The Bee Reads LOTR Episode 8: Fog on the Barrow Downs

Kyle and Dan from The Babylon Bee are joined by Jonathan Watson of TheOneRing.Com as they catch up with Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin as they make it to the barrow-downs and immediately run into trouble. There’s some ghosties, ancient evil stirring, and newfound courage found in a dark place.

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Chapter summary: The hobbits leave Tom Bombadil’s house, Frodo almost turns around sad he didn’t get to say goodbye, but Goldberry beckons to them from up ahead and sees them off properly. They lunch and accidentally fall asleep in a wide hollow circular area near a shapeless stone- that seemed to be a landmark or warning in its midst. Sinister fog rolls over them, feeling like a trap, and when the hobbits try to make their way out and into the fog they somehow get separated and captured by barrow-wights. Frodo stabs a hand and calls Tom Bombadil with a song. Tom rescues the hobbits and gives them all daggers which are swords for their size, and has his pony fetch their ponies, and then escorts them to the great east road where they just about make it to Bree.

Some questions or themes:

A line that gets adapted into the movie and put into Gandalf’s mouth in Return of the King: “either in dreams or out of them, he could not tell which, Frodo heard sweet singing running in his mind: ” a song that seemed to come like a pale light behind a grey rain-curtain, and growing stronger to turn the veil all to glass and silver, until at last it was rolled back, and a far green country opened before him under a swift sunrise. The vision melted into waking; and there was Tom whistling like a tree-full of birds; and the sun was already slanting down the hill and through the open window. Outside everything was green and pale gold.”

Tolkien continues to sprinkle the history of the area throughout this chapter.

“Tom said that it (the dike they thought was the road from a distance) had once been the boundary of a kingdom, but a very long time ago. He seemed to remember something sad about it, and would not say much.”

The Men of Westernesse made their knives.. The brooch Tom finds for Goldberry has a history. The Dark Lord.. “overcome by evil king of Carn Dum in Land of Angmar.”

‘Few now remember them,’ Tom murmured, ‘yet still some go wandering, sons of forgotten kings walking in loneliness, guarding from evil things folk that are heedless.’ The hobbits did not understand his words, but as he spoke they had a vision as it were of a great expanse of years behind them, like a vast shadowy plain over which there strode shapes of Men, tall and grim with bright swords, and last came one with a star on his brow.

But even as he spoke he turned his glance eastwards, and he saw that on that side the hills were higher and looked down upon them; and all those hills were crowned with green mounds, and on some were standing stones, pointing upwards like jagged teeth out of green gums.

Tom is Master of his domain. He sings the barrow wights away. He removes any curse from the items in the barrow to make them free to all finders. He calls the ponies back.

Frodo finds an awakened courage to not leave his friends so easily in the barrow and takes action.

“There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow. Frodo was neither very fat nor very timid; indeed, though he did not know it, Bilbo (and Gandalf) had thought him the best hobbit in the Shire. He thought he had come to the end of his adventure, and a terrible end, but the thought hardened him.”

The hobbits run around naked on Tom’s orders.

The power in naming and the evil of namelessness.

MAILBAG

Laura Hollingsworth caught our attention on Not The Bee Social by making incredible LOTR artwork. Buy her stuff here.

Fog On Barrow-Downs specific Comments/Questions

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