut says:

        Yes! I love that, it always makes me laugh to realise.

      • Dreamflower says:

        V jnf nznmrq ng ubj lbhat ur jnf noyr gb ybbx va fbzr fprarf. V guvax zl snibevgr jnf gur rkcerffvba ba uvf snpr jura Snenzve erirnyrq ur'q frra Sebqb naq Fnz! V fjrne, ur ybbxrq nobhg 12 va gung fubg, naq gur nofbyhgr wbl naq ybir ng yrneavat gurl jrer nyvir jnf nznmvat!

        • flootzavut says:

          LRF. Gbgnyyl. Gb or ubarfg, vs fbzrbar unq gbyq zr whfg sebz jngpuvat gur svyzf gung ur jnf 17 be 18 yvxr Ryvwnu, V jbhyq unir oryvrirq vg. Ur ybbxf byqre jvgu uvf bja (ynpx bs) unve, ohg nf Cvccva ur qrsvavgryl frrzf gur lbhatrfg naq zbfg vaabprag bs gur sbhefbzr.

      • tardis_stowaway says:

        V sbhaq Ovyyl Oblq'f ntr n ovg qvfgenpgvat. Juvyr ur ernyyl qbrf qb n curabzrany wbo jvgu rkcerffvat Cvccva'f lbhgu, uvf snpr qbrfa'g ybbx lbhat rabhtu sbe gur ebyr. Bu jryy. Abg n uhtr qrny.

    • @ljrTR says:

      Movie Merry & Pippin are nothing like how I picture them in my mind's eye while reading. But I still enjoy them.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I love them too! <3

    • flootzavut says:

      I feel that way about most (all?) of the casting – IMO they did a fantastic job with casting, and that is not easy with such an epic story and an epic shoot.

  25. MidnightLurker says:

    Poor Maggot. What'd he do to deserve a name like that?

    I think Pippin was joking about not wanting to save breakfast for Frodo. I HOPE he was joking. 🙂

    • flootzavut says:

      I'd like to think he was joking, but this is Pippin – what he does and does not consider serious may not be quite normal! 😉 <3

  26. hpfish13 says:

    So, no Alan Lee work today, but here's a beautiful landscape called Green Hill Morning from a Tolkien calendar

    <img src=""&gt;

    I think ever since I saw The Princess Bride, with the shrieking eels, I have been terrified of things that let out a high pitched scream before attacking you.

    • baruchan says:

      Oh, the art looks stunning! I especially love the tree to the left, though I have no idea why.

    • cait0716 says:

      I was kayaking over the summer and encountered some shrieking frogs! I managed to get my kayak into a really shallow place and ended up stuck on a bank. As I crashed into a mud bank (I was going really slowly, mind) I heard this high-pitched shriek and a frog jump out of my way. It was more hilarious than terrifying. Probably 'cause the frog was so small.

      The art is beautiful, thanks for posting!

      • hpfish13 says:

        You just never know what to expect with frogs. We have a pet tree frog and it barks like a seal whenever we get too loud (which, given my family, is quite often).

  27. plaidpants says:

    Oh, and also (orpnhfr vg'f bar bs zl snibevgr fprarf va gur zbivr naq V'z fnq vg tbg phg):

    Url! Ub! Gb gur obggyr V tb
    Gb urny zl urneg naq qebja zl jbr.
    Enva znl snyy naq jvaq znl oybj
    Ohg gurl'yy fgvyy or … znal zvyrf gb tb

    Fjrrg vf gur fbhaq bs gur cbhevat enva
    Fgernz gung snyyf sebz uvyy gb cynva
    Orggre guna enva be evccyvat oebbx
    Vf n zht bs orre vafvqr guvf Gbbx!

  28. Suzannezibar says:

    In just the past year I have developed a taste for mushrooms, and now they are my FAVORITE healthy-ish thing to eat. For the longest time, though, I could never relate to the hobbits in that respect.

    Farmer Maggot!! So much awesome!!

    Pyrneyl V unq sbetbggra ubj ybat gur svefg cneg bs SBGE vf. V jbxr hc guvaxvat "Bbbu! Vf Znex tbvat gb trg gb Gbz Obzonqvy gbqnl?" Naq ybbx ng zl obbx, naq ernyvmr–"Puncgre FRIRA????" Bu, Gbyxvra… :Q

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Va gur Rkgraqrq Rqvgvba fcrpvny srngherf, bar bs gur snagnfl fpubynef gnyxf nobhg gur ernfbaf n zbqrea choyvfure jbhyq arire npprcg Gur Ybeq bs gur Evatf, naq bar bs gurz vf "gur ortvaavat bs gur obbx vf zhpu ybatre guna gur raq bs gur obbx, jurer gur erny fgbel unccraf." Lbh pna ernyyl gryy Gbyxvra qvqa'g dhvgr xabj jurer ur jnf tbvat jvgu guvf fgbel ng guvf cbvag.

  29. echinodermata says:

    This chapter is the one that really makes me want to tonally compare LotR to The Hobbit. Bilbo goes off on his adventures and it's pretty rushed – the story is the adventure and you jump right into it, and it doesn't develop what Bilbo's feeling half as well as the sort of thing we get here in FotR. I can just feel for Frodo and Sam and the sort of uncertainty they must be feeling. And then you couple that with Pippin's untroubled sense of delight and fun, and it really goes a long way to show how Frodo and Sam are feeling a sense of duty and responsibility for the journey they've endeavored to take. I like that we're slowly moving through The Shire and it really does give a sense of scope for this world.

    Also, I love hobbits' love of food – pretty perfect way to endear them to me.

  30. blossomingpeach says:

    Longtime lurker…finally created an account so I could comment just for LOTR. I first read the books ten years ago when the first movie came out. I hadn't seen it yet, but I got the book for Christmas from a friend and finished it practically that afternoon, then went out and bought matching editions of TTT and ROTK and finished them just as quickly. I have a very vivid memory of orvat nofbyhgryl greevsvrq qhevat gur "Xavsr va gur Qnex" puncgre, naq orvat uvtuyl fhfcvpvbhf bs guvf Fgevqre sryybj. Nsgre gung V pbhyqa'g chg gur obbxf qbja. Nygubhtu, vg nyjnlf gbbx n puncgre be gjb gb trg onpx vagb n fgbelyvar nsgre gur Sryybjfuvc fcyvg naq Gbyxvra pehryyl lnaxrq zr njnl sebz n punenpgre whfg nf uvf fgbel jnf trggvat tbbq.

    Pna'g jnvg sbe Snenzve, zl nyy-gvzr snibevgr punenpgre, jubfr crefbanyvgl vf pehryyl znyvtarq va gur zbivrf.

    YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. *so excited!*

    • wahlee says:

      V nqber gur zbivrf sbe gur zbfg cneg, ohg V jvyy arire, arire, ARIRE sbetvir gurz sbe jung gurl qvq gb Snenzve. V haqrefgnaq gung gurl arrqrq gb rkgraq Sebqb naq Fnz'f fgbelyvar gb znxr gur gvzvat zngpu hc jvgu jung jnf unccravat va Ebuna, ohg V ungr gung gurl nffnffvangrq Snenzve'f punenpgre gb qb vg. Rirel gvzr V erernq gur obbxf zl urneg npurf sbe gur Snenzve gung jr arire tbg gb frr ba gur fperra (ur jnf onpx ba sbez va EbgX, ohg vg qbrfa'g znxr hc sbe jung jr unq gb yvir guebhtu va GG. Abg gb zragvba gung jr qvqa'g trg nal Snenzve/Rbjla va gur gurngevpny eryrnfr naq bayl n grral fzvqtra va gur RR. Sru.), naq rfcrpvnyyl gur crbcyr jub qvqa'g ernq gur obbxf jub abj unir n fxrjrq ivfvba bs uvf punenpgre.

      • pennylane27 says:

        Lrf, V nyjnlf ungrq vg gbb, ohg zl fvfgre'f ungr vf orlbaq pbzcnevfba gb nal ungrshy srryvat V unir rire unq. Rbjla vf ure snibhevgr punenpgre naq gur snpg gung gurl pbzcyrgryl zheqrerq Snenzve'f punenpgre pbzovarq jvgu gur irel oevrs fprar va gur gurngevpny eryrnfr bs EbgX znqr ure yrnir gur gurnger shzvat.

        V qba'g guvax fur'f rire tbg nebhaq gb jngpuvat gur RR'f, ohg V qbhog vg jvyy nffhntr ure. V zrna, fur bofrffviryl ernqf gur puncgre bs Gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat bire naq bire rirel gvzr fur cvpxf hc gur obbx!

        • blossomingpeach says:

          I read that chapter over and over again, too, but vg'f orpnhfr V unir n uhtr pehfu ba Snenzve. 😀

          • msw188 says:

            I love that chapter because vg'f npghnyyl gur shaavrfg cneg bs gung obbx. Gur jneqra bs gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat vf njrfbzr. Vbergu vf njrfbzr. Ohg zbfg bs nyy, Nentbea vf njrfbzr. Gur bayl gvzr jura Tnaqnys fgnaqf ol naq jngpurf fbzrbar ryfr gebyy nf jryy nf ur pna. Naq Nentbea'f yvggyr fcrrpu gb Zreel jura ur jnagf fbzr cvcrjrrq vf gur zbfg nznmvat guvat rire.

            Ohg lrnu, gung yvar "Gur Evat jvyy tb gb Tbaqbe," zl sevraq naq V whfg ybbxrq ng rnpu bgure, zbhguf qebccrq bcra. Naq abj rirel gvzr V jngpu gur zbivr V frpergyl ubcr gung ur'yy znantr gb trg vg evtug. Ur arire qbrf sebja sebja sebja…

      • blossomingpeach says:

        I agree with every single thing you said. Wholeheartedly. Your opinion is my opinion.

        Nterrq, V pna'g ernyyl sbetvir gurz sbe jung gurl qvq gb Snenzve, rira gubhtu V bgurejvfr ybir gur zbivrf. Gurl pbhyq unir pbzr hc jvgu nabgure fbyhgvba sbe gur cnpvat. Sbe rknzcyr, gurl pbhyq unir unq bar bs Snenzve'f zra gnxr Sebqb naq Fnz gb Bftvyvngu va beqre gb fnir gur pvgl naq unir Snenzve erfphr gurz naq frg gurz serr. Jurarire V juvar nobhg ubj zhpu orggre Snenzve vf va gur obbxf gb fbzrbar jub unfa'g ernq gurz, gurl whfg tvir zr n oynax ybbx yvxr V'z pbzcynvavat nobhg n zvabe qrgnvy.

        Vg'f fnq, orpnhfr V guvax Qnivq Jraunz vf bgurejvfr n ybiryl Snenzve. Vg'f abg UVF snhyg ur'f sbeprq gb cynl Obebzve!Yvgr vafgrnq bs Snenzve. (V'q rira sbetvir uvz abg univat enira unve, sbe urnira'f fnxr.)

        "Gur Fgrjneq naq gur Xvat" vf bar bs zl snibevgr puncgref va nal obbx rire. "Qb abg fpbea ybir gung vf gur tvsg bs n tragyr urneg." Fjbba. (Be fbzrguvat yvxr gung. Qba'g unir EBGX jvgu zr.)

    • Alia says:

      V jnf fb cvffrq nobhg jung gurl qvq jvgu Snenzve va gur zbivrf. V xabj gurl fnvq vg jnf gb cebivqr n pyvznk sbe Sebqb naq Fnz fvapr vs gurl unq raqrq jvgu Furybo gurer jbhyq unir orra evbgf, ohg fgvyy! Snenzve vf bar bs irel srj nofbyhgryl fgnaq-hc punenpgref naq qvqa’g qrfreir jung gurl qvq gb uvz ng nyy.

    • calimie says:

      I agree with all of his.

      Arire sbetvir!

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Jryy, gb or cresrpgyl ubarfg, juvyr V qvfyvxr gur fvtavsvpnag punatr va Snenzve'f punenpgre, V guvax V pna HAQREFGNAQ jul gurl qvq vg. V fgebatyl erpbzzraq jngpuvat gur oruvaq-gur-fprarf ivqrbf va gur QIQ rkgenf – Cuvyvccn Oblraf gnyxf dhvgr rkgrafviryl nobhg vg. Gurl jrer urfvgnag gb punatr Snenzve gurzfryirf, ohg va gur raq gurl sryg vg jnf arrqrq sbe gur svyz (juvpu vf, nsgre nyy, n gbgnyyl qvssrerag zrqvhz guna gur obbx) fb gung vg jbhyqa'g haqrezvar gur Evat'f cbjre. Naq vg znxrf frafr, vs lbh guvax nobhg vg – fb sne rirelbar unf gnyxrq nobhg ubj cbjreshy gur Evat'f cbjre gb pbeehcg vf, ubj vg punatrf rirelbar, rfcrpvnyyl Zra, gung bayl uboovgf unir cebira gb or erfvyvrag gb vgf rivy – naq gura lbh fhqqrayl unir guvf oybxr jub bhgevtug fnlf "V jbhyqa'g gnxr vg vs vg ynl ba gur fvqr bs gur ebnq" naq nccrnef gb or jubyyl hanssrpgrq ol vg. Pvarzngvpnyyl, vg engure jrnxraf gur Evat'f cbjre.

      Naq gur Rkgraqrq Rqvgvba cebivqrf ernfba naq zbgvingvba sbe Snenzve'f npgvbaf – jr frr uvz pbafgnagyl orvat orengrq ol uvf sngure, pbafgnagyl va gur funqbj bs uvf byqre oebgure – ab jbaqre ur'f gelvat gb qb nalguvat ur pna gb cyrnfr uvf sngure.

      V'z abg fnlvat jr fubhyq nterr jvgu gur punatr (V, gbb, jbhyq'ir cersreerq vs gurl unq xrcg Snenzve'f punenpgre nf vg jnf), ohg V'z fnlvat jr fubhyqa'g qvfzvff vg nf n "zvaqyrff punatr sbe gur fnxr bs punatr", orpnhfr vg'f pyrne gung Crgre, Cuvyvccn naq Sena chg n ybg bs gubhtug vagb vg naq vg jnfa'g na rnfl punatr.

      Naq gb or ubarfg, V'z zber qvfnccbvagrq va Sebqb fraqvat Fnz njnl guna va gur punatr bs Snenzve'f punenpgre…

      Nygubhtu V qb nterr gur svyzf pbhyq qb jvgu zber Snenzve/Rbjla, orpnhfr gurl'er gbgnyyl njrfbzr naq fjrrg.

      • ladililn says:

        Guvf. Ybbxvat ng gur zbivrf naq obbxf nf gjb qvssrerag fgbevrf–V ernyyl qba'g zvaq gung gurl unq gb punatr gur punenpgre bs Snenzve, orpnhfr V guvax vg znxrf n ybg bs frafr va grezf bs gur Evat'f cbjre. V YVXR gur snpg gung vg'f n ovg bs n fgehttyr sbe uvz, lrg ur hygvzngryl ernyvmrf uvf reebe naq birepbzrf vg–guvf vf jung znxrf uvz hygvzngryl orggre guna Obebzve. Lrg ur fgvyy unq gb fgehttyr svefg, orpnhfr gung'f jung gur Evat qbrf. V zrna, vs ur unqa'g orra grzcgrq ng nyy, jul abg whfg unir UVZ gnxr gur Evat gb Zbhag Qbbz? V nyjnlf gubhtug gur cbvag jnf gung Sebqb, whfg orpnhfr bs gur crefba ur jnf, jnf rfcrpvnyyl fhvgrq gb erfvfgvat gur Evat (lrg rira ur pbhyqa'g qb vg sberire).

        Gbgnyyl nterr ba arrqvat zber Rbjla/Snenzve gubhtu. Gur Rkgraqrq Rqvgvbaf qb abg tvir rabhtu! Gurl jrer zl irel svefg fuvc, orsber V rira xarj jung n fuvc jnf…V fgvyy graq gb cvpx hc EBGX ng enaqbz whfg gb erernq gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat Puncgre. 🙂

      • ljrTR says:

        This discussion just emphasizes to me that Mark should read All the books before seeing ANY of the movies. just my opinion of course.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          More and more I'm starting to agree with this. If Mark watches the movies after the books then he can go through the Appendices before and read about the Nentbea/Nejra fgbel gung vf vapyhqrq va gur zbivrf. I think it will be better to visualize the story, as a whole, through the books first, and then see Peter Jackson's interpretation of the story.

      • Parmadil says:

        Nterrzrag jvgu rirelguvat lbh fnvq. V jvyy abg yvr, gubhtu, V engure rawblrq gur punatr. Gnxvat gurz gb Bftvyvngu? OEVYYVNAG! Vg jnf qrsvavgryl jung gur svyz arrqrq, qenzngvpnyyl, rfcrpvnyyl gnxvat Furybo'f Ynve bhg bs gur GG.

        Naq gur rkgraqrq qiqf qvq na rkpryyrag wbo bs cbegenlvat uvf zbgvingvba, zhpu zber guna lbh rire trg.

        Nyfb, qrsvavgr nterrzrag- jr tbg tlccrq ba gur Snenzve-Röjla fgbel….

      • UnstrungZero says:

        Thank you so much for this comment, because I was struggling with how to explain all that myself. I completely understand gur Snenzve snaentr bire fhpu n znffvir punenpgre punatr, ohg vg ernyyl jnf arprffnel gb onpxhc gur guerng bs gur Evat, be ryfr gur jubyr guvat pbhyq'ir snyyra ncneg. V ybir ubj genafcnerag naq bcra CW & Pb. ner nobhg gur punatrf naq gur ernfbavatf oruvaq gurz.

    • anghraine says:

      V pbzcyrgryl nterr nobhg Snenzve — zl snibhevgr punenpgre gbb! Bar bs zl snibhevgr punenpgref va nalguvat rire, npghnyyl. Naq V qvq jngpu gur pyvcf jurer gurl rkcynvarq jul, ohg…ru. V guvax gur ceboyrz vf zber gung gurl'q ohvyg Zra hc nf rffragvnyyl cbjre-uhatel naq zbenyyl jrnxre guna rirelbar ryfr (fnlf gur Abyqbe!), juvyr *nyernql* vapyhqvat n zbzrag jurer na rkgenbeqvanel Zna fjrnef abg gb gnxr gur Evat, yngre unf n punapr gb gnxr vg, vf cbjreshyyl grzcgrq, birepbzrf gur grzcgngvba naq erwrpgf vg UBYL FUVG NJRFBZR. Ohg vg'f Nentbea jub qbrf gung va gur zbivrf. Qbvat vg nyy bire ntnva jvgu Snenzve, gura, pna'g unir gur vzcnpg vg qvq va gur obbxf, jurer Snenzve jnf gur bayl uhzna orvat *rire* gb erwrpg vg. Vg whfg znxrf gur Evat frrz yrff cbjreshy naq Nentbea, Snenzve, naq gur uboovgf nyy yrff rkgenbeqvanel.

      (V nyfb qba'g yvxr n ybg bs gurve bgure pubvprf jvgu uvz, yvxr gur gbegher bs Tbyyhz, naq jubyrfnyr erzbiny bs uvf fpubyneyl crefbanyvgl, bgurejbeyqyl nve naq fgryyne yrnqrefuvc — rira va EBGX ur qbrfa'g trg gubfr onpx — ohg gurl'er yrff fvtavsvpnag. V qb guvax zbivr!Nentbea vf pybfre gb obbx!Snenzve guna nalguvat ryfr, gubhtu.)

  31. Geolojazz says:

    Yay this chapter! So much fun to read this over Mark's shoulder. I picked up my battered copy of FotR today, purchased when I was in Grade 7 (holy crap, 16 years ago!!!), scrawled all over with different phone numbers and a note informing potential thieves/people who'd find the book lying about that it was indeed my favourite book and if they could please return it.

    Seriously, the very smell of the book itself brought back memories. 6 times I've read it. o_O And each movie made for a special Christmas memory with friends as we'd rush early to the theatre to save about a dozen seats together.

    <3 All those memories are coming back. Thanks, Mark!

    • lismk says:

      Imagining you lurking over Mark's shoulder now…lovely visual 😛 like Mrs. Incredible creeping upside down over the security guards' shoulder.

  32. Bealocwealm says:

    Joining the mushroom battle:


    Except shiitake. Those are awful.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  33. settlingforhistory says:

    so he’s built up a thirty-year scare of the man’s dogs.

    Ok, for me this is the point where I would have turned around.
    I mean, dogs on their own are scary enough, but a man with a grudge against me who threatened to set his dogs on me. *panic* Why does it have to be dogs? Why not kittens or you know, butterflies?

    I love Sam's character developement. The elves must have left quite an impression on him, but then I guess if a person as wise as an elf would tell me "Do not leave him!" I would probably start to take things more seriously, too. It's wonderful how devoted Sam his to Frodo, though I wonder why. Not that Frodo isn't an awesome hobbit, but what is it that makes people listen to him as if he where, I don't know, Gandalf? Or is that simply an adorable character trait of Sam? I guess, I'll have to get to know all these characters a bit better and there is enough time for that, right?
    What seems strange to me is that Frodo always thinks of the other 3 hobbits as young, is he so much older than them? (Don't answer that if it is mentioned in the books.)

    Oh, this Black Rider creeps me out. What is that thing? I want to know, but I have a feeling I won't like the answer.

    • Dreamflower says:

      The age difference is not mentioned in the main part of the books, but in the Appendices. I will rot.13 so you can decide if you want to know:

      Jr xabj Sebqb vf 50. Gur uboovg Snzvyl Gerrf va Nccraqvk P tvir hf zber vasb.
      Vs lbh qb gur zngu, Fnz vf 12 lrnef lbhatre guna Sebqb, Zreel vf 14 lrnef lbhatre guna Sebqb, naq Cvccva vf 22 lrnef lbhatre. Rira jura lbh gnxr vagb nppbhag gur fybjre engr bs znghevgl va uboovgf, gung'f fgvyy n fvtavsvpnag ntr qvssrerapr. Ohg Sebqb unfa'g ntrq fvapr ur tbg gur Evat (erzrzore gung vasb sebz "Funqbj bs gur Cnfg"?)

    • ljrTR says:

      Vf vg rire pbzcyrgryl rkcynvarq jul Fnz vf fb qribgrq gb Sebqb?

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Re: hobbit ages – there's a line in Chapter two that sort-of answers your question:

      "He [Frodo] lived alone, as Bilbo had done; but he had a good many friends, especially among the younger hobbits (mostly descendants of the Old Took) who had as children been fond of Bilbo and often in and out of Bag End."

      So this at least points to the fact that all his friends are younger, though it doesn't indicate by how much.

  34. tigerpetals says:

    Jryy abj V pna frr gur zbivrarff bs gur zbivr. Cvccva jnf funcrq vagb zber fgnaqneq pbzvp eryvrs. Vg jnf gur rnfl jnl gb tb. Bgure guna gung, V pna frr jul guvatf jrer fubegrarq naq punatrq. Vg znqr sbe n zber frevbhf, hetrag gbar guna gurfr puncgref unir unq, be gur zbivr jbhyq unir orra zhpu ybatre.

    I do like the woods and fields descriptions. Together the eating part, which incidentally makes me hungry for mushrooms even though they've never appealed to me before, they make it feel like a real adventure. Like consideration was given to the realities of travel.

    I sided with Frodo. Guy knows he needs to hide, so he does.

  35. TreasureCat says:

    Oh goodness I am so excited I finally have time to sit down and comment on one of these because I have ~things~ to ~contribute~! Darn being employed for keeping me too busy to comment so far >.<
    Anyway! About 9 years ago when I moved house, I was cleaning out the garage and found a dusty notebook in an old box. Turns out it used to belong to my mum, and the notebook was FULL of LOTR art. I fell in love with the art so much that Mum said I could keep the book, and I ended up using it as a diary. Now Mark is finally reading LOTR I am so excited that I can gradually (so as not to spoil him <3) share all the art with you. Obviously because I used it as a diary I have had to crop some of the pages so as not to share my deepest hearts feelings with the internet, but I've really tried to keep as much of the art as possible and make it look neat.
    Here are the ones I can share thus far:

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

  36. Zoli says:

    I… actually don't think there's tons of hobbit-fic? It's been forever since I read LotR fic, but most of what I did see back then was Nentbea/Yrtbynf fic. I've never been really active in the fandom, but for some reason people seem to largely fixate on other characters and not the hobbits. Which is too bad, because hobbits are best.

    • Katarina says:

      I checked, and Frodo is unsurprisingly the one of the four with the most fics listed, at 3,813, while Merry is listed for the fewest fics, at 1,645. Now, there's probably some overlap, and there are 41,207 LotR fics (book section) total, so yes, it's a minority, but it's still a few tons of hobbit-fic. 🙂

      • Dreamflower says: is not necessarily the best place to find hobbit-centric fic. A good many hobbit writers (myself included) don't post there, but at LotR-specific archives or on LiveJournal. There's one archive for nothing but hobbit-centric strories, West of the Moon. It's "frozen", as in no longer taking new stories, but all the stories posted there are still available for reading. I post mostly at Stories of Arda and at Many Paths to Tread, where I'm a co-mod.

        There is probably still more Elf fic. For some reason Legomances are still very popular.

        • stefb4 says:

          I am reading your fic Vg Gnxrf n Gbbx on storiesofarda! I like it a lot so far 🙂

          • Dreamflower says:

            Thanks! It's a favorite of mine and I had a lot of fun writing it! I'm glad that you like it. As you can see, I am sort of fond of hobbits, LOL!

    • Dreamflower says:

      There is tons and tons and TONS of hobbit-fic! I personally have over 400 LotR fanworks archived, and all but a tiny handful are hobbit-centric; and I know many other hobbit-centric authors! Hobbits are indeed the best!

      I write gen and occasional mildly romantic het, but there's also quite a bit of hobbit slash if that's what floats your boat. There are some great stories out there. I can rec you some stories and authors if you want.

    • Fuchsia says:

      I guess it depends largely on who you talk to in the fandom. Because it’s SUCH a huge fanbase, it’s easy to come across only a small amount of the fanworks. I mean, Frodo/Sam is a hugely popular ship, nf jryy nf Zreel/Cvccva (naq Nentbea/Yrtbynf vf gur bgure cbchyne fynfu fuvc). Although I tend not to read a lot of fic in general (and then it’s mostly centered on a completely different fandom), I follow a lot of Lord of the Rings blogs and people absolutely love the hobbits. For instance, I know there is a LOT of fan art out there for them. So they are definitely not cast aside by the fandom and in fact, my experience has been quite the opposite.

      • flootzavut says:

        Gur bar V erzrzore orfg vf n irel uhzbebhf bar, jvgu qvnel ragevrf sebz zrzoref bs gur Sryybjfuvc. Yrtbynf'f ragevrf nyy frrz gb or nybat gur yvarf bs "Guvax Nentbea znl or cerggvre guna zr" naq fvzvyne. Ernyyl penpxrq zr hc rira gubhtu vg vf irel fvyyl!

        • calimie says:

          Gubfr ner "Gur Irel Frperg Qvnevrf" ol gur bgurejvfr ubeevq Pnffnaqen Pynver.

          • flootzavut says:

            Had a feeling Pnffnaqen Pynver was the perpetrator. That notwithstanding, it DID make me laugh 😀 cheers for the linky 🙂

          • ladysugarquill says:

            That fic is VERY good. It makes me sad about what happened later, she really was a good writer…

        • Dreamflower says:

          Pnffnaqen Pynver tbg urefrys va fbzr ubg jngre va snaqbz pvepyrf ol cyntvnevfvat. Ohg "Gur Irel Frperg Qvnevrf" ner cebonoyl bar bs gur zbfg snzbhf bs gur cnebql glcr snasvpf, naq jnf jevggra orsber fur orpnzr…jryy…jungrire vg jnf fur orpnzr.

          Fbzr irel snzbhf yvarf sebz gung: "Fgvyy abg Xvat!"; "Fgvyy gur cerggvrfg!", YBY! Vg <v>jnf</v> shaal, jungrire Zf. Pyner tbg hc gb nsgrejneqf. Zbfg bs ure furanavtnaf jrer va gur UC snaqbz. Fgvyy, fur tbg rabhtu snzr gb ynhapu n pnerre va pbairagvbanyyl choyvfurq svpgvba.

          • flootzavut says:

            "Fbzr irel snzbhf yvarf sebz gung: "Fgvyy abg Xvat!"; "Fgvyy gur cerggvrfg!""

            Yes, those were the things that stuck. They did make me laugh – though yeah I heard things went a bit sour with her and the HP fandom.

  37. Majc says:

    Travels for this chapter: from the Atlas of Middle-Earth, about 24 miles (this is my estimation based on the maps and information from this chapter). Sept. 25th Frodo, Sam and Pippin come down from the ridge overlooking Woodhall where they spent time with the Elves, winding their way through some rough patches before ending up at Farmer Maggot's. After supper, Farmer Maggot gives the hobbits a ride to the Buckleberry Ferry, meeting up with Merry.

  38. stellaaaaakris says:

    Pretty certain Pippin's my favorite character. I love my characters to be full of whimsy, it's why Fili and Kili were my favorites in The Hobbit.

    I'm convinced the rider is like Nagini hiding in Bathilda Bagshot's body. It seems like there are hissing sounds and it smells things (remember is CoS, Riddle told the basilisk to smell Harry even if it was blind) and it's super creepy. So, summary, I've had it with this mother-effin' snake under mother-effin' cloak! (I'm censoring my language in honor of the holidays. And because I'm at work. I need to set some boundaries while I procrastinate my duties.)

  39. flootzavut says:

    I hate mushrooms, but I love Pippin so much it's not healthy <3

    "Pippin is the most carefree of the bunch, and he seems to approach life with this senseless whimsy to him, as if he’s oblivious to the effects he has on others or the dangers that he faces. I mean, he outright tells Frodo that he had to be convinced to save breakfast for him. On top of that, he seems…fuck, really joyous about seeing more Black Riders? Okay, Pippin, you will probably regret that later, but for now, I fully support your endless glee."

    Haha you have Pippin down already 😀

  40. Smurphy says:

    lol. "Because sweet lord these characters are always eating," don't you love hobbits?

    This was a good chapter. Seeing more of the black riders and Mr. Maggot and his mushrooms.

    I actually thought Merry was a black rider. Woo-hoo rereading the book and remembering nothing. Gunax lbh ZBIVR! Abg.

    • plaidpants says:

      Haha I'm the same way. It's been forever since I've read these books so I'm glad I''m getting to chance to see how the story "really" goes.

  41. flootzavut says:

    "V unir fbzrguvat gb qb orsber gur raq, naq vg yvrf nurnq, abg va gur Fuver."

    Znex vf abg cercnerq, ohg gura arvgure vf Fnz. Ohg sberfunqbjvat, V frr jung lbh qvq gurer. Fnz'f cuenfr urer znl or gur haqrefgngrzrag bs gur obbx!

    In non spoiler terms:

    Sam <3

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Gura va EbgX lbh trg guvf rpub sebz Fnz:

      "'Fb gung jnf gur wbo V sryg V unq gb qb jura V fgnegrq,' gubhtug Fnz: gb uryc Ze. Sebqb gb gur ynfg fgrc naq gura qvr jvgu uvz? Jryy, vs gung vf gur wbo gura V zhfg qb vg."

      Bu Fnz, lbh'er vaperqvoyr…

  42. flootzavut says:

    BX vs Znex guvaxf ur jvyy unir srjre onq qernzf jura ur svaqf bhg jung gur Oynpx Evqref npghnyyl ner ur'f tbvat gb or fberyl qvfnccbvagrq. AVTUGZNER SHRY NUBL!

    • calimie says:

      YBY, ur cebonoyl guvaxf gurl ner erthyne rivy crbcyr. Ununun

    • wahlee says:

      Lbh xabj, V guvax V zhfg or n zber pnershy ernqre guna zbfg crbcyr, orpnhfr V arire unq nal qbhog gung gur Oynpx Evqref jrer gur Evatjenvguf gung Tnaqnys zragvbaf va puncgre gjb. V xrcg trggvat nyy hcfrg jvgu Sebqb sbe abg erzrzorevat gung Tnaqnys unq gbgrf zragvbarq uvz. (Bs pbhefr, V'z gur xvaq bs crefba jub fnj gur anzr Fvevhf Oynpx va CbN naq jrag "Bu, gung'f gur thl jub Untevq obeebjrq gur sylvat zbgbeplpyr sebz va FF" juvpu jnf abg zbfg crbcyr'f ernpgvba.)

      • flootzavut says:

        I actually saw the first film before I read the book, so I can't claim that I was that switched on – having seen the film, it was obvious. Ohg Znex Gur Rgreanyyl Hacercnerq vf yvnoyr gb fuvg n oevpx jura ur jbexf guvf bhg, V srry…

        • wahlee says:

          V guvax va fbzr pnfrf Znex'f ernqvat gurfr guvatf gur jnl ur qbrf chgf uvz ng n qvfnqinagntr; V xabj jura V ernq guvatf sbe pynffrf V nyjnlf unq "jung pna V hfr va guvf puncgre va na rffnl" be "jung vf gur grnpure tbvat gb jnag gb sbphf ba" va gur onpx bs zl urnq, rira vs V jnf rawblvat gur obbx bgurejvfr. Vg znqr zr zvff fbzr bs gur qrgnvyf V bgurejvfr jbhyq unir frra. Znex unf gb or qbvat gur fnzr guvat.

          Ohg fvapr vg whfg pbagevohgrf gb uvf hacercnerqarff, V'z tbbq jvgu vg. :C Fb sha gb frr uvf ernpgvbaf.

          (Juvpu vf jul V ERNYYL qba'g jnag uvz gb jngpu gur zbivrf hagvy ur'f ernq nyy gur obbxf. V jvyy ERNYYL ZVFF uvf ernpgvba gb Nentbea/Nejra jura ur ernqf EbgX vs ur'f fcbvyrq sbe vg ol SbgE.)

          • flootzavut says:

            V ybir gur hacercnerqarff. V guvax guvf zvtug or gur yrnfg cercnerq ur unf rire orra, naq gung vf fnlvat fbzrguvat!

            V pna'g vzntvar ernqvat nalguvat fb choyvpyl – arire zvaq jvgu n jubyr ohapu bs crbcyr JUB XABJ JUNG'F PBZVAT rssrpgviryl ernqvat bire zl fubhyqre. V'z fher V'q znxr n gbgny sbby bs zlfrys… naq va snpg V qner fnl V jbhyq arire or oenir rabhtu gb qb vg guvf jnl. Ohg BU ZL vg vf fb ragregnvavat. Naq nf jvgu Znex Ernqf Uneel Cbggre, vg'f nobhg nf pybfr nf vg'f cbffvoyr gb trg gb ernqvat gurz sbe gur svefg gvzr ntnva 🙂

            V'z jvgu lbh ba gur svyzf – orfvqrf cbffvoyr fcbvyref bs yngre obbxf, jvgu nyy gur punatrf rgp V srry yvxr vg znxrf zhpu zber frafr gb gerng gurz obgu nf frcnengr gevybtvrf – gryyvat gur fnzr fgbevrf, lrf, ohg va n gbgnyyl qvssrerag jnl. V jbhyqa'g jnag rvgure gur obbxf be gur svyzf gb or fcbvyrq ol orvat nyzbfg gbb pybfryl pbzcnerq – vs gung znxrf frafr??

  43. Idapida says:

    Sam is my favourite character in anything ever and he is obviously the very best friend anyone could wish for. That's all.

    Also, so glad you seem to be liking it so far 😀

  44. arctic_hare says:

    Oh, Mark. I am positively giddy over how unprepared you are. 😀 It is a thing of beauty (and a joy forever).

    My thoughts on this chapter:

    – HOW RUDE, PIPPIN. But aw, I love you anyway! <3 Or perhaps BECAUSE you are just so… so you. xD I'm sure you'll soon learn to take all this shit more seriously, but until then, I will enjoy your carefree antics.

    – Yeah, I don't want to answer a string of questions while eating breakfast, thank you. OH MAN, I LOVE PIPPIN, BUT I WOULD GET ANNOYED TOO AT BEING PEPPERED WITH QUESTIONS WHEN I JUST WANTED TO CHOW DOWN. I feel like we ~understand~ one another, Frodo.

    – Oh, Sam. <3 <3 <3 I love you so dearly, you are amazing already. Gandalf did indeed choose the perfect traveling companion for Frodo. I want to go wandering around with a friend like Sam.

    – LOL at Frodo's reaction to Pippin wanting to stop in at the inn for beer. I deeply understand both of them: it would be great to stop and grab a pint, but on the other hand, LET'S GET MOVING, THERE IS A CREEPER ON A HORSE FOLLOWING AND SNIFFING FOR THEM.

    – YEAH, SPEAKING OF WHICH. EEEK. Gives me the willies just reading about it.

    – When the hobbits were getting all tipsy and singing loudly, I was all WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING. Then suddenly THAT SOUND, which – I had two reactions. One: OH SHIT WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT. Two: LOL YEAH, I BET THAT SOBERED YOU UP. Hahaha!

    – And then I come here and read your reaction, Mark, and I'm literally doubled over laughing. You are the best, never change. <3

    – Fooooooooood. Also Pippin continues to be awesome. And the Black Rider came here too, JESUS. Dude gets around.

    – The ride to the ferry was super-tense for me, I was afraid at any moment that they'd hear the rider approaching. Tolkien creates a very ominous atmosphere there. What a relief it was just Merry riding up. Hi, Merry, good to see you! I hope Farmer Maggot gets home safe.


    No pictures today, sorry!

    • flootzavut says:

      I love Pippin! I know I have said that in so many comments on this review already BUT I SO LOVE PIPPIN!

    • cait0716 says:

      When the hobbits were getting all tipsy and singing loudly, I was all WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING. Then suddenly THAT SOUND, which – I had two reactions. One: OH SHIT WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT. Two: LOL YEAH, I BET THAT SOBERED YOU UP. Hahaha!

      This was my exact reaction, too

  45. Katherine says:

    Where'd you all get the code you're using for spoilers? It reminds me of the bit in OotS where Haley couldn't talk properly, and now I really want to see Mark Reads The Order of the Stick (after LotR, of course – I've been wanting to see Mark do this for ages and it's great to see it finally happening!! Do you really intend to keep doing a chapter a day, Mark? I hope so!)

  46. calimie says:

    I'm scared of dogs. Even on rereads, this is one of the scariest chapters in the trilogy to me.

  47. Katarina says:

    I kind of want to make a Pippin icon now that says BLESS MY BEARD THIS HOBBIT IS AMAZING. Not sure what I would use it for, though.

    Also, I think I need to eat some mushrooms now.

    • flootzavut says:

      I think you should make it first and find a use for it later.

      (I may be biased by my Pippin love though…)

  48. bugeye says:

    On my reread yesterday I remembered your post about getting lost on a dark and snowy night while trying to find a friends house. You had google maps and everything. Made me laugh. Getting lost and taking "shortcuts", priceless.

  49. msw188 says:

    I don't think my silly lists are going to do much good for much longer. One thing I think this chapter shows well is the culture of hobbits. We meet Farmer Maggot, who takes our three hobbits into his household, feeds them, offers to "deal" with Black Riders for Frodo, and also offers to drive them all to the ferry without even being told what is going on. And his only previous experience with Frodo is remembering him as that jerk who stole mushrooms! Sure he seems to be Pippin's friend, but this just goes to show that hobbits are generous and forgiving, and generally believe in sticking together.

    Unless their last names are Sackville-Baggins.

  50. Dreamflower says:

    Oh this is so delightful! Pippin is utterly adorable and totally Tookish in this chapter. And Sam, oh Sam and the Elves is absolutely wonderful.

    I love Farmer Maggot and his family. I once made up a recipe for "Mrs. Maggot's Mushrooms" (If you are vegetarian, just leave out the bacon and substitute some olive oil instead.)

    Mushrooms and Bacon

    (Mrs. Maggot’s style)

    Half a pound of bacon

    One and a half to two pounds of mixed mushrooms

    Onion–half a small one, or a quarter of a large one

    Five or six good sized cloves of garlic

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Dash of sweet vinegar

    Dice the bacon into small pieces and cook in a skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain it, and put to one side. Drain off all but a tablespoonful of the bacon drippings. Chop the onion fine, and cook it in the dripping until it is soft and brown. Crush the garlic cloves and add them to the skillet. For your mushrooms, leave the small ones whole, cut the medium ones in halves or quarters, and slice up the large ones. Put them in the skillet with the onion and garlic, and add salt and pepper. Let them cook down until they give up their juice; then cook some more until the juice begins to evaporate. Put the bacon back in. Add the sweet vinegar, and cook for about five more minutes. Serve piping hot.

    I cut out the story it is attached to. Full of spoilers for the Appendices. Do you think Mark will read those?

    Naq gura Cvccva fubjf hc naq ur unf ab vqrn jung’f tbvat ba, naq ur whfg jnagf gb trg tbvat. Bu, V pna uneqyl JNVG hagvy gbzbeebj!!!

    Vg jnfa'g hagvy nobhg zl sbhegu er-ernq gung V ortna gb ernyvmr jung n tbbq npgbe Cvccva jnf. Ur jnyxrq jvgu Sebqb naq Fnz sbe bire gjb qnlf naq ARIRE QEBCCRQ N UVAG gb Sebqb gung ur nyernql xarj jung jnf tbvat ba!

    Uboovgf ner njrfbzr! Uboovgf! Uboovgf! Uboovgf!

    • ladililn says:

      NTERRQ nobhg Cvccva! Gung whfg znxrf zr ybir uvz zber! :Q

    • ljrTR says:

      Lrf! gung jnf bar urpx bs n Pbafcvenpl!
      V guvax Ryebaq cvpxrq hc ba ubj pyrire gurfr uboovgf ernyyl jrer, naq gung jnf nabgure ernfba ur chg gurz va gur Sryybjfuvc. Bu – naq gur guvat Znex vf ZBFG hacercnerq sbe vf boivbhfyl Gbz Obzonqvy

      • Dreamflower says:

        Lrf! gung jnf bar urpx bs n Pbafcvenpl! __V guvax Ryebaq cvpxrq hc ba ubj pyrire gurfr uboovgf ernyyl jrer, naq gung jnf nabgure ernfba ur chg gurz va gur Sryybjfuvc. Bu – naq gur guvat Znex vf ZBFG hacercnerq sbe vf boivbhfyl Gbz Obzonqvy ____V nqber gur Pbafcvenpl! Bar bs zl snibevgr dhbgrf sebz gur Pbhapvy bs Ryebaq:__"Guvf vf gur ubhe bs gur Fuver-sbyx, jura gurl nevfr sebz gurve dhvrg svryqf gb funxr gur gbjref naq pbhafryf bs gur Terng. Jub bs gur jvfr pbhyq unir sberfrra vg? Be, vs gurl ner jvfr, jul fubhyq gurl rkcrpg gb xabj vg, hagvy gur ubhe unf fgehpx?" Bs pbhefr jura ur nfxf gung, V nyjnlf jnag Tnaqnys gb fgvpx uvf gbathr bhg ng Ryebaq naq fnl "V qvq." YBY!____Tbbq byq Gbz! V qvqa'g zhpu pner sbe uvz gur svefg gvzr V ernq vg– V jnf gbb ohfl orvat fhfcvpvbhf bs uvz, cyhf uvf fcrrpu cnggrea pna or n yvggyr bss-chggvat. Ohg ABJ nsgre fb znal er-ernqvatf, ur'f n snibevgr bs zvar!____Lrf, Znex vf FB hacercnerq sbe uvz! *tvttyr*

        • flootzavut says:

          V ybir gung Tnaqnys onfvpnyyl pna or gbgnyyl fzht, orpnhfr ur npghnyyl xabjf jung uboovgf ner pncnoyr bs rgp. V qba'g xabj vs vg'f n qverpg dhbgr sebz gur obbx be n zbivr dhbgr, ohg V erpnyy Tnaqnys fnlvat, lbh pna yrnea rirelguvat gurer vf gb xabj nobhg uboovgf va svir zvahgrf naq xabj gurz sbe n uhaqerq lrnef, naq gura gurl pna fgvyy fhecevfr lbh. Vg tbrf onpx gb gur jnl gurl ner onfvpnyyl dhvagrffragvny rirelzna, beqvanel punenpgref guehfg vagb rkgenbeqvanel pvephzfgnaprf, naq ab bar dhvgr ernyvfrf ubj oenir naq pyrire gurl ner hagvy gurl ner chg va gubfr fvghngvbaf… gur uboovgf gurzfryirf vapyhqrq.

      • flootzavut says:

        Yes, definitely. Ryebaq unf jvfqbz NAQ sberfvtug (yvgrenyyl) – V erpxba ur ernyvfrq gung gur yblnygl naq oenirel naq phaavat zvaqf gurfr uboovgf unir jbhyq or ernyyl vzcbegnag. Naq Obl bu obl jnf ur evtug!

    • Erica says:

      That sounds delicious.

      Mark had better read the Appendices! JRRT is all about worldbuilding; Mark will miss out on so much if he doesn't.

      • Dreamflower says:

        It is delicious. I've made up lots of hobbity recipes; Frodo's Stuffed Mushrooms, Pippin's Mushroom Pie, Ebfvr'f Strawberry Pie, Merry's Scones…they all come with fic attached, of course, LOL!

        I read them all right after I finished the first time, but I have to confess in recent years the only ones I pay a lot of attention to are A through D. I practically have C memorized. But I don't think I've re-read E and F in several years– unless it was to look for something specific.

        I hope he does the Appendices and then goes back to do the Prologue.

    • flootzavut says:

      Cvccva VF FB NJRFBZR :Q

      Vg'f orra n juvyr fvapr V ernq gur puncgre, ohg V ybir zbivr!Cvccva ng gur raq bs gur Pbhapvy bs Ryebaq; ur naq Zreel yrnc va naq fnl, jr'er pbzvat gbbbbbb! naq gura Cvccva unf n srj yvarf onfvpnyyl znxvat vg pyrne ur unf AB VQRN jung ur whfg ibyhagrrerq sbe naq Ovyyl Oblq qryviref gurz fb jryy vg nofbyhgryl penpxf zr hc :Q yvxr V fnl, V qba'g erzrzore vs obbx!Cvccva qbrf rknpgyl gung ohg vg frrzf fhpu n Cvccva guvat gb qb.

      • Dreamflower says:

        Ohg bs pbhefr, ur'f abg arneyl nf pyhryrff nf ur fbhaqf. Guvax nobhg vg. Ur naq Zreel unir boivbhfyl orra rnirfqebccvat gbb. Ur unf gb xabj jurer gurl ner tbvat– juvpu zrnaf ur znqr gung penpx ba checbfr! (V unir gb oryvrir va gung fgbel-vagreany rkcynangvba, orpnhfr bgurejvfr,V jbhyq unir gb guvax CW znqr n obb-obb.) Nalubj, V svther ur xarj gung vg jnf gvzr gb yvtugra hc gur zbbq n yvggyr!

        • flootzavut says:

          Haha! I hadn't thought of that but actually logically, you must be right. LOL. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH! <3 Cvccva <3

    • threerings13 says:

      Mmm, mushrooms. Sounds lovely. My favorite mushroom recipe is for those who are way lazier than you:

      Melt butter in pan (about a glob), add mushrooms, cook until they are almost done, add Worchestershire sauce (some splashes), cook a bit more. Yum.

  51. Fuchsia says:

    It was a complete surprise staged by my best friend. We were on a cross-country road trip to go to a Xena convention, actually, and were supposed to spend the week before it in Vegas. But once we got to Arizona, my friend surprised me with convention tickets (and meet and greet/autograph tickets!) so we spent the weekend in Pasadena before going to Vegas. In my opinion, it was a million times better than Vegas.

    There's video of him hugging me somewhere but here's the "official" picture (CASTING SPOILERS):

  52. Sinnive says:

    I haven't read this in ages and totally forgot how awesome Pippin is. New favorite hobbit for me!

    What I'm not so thrilled about is how this kind of petty xenophobia is obviously meant to be endearing or something. All this "people from this and that part of our tiny country are somehow strange and not to be trusted" – well, at least it is shown to be wrong, since both people from Hobbiton and Buckland are nice and decent. But still, I get a bit annoyed about how I am supposed to consider this mistrust to be a sign of how Hobbits are plain and grounded people. You find this trait in real people, too, and my experience is that those who look askance at you because you grew up at a place that is like a six hour's drive away from where they did are mostly much less likeable than hobbits. But I want to like hobbits, and I'm disappointed how especially Sam is so narrow-minded in this respect.

    • Erica says:


      V'z abg fher vs vg'f ernyyl zrnag gb or raqrnevat, gubhtu, orpnhfr gung xvaq bs nggvghqr vfa'g pbasvarq gb gur uboovgf. Ng gur Pbhapvy bs Eviraqryy, cerggl zhpu ab bar gehfgf rnpu bgure, naq gung'f pyrneyl fubja gb or ceboyrzngvp.

      • Sinnive says:

        Lbh'er evtug jvgu Eviraqryy bs pbhefr, naq nyy gur ryirf if. qjneirf fghss rfcrpvnyyl vf nyfb lrg gb pbzr naq gubfr xvaq bs cerwhqvprqarff vf pyrneyl fubja gb or ng yrnfg ceboyrzngvp. Ohg uboovgf sebz gur jrfg gbjneqf uboovgf sebz gur rnfg (be jurerire, V'z fb onq ng Zvqqyr Rnegu trbtencul)

        – what is the point, and why doesn't at least somebody call Sam and Mr. Maggot out on this? To me it seems as if this is treated like the facts that hobbits eat a lot and have round windows – just another part of their generally likeable disposition/nature.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Well, who should call them out on that? They all grew up in that society (which is, by the way, very enclosed and has very little contact with the outside world). It's not like someone suddenly wakes up enlightened and starts preaching on how everyone should drop their prejudices and become friends…

          V oryvrir vg nyy punatrf jura gur Fuver vf bireeha ol Fnehzna'f ynpxrlf naq nyy gur uboovgf havgr gb svtug gurz. Ohg ntnva – na vzchyfr sbe punatr unq gb pbzr sebz gur bhgfvqr.

          • Sinnive says:

            I thought maybe Frodo, who has after all lived in both parts of the Shire and has friends here and there could maybe say something – but then, he probably has different things on his mind right then.

            • Tauriel_ says:

              And do you think Frodo would've been able to change the thinking of the whole Shire himself? After all, he WAS considered to be a bit of an oddball (like Bilbo was), a lot of people just wouldn't take him seriously.

              This sort of change of thinking in a society happens either a) over a long period of time, or b) when a HUGE event (usually a bad one) happens that forces people to abandon their previous way of thinking. So far neither has happened here.

          • flootzavut says:

            THIS. To the power of a googolplex.

    • ljrTR says:

      I don't think it ( the petty xenophobia, etc) is meant to be endearing. I think it is, unfortunately, realistic.
      and the fact that Sam is a little narrow-minded here at the beginning just makes him a more interesting, realistic character, I think.

      • Sinnive says:

        I thought so because of the context – it is mentioned that Sam dislikes Maggot (at first) both because he is from near Buckland and because he once did something to Frodo (spank him? I can't quote because I only have a (really bad) translation here …). The last reason is clearly a sign of his loyalty to Frodo, and therefore I feel that the other reason is also meant to stress a positive trait of him. Does that make sense?

    • roguebelle says:

      Naq Tbaqbe i Ebuna nf jryy. Abg gb zragvba ubj rirelbar srryf nobhg gur zra bs gur Fbhgu. V nyjnlf tbg gur srryvat gung jnf cneg bs gur zrffntr, gubhtu — gung Fnheba jbhyqa'g unir tbggra fhpu n gbrubyq onpx va gur jbeyq vs gur serr sbyxf unq fghpx gbtrgure naq abg fgnegrq orvat nyy krabcubovp.

    • Dreamflower says:

      It's meant to show that hobbits aren't perfect; they have their flaws– and their main flaw is a deep insularity that shows in these petty biases, as well as the penchant for gossip you see in the first couple of chapters.

      But it's overset by their generosity and hospitality and kindness. Farmer Maggot may not think much of those hobbits "over there in Hobbiton", but he's prepared to take these three in, feed them and see them safe, even at no little danger to himself.

      And Sam's meant to be an average hobbit. Frodo and his cousins are gentry and well-educated. Sam's a working hobbit who is only literate because Bilbo taught him to read and write. He's got a lot of growing yet to do.

    • flootzavut says:

      Lots of people have given ideas and perspectives on this, but I wanted to add in one more – that this is a very settled, homeloving culture, with no transport beyond walking or what horses can provide, and so the hobbit groups genuinely are isolated from each other in many ways. We take travel (and communication for that matter) so much for granted, but in a society like theirs, anyone more than half a day's walk away is basically someone they are unlikely to see very often at all. They aren't used to mixing a lot with people outside their comfort zones.

      I don't think it's intended to be endearing so much as it is intended to be realistic. Even these days that kind of petty zenophobia happens, even though we have transport, TV, the internet, etc ad nauseum to remind us that actually we're not all that different from people who might live hundreds of miles away or speak a different language or whatever.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      You need to understand that this is a very closed community, with very little or no contact to the outside world. There might be a few enlightened guys (like Bilbo or Frodo, or some more world-savvy Tooks), but overall, the inhabitants of Shire all grew up in this rather conservative rural society with its own rules, biases and small prejudices. It may not be perfect, but it's REALISTIC – the same thing you can see in our own world, especially in villages and small towns with close-knit communities.

      And I'll rather have a realistically imperfect society than an artificially and unrealistically perfect one in my fantasy, thank you very much.

      • Sinnive says:

        Yes, sure, I'd also rather live in a world withouth black riders, but still the book without them so far would be boring. Of course a fantasy-world where everything is perfect would make a pretty bad story. What bothers me is that I have the feeling that I as reader am supposed to like hobbits not in spite of these flaws, but because of them.

        I see that it makes sense for hobbits to be in a harmless way xenophobic, but it's not a positive thing about them, like the vast rest of how they are described.

        • Dreamflower says:

          No, it is not at all a positive thing about them. Tolkien himself considers their isolationism and insularity a flaw– and it's there on purpose. He had things to say about that in his Letters.

          For one thing he says that while as a general thing hobbits are "free from ambition or greed" they are also "unimaginative", "vulgar" and "slow to change".

          So I think he knew that this was not a positive or endearing thing about them.

    • Genny_ says:

      This is a really pervasive concept in a lot of Good Old Rural England/Britain stuff in my experience and it does my head in. There's a concept that it somehow shows how close knit the community is, which… not really? IRL it's the most frustrating thing ever and it tends to make communities less awesome, not more. I'm not sure the text is asking me to like it, per se, but I do think I'm supposed to at least find it an *endearing* flaw, and… yeah. Kinda weird.

      • Sinnive says:

        Yeah, that's what I wanted to say – an endearing *flaw*, not an endearing trait of course, but still a bit irritating. Thanks, I wondered if I am really the only one who is distraught by this.

  53. Erica says:

    ‘I don’t know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back. It isn’t to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want–I don’t rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me.’

    I'm so glad you highlighted this quote, Mark, because I never really thought about it much as anything other than foreshadowing, and it actually is an excellent insight into what it means to grow up. It's about realizing that being an adult isn't really about freedom, it's about responsibility.

  54. flootzavut says:

    ^ what Tauriel said…

  55. ljrTR says:

    also forgot to say lrf, Znex, fuvg vf trggvat erny

  56. flootzavut says:

    HAH I had never thought of it that way but SO TRUE!

  57. Parmadil says:


  58. flootzavut says:

    PS random: qbrf nalbar ryfr guvax gur Oynpx Evqref ner zhpu fpnevre ba ubefronpx guna ba gur sryy ornfgf, rira gubhtu gur sryy ornfgf ner fpnel-nefr ornfgf naq pna syl (OYNPX EVQREF SYLVAT BU FUVG)? Rfcrpvnyyl va gur zbivrf V guvax, znlor orpnhfr gubfr nznmvat oynpx pbfghzrf ybbxrq fb qnza fcbbxl ba n tnyybcvat ubefr…

    • ljrTR says:


      • flootzavut says:

        Glad it's not just me. I mean don't get me wrong, still scary, zber na boivbhf xvaq bs fpnel, oybbql terng qentba glcr fpnel… nf bccbfrq gb whfg qnza fcbbxl naq perrcl.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:


      Sbe zr gur ubefr-obhaq Anmthy frrz yvxr n zber vzzrqvngr naq zber arohybhf guerng. Vg srryf yvxr jr trg n ybg pybfre gb gurz, fb gur vqrn bs gurz orvat noyr gb qb qnzntr srryf zber perqvoyr. Jvgu gur ubefr-obhaq barf zl srne vf pbzvat pbzcyrgryl sebz gur Anmthy gurzfryirf (jub'er nyzbfg haorngnoyr naq jubfr shyy cbjref nera'g ernyyl xabja), jurernf jvgu gur yngre rapbhagref vg frrzf yvxr vg'f pbzvat zbfgyl sebz gur sryy ornfgf (jub va pbagenfg frrz gb unir cerggl frg novyvgvrf naq frrz sne gbb rnfl gb xvyy).

      V'z guvaxvat vg'f cebonoyl nyfb na vffhr bs fpnyr? Va gur svefg cneg, vg'f naljurer sebz gjb gb avar ubefr-obhaq Anmthy ntnvafg guerr gb sbhe uboovgf (riraghnyyl cyhf Nentbea naq gura Tybesvaqry/Nejra). Gur svefg sryy ornfg rapbhagre va Rlza Zhvy vf fgvyy snveyl fznyy fpnyr, ohg Yrtbynf xvyyf gur ornfg snveyl rnfvyl naq VVEP gurl qba'g rira xabj sbe pregnva jung vg jnf. Gb zr gur zbfg zrzbenoyr cneg jvgu sryy ornfgf vf gur znva onggyr, jurer vg'f trarenyyl bayl bar be gjb Anmthy ntnvafg n snveyl ynetr cnegl, naq sbe gur zbfg cneg gur npgvba vf qrfpevorq sebz nsne. V guvax gur bayl rkprcgvba vf gur fprar jvgu Rbjla, jurer gur fpnevarff vf grzcrerq ol nyzbfg n frafr bs gevhzcu, orpnhfr bs ure qrsvnapr.

      • flootzavut says:

        Lrf! Lrf, rknpgyl. Gur ubefrobhaq anmthy ner fcbbxl naq perrcl naq lbh qba'g xabj jung'f tbvat ba, naq vg tvirf lbh perrcl srryvatf naq fuviref hc lbhe fcvar. Jura ba gur sryy ornfgf, gurl'er zber boivbhfyl fpnel, ohg n urpx bs n ybg yrff perrcl.Boivbhfyl, evatjenvguf jub pna syl? Anghenyyl fpnel. Ohg abg nf arohybhf naq perrcl naq fcbbxl naq fxva penjyvat nf gurl ner gb fgneg jvgu.Naq boyvtngbel lnl sbe Rbjla'f trareny snohybhfarff 🙂

    • threerings13 says:

      Lrf. V jbaqre ubj zhpu bs vg vf whfg gung gurl NER zhpu fpnevre gur svefg gvzr gurl ner rapbhagrerq guna ng n yngre gvzr. Ohg nyfb, V guvax vg'f orpnhfr jvgu gurz orvat ba ubefronpx, naq gur uboovgf orvat ba sbbg, gurl unir fhpu na nqinagntr naq pbhyq whfg ernpu bhg naq teno n uboovg. Vg'f n zber vagvzngr fpnel.

      Sebz gur nve, lrf, gung'f n orggre gnpgvpny cbfvgvba sbe n onggyr, ohg gurer'f n ernfba gurl qba'g znxr ubeebe zbivrf nobhg svtugre cynarf. Gur Oynpx Evqref ner ubeebe zbivr zngrevny, abg whfg bar zber qnatre va onggyr.

      OMG, I very nearly forgot to ROT13 that. I would have been horrified.

  59. anghraine says:

    Reading this chapter, I suddenly wish they'd made a TV series out of this. To me it really does *feel* more like, idk, ATLA than an action blockbluster — some what-could-be-called-filler alongside the holy shit moments. Gbz Obzonqvy = Gur Terng Qvivqr? (Live-action would be awesome, but now I'm imagining it done à la ATLA and that would be wonderful.)

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Mrs Maggot is the first female character to show up at all. She's stereotypical and one-note, but she's there and she speaks, which certainly beats The Hobbit's record.

    And Pippin is even more fabulous than I remembered.

    • msw188 says:

      Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

      Not a good beginning, but I suppose she IS a 'stong' character.

      • Dreamflower says:

        LOL! I was going to say "Lobelia"!

        Also briefly mentioned in the first chapter were Esmeralda Brandybuck, Dora Baggins and Angelica Baggins.
        Oh, and Melilot Brandybuck. I think that's all.

        So it is certainly beating The Hobbit on that score.

        • anghraine says:

          Lobelia, of course! And she's my favourite.

          I'm not sure the others showed up in person? The Hobbit *mentions* the fabulous Belladonna and her sisters, but no women actually show up, which is … kind of an important distinction, I think.

          • Dreamflower says:

            Dora and Angelica are only mentioned as gift recipients. Esmeralda is at the Party. She has no speaking lines, but is spoken to by Old Rory, her father-in-law. And Melilot doesn't speak either but she gets to dance the Springle-ring on top of the table with Everard Took.

    • flootzavut says:

      Pippin <3 he's my favourite <3

  60. Spacerunning says:

    Mark, you continue to be GLORIOUS and a literary genius 🙂

    That said, is there any way we mortal commenters can contact you non-commentarily (that is to day, via email)?

  61. AmandaNekesa says:

    Haha…good point! Definitely the least prepared.

  62. elyce says:

    The first time I read this, I thought Farmer Maggot was a man, but obviously he's a Hobbit. I mean, they're still in the Shire, after all. I don't know why I thought that.

    And here is another chance for my Ode to Pippin but I will wait.

    EDIT: I can't believe I forgot! My favorite quote happens in this chapter: "Short cuts make long delays." 😀 it's so very true.

  63. tardis_stowaway says:

    Bless your beard blessing.

  64. stefb4 says:

    I'm so sad that I keep missing the comment party 🙁 Why do I have to work mornings for the next two weeks? *cries*

    I really need to start writing down my thoughts when I read a chapter so I can write up a nice comment–I'll start doing that with Chapter 10, which is where I'm at now. So I'll just comment on things you wrote about to avoid ~spoilers~

    –I love Pippin here. He's just like, "Good heavens! At breakfast?" and then just WALKS AWAY. I mean I know Frodo just wanted to eat and think (how dare he?!) but for some reason picturing Pippin just walking away after this is really amusing.

    –I agree about Tolkien lulling us into a sense of security, and then THROW IN SHIT THAT IS SCARY AS HELL

    "AT THIS POINT I WOULD HAVE TURNED AROUND AND ALLOWED SAURON TO BURN ALL OF HOBBITON TO THE GROUND. Holy shit, why does this exist? And WHY IS IT NOT IMMEDIATELY EXPLAINED SO THAT I DON’T HAVE TO DREAM ABOUT THIS. You don’t understand. I hike all the time and I learned to attune my ears to picking up any sort of sound just to stay aware and if I heard this shit, I would just give up on life. Like JUST TAKE ME, STRANGE FOREST CREATURE. END ME NOW."

    Mark, I can somehow very easily picture you hiking on some sort of trail, hear this noise, and then just resignedly lay down in the middle of the path, waiting for Strange Forest Creatures to end you.


    -[youtube YKUOB8MN4Kc youtube]

    I also really need to learn how to make gifs.

  65. Rain says:

    Mark, I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing this (reading LotR, I mean). I first read them more years ago than many of you have been alive, but like all readers I've always wished I could have that first experience again. I devoured all three books, checked out from the public library in my tiny hometown, over the course of a single week, and I remember that sense of wonder, of absolute puzzlement and utter fear and the breath-taking beauty of love and loyalty and friendship and nobility in the most unexpected places.

    You, my dear, have no idea.

    But it is so wonderful, for this senior female, to be able to remember all that all over again, through your eyes and mind. It is a magnificent gift that you give, and I hope you feel appreciated for it.

  66. notemily says:

    Pippin is the most carefree of the bunch, and he seems to approach life with this senseless whimsy to him, as if he’s oblivious to the effects he has on others or the dangers that he faces.

    This is why I named my foster kitten Pippin. He's always leaping off of furniture and falling flat on his face and then getting up without a care in the world. <3.

    He also, like his namesake (and most hobbits), enjoys food, sleeping, and being small.


    And this is why Frodo is better than all of us.

    • flootzavut says:

      Heehee I want your kitten <3

      • notemily says:

        Sadly he has gone back to the shelter to be adopted 🙂 but you can see photos of him if you like!

        • flootzavut says:

          Awww 🙁 but 🙂 – I didn't take note of the word "foster"! Something went weird with your links, it added a bunch of \s in, but I got there in the end and he is sooooo cute. Given my unashamed adoration of Pippin, this seems Very Appropriate 🙂

          • flootzavut says:

            you have way too many cute cat pics there… 😀

            • notemily says:

              ahahah that's basically what I do in my free time (that isn't spent on Mark's sites)–I foster kittens and take photos of them 🙂 This lovely girl is my permanent kitty. She hates the kittens, but tolerates them until they go away.

              • flootzavut says:

                awwww she's a beauty!

                I would love to do something like that… sadly, I have random allergies to some cats (ranging from cats I am totally fine with to cats who start me sneezing and spluttering just being in the same room as them… but at least not so allergic as I am to rabbits, which is VERY) so with my health being a tad delicate at the moment anyway I can't risk a cat at all. I has all the sads 🙁

                • notemily says:

                  Yeah, I'm only a little allergic to cats, so I'm able to just ignore it until it goes away. My mom and sister, though, are more allergic than I am so I never had a cat growing up even though I REALLY wanted one. Maybe that's why I'm such a cat lady now 😉

          • notemily says:

            In my experience if you click on the link from your email instead of going to the actual comment first, the link gets broken.

  67. Hotaru_hime says:

    I feel terrible because I want to comment on ALL THE THINGS but they are all spoiler-y and I don't want to rot13 any of them.
    But isn't Farmer Maggot's family sweet?

  68. ladysugarquill says:

    * The difference between the two Hobbits is that Frodo is a middle-aged man, and Pippin is the Hobbit equivalent of a teenager.

    * Are you reading it with the map? I find it impossible to read fantasy without consulting the map every few pages XD. It's a lot easier to understand where they are and where they're going if you follow their route on a Middle-Earth map.

    * Because sweet lord these characters are always eating, and it never fails to make me hungry.

    I KNOW RIGHT. Every time there's a description of a feast or other in a book I end up so hungry D:

    • flootzavut says:

      V YBIR gung vg'f onfvpnyyl gur bccbfvgr jnl ebhaq va gur gjb npgbef gung cynl gur gjb bs gurz. V pna arire trg bire whfg ubj LBHAT Ovyyl Oblq frrzf jura ur'f Cvccva. <3

  69. Hailey says:

    When I first read these I was CONVINCED Merry was a girl. I was shocked when I finally saw the movie. XD I had 'her' in a dress ad everything and… gosh I was young. so many things went over my silly head!

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