Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 1, Chapter 9

The Prancing Pony itself is a nexus for travelers and locals alike.  A place for a good meal and company.

The people of Bree seem rather hobbitish.  Short, stout, and cheerful, but lacking the Shire's default wariness of any and all outsiders.  Interestingly enough they date back to the days of the first men and the great Kings, yet (spoiler) they have no concept of the origin or history of the Rangers.  On the other hand, that may speak to the skills (and misdirection) of the Rangers themselves.  Actually, I wonder now if the Rangers have something to do with the invisibility of the Shire itself.

Strider's introduction frames him as shadowy and mysterious, possibly dangerous.  In the film, Butterbur warns Frodo away from Strider, with no question about the threat Strider represents to his enemies as he watches from the shadows.  The need to interrupt a story that brings a little too much attention to where they come from stays, but the film cuts out Frodo's attempts to turn attention away from who they might be and substitutes a careless identification instead.

The Ring itself acts out, as it is wont to do.  Frodo wonders if the Ring had played a trick.  I have no doubt that is the case.  Our ring-bearer still does not quite realize what he carries, what it represents.  Some of this I believe is due to Frodo's nature.  He is a dreamer, raised on tales of adventures, some of which feature the very ring he carries.  On some level, the Ring is still his dear uncle's trinket.  I do wonder however, if part of Frodo's naivete is thanks to the Ring itself.  His friends all seem a little quicker on the uptake concerning the nature of their situation, and it would work in the Ring's best interest to hide it's darker nature from a bearer it has yet to properly claim.

At this point we're finally seeing parts of the book in the film again, something that has been largely absent since chapter three.  Jackson made the Prancing Pony and Bree itself seem much darker and less inviting than the town in this chapter.  The film shows an edgy and slightly paranoid Frodo flinching from shadowy figures dining in dark alcoves, not a hobbit singing and dancing on tables (even if that was a distraction ploy in itself).  One representation gives us a short, sharp plunge into growing danger, the other gives us growing unease with lulls of something approaching comfort.


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