Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo speaks with the mysterious and coy Strider, and Tolkien manages to take me by surprise yet again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.


Lords and Stuff
A Play

Act 4
Scene 1

 [FRODO, PIPPIN, and SAM arrive inside the parlour of their room at the Prancing Pony. The only source of light is the dim burning of the wood in the fireplace.]

SAM: Let’s throw some faggots on the fire!

PIPPIN: Won’t that word totally scare the crap out of people who momentarily forgot that it used to have another meaning?

SAM: Surely!


[Once the fire roars to life, the three discover that STRIDER is already inside their room.]

PIPPIN: SWEET BABY GANDALF, what are you doing?

STRIDER: Oh, you know. Just waiting in the total darkness for your friend Frodo so I can have a talk with him. I’m totally good and honorable and certainly have no negative intentions, despite that I hid in the fucking dark for you to arrive.

FRODO: Well, this is off to a good start, isn’t it? So what is it you want?

STRIDER: Well, I have a price for my information.

FRODO: You really don’t get this “noble stranger” thing, do you?

STRIDER: I swear upon my life that what I ask is affordable.

FRODO: I mean, hiding in the dark, making ambiguous, vague statements about some mysterious “advantage” that you have to offer me, and now saying that after all this, I have to pay you for it? Is this Hidden Hobbit or something? Will a bunch of people burst out of the other rooms to surprise me with some practical joke?

STRIDER: My price is simple: just take me with you.


STRIDER: See? It doesn’t cost you anything.

FRODO: Well, wait, I need to know what you know before we agree to this. How can you help us?

STRIDER: Well, I’ve been spying on you.

SAM: Wow, you really aren’t good at this “noble stranger” thing.

STRIDER: I was looking for Frodo Baggins! I had to!

FRODO: I’m pretty sure this is the worst pitch of all time.


[At this, all the hobbits fall silent, looking at one another with fear in their eyes. Finally:]

PIPPIN: Well, that does explain a lot.

STRIDER: And Frodo, you’ve made it a hell of a lot harder since your “accident” earlier.

FRODO: I swear it was an accident!

STRIDER: Who accidentally falls onto a ring and makes it go on their finger?

FRODO: Stranger things have happened!

STRIDER: Well, it doesn’t matter, because we need to get you out of here as soon as possible. The townsfolk of Bree are not to be trusted. There’s no one who knows the lands between the Shire and the Misty Mountains as well as I. So, what do you say?

SAM: I’m sorry, why on earth should we trust this dude? This whole thing seems like a disaster.

FRODO: I’m inclined to agree. You’ve given us nothing that we can go on to trust you. And how is it that you know any of this?

[There’s a knock at the door, and both BUTTERBUR and NOB enter the room.]

BUTTERBUR: Right, so I came to say goodnight, but there is one thing I must tell you, Mr. Underhill. I was specifically asked to look for Frodo Baggins and was given a rather detailed description of him. I know it’s you.

FRODO: Damn it, what the hell is going on? Who told you that?

BUTTERBUR: Right, it was Gandalf.

PIPPIN: This is not happening.


BUTTERBUR: Well….[He pauses, looking about with shame.] Well, see, three months ago, Gandalf stopped by.

SAM: And?

BUTTERBUR: See, he told me that he wanted me to do something for him, to send a message to the Shire.


BUTTERBUR: He gave me a letter and told me to send it to the Shire right away.


BUTTERBUR: Well…..well, I still have it, Mr. Baggins.


BUTTERBUR: Yeah. Ooops!

FRODO: You kept it this whole time???

BUTTERBUR: Dude, no one wants to go to the damn Shire! It’s not like I could just hand it to the mail man.

FRODO: You should have given this to me the second I arrived!

BUTTERBUR: Well, excuse me. It’s not like there’s a ton of weird shit going on around here, let alone a DISAPPEARING HOBBIT. Plus, that creep Strider has been sneaking around, and I don’t really trust him.

STRIDER [Revealing himself from the shadows.]: Why does no one trust me?


STRIDER: Well, I assure you all that I am here under good pretenses.

FRODO: Yeah, I don’t trust him either. [To BUTTERBUR] I think we should leave as soon as possible. Those Black Riders are sure to find me.

STRIDER: I should probably reveal right now that the Black Riders are actually from Mordor.

PIPPIN: Mate, you’ve got to understand tact and timing if you want to be trusted. Seriously, you’re awful at this.

BUTTERBUR: At any rate, I’ll do my best to keep y’all safe. Speaking of such, where’s your other friend? Merry?

[THE HOBBITS all look at one another, fright dawning on their faces.]

FRODO: Oh, great. We have no idea where he is. We…we probably should have thought about that earlier.

SAM: I swear we are good friends!

BUTTERBUR: Well, Nob and I are off to go see if we can locate him. Good night!

[With that, BUTTERBUR and NOB disappear. Everyone moves towards FRODO, who is now holding GANDALF’S letter in his hands. He begins to read aloud.]

FRODO: “Hey, y’all! Just silly ol’ Gandalf here. How y’all doing? Hope everything’s fine in the Shire. What am I saying, of course it is! You’re all hobbits, so everything’s just fine. Just wanted to write to say that the Shire is a dangerous warzone of trouble and you should get out as soon as possible! I’m too busy to come tell you myself, so let’s just hope this gets to you quickly, or else…well, let’s just not think about that!”

PIPPIN: Gandalf is fucking weird, man.

FRODO: Shush, Pippin.

PIPPIN: I’m just saying! This all seems like a bad idea.

FRODO: Can I finish? Ahem…”If you make it to Bree, leave a message for me with Butterbur. You can trust that man with your life! So be nice to him and don’t refuse his desserts. They’re to die for! Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. Also, if you meet someone named Strider, you can trust him to. See you in Rivendell, sillies! Love ya! Yours in haste, Gandalf.”

SAM: Is that for real? Is he being serious?

FRODO: Wait, there’s more. “PS: Don’t use that goddamn ring again, Frodo, or you’re going to ruin everything. Toodles! PPS: Oh, right, make sure that you talk to the right Strider. His real name is Aragorn, and here’s a poem that makes no sense at all to anyone but me, and it will allow you to identify him. Hope to see you soon! KIT!”

PIPPIN: I don’t trust any of these people, if I can be honest.

FRODO: Wait, there’s one last bit. “PPPS: Butterbur is trustworthy, but about as dependable as a tissue. Let’s hope he actually sent this letter. If not, lol!”

SAM: Well, this is just great.

STRIDER: You have to admit it sounds exactly like Gandalf.

[The HOBBITS nod in agreement before SAM speaks up.]

SAM: Wait, how do we know you are the actual Strider? How does that letter help at all?

STRIDER: Well, if I’d somehow killed the real Strider, do you think we’d all be standing around right now chatting merrily? [STRIDER stands, towering over the other hobbits.] That being said, I am the real Strider. I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn.

PIPPIN: You sound like the dwarves.

FRODO: Well, that settles it. At least we’re finally getting to Gandalf’s plan.

SAM: What exactly is his plan, by the way? We’re going to Rivendell, and then…what comes after that?

FRODO: I don’t really know.

PIPPIN: Fuck this. I’m going to bed. What a waste of time.

[At this point, NOB and MERRY BRANDYBUCK burst into the room, MERRY frightened and exhausted.]

MERRY: Yeah, we’re screwed.

FRODO: What happened? Where were you?

MERRY: The Black Riders are here. They’re in the village. And two of them attacked me.

SAM: Why are we doing this again? This just keeps getting worse and worse.

FRODO: Go on, Merry. What happened?

[MERRY eyes STRIDER with suspicion.]

FRODO: I can’t even begin to explain who that dude is. Just accept that he’s on our side so we can move along.

MERRY: Fair enough. I followed two of them and tried to spy on them when something overcame me.

NOB: They’re dementors, Frodo.

FRODO: What?

NOB: You know, they’re just like the dementors from Harry Potter.


NOB: Well, it’s true!

STRIDER: Well, these came first, and the Black Breath is a frightening thing. At least Merry is alive.

MERRY: Who is this guy again?

FRODO: He’s with Gandalf.

MERRY: Why does that seemingly explain everything?

PIPPIN: Because Gandalf’s a weirdo.

FRODO: Hush, both of you. Strider, how much danger are we in at this inn?

STRIDER: I think we’ll be fine, but I’ll lead us out of here in the morning along a secret path that only I know about.

SAM: Again, you aren’t good at making yourself sound trustworthy.

STRIDER: Cut me some slack. I’m working with Gandalf. Surely you understand how he works.

SAM: Good point.

PIPPIN: Can I go to bed now? The lack of sleep is the most dangerous thing in my horizon, for your information.

FRODO: I suppose we should all get some rest before we leave in the morning.

[The lights dim slowly over the course of a couple minutes as we watch the HOBBITS pull blankets out of rooms and settle down near the fire. We see (but do not hear) MERRY, FRODO, and STRIDER talking as the lights go out.]

To be continued….

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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307 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: Chapter 10

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    Oh, this chapter. For half of it, I felt like something bad was imminent, and the other half I just felt like I was being trolled. First of all, Merry is just SOMEWHERE without his friends noticing that he is not back….. HELLO. THIS IS NOT A FAIRY TALE. HE IS PROBABLY BEING FEASTED ON BY BLACK RIDERS. Godddddddddddd

    Then there's Strider…. who is always on the VERGE of divulging important information, and then CONVENIENTLY gets interrupted.
    "But why should you believe my story, if you do not trust me already? Still, here it is—" At that moment came a knock at the door.

    And Gandalf's letter…. where to even begin??
    "You better leave Bag End soon, and get out of the Shire by the end of July at the latest."
    ……well….. whoops.
    "Do NOT use It again, not for any reason whatever!"
    …..well……double whoops.
    "I hope Butterbur sends this promptly….. if he forgets, I shall roast him."
    My good Butterbur, consider yourself roasted.

    Seriously, you guys…. you leave these hobbits to their own devices for like THREE CHAPTERS and not only do they not do what Gandalf wants them to, THEY DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING. Hopeless.

    On the bright side…. STRIDER!!!!!!!! And Merry's back and didn't get feasted on by the Black Riders…. yay 🙂

    P.S. On a totally unrelated note, I just finished the Book Thief (I KNOW I KNOW I'M LIKE EIGHT MONTHS LATE) and be still my broken heart. Sorry, I just know that you read it here, and I love knowing you guys know everything I could possibly say about it. That's all 😀

    • flootzavut says:

      I LOVE THE BOOK THIEF. It is wonderful and sad and *weeps*

      And THIS to your entire comment 🙂

    • monkeybutter says:

      I'm sorry that The Book Thief crushed you, but I'm also glad that you enjoyed reading it. We all understand. 🙂

      Seriously, you guys…. you leave these hobbits to their own devices for like THREE CHAPTERS and not only do they not do what Gandalf wants them to, THEY DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING. Hopeless.

      This is just like when he leaves Bilbo and the dwarves alone for five minutes, and they get captured by trolls. They need adult supervision!

      • Becky_J_ says:

        I would never trade my broken heart for not having read it…. but OH MY GOD I CRIED FOR SO LONG.

        Also, adult supervision is THE BEST IDEA EVER FOR HOBBITS.

        • Katie says:

          …Naq jvyy trg vzcyrzragrq va gur sbez bs gur Sryybjfuvc :). Hagvy vg oernxf… Naq gura vg snyyf gb Tbyyhz gb cebivqr gur fhcreivfvba va gur raq :).

          As to Book Thief – still one of the best books I've ever read. And I would not have picked it up if not for Markreads. Mark: influencing people's reading choices across the world. He should ask for a cut from Amazon.

        • flootzavut says:

          That book – seriously, it basically spoils itself through large chunks, and even when I had READ IT BEFORE MORE THAN ONCE, I still wept.

          • Becky_J_ says:

            Hahaha I was reading it and thinking of Mark… I hadn't read his reviews of it yet but I was like "OH MY GOODNESS I BET MARK WAS YELLING AT DEATH THE ENTIRE TIME HE WAS READING THIS . " Seriously, though, even though you know what happens, it does NOT make it easier. I think the spoils made me read every single line more carefully. Also, I spent the entire second half going "WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST KISS RUDY, LIESEL. PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEE."

            • flootzavut says:

              Yep! You must read his reviews… made me read it again and appreciate it even more.

              And I soooooo agree re kissing Rudi – that is actually WORSE on re-reads, because you know it's not coming and you sooooo want it to and then it is sooooooooooooooooooo sad when he is dead and she kisses him too late and *sob*

            • flootzavut says:

              PS the whole second time round I was convinced it was not going to be so moving but I think along with the kissing thing, in general the whole thing "got" me worse second time round. Maybe because I was taking it a little slower and savouring it more.

              Damn, I need to start re-reading it now… I got myself a Kindle copy so I would always have it to hand…!

              • Becky_J_ says:

                I'm about halfway through his reviews right now…. as always, i am NOT disappointed. I had to catch myself trying to join the conversation…. BECKY, WHY DIDN'T YOU READ THIS WITH EVERYONE ELSE. Guh. Anyways…..I stole my roommate's copy, because it's her favorite book and she really wanted me to read it, and I'm not sure she'll be getting it back anytime soon…. I DEFINITELY need to reread it, I sped through it so quickly. Gah, I'm STILL sad about Rudy and Hans and Rosa.

  2. Jenny_M says:

    All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king

    This has to be my 17th or 18th reread, and when those words appear on the page in this chapter, I STILL get teary-eyed. They are such beautiful verses and, sigh. Sigh!

  3. Tauriel_ says:

    Happy 120th birthday to Professor J. R. R. Tolkien! 🙂

    Let's all have a toast, shall we?

    *raises glass*

    "The Professor!"

  4. Tauriel_ says:

    Well, well, chapter 10.

    I must say that Strider really doesn't make a good job "selling" his services to Frodo – he does have some unfortunate word choices in his speech (like pretty much admitting he was stalking and eavesdropping on the hobbits? Not a very wise move if you want them to trust you…), so it's very understandable that the hobbits are highly suspicious of him.

    Thankfully, all is saved by BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR bringing (although belatedly) Gandalf's letter to Frodo. He is both endearing and frustrating in his roundabout way of telling things – sometimes you just want to laugh and shake your head, but sometimes you want to grab his shoulders, shake him and yell, "GET TO THE POINT, MAN!" 😀

    These Black Riders: I am not sure, but I think, I fear they come from–––’
    ‘They come from Mordor,’ said Strider in a low voice. ‘From Mordor, Barliman, if that means anything to you.’

    *shudder* CREEPY.

    Where’s your Mr. Brandybuck?’
    ‘I don’t know,’ said Frodo with sudden anxiety. They had forgotten all about Merry, and it was getting late. ‘I am afraid he is out. He said something about going for a breath of air.’

    Yes, Merry, WTF are you doing walking around outside when there are Black Riders around??!! *worried*

    Also, LOL at Gandalf's threat to roast BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR. 😀

    And when at last things are cleared up and the hobbits know they can trust Strider – or Aragorn, as we should call him from now on – Merry comes in with news of the Black Riders! :O Trying to follow them was very foolish indeed, but thankfully hobbits are made of stern stuff and the influence of the Black Breath wasn't lasting.

    But thanks to this information they were able to prepare themselves – camouflaging the hobbits' room to look like they're still there, but hiding in Aragorn's room.

    The end of this chapter really does evoke the feeling of "shit is going to get real VERY SOON".

  5. ChloeKEvil says:

    Rereading this chapter, I was constantly going 'ahhh this is amazing, why do I always forget how amazing this chapter is?'

    So amazing that I couldn't sleep and had to stalk the site until this posted… I'd be ashamed, but I really do just love this chapter. And Strider (aka Aragorn son of Arathorn). Though I really can't blame Sam for not trusting him at all. He is an awfully suspicious-lookin' character!

    • flootzavut says:

      Strider <3 and yeah, you really can't blame poor Sam for being wary!

    • KSI says:

      I was totally stalking the site yesterday, as I didn't know Mark was taking a New Year's break. Little suggestion: maybe there could be a tab, similar to Suggestions! that would be Scheduling! and that could have just a single post detailing when known upcoming reviews are coming (I am aware that this is dangerous because people get disappointed if something is promised and not delivered, but still, would be helpful)

      • notemily says:

        I really, really think Mark needs a weekly or monthly schedule as well as a basic FAQ. I would be willing to write it and do the upkeep as long as I got the info from Mark on a regular basis.

      • t09yavosaur says:

        He mentioned it on Twitter and I think there is a Twitter tab somewhere on the site if you dont have your own.

  6. Tauriel_ says:

    Is this Hidden Hobbit or something?

    Crouching Strider, Hidden Hobbit. 😀

  7. Sinnive says:

    This is awesome!

  8. Kelsey says:

    NOB: They’re dementors, Frodo.

    This book’s like 1000 years old! Vg fgvyy ersref gb Qrzragbef nf Evat Jenvguf!

  9. pennylane27 says:

    Mark, you keep constantly topping yourself for BEST REVIEW EVER. That was hilarious!

    Moving on. I adore this chapter. A LOT. We get some answers, and a lot more questions.

    Also, I am not ashamed to say that I know that poem by heart. Or that it was taped to the wall behind my desk for years.


    • @ljrTR says:

      yep, I know that poem (and another we'll come to) by heart also

      • Katie says:

        Hzz, Znlor jr jnag gb fgbc fgerffvat gur vzcbegnapr bs gur cbrz? Orpnhfr vs lbh ernq vg pnershyyl rabhtu, vg xvaq bs tvirf hc nyy gur nafjref gb gur obbxf…Jurernf V erzrzore gung gur svefg gvzr V ernq YBGE, V gbgnyyl oerrmrq ol vg jvgubhg rira abgvpvat gur Pebjayrff Xvat yvar naq jnf gbgnyyl fhecevfrq fbzrjurer nebhaq Vfratneq be fb jura Tnaqnys zragvbaf gung Tbaqbe'f jneqraf zvtug trg hcfrg nobhg gur evtugshy urve gb gur guebar pbzvat gb pynvz vg. V jnf yvxr: Jub? Nentbea? Ubj pbzr?

  10. Tauriel_ says:

    Mark, I strongly advise you to do the following:

    1. Rewrite the whole LOTR in this style.
    2. Stage it as a theatre play.
    3. PROFIT

    Seriously, this is genius! 😀

    • cait0716 says:

      Yes, there is great potential for turning LotR from an epic tale to a bumbling comedy. Especially with the hobbits as main characters. 🙂

    • flootzavut says:

      THIS. PLEASE! I would pay good money to see this 😀

    • @ljrTR says:

      Here is a link to genius – 40 pages of message board replies and links to "If LOTR had been written by someone else" – great parodies, both serious and comic to be found. ENJOY –

    • BetB says:

      National Lampoon did a version of the book called "Bored of the Rings". I enjoyed it many years ago.

      • Lugija says:

        I've read it a couple of times. It's very random.
        "'The enemy's eyes are everywhere' he said while an eyeball dropped out of a tree and rolled away."

        I think I wrote something like Mark's script many years ago. It's nowhere to be found and that is probably for the best.

      • ljrTR says:

        I probably shouldn't, since I love the dear Professor's creation so much, but I also love "Bored of the Rings". although it is best taken in small doses.

      • Steve Morrison says:

        There’s another parody you can read for free online at The Tolkien Sarcasm Page; I actually like it better than Bored of the Rings. It was written by various people from the Tolkien newsgroup rec.arts.books.tolkien about a decade ago (one of whom, I see, has been posting on this re-read; Aris, your version of “In the House of Tom Bombadil” was brilliant!)

    • shortstuff says:

      And Mark could co-write with Cleolinda, and the epicness would abound. After Mark finishes the book AND movie series, I would recommend buying Cleo's book and reading the short screen play of LOTR. It's very good, with a lot of background Silmarillion thrown in for good measure.

  11. cait0716 says:

    Happy New Year, all! It's nice to be back

    I like the play format, Mark! I'm so happy some of these off-beat reviews are returning. This chapter was a lot of fun to read, with the frustrating antics of Strider and Butterbur, who both somehow fail to get to the point.

    "V frr – V ybbx sbhy naq srry snve, vf gung vg?"

    Ab, Fgevqre! Ivttb Zbegrafba jvyy arire ybbx sbhy. Vg'f ntnvafg gur ynjf bs angher be fbzrguvat

    • baruchan says:

      V nqzvg gung jura V svefg ernq gur obbx, zl vzntr bs Fgevqre jnf bs n zna jub fcrag gbb zhpu gvzr Enatrevat naq gbb yvggyr gvzr onguvat. Vzntvavat gung fnzr zna orvat pebjarq Xvat bs Tbaqbe va EBGX unq zr va svgf bs ynhtugre. Gura gur zbivrf pnzr bhg naq THU Ivttb'f fpehssvyl nggenpgvir znayvarff unq zr dhrfgvbavat zl fgnaqneqf bs pyrnayvarff va zl bowrpgf bs nssrpgvba.

      • flootzavut says:

        THU vf n cresrpg ernpgvba. V'ir arire orra gbbbbb bccbfrq gb gur fpehssl ybbx, ohg Ivttb qbrf vg fb jryy… gung jnf bar vafcverq cvrpr bs pnfgvat!

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Vg'f n tbbq guvax gurl qrpvqrq gb erivfr gurve bevtvany pnfgvat naq trg Ivttb vafgrnq. Vzntvar Fghneg Gbjafraq nf Nentbea! Htu! Jnl gbb lbhat. Ivttb vf CRESRPG, naq ur gbgnyyl vzzrefrq uvzfrys va gur ebyr (ur rira pneevrq uvf fjbeq jvgu uvz rireljurer ur jrag, rira erfgnhenagf). <3

          • baruchan says:

            V'z va njr bs zrgubq npgbef, va obgu gur "erireragvny" naq "qernqrq" frafrf bs gur jbeq. V jnf yvfgravat gb gur pnfg nhqvb pbzzragnevrf sbe gur SBGE RR, naq gurl fnvq fbzrguvat nobhg Ivttb abg obgurevat gb purpx uvf fgeratgu qhevat gur svtug fprarf, naq raqvat hc vawhevat uvzfrys naq gur fghag crbcyr zber bsgra guna abg. Gur ragver svyzvat cebprff zhfg unir rkunhfgrq uvz!

            • flootzavut says:

              Lrnu, V frrz gb erzrzore ur fnlf fbzrjurer va gur rkgenf gung ur jnagrq Nentbea gb npghnyyl or gverq jura ur'q sbhtug?

              Njrfbzr thl, njrfbzr npgbe.

            • Tauriel_ says:

              Naq yrg'f abg rira fgneg ba gur vawhevrf – ur oebxr uvf gbr jura ur xvpxrq gung bep uryzrg va GGG; vapvqragnyyl, gung jnf nyfb gur orfg gnxr naq raqrq hc va gur svany svyz. Naq ur oebxr uvf sebag gbbgu qhevat gur svyzvat bs gur Uryz'f Qrrc. Naq abg gb zragvba uvf oehvfrq unaqf naq xahpxyrf sebz nyy gur fjbeqsvtugvat…

            • Rheinman says:

              Lrf, gung nathvfurq fpernz bs uvf va GGG jura frnepuvat gur cvyr bs bep qroevf jnf npghnyyl uvf fpernzf bs cnva nf ur oebxr uvf gbr xvpxvat gur veba uryzrg. Gung znl or tbvat n yvggyr gbb sne vagb zrgubq, ohg ng yrnfg ur qvqa’g cyna vg (V ubcr).

            • shortstuff says:

              V yvxr gung ur tbg fb vagb uvf ebyr, gung ur pnzcnvtarq sbe pregnva guvatf gb or vapyhqrq be svyzrq n pregnva jnl. Ur nfxrq sbe zber Ryivfu, zber ubefronpx evqvat fprarf, naq V ernq va gevivn ba VZQO gung sbe gur ehaavat npebff Ebuna nsgre gur Bepf fubgf, ur pbaivaprq gur pnfg naq perj gb fyrrcbire bhgfvqr fb gung gurl pbhyq trg n qnl oernx fubg.

              JBJ jung n pbby thl. V guvax zl snibevgr vf uvz vafvfgvat ba hfvat gur erny fgrry fjbeq sbe svyzvat rira gur svtug fprarf, vafgrnq bs n penccl ehoore be syvzfl nyhzvahz irefvba. Vg ybbxf FB ZHPU ORGGRE, V unir nyy gur nqzvengvba sbe uvz orvat fb qrqvpngrq. Phm yrg'f snpr vg, lbh pna nyjnlf gryy n penccl snxr fjbeq va zbivrf, naq V'z cebhq gung YBGE qvq vg evtug.

          • flootzavut says:

            V xabj – ur ernyyl orpnzr Nentbea gb n fgnegyvat qrterr… <3

            Vg fgvyy obttyrf zl zvaq gung ur jnf n ynfg zvahgr ercynprzrag – ur'f whfg fb tbbq, vg frrzf vapbaprvinoyr gung nalbar ryfr pbhyq unir qbar vg.

            Nuuu Ivttb <3 <3 <3

            • baruchan says:

              V nyfb erzrzore urnevat gung fvapr Ivttb wbvarq gur pnfg yngre guna gur bguref, ur jnfa'g gurer sbe gur znwbevgl bs gur jrncbaf genvavat frffvbaf. Naq ur gbgnyyl fhecevfrq rirelbar ubj tbbq ur jnf ng fjvatvat gung fjbeq nebhaq.

              Ivttb vf gur njrfbzrfg erny-yvsr ONZS V'ir rire urneq nobhg. <3

              • flootzavut says:

                Lrnu – njrfbzr thl. V frrz gb erzrzore Obo Naqrefba, jub vf yvxr, lbh xabj, n YRTRAQ naq fghss, fnvq Ivttb jnf bar bs gur orfg fjbeqfzra ur'q jbexrq jvgu. V zrna… guvf vf OBO NAQREFBA! That's one hell of a compliment!

                Bu! V yvgrenyyl whfg n zbzrag ntb yrnearq ur qvrq ba Fhaqnl :'( V unf n fnq. Ur jnf na njrfbzr thl. Vs lbh unira'g nyernql frra vg, erag/obeebj/ohl Erpynvzvat Gur Fjbeq sbe ubj npr ur jnf.

                • threerings13 says:

                  Aw, that's sad. I've been a fan of so many things he was involved in, and I was just talking about him the other day to my husband.

          • flootzavut says:

            I just found this! Note: mild spoilers-ish for the LOTR movie posters, also for a bunch of other movie posters… but not really spoilers because they have been photoshopped. But anyway – just in case. For those who are feeling intrepid: this made me laugh…

            The Kurt Russell and Tom Selleck ones are my favourites!

        • baruchan says:

          Lrf vg jnf! Zberfb sbe zr jura V fnj gung cvp bs Fghneg Gbjafraq nf Nentbea fbzrbar funerq n srj puncgref ntb. V'z tynq CW qrpvqrq gb ercynpr uvz jvgu Ivttb, V qba'g guvax gur svyzf jbhyq or gur fnzr vs gurl fghpx jvgu Gbjafraq.

          • flootzavut says:

            V qvqa'g frr gung cvp ng gur gvzr ohg whfg tbbtyrq vg – bu zl tbbqarff – ab bssrafr gb FG ohg ur whfg ybbxf jnl gbb lbhat naq fghss… V'z fb tynq gurl tbg Ivttb!

            • notemily says:

              Ur'f nyfb, cneqba zr sbe fnlvat guvf orpnhfr abobql rire frrzf gb zragvba vg jura gnyxvat nobhg gur pnfgvat punatr, abg n irel tbbq npgbe.

              • flootzavut says:

                Not sure I've ever knowingly seen him in anything, but he'd have to be going some to or n senpgvba nf tbbq nf Ivttb!

      • shortstuff says:

        THIS lol

        V ybir ubj Fgevqre qbrfa'g frrz gb zvaq orvat pnyyrq sbhy. Ur xabjf gung ur fyrrcf bhgqbbef nybg, naq jryy, vf n fpehssl zna. Nejra unq qnza tbbq gnfgr =C

    • flootzavut says:

      "Ab, Fgevqre! Ivttb Zbegrafba jvyy arire ybbx sbhy. Vg'f ntnvafg gur ynjf bs angher be fbzrguvat"

      YES. SO TRUE.

  12. Tauriel_ says:

    NOB: You know, they’re just like the dementors from Harry Potter.


    LMAO! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  13. baruchan says:

    This is the chapter that made me want to read the book to the very end. (Gura V tbg gb Gur Pbhapvy bs Ryebaq naq jrcg ovggre, vasb-bireybnqrq grnef.) I love the sorta-kinda long-suffering tone of Gandalf's letter re: BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR, but it really highlights how difficult it was to communicate with one another over long distances until very recently. Reminds me of the stories my grandfather tells us about the days when he was courting my grandmother.

    • flootzavut says:

      "(Gura V tbg gb Gur Pbhapvy bs Ryebaq naq jrcg ovggre, vasb-bireybnqrq grnef.)"

      Didn't we all? 😀 Cneg bs zr guvaxf jr fubhyq jnea Znex gb erivrj GPBR bire n pbhcyr bs qnlf…

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Ohg ohg ohg… Uvfgbel! Naq fbatf! Naq fghss! Naq qvq V zragvba UVFGBEL?

        • flootzavut says:

          Lrnu, vg'f nznmvat, ohg vg vf fbbbbbbbb ybat! V ybir gung Ovyob znxrf gurz fgbc gb rng va gur zvqqyr bs vg… fb uboovgl vg uhegf!

    • @ljrTR says:

      very good point re difficulty of long-distance communication in past.

  14. Dreamflower says:

    LOL! You have just about NAILED this chapter!

    Thing is, none of these hobbits know a thing about the Wide World outside the Bounds of the Shire. Frodo thinks he does because of Bilbo's stories, but really, stories aren't the same as experience. And Merry probably thought he was being quiet and clever in scouting out the town, having no idea what he's really up against. (Remember, Merry was the only one of the four who did NOT encounter the Black Riders while still in the Shire, so he probably had no idea of how scary they really were.)

    But, Strider, yeah. Very suspicious seeming character…until that letter shows up.

    And Gandalf? Yes, that letter is VERY Gandalf.

    I LOVE that poem. Books Williams did a lovely musical setting of that poem:

    • @ljrTR says:

      good catch that Merry hadn't really been close to a black rider before, as the others had.

    • Rheinman says:

      I feel that up to this point, Frodo and company have been wrong-genre savvy. Their plans to leave a decoy at Crickhollow and not bothering to discuss changing their names until they are UP AGAINST THE GATES OF BREE might have worked well against other hobbits, Bertie Wooster, or any other Upper Class Twit of the Year contestant. However, they are woefully pathetic when matched agaisnt the black riders, Strider, and even the evening crowd at the Prancing Pony.

      Hey, Frodo! Shit just got real, and you were not prepared.

  15. flootzavut says:

    This was SO FUNNY I NEARLY DIED. Thanks Mark – crappy day yesterday and today started off as being a bit crappy, but this just cheered me up SO MUCH. Best review evah.

    What I really want is to see this acted out by the people who played these characters in the movies. Seriously, that would be hysterical. Pippin saying "SWEET BABY GANDALF" is comedy genius, but then in my head I imagined Ovyyl Oblq saying it and then I was incoherent with laughter. So then I went through the whole thing "hearing" all the actors and it is just… well Mark, you have surpassed yourself, and this is pure genius.

    Anyway, now I'm going to read again for CONTENT not just hilarity and then I may (*may*…) post some sensible comments. But cheers Mark, this has brightened up my day soo sooooo much!

    • Tauriel_ says:

      THIS. 😀

      • flootzavut says:


        Actually I hope Mark will come back to some of these reviews after he's read the books and seen the movies, because at the moment he's missing some of the hilarity we are getting from it and I just would love for him to know JUST HOW BRILLIANT this is.

        Siriusly, Mark, I have read it several times, and now I'm reading through comments, and quotes from it are STILL MAKING ME CRY WITH LAUGHTER!

  16. bearshorty says:

    Wonderful review. I think I was giggling all the way through, especially the descriptions of why Strider is so sketchy when he wants the hobbits to trust him.

    I wish I read the books before I saw the first two movies. I only read them right before the third movie came out. There is a lot of suspense in the books that I was spoiled for. Still, the books were a good ride. I don't have time to reread them now but I'm having a blast reliving them through your reviews.

  17. flootzavut says:

    “PPPS: Butterbur is trustworthy, but about as dependable as a tissue. Let’s hope he actually sent this letter. If not, lol!”

    OK I'm dying of laughter again. But yeah, thanks BB, you have been soooooooooo helpful here…

    I LOVE this chapter (though I think I may like your version of it EVEN MORE…)

    Oh and I love this:

    All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king.

    There's something so beautiful about these simple lines <3

    Qvqa'g Ovyob jevgr gung?

    • baruchan says:

      Lrc, Ovyob jebgr vg 🙂

      • flootzavut says:

        Ovyob <3

        • threerings13 says:

          Bx, ubj qvq Ovyob jevgr gung? V'z pbashfrq. (V'z abg qbhogvat lbh, V whfg arire xarj gung, fb vs lbh pna cbvag zr ng ubj lbh xabj gung, V'q nccerpvngr vg.)

          • wahlee says:

            Ng gur Pbhapvy bs Ryebaq, Obebzve rkcerffrf fbzr qbhog nf gb gur inyvqvgl bs Nentbea'f pynvz gb gur xvatfuvc bs Tbaqbe. Ovyob dhbgrf gur cbrz gb gur pbhapvy, gura erznexf gb Sebqb gung ur jebgr vg sbe Nentbea.

          • Cylena says:

            Vg'f va bar bs gur svefg puncgref bs jura gurl ner va Eviraqryy (vs abg gur svefg). VVEP vg'f jura gurl fvg va gung ebbz naq Sebqb zrrgf Ovyob naq gurer'f n ybg bs cbrzf naq fghss sylvat nebhaq, naq guvf cbrz vf erpvgrq. Naq Ovoyb fnlf ur jebgr vg yvxr gur svefg gvzr ur zrg Nentbea. Uz, V ernq guvf yvxr gjb qnlf ntb. Phefr lbh, zrzzbel :C

            Heh, after reading wahlee's post I realised my memory isn't the best 😛

          • flootzavut says:

            V oryvrir ur jebgr vg juvyr ur jnf fgnlvat ng Eviraqryy, znlor nebhaq gur gvzr Fgevqre erirnyrq uvf yvarntr rgp? V guvax lbh'yy svaq Ovyob erpvgrf cneg bs vg qhevat gur pbhapvy bs Ryebaq, naq gura erznexf gb Sebqb gung ur npghnyyl jebgr vg.

    • shortstuff says:

      V ybir ubj va gur zbivr gurl znantrq gb farnx guvf cbrz va. Naq vg'f npghnyyl xvaqn pbby ubj gurl znxr vg frrz nyzbfg yvxr n cebcurpl, jura Nejra vf qbvat gur ibvprbiref, vafgrnq bs whfg n fvyyl cbrz gung Ovyob gur Uboovg jebgr sbe uvf sevraq.

      Nyfb, Nentbea, lbh ernyyl pneel nebhaq gur oebxra funeqf bs na urveybbz bs lbhe ubhfr? Jung xvaq bs uryc vf gung, univat n oebxra fjbeq. Naq jung orggre jnl gb naabhapr gb gur rarzl, Urer vf gur Fjbeq Gung Jnf Oebxra, naq V'z gbgnyyl gur Urve bs Vfvyqhe! Zhpu orggre gb unir gung guvat ubaberq va Eviraqryy.

      Naq jr trg gb frr Zbivr!Nentbea trg vagb fbzr fjbeq svtugf jvgu Anmthy! <3

      • notemily says:

        Vg qbrf frrz ernyyl jrveq gung ur pneevrf n oebxra fjbeq nebhaq jvgu uvz. Vg znqr zber frafr jura vg jnf xrcg va Eviraqryy va gur zbivrf, rfcrpvnyyl bapr lbh xabj gung Nentbea yvirq gurer sbe n gvzr.

      • flootzavut says:

        Lrnu, vg'f ernyyl ngzbfcurevp jurer vg pbzrf va va gur zbivr – V graq gb erzrzore Nejra fnlvat vg jurarire V ernq vg, naq vg vf bar bs gubfr fcvar gvatyvat zbzragf. V thrff whfg orpnhfr Ovyob jebgr vg qbrfa'g zrna vg'f abg cebcurpl! :Q

        Naq lrf, V nz tynq ur vfa'g whfg pneelvat Anefvy nebhaq va gur zbivr, jura V ernq gur obbxf ntnva naq ernyvfrq gung V jnf yvxr, uhu? Ur bayl unf n oebxra fjbeq? V guvax vg'f bar bs gubfr guvatf jurer va gur obbxf lbh whfg npprcg vg (yvxr (EBGX FCBVYRE!) Rbjla cergraqvat gb or n zna, jurer va gur zbivrf jura vg'f hc ba fperra lbh'q tb, ab, gung'f ahgf. Orpnhfr ubarfgyl, V qba'g frr ubj nal jbzna pbhyq unir orra qvfthvfrq va fhpu n jnl (ba fperra) gung lbh jbhyqa'g srry Zreel jnf n ovg bs na rrwvg sbe abg abgvpvat, lbh xabj??! Lbh pna trg njnl jvgu va va grkg (whfg nobhg), ohg ba fperra? Ab, V qba'g guvax fb, rira vs lbh fgnegrq jvgu fbzrbar n ybg yrff ornhgvshy guna Zvenaqn Bggb.

        (Vg'f fvzvyne gb svyz irefvbaf bs Funxrfcrner cynlf juvpu vaibyir pebff qerffvat gb fbzr qrterr. Sbe rknzcyr, V fghqvrq Gjrysgu Avtug ng fpubby, fnj vg yvir, naq unir frra n srj zbivrf – ernqvat gur grkg, lbh whfg npprcg vg – frrvat vg yvir, lbh trg pnhtug hc va gur zbivr. Ohg sbe fbzr ernfba, lbh chg vg ba fperra naq fnl gurfr crbcyr pna'g gryy Fronfgvna naq Ivbyn ncneg naq vg whfg znxrf gurz ybbx yvxr gurl ner abg irel oevtug…)

    • notemily says:

      I think that's one of the best poems Tolkien ever wrote, seriously. It's so simple and perfect.

  18. Araniapriime says:

    A “faggot” is also a kind of British meatball, if I recall correctly. So you can throw some faggots on a fire to cook some faggots to feed some faggots who are sitting around the table smoking fags.


    • Tauriel_ says:

      So you can throw some faggots on a fire to cook some faggots to feed some faggots who are sitting around the table smoking fags.

      This is, like, the best sentence ever. 😀

    • flootzavut says:

      I think in this context faggot actually means a bundle of wood or twigs that is used to fuel a fire, but it does also mean a dish that is balls of meat (largely offal and offcuts). So I suppose to stretch it, you could throw some faggots on the burning faggots instead of on the fire…

      • Araniapriime says:

        I know about the burning bundle of wood; that was what I meant by the first use of "faggot". So throwing faggots on burning faggots would be using the same meaning of the word twice in the same sentence, which I thought was cheating on my own rules in the game I invented. LOL

    • flootzavut says:

      … the word actually has 9 meanings listed on Wiktionary 😮

    • MrsGillianO says:

      Enter text right here!A "faggot" is also a kind of British meatball, if I recall correctly. So you can throw some faggots on a fire to cook some faggots to feed some faggots who are sitting around the table smoking fags.

      And dropping their fag butts on the floor…

  19. calimie says:

    This was my favourite chapter of the book. I used to read it so often and so many times I began to learn it by heart. That was when I stopped, it was unsettling.

    I loved this review!

    • ljrTR says:

      I think I have lots of LOTR memorized, just from so many re reads. and yet I still had time for a life. amazing

  20. monkeybutter says:

    This review is a great way to start the new year! But come on, this is Act I stuff. You've seen how much there is left to read! Maybe throw in an EXEUNT, PURSUED BY BEORN for the hell of it, too.

    I think this is the first chapter where I've felt a sense of urgency about their quest, because apparently everyone except the hobbits knows what's going on, they should have left months earlier, and Gandalf's absence is even more worrying. I also love that the whole Strider is Aragorn, son of Arathorn thing wasn't drawn out. Yay for quick reveals!

    Most importantly, I'm glad we can talk about how they're being stalked by dementors. 😀

    • cait0716 says:

      Gung erirny unq gb pbzr dhvpx. Jr'ir tbg gjragl zber bs uvf anzrf gb yrnea

    • Tauriel_ says:


      This should be totally used in the Hobbit, during the Battle of the Five Armies, in relation to the goblins and wargs. 😀

    • flootzavut says:



    • @ljrTR says:

      I'm not a Harry Potter fan, so no, Black Riders are Black Riders, not dementors.

      • James says:

        I am a Harry Potter fan, but seriously, Black Riders are not Dementors.

        • tigerpetals says:

          Indeed. They just give off a similarly debilitating aura. Actually, they're kind of hilariously oblivious, particularly considering Frodo's words about fair and foul. They try to work on the downlow and bribe Farmer Maggot, but anyone who isn't already a jerk like Bill Ferny is going to be all "I'm going to warn the guy you're looking for and possibly hide him" mentally because of how not charming they are.

      • Hotaru_hime says:

        Really, dementors are Black Riders.

    • knut_knut says:

      everything needs more Beorn! I think Mark's play needs a dancing number with singing and dancing ponies

      • monkeybutter says:

        Darnit, we'll get those ponies talking somehow!

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Actually, I think they shouldn't talk, but they should always carry protest notices saying "GIVE US SOME LINES, DAMMIT" or something similar. 😀

        • Katie says:

          Jung vf uvynevbhf vf gung V'z qbvat n erernq (naq boivbhfyl unir tbggra jnl nurnq bs Znex ntnva) naq nz fhqqrayl cnlvat na vabeqvangr nzbhag bs nggragvba gb jurgure cbavrf gnyx be abg. Svaqvatf guvf sne:

          Fnz'f arj cbal Ovyy jub tbrf gb gur Zbevn tngr naq vf ghearq ybbfr gurer "pna nyzbfg haqrefgnaq uhzna ynathntr qhr gb gur gvzr ur fcrag ng Eviraqryy naq pbhyq nyzbfg fcrnx vs ur unq fcrag zber gvzr gurer"

          Enqrtnfg "pna gnyx gb oveqf naq ornfgf" ohg cbavrf ner abg fcrpvsvrq

          Tnaqnys'f Funqbjsnk vf qrfpraqrq sebz Rbey'f ubefr jub pbhyq haqrefgnaq uhzna fcrnx. Naq Yrtbynf frrzf noyr gb gnyx gb ubefrf.

          Ohg ab npghny gnyxvat cbavrf naljurer gb or sbhaq.

          • Saphling says:

            Nynf, vs bayl gurl unq fgnlrq ng Eviraqryy n yvggyr juvyr ybatre. V jbhyq or vagrerfgrq va svaqvat bhg jung gur Sryybjfuvc'f cbal unq gb fnl.

            • flootzavut says:

              Qvqa'g Ovyy tb onpx gb Eviraqryy orpnhfr gurl pbhyqa'g/jbhyqa'g gnxr uvz vagb Zbevn? V frrz gb erpnyy Fnz orvat erhavgrq jvgu uvz yngr va EBGX, ohg V znl jryy or zvferzrzorevat… V abj ernyyl jnag gb xabj vs Fnz rire gevrq ntnva gb znxr uvz gnyx…

              On an unrelated note, I have installed the Leet button twice and still don't know 1) if it installed right and 2) how to use it if it is here somewhere. I really must investigate, I'm getting ROT13 fatigue!! 🙂

              • Sinnive says:

                Gurl ner erhavgrq, ohg bayl va gur Cbal va Oerr, jurer Ovyy nccneragyl fubjrq hc ntnva nsgre fbzr gvzr. Jura Fnz urnef nobhg vg, ur jba'g tb gb orq orsber ur unfa'g fnvq uryyb gb uvz (ohg Ovyy fgvyy qbrfa'g nafjre).

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                Are you using Firefox? I have the Leetkey add-on for Firefox and it took a bit of messing around with it before I could get it to work for me. Once I got it to work though, it's been a godsend. I just wish I could get something for my phone.

                • flootzavut says:

                  I shall persevere… at least I know it's not just me being thick!

                  • AmandaNekesa says:

                    If you're using Leetkey on Firefox, I think I might be able to give you some tips to get it to work. I just wasn't sure if that's the browser you're using. I sort of messed around with the settings until it worked. blah

                    Soo…if you have some text you're typing and want to code it in rot13, highlight the text to be cyphered and right click. Go to "LeetKey" then "Text Transformers" and click ROT13.

                    Or, if you want to set things up to decode other peoples' rot13 you can set it up by first highlighting the text to be translated. Then right-click, go to LeetKey, then go to LeetKey settings. In the second section, where it says "Function Name" go to ROT13, then type the key combination you want to use to automatically translate highlighted text to/from rot13. I've been using shift + E. There might be an easier way to do this, but this is how I was able to get mine to work. Hope this helps! 🙂

                    • flootzavut says:

                      You are a star, I had installed it fine just didn't know where to look for it – d'oh! And I didn't realise I could set up a shortcut – nifty 😀

                      Thank you veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery much 😀

                    • AmandaNekesa says:

                      Glad to help! 🙂 I seriously installed LeetKey about 5 times before I realized it was installed right but needed to be set up. I thought there was supposed to be some sort of button in the add-on bar, and it had me endlessly confused. Then I gave up on it for awhile, but one day noticed a comment someone made about the add-on that led me to this. Now, all I have to do to decode some rot13 is highlight, then shift + Z and it's all done! It's been such a time saver, especially because I no longer have to constantly switch between windows.

                    • flootzavut says:

                      Enormously helpful – thank you!

          • monkeybutter says:

            Thank you for this. 😀

    • notemily says:


  21. @ljrTR says:

    "If by life or death I can save you, I will" – great, great line by Strider! (or words to that effect; don't have the book with me right now).

    Random thoughts – The image of Merry almost being carried off by the bad guys is spooky.
    Yeah, the Hobbits are still pretty naive, though I think that's just about come to an end.
    Strider did make a convincing point when he said if he were a bad guy the little hobbits would be dead already.
    Dementors are reminiscent of the Black Riders, not the other way around.

    Once again, can't wait til Mark reads the next chapter. I tried to read only one chapter but have re-read ahead to the end of the book. couldn't put it down. Tolkien is such a good storyteller. (Still can't get into Phillip Pullman because he is so utterly dismissive of Tolkien. makes me angry for the dear professor -Happy Birthday- though I'm sure he wouldn't care.)

    • flootzavut says:

      ""If by life or death I can save you, I will" – great, great line by Strider! (or words to that effect; don't have the book with me right now)."


  22. Dreamflower says:

    I thought you might like to know a few facts about the writer of this book you have committed to. I know that you know a little bit– your reviews featuring conversations with Christopher and his dad were huge fun, and I thought you (and some readers who don't already know) might want to know a little more about his family life.

    JRRT was known to his family as Ron, and to his friends as "Tollers". He was orphaned early in life– his father died when he was 3 and his mother died when he was 12. He and his younger brother Hilary became the legal wards of a Catholic priest at that time. He met his future wife when he was 16 and she was 19, but his guardian forbid him from having anything to do with her (because she was older and wasn't Catholic). The very day he turned 21, he wrote to her– and she broke off her engagement for him!

    They had four kids: John Francis, Michael, Christopher, and Priscilla. In 1920, JRRT started writing them annual Christmas letters that were supposed to be from "Father Christmas", and he continued them every year right up to when Priscilla grew up! He also made up an adorable story, "Roverandom", for his son Michael. He started making up and writing The Hobbit in the mid '20s, though it did not get published until 1938.

    By the time he was writing LotR, Christopher was a fighter pilot in the RAF in WWII. He sent his youngest son a lot of really lovely letters, and used to include bits of the manuscript to cheer him up.

    I recently came across a cool quote about Christopher from one of JRRT's diaries: he said Christopher "had grown into a nervy, irritable, cross-grained, self-tormenting, cheeky person. Yet there is something intensely lovable about him, to me at any rate, from the very similarity between us."

    Anyhow, thought I would just share these tid-bits, non-spoilery as they are, in case you or anyone else who might not know are interested.

    Also, today is JRRT's birthday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PROFESSOR!!

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      It is so very fitting that the film of Return of the King was released in 2003 , the year of Tolkien's own eleventyfirst birthday.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      The very day he turned 21, he wrote to her– and she broke off her engagement for him!

      He actually waited until the stroke of midnight on the day of his 21st birthday to propose to her! 😀 That's both romantic and cheeky – and very Tolkien. 🙂

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        Their whole relationship is one of the sweetest you'll ever read about. She also had only gotten engaged because she thought he forgot about her.

      • Dreamflower says:

        You are absolutely right! He really was romantic and cheeky!

        Have you ever read Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth? It's my favorite biography of him. It struck me while reading it: JRRT was Harry Potter. He was orphaned, spent the best years of his younger life at school (and as described, his schools were very like Hogwarts, at least in structure–not unlikely, as Hogwarts was based on that sort of school), and then went to take part in a horrific war in which he lost most of his closest friends.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          No, I haven't! Gah. I probably should – thanks for the tip! 🙂

          And a very good point with the Tolkien/HP similarities!

        • ljrTR says:

          I love that book, and esp how it emphasizes the impact of WWI (and its horrors) on Tolkien as well as his creation, LOTR.

          • Icarus says:

            Yeah. He was in the battle of the Somme.

            Try this experiment. Find a war buff, military analyst, or any military history fan. Say these words: "Battle of the Somme" … and watch their faces fall. They sound surprised that anyone survived.

      • flootzavut says:

        Very! So adorable. Their whole story is so beautiful <3

      • tigerpetals says:

        Orera naq Yhguvra. 🙂

    • flootzavut says:

      Random factoid that I am getting out again because I was so 😮 when I learned about it: One of my aunts, long ago, babysat for Christopher Tolkien's children before they moved to France. The very first time she went he was reading to his 6 year old from ROTK, the part jurer Tbyyhz ovgrf Sebqb'f svatre bss, and was totally horrified 😀

  23. turntechGodhead says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    cool play bro

    its a real shame but sometimes not all striders are as chill as they should be

    seriously who creeps out of the shadows like that

    i think someones getting chris hansen called on their ass

    • redheadedgirl says:

      Gung'f Obebzve, yngre.

    • bookworm67 says:

      HOMESTUUUUUCK. I just caught up on that like a week ago (6000 PAGES!!!) and it is amazing.

      Also that is perfect.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        oh god i'm somewhere in act 3

        i am so far behind.

        • NeonProdigy says:

          It's a shame that you have Buffy and LotR reviews to do! (not that I'm telling you to stop those because A: I love them too and B: Everybody would kill me for even suggesting it) I mean, if you sat down and just kept reading from where you are, you could probably catch up in…

          I dunno, a week, maybe…

          (Note to self: Only make HS references up to the end of Act 2, got it)

        • bookworm67 says:

          It's totally worth it to get through it all. Now that I've caught up, it's agonizing to read pages as they come up (though dear God, Hussie is like a one man army about updates). Plus I'm buying a soundtrack at some point because the music is FANTASTIC.

          Aaaand I'm going to stop there before I start squeeing about future things and any attempts at being non-spoilery fly out the window.

  24. Ryan Lohner says:

    The letter is pretty funny in the radio show, with Michael Hordern's utterly straight narration peppered with occasional reactions from the hobbits. Especially good is Frodo's amused grunt when he says how trustworthy Butterbur is.

  25. MidnightLurker says:


    Kermit the Frog = Aragorn, son of Arathorn

  26. drippingmercury says:

    Am I the only one who took an inordinate amount of time to read this review? I would read a few lines, laugh, and then imagine the movie characters delivering them and DIE OF LAUGHTER.

    Conclusion: Mark should have written the screen plays.

    • flootzavut says:

      YES TOTALLY, as soon as the idea occurred to me to imagine the movie actors playing these roles, I was in absolute fits. Rfcrpvnyyl Ovyyl Oblq fnlvat FJRRG ONOL TNAQNYS. I can just SO hear that and even thinking about it cracks me up big time!

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        I know! I kept imagining the movie actors spouting off the lines from Mark's play. I think the most hilarious ones to think about were Gandalf and Strider. 😀

        • flootzavut says:

          SERIOUSLY. If I think about it too hard my brain will just BREAK from HILARITY. I LOVE IT!

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            Exactly THIS! Although, when Gandalf's letter started off with "Hey, y’all! Just silly ol’ Gandalf here." I couldn't help but think of Tbyyhz ng gur fgneg bs EbgX jura ur fnlf, "Ab gvzr gb jnfgr, fvyyvrf". My brain is weird, but that combination made me laugh so hard!!! :p

  27. VoldieBeth says:

    One of my favorite chapters. And when I read it, it does feel like Tolkien is trolling us! But yeah, Aragorn, you don't really get how to come across as trust worthy. lol Loved the review style and I'm so excited that you are enjoying it so much! It just keeps getting better and better from here on out! I can't wait for more!

    • ljrTR says:

      yes, it keeps getting better & better! Next 2 chapters are great!

      poor Strider, wanting to be liked just for himself. But seriously, if he were a bad guy, the hobbits would have been dead by now.

  28. guest_age says:

    I love the poem in this. Actually I tend to love most of Tolkien's poems but this one has always been particularly lovely.

  29. settlingforhistory says:

    Well, I can imagine that this is a chapter of no return for many readers, at least for me it will be decidedly hard to read chapter by chapter now.
    There are so many things I love about it:

    – Strider; I have no idea who he is, he doesn't seem to be the most trustworthy person but
    he actually knows what is going on in Middle-earth (finally someone with knowledge, yay!),
    he has an answer for every question coming his way ('if I weren't the real Strider, you would have been dead days ago' wonderful), the idea that his outward appearance is the only thing that makes him untrustworthy
    (and not his creepy, mysterious personality)

    -Sam; after the fist few chapters I was already at the point where I really wanted to meet the little fellow and
    hug him endlessly but now he might be my favourite thing ever, he asks the right questions, is mistrusting
    enough that I don't have to shout in my head (or actually shout. My poor neighbors) to not trust that wird
    guy they met in the shadowy corners of a pub and the fact that Gandalf knows Strider doesn't
    automatically sway him (because we all know old wise men can be wrong, too)

    -diversity in the group: I liked The Hobbit a lot and part of the fun was, that not everyone in the party of 14
    reacted to a situation the same way or was good at the same things (Bilbo was great at stealth, dwarfs where better fighters, gold didn't hold the same importance to all of them), so we have a Man in addition to our little band of hobbits now, Excite!

    -Now we know that the Dark Horses have Dementor Breath, I knew something was missing: they weren't creepy enough before. *shiver*

    Yay for Mark's wonderful review. I so want to see that play in full. Would be a nice new project for StarKid Productions. Best parts: Gandalf's letter and "Yeah, we’re screwed." I can't stop giggling now.

    • t09yavosaur says:

      Team Starkid have actually done a Lord of the Rings play. According to the FAQ on their website they can't upload it because they lost some of their footage.

  30. Clamarnicale says:

    Well, if we're doing plays, then I must recommend to all of you The Most Grievous and Lamentable Tragedie of The Death of Lord Voldemort ( A wonderful, if short HP fic, it was written between Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince, so it's full of moody, snarky, teenage Harry. It's written in iambic pentameter, and is utterly hilarious.

  31. threerings13 says:

    Yeah, Strider could have handled this better. You'd think he'd be like, "Hey, Gandalf sent me." Instead of "I've been following you and now I want to come with you for no particular reason. Oh, you have a letter? Yeah, Gandalf sent me, but I didn't think that was relevant." LOL.

    • Cylena says:

      Tho, would you trust someone who looks dodgy and just come up to you when you are in a dangerous situation saying "Oh, hi! Your quite famous (as far as I've understood it at least) and very powerful friend who isn't with you sent me. I'm a friend of his, but you don't know me or ever heard of me. Trust me plz? I'll just lead you off the road where no one can see us lolz" ?

  32. Laura says:

    I would like to point out that when the Prisoner of Azkaban movie was released, me and everyone else I know who had seen LOTR was like "dude, those dementors look EXACTLY like Black Riders." Yea, WB and Alfonso Cuaron fail.

    Also, Happy Birthday, Professor! I read all your letters last year. *snerk*

    • nanceoir says:

      I wouldn't call it a fail.Sbe fgnegref, V jbhyq nethr gung gur Qrzragbef qb abg, va snpg, ybbx rknpgyl yvxr gur Oynpx Evqref; gur Qrzragbef ner sne zber sybngl naq nyzbfg rgurerny guna gur rnegu-obhaq Evatjenvguf. Gurer ner, anghenyyl, fvzvynevgvrf, ohg V guvax gubfr pbzr zber sebz gur fbhepr zngrevny guna nalguvat ryfr. Plus, it's not like FotR in either book or movie form invented the creepy, stalking, hooded, cloaked figure.

    • Katarina says:

      It's easier to appreciate Harry Potter if one just thinks of it as a giant fantasy "best of"-medley. I'm still convinced JKR threw in bits of Dogsbody in PoA for the heck of it.

  33. dcjensen says:

    STRIDER: Who accidentally falls onto a ring and makes it go on their finger?

    FRODO: Stranger things have happened!

    WASH: Some people juggle geese!

  34. msw188 says:

    Ok, let's be fair. Strider, if he is telling the truth, seems to think that the Enemy is interested in killing him as well. In fact, he says that the Enemy has "set traps for me before now." This feels like a vague, somewhat half-assed excuse, but at least he admits he was purposely being mysterious at first, which is more than we typically get from Gandalf.

    I'm glad Mark takes the time to point out that, regardless of the handwriting and the 'seal' on the envelope, the letter SOUNDS like Gandalf (although, of course, Mark takes this from a humorous angle). The reader doesn't have to be told this; we know what Gandalf 'sounds' like, and we can believe the letter is authentic simply by reading it, just like Frodo.

    • msw188 says:

      This is similar to my comment on the last chapter, rot13'd then, where I revelled in the fact that Mark got a feeling that Strider had basically good intentions. His actions and words (both very economical in the last chapter, at least for Tolkien) feel right. And then in this chapter we get Tolkien's exposition of that idea, through Frodo's mouth, when he describes how a true enemy would "seem fairer and feel fouler," for lack of a better description. The fact that Mark got a similarly positive feeling about the character in that chapter as well means that the character was well written.

      In short, I'll just repeat myself again: these are two of my favorite chapters in the whole book, and as I get older I only continue to find more reasons why.

  35. bookworm67 says:

    OH MY GOD I saw the words 'A Play' and freaked out.

    Then I laughed more because I knew you would say something about the faggot thing, and didn't stop laughing for until the end. This is definitely my favorite LOTR review so far!

  36. elyce says:

    Not all those who wander are lost.

    That's probably my favorite line from this poem. And from all the poems and songs in this book. I've always felt connected to it, but it's probably because whenever I travel, I just… wander and I'm rarely lost. I'm just… wandering.

    Also, Strider is bamf. End of story. You can all pack up and go home now.

  37. Dreamflower says:

    You are right. The Shire Post was just for the Shire. Anywhere outside the Shire folks had to do it the old way– just find a person who was going in the right direction, and hope they'd get the message to where it was intended, and that it would not get lost, stolen, intercepted or sidetracked along the way..

  38. Genny_ says:

    "PIPPIN: Gandalf is fucking weird, man."

    And that, my good people, is half of what you need to know about this series in one line. Hell, maybe everything you need to know. GANDALF IS WEIRD. HE DOES SHIT. THE END. There, sorted.

  39. roguebelle says:

    V nyjnlf sbetrg gung Fgevqre’f erny vqragvgl vf erirnyrq fb rneyl. Sbe fbzr ernfba vg nyjnlf fgnlf n frperg n ybg ybatre va zl urnq. V zrna, V xabj jr qba’g unir nyy gur qrgnvyf lrg er: Tbaqbe naq qrfgval naq nyy bs gung, ohg rira whfg gur anzr Nentbea V nyjnlf guvax pbzrf yngre.

    Unrelatedly, I have this whole theory about Riders = Dementors = Specters = various other things, all rattling around somewhere in my brain. Someday I shall write a paper and go to a geek conference with it. 😉

    • arctic_hare says:

      I had to edit your comment a little, because Znex qbrfa'g lrg xabj gung gur Oynpx Evqref ner pnyyrq Evatjenvguf.

      • roguebelle says:

        Argh! Sorry! I'm not actually reading along at the moment and it's been about two years since I read it last, so that eluded me. Apologies!

        • arctic_hare says:

          It happens, no worries. It's easy to forget stuff when you're not reading along/haven't read it in a while (for example, I for some reason thought Gandalf's letter was in tomorrow's chapter, till I reread, and that we learned that Strider = Aragorn came later too).

    • msw188 says:

      What you SHOULD do is get that paper written like tomorrow and make sure to present it at one of the stops of INTENSITY IN TEN CITIES. Now that would be beyond awesomesauce.

  40. arctic_hare says:

    YAY PLAY FORMAT REVIEW 😀 I love it when you do these, Mark, and this is no exception! Oh man, I was just howling with laughter at this one, so many great lines. Utterly fantastic. <3 I applaud you.

    I also applaud Tolkien himself. Happy birthday!

    – Strider/Aragorn doesn't do a great job of making himself seem trustworthy right off the bat, does he? LOL. Being friends with Gandalf really does seem to explain everything, I think. And I'm pretty sure Gandalf is indeed going to roast BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR. DUDE THE HOBBITS DIDN'T LEAVE THE SHIRE TILL LATE SEPTEMBER, THAT IS MONTHS AFTER GANDALF SAID IN THE LETTER THEY SHOULD GTFO. Plus July was what he said was the *latest* they should leave. Shiiiiiiiiiit.

    – I literally did a double-take when I saw THAT WORD – I had to go back and look at it again like "WHAT DID I REALLY READ THAT. WHAT." And then I remembered "Ohhhhhhhh yeah, it didn't mean THAT then, phew." So I pretty much fell all over myself laughing at "THEN MAKE SURE TO USE IT IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH." xD Cause… right??? Throws you for a loop cause the modern usage is so awful and gross.

    – WHERE THE FUCK IS GANDALF. This is really getting worrisome.

    – I love that poem. <3


    – Shit is getting real~

    – You are not prepared~ 😀

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      lol what is my brain

      • arctic_hare says:

        pretty amazing, given that it comes up with wonderful reviews like this. <3

      • Katarina says:

        I can't help myself, this made me want to rot13:

        Ubzbcubovn va YbgE jbhyq or engure ulcbpevgvpny, pbafvqrevat gung Yrtbynf naq Tvzyv cerggl zhpu raq hc zneevrq gb rnpu bgure, naq Obebzve vf rkcyvpvgyl abg vagb vpxl tveyf, naq Fnz naq Sebqb ner… Fnz naq Sebqb.

        Yrg'f snpr vg, gur znva ernfba Rbjla raqrq hc jvgu Snenzve jnf orpnhfr ur jnf gur bayl bar jub frrzrq gb haqrefgnaq gur pbaprcg bs jbzra. 🙂

        • flootzavut says:

          "Yrg'f snpr vg, gur znva ernfba Rbjla raqrq hc jvgu Snenzve jnf orpnhfr ur jnf gur bayl bar jub frrzrq gb haqrefgnaq gur pbaprcg bs jbzra."

          This made me lol…

          Gubhtu npghnyyl V svaq gur xvaq bs "fuvccvat" bs gubfr cnvef znxrf zr fnq cheryl orpnhfr bs gur nffhzcgvba gung n ebznagvp be frkhny eryngvbafuvc vf orggre guna "bayl" sevraqfuvc.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Throws you for a loop cause the modern usage is so awful and gross.

      A quote by Gandalf from later in the book comes to mind: Gubfr jrer unccvre gvzrf. (Jryy… va n frafr… ng yrnfg jura vg pbzrf gb gur zrnavatf bs jbeqf – cerggl vaabprag jbeqf orpnzr vafhygf naq fyhef.)

    • ljrTR says:

      The Black Breath = Epic Halitosis !

    • notemily says:


    • flootzavut says:

      It's so easy to forget that a lot of the usages we take for granted are fairly modern.

  41. Stephen_M says:

    Two things I love about this chapter (that stand above the general LotR love of course):

    1) Strider's introduction to the hobbits is very clever indeed. He doesn't know there'll be a token or anything else to help them trust him so goes for the 'I am the most competent SOB this side of the misty mountains' approach. It seems odd because the letter arrives but think it through and he'd have convinced them in the end anyway AND they'd also have a pretty good idea of his capabilities as well. In other words he's selling them on the idea of what he can bring to the party, not who he is.

    2) The letter is a thing of beauty. It's very clear that this is not the well thought through plot drop you'd be expecting here and it's very typically Gandalf except now it feels, I dunno, almost rushed somehow. Works nicely with the plot and the growing danger of the riders.

    One thing though, one plea… can we please stop talking about how things are also in Harry Potter in a way that even slightly hints that the Rowling books came first? Yes yes, I know everyone reading this realises which is the original but there's going to be people who don't know that and might think that Tolkien copied his ideas. Which, frankly, makes me a sad panda.

    • Delta1212 says:

      Don’t worry, I think we’re at least ten years away from a significant percentage of the population not knowing whether Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings was written first.

      • wahlee says:

        Never underestimate the stupidity of people. I was on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland this summer and the people behind me in the boat were confused because they thought the MOVIE CAME FIRST (among other things; but that was when I finally let my correcting-people-thing get the better of me and informed them that no, the ride opened IN 1967 THANK YOU VERY MUCH).

    • ljrTR says:

      YES YES YES to your last paragraph!!!! I would be a very sad person indeed if people forgot that Tolkien came first.

      I also liked your 1) re Strider – "so goes for the 'I am the most competent SOB this side of the misty mountains' approach." True.

  42. hpfish13 says:

    So, no art today, but still, I love this chapter!!! Everything about it is just so intriguing. Strider's mysteriousness, Butterbur's utter fail at doing what he was supposed to, and Gandalf's letter just add more complications into the mix!

    On a side note, in the musical parody of FotR, one of the running jokes is that everyone is always forgetting Merry, so the fact that the hobbits forgot about Merry being gone in this chapter made me crack up laughing.

  43. Mike says:

    Am I the only one who gets dissapointed whenever I see it's one of these reviews? I dunno, I love these reviews so much, and this is a great chapter, so I was really looking forward to seeing all of Mark's thoughts on it, but whenever these reviews are up it's like not even a review at all. I mean there are a couple lines that reveal his real thoughts I guess but I wish he would post this, and then give at least a couple opinion paragraphs afterwards. The normal format is awesome IMO, so it's dissapointing when it's gone 🙁

    • Delta1212 says:

      Normally, I’m right there with you. I find the alternative formats entertaining, usually, but it always feels like I’m missing out on Mark’s commentary in order to get them, which does make it a little disappointing, especially when it’s a post I was really looking forward to.

      That said, I found this one particularly hilarious and thought it did a good job of implying most of the usual commentary, so I wound up quite enjoying it.

    • ljrTR says:

      I'm leaning toward agreeing with you, but I'm very new here. An occasional review like today's – ok. But I prefer the "straight" [ha ha] reviews.

    • msw188 says:

      It all depends on the writing. I personally found his John & Christopher reviews from the Hobbit awesomely clever AND revealing. He had some great ones in Harry Potter too (the one written from the point of view of 'memory-lost-Lockhart' sticks out in my mind). Wait, wait, … are we REVIEWING MARK'S REVIEWS??? Actually that's a terrible idea, so I'll just stop right here.

  44. notemily says:

    Mark, this is a delightful review. I laughed out loud and read quotes from it to my roommate, who is a hardcore Tolkien fan. I love how NOBODY trusts Strider because he SNEAKS AROUND AND FOLLOWS PEOPLE and then JUMPS OUT OF THE SHADOWS to join the conversation. Ahahaha. Also, he has a poem that goes with his name. I want a poem!

    I love how Gandalf is like "btw, if Butterbur flakes out on you, I'm going to ROAST HIM." Yeah Gandalf, maybe you should have given this letter to someone slightly more reliable.

    I also love that Pippin's character trait is once again to fall asleep all the time.

    Anyway, Strider, thanks for bringing the plot with you! Onwards!

  45. Katarina says:

    I love this, especially your apt take on Strider's whining that people don't trust him. And "baby Gandalf" makes me imagine a baby version of LotR. Baby Strider would be even weirder than baby Gandalf.

  46. Right, so when are we going to stage this? I'll be Frodo, you be Strider. Who else is in? notemily, you be Pippin. arctic hare, you're Butterbur. monkeybutter, you're Sam. Who wants to be Nob and Merry? LET'S DO THIS.

    • notemily says:

      Woo, I get to be Pippin!

    • monkeybutter says:

      I approve of this casting. 😀

      knut_knut can be our pony choreographer.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      I want to be Merry, because he's clearly the smartest of the four Hobbits – he learned and deduced stuff about the Ring, read Bilbo's book, arranged Frodo's move to Crickhollow, knows his way around the Old Forest (unless the Forest is trying to confuse you, of course, in which case all knowledge is futile), plus he went out to spy on the Black Riders, which is a pretty brave (if slightly foolish) thing to do. He's the clever one. B-)

      … yeah, I'm not overconfident or narcissist at all. Nossir. 😛

  47. nextboy1 says:

    "Who accidentally falls onto a ring and makes it go on their finger?"

    tee hee, my mind couldn't help but wander to the old "I fell off my ladder onto the light bulb" excuses…

  48. tigerpetals says:

    So, Strider is the basic character type of creepy mysterious stranger who is actually good. I'm mostly thinking of this one other character who has a lot of fangirls, but as I'm not sure whether I can get you to read the series he appears in, I'll stop there.

    At least he has a sense of humor that isn't all superior. He wanted friends.

    Non spoilery Peeps Round… Black Riders

    Also happy birthday Tolkien!

  49. BetB says:

    On Strider's strangeness…
    ROT13 just in case…
    Qba'g sbetrg gung Fgevqre jnf znxvat fher Sebqb jnf gur erny guvat gbb. Ur vf abg orvat checbfryl funqbjl be qrafr. Ur qbrfa'g jnag gb trg pnhtug va gur rarzl'f genc. Ur fnlf fb va gur puncgre bapr ur vf zber fher bs Sebqb.

  50. flootzavut says:

    Gung'f n terng nanybtl jvgu gur Nzvfu – gur bgure pbzzhavgl V pna guvax bs, naq npghnyyl V guvax V znl unir ernq nppbhagf bs guvf, vf gung bs gur irel fznyy naq qvfgnag vfynaqf fhpu nf Gevfgna qn Phaun sbe rknzcyr, jurer gurl ner dhvgr yvgrenyyl zvyrf sebz naljurer naq nalbar, naq gurve fbpvrgl ersyrpgf gung gb na rabezbhf qrterr. Guvax bs tebjvat hc fbzrjurer jurer gur creznarag pbzzhavgl vf nobhg 300 fbhyf, rirelbar snezf, naq gur rpbabzl vf cbjrerq ol ybofgre naq fgnzcf, naq gura orvat qebccrq vagb, fnl, Ybaqba be Arj Lbex. Vg jbhyq or yvxr ynaqvat ba na nyvra jbeyq! Naq zbfg bs gur fbpvny zberf naq pbzzba frafr guvatf lbh unq yrnearq tebjvat hc jbhyq or hfryrff be jbefr.

    Naq lrf, cbbe Tnaqnys – ur jbhyqa'g unir yrsg gurz gb sraq sbe gurzfryirf vs ur'q abg orra sbeprq gb.

  51. flootzavut says:

    This will just never stop being funny to me… 😀

    (I also want to hear Vna ZpXryyra doing a voiceover for Mark's version of the letter! 😀

  52. flootzavut says:

    That was just me being lazy :$ but yeah it kind of works…

  53. This is simply the funniest review ever!
    I am laughing under the table.


  54. Oh this was lovely. I was going to post something deep and rambly about the fantastic poem and the wonderfulness that's Sam and BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR and now I can't think of any of it because I'm laughing so hard. And for some reason I could see Gandalf writing a letter or email with very similar wording to what you gave it. Thanks for the laughs!

  55. KaileeA42 says:

    Long-time reader, first time posting! I'm new to the whole "Mark Does Stuff" series but I've been catching up on loads of the old posts lately and finding it more amusing/awesome than would probably be considered normal! XD

    Anyway, I was just wondering what the plan was for you watching the LOTR movies. I would DEFINITELY recommend going for the EXTENDED EDITIONS if possible, as they are even MORE full of amazing. Seriously, those movies are my favorites of ALL TIME. I think there is actually some mixing up of storylines though, so an expert would have to tell you have far to read to be ready for the first film. I think it's a bit into the "Two Towers" book but I read LOTR when I was 10 so I am NOT QUALIFIED TO MAKE THIS ASSESSMENT.

    Anyway, I am loving watching your reactions to LOTR and BTVS( which is my fav. show of all time BTW, and I think I've watched all the shows on Mark Watches except "Doctor Who")

  56. Hotaru_hime says:

    *flails* STRIDER!!!
    It's at this point that I really got into the book and pretty much devoured the series.

  57. AmandaNekesa says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHa…Oh Mark, this review is PERFECT! I'm always reading your reviews while in the cafeteria at work and when we get reviews like this one, I can't help but laugh to myself, very much looking like a weirdo. But I love it! I love EVERYTHING about today's review of Chapter 10, which is pretty damn hilarious in a lot of ways.

    "PIPPIN: Won’t that word totally scare the crap out of people who momentarily forgot that it used to have another meaning? SAM: Surely! PIPPIN: THEN MAKE SURE TO USE IT IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH."
    —Hahaha I love this! I was wondering what sort of commentary you might give this little tidbit.

    "BUTTERBUR: Well….[He pauses, looking about with shame.] Well, see, three months ago, Gandalf stopped by. SAM: And? BUTTERBUR: See, he told me that he wanted me to do something for him, to send a message to the Shire. PIPPIN: And? BUTTERBUR: He gave me a letter and told me to send it to the Shire right away. FRODO: And? BUTTERBUR: Well…..well, I still have it, Mr. Baggins. THE HOBBITS: What???? BUTTERBUR: Yeah. Ooops!"
    —Oh, Barliman Butterbur, you really need to work on your memory. Though I do love the fact that Butterbur, to make up for his terrible blunder, offers to help as much as possible, even at a loss to himself. That shows a lot about his character, even if he is about the least reliable person to pass on vitally important information in Middle Earth.

    "STRIDER [Revealing himself from the shadows.]: Why does no one trust me?"
    —Hmmmm…I wonder why? I know you've been wandering around in the wilderness and are generally pretty reclusive, but man, you've really got to work on your people skills!! Hint: constantly hiding in the shadows, sneaking up on people, and waiting for strangers uninvited in their own rooms are all very poor methods to gain the trust of 4 hobbits that are obviously quite wary of strangers.

    Also: I absolutely LOVE your characterization of Gandalf!! It's so, quirky and weird, and just plain awesome. "Just wanted to write to say that the Shire is a dangerous warzone of trouble and you should get out as soon as possible!" I can just imagine the hobbits thinking, "Oh gee, thanks Gandalf for only putting this rather important bit of information in a letter you've entrusted to the most unreliable person to get us the information right away, when it would have helped. Thanks for that! It's really made all this so much easier, in comparison to the trip we might have had if we didn't have BLACK RIDERS FROM MORDOR PURSUING US!!!"

    I would dearly love to see more of these reviews in the future – this was freaking amazing! I was laughing pretty consistently throughout the whole review! Oh, Mark, you are so unprepared for everything.

  58. flootzavut says:

    "STRIDER [Revealing himself from the shadows.]"

    It's only on this re-read that I am now seeing Strider as a flasher, much as Gandalf was in an earlier chapter. Mark, what are you DOING to me??!?!?!?!!?!??!

  59. rabidsamfan says:

    Wonderful stuff. Thank you. I've been waiting for you to get to the next chapter, if only because this was where I jammed so often when I was a kid. But Strider is quite … well… ominous, really. It's a good thing that letter from Gandalf turned up.

    Sebqb fgbbq jvgu uvf pbzcnavbaf, jngpuvat nf Nentbea jnyxrq gbjneqf gur jnyyf bs Zvanf Gvevgu. Cvccva jnf gvcgbr-qnapvat jvgu rkpvgrzrag, naq Zreel jnf qvivqvat uvf nggragvba orgjrra gur prerzbal naq gelvat gb xrrc n erva ba gur lbhat Gbbx. Fnz unq na bqq rkcerffvba, unys qryvtug naq unys qvfznl.

    “Jung vf vg, Fnz?” Sebqb juvfcrerq. Vg pbhyqa’g or fgntrsevtug. Fnz unq nyernql gnyxrq uvf jnl bhg bs nal cneg bs gur prerzbal.

    “Whfg guvaxvat bs Oerr,” Fnz juvfcrerq onpx. “V bjr n ibgr bs gunaxf gb byq Ohggreohe sbe erzrzorevat Tnaqnys’f yrggre jura ur qvq.”

    “Naq jul’f gung, Fnz?” Sebqb vadhverq.

    “Jryy, Fgevqre zrnag gb pbzr jvgu hf,” Fnz fnvq. “Naq V pbhyqa’g guvax bs ohg bar jnl gb fgbc uvz, uvz orvat fb ovt naq fgebatyvxr. Ohg jbhyqa’g vg unir pnhfrq ab raq bs gebhoyr vs V’q uvg gur Xvat bs nyy gur Jrfgrea Ynaqf va gur snzvyl wbbyf?”

  60. hymnia says:

    Haha! I think I can say in all fairness that that was actually a pretty good adaptation/condensation of what happens in this chapter. Better than Peter Jackson's script, TBH. 😉

    (Note: This comment is NOT a serious assessment of the quality or content of the movie script.)

  61. feminerdist says:

    Late to the game here, because I couldn't comment from my iphone today. But gotta say, this is my favorite review ever!

  62. Malyn says:

    This. is amazing 🙂 I don't know how all of you are so fast at rot13, it hurts my head a bit haha. Anyways, I love all of this and especially the ever-sassy Pippin 😀

  63. ladililn says:

    Your Gandalf-voice is pretty much my new favorite thing in this world, jsyk. XD

  64. Smurphy says:

    "dun dun dun"

    I felt it was necessary and you didn't have it. Ugh… I need to catch up so I'm not behind when you post brilliant things like this.

    I <3 strider.

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