I've been following along. I'm dedicating my own rereading of LOTR to a friend and uber Tolkein fan who passed away of a terrible illness a few years ago -- (this one's for you, Dan, wish you were here to continue the old argument about whether or not Galadriel counts as a feminist heroine....
Anyway, always loved Farmer Maggot. He's the first of the landholders and lords and guardians of the land who offer Frodo comfort, food, information and safety, and the only one who is a hobbit and homely enough to farm for food himself!
It seems odd to me that a hobbit keeps fierce dogs, somehow. Farmer Maggot is probably more of a guardian of the Shire than the officials hired to do it.
Not going to touch the hobbitish love of mushrooms, but glad in the stories of the mushroom thieving that Frodo has some of Bilbo the Burglar in him and some youthful mischief in him, too. It is a different side of Frodo to see him sheepish about youthful wrongdoings and tentative about his right to be somewhere. It is also a different side of Pippin to see him as the bridge, the one who knows Maggot and can claim hospitality-- once they leave the shire he is always the child, innocent and impertinent and so out of his depth.
In the Hobbit, Bilbo is hired as a burglar, to steal the Dragon's treasure, though not totally for venial reasons - the treasure was stolen from the dwarves by the dragon in the first place. He incidentally burgles the Ring as a side job....Frodo was a burglar as a boy, stealing mushrooms out of pure lust to consume them, but his charge is to find the courage and selflesness to definitively cast away and destroy the ultimate treasure. What a journey....
Wrt the pace of one chapter a week -- I'm happy about it. I don't know if I have ever read the Two Towers properly, because it is so dark, and I am looking forward to taking it slow through Book Two. But I am not in a hurry to get there, either