Tolkien Calendar: The Great Years
November 1, TA 3019
1 November 2006 22:38:59
They are arrested at Frogmorton.
"The Scouring of the Shire" by Alan Lee
Gandalf's enigmatic words as he left the hobbits were, "I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you."
Perhaps the poor Shirriffs at Frogmorton would have liked to have known this before they "arrested" our hobbits, in order to avoid the comic parade out of town. The downward story arc of The Return of the King might also be called "The Return of the Hobbits" as they retrace their steps home. For these are not the same simple hobbits who left the Shire the year before. Sam in particular has assumed more authority--the beginning of his political career?
The Return is not just a geographic return, however, but also a linguistic one, as the language and names of the hobbits seem all the more rustic after the high and formal language of Minas Tirith.
November 2, TA 3019
2 November 2006 23:09:17
They come to Bywater and rouse the Shire-folk.
"The Scouring of the Shire" by Alan Lee
After the comical arrest, Sam, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin have a rather more serious encounter with the human ruffians who work for Sharkey. When one of them mocks Frodo, Merry and Pippin run several off with a show of swords and firm anger. But they know their seeming victory is a temporary one, and the ruffians will be back in force once they recover from the shock of seeing hobbits actually interested in fighting back, and are able to add to their numbers. Merry and Pippin are sure that they can persuade other hobbits to join a rebellion if they just have some leadership - "They just want a match, though, and they'll go up in fire." Merry says. He sets off with the horn of Rohan to raise the old alarm of "Fear, Fire, and Foes." Sam goes to the Cotton farm to enlist their help and Pippin rides off to "bring back an army of Tooks in the morning." The stage is set for the battle of Bywater,
But in the midst of all the martial preparations, Frodo reminds his fellows of the lessons of mercy he has learned from his Quest, even mercy for Lotho, whose greed and power-hunger paved the way for Sharkey's takeover. He says, "But remember, there is to be no slaying of hobbits, not even if they have gone over to the other side. Really gone over, I mean, and not just obeying ruffian's orders because they are frightened. No hobbit has ever killed another on purpose in the Shire, and it is not to begin now. And nobody it to be killed at all if it can be helped."
November 3, TA 3019
8 November 2006 18:13:14
Battle of Bywater, and Passing of Saruman. End of the War of the Ring.
"Bilbo at His Door" by Alan Lee
Only just a year after their month spent in Rivendell before setting out on the quest to destroy the One Ring, the four now greatly changed and matured hobbits finally put an end to The War of the Ring at the Battle of Bywater. The ruffians are routed and the devastated Shire returned to the care of the hobbits themselves.
More importantly, and significantly comes the death of Saruman at the hand of Wormtongue who slits his throat and then himself is killed by hobbit arrows.
To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. for a moment it wavered, looking to the West, but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.
All of the battles have been fought and it is now time for peace and restoration for there is much to restore. 'I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess,' said Sam gloomily. 'And that'll take a lot of time and work.'
But now there is time aplenty.
Images © "Bilbo at His Door" by Alan Lee.
Last edited: 3 July 2022 14:29:05