POV – Bilbo
In which Bilbo surveys the damage, remembers the past, conducts a deal, confronts a problem, and exchanges gifts.
This is my “Yule” chapter in a more conventional sense, with a feast and gift-exchange. For those interested in the back-story I am creating on Bilbo for my stories, there are some glimpses of it part way through the chapter as he gets ready for the Yule feast and talks about events of his own youth with Frodo.
I do have a deliberate break with canon in the story. JRRT, in describing Bag End, says all of the pantries and cellars are on the same main floor as the rest of the smial. In Bilbo’s story to Frodo of his own childhood in Bag End, he thinks of a cellar that is a level below the main floor. I hope it will become clear as the Shire Stories go on why Bilbo (the “author” of The Hobbit) would not want to make mention of them.
The wassail song in the story is not my invention and another HASA writer used it in story. It is a traditional English carol, but not one widely known in the US, and I have a recording of it along with other carols. It was so perfect in tone, language and themes that I stuck it in as part of the Yule feast.