Book 4 of The Lord of the Rings, Chapter 1 Notes from The Two Towers

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The Two Towers Book 4 of The Lord of the Rings, Chapter 1

It has been three evenings since the hobbits, Frodo and Sam, parted from their companions in their journey towards Mordor with the Ring.

"The Hobbit stood now on the brink of a tall cliff, bare and bleak, its feet wrapped in mist; and behind them rose the broken highlands crowned with drifting cloud. A chill wind blew from the East. Night was gathering over the shapeless lands before them; the sickly green of them was fading to a sullen brown." Book 4, Chapter 1, pg. 265

They gaze into the frightening journey ahead, and Sam says it is strange that the only place they do not want to go is the one place they must. They can find neither shelter nor a way down the cliff to the rocky valley below. All they have for food is lembas and they worry constantly about whether or not they are being followed by Smeagol. The day wears on in silence and they pick a slow path around boulders and fissures in the rocks. There is a deep gulch containing twisted and dead trees, where they find a way down. They climb slowly as the sun fades, and Sam wants to stop for the night. Frodo's words are suddenly cut off as he slips into a dark void. Sam cries out and Frodo calls back. He is face to face with the edge of a cliff that seems impassable. Rain and hail begin to assault the hobbits. Sam takes out a coil of elvish rope that he got in Lothlorien, and he tows Frodo back up. The rope is longer than he expected, and Frodo thinks that he can use it to climb over the cliff. Frodo broods over Sauron and the great darkness spreading over the world. The rope glows slightly in the rising darkness, and he decides to climb down before the rest of the light departs. They both make it down and regret that the rope has to be left behind. Sam mutters about Galadriel and the rope comes falling down to him. Frodo thinks that they tied a faulty knot, but Sam thinks it is magic.

They walk in the shadows and come to a fissure in the ground that halts their progress. They hide under a precipice to sleep, but Frodo cannot rest. They look over to the cliff and see a dark shape scaling it face first. It is Smeagol. They approach the wall and Frodo bids Sam to be quiet. Sam says "'He's come once too often for me and I'm going to have a word with him, if I can.'" Book 4, Chapter 1, pg. 278. He means to do violence to the creature. They can hear him mumbling to himself. As he nears the bottom, Sam runs out but Smeagol quickly overcomes him. Frodo steps in and threatens Smeagol. The creature sobs and says he is lonely. Sam ties him up and wants to leave him behind. Frodo thinks of an old conversation he had with Gandalf about pitying the wretched creature. He tells Sam that Gollum has not harmed them. Frodo tells the creature that he must lead them into Mordor over the harsh terrain. Smeagol is very upset at the prospect of entering the dark land again. He panics and speaks as if Sauron is tormenting him. He says that they must rest first.

When Smeagol thinks that the hobbits are sleeping, he jumps up and tries to run away. They catch him and tie him up again. He screams that the rope is freezing and causing him pain. Frodo says he will let him go if he swears on the Ring to serve him. To Sam, it looks like Frodo has grown and Smeagol has shrunk in front of him. Sam does not trust Gollum after he swears, but he does not wish to upset Frodo. The creature says that there are marshes ahead of them but he knows a way through that the orcs do not use. They quickly move under the silent night.

Topic Tracking: Trust 7
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 9

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