Ch. 6 – Belongings

Belongings – Bilbo POV

In which tongues are used, adventures are planned, accusations are thrown, history is recounted, marks are examined, and Frodo tries to understand where he belongs.

~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~

Bilbo wrestles with how to earn Frodo’s trust when complete honesty is not the best policy.

This chapter takes a closer look at the backstory of Drogo and Primula. How did they end up living in Buckland? The comic explanation in LotR is that Drogo was a glutton and they moved in with her brother and fellow Brandybucks to take advantage of a generous dinner table. But then there is the odd story of them drowning doing something ordinary hobbits would never think to do, go for a boat ride. I give them a little more substance, something that will continue to get built out in the subsequent stories.

This chapter is also for building the relationship between Bilbo and Frodo. Frodo’s not a little child anymore and the simple connection they once had is not adequate for what is happening. It distresses Bilbo that Frodo is not a small, innocent child any longer. Frodo’s perception of Bilbo is… complicated.

As the chapter title hints, there is a complex web between one’s possessions, what one can possess, self-possession, longings, and fitting in to where you find yourself.

Anglachel

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8 thoughts on “Ch. 6 – Belongings”

  1. Yes, complete honesty can be a big problem in the middle of highly manipulative situations. On the other hand, the most important line of the chapter is completely honest: “My recommendation was to /ask/ you if you wished to come live with me at Bag End.”

    I’m glad I missed the “Drogo was a glutton” comment, was that Sandyman talk? I like your gapfilling. It seems Frodo isn’t being allowed possessions, his room is sad. Except for the quilt, but that needed a story to make it happy.

    … and I love Prim’s butterfly signature. I should make more quilts. Quilts are happy things.

  2. Hi Julie,

    The quote is from the first chapter of LotR – ‘And Mr. Drogo was staying at Brandy Hall with his father-in-law, old Master Gorbadoc, as he often did after his marriage (him being partial to his vittles, and old Gorbadoc keeping a mighty generous table); and he went out boating on the Brandywine River; and he and his wife were drownded, and poor Mr. Frodo only a child and all.’ This is all wrong as Gorbadoc, Rory’s father, had died 17 years before Drogo and Primula drowned. There’s also the mystery of why Frodo would have stayed in Buckland if (as the quote seems to imply) his parents died while on a short visit to their Brandybuck kin. Sandyman threw in the rumor that Prim had pushed Drogo in. In between was a comment that Drogo’s great weight had sunk the boat. This is another one of those “Eeeww! moments where JRRT’s somewhat ghoulish humor got away from him. Anyway, as I am prone to do, I turned this gossip upside down.

    Honesty is one of the things that helps Bilbo resist the evil of the Ring. Frodo, too.

    Frodo is not deprived by rural Shire standards. He has a room to himself, decent furniture, plenty of clean clothes, food whenever he wants to eat, etc. Bilbo’s reaction is a bit strong and reflects his gentlehobbit lifestyle. But Frodo is sad and increasingly neglected as the attitudes of the adults around him change.

    Prim’s quilt is actually a quilt my great-grandmother made that I have, though without the butterfly sewing mark. It is a little ragged by now, but still beautiful.

    Anglachel

  3. Heh, he should known Gorbadoc had already died.

    I think I was sad about Frodo’s room because Frodo seemed to disagree about Sara telling him he shouldn’t have “things”. A toy or letters, since Bilbo has sent him letters, I thought.

  4. I have this uneasy feeling that Frodo burns the letters he gets from Bilbo to keep other people from getting their hands on them. His room is sad because it is the room of someone who is not allowed to belong. It is as spare and unadorned as a guest room, as Bilbo notes. But many hobbits would look at it and think it more than serviceable and they’d be right – if Frodo was a guest and not family.

    Ang

  5. I like the ‘Frodo Baggage’ joke in this chapter that some Brandybuck cousin no doubt thought was quite clever when he came up with it. To live as a guest among family… I have always been luckier in my life than that, but I can only imagine it is a lonely, creeping pain.

  6. Hi Jon,

    Yes, some wag probably thought it extremely clever. Frodo’s not above throwing some insults back, as will become clear down the road.

    Being treated as a guest when you are kin would be awful. I personally know of several situations where that happened. One was a family who fostered a child with physiological issues expecting he would not live. He did, and was treated as an outcast. I was a child myself at the time and did not know the backstory, but I knew they treated “Dan” differently. He had severe psychological issues, was violent, and eventually was given up. I don’t know his fate. But, even before these issues came out and we learned about him being fostered, he was never treated like a part of the family.

    The other is ongoing. A family agreed to bear a child for another family who could not adopt for some reason. The second family changed their minds and did not take the child. The child is resented and reviled by the birth family. It grieves and sickens me. The child is healthy, smart, adventurous, and does not seem any greater a discipline problem than the older, wanted children, yet the parents have barely a kind word or moment of concern.

    In my own family, my mother didn’t want a girl, only boys, and treated me badly. My father was loving, but a very disengaged dad. I was relieved when I was finally able to move out. My brothers, unfortunately, internalized our mother’s misogyny, and I have as little to do with them as I can.

    For Frodo, this is a changing state of affairs. When his parents were alive, they obviously adored him. Right after he was orphaned, he was treated lovingly. When he hit puberty, a great deal changed, plus the person who is most attached to him, Gilda, is in a severe, long-term health decline. Bilbo should have come to claim him sooner.

    Thanks for reading!

    Anglachel

  7. That’s awful, on all counts.

    RE: Bilbo claiming Frodo, why did he not until now, anyway? Were the memories of Brandy Hall (and Prim and Drogo) too painful? Not great reasoning considering how much beloved Drogo and Prim were by him, but ultimately understandable.

  8. Well, the ultimate answer is that JRRT didn’t have Frodo come live with Bilbo until he was @ 21.
    My answer come out slowly over the course of the stories, but is a combination of the effect of the Ring, Bilbo’s reluctance to leave himself open to emotional entanglements, and a sincere desire to leave Frodo where the boy seemed most happy. When Frodo was a child (in my telling) he was very happy in Buckland. Bilbo (rightly) surmised that the youngster would be more amenable to leaving when he was older and wanting more independence.

    Anglachel

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