POV – Bilbo/Frodo
In which Bilbo considers the Ring, Esmie considers fidelity, Odogar considers revolt, Tom considers kisses, Mac considers Sara, and Frodo considers breathing.
Mix alcohol, late hours and unresolved conflicts together, and fireworks will happen.
This is the first place in my Shire Stories where the reader gets to observe the Ring trying to bend Bilbo to its will. Before, we’ve seen Bilbo use the Ring and we’ve seen Bilbo angry about Frodo’s abuse, but here we see the Ring inserting itself into Bilbo thoughts, doing its best to steer him into darker, crueler, more violent actions. Then Bilbo has a fateful discussion with yet another reviled cousin which sets off events that end up in the next story.
Meanwhile, Frodo has a rather violent encounter with various cousins. While he has to fight to protect himself, the most brutal blows may be inflicted by truth, not fists. We get hints of more going wrong in Buckland than any of the elders are aware of.