A Shortcut to Mushrooms #6: "Have you seen Baggins?" he asked in a queer voice

      They went into the farmer's kitchen, and sat by the wide fire-place. Mrs. Maggot brought out beer in a huge jug, and filled four large mugs. It was a good brew, and Pippin found himself more than compensated for missing the "Golden Perch." Sam sipped his beer suspiciously. He had a natural mistrust of the inhabitants of other parts of the Shire; and also he was not disposed to be quick friends with anyone who had beaten his master, however long ago.

 

squire: 1. Why is Sam’s mistrust characterized as “natural”? Why does he begrudge Maggot’s treatment of the young Frodo even more than Frodo does, seemingly?

Owlyross: The Plot (and bacon) thickens Sam's mistrust is rooted in the Shire, he's out of his element, and inclined to mistrust anyone, let alone one who harmed his beloved Mr Frodo. It foreshadows Sam's commitment to Frodo in what will follow.

Canto di Númenor: Same Sam and Pippin Sam’s mistrust is described as being natural because…well…it’s natural/innate/instinctive/expected.  Sam’s attitude towards Maggot only foreshadows Sam’s future encounters with Strider, Gollum, and Faramir.  Why?  Because Sam takes upon himself the responsibility of being deeply responsible.

NottaSackville: Great section of the chapter! Ahh, one of my favorite parts of the book.  Frodo finds help in such unlooked-for places!

I think it is the natural mistrust that most provincial (and even non-provincial) people feel for others who are almost, but not quite, just like them.  Why are the fiercest rivalries almost always with neighbors rather than with people who are really different?  I don't know.  But for those with a passing knowledge of USA geography, I grew up in Minnesota, where we "hate" those queer folk from Wisconsin with a frothy intensity.  Yet to the rest of the world, the two states and their people are interchangeable like identical twins.  I think when people are quite similar to us, every little difference is magnified because we understand the people better and don't get why they aren't the exact same as we are.

We see the mirror of Sam's distrust in a few paragraphs with Farmer Maggot's comments about Hobbiton.

I think Sam's begrudgement of Maggot's treatment of Frodo is echoed every day by good friends all over the world.  To me, it always seems easier to forgive a transgression against yourself than against a good friend.  I had a very good friend growing up who was mistreated (at least in my eyes) by a girlfriend.  It took me years to forgive her, long after he'd been happily married to her for quite some time.

Elostirion74: Sam's distrusts are more grounded than Frodo's, I would say they are ingrained by upbringing. After all Sam is meant to represent the most local and bounded of the hobbits with the least experience. "Natural" only refers to the inborn boundedness and prejudice of many hobbits, which is not questioned, but taken for granted, "it's just the way things are".  

an seleichan: Tolkien just means this is Sam's nature. Mistrust is natural to Sam, when he meets an outsider.

wajeff: so many questions... so little time lol! natural=innate, hobbitish distrust of the unusual or unknown.  And as Frodo's servant/protector he is much more chagrined than Frodo is.

Grammaboodawg: Sam... gotta love Sam His loyalty knows no bounds... time or place doesn't matter.  What was or is... all the same to him.  Firm, stout-hearted, single-minded... and it's what gets them through it.

Finding Frodo: without reading anyone else's Hobbits are homebodies and this is foreign territory.  As for the grudge, Frodo knew that he was at fault, whereas Sam puts Frodo on a pedestal and thinks that Frodo would never deserve even a scolding.  

 

     After a few remarks about the weather and the agricultural prospects (which were no worse than usual), Farmer Maggot put down his mug and looked at them all in turn.

     'Now, Mr. Peregrin,' he said, 'where might you be coming from, and where might you be going to? Were you coming to visit' me? For, if so, you had gone past my gate without my seeing you.'

     'Well, no,' answered Pippin. 'To tell you the truth, since you have guessed it, we got into the lane from the other end: we had come over your fields. But that was quite by accident. We lost our way in the woods, back near Woodhall, trying to take a short cut to the Ferry.'

 

 squire: I forgot to mention this in the last section: Did you notice how Pippin took over leadership of the journey as they left the woods? He laughs at Frodo’s immature fear of Maggot; the dogs greet him (i.e., don’t threaten to kill him); he negotiates passage with Maggot; now Maggot addresses him first, and Pippin makes the explanation and begs pardon.

squire: 2. Is this all because of Frodo’s trauma? After all, in the original draft, Frodo was invisible throughout the visit, so naturally Pippin led the conversation! But that aside, we’ve been excusing Pippin’s behavior all this chapter with “adolescent”, “spoiled young prince” etc. Is this a different Pippin?

Owlyross: I wasn't aware of the previous proof and far prefer the finished version. Pippin is taking the lead as Farmer Maggot knows him as a superior, the local heir to the lairdship. Frodo is trying to remain as 'invisible' as possible, hoping Farmer Maggot won't recognise him, but of course he does. He's a cunning fellow is the farmer.

Canto di Númenor: The same goes for Pippin.  This is the same Pippin we’ll witness throughout the book – and not in silhouette form either.  Pippin will always have the take-charge attitude, whether it be with the Uruk-hai, at the Battle of Bywater, or even his encounter with Sauron through the palantir (it required a take-charge attitude to not expel his secrets).  And let’s not forget the Pippin who pledges his services to Denethor – but most importantly, his saving of Faramir from the pyre.  Pippin is very much a Took – and not just in the curious since.

Elostirion74: Pippin taking charge?? You've got an interesting comment about Pippin, but why do you say he's got a take charge attitude? Not expelling his secrets to Sauron surely is more a question of will and of Sauron's impatience, isn't it? Pippin displays courage at times, and he's generous and impulsive of heart, which can prove disastrous or beneficial depending on his actions. But I cannot see any take charge attitude, except about quite innocent things or when he's on familiar terrain and leadership naturally would rest on him. I rather see a person who mostly reacts quickly and impulsively to his immediate circumstances, but becomes more aware of his own situation and actions after the incident with the Palantir

Canto di Númenor: A New Pippin? I wanted to apologize for such a lengthy delay in my response.  It’s been a long day and night at work, and unfortunately I don’t have access to the internet at work.  I did however wish to respond to this and clarify my point.

For someone to take charge of a situation requires that they witness their current situation and address it appropriately. I will grant that this current situation is different from Pippin’s later circumstances because it requires a certain degree of familiarity on Pippin’s part whereas later instances have to be spur-of-the-moment decisions.  For instance, crossing into Farmer Maggot’s land, Pippin immediately recognizes it and must be quite regular in this part of the East Farthing due to not only Pippin’s immediate warm response to seeing Farmer Maggot, but also Maggot’s acquaintance with Master Pippin…Mr. Peregrin Took, I should say!  While the other two hobbits are busy being sniffed and searched by Maggot’s dogs, Pippin must assume the lead role and take charge of the situation since it’s fairly obvious Maggot (nor his dogs) isn’t terribly familiar with Frodo and Sam.

As stated, the above instance required Pippin’s familiarity with the situation – while the next examples are less formal.

For instance, upon entering the White Tower and witnessing a mourning Denethor upon the Steward’s chair, Pippin, “[f]or pride stirred strangely within him,” consciously and conscientiously vouches his services to Denethor due to the loss of Boromir.  From this moment on, Pippin is to be considered a member of the Royal Guard.

            During The Siege of Gondor, when Faramir has returned “dead” and Denethor, in a glorious fit of romantic hopelessness, wishes to burn along with his son, the last in the line of Stewards, Pippin, who realizes that Faramir could be saved, must take charge of the situation.  This, in essence, requires that Pippin defy royal authority – which is punishable by royal law (i.e., Aragorn’s punishment against Beregond).  However, since Pippin must realize that his size and rank in the Royal Guard does not allow him the opportunity to persuade Denethor otherwise, Pippin must attempt to save Faramir through Gandalf.

Finally, I think a wonderful example of Pippin’s ability to take charge of the situation is witnessed during the final trek made by the Uruk-hai, especially when the younger hobbits are being assailed by Grishnakh.  Pippin, who realizes that Grishnakh is greedy for the Ring, begins imitating the sounds and speech of Gollum.  This does not save the hobbits by itself, but it does delay for time which definitely enhances their situation.

As far as Pippin’s encounter with the palantir, perhaps it’s best that I defer from that since it is not the best example, as I once had imagined.  I had always understood Pippin’s reluctance to speak as a being a result of his will – and will power, like “taking charge”, is a situation where one must assume the lead position of one’s self.  But, as I said, I should defer from this example since Pippin’s lack of response could mostly be attributed to fear.

However, given the above examples, exclusive of Pippin’s role at the Battle of Bywater, I think it’s fairly obvious that Pippin is capable of taking charge of the situation if need be.  This isn’t to suggest that Pippin’s entire character is based on this ability, but it also seems unfair to suggest that Pippin’s character isn’t capable of it when, in fact, we see him taking charge, even if latently, in certain situations that require it.

Elostirion74: thank you for the response! It's just ok waiting for a delayed response when it's a good one:)

Your comments about Pippin's taking charge attitude in the encounter with Grishnak and when Faramir is about to be burned I agree with, wholeheartedly.

Thank you for taking the time to remind me!

As for what taking charge is, we have perhaps different ideas, and that's just fine. I think of taking charge as not only taking the lead of yourself, but also of being able to deal with a situation involving considerations about other people. Will-power is more a question of mastering yourself, getting a grip or persisting in something you're already doing in my view.

I admired Pippin's pledging service to Denethor and saw it as both generous, an act of gratitude, and something done out of pride, proving his quality as not allowing himself to be daunted by Denethor. I could also consider it as a way of taking charge of the situation, I see that now.

NottaSackville: I see this as less of a change in Pippin (although you make good points and are making me reconsider) and more of the transformation of Frodo from active participant to inactive ring-bearer-along-for-the-ride.  For most of the rest of the books, Frodo seems to be swept along by the tides, always led, protected and rescued by someone else rather than leading, protecting or rescuing them.  There are notable exceptions, of course - the Barrows, Weathertop, the Ford, volunteering to take the ring, and leaving the company after Boromir's attack.  But most of these happen early in the story, and Frodo seems more and more dependent on others as the ring begins to dominate him.  To some extent, I think we see the foreshadowing of that here.

Elostirion74: Disagree about Frodo "For most of the rest of the books, Frodo seems to be swept along by the tides, always led, protected and rescued by someone else rather than leading, protecting or rescuing them.  There are notable exceptions, of course - the Barrows, Weathertop, the Ford, volunteering to take the ring, and leaving the company after Boromir's attack.  But most of these happen early in the story, and Frodo seems more and more dependent on others as the ring begins to dominate him.  To some extent, I think we see the foreshadowing of that here."

Hmmm, I seem to be in an arguing mood this afternoon. Of course there are parts of the journey where Frodo needs to be protected and saved and at the Scouring of the Shire he's not assertive. But mostly I see Frodo as courageous and mostly very decisive, when he has the chance and the knowledge. Excepting the occasions you're mentioning, which are truly important btw, it's Frodo who saves Sam from Gollum the first time, chooses Gollum to be their guide, trusting Gollum a second time at the Black Gate and saves Gollum's life. And even more importantly it's Frodo who first goes to defy Shelob in her lair and in the Shire he both defies and saves Saruman.

It's Frodo who faces Faramir's questioning, not Sam.

Occasionally Frodo is both wide-eyed, impatient and foolish or just utterly helpless. But I would definitely not say he's swept along by the tide, rather he learns to base his decisions on knowledge and understanding and displays great courage at the most important moments.

FarFromHome: I think you're right about Frodo Frodo always tries to fend for himself, even when, later on, he must allow others to help. In fact he tries to refuse others' help as long as he can, which is why the other hobbits have to force their help on him in a rather underhanded way (via the conspiracy) - otherwise he would refuse.

Pippin takes the lead with Farmer Maggot because he's the one who knows him, having spent time in the area with Merry. Pippin obviously likes being in charge for a change, and is being very grown-up here. But it's Frodo who makes the decision to take up Maggot's offer of the cart, "to the relief of Pippin and Sam", so he's clearly still the one in charge of the quest.

Canto di Númenor: Mordor I think Frodo, for the most part, is "swept along" and saved by others (namely Sam, the Valar and the Eagles) when it comes to the hobbits' harrowing of hell...I mean, er...Mordor.

MerryK: It's easy and, I confess I am one who spent many years forcing back an undercurrent of annoyance that the hero did not take Mordor by storm, to see Frodo as a cosmic ping pong ball.  But I agree that after reassessing one's expectation of what heroism is, Frodo tops the class.  Riding on the pony away from Weathertop is no indication of weakness - it is more an indication of how badly he is hurt.  Holding out for reconcilliation during the Scouring of the Shire *saved* the day as much as (or more than)  Merry's bold stratagems.

HobbitLoveR*M-e: Thank you for this. Nice comments with which I totally concur.

HobbitLoveR*M-e: As MerryK says below, it takes some reassessing of our expectations of heroism to come to an understanding that "Frodo tops the class."

I look forward to the day when this discussion will be renewed, and we can take another look at this issue.

I do thank you for your comments here though and agree wholeheartedly.

an seleichan: well...Frodo was meant to be carried along dependent and helped by others. His MISSION was to "carry" the Ring. He did, under much torment. He was never meant to do this alone. Indeed, if there's one thing we learn from Tolkien, it's that he could NOT have done it alone. Alone, Frodo would have claimed the Ring. It needed Sam's intervention, even prior to the penultimate moment at the brink, to help him hold his own hand back from the Ring.

I think Frodo journeyed all the way from the Shire to Mordor under increasing torment, and never said "forget it". That makes him an active hero. The help that comes to him, from the Fellowship, from his unlooked for "saviors" like Maggot, and from the "other powers at work", is part of the point.

Elostirion74: Just so I agree with you. I only wanted to point out that Frodo in fact made a lot of decisions and cannot be seen as one who's just swept along. Frodo started reluctantly and carries on his journey reluctantly, but continues in his choice-making nearly all the way, choices based as much on knowledge and reasoning as on pure emotion and love.

an seleichan: true. I agree. :-) Maybe Frodo couldn't have gotten to Mordor without Sam, but Sam sure couldn't have gotten to Mordor without Frodo.

Seriously, I agree that Frodo is NOT the wimpy character often seen in the film (my major complaint about Jackson's characterization of Frodo). He is indeed smart and decisive and brave. He does, though, eventually reach his limit and become dependent at the end. Only his fellow hobbits (Sam and Gollum) and providence directly intervening, can save him from his doom, which is finally to succumb to the Ring.

I believe this dependence to be a basic underlying lesson of LOTR, actually. But we are once again ahead of our chapters!

Elostirion74: Pippin is assertive when he's on familiar terrain, and as he is a friend of the Farmer it's only natural he will lead the conversation.

wajeff: Pippin is more in his element here, being more familiar with the territory.  He shows flashes of brilliance as it were, but is still an adolescent in many ways.

Finding Frodo: Pippin takes charge here because he is familiar with the lay of the land.  Merry takes charge when they get to Buckland because that's his territory.  

 

     'If you were in a hurry, the road would have served you better,' said the farmer. 'But I wasn't worrying about that. You have leave to walk over my land, if you have a mind, Mr. Peregrin. And you, Mr. Baggins - though I daresay you still like mushrooms.' He laughed. 'Ah yes, I recognized the name. I recollect the time when young Frodo Baggins was one of the worst young rascals of Buckland. But it wasn't mushrooms I was thinking of. I had just heard the name Baggins before you turned up. What do you think that funny customer asked me?'

     They waited anxiously for him to go on. 'Well,' the farmer continued, approaching his point with slow relish, 'he came riding on a big black horse in at the gate, which happened to be open, and right up to my door. All black he was himself, too, and cloaked and hooded up, as if he did not want to be known. "Now what in the Shire can he want?" I thought to myself. We don't see many of the Big Folk over the border; and anyway I had never heard of any like this black fellow.

     ' "Good-day to you!" I says, going out to him. "This lane don't lead anywhere, and wherever you may be going, your quickest way will be back to the road." I didn't like the looks of him; and when Grip came out, he took one sniff and let out a yelp as if he had been slung: he put down his tail and bolted off howling. The black fellow sat quite still.

     ' "I come from yonder," he said, slow and stiff-like, pointing back west, over "my" fields, if you please. "Have you seen </I>Baggins?<I>" he asked in a queer voice, and bent down towards me. I could not see any face, for his hood fell down so low; and I felt a sort of shiver down my back. But I did not see why he should come riding over my land so bold.

     ' "Be off!" I said. "There are no Bagginses here. You're in the wrong part of the Shire. You had better go back west to Hobbiton - but you can go by road this time."

     ' "Baggins has left," he answered in a whisper. "He is coming. He is not far away. I wish to find him. If he passes will you tell me? I will come back with gold."

     ' "No you won't," I said. "You'll go back where you belong, double quick. I give you one minute before I call all my dogs."

     'He gave a sort of hiss. It might have been laughing, and it might not. Then he spurred his great horse right at me, and I jumped out of the way only just in time. I called the dogs, but he swung off, and rode through the gate and up the lane towards the causeway like a bolt of thunder. What do you think of that?' 

 

squire: 3. Wow! Is Maggot da bomb, or what? He faces down a Nazgul, and lives to tell about it. How can that be? Why doesn’t the Black Rider skewer him, or trample him? Why doesn’t Maggot bolt like one of his dogs?

Owlyross: Maggot is the bomb indeed! His bravery in facing down the rider might be overstate though, I'm sure, as other land-workers (my grandad was one), he would be quite hardy and surre of himself and not used to taking nonsense from anyone, particularly 'big folk' who may stray across his land. I'm not sure if he's even noticed the fact that his dogs are scared of this rider. He also could be understating how scared he was in a effort to prove himself to the hobbits, or at least to allay their fears.

NottaSackville: Maggot is clearly an exceptional hobbit.  I'm getting my books mixed up, but doesn't Bombadil acknowledge a relationship with Maggot?  Or was that only in a draft in one of the HOME books?  Clearly, Maggot has a special quality about him.  And at this point in the story, the main weapon of the Nazgul is fear.  If someone isn't afraid of them (and doesn't have the ring so is therefore not central to their quest), I'm not sure they've got the steam to go in for a physical confrontation.

Owlyross: UUT alert It's my first one, so be gentle!

Maggot is Bombadil, albeit cloaked as a Hobbit. He lives on the edges of Bombadil's territory, but in relative isolation. He has the power to face down a Nazgul and tell it whhere to get off. He has an almost supernatural control of his dogs and an affinity with nature.

Ok, it's a bit far-fetched, but it's a Friday afternoon and work has been sloooow!

NottaSackville: That's a good one Does that mean that Mrs. Farmer Maggot = Goldberry, or does Tom have some explaning to do?

Owlyross: Not sure Do representative spirits of nature have marriage certificates? Or divorce lawyers indeed!!!

                                    FarFromHome: LOL!

wajeff: a lot of similiarities Between Maggot and Bombadil...i see Maggot as a precursor to Bombadil, don't really buy that they are one and the same however.

Elostirion74: Well, the Black Rider almost trampled him, but he only wanted to demonstrate his strength, he doesn't need to kill the farmer. I'd rather ask why he doesn't stay somewhere nearby, but out of sight, "looking out" for the hobbits to come.

FarFromHome: Black Riders as "conventional" ghosts Maggot's attitude to the Black Rider is a lot like the Gaffer's, and it has the same result - plain, simple hobbit-folk, who stand up to the Riders with the confidence of their own right to do so, are not harmed by them. After all, the Riders' only weapon is fear (at this point at least), so if you're not afraid there's nothing they can do. A lack of imagination is the perfect defence against them it seems. Rather like conventional ghosts in fact - they disappear when confronted by those who don't believe in them.

Of course, the Gaffer and Maggot are shaken by their experience, and animals clearly react to the Riders, so some of the fear gets through, but my UUT is that the Gaffer and Maggot are protected precisely by their lack of imagination.

Curious: It is also broad daylight in the Shire. The Gaffer and Farmer Maggot are each on home territory when they meet the Black Rider, and the Rider isn't trying to scare them -- quite the reverse, in fact.  The Rider is trying to get information from them, and does his best to be, er, friendly.  Let's just say the Riders fare much better, and come off as much scarier, when they take off the kid gloves in the dark at Weathertop.  And they do better yet when they get to their home territory near Mordor.

FarFromHome: Yes, and if you don't mind my appropriating your idea (I hope I've got this right) of the Shire as representing the 'real world' as opposed to 'faerie', the Riders could be seen as more conventionally ghost-like here in the real world, and gradually more powerful and 'real' as we move into the world of magic and the imagination.

They are outriders of faerie creeping into the real world, and Frodo is about to be drawn out of his own solid reality of the Shire and into the nightmare. Maybe Tolkien is hinting that such things (for good or ill) may lie at the edges of our own imagination, if we are willing to look.

an seleichan: Oh, definately. Maggot is a VERY INTERESTING hobbit. I say no more. Well, I know no more, frankly. But Bombadil knows, apparently. That's mysterious AND interesting.

wajeff: Maggot is more "down to earth", both literally and metophorically then a typical hobbit! that may explain his ability to face down a Nazgul!

Finding Frodo: I think Farmer Maggot must have been more frightened than he's letting on, but you're right -- he doesn't seem nearly frightened enough: - ) 

squire: 4. Finally we, and Frodo, meet the dreaded Black Rider by proxy. What do we and the hobbits know now? He talks in a “queer voice”, a “whisper”, “slow and stiff-like”. He points, and he bends down to give emphasis. He promises gold as a reward for helping. Maggot thinks he is a Man, a strange scary version of the Big Folk. Should Frodo be reassured by this account of his pursuer, as being no more than an intimidating, disguised horseman?

Elostirion74: Why should Frodo be reassured? He knew it was some kind of horseman already, but now he knows that the horseman even knows his name, offers people gold to hand him in, probably knows where he's heading and is already ahead of him on the road. Couldn't be more scary

wajeff: The description here is ominous, but not supernatural. It does seem to be a mysterious man up to no good!

Finding Frodo: Maybe the Black Riders can turn down their scariness level so they can communicate with mortals without freaking them out.  

 

     Frodo sat for a moment looking at the fire, but his only thought was how on earth would they reach the Ferry. 'I don't know what to think,' he said at last.

     'Then I'll tell you what to think,' said Maggot. 'You should never have gone mixing yourself up with Hobbiton folk, Mr. Frodo. Folk are queer up there.' Sam stirred in his chair, and looked at the farmer with an unfriendly eye. 'But you were always a reckless lad. When I heard you had left the Brandybucks and gone off to that old Mr. Bilbo, I said that you were going to find trouble. Mark my words, this all comes of those strange doings of Mr. Bilbo's. His money was got in some strange fashion in foreign parts, they say. Maybe there is some that want to know what has become of the gold and jewels that he buried in the hill of Hobbiton, as I hear?'

     Frodo said nothing: the shrewd guesses of the farmer were rather disconcerting. 

 

squire: 5. Bilbo and his wealth is a well-known legend in the Shire. Are Maggot’s guesses really any more shrewd than might have been made by the Gaffer, Farmer Cotton, or any other mature, intelligent hobbit?

NottaSackville: I've always thought of the guesses as shrewd maybe, but no more than most hobbits would have naturally made the instant someone strange started looking for Frodo or Bilbo.  What other possible reason would someone from outside the Shire have to even know "Baggins" existed?

wajeff: Well, Maggot may lack the immediate knowledge of say the Gaffer, but he is clearly less superstitious and more "with it" then most of the denizens at the Green Dragon.

Finding Frodo: Again, they are pretty far from home, and Frodo probably didn't expect someone on the outer reaches of the Shire to know about or care about his or Bilbo's personal business.

I'll stop here.  Thanks,squire! 

 

     'Well, Mr. Frodo,' Maggot went on, 'I'm glad that you've had the sense to come back to Buckland. My advice is: stay there! And don't get mixed up with these outlandish folk. You'll have friends in these parts. If any of these black fellows come after you again, I'll deal with them. I'll say you're dead, or have left the Shire, or anything you like. And that might be true enough; for as like as not it is old Mr. Bilbo they want news of.'

     'Maybe you're right,' said Frodo, avoiding the farmer's eye and staring at the fire.

     Maggot looked at him thoughtfully. 'Well, I see you have ideas of your own,' he said. 'It is as plain as my nose that no accident brought you and that rider here on the same afternoon; and maybe my news was no great news to you, after all. I am not asking you to tell me anything you have a mind to keep to yourself; but I see you are in some kind of trouble. Perhaps you are thinking it won't be too easy to get to the Ferry without being caught?'

     'I was thinking so,' said Frodo. 'But we have got to try and get there; and it won't be done by sitting and thinking. So I am afraid we must be going. Thank you very much indeed for your kindness! I've been in terror of you and your dogs for over thirty years, Farmer Maggot, though you may laugh to hear it. It's a pity: for I've missed a good friend. And now I'm sorry to leave so soon. But I'll come back, perhaps, one day - if I get a chance.' 

 

squire: 6. What has Frodo learned this afternoon?

Owlyross: As has been mentioned before, Frodo is slowly developing his courage, this is the first example, he's realised how ridiculous his fear (as rooted in his past and fear of the dogs as it may have been) is, and I think this helps him to overcome a lot worse later on. If something he's afraid of his entire life can turn to good, then there's not much point of being afraid of something on the surface (unless it's really worth being afraid of).

NottaSackville: A very important lesson - one never knows when help is going to show up, and it might come from somewhere or someone that you initially mistrust (Strider, anyone?)

Elostirion74: A lot of things probably, but also that the Black Riders are even hotter on his trail than he expected.

wajeff: Be careful crossing farmer's fields?? lol  

 

     'You'll be welcome when you come,' said Maggot. 'But now I've a notion. It's near sundown already, and we are going to have our supper; for we mostly go to bed soon after the Sun. If you and Mr. Peregrin and all could stay and have a bite with us, we would be pleased!' 

 

squire: 7. “Mr. Peregrin and all” – Maggot at least certainly gets that Sam is a servant. Does Sam ever get over his mistrust of Maggot?

Elostirion74: He, he. If Sam gets over his distrust? You wouldn't expect a character like Sam to get over his distrust quickly, he's not that kind of person, his emotions beliefs are strong and usually very grounded, whatever their content. But Sam usually gets over his distrust when he's been eating, doesn't he?

FarFromHome: I don't have much to contribute on the other questions since they have been so well answered by others. I'll just mention regarding #7, that Maggot 'gets that Sam is a servant' probably from Pippin's introduction, not given in the text, but IIRC perfectly presented in the BBC adaptation: "This is Mr Frodo Baggins, and this is Sam Gamgee." The 'Mr' says it all.

wajeff: The Sam-Maggot relationship here has vague similiarities to the Sam-Strider relationship...initially quite distrustful, slowly becoming more accepting.

Grammaboodawg: Sam's more like Farmer Maggot than he'd probably like to think.  I've always thought Sam came back more worldly and wise after the quest... much like Maggot is.  

 

     'And so should we!' said Frodo. 'But we must be going at once, I'm afraid. Even now it will be dark before we can reach the Ferry.'

     'Ah! but wait a minute! I was going to say: after a bit of supper, I'll get out a small waggon, and I'll drive you all to the Ferry. That will save you a good step, and it might also save you trouble of another sort.' 

 

squire: 8. What protection do Maggot and Frodo imagine a wagon will give them against one of the Black Riders?

NottaSackville: The main weapon of the Riders is fear, and nothing helps overcome fear like companions and big old sturdy beasts like horses (if I'm going to confront a horserider, I'd rather do it from the back of a wagon than on foot).  I've no idea how Maggot or Frodo would have a conscious clue at this point about the Riders' weapon being fear, but my guess is that the very idea of companionship unconsciously triggered a very comforting feeling.

Elostirion74: I'm not sure actually, but I imagine you just feel generally safer in a wagon compared to going by foot, it's more difficult to attack you or notice you. When you're going by foot you feel much more exposed and uniquely visible

N.E. Brigand: Is the Rider hiding nearby? The Riders have no guarantee where Frodo will emerge from the backcountry--Maggot's farm, which is well off the straight line from Woodhall to the Ferry, is probably one of several they stopped at to inquire after Baggins.

The Riders' best course of action would actually be to wait at Brandywine Bridge and Bucklebury Ferry -- why didn't they do that?

Elostirion74: Good point!

wajeff: It ain't much, but probably easier to hide in a wagon than by walking along the road. And perhaps there is safety in numbers?

Estelwyn: One small point in addition to all the great stuff everyone else has already mentioned. Speed.  By going in the waggon they can get to the Ferry more quickly, and be on the road (presumed to be more dangerous than the farmhouse) for less time.

Beren IV: Concealment That's easy - the wagon would give the Hobbits some form of concealment. There are many other Hobbits in the Shire wandering about, so that is nothing for the Riders to take note of. 

 

Frodo now accepted the invitation gratefully, to the relief of Pippin and Sam. The sun was already behind the western hills, and the light was failing. Two of Maggot's sons and his three daughters came in, and a generous supper was laid on the large table. The kitchen was lit with candles and the fire was mended. Mrs. Maggot hustled in and out. One or two other hobbits belonging to the farm-household came in. In a short while fourteen sat down to eat. There was beer in plenty, and a mighty dish of mushrooms and bacon, besides much other solid farmhouse fare. The dogs lay by the fire and gnawed rinds and cracked bones. 

 

squire: 9. What a homey image, the essence of real life in the Shire! Even the dogs’ viciousness seems domesticated somehow. Have you ever had a mushroom/bacon casserole, made with real thick chunks of bacon, not the thin slices that pass for bacon nowadays? What do you think the other solid farmhouse fare was?

Owlyross: I'd like to try that pie though!

NottaSackville: Oh geez, that is simply making my mouth water excessively.  Good thing we're going to my favorite pizza place for lunch - might have to order a mushroom-bacon pizza.

Elostirion74: Of a most suspicious hobbit Well, it's a long time since I've had "solid farmhouse fare", but I imagine it would be typical english food (shudder!) like different kinds of pies, sausages and the like. Could the food served for the dwarves in chapter 1 of the Hobbit be read as a guide to the concept? But the general atmosphere surrounding the supper seemed very comforting indeed!

FarFromHome: And if you've ever been lucky enough to have supper with a farmer who keeps his own pigs and cures his own bacon (as I did once) you'll never forget it - totally unlike any bacon you ever bought at the supermarket!

lucia: its true, about the bacon I had home raised and cured farm bacon once and it made an unforgettable impression on me! yum...if only killing pigs weren't a part of it.:(

an seleichan: apple pie!! Oh...bread. Butter. Pickles. And pie. Lots of pie. Apple, probably. Yes, apples of the Pippin variety sounds about right for the Shire, don't you think?

CactusWren: Good solid brown bread The sort an uncle of Jessica Mitford's advocated, made with "stone-ground flour, yeast, milk, sea salt, and raw cane sugar".  Except that in the Shire it would probably be honey, and I'm not sure what the source of salt is.

Cheese, a big chunk of it.  And big slabs of butter, not little four-ounce "cubes".  And you're right about the apple pie.  Good russeted heirloom apples.  Not waxed.

Which reminds me:  do hobbits breed or develop different varieties of mushrooms, like their different varieties of leaf?  Even if the only mushrooms they grow are Agaricus cultivars (like our modern supermarket mushroom), there's room for variety.  I can imagine Sam saying expertly that those little brown nutty ones from the Northfarthing, as good as they are, aren't the best for an omelet.  For an omelet, you want the big tender white ones.  And for a mushroom-and-bacon casserole, mix half Northfarthing Browns with half those little pinkish spicy ones, and if some of the pinks are dried it's even better, just soak them in a little beer before you start ...

wajeff: I think of country fried steak and eggs, but as a city boy what do i know??

 

squire: Miss the pictures? Well, I couldn’t find any illustrators or artists who had tried this chapter, but I guess I’m on company time here, so I offer this with no comment. (Also I owe Aunt Dora a favor for this week’s footer, which thanks to her is now what I wanted it to be in the first place.)

 

 

Owlyross: I've also found a couple of images of the Nazgul and Farmer maggot