In the eighth chapter of the second book of The Return of the King, no. No, what are you doing? This book was basically over, Tolkien. What do you think you’re doing to me? If you’re intrigued by this, then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE SCOURING OF THE SHIRE
I can’t fucking believe this.
ALLOW ALL OF MY FEELS TO SPILL FORTH
- WHY ARE YOU NOT ALLOWED INTO THE SHIRE BETWEEN SUNDOWN AND SUNRISE? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?
- THERE’S A CHIEF. I BARELY REMEMBER LOTHO. I WILL BE IRRATIONALLY ANGRY AT HIM.
- OH MY GOD, THE HOBBITS ARE ALL SO SASSY. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFULLY ENTERTAINING.
- Oh fuck, Merry just stood up to Bill Ferny. BE STILL MY HEART.
- THE PONY BILL KICKED BILL FERNY. HELP ME THIS IS TOO PERFECT.
- Okay, WHAT DYSTOPIAN WORLD NOW EXISTS IN MIDDLE EARTH. I AM SO CONFUSED. No eating extra food?? THEY’RE HOBBITS. THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO.
- “Pippin broke Rule 4 by putting most of next day’s allowance of wood on the fire.” Pippin, you are forever my favorite thing forever and forever and did I say forever.
- The Chief sold all their weed. That’s a strange sentence, but there it is. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HOBBITON.
- “The land looked rather sad and forlorn; but it was after all the first of November and the fag-end of autumn.” I know I’m immature, but this is now my favorite sentence in The Lord of the Rings. THE FAG-END OF AUTUMN. I laughed so hard at this sentence the first time through that I had to walk away from the book. I LOVE WORDS.
- Shirriffs in the Shire? WHAT???? WHAT IS THIS TURNING INTO.
- ‘I can add some more, if you’d like it,’ said Sam. ‘Calling your Chief Names, Wishing to punch his Pimply Face, and Thinking you Shirriffs look a lot of Tom-fools.” Sassy hobbits are the best hobbits. Even Frodo bosses them around. DEAD. SO ENTERTAINING.
- All the inns are closed? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? Oh god, I thought this book would end on a good note, and clearly it’s not.
- Do you know how many feels I have solely about the subplot of hobbits sort of being forced into being Shirriffs and then feeling pressured to stay in those positions out of fear? So many feels.
- I cannot devote enough of these to praising sassy hobbits. I have never been more entertained by this book.
- Oh god, the Shire’s basically been gutted. This is so fucking distressing.
- THEY LEFT THE SHIRRIFFS BEHIND SO THEY COULD KEEP WALKING. I CAN’T. CAN’T.
- Ugh, Frodo’s speech to one of the ruffians about the fall of the Dark Tower just fills me with so much happiness. I’m so glad he is alive.
- ‘I am a messenger of the King,’ he said. ‘You are speaking to the King’s friend, and one of the most renowned in all the lands of the West. You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road and ask pardon, or I will set this troll’s bane in you!’ Pippin, you know the way straight to my heart.
- Frodo wants to prevent a hobbit from killing another hobbit. I love him. So much.
- Merry wants to raise the whole Shire in revolt. I can’t believe this is even a plot in the book at this point. WHO KNEW??? Well, obviously, all of you knew. THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT. It’s just that I thought the book was basically over, and now there’s a revolt in the Shire? SO HELP ME GANDALF, I AM BOTH EXCITED AND TERRIFIED.
- “Some of the village-folk had lit a large fire, just to enliven things, and also because it was one of the things forbidden by the Chief.” HOBBITS, YOU ARE ALL SASSY, AND YOU ARE ALL PERFECT.
- Technically, Pippin’s father started the killing in the Shire after hunting ruffians. THE TOOKS ARE SO BADASS.
- Oh god, the first battle with the ruffians. OH MY GOD THE HOBBITS FOUGHT BACK. THE HOBBITS FOUGHT. BACK.
- “With a long knife in his left hand and a club in the other he made a rush at the ring, trying to burst out back towards Hobbiton. He aimed a savage blow at Merry who stood in his way. He fell dead with four arrows in him.” HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK.
- Mr. Cotton’s storytelling time is so heartbreaking because it chronicles the slow decay of the Shire. It shows how one small thing can lead to another, until it all snowballs into a disaster. IT’S SO AWFUL. How could you destroy the Shire???
- ‘And while you’ve been trapessing in foreign parts, chasing Black Men up mountains from what my Sam says, though what for he don’t make clear, they’ve been and dug up Bagshot Row and ruined my taters!’ THIS IS A WORLD TRAGEDY AND I AM HAPPY OLD GAMGEE HAS HIS PRIORITIES SORTED. Taters are #1, family is #2.
- The Battle of Bywater is simply too much to handle. You know, I felt relatively safe going into chapter eight. At worst, I expected some uncomfortable or awkward situations since most hobbits would have assumed these four characters were dead. I never in a million years would have guessed that I’d be forced to worry yet again about whether these characters would survive to the end of the novel. That’s the real brilliance of “The Scouring of the Shire.” Tolkien lulled us into feeling safe, and then he punches us square in the face.
- Right, Frodo did not fight. He just stopped hobbits from killing those who surrendered. I love you, Frodo.
- The sight of Bagshot Row utterly destroyed is just so heartless to me. How could you do such a thing?
- Sharkey is Saruman.
- WHAT THE HOLY FUCK!!!!
- WHAT THE FUCK I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT HIM.
- I THOUGHT WE WOULD NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN.
- OH MY GOD, HE GOT REVENGE. WHAT AN EVIL ASSHOLE. OH MY GOD THIS MIGHT BE THE MOST SHOCKING PLOT TWIST OF THE WHOLE NOVEL.
- WHAT WAIT YOU CAN’T KILL SARUMAN BECAUSE HIS BLOOD WILL CURSE ANY HOBBIT AND THE SHIRE? YOU ARE CHEATING YOU POOPHEAD
- oh god Wormtongue is there, too WHAT IS THIS BOOK DOING TO ME.
- WORMTONGUE KILLED LOTHO. STOP IT, TOLKIEN.
- “But at that something snapped: suddenly Wormtongue rose up, drawing a hidden knife, and then with a snarl like a dog he sprang on Saruman’s back, jerked his head back, cut his throat, and with a yell ran off down the lane. Before Frodo could recover or speak a word, three hobbit-bows twanged and Wormtongue fell dead.”
- No, for real, what has this book done? This is so fucked up.
- Oh god, is there really just one chapter left? I think that, more than anything else, has pretty much given me a hundred separate feels. Fuck.
A note about the future: Tuesday, I will have a discussion post I can’t spoil for you yet. I’ll have 2-3 days to work through the appendices/index to pull some posts out, and I’ll let you know in Monday’s review just how many posts you are getting. Then, I’ll be starting The Princess Bride, which will also need a slight schedule restructuring because there’s one chapter that’s a billion pages long.
The liveblog for The Hobbit animated film is still set for Saturday, March 24th, at 11am PST, and we’ll have a huge discussion post up on Mark Watches the following day so y’all can read some of my opinions and DISCUSS AWAY. All the extended edition liveblogs are the following three Saturdays; I will schedule an intermission in it for about 15-20 minutes so we have a break.
OH GOD I NEED TO SEE THESE MOVIES RIGHT NOW.