POV – Bilbo
In which Bilbo reflects on guilt and obligation, honesty and honor, and has his heart broken.
I hurt too much to write any notes on this chapter. Maybe another day. EDIT – some notes below the cut.
In this chapter, Bilbo has to confront what his advice to Frodo does to the boy. He has urged honesty only to see it met with brutality. It abruptly reminds him that his power relationship with Rory, Gilda, and the others is very different than Frodo’s.
He also has to provide a more reflective account of his own life and desires than he provided in Halimath, explaining not so much what he has done, but how he regards himself as having done such things. Bilbo begins to speak about social ostracism and how to challenge it, giving lessons in persistence and endurance that Frodo will need a few decades down the road.
Finally, there is another lesson in how to argue with each other. Frodo is used to having to lie to get out of a sticky situation or else take his lumps, but always to be the child under chastisement. Bilbo stands in sharp contrast to the encounter with Rory, who resorts to violence when he doesn’t know how to respond. Bilbo can be savage, as when he is mocking, but, as with so many things concerning the old hobbit, there is a line he won’t cross. In contrast to Rory’s denial of kinship, Bilbo places Frodo in command of where and with whom he will belong.
Frodo is becoming Bilbo’s, blood and bone.