Chapter Three: Three Is Company-Part Two

After the Black Rider trots off into the distance, Frodo states how strange he felt, that the feeling told him he did not want to be found by this mysterious man.

You know when ever someone repeats something in a literary work that they are telling you something important. Frodo repeats the word “felt” many times, this tells us that the way he feels is either important to the story line or important in the symbolism Tolkien was trying to use. Frodo didn’t know the man was bad. He felt it.

Sam speaks up and tells Frodo that he knew where the Black Rider came from. He said that only just the day before his Gaffer saw the man, and the man was asking about a Baggins. He told this to Sam, at the time he thought nothing of it because Gaffer is old and it was dark.

Frodo admits to having heard Gaffer speaking to a strange talking fellow. Pippin is convinced that there is possibly no connection and they should just get moving. This is further justifying Pippin’s character as the part of us, or the type of person, who doesn’t see what is happening around them. They aren’t aware. They either choose not to, or simply don’t notice what they should.

Frodo says that he wished they had waited for Gandalf, and then Pippin suspiciously asks Frodo if he knows something about this black rider. Frodo tries to simply brush the comment away by saying he doesn’t want to know.

From then on, they kept their distance from the road.

This part with the road seems strangely opposite that of Bilbo’s story about keeping on the path. As Bilbo’s journey required not straying from the path, Frodo’s instead was to be avoided. This could be because the path through Mirkwood was leading them through the bad, trying to keep them on the path to good. Whereas Frodo’s path was covered with evil.

When the three hobbits come upon a hollowed out tree, they climb inside to rest. Tolkien makes a point to mention that the tree is pretty much dead, yet it still produces leaves. This could be a symbolic foreshadowing to the common theme that even things that seem lost and better off dead can still produce good, they still have that potential inside them, even if they can’t gain their full potential back. They have already missed all those many years of potential to do good.

As they continue on the path, they sing a song that Bilbo had written. In among other lines of the song is the words of Pippin’s song in the movies known as The Steward of Gondor on the movie sound track. It is a brilliant song showing that we can’t stay home forever, we have to continue on our adventure in order to become better.

The three run and hide in the shadows when they hear hooves behind them. It was definitely a black rider. It crawls creepily toward Frodo, sniffing. The closer it gets, the more Frodo desires to slip on the ring. It was much more powerful than the earlier time he had felt the temptation. A sound in the near distance scares the rider away. Sam starts to exclaim quietly that it was elves. The other hobbits had to pull him away, or else he would have run to the elves.

The elves are singing, which is what scared the rider away. Frodo knows little of the words sung.

One of the elves sees and recognizes Frodo. They greet, and Frodo says they are traveling in the same direction as they. Because the elves see themselves as superior beings, at first they laugh that Frodo wants to travel alongside them. Pippin interrupts to ask the elves about the black riders. They become interested and decide to take the hobbits with them elsewhere to speak about it.

After Frodo speaks something in the language of the elves, Gildor, the elf leader, calls him “elf friend.” They warn the hobbits that they will become weary for the elves will be walking far and long.

The elves stop and have a party. Kind of strange, but okay. They have a wonderful time until Frodo and Gildor are the last awake, talking.

As they talk, Gildor reads things from the look on Frodo’s face. He knows he is troubled and is unsure if he can succeed. He knows that the Enemy is after him, he doesn’t know why, but nonetheless it’s true. Gildor tells Frodo nothing about the Black Riders, because he believes it is up to Gandalf to tell Frodo. Gildor believes that it is all Gandalf’s responsibility what Frodo knows.

Frodo speaks his fear that Gandalf may not return at the time he had said. Frodo asks if he should wait for Gandalf or continue on. Gildor can only say that it is strange for Gandalf to be late, and that it is Frodo’s choice whether to stay or continue. Frodo jokes that it is said to not go to elves for counsel, because they will tell you both no and yes.

Gildor warns that if Frodo does go on, that he should not go alone. To only bring those who he trusts. Frodo thanks him.

Frodo finally begs to be told what the black riders are. Gildor asks if it is not enough to know they are the enemy. If they are simply the enemy, what does it matter what they are exactly? All Frodo needs to know is that they are simply evil. Frodo is still unsure how he will find courage to continue on. He asks how he can find it. Gildor once more tells Frodo of his friendship, and Frodo drifts into sleep.

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Peregrin Took: The Childish Cousin

We all have to admit it, Pippin is one of the best characters on The Lord of the Rings trilogy! Most of the time, he is the comic relief (and not the kind that pushes old ladies and scrambles for gold…I’m looking at you Alfrid..).

There are several instances when Pippin acts as the “class clown,” if you will. He dances on tables, singing about one of the Hobbits’ favorite pastimes, unintentionally cracks jokes about food and other things, and is overall a hilarious character!

When The Lord of the Rings starts off, Pippin is just as happy as can be. Doing everything he has ever done. That instant when he falls on top of Frodo in farmer Maggot’s crops changes the course of Pippin’s life, but he hasn’t realized it yet.

Imagine, you are living your life just as you always have, when suddenly, you are essentially kicked out your front door and forced to run off on a journey you don’t know when it will end. Only, Pippin doesn’t seem all that worried. He seems to think that, once they get where they are going, he can run right back home and goof off some more. He just follows Merry.

When Frodo offers to take the ring to Mordor, Pippin is simply hiding in the bushes because Merry wanted to spy. Pippin doesn’t seem to know what is going on. Hence the line, “You’ll need people of intelligence on this mission…quest…thing … right, where are we going?” He could be compared to the type of person who just “goes with the flow.” The innocent mind. The child without flaw nor worry.

Throughout a lot of the story, Pippin is just doing what he is told, following the fellowship, playing around. It’s not until Moria that he gets a hint of a clue. When goblins attack and Gandalf falls to his death, things suddenly become real. Bad things aren’t a distant issue left to the strong anymore. Pippin cries. Things look horrible, he isn’t even sure where he is going and when he will return. He realizes this then more than ever.

After the tears are shed, it’s almost as if things are back to normal. Life goes on. He is still sad about Gandalf’s death, but he leaves it in his mind as a painful memory, and just that. This is much like us and our thoughts of Christ. We appreciate his sacrifice for us and are sad it had to happen, but it doesn’t seem to affect us in everyday activities.

At Amon Hen, Merry and Pippin see Frodo, trying to leave. Merry understands what Frodo has to do, but Pippin doesn’t. Once Merry starts shouting at the orcs, trying to get them to follow them instead of Frodo, Pippin, again, treats it like a game. He goes back to his ignorant bliss. Once Boromir is being shot at by orcs, Pippin starts to realize that it is no longer a game. He tries to help save Boromir, and he fails. He sees Boromir die right in front of him. It is different from Gandalf’s death, Gandalf just seemed to fall out of Pippin’s life, Boromir was cruelly ripped from Pippin’s grasp, in a sense. Much like death in our daily lives is much different from the death of Christ.

And to make it worse, the orcs succeed. They take Merry and Pippin, and Pippin is terrified, not sure why it is happening.

Along the Uruk ride, Pippin is more terrified than he has ever been in his life. He sees Merry, head drooping as if he, too, is dead. Pippin begs for medicine to help him, much like we beg for something to cure us of all types of things. It isn’t until after the orc draught is rudely poured down Merry’s throat that Pippin realizes that’s not how it works. You can’t wish away the bad. You can’t sit around, hoping that someday things will get better. This is when Pippin does the only thing he can, he drops his leaf broach to be found if anyone is looking for them. He takes matters into his own hands and tries to do something about his situation.

Now lets jump to Fangorn Forest. This is where Pippin discovers that Gandalf is not dead. At this moment, Pippin is still wary of the evil that is going on. Finally, he realizes that those orcs are not the end of all the bad. Merry is there trying to convince the Ents to help them fight, and Pippin is just as ignorant as ever. He doesn’t quite understand that the war is still going, and only a battle has been won.

When Pippin finally realizes that there is something happening with Sauruman, he attempts to convince Treebeard to take them to where they can help. He doesn’t even realize himself how horrible Sauruman is. Seeing all the dead trees, Pippin also understands what Sauruman has become.

Who can forget Pippin’s encounter with the Pallentir?

Almost every character in the Lord of the Rings encounters some form of temptation, and all of them handle it in different ways. For Pippin, the Pallentir is simply an object of awe. He sees something magical and wants to know more. It’s much like any temptation any of us has that is based on curiosity. With reasons like, “I wonder what it’s like.” or “I just want to look at it.” Pippin uses the latter. That moment, when he looks into the Pallentir, Pippin has changed the course of his life with a single look.

Unknowingly, Pippin did something that caused even more hardship for, not only himself, but Gandalf as well. Much like we do with Christ. We sin, we experience pain, we repent, and all of it affects Christ. Each sin we commit adds to Christ’s pain, whether we realize it or not. When we do something wrong, we also unknowingly cause hardship and inconvenience in Christ’s life.

When Pippin has to leave Merry behind, things really become real for Pippin. Merry had always been there, telling Pippin what to do, protecting him, guiding him, doing everything for Pippin that he didn’t even try to comprehend for himself. You could say it’s much like leaning on the faith of another. For instance, our parents may know the Christ lived or know that there is a God, and we may simply believe just because they do. Once Pippin is left alone, out in the world by himself, he has to create his own faith. He has to learn and grow on his own, with no one to do it for him.

Once this finally sinks in for Pippin, he realizes that there is no going home, at least, not until the war is won. Again, he realizes that he has the power to do something. Upon meeting the father of his dear protector, Boromir, Pippin feels almost responsible. He knows that he couldn’t have done anything to save Boromir, but he can do something for his father. Several events occur during Pippin’s time in Minas Tirith that, one by one, cause him to realize who he is and what is really happening in the world.

Seeing Faramir walk into his death, Pippin feels all the pain of loss again. Almost as if Boromir has died again in front of him. With his new understanding of reality, he knows that Faramir is as good as dead. Seeing Denethor send his own son to death, without a care in the world, Pippin is horrified. This adds to Pippin’s new realization of what the world is like.

When you look at it, Pippin is symbolic of growing into adulthood. He starts off, almost like a child, not understanding what is happening in the world. He grows up, he learns, but he doesn’t understand the world. Then he experiences that one event that makes him realize he isn’t a kid anymore. Slowly, he learns more and more, sees more and more of the world, and realizes that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Many of us have experienced the exact same thing. Where we almost lose hope for humanity.

When Denethor almost kills his own son, Pippin tries his hardest to prevent it. When he finally realizes that he can’t do it alone, he goes to the only other person that can help, Gandalf. Just like in life again. We often go through trials and hardships, thinking that there is no way we can make it through. We may find ourselves trying so hard to help someone, and realize that we just aren’t strong enough to do it. That is when we turn to Christ, we ask for help and know that He will be there to help us when we need him. It is a beautiful relationship. Christ will always help us, he will always be there for us when we need him, we just simply have to ask.

Pippin is an amazing character. He represents so much in us. If we just reach out, search, and try to learn, we can become the greatest hero in our own way. We will all reach a point where there won’t be someone else providing for us, and we will have to learn to take care of ourselves while still including Christ in our daily lives. We have to ask him for the help we need and we need to be able to tell the difference. We can all figure it out, just like Pippin.