There’s More to Farmer Maggot than His Icky Name (Day 14)

As a sort of New Years Resolution, I’ve decided to elliptical my way from Hobbiton to Mordor, following Frodo and Sam’s path from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Each day, I do a few miles and then read about the same miles the hobbits covered, before writing about the whole thing in the blog. Here’s today’s entry:

Four miles brings our hobbits to and from Farmer Maggot’s place. But here, we meet not just a kindly old hobbit, but an ally who much just have more of a story about him that we first suspect. We also get actual dialog from a Nazgul.

Camera: Ansco Color Clipper Film: FujiChrome 400D (expired 08/1994) (xpro as C-41)

Camera: Ansco Color Clipper
Film: FujiChrome 400D (expired 08/1994) (xpro as C-41)

Thoughts on the Passage – Book I, Chapter 4 (p90-96, 50th Anniv. Ed.)
Once more, I could talk about Khamul the Nazgul, who actually has some lines in this passage. We learn that though their voice is “queer,” he speaks. Actually, we might get a paraphrased accounting as given by Farmer Maggot, as I can’t picture a Ring Wraith saying “I come from yonder.” Though, you never know.

But that’s not what’s on my mind, and that’s not all we learn. We also get a juicy bit of hobbit culture. Now, you’ll remember that Samwise’s father, The Gaffer, referred to the people of Buckland as “a queer breed, seemingly,” because they used boats. Here, Farmer Maggot admonishes Frodo, who was raised in Buckland, for moving to Hobbiton. “You should never have gone mixing yourself up with Hobbiton folk, Mr. Frodo. Fold are queer up there.”

I love the rivalry between Hobbiton and Buckland. I wonder if any of the other Shire towns have such a thing.

Farmer Maggot reckoned that the reason the Black Rider was looking for Frodo was because of old Bilbo’s gold. Frodo found the accurate guess “rather disconcerting,” though it wasn’t quite on the mark. We now have two accounts of older hobbits meeting Khamul, and both the Gaffer and Farmer Maggot refer to him as “a queer customer.”

Another sliver that’s easy to miss (but good to keep in mind) is that Pippin makes a reference (perhaps the second, I can’t remember) to Frodo living for good in Buckland. This will come into play soon enough, I think.

Incidentally, in Tolkien’s essay “Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings,” he makes a strange confession about Farmer Maggot’s unfortunate name. “Maggot. Intended to be a ‘meaningless’ name, hobbit-like in sound. Actually it is an accident that maggot is an English word meaning ‘grub’, ‘larva’.” I suppose this is similar to his unfortunate naming of Tirion on Tuna (and yes, “Tuna” is pronounced like the fish). Tolkien clearly lacked a bit of self awareness.

“Mark my words, this all comes of those strange doings of Mr. Bilbo’s. His money was got in some strange fashion in foreign parts, they say.”

Thoughts on the Exercising
I did something to my back yesterday – maybe I slept on it wrong, who knows. Anyway, It hurt quite a bit all today. After exercising, it feels a lot better, I guess I worked it out a bit. I know that pretty much nobody who’s reading this is doing so to keep up with how I’m feeling after ellipticaling several miles. This is really not a “Fitness” blog. I keep this section so I can look back on it later and see how out of shape I was. Today, I did only four miles because I was feeling sore. I’d much rather keep it at 5 or 6, but right now, that’s asking too much.

  • Miles today: 4
  • Miles thus far: 65
    • 70 miles to Bree
    • 175 miles to Weathertop
    • 393 miles to Rivendell
    • 1,714 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place: Leaving Bamfurlong, Farmer Maggot’s place. (Map)