This is one of the most tense chapters for me. Poor Pippin and Merry, in the grip of a foe so fierce even Boromir couldn't withstand them. What chance do two little Hobbits have?
Anyway, this is the chapter where I really start to be a Pippin fan. Up to now, he's just kind of there, being a bit silly and adorable now and then. With Merry knocked on the head and mostly out of commission, Pippin steps up and shows he has considerable wits and courage of his own. He cuts his wrists free and then makes it look like they're still tied, thinks of dropping his brooch to show any followers that he and Merry are still alive, remembers they can eat lembas for strength if they escape, and messes with Grishnakh to make him think they're carrying the ring. Way to go, Pippin!
And we also learn that Merry is quite fierce -- before Boromir came to their aid when they first encountered the Uruk-hai, "Merry had cut off several of their arms and hands" (p. 434). Wow! I'm impressed.
"What good have I been? Just a nuisance: a passenger, a piece of luggage" (p. 435).
Evil dreams and evil waking were blended into a long tunnel of misery, with hope growing ever fainter behind (p. 440).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Who do you like better, Merry or Pippin? Or do you like them both equally?