Tolkien Calendar: The Great Years

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November 2, TA 3019

2 November 2006 23:09:17
Categories: Tolkien Calendar

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."