POV – Frodo
In which Frodo bids many cousins farewell, Gilda resists a great temptation, Rory does as the Master should, and Frodo finally finds his way home.
It’s been a rough trip and it’s not over, but Frodo has begun thinking of himself as a Baggins, not a Brandybuck.
When this chapter originally appeared, there was some pretty strong dislike of Gilda and her treatment of Frodo voiced. People preferred Rory’s reaction to hers. This left me a bit mystified at the time. Within the chapter, Gilda tries to explain some grown-up concepts to Frodo, while Rory apologizes for having backhanded him and verbally abused him for telling the truth about Sara. From my perspective, the talk with Gilda should have been contrasted to Frodo’s original talk to Rory – the one that ended with him being assaulted and ordered to leave.
There’s something very wrong when the person who physically brutalizes a child to punish him for letting slip a family secret is considered to be a more decent and trustworthy character than another who asks questions and accepts what she is told. It chilled me that readers would be more upset by a woman failing to be stereotypically maternal than by a man being cruel and abusive without a second thought.
Frodo, meanwhile, has had a significant shift in his affections and his thinking, and his talk with Gilda is what cemented it.