POV – Frodo
In which Frodo encounters more of Bilbo’s past than he really wants to.
Seeing Bilbo this way is making the kid grow up very fast, very quickly.
There’s a lot going on in this chapter, even though it’s really one long continuous scene. Rum is one of the last major players in Bilbo and Frodo’s lives that we haven’t yet met in the Shire series, and he arrives with splash. Bilbo offers up his judgment of the Thain, but it may not be completely accurate — or completely honest.
For Bilbo, this is a wrenching reunion, one that leaves him wrung out, yet also relieved. His brooding about Rum has been building for 16 years, made worse by trying to somehow keep Frodo out of sight. The anticipation was worse than the reality. Maybe. It depends on how accurate Bilbo’s evaluation of Rum is.
With Frodo, he has lost some carefully constructed mental barriers. Bilbo is his haven against desire, particularly male desire. Bilbo simply loves him – though this is true only when Frodo looks away from evidence that Bilbo desires violence and revenge. He has constructed an image of Bilbo that is someone who is unbreakable (i.e., who cannot be swayed or corrupted by desire), someone who is safe for a mixed-up, horny, emotionally needy adolescent to be around and to act out towards because “he never would.” Except he would and he does with this exotic stranger.
As I said in my previous post, my chapter posting is going to be slow. After some review of my work & vacation schedules, I think this will likely be my last chapter of the year.