The Fellowship of the Ring: Novel Summary: Book I Chapter 10

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Book I, Chapter 10: "Strider"
In the Prancing Pony's parlor, Frodo, Pippin, and Sam find Strider waiting for them. Strider reveals that he has been searching for Frodo. He warns Frodo that the Black Riders have been visiting Bree, even calling at the home of Bill Ferny, a resident not to be trusted. He offers his services as a guide to Rivendell. Sam does not initially trust Strider, but Frodo feels that the man is more than he appears.

Butterbur interrupts the conversation to tell Frodo that he has remembered what he earlier forgot: he has a letter for Frodo from Gandalf. The innkeeper has his own stories of strange encounters with Black Riders to tell, too. Frodo confirms his identity for Butterbur, and secures the landlord's promise of protection overnight.

Gandalf's letter tells Frodo that Strider is a friend of the wizard's, and that the Ranger's true name is Aragorn. He quotes a poem regarding Aragorn: "All that is gold does not glitter,/Not all those who wander are lost . . . . Renewed shall be blade that was broken,/The crownless again shall be king." (These verses explicitly introduce a motif of misleading appearances and unexpected reversals which will continue to grow in importance as The Lord of the Rings progresses.) Aragorn produces the broken sword referred to in the verses. Having gained the Hobbits' trust, Aragorn announces his intentions to lead them to Rivendell by way of Weathertop, a hill where he hopes Gandalf will meet them.

Merry arrives, claiming to have seen Black Riders in the village. Nob, one of Butterbur's servants, found Merry as if asleep on the street-significantly, near Bill Ferny's house-talking about a dream of drowning. Merry says he lost consciousness as he tried to run back to the inn; Aragorn tells him he has experienced effects of "the Black Breath." Nob tells the Hobbits that, while they will sleep in the parlor, he has stuffed their beds in the room in which they were supposed to have stayed, in hopes of fooling any would-be attackers.

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