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When the King Comes Back ( Brandy Hall )  by Dreamflower 2 Review(s)
GryffinjackReviewed Chapter: 7 on 12/26/2005
That's our Merry! Always protecting Pippin and in this case, Frodo, and defending their good names when need be. Foolish of that Chubb to make such a comment, especially in Brandy Hall under the roof where Frodo grew up. And all the more so with Merry there to protect one of his dearest cousins.

"Those who knew Merry were shocked to see him lose his temper; those who knew him *well* were not."

Excellent line! Merry would do anything to protect his dear cousin or his name. But more than that, he loathes that Frodo is not appreciated for himself and for all that he did for the Shire and all of Middle Earth. It must be so frustrating for him to know what Frodo endured and gave up for others and how the world outside the Shire appreciates that, but how Frodo's own people, those he grew up with and who should know and appreciate him best of all, do not. Yet, that is part of the thing with Hobbits - they have been so protected by Gandalf and the Rangers all these many years that they know little of the dangers that existed in the world around them. Chubb is an ignorant, judgmental Hobbit in the first place for making such comments about Frodo or any other person, but he cannot be blamed for not knowing the importance that Frodo had in saving his world. Even so, it would be a huge sore spot with any of those that accompanied Frodo on his journey and Merry would not be timid about correcting the uninformed Hobbit's impressions.

I expect that the reason that Frodo's being the last of the Baggins line hit Merry so hard is because he realised another of the sacrifices that Frodo had made in order to save Middle Earth. True, it seemed that Frodo was unlikely to marry and have children before the journey, but now, Merry knows that it will never happen. Frodo has already given up on a part of his life and has already started to live vicariously. Of all of the Hobbits who accompanied Frodo, including Sam, Merry would be the first to recognise this. As you said, Merry had made a study of Frodo during his first seven years. However, I doubt that such a study ever ended; I think Merry continued that study from the time he was born until the day Frodo set sail for the Undying Lands.

Author Reply: This was a scene I had in my head right from the very start--in fact it popped into my head when I was writing Great Smials, and I had to leave it out, as it was not Pippin-centric.

There is *no way* Merry would allow a remark about Frodo to pass, especially *that* kind of remark, and especially *now*. Before the Quest, however, he might not have been so direct in his rebuke, perhaps turning it aside with a joke at Chubb's expense, or even waiting and playing a prank on him later. But not the Merry who has seen what Frodo's been through and what it cost him. *Now* he's simply going to call the offender on it then and there. It's a far more mature approach--Pippin is not the only one who grew in maturity on the Quest.

Chubb's an ignorant loud-mouth. And of course he's no idea of what he's been protected from. But Merry is not going to allow such ignorance to continue, as far as Frodo is concerned. I think that Merry and Pippin both would often have been more offended on Frodo's behalf than Frodo himself would ever have been, at the lack of appreciation their cousin recieved.

Yes, this is another of Frodo's sacrifices, one that Merry had not fully appreciated before. I don't think it was lack of knowledge--like any hobbit, he knows the family trees intimately. But it was a bit of a blind spot, in that he had not previously connected it to Frodo's life--probably something he didn't *want* to know, really, and now he's had his nose shoved in it, and can't ignore the obvious conclusion anymore: no more Bagginses in the Shire.
And yes, Merry has already noticed the signs, though he will make every effort to deny them to himself when he can--it would be unbearable to have to admit now, after all they've been through to get home, that he is going to lose Frodo anyway. So for the next year or so, he's going to sometimes find himself turning a blind eye to things that once would have alerted him to Frodo's true state of mind. And yet, in many ways, his connections to Frodo are stronger than ever. Rather a paradox, and not a comfortable one.

And you are quite right--it didn't end when Frodo left Buckland, it was just suspended for a while when Frodo wasn't in his actual presence. And I am not sure it even ends when Frodo leaves...

PIppinfan1988Reviewed Chapter: 7 on 3/22/2004
Please say you're going to update???? I *know* this can't be the end! I will be back...


Author Reply: Yes, there's quite a bit more to go. Putting them in is going rather slowly, as I have had lots of interruptions ( silly stuff like work, meals, etc.) Also, I'm pretty sure I'm doing it the hard way, but hey, it's working.

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