POV – Bilbo/Frodo (In each of the next five chapters, the POV starts with Bilbo and shifts back to Frodo.)
In which Bilbo ponders tradition and Frodo ponders obedience.
So, if the last chapter was about the loss of history, what do hobbits remember of their cultural past? Less with each generation.
Wintermark is a hint of a less patriarchal time in hobbit society, but also of a substantially less settled one. It is the one of the only ceremonies where a deity/divine power is invoked, and that deity is a female fertility goddess – the Delver. I see it as an elision of Varda and Yavanna, and she is responsible for fecundity and light. During the social decimation of the Fell Winter, as I speculated in Writing a Green Sun, there would probably have been a few decades when women’s power increased and when social norms surrounding legitimacy would have been relaxed for the purposes of increasing the number of births.
We’re also going to get to see Frodo and Bilbo dealing with their relatives in a less regulated situation than usual. Bilbo is dealing with Shire politics and personal relationships that go back almost a century, while Frodo struggles to break away from the abused position forced on him as he entered puberty.