97 pages 3 hours read

J. R. R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1955

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Book 1, Chapters 9-12

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 1, Chapter 9 Summary: “At the Sign of The Prancing Pony”

Following Tom’s suggestion, the hobbits arrive at The Prancing Pony, the village inn at Bree. The inhabitants of Bree are a unique mixture of Men and Hobbits, also known as The Big Folk and The Little Folk. Bree is also a well-known crossroads with a long history of encounters among travelers from the four corners of Middle-earth. Hobbits of the Shire refer to anyone who lives in Bree and beyond as an “Outsider” (147), and so too do the Breelanders refer to the Shire’s Hobbits as “Outsiders” (151). Frodo travels under the pseudonym “Underhill,” and despite the secrecy of their mission, the hobbits draw attention to themselves by joining the other guests in the unusually busy common-room. There, Frodo meets Strider, one of the wandering Rangers of the north, “believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing, and to understand the languages of beasts and birds” (146).

As the hobbits regale the array of locals, dwarves, and men from the South with tales of the Shire, Frodo wants to prevent Pippin from mentioning Bilbo and potentially the name Baggins, so he distracts the crowd with a song. As he leaps in his performance, he slips off the table and inadvertently slips the Ring onto his finger, disappearing instantly to the alarm of all the guests.