Except for Merry, Who Turned Away

by Auntkimby

As even the most casual reader of The Two Towers would know, there is a little vignette in which Pippin’s curiosity gets the best of him and he sneaks a peek into Gandalf’s Palantir- and nearly gets killed in the process. But one little phrase stuck out to me as I read: when Gandalf asks Pippin what he saw in the Palantir, it reads that “they all stared at him except for Merry, who turned away.” The line piqued my own curiosity, and I started a discussion on the Middle-Earth section of the LOTR fan club page, as to what everyone thought of that brief but poignant phrase. It generated quite a lot of discussion, because no one had really given it any thought before, if they had noticed it at all.

Why did Merry turn away from Pippin, for perhaps the first time in their lives? This is just a bit of speculation on six little words that are loaded with significance, at least to me.

I am sorry, Pippin, but I just cannot look at you right now. I know you need to see that I am looking at you, and supporting you silently as everyone gazes upon you with a mixture of worry and pity and reproach, but I just cannot bear to look at you at the moment.

Why do you have to be this way, Pippin? I know that you know better, and I also know that you are not so foolish as you appear to be. Yet after you promised me that you would not go near the Palantir, much less take it, you do something like this! The least you could have done was wait for me to have a look into it too…but that is how you are, always rushing headlong into things that you know you should not, perhaps because that is what everyone expects you to do, or you think that they do. I know you are still young, but you are too old to do something so rash and foolish.

Gandalf named you well- Fool of a Took! Why do you always make it a point to do the ridiculous? And does it ever occur to you that when I tell you something is not a good thing to do, I might actually tell you for your own good, and not merely to keep you from satisfying your curiosity? I know that I am only eight years older than you are. But you are still a tweenager and I am of age, and that should count for something in how you listen to what I have to say to you. I know we are cousins, and we are friends, and we have good times together. But I am still older, and there are things that I have more sense about than you do at this point in your life. When I told you not to meddle in the affairs of wizards, it was not a suggestion!

And I suppose too that it pains me to see you in this situation- being reprimanded by Gandalf in front of the rest of our little group, and to see how miserable and humiliated you are right now.

But most of all, Pippin, I am so angry at you right now that I could shake you until your teeth rattle. You could have been killed just now, by handling and looking into something that you knew nothing about. You were lying there on the ground, unconscious and trembling…

Why can everyone else stand here and look at you, but I cannot? I will never say as much to you, but it is because there is no one standing here that loves you so much as I do. I would do anything to protect you, and fight anything that wished to harm you. But knowing that you were very nearly lost to me tonight because YOU did something foolish…I am furious with you, Peregrin Took, and I want you to know that. That is why they can all look at you right now, and I cannot. You could have died just now and I would have lost a piece of my soul.

Gandalf is kindly leading you aside, to make you comfortable and to calm your shattered nerves. I see him lead you aside, and then I turn back around and I follow you there to take my place at your side.

You are a fool of a Took and I will tell you so. But what I say about you is one thing; how I feel about you is another. I sit here beside you because I need to keep an eye on you. It is because you are MY fool of a Took, and I love you.