This Saturday at 6pm EDT (New York time), Hall of Fire returns to Fellowship of the Ring and rejoins our questing Hobbits as they arrive in the village of Bree.

‘That’s right! Barliman is my name. Barliman Butterbur at your service! You’re from the Shire, eh?’ he said, and then suddenly he clapped his hand to his forehead, as if trying to remember something. ‘Hobbits!’ he cried. ‘Now what does that remind me of? Might I ask your names, sir?’

‘Mr. Took and Mr. Brandybuck,’ said Frodo; ‘and this is Sam Gamgee. My name is Underhill.’

FoTR Book 1, Chapter 9: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

The four Hobbits find Bree’s gatewarden suspicious, but local inn the Prancing Pony is a welcoming haven on a dark night. So much so that the hobbits quickly become the center of attention in the inn’s common room and a tipsy Pippin lets down his guard.

Alerted by the mysterious ranger Strider, Frodo leaps up on a table. But his diversionary song goes all wrong when he topples over mid-tune and the Ring slips onto his finger and he vanishes in front of the crowd.

How do we see the corrupting power of Sauron’s servants at work on ordinary people in this chapter? In what ways is Bree a much grimmer place than The Shire? What does it mean that almost every character the hobbits meet initially looks suspicious — even those that they come later to trust, such as Strider and Barliman?

And what of Frodo’s “accident”?

Whether you’re a first-time reader of Tolkien, a first-time chatter who’s never visited TORn’s chatrooms, or an experienced hand who was with us when we began our first read-through back in 2001, we’d love you to join us. (Be prepared for a few spoilers along the way, though!)

So join us in the Hall of Fire this Saturday, July 14 at 6.00pm EDT (New York time), when we’ll discuss all this and much more as we continue our Fellowship of the Ring read-through!

Time zone conversions

Not sure what time the chat will be where you are? Check this little conversion table out for some help. Alternatively, head to our Time and Date Event Announcer to find out when it kicks off in your time zone!

6.00pm EDT (New York)
5.00pm CDT (Chicago)
4.00pm MDT (Denver)
3.00pm PDT (Los Angeles)

11.00pm GMT (London)
Midnight CET (Paris)
1.00am EET (Helsinki)

8.00am AEST (Sunday) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne
10.00am NZST (Sunday) Wellington

How long do your topic chats go for?

Our chats usually last an hour, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation! However, our main room, is open 24 hours a day. We don’t always talk Tolkien there, but if you have a burning question, you’ll usually find one or two of “the regulars” up for a chat!

Where — connection details

Chat happens on #thehalloffire on — the TORn IRC server. You can connect instantly via our embedded Mibbit client that works inside your web browser.

Alternatively, you can install a dedicated chat program such as mIRC on your computer and just plug in the following connection details.

Port: 6667
Channel: #thehalloffire