They come to Bywater and rouse the Shire-folk
Shire Reckoning: November 2, 3019 (Blotmath 2, 1420)
Pages to read:
– RK.Scouring “The travellers were glad to leave the place” (~p.6) – “whether it wears well or no” (~p.17)
– At ten o'clock the next morning, the travellers set out towards Bywater. The Sherriffs still insist that they are under arrest and that they need to be escorted. However, Merry makes the Shirriffs march in a group while Frodo & Co. ride behind. Thus it ends up looking more like the Shirriffs are the ones under arrest.
– After a long day of travel, the Shirriffs finally give up and agree to let the travellers go on by themselves. They ride on and come to Bywater as the sun begins to sink toward the horizon.
– Frodo and Sam are horrified at the state of Bywater. Many of the houses are gone, perhaps burned down. A whole row of hobbit-holes along the edge of the Pool are abandoned, and their old gardens are filled with weeds. A row of ugly houses has replaced some waterside trees, and over towards Bag End a huge chimney is pouring out smoke into the air.
– The village is silent, and no one comes out to greet them. The travellers make their wasy to The Green Dragon, and find it in shambles and occupied by a group of nasty-looking Men.
– The ruffians jeer at the travellers, saying that they will be punished by the Boss. They explain condescendingly that the Shire needs modernizing, and that the Boss will do so under the command of a mysterious figure named Sharkey.
– Frodo tries to explain the new political climate in the South, and that the King will soon send messengers to Shire. The men are skeptical, and claim that they will occupy the Shire regardless.
– Pippin gets upset at the Men taunting Frodo, and pulls out his sword. He annouces "'I am a messenger of the King … You are speaking to the King's friend, and one of the most renowned in all the lands of the West. Down on your knees in the road and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!'"
– Merry and Sam pull their own swords to back Pippin up. The Men are surprised by these dauntless hobbits, and flee in fear.
– After a short argument about the best way to drive out the ruffians from the Shire, Frodo & Co decide to rouse the Shire-folk into action and work together to overthrow Sharkey. Sam will ride off to Farmer Cotton's farm and enlist his help, while the other three stay in Bywater and gather the residents.
– As Sam rides off to Farmer Cotton's, he hears a great alarm go up behind him. When he reaches the farm, Cotton and his sons are already on the way to Bywater. Sam informs them of the situation and then asks about Mrs. Cotton and Rosie. He goes to the farmhouse and checks on the women. He has a bit of an awkward conversation with Rosie (implying they like each other), and then hurries back to the villages.
– When Sam returns, he finds over a hundred hobbits gathered, armed with various weapons. Merry is directing the construction of barricades across the raod at each entrance. Cotton is explaining the status quo to Frodo: in total, there are a few hundred ruffians scattered throughout the Shire, and at least twenty in Bag End at any given time. He also explains that the Tooks gave a good resistance to Lotho when he started taking power.
– Pippin decides to ride off to the Tookland and gather some of his people to help fight. He promises to return in the morning with 'an amry of Tooks.'
– Suddenly, the word comes in that a group of about 20 ruffians are coming to Bywater, and another group has been sent off to fetch another gang.
– The squad of Men reaches the barricades and laugh. The hobbits quietly let them in and show no resistance at first. They march through the village, shouting out orders. When they reach the fire, they meet Farmer Cotton, who is standing alone. They ask Cotton what's going on, and he responds "'I was just going to ask you that … This isn't your country, and you're not wanted.'"
– Suddenly, a huge group of hobbits spring out of the darkness, having crept up in the shadows behind the Men. Merry commands the Men to leave, and tells them to surrender. The leader of the ruffians underestimates hobbits and decides to fight. He charges Merry but is shot down with four arrows immediately. The rest of the Men give in quickly. They are disarmed and locked up.
– Merry and Cotton decide that it's getting late, and they should wait to confront Sharkey and the Boss until tomorrow. In any case, Sam wants to go get his Gaffer and make sure he's safe. He goes off with one of Cotton's sons to Hobbiton.
– Cotton gives us some more backstory on the situation in the Shire. Lotho starting controlling the flow of goods (including pipe weed) after he took over Bag End, and last winter ruffians starting coming in to help enforce his will. Eventually, Sharkey came and turned Lotho into a puppet leader. Cotton isn't sure exactly who Sharkey is, but he is rumoured to be the 'biggest ruffian o' the lot.' He has been focused on basically industrializing the Shire.
– Sam comes back with the gaffer, who is still in good condition. Much to Sam's embarassment, Frodo tells him about how Sam is now one of the most famous heroes in the South, after his great deeds in the war.
– It's really interesting how Frodo is very pacifist throughout today's passage. He keeps emphasizing how he doesn't want any hobbits to harm each other, and that even the ruffians should be spared if possible.
– I also quite like how Merry and Pippin take charge today, showing off how their maturity has grown drastically during the war.
From The Tale of Years:
They come to Bywater and rouse the Shire-folk.
Notes: Sorry for the delay, I had a ton of homework yesterday. Anyway, it was a little tricy to summarize today's action. I like the actual story of the Scouring of the Shire, and it's a cool way to show how our heroes have grown and can take on challenges on their own now. On the other hand, some of the hobbit politics are described in gratuitious detail, making the chapter a bit tough to read. In any case, we'll finally get to meet Sharkey tomorrow, and see what the big deal is. ~Tom