Tolkien Tuesday #17

~ 10 May 2022 ~

This week’s reading heralds in another favourite part of the story, both in the book and the film…So grab your copy, a cuppa and maybe a biscuit or two, and let’s start talking Tolkien…

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we conclude Chapter 9: At The Sign of The Prancing Pony.

Frodo, Sam and Pippin head to the common room of The Prancing Pony and are introduced to the company by the landlord. Frodo sits quietly alone, drinking, whilst Sam and Pippin share news with the Bree-lander hobbits about the Shire.

Frodo then feels the eyes of a stranger sitting in the shadows upon him, and enquires of Butterbur who the man is. It transpires that he’s a Ranger, known locally as Strider. Strider invites Frodo to join him, yet immediately he feels uncomfortable beneath his scrutiny.

Frodo then overhears Pippin talking about subjects too close to home and decides to distract the audience by reciting one of Bilbo’s songs, only to cause a scene himself and disappear when he accidently puts on the ring. Sam and Pippin suddenly find themselves alone as the local hobbits move away, and three suspicious-looking men leave.

Frodo returns to Strider’s table and takes off the ring. Strider asks if he might speak with him later, as does Butterbur, who remembers he has something to tell him.

Photo by James Wheeler on

This is an interesting chapter. We are told that new information is about to be revealed to the hobbits from two sources, suggesting that, like the location of Bree, they are soon to find themselves at a cross-roads with decisions having to be made. Also we are given a glimpse into the nature of the ring and how it responds, not only to the internal desires of the wearer, but also to those whose company it finds itself in.

Next week: we begin Chapter 10: Strider.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

One of the things I am really enjoying about this re-read is that I’ve had time to think about and dwell on each scene as it plays out. And, stemming from that, I’ve found myself often wondering about these scenes from a different character’s perspective. The second part of Chapter 9 is definitely one of those scenes.

I would love to have an account of it from Strider’s POV. What is he thinking as he’s sitting in those shadows of The Prancing Pony, smoking his pipe, and looking on? What does he make of Frodo, Sam and Pippin? What’s running through his head when Frodo inadvertently puts on the ring and vanishes before a room full of people? Is it a struggle for him to remain calm? What is he thinking as the room empties, knowing everyone who leaves is taking with them an account of strange hobbits and disappearing tricks – gossip to be shared with everyone they meet for potentially a good long while yet?


I’ve been reading around a fair few areas this week, as my interest seems to be continually snagged by everything Middle Earth at the moment. Some of the subjects included: Rangers, Arnor, Gondolin and Dol Amroth. I’m also trying hard to resist beginning a re-read of “Unfinished Tales”…but I suspect I will cave on that soon enough 🙂

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

If you had to describe this chapter in five words, which ones would you pick? Why those five?

My five words are:

  1. Atmospheric
  2. Anticipation
  3. Motivations
  4. Distraction
  5. (pending) Revelations

The scene is certainly atmospheric. It’s lively and very busy, and as I read I could sense the level of anticipation in the room and the characters grow. There is an expectation of something impending, whether a disaster as Frodo fears Pippin might cause, or his own ill-judged attempt at distraction. There are also a great number of different motivations in the company, and a diverse number of reasons for why they are present at this particular time. The chapter ends with Frodo being asked to speak privately with both Strider and Butterbur, these pending revelations interestingly giving him cause for concern. After the start to the journey they’ve had, I appreciate his wariness, and feel his perhaps a little less naïve than he was at the start.

16 thoughts on “Tolkien Tuesday #17

  1. I think Aragorn would have been extremely concerned by the hobbits drawing attention to themselves in the Prancing Pony. After all, he knew what Frodo carried and that the Ringwraiths were near and had watchful allies in Bree. I’ve always been intrigued by Tolkien’s claim that he didn’t know who Aragorn was when he first appeared in the narrative, so in a sense Tolkien was finding out about him as he wrote it. Maybe Tolkien was as unsure of him as the hobbits were when they first encounter him, at first anyway. Aragorn is probably my favourite character in the book, though I have a lot of fondness for Frodo.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, as I recall, Tolkien’s first name for Aragorn/Strider was “Trotter.” As he wrote the characters just appeared sometimes, unexpected by him — such as he described also regarding Faramir, who just appeared as he was writing the story there about Frodo, Sam and Gollum. And Strider was concerned about the hobbits and their careless behavior, and as he later said, he had to find out more about them before deciding that he wanted to travel with them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks so much for sharing this, Lynda. It’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into a writer’s creative process and see how their characters come into being 🙂


    • Great insights, Joanne. Thank you for sharing. I had heard that about Aragorn before (and other things about his character) and find it so fascinating. He is probably my favourite character too, but his incarnation in these chapters as Strider the Ranger, is my absolute favourite. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great insights again, Sammi. My five words, impulsively, would be: idiocy, idiocy, idiocy, idiocy, idiocy. 😀 Not fair, I know. But what was Frodo thinking? Didn’t I just find him more aware of the dangers than the rest of them? Well, he may be, but he’s still a Hobbit. I love them so much even if I want to shake them from time to time. And Pippin. Can’t let him go anywhere without Merry, right? Why didn’t Sam interfere? Is it the classism? Did he think that it wasn’t his place to tell the ‘young master’ what to do and not to do? And Aragorn… don’t get me started. All sinister and mysterious. He could have said something a bit earlier, no? Just waiting what the Hobbits do while he KNOWS that Frodo has the ring? Sheesh… but in the end it all makes perfect sense if you see it from their perspective. So maybe I change my words from idiocy to hammering my head on desk… which would be five words. Sorry, more snarking than analyzing this week. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha, that is so true, Gabi! It’s all so true:-D I think they are all to blame here. But yes, trust is definitely an issue, and from their individual perspectives it makes sense.


  3. I am preferring to pretend I know not who Aragorn is as he has not been mentioned as yet. The only problem with re-reading these with you lot (as you are waaaay more familiar with the story than I who read it eons ago and saw the movie(s) but once!) is you DO remember everything 😉

    Nothing worse than too much ale that renders tongues slippery. That was the danger of joining in after all the stress they’ve been through.
    Have to agree with Gabi – why did Sam not step in and protect his young master from himself?

    Even though he seems dangerous, I feel Strider is there FOR them and not against them as evidenced by his knowledge.

    Which means, again, our Hobbits need help in their journey, eh?

    Words: Carefree, Careless, Insouciance, Awareness, Realisation

    Liked by 1 person

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