Ahh, a happy interlude. I really like this chapter, with the remnants of the Fellowship eating and smoking and exchanging stories and information. That bit where Pippin produces a spare pipe and Gimli calls him a "most noble hobbit" always makes me grin. Same goes for when Pippin tells what Gandalf's reappearance was like -- that time, he got called a "tom-fool of a Took" instead, but it still makes me grin.
And aren't the Huorns nifty? Especially how they can "wrap themselves in shadow" (p. 551) -- that would be such a useful power! They're also a bit scary, and of all the not-evil creatures in Middle Earth, I think I'd want to meet them the least.
"One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters" (p. 550).
"It is difficult with these evil folk to know when they are in league, and when they are cheating one another" (p. 552).
"A punch from an Ent-fist crumples up iron like thin tin" (p. 553).
"'Wherever I have been, I am back,' he answered in the genuine Gandalf manner" (p. 556).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Pippin says that "nobody, not even Elves, will say much about Gandalf's movements when he is not there" (p. 556). Why do you suppose that is?
Aragorn says of Saruman that "[t]here are not many in Middle-earth that I should say were safe, if they were left alone to talk with him, even now when he has suffered a defeat. Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel, perhaps, now that his wickedness has been laid bare, but very few others" (p. 553). Do you think that's because they possess the three Elvish rings of power?