Hi Lauds - Sam can't possibly have hard feelings - you were only worried about Frodo, after all! ;-)
Thanks so much for all your comments on LDID - I've really enjoyed reading them, and am glad you found the story so engaging.
Pippin did turn out to be the biggest surprise for me as a writer, and I'm glad you found his arc interesting. As you say, responsibility requires him to make the choice he makes, but responsibility comes in many forms. As Halbarad said, better to smart from the wound to your pride than die for the flattering of it - Pippin's decision (I hope) shows he's adult enough that he isn't willing to be flattered - not even by himself, and so he won't make others deal with his immaturity, either.
As for spider anatomy - yeah, Tolkien clearly tried never to get within five feet of a spider. But that anatomical snafu does allow for other ways of dying than poison, although there is still that. I mean, you think of a giant spider stinger impaling someone, and you think "ruptured internal organs."
But anyway - thank you, once again, for commenting on the story, and happy writing to you in the new year!