Tell us about how you got your scar,’ said Bell, touching her fingers to the white mark on his forehead, ‘and about how Mr. Frodo stabbed the troll.’

‘Yes, tell us that one,’ said Hob. ‘Mr. Frodo were very brave, weren’t he, Uncle?’

Sam choked and blinked back tears. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Yes, he was and he is. The bravest hobbit in all the Shire. And if you should ever travel far away, you’ll find he’s the most famousest. Why, there’s songs sung about Mr. Frodo’s deeds from Rivendell to the White City, and that’s a powerful long way away.’
The Two Towers, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol: “‘Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside... And people will say: “Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!” And they’ll say: “Yes, that’s one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave, wasn’t he, dad?” “Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.”’

The butterfly-bush was in flower, and the deep purple heads were covered with brightly coloured butterflies, their wings spread wide to the sun.
The butterfly-bush is another name for buddleia; the flowers are often covered in butterflies.

On this flower head are two Tortoishell butterfiles, a Red Admiral butterfly and (wings folded) a Peacock butterfly.

The loud, insistent song of yellowhammers followed him, as he passed from one bird’s territory to the next, and his mind filled in the words that the sound traditionally evoked: little bit o’ bread and no cheeeeese, little bit o’ bread and no cheeeeese.
For those of you not familiar with the yellowhammer’s call, try whistling the words all on one note, and giving each syllable equally short length until you get to cheeeeese, which is higher and drawn out.

‘My dear hobbit. That is a very good question. Will you talk to me, now?’
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Breaking of the Fellowship: “Then as a flash from some other point of power there came came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!”

We also know that Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel - wearers of the three Elven Rings of power - could speak mind to mind (see notes to Chapter 20 - link below). I have merely speculated that one of the lasting effects of the Ring of Power may have been to give Frodo this ability. The Ring may have had to open channels in the mind to allow It to tempt the bearer, and the end result may have been to leave these channels open; in this case the power would not have been conferred by the Ring, but simply made evident. Consider this paragraph from The Two Towers, The Taming of Sméagol: “For a moment it appeared to Sam that his master had grown and Gollum had shrunk: a tall stern shadow, a mighty lord who hid his brightness in a grey cloud, and at his feet a little whining dog. Yet in some way akin and not alien: they could reach one another’s minds.”

They quickly slipped back into the routines of their lives, and Sam was disappointed that Frodo showed no sustained interest in exchanges beyond Bag End. It seemed he was happy to have achieved his goal, and politely refused all invitations to join in hobbit society.
The Return of the King, The Grey Havens: “...he took to a quiet life, writing a great deal and going through all his notes.”
“Frodo dropped out of all doings in the Shire, and Sam was pained to notice how little honour he had in his own country.”

Once, they met Shirriff Smallburrow, out and about on official business, with his feather at a jaunty angle in his cap.
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Prologue: “They had, of course, no uniforms,(such things being quite unknown) only a feather in their caps...”

They were walking along a little-frequented path, dividing beech wood from wheat field, where the ears of corn were turning to gold and bowing over as they ripened. Sam picked an ear and rubbed it between his palms to remove the flakey outer covering. He opened his fingers and blew gently to send the chaff flying away, leaving the grains of wheat in his palm. They shared the sweet and starchy kernels. They were good to eat like this, although not ripe enough, or dry enough, for harvesting.
Sorry, I was laughing all the time I wrote this, since I knew not everyone who speaks US English knows that “corn” in British usage means wheat, oats or barley, not maize (although we use the terms “corn on the cob” and “sweetcorn” in association with maize). I was immediately rewarded by one of my (US) beta-readers flagging up the paragraph as an error, since one minute I was talking about “corn” and the next, “wheat”. Mwahahahaha - revenge is sweet for all those times I’ve had to read “gotten”. I frequently had to uncorrect “corrections”, as perfectly spelt words were given the US treatment. Some examples: English behoves, US behooves; English to bath; US to bathe (English to bathe is to swim in open water, not to wash oneself in a bath.)

Together they pushed through the cow parsley that grew tall along the wood edge. The flat heads of hazy white flowers left tiny petals dusted on their breeches.
Oops. An error here, as I realised when the following May came around and I was once more walking through cow parsley: it flowers in May. These were... erm, a late flowering Shire variety.

As they parted, Sam was reminded of the flow of time in Lórien.
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Great River: “‘You’ll remember, Mr. Frodo, the moon was waning as we lay on the flet up in that tree: a week from the full, I reckon. And we’d been a week on the way, last night, when up pops a New Moon, as thin as a nail paring, as if we had never stayed no time in the Elvish country.

‘Well, I can remember three nights there for certain, and I seem to remember several more, but I would take my oath it was never a whole month. Anyone would think that time did not count in there!’”

Something larger was at work, with its own sense of timing and balance.
Why stop at plagiarising Tolkien? This was from the autobiography of Michael J. Fox, which I was reading at the time of writing this chapter. It also chimed very well with Gandalf’s words quoted below: “’Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker.’”

And that, as Gandalf was fond of saying, was an encouraging thought.
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Shadow of the Past: Gandalf: “’Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than saying Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought.’”

Her hair smelt of the linden water she used when ironing; it was a scent that had met him at every turn since her arrival. His shirts, handkerchiefs and bed linen all carried the sweet smell, but he never got tired of it.
Linden (you can buy it from L’Occitane en provence) is what Frodo frequently smells of in fiction written by and for the group known as Frodo’s Harem. It appears here as a tribute to that great nursery of writing talent.

All things now went well, with hope always of becoming still better, and Sam remembered the wonder of that summer of 1420 for the rest of his life.
The Return of the King, The Grey Havens: “All things now went well, with hope always of becoming still better; and Sam was as busy and as full of delight as even a hobbit could wish.”

They nestled down into each other’s arms, blissfully sated, but the air around them was cooling as the shade deepened with the westering of the sun.
“Westering” appears to be a Tolkienism, and a lovely way of describing the setting sun.

Notes for Chapter 18 - Back to Chapter Listing - Notes for Chapter 20


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