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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa on January 3rd 1892. Soon after his birth, his family moved back to England and his father died in South Africa. Eight years later, his mother died and he and his brother became the charges of a Catholic priest. He earned a scholarship to school and earned a degree in Classics before he enlisted for World War 1. He was married within a year to his childhood sweetheart, and lost many friends in the war. He eventually became a professor of philology and English, focusing on the language and literature of Northern Europe in the early Middle Ages. During his tenure at Oxford University, he was a part of a group called the inklings, which also included the author C.S. Lewis. His first fantasy novel, The Hobbit, was published in 1937 and his trilogy The Lord of the Rings wasn't published for another twenty years. Tolkien had three sons with his wife Edith who died in 1971. Two years later, Tolkien died in Oxford.
Tolkien maintains what is still a shaky place in literature. Fantasy had little readership in the first half of the twentieth century. While he also published occasionally as a scholar (His edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is still in use), he was not as active or successful as his colleague Lewis. Together, however, they represent a new breed of scholar-writers. Both of them were deeply religious men who created visions of other fantastic worlds.
Tolkien's first book was The Hobbit, first published in 1937. It was originally dismissed as juvenile by many of his friends. It had evolved from stories he told his children into a full-length tale he shared with his discussion group. Former Oxford students encouraged the professor to complete his work with his own illustrations. As shown years later, Tolkien felt a certain kinship with his characters: "I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated)..." The Hobbit was a financial success, although it was panned by many critics.
Almost twenty years after the publishing of The Hobbit, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was published in the form of a hardback trilogy. It was well received but not as well as the initial sales of The Hobbit. Ten years later, however, an unauthorized edition was printed in paperback in the U.S. Within six months, Tolkien issued an authorized edition. Tolkien mania had hit the States. All over, Tolkien fan clubs sprouted up. His books had become a phenomenon. Before Tolkien died, his son promised that he would finish the editing of Tolkien's longest labored-over work The Silmarillion. In 1977, this collection of histories and legends became an international best seller.
The Lord of the Rings represented something completely different from The Hobbit. It was not exactly children's literature, but no critic deemed it exclusively for the adult. After World War 2, many readers found significant parallels in its stories. The Lord of the Dark, Sauron, could be seen as an allusion to the dictators of the War. The ultimate power of the ring represented atomic weapons. The Fellowships of the Ring represented the first of what was not originally intended to be a trilogy. The Lord of the Rings was a single story in six books. The Fellowship of the Ring tells the story of the realization of the evil power and the first few steps taken to destroy it.
The effects of the Tolkien phenomenon are still felt in the modern era. The fantasy genre has grown exponentially since the publishing of The Hobbit, an occurrence that may have been all but impossible without Tolkien's work. While Tolkien's standing in the ranks of literature continues to be debated, his books continue to sell every year. As William Dowie said, "Other writers achieve popularity and admiration as well as critical acclaim; but the Tolkien books breed a kind of fierce discipleship that seeks to proselytize the unenlightened."
Dowie, William. The Gospel of Middle-Earth according to J.R.R. Tolkien. from J.R.R. Tolkien, Scholar and Storyteller. Salu and Farrell, eds. London: Cornell University Press, 1979.
Pearce, Joseph, ed. Tolkien: A Celebration. Great Britain: HarperCollins, 1999.
Rogers, Deborah and Ivor. J.R.R. Tolkien. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. New York: Ballantine Books, 1937.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring. New York: Ballantine Books, 1955.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Two Towers. New York: Ballantine Books, 1955.
Frodo and Sam depart for Mordor with the Ring of Power. Boromir dies trying to stop a band of orcs from kidnapping Merry and Pippin. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursue the orcs. They travel into the land of Rohan and see that the band of orcs is traveling very quickly toward Isengard, the fortress of the once good wizard, Saruman. They meet Eomer, a marshal of Rohan who hears their tale and offers them horses to look for the hobbits even though his men just killed the orcs.
Merry and Pippin are hauled around by the orcs for several days. When the Riders of Rohan surround them, one of the orcs tries to get away with them but is killed. They escape and flee into the forest. There, they meet the ent, Treebeard, who takes them to his home and listens to their stories. He is enraged by the tale of the evils around and gathers the long dormant ents. They elect to rouse the forest and attack Isengard themselves.
Aragorn and the others pursue the hobbits' prints into the forest and meet an old man. It turns out to be Gandalf whom they had assumed dead after his fall in Moria. He tells them what has transpired and urges that they all go to Edoras, the capital of Rohan. There they release King Theoden from the evil lies of Grima, a servant of Saruman. Theoden rallies his people to go fight Saruman and they ride tirelessly to the aid of their countrymen. They make a desperate stand against Saruman's armies and finally overcome them with the help of the ents' trees.
Gandalf rides to Isengard and the Company of the Ring is almost united, excluding the two other hobbits and Boromir. Merry and Pippin recount their tale and the defeat of Isengard. Saruman has retreated to the inner stronghold. Gandalf ascends the stairs to speak to him. Saruman tries to get Gandalf to join him. Gandalf breaks Saruman's staff and announces that he is cast from the council of wizards. They ride off towards Rohan. When it becomes apparent that the forces of Sauron are afoot, Gandalf rides off in the other direction to prepare to fight the lord of darkness.
Frodo and Sam move closer to Mordor with great difficulty. They find Gollum, a creature who once bore the Ring, and who has been following them for some time. The hobbits force him to lead them into Mordor. The journey is long and grueling. First, Gollum leads them to the main gates that cannot be entered. He tells them that there is another way, and they begin another long walk. They run into a group of men from Gondor and slowly begin to trust them. Faramir, the brother of Boromir, shows them hospitality in a wilderness fortress and they exchange their tales. From this encounter, the hobbits receive enough food to continue their quest.
They leave the company of Faramir and journey to the other gate to Mordor. There they watch a great army march out to wage war on the world. Gollum leads them up seemingly endless staircases and into a secret tunnel. In the tunnel, he abandons them and they find themselves attacked by a wretched spider-like beast. Frodo is overcome and Sam eventually beats the creature away. He weeps when he finds that Frodo is no longer breathing and takes the Ring, meaning to continue on with the quest. He overhears a couple of orcs as they carry away Frodo's body and realizes that the poison of the spider merely makes the victim appear to be dead. He follows the orcs and is closed out of their fortress as he watches them carry Frodo away.
Frodo Baggins: Frodo inherited the Ring of Power from his uncle Bilbo Baggins. He volunteered to bear it all the way into Mordor where it can finally be destroyed. This brave deed brings him many hardships: wounding, winter storms, and the loss of companions. When it finally becomes apparent that he cannot make the journey with his present companions, he presses on alone with Sam Gamgee. They struggle through the worst terrain and eventually make it only with the help of Smeagol (Gollum). It is Frodo's trust in Smeagol that allows them to get as far as they do. When Frodo's life seems doomed, the entire quest hangs in a delicate balance
Sam Gamgee: Sam cajoled his way into the journey when he eavesdropped on Frodo and Gandalf discussing their plans. His worth was quickly proved. The closer they get to Mordor, the weaker Frodo becomes and the more Sam must compensate. He bravely helps his master and swallows his utter hatred of Smeagol long enough for them to use the creature as a guide. When Frodo is attacked by the beast called Shelob, it is Sam's strength and perseverance alone that keeps the journey going and hope alive.
Aragorn: His full title is Aragorn son of Arathorn, heir of Elendil, and bearer of the sword that was broken and forged anew. Aragorn is the heir to a race of kings from an ancient civilization called Numenor. He is also the leader of a widespread group of rangers known as the Dunedain who are also descended from Numenor. Aragorn becomes the leader of the group with the absence of Gandalf, and pushes on until he is reunited with his old friend. Although he is of nobility, he has neither city nor kingdom and the day that he must reclaim his throne weighs heavily inside him.
Merry: Merry is one of Frodo's nephews. He and Pippin blackmailed Frodo into letting them come along on what they thought would be an adventure. They weather the difficulties well. Even when they are captured by a band of orcs, they do not lose their spirit. They escape their captors and flee into a dangerous forest where they befriend Treebeard the Ent. The hobbits' entrance into Fangorn prompts the rousing of the ents and the destruction if Isengard.
Pippin: Pippin is the braver, or at least more bold, of Frodo's young nephews. He is the one who tries to escape from the orcs and leaves his cloak and brooch behind so that anyone tracking them will be able to follow.. He cuts the bond on his hand and figures out a way for both of the hobbits to escape. His most dangerous moment is when he gazes into the Palantir and is probed by the eye of Sauron. Because of this, he must flee with Gandalf towards Minas Tirith.
Gandalf: Also called Mithrandir, Gandalf Greyhame and Gandalf the Grey. At the beginning, all assume Gandalf to be dead, after falling into a pit while fighting the Balrog. He returns as Gandalf the White instead of Gandalf the Grey. He has become more wise and powerful. He leads Rohan back to greatness and watches the ents destroy Isengard. He offers mercy to the wizard Saruman. When he will not accept the offer, Gandalf deposes him, revokes his powers, and casts him out of the council of wizards. Even though he is the most powerful figure standing against Sauron, he knows that his fate depends on two hobbits traveling alone into the land of darkness.
Smeagol (Gollum): Smeagol is at once villain and hero. Without him, the hobbits would never have made it to the land of Mordor. He leads them because Frodo makes him swear on the Ring that he will not harm them and will serve them. Smeagol agrees to the oath, someday wishing to regain possession of the Ring. Lust for it burns within him. He is torn because he does not want it to be destroyed, but would die to see it in the hands of Sauron. He plans to sacrifice the hobbits to Shelob, and leads them direct to the spider's lair. He sees this plan as his best opportunity to regain what he thinks is his property (the Ring).
Sauron: Sauron is the embodiment of evil throughout The Lord of the Rings. He was once a great leader, and forged the Ring of Power to control the other rings of Middle Earth. He was overthrown by an alliance of elves and men. Years after, he reappeared in Mirkwood and then returned to Mordor to rebuild his kingdom. His lieutenants search endlessly for the Ring so that Sauron may rule again. Without it, he cannot fight the good of the Earth, and with it he cannot be defeated. His lust for power pushes his endless search for the Ring.
Boromir: The son of the Steward of Minas Tirith. His desire for the Ring makes Frodo decide that he must go to Mordor alone. In his last moments, he struggles against orcs and partially vindicates himself for his crimes against his friends.
Legolas: The elf from Mirkwood who accompanies Frodo on his quest. He becomes friends with Gimli even though there is enmity between elves and dwarves.
Gimli: The dwarf on the quest. He is hardy and strong and becomes very good friends with Legolas. The pair kill over 80 orcs together while defending Helm's Deep. His home is on the eastern side of Mirkwood where Bilbo went treasure hunting so many years before.
Saruman: Saruman is a wise master of lore and leader of a council of wizards. Lust for the ring, however, altered his behavior. He raised his own armies of orcs and men, hoping to rival Sauron. When Gandalf would not provide him with the clue to find the Ring, he imprisoned his fellow wizard. Saruman's plots distract the men of Rohan and Gandalf from the rising power of Sauron. He is shown to be merely a pawn of the great dark lord by the end of the book.
Eomer: A lord of Rohan and nephew of King Theoden. He leads his men valiantly and becomes the heir to Theoden.
Theoden: The king of Rohan who is lulled into subservience by Grima or Wormtongue. He is released from the spell and rushes to defend his people from the dark forces of Isengard.
Ugluk: The leader of the Orcs from Isengard. His primary concern is to get the hobbits to Isengard unharmed. Eomer kills him.
Grishnakh: The leader of the orcs from Mordor. He is the only orc who knows that the hobbits may be carrying the Ring of Power. He tries to steal them away but is killed in the process.
Treebeard: The oldest ent in Fangorn. He is a great shepherd of trees. He finds the hobbits and helps them. When he realizes the truth about Sauron, he becomes enraged and eventually rallies the rest of the ents against him.
Quickbeam: The hasty ent who takes care of Merry and Pippin while the rest of the ents decide what they are going to do.
Galadriel: A bearer of a Ring of Power and member of the council of wizards. She helped all of the company when they passed through Lothlorien and Gandalf when he defeated the Balrog.
Hama: The guard who allows Gandalf to enter Theoded's chamber with his staff. He also releases Eomer from bonds and dies at Helm's Deep.
Grima (Wormtongue): The adviser to Theoded who turned him to crooked ways. He serves Saruman and flees to him after Gandalf deposes him.
Eowyn: Eomer's sister and Theoded's niece. She is left in charge of Edoras when the army leaves for Helm's Deep.
Erkenbrand: The leader of Rohan's forces near Helm's Deep.
Shelob: The spider creature that lurks in the caves below Minas Ithil. She made a deal with Gollum that if he brought her food, he may keep the possessions of the victims.
Faramir: Brother of Boromir and lead Ranger of Ithilien from Gondor. He meets with the hobbits and offers them help and advice. He gives them food and shelter for a couple of days.
Ring of Power: The most important item in The Lord of the Rings. This ring was crafted by the evil lord Sauron and can overpower all of the other rings of Middle Earth: the nine belonging to men, three to elves, and three to dwarves. Bilbo found it by accident in the deep caverns of the Misty Mountains in The Hobbit. It makes normal mortals invisible, but can give great power to those who know how to use it. Sauron, risen again, desires the ring so he can overcome the forces of good. The ring must be destroyed so that no one can wield it.
Mordor: The land of evil and seat of Sauron's power. It is to Mordor that Frodo must go to destroy the ring.
Hobbits: Creatures half the size of men with round faces and bellies and hairy toes. They tend to live in homes that are partially underground and they very rarely go on adventures.
Orcs: Goblin-like creatures who inhabit mountains and work for Sauron.
Horn of Boromir: The horn that men of Boromir's line have carried for many generations. He uses it before he dies to call Aragorn and the others. When Faramir, his brother, encounters Frodo and Sam, he speaks of this horn and its loss.
elves : Graceful and thin people who live for an indefinite amount of time. Elves are associated with the forest and nature as well as magic. In these books there are the High Elves and the wood elves
Dwarves: Short stocky people who have beards. They are usually associated with mountains, mining, and metal-working. For some past transgression, they are sworn enemies of the elves.
Rohan: A kingdom north of Gondor inhabited by a fierce group of people who tame and raise horses. Rohan is Gondor's only remaining ally and was once powerful in war. The rise of evil in Isengard threatens the country and prompts it to rise again.
Gondor: The country that stands alone against the evil of Sauron and Mordor. Stewards who await the return of the line of kings rule it. It is west of Mordor and south of Gondor.
Isengard: The citadel of Saruman, where he raises his great army and plans his conquest of Rohan.
Riders of Rohan: The name of the army and elite fighting corps of Rohan.
Lothlorien: A beautiful enchanted forest through which the company passed before they were split. Most men fear it because of baseless legends.
Shadowfax: A horse Gandalf borrowed from king Theoden. It became a point of contention when Gandalf became the only rider it would accept. Eventually, Theoden gives it as a gift to Gandalf.
Edoras: The seat of Theoden.
Fangorn: The forest of Treebeard where the ents dwell.
Lembas: The wafer food that was giving to the company by the elves. It is sort of magical. It has the power to sustain a traveler for many days after only eating very little.
Ents: Giant creatures that look like trees. They live an indefinite amount of time and possess great strength and wisdom.
Entwives: The female ents. They disappeared after the first rise of Sauron.
Orthanc: The tower in the middle of Isengard. It was made before the wizards came and is very powerful.
Minas Tirith: The capitol city of Gondor.
Balrog: The beast that terrorized the mines of Moria.
Moria: Ancient mines of the dwarves that were overcome by orcs and the Balrog. When the Company of the Ring passed through these mines, Gandalf fell into a deep pit wrestling with the terrible beast.
Helm's Deep: An ancient fortress in a gorge near the border between Rohan and Isengard. It is here that Theoden makes a stand against the armies of Saruman and is triumphant.
Huorns: Black trees with the ability to move and fight. They hate orcs especially and are the reason that Rohan defeats the orcs at Helm's Deep.
Palantir: A stone that allows one to communicate over long distances. There were originally seven. Gandalf takes one from Orthanc and Pippin looks into it. It is through this stone that Sauron gained control of Saruman.
Nazgul: The black riders from the Fellowship of the Ring. These creatures are Ringwraiths and they search for the Ring of Power. Their new form is of a winged horse representing the increased power and reach of Sauron
Minas Ithil: A fortress on the far side of Mordor where there are fewer guards and more secret passages. Sauron calls it Minas Morgul. It was once a place of good built by Aragorn's ancestor, Isildur, to watch over Mordor.
Oliphaunts: Tolkein's version of elephants. They are used by the southern men in war.
Ithilien: The land outside of Minas Ithil. It was once a beautiful plain, but now it is shrouded in darkness from the shadow of Mordor. Men of Gondor still patrol it.
Rivendell: An elvish settlement where the Company of the Ring originally met and set out for their long journey.
Isildur's Bane: Another name for the Ring of Power. It is called this because Isildur, an ancestor of Aragorn, took it from Sauron and then lost it in a lake.
Phial of Galadriel: A glowing object that Galadriel gave to Frodo. Frodo uses the phial to help the party escape Shelob's lair, by blinding the great spider with light.
Quote 1: "'I will follow the orcs.'" Book 3, Chapter 1, pg. 25
Quote 2: "Out of the forest the Entwash flowed to meet them, its stream now swift and narrow, and its banks deep-cloven. The orc-trail turned from the downs to towards it." Book 3, Chapter 2, pg. 38
Quote 3: "A smaller and lighter horse, but restive and fiery, was brought to Legolas. Arod was his name. but Legolas asked them to take off the saddle and rein. 'I need them not,' he said and lightly leaped up, and to their wonder, Arod was tame and willing beneath him, moving here and there with but a spoken word: such was the elvish way with all good beasts." Book 3, Chapter 3, pg. 51
Quote 4: "'So you've come on this little expedition too? Where do we get bed and breakfast?'" Book 3, Chapter 3, pg. 64
Quote 5: "'Yes...I can manage it. Lembas does put the heart into you! A more wholesome sort of feeling than the heat of that orc-draught. I wonder what it was made of. Better not to know I expect.'" Book 3, Chapter 3, pg. 77
Quote 6: "'You might call it far perhaps, but what does that matter?'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 87
Quote 7: "'And now the Entwives are only a memory for us, and our beards are long and grey. The Elves made many songs concerning the Search of the Ents, and some of the songs passed into the tongues of Men. But we made no songs about it, being content to chant their beautiful names when we thought of the Entwives.'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 100
Quote 8: "'If we are not hewn down, or destroyed. . . .we could split Isengard into splinters and crack its walls into rubble.'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 113
Quote 9: "'He supposes that we are all going to Minas Tirith; for that is what he would himself have done in our place. And according to his wisdom it would have been a heavy stroke against his power. Indeed he is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him done and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind.'" Book 3, Chapter 5, pg. 127
Quote 10: "'And it seems to my eyes that it is thatched with gold.'" Book 3, Chapter 6, pg. 141
Quote 11: "'Take this, dear lord. . . .It was ever at your service!'" Book 3, Chapter 6, pg.155
Quote 12: "'Then let us be swift. . . .Let us drive through such foes as are already between us and the fortress'" Book 3, Chapter 7, pg. 170
Quote 13: "'It is said that Hornburg has never fallen to assault...but now my heart is doubtful'" Book 3, Chapter 7, pg. 183
Quote 14: "'For not only the little life of Men is endangered, but the life also of those things which you have deemed the matter of legend.'" Book 3, Chapter 8, pg. 197
Quote 15: "'I am glad you have come...wood, water and stone I can master, but three is a wizard to manage here.'" Book 3, Chapter 9, pg. 223
Quote 16: "'We will have peace, when you and all your works have perished-and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor.'" Book 3, Chapter 10, pg. 237
Quote 17: "He tossed and turned and tried to think of something else." Book 3, Chapter 11, pg. 250
Quote 18: "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 owned 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
Quote 19: "'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
Quote 20: "'This waybread keeps you on your legs in a wonderful way, though it doesn't satisfy the innards proper, you might say: not to my feeling anyhow, meaning no disrespect to them as made it. But you have to eat some of it every day, and it doesn't grow.'" Book 4, Chapter 2, pg. 292
Quote 21: "'It's a lie!...He lied on me, yes he did. I did escape, all by my poor self. Indeed I was told to seek for the Precious; and I have searched and searched of course I have. But not for the Black One. The Precious was ours, it was mine I tell you. I did escape.'" Book 4, Chapter 3, pg. 318
Quote 22: "'I love him. He's like that and sometimes it shines through, somehow. But I love him, whether or no.'" Book 4, Chapter 4, pg. 330
Quote 23: "'But it was at the coming of the Halfling that Isildur's Bane should waken, or so one must read the words...If then you are the Halfling that was named, doubtless you brought this thing, whatever it may be, to the Council of which you speak, and there Boromir saw it.'" Book 4, Chapter 5, pg, 343
Quote 24: "'But it is a command that no stranger. . .shall see the path we now go with open eyes. I must blindfold you.'" Book 4, Chapter 5, pg. 356
Quote 25: "As he went by the cave-mouth he saw that the Curtain was now become a dazzling veil of silk and pearls and silver thread: melting icicles of moonlight." Book 4, Chapter 6, pg. 370
Quote 26: "'But where else will you direct me?'" Book 4, Chapter 6, pg. 383
Quote 27: "All was dark about it, earth and sky, but it was lit with light. Not the imprisoned moonlight welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, Tower of the moon, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills." Book 4, Chapter 8, pg. 396
Quote 28: "'And Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam'" Book 4, Chapter 8, pg. 409
Quote 29: "It seemed light in that dark land to his eyes that had passed through the den of night. The great smokes had risen and grown thinner, and the last hours of a sombre day were passing; the ed glare of Mordor had died away in sullen gloom. Yet it seemed to Frodo that he looked upon a morning of sudden hope." Book 4, Chapter 9, pg. 422
Quote 30: "'Did I come all this way for nothing?'" Book 4, Chapter 10, pg. 427
Quote 31: "The great doors slammed to. Boom. The bars of iron fell into place inside. Clang. The gate was shut. Sam hurried himself against the bolted brazen plates and fell senseless to the ground. He was out in the darkness. Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy." Book 4, Chapter 10, pg. 446
Book 3, Chapter 1
Metamorphoses 1: Two metamorphoses occur in the early part of this book. Boromir changes from the power hungry man who made Frodo depart from the rest of the group, into a warrior who dies for his companions. The company itself changes into two groups. The hobbits become the bearers of the Ring and the others, unknowingly, go out to prepare the world for its war with Sauron.
Book 3, Chapter 2
Metamorphoses 2: Their journey changes from a quest into a hunt for lost friends. When Aragorn comes to meet a group of men, he gives them his customary name, Strider. When they do not believe his word, he announces his real name and heritage and seems to change before his friends. His stature and voice is King-like and the change seems uncanny.
Book 3, Chapter 3
Metamorphoses 3: The young hobbits have changed drastically since they left their homes months before. Pippin has become brave and daring. They do not despair too much after their capture and stay lucid enough to take advantage of a chance to escape when they find it. In the spreading darkness, even orcs are changing. They follow commands and move during the day.
Book 3, Chapter 4
Metamorphoses 4: For many years, even centuries, the ents of Fangorn have become more and more sedentary. They have, however, noticed the dark changes of the outside world. When they find out that Saruman has become evil, they fully realize the threat of darkness, and rouse themselves to become something they have not been in any creature's memory: a force to be reckoned with.
Book 3, Chapter 5
Metamorphoses 5: Gandalf's sacrifice in Moria changed him and made him stronger. He returns reborn and reincarnated in another form. His new form is wiser and stronger, but he has forgotten some things. In his rebirth, he has realized how urgent the need to fight Sauron has become.
Book 3, Chapter 6
Metamorphoses 6: Theoden undergoes a transformation that parallels Gandalf's and is opposite of Saruman's. He falls into a darkness that blinds him, but struggles out of it and realizes how perilous the world has become. In this realization, he is stronger and capable of action that was impossible before.
Book 3, Chapter 10
Metamorphoses 7: Saruman and Gandalf experience opposite transformations. With his descent into evil, Saruman cannot resist the temptations and is cast from the council of wizards by Gandalf, and becomes powerless. Gandalf ascends to the head of the council of wizards and becomes the most powerful.
Book 3, Chapter 11
Metamorphoses 8: The powers of good and evil are altered in the final stages of the struggle. Sauron becomes more desperate as his power increases, but he cannot find the Ring. His riders become Nazguls and fly over the earth with greater haste. Gandalf splits the forces of good so they may prepare for the battle with the lord of darkness.
Book 4, Chapter 1
Metamorphoses 9: Each member of the trio, Sam, Frodo, and Smeagol, must undergo a significant change to make their companionship possible. Smeagol goes from being a hunter to being a guide. Frodo becomes his master and Sam must learn to tolerate the creature even though he never trusts him.
Book 4, Chapter 6
Metamorphoses 10: Gollum's relationship to the hobbits undergoes a myriad of changes. He changes from something to be feared, to something to be pitied. When Faramir puts him under the charge of Frodo instead of killing him, it alters the relationship even more. It reaffirms Gollum's subservience to the hobbits and shows the depths of Frodo's pity and understanding.
Book 4, Chapter 8
Metamorphoses 11: Sam speaks of the stories that may be told about them as heroes. This is a small consolation for them when they realize how far they have come and how much further they must go. Sam watches Gollum pet Frodo's head in an odd gesture of affection. The creature may crave the closeness of the two companions or he may just crave the closeness of the Ring. In either case, adversaries have become uneasy companions.
Book 4, Chapter 9
Metamorphoses 12: In his final deed, Gollum exposes that he never changed at all. His help was merely a ruse to bring them to a point where he could take the advantage. His only thought the entire time was that he might be able to recover the Ring, and prevent its destruction or its return to Sauron. This is the power of the Ring. Gollum is at once the most vile and pitiable entity.
Book 4, Chapter 10
Metamorphoses 13: Sam changes into a force of violence when Frodo's life is threatened. He defeats a creature that fed on scores of orcs. When Frodo seems dead, he assumes the quest himself, fully prepared to walk into Mordor alone. When he realizes that Frodo is still alive, his love for his friend overcomes his dedication to the quest and he turns back to rescue him.
Book 3, Chapter 1
Sacrifice 1: Boromir gives his life trying to prevent the orcs from taking the hobbits. In his last words he admits his wrong against Frodo to Aragorn. Aragorn keeps this secret until he speaks to Gandalf. The entire company is traveling with the tacit knowledge that at any moment they may be required to lay down their lives for the quest.
Book 3, Chapter 4
Sacrifice 2: The ents become enraged about the treachery of Saruman. Their forest is threatened and they slowly begin to realize that much more hangs in the balance than their own forest. The gather and consider their options and decide to rouse the forest and attack the fortress of Saruman. In this, Treebeard is fully aware of the risk and willing to die to rid the world of the evil menace.
Book 3, Chapter 5
Sacrifice 3: Gandalf's sacrifice in Moria was profound. He fought the Balrog so that the quest to destroy the Ring could continue. He fell into fire and darkness but struggled to eventually defeat the creature. This struggle resulted in a death of his original form, and he returns to the world as Gandalf the White.
Book 3, Chapter 7
Sacrifice 4: The Riders of Rohan rush to the aid of their countrymen against a great force with little care for their own lives. Aragorn and Eomer repeatedly risk their lives at the walls. At dawn, Theoden rides out to defend his people and rally them to an unlikely victory with the help of the mysterious trees. The young guard, Hama, dies in the battle defending his people.
Book 3, Chapter 9
Sacrifice 5: Even though he was willing to risk the lives of his army of orcs and men, Saruman is unwilling to risk his own life in battle and he merely retreats into his impenetrable tower after his forces have been overcome. His servant Grima also shuns sacrifice and he joins his master in the tower.
Book 3, Chapter 10
Sacrifice 6: Unwittingly, Saruman, who wished not to risk his own life even while his armies were being slaughtered, sacrifices everything in his desire for the ultimate power. He is given a chance to retain his power and position if he will only trust Gandalf, but his descent into evil prevents him from doing this.
Book 4, Chapter 4
Sacrifice 7: Sam's love for Frodo exhibits itself in the sacrifices he is willing to make for his friend. He watches over him while he sleeps and makes food for him when he is hungry. Frodo's endeavor is not without sacrifice. His health and life suffer for the quest. Each of the hobbits gives according to his ability.
Book 4, Chapter 7
Sacrifice 8: Frodo's empathy for Gollum is shown through the act of blindfolding himself. He gives up his own right to see the way from the secret forest so that Gollum will be comfortable. This right is a token of Faramir's deep trust for the hobbit. He makes a commitment to Gollum that parallels the blindfolding of the companions when they are in Lothlorien and the elves want to just blindfold the dwarf (The Fellowship of the Ring).
Book 4, Chapter 8
Sacrifice 9: Sam is shown once again sacrificing his comfort for the comfort of his friend. He knows that while they both suffer the dangers of their quest, Frodo, as the bearer of the Ring, must bear a burden greater than he could ever imagine. He speaks of songs that will be sung about them, understanding that fame is the only payment they may ever get for their suffering. These thoughts bring them little comfort.
Book 4, Chapter 9
Sacrifice 10: For Gollum, the hobbits are a suitable sacrifice to Shelob. She gets their flesh and for his troubles in leading them to her lair, he gets the Ring. He has thought of nothing but their sacrifice since he found them. All that is important to him is the Ring.
Book 4, Chapter 10
Sacrifice 11: I the final moments of this book, there are many sacrifices. Sam sees that Frodo has sacrificed his life for the quest and he throws himself at Shelob with unparalleled strength, risking his own life to try and save his friend. When Frodo is presumed dead, Sam is prepared to carry on the quest. When he finds out that Frodo might be alive, he sacrifices the quest to try and rescue his friend.
Book 3, Chapter 1
Trust 1: The only thing that held the band of travelers together was the understanding that they could trust each other in a world of mounting danger. Once this understanding is in doubt, Frodo could no longer take any risks. He departs with his Sam, the only person he feels he can trust.
Book 3, Chapter 3
Trust 2: Because of the dark times, Eomer has been instructed to trust no one. His initial reaction to the three companions is surprise and wonder. He follows his orders at first but the more he hears of the companions, the more he finds it impossible not to trust them. To the considerable surprise of his subordinates, he releases the travelers with his own horses.
Book 3, Chapter 4
Trust 3: The hobbits never question whether or not they should trust the ent. They immediately assume he is good. Treebeard does not feel threatened by the hobbits, and only starts to believe their tales after they speak of their involvement with Gandalf and their great journey. Once he trusts them, however, he rouses the ents on their word alone.
Book 3, Chapter 6
Trust 4: In his unending trust of Grima, Theoden has been tricked into trusting no one else. Even his nephew, Eomer, falls prey to this deceit, as well as old friends such as Gandalf. Once Grima's influence is thrown off, Theoded reaches out to his people, relatives, and new friends in Gandalf and Aragorn.
Book 3, Chapter 8
Trust 5: So much does Treebeard trust the hobbits, that he leaves them as guards over the entrance to the Orthanc. When the companions are reunited, Theoden's trust and affection for the others immediately includes the hobbits.
Book 3, Chapter 10
Trust 6: With his false words, sweet voice, and natural charisma, Saruman tries to gain the trust of Theoden and Gandalf so that he can manipulate them and regain his position. They do not fall for the trick and offer him benevolence. Saruman, who tries to get everyone to trust him, trusts no one and this marks his final demise.
Book 4, Chapter 1
Trust 7: Frodo forces himself to trust Smeagol for two reasons: pity and need. Because he bears the Ring, he knows the pain of it. Without Smeagol, he knows that he may never make it to Mordor. Smeagol trusts that the hobbits will not kill him, but is motivated primarily by lust for the Ring. Sam never trusts Smeagol but he has faith that Frodo is making the right decision.
Book 4, Chapter 2
Trust 8: Even though Sam has serious misgivings, Frodo makes him realize that they must trust Smeagol if they want to make it into Mordor. What Sam doesn't understand, is that Smeagol acts not out of goodness, but out of a desire to be near the Ring and keep it from the hands of Sauron. Sam knows that Smeagol is planning to try and get the Ring, but he cannot imagine how he is going to do it.
Book 4, Chapter 3
Trust 9: Sam's suspicions of Smeagol are momentarily justified when he leads them to gates that cannot possibly be entered. Smeagol admits that there is another way to enter, even though he omitted this information before and led them on a useless journey. Frodo things long and hard, but decides to continue trusting the creature because he is their only chance to get into Mordor.
Book 4, Chapter 4
Trust 10: Sam trusts Smeagol enough by this point to have him bring them food, but not enough to leave him alone with Frodo sleeping. Faramir's trust of the hobbits is tentative once he learns that they are not dangerous. Once he finds out of their connection with Boromir, he trusts them less.
Book 4, Chapter 5
Trust 11: Because he does not trust Faramir completely, he only tells him part of his story. Faramir senses a lack of trust while listening to the hole-filled tale. In turn, he is kind to the hobbit and provides more reasons to be trusted. Slowly, the man and hobbit become comfortable with each other enough to tell whole truths and believe them.
The Company that planned to take the Ring of Power to the land of Mordor has broken apart. The mission was to destroy the Ring to prevent it from being used by the evil lord Sauron. The ring bearer, Frodo Baggins, was frightened by the advance of his companion, Boromir, who wanted to keep the Ring and use its powers to fight evil. Frodo left with his friend Sam, planning to travel to Mordor alone. The rest of the group searches for them.
Topic Tracking: Trust 1
Aragorn looks everywhere for the two Hobbits. He hears screams and the voices of orcs. Then, suddenly, the horn of Boromir is sounded. He rushes to find Boromir pierced with many arrows. In his final breath, Boromir tells Aragorn that the orcs captured the hobbits and that it was his fault Frodo fled the company. Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf appear and ask if Boromir meant that ALL of the hobbits were captured or just Pippin and Merry. They search through the bodies of orcs and find nothing except for the sign of Saruman. They debate what they should do next and reason that before anything else, they should tend to Boromir's fallen body. From footprints and a missing boat, they discover that Sam and Frodo left together. They put Boromir's body in one boat and array it with the weapons of his fallen enemies. When this is done, Legolas and Aragorn each sing a song as the boat begins its journey down the river. The remaining members of the company are unsure whether they should look for Pippin and Merry or follow Frodo. Aragorn says, "'I will follow the orcs.'" Book 3, Chapter 1, pg. 25. He does not tell the others why Frodo ran from the group. They load up the boat and begin to follow the shore. Before long they find orc trails and begin to chase after them, knowing it will be a long journey.
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 1
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 1
They run as the dusk sets and continue through the rise and fall of the moon. The orc-trail vanishes in a valley and they must guess the direction. Aragorn decides to go north and before long, Legolas points out orc bodies. It seems that there was a quarrel among the orcs and they killed each other. Aragorn discovers the path of the remaining orcs, still a great number, and they travel quickly into the new day. The green fields of Rohan and the mountains of Gondor unfold in front of them. Aragorn wishes that he had come upon this sight in a happier hour and recites a poem about the glory days of Gondor. A great eagle flies over them. From their vantagepoint, there is a large company on foot about twelve leagues away. The articles discarded by the fleeing band of orcs tell the pursuers that they are in great haste. Once they step onto the green fields, they break into a run in single file. Aragorn stops when he finds hobbit tracks straying away from the rest of the trail. He finds Pippin's cloak and brooch. They run into the night and debate whether or not they should rest. Legolas fears that the orcs, who primarily travel at night, will gain too much of a lead. Aragorn thinks that they can reach the orcs before they reach Isengard where the orcs will meet their master Saruman. Gimli thinks they should rest to conserve their strength. Aragorn immediately falls to sleep.
Before dawn, Legolas rouses him and they depart again. Most of the day is spent running. Often the trail fades but it always appears again. There is no sign of man or beast in the fields. By dusk, their pace has become slower. They ascend a hill to sleep and look at the mist over the mountains in the distance. In the morning they resume the trail. "Out of the forest the Entwash flowed to meet them, its stream now swift and narrow, and its banks deep-cloven. The orc-trail turned from the downs to towards it." Book 3, Chapter 2, pg. 38. They hear riders coming from a great distance. Aragorn thinks it would do no good to run and feels that they should wait the approach of the Riders of Rohan. Gimli reminds him that Gandalf had heard a rumor that they paid tribute to Sauron. Aragorn refuses to believe this because the Riders are descended from noble blood.
Before long, the horsemen are almost upon them and they take shelter in the shadows. When they are about to pass, Aragorn yells out to them and introduces himself as Strider. Eomer rides up to him and introduces himself. He asks what they are doing and is surprised when Aragorn says he is hunting orcs with so few men. Aragorn tells him of their journey from Lothlorein and Eomer expresses fear of the forest. Gimli warns him not to speak ill of it. Aragorn steps between them and asks if the men of Rohan support Sauron or defy him. Eomer says he does neither and is neutral, but plans to never support him. Aragorn says that they are searching for friends and then gives his full name and title. Eomer is in awe. Aragorn emphasizes that evil things are afoot and King Theoden should ally himself with Sauron or against him. Eomer tells him that they have already found the large band of orcs and killed them, losing many men of their own. When asked about hobbits, Eomer says that he thought such things only live in legends.
Eomer wants to hear more of their tale even though his men are anxious to be leaving. Aragorn tells him that he traveled with Boromir and Gandalf. Eomer warns him that Gandalf upset their King by taking his prize horse Shadowfax and returning him so wild that no one else can ride him. Aragorn informs Eomer that he saw Gandalf fall into a pit and perish. Eomer interrupts and says that he must go to Theoden and tell him to ally with Gondor. He reiterates that Rohan has never paid tribute of any kind to Sauron. He has spare horses because of the lost men and offers them to Aragorn with the understanding that he will return them to Edoras, the seat of Theoden. Once they accept this, he says that it is illegal for strangers to travel in Rohan so they should follow him first to Edoras and then continue on their journey. Aragorn refuses and Eomer is torn. He settles for them returning when their errand is done. Gimli does not want to ride a horse, but Legolas convinces him to ride on one with him:
" A smaller and lighter horse, but restive and fiery, was brought to Legolas. Arod was his name. but Legolas asked them to take off the saddle and rein. 'I need them not,' he said and lightly leaped up, and to their wonder, Arod was tame and willing beneath him, moving here and there with but a spoken word: such was the elvish way with all good beasts." Book 3, Chapter 3, pg. 51
Eomer bids them farewell and begs them to return the horses. They find the main trail again within moments. For the rest of the day they follow this until they find the burnt mounds of orc bodies. They search for any sign of the hobbits, but it is futile. Gimli thinks that they must have been burned with the orcs. Aragorn says that they should wait for the light and return in the morning. Gimli wants to build a fire, but Aragorn warns him to touch only wood that has fallen. Gimli builds a high fire and a tree near it seems to reach its limbs out as if warming itself. They are on the outer edge of the forest Fangorn. They were warned not to enter it. Aragorn thinks that they should set watches and be extra careful not to harm any living trees. He wakes and sees an old man in a gray cloak near the fire. He disappears and they realize that their horses are gone. It will be hard for them to return to Edoras with no transportation besides their feet. Gimli goes to sleep and Aragorn takes the next watch.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 2
Topic Tracking: Trust 2
Pippin is having a bad dream. When he wakes, he sees that Merry is tied up next to him. There are orcs all around them. He remembers that they were captured while searching for Frodo. Even though they tried to attack orcs, the beasts did not attack back. Boromir tried to fight them but there were too many. Pippin passed out. Now that he is conscious again, he cannot understand why they were spared. When he staggers to his feet, the orcs deride him. Some of them want to kill the hobbits but another, named Ugluk, says that his orders are to returned them unsearched and unharmed. Ugluk is the orc leader from Saruman. Grishnakh, who leads the contingent from Mordor, says that Sauron is watching over Isengard carefully. There is a debate between the orc parties, and two orcs from the Mordor party are killed in the dispute. Pippin is lying next to one of the bodies and he uses the knife on the orc's belt to cut his hands free.
The orcs pick the hobbits back up and begin to run. Ugluk makes them drink a foul liquor that wakes them up. Merry opens his eyes and speaks to Pippin, "'So you've come on this little expedition too? Where do we get bed and breakfast?'" Book 3, Chapter 3, pg. 64. The orcs laugh and the party begins to descend a large slope. The orcs from Mordor are amazed that the orcs from Isengard plan to march during the daylight. Pippin realizes that anyone following the orcs' trail would not be able to tell that there were hobbits traveling with them. He runs away from the group and is chased for a little while. Before he is caught, he drops his cloak and his brooch.
The continuous running is hard on the hobbits, but the orcs persuade them with lashes from a whip. The journey becomes a dark blur until some of the orcs demand a halt. The orcs break back into debate. Ugluk still refuses to let the hobbits be killed. Grishnakh returns and renews the argument. The Isengard orcs pick the hobbits up and return to the journey. Soon, they realize that a host of horsemen will be upon them. They sprint at an unbelievable pace towards the Fangorn forest. The horsemen ride around them and begin to pick them off with arrows. Before long there are only 20 left. When night falls, they gather in a circle and wait. The horsemen stop their assault but watch carefully.
During this siege, the legs of the hobbits are securely bound. The orcs make some futile efforts at breaking the circle of riders around them but it is to no avail. Ugluk tells his subordinates that there is an allied band of orcs coming during the night to help them. This sinks the spirits of Pippin. He is afraid that he and Merry will be killed as orcs. A few orcs are slain near an eastern corner of the camp and the hobbits are left unguarded. Grishnakh grabs them and tries to run out of the forest. He asks them if either has the Ring. They are surprised that he knows about it. Pippin pretends he can tell him where to find it. Grishnakh runs further away with them. A rider shoots him in the back and the hobbits are hidden below his body. After some time, Pippin unties all of their bonds and they sneak away. The horsemen defeat all of the orcs. They lie beneath the body of Grishnakh and eat some Lembas. When they find cover, Pippin asks Merry if he is up to walking:
"'Yes...I can manage it. Lembas does put the heart into you! A more wholesome sort of feeling than the heat of that orc-draught. I wonder what it was made of. Better not to know I expect.'" Book 3, Chapter 3, pg. 77
They walk and talk of what has happened to them so far. Merry congratulates Pippin for his many daring feats. They are confused about where they are, but Merry thinks he might remember something from the maps. They enter the old forest and hear the battle between the men and orcs waning. From a hill they watch a rider slay Ugluk.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 3
The hobbits leave with great speed and pause only for a drink of water. They find themselves lost in a maze of trees. These trees look ancient and are covered with moss and lichen. The forest itself is dim. There is only enough food to last them for five or six days. Light breaks through the canopy and they find an opening in the forest. A stone wall forms a kind of giant stair onto a rock ledge. They follow it to the top and see that they have only come a few miles. Pippin says that he almost likes the forest and a voice answers that he is almost kind. The voice came from a large tree-like creature clothed in leaves and bark. Its eyes are immensely deep. It tells itself not to be hasty and remarks that the hobbits are odd creatures. Pippin asks what he is and he responds that he is an Ent named Treebeard. He tries to figure out what they are by reciting a rhyme of all the creatures of the forest but they don't quite fit. Pippin tells him that they are hobbits and then gives their names. Treebeard thinks that this is much too hasty. They mention Gandalf and Treebeard asks about Gandalf, the orcs, and Saruman. Treebeard knows Gandalf and is sad when they tell him that the wizard fell into a pit. He decides to take them to his home and picks them up. When they ask if it is far, he responds "'You might call it far perhaps, but what does that matter?'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 87.
The ent makes great strides through the forest for a couple of hours. Pippin asks why they were warned to stay out of the forest and Treebeard says he would say the same thing about other forests. He tells them that the forest is changing: some ents are becoming tree-ish and some trees are becoming ent-ish. Ents were originally tree shepherds. The elves began waking trees up because they wanted to talk to everything in the world. When the elves fled the first coming of Sauron, they left the ents alone.
They go through two great trees and enter a hall cut in the side of a hill roofed with arching branches. There is a falling spring near the center. Treebeard stands under this and then shakes himself dry. Then, he sets them on his table and feeds them bowls of a green drink that makes them feel refreshed. He lies down and tells the hobbits to sit next to him. They begin to tell them his tale and he asks if they have seen any Entwives in their home. Merry doesn't know what he is talking about. Treebeard is very interested in anything having to do with Gandalf. The tale amazes him and he is not quite sure what to do about it. He explains to the hobbits that he is not really on a side but is definitely against anything having to do with orcs. He doesn't like to worry about the future. When the trouble was just in Mordor, he could hope that it would be contained. Now that is comes from Saruman, who lives right on the border of the forest, he is worried. He remembers when wizards came from over the sea and knows that Saruman was considered great among them. He thinks that Saruman has done something to make the orcs impervious to the sun. Steadily, the giant ent gets more angry and declares that something must be done to stop Saruman. The hobbits pledge to help him and he realizes that he is being too hasty. After thinking for a couple moments, he reasons that there may not be enough ents left to do anything. There have been no young ents in a long time because the entwives were lost. The entwives loved gardens and places of natural order so they kept lands apart from the ents. The ents would go visit them. When the darkness of Sauron first fell, the ents did not see the entwives for many years. When the ents went looking for them, their lands were barren and dry and they were nowhere to be seen.
"'And now the Entwives are only a memory for us, and our beards are long and grey. The Elves made many songs concerning the Search of the Ents, and some of the songs passed into the tongues of Men. But we made no songs about it, being content to chant their beautiful names when we thought of the Entwives.'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 100
Treebeard sings them one of the songs in the tongue of Men. They lay down to sleep.
In the morning they wake and Treebeard tells them that they are going to a gathering of ents called Entmoot. Humming, he carries them for a while through the forest. When they come near a grove, Treebeard lets a low echoing sound from his mouth. They enter through a wall of evergreen trees and in a grassy circle, there are a number of ents standing around. The ents are of all different kinds: every tree imaginable, young and old. They begin to murmur to each other in their slow, rolling speech. Treebeard puts the hobbits down and they walk over to a point where they can look over the forest. They talk about Isengard. It is circled with great stones and in the center is a powerful tower called the Orthanc. Merry thinks that the ents would make an odd force to attack such a fortress. The hobbits speak of their friends in yearning. Treebeard approaches them and tells them that they have not even finished reviewing the facts yet. After he tells them that it may take a couple of days, he introduces them to a hasty ent named Quickbeam. Quickbeam has already decided what he wants to do.
He picks up the hobbits and takes them to his nearby home. He sings and tells them about beautiful trees that were planted to please the entwives. Birds ate away all of the fruit and the orcs cut them down. They spend the next two days with him. On the last, they hear load voices coming from the gathered ents. Later on, there is a procession and the ents sing that they are coming. They march through the forest trying to rouse as many trees as possible. Treebeard picks the hobbits up and says that the ents roused themselves to action more quickly than he expected. They were very angry at Saruman's treachery. "'If we are not hewn down, or destroyed...we could split Isengard into splinters and crack its walls into rubble.'" Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 113. He thinks that the ents will calm down rather than attack immediately. The number in the procession steadily grows. Trees seem to move with them. They march into the dusk and enter Saruman's valley.
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 2
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 4
Topic Tracking: Trust 3
It is day as Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn eat breakfast. They cannot find any footprints from the figure they saw the night before who released their horses. Aragorn wishes they could find the animals, but looks around for any sign of the hobbits. After a while, they find leaves that wrapped the Lembas and the remains of the cords that bound the hobbits. Legolas is amazed that the hobbits escaped both the orcs and the horsemen of Rohan. Aragorn realizes that an orc must have carried them away and fallen apart from the rest. He was puzzled that the orcs attacked and killed Boromir but left the hobbits alone. He realizes that the orcs were commanded to retrieve the hobbits and return them unharmed. Reluctantly, the trio decide that they must enter Fangorn and search for the hobbits.
It is not long before Aragorn finds their footprints. They push on into the forest and Legolas is amazed at its age. Gimli is worried about the old man from the night before. They plunge further into the woodland, but see very few prints because of the leaf floor. Near a pool of water, they find two-day old markings. Worrying about their supplies running out, they push on. They find the same rock that Merry and Pippin ascended when they met Treebeard. They are confused that the tracks just end and debate it until Legolas tells them to hush. He sees an old man moving about in the trees. Gimli tells him to shoot the figure with his bow, but Legolas will not shoot unprovoked. The old figure quickens his step and approaches them.
He has a gray beard and is dressed in the same colored cloak and hat. He demands that Legolas drop his bow. When he looks over them, he is amazed that a man elf and dwarf are traveling companions. Aragorn asks his name and tells him that they are on too important a journey to stop and talk to him. The old man tells them that he knows they are looking for hobbits. He tells them to sit and when he takes off his cloak they see that he is robed in white. Gimli yells that he is Saruman and hefts his ax. The old man rises and with one movement Aragorn's sword, Legolas' bow, and Gimli's ax fall to the ground. Legolas finally recognizes him. It is Gandalf.
When Legolas speaks this name, Gandalf repeats it as if it is foreign and then says that they may still call him that. He explains that he has changed; he passed through fire and water. In this time, he has forgotten much and learned more. He is what Saruman should have been. He does not know where Merry and Pippin are, but he is sure that Frodo is on his way to Mordor with the Ring. He asks them to tell him what has happened since he fell and when they are done he tells them that they have not told the whole tale of Boromir. He tells them that the two hobbits have started an uprising in Fangorn. Sauron does not know that Frodo is planning on destroying the ring.
"'He supposes that we are all going to Minas Tirith; for that is what he would himself have done in our place. And according to his wisdom it would have been a heavy stroke against his power. Indeed he is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him done and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind.'" Book 3, Chapter 5, pg. 127
Sauron has begun war with the hope that he will defeat Minas Tirith before the Ring is used. The enemy has failed to get any of the hobbits because of Saruman. The white wizard has gotten strong and is trying to get the Ring for himself. Saruman will not fight Mordor and win. Foolishly, the wizard worries more about Rohan and plans to attack Theoden at Edoras. In these plans, he has forgotten all about Treebeard. Aragorn is amazed that ents really exist. Legolas knows of ents but not of Treebeard. Gandalf explains that Treebeard is the oldest being on the earth. All the wrath of Fangorn is flowing against Isengard. Gandalf goes silent, contemplating the outcome of such a battle. He changes subjects and says that they must go to Theoden because evil has befallen the good King. He announces that he is Gandalf the White and Grey no longer. He tells them that he wants to say very little about his fall. He fell with the Balrog for a great time, and pursued him through the deepest tunnels of the earth. He found his way back to the surface and followed the beast up to the highest peak above Moria. There, he killed it and fell into darkness. An eagle carried him to Galadriel in Lothlorien and she helped him. Galadriel has sent advice to each of the travelers. Aragorn should gather his people. Legolas is to be wary of the sea and Gimli is to avoid cutting down trees. They walk out of the forest, and when Gandalf whistles three times, Shadowfax arrives with the two horses that the companions lost the night before. He speaks to them and they begin to ride swiftly toward Edoras. Gandalf had beckoned Shadowfax with his thoughts a few days before.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 5
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 3
They ride into the sunset and stop only for a brief rest. Gimli rides with Gandalf. As the sun rises, Gandalf points across the grassy plains and asks Legolas to describe what he sees. He sees a house "'And it seems to my eyes that it is thatched with gold.'" Book 3, Chapter 6, pg. 141. This golden house is the home of Theoded. They approach the wall built around the city, where guards are waiting. The guards allow no one to pass who cannot speak the native language. The dress of the small group amazes them. They are even more surprised that Gandalf is riding the king's horse. Aragorn speaks of his meeting with Eomer but the guards tell him that Eomer has been imprisoned. Gandalf announces his name and demands an audience with Theoded. They let the companions in and they climb the long stairs to Theoded's chambers. The guard Hama stops them at the top and tells them that they must surrender their weapons before entering. Aragorn fights this, but eventually they agree to put them down. Hama asks Gandalf to give up his staff, but Gandalf says an old man needs it to lean upon. They enter a columned hall filled with gold work and woven tapestries. At the far end, there is an old man with a long white beard. Gandalf hails Theoden, but the King is angry with him. He asks why he should welcome someone who always bears bad news. A pale man named Grima or Wormtongue, sits next to him and speaks of all the evil things Gandalf has spoken of before. Gandalf gets angry and says that Rohan used to treat guests better. Wormtongue accuses them of being in league with the foul Galadriel and Gimli becomes enraged. Gandalf throws back his cloak and raises his staff. Grima yells at Hama for letting a wizard enter with his staff, but then falls to the floor. Gandalf tells Theoden that he has been listening to evil for far too long.
Theoden stands and throws open his doors. He sends his niece Eowyn away. Gandalf bids him to realize that the world is not so dark and doomed. He speaks of Mordor and the Ring-bearer as well as the rising powers of Sauron and Saruman. Theoden regrets that such evil days have come during his reign. Gandalf tells him that if he grasps a sword again he will feel stronger. A voice offers him a weapon "'Take this, dear lord...It was ever at your service!'" Book 3, Chapter 6, pg.155. Hama has let Eomer out of his cell and he kneels at his uncle's feet. The king calls for Grima to stand before him. Gandalf says that every man they have must be prepared to travel to Gondor. Theoden tells his guests to rest, but Aragorn begs his leave to ride as soon as possible. The King refuses to wait in his stronghold and plans to lead his own men to war. Grima says that he does not want to go to war. Theoden tells him that he can flee and become his enemy, or ride with him in battle for redemption. Grima chooses to flee. Gandalf yells for Grima to slither away on his belly and asks how long he has been bought by Saruman. Theoden tells his men to let the interloper depart and then urges his guests to eat with him.
Theoden asks Gandalf questions about Saruman and how long Grima had served him. Gandalf assures him that Grima has been worked for him for some time. Eomer was put into prison because Grima forbade him to hunt orcs. As thanks for his liberation, Theoden offers Gandalf any gift he can give and Gandalf asks for Shadowfax. He armors Legolas, and Aragorn and Gimli take a helmet. The king names Eomer as his heir, and Hama suggests that Eowyn be left in charge of the city. She accepts this but wishes not to be left. When Aragorn leaves, she gazes at him for a little extra time. Gimli admits that he is no horseman, but Eomer asks for the honor of having him on his horse. Gimli accepts this as long as he gets to ride next to Legolas. Gandalf whistles and Shadowfax comes to him. Theoden officially gives the horse to him and Gandalf throws off his gray cloak. His white garb glistens in the sun.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 6
Topic Tracking: Trust 4
They ride into the night before they stop. Gandalf asks Legolas how far it is to Isengard and finds out that it is still many miles away. They ride through the second day and again into the sunset. A horseman approaches King Theoden and tells him that the men of the region are making a stand at an ancient fortress called Helm's Deep. Gandalf advises Theoden to lead his men there while he goes to do an errand. They descend into a deep gorge. His countrymen tell him that an attacking force from Saruman is very great. Eomer says, "'Then let us be swift... Let us drive through such foes as are already between us and the fortress'" Book 3, Chapter 7, pg. 170. They ride into the darkness and encounter small bands of orcs here and there. When they make it to the dike before the fortress, there is a large force at their heels. They pass into the walls to find a strong force already waiting to defend the fortifications. The leader of the region, Erkenbrand, is not to be found and they worry about his safety. Eomer readies the fighting men for battle and the women and children retreat to safer caverns.
Time passes, until another band of Rohan comes riding ahead of an army of orcs. A blinding flash of lightning streaks across the sky and rains pounds the earth. The orcs raise their hideous cry of war and the horde surges before the gates. Eomer and Aragorn fight back the rams at the gates, but the doors are twisted on their hinges. Gimli saves Eomer's life and before long, Legolas has killed twenty orcs with his bow. The sky clears to a low moon and the light bathes on thousands of orcs. Even with Eomer and Aragorn rallying again and again, the men of Rohan grow tired. Some orcs break through the wall, but with Gimli's help, the hole is filled and the orcs slain. They eagerly anticipate dawn even though they know that it will not bear a respite from the battle. A great trumpet blast brings the orcs within the walls and the forces of Rohan retreat to the inner strongholds. As they retreat, Aragorn cannot find Eomer. The orcs use a blasting fire, a creation of Saruman, to sear the walls. Theoden worries about the outcome of the battle: "'It is said that Hornburg has never fallen to assault...but now my heart is doubtful.'" Book 3, Chapter 7, pg. 183.
When dawn comes, Theoden prepares to ride into battle and reinvigorate his weary men. Aragorn looks over the gates in the pale light as the orcs yell for the King to surrender. They laugh and destroy more of the walls. They prepare to rush into the buildings, when horses stream from the walls. Theoden rides out and rallies his men. No group of the enemy can withstand his charge. On the ridge, another rider appears. Shadowfax proudly bears Gandalf. Erkenbrand comes with an army behind him. They rush into the valley and assail the orcs. To watching men, it seems that the trees themselves have entered the gorge and are slaughtering orcs, but it is difficult to see in the early light.
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 4
The men of Rohan are overjoyed at the victory over the Orcs of Saruman. Gimli tells Legolas that he killed 42 orcs and Legolas says he killed around 40. Eomer is pleased to seeGandalf who says that he must leave at once for Isengard. Eomer picks twenty men to go with them and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli elect to follow them. Theoden is saddened that the guard Hama fell in the battle. With Theoden, the small band departs and rides into the night. When they near the gates of Isengard, they notice that menacing groves of trees surrounds it. Legolas wants to speak to them and Gimli talks about the beautiful caverns of Helm's Deep. They promise each other that when all of the trouble is over they will go visit both the caverns and Fangorn. As they get closer, they notice that the trees have eyes and Gandalf explains that these are ents who are shepherds of trees. Theoden is amazed that legends are coming to life around him. Gandalf says, "'For not only the little life of Men is endangered, but the life also of those things which you have deemed the matter of legend.'" Book 3, Chapter 8, pg. 197. Gandalf explains that Sauron's victory from Mordor would end all good on the earth. As they continue on the road, the sky is filled with carrion birds and wolves feed on the bodies of unburied orcs. Gandalf sent Erkenbrand and a great number of men to watch over Edoras. A great plume of smoke rises from Isengard. They sleep a few miles from the fortress. Darkness passes over them and lingers.
At dawn, they start off again and enter a valley that was once fair and green, but became foul and barren with the vile orcs. Isengard has only one door as an entrance. Within the great stone walls are hundreds of houses. In the middle of all of this is an ancient tower called the Orthanc. Once, Isengard was beautiful place, but it changed with Saruman's fall to evil. They enter the circle of walls near Orthanc. At the door, they find Merry and Pippin. They tell them that Saruman is busy and that they were ordered by Treebeard to wait for Theoden. Gimli explodes because they have not welcomed their own companions, yet Pippin tells him that his comforts are well earned. Theoden is amazed at the little creatures. Pippin bows because Theoden has heard hobbits before. Theoden asks him about their pipe smoking and Merry begins to tell a long tale. Gandalf asks where Treebeard is and says he wishes to speak with him quickly. Treebeard left a message for Gandalf and the wizard laughs then rides Theoden to meet Treebeard.
Topic Tracking: Trust 5
The others remain behind with Merry and Pippin. They want to know many things about their journey. They go into a guardhouse to eat some food. Aragorn asks to hear more about ents but Pippin says that he will have to wait and actually see one. The hobbits had found pipe tobacco from their homeland in one of the storerooms. They each take out their pipes and lie back to relax. After a few moments of silence, the hobbits begin the story of their nine-day ordeal. Aragorn gives Pippin his cloak and brooch back and presents them with the weapons he found that they dropped at Boromir's side.
They explain the conflict between Grishnakh and Ugluk. Then they tell of the rallying of the ents and their march towards Isengard with hundreds of trees following. Most of Saruman's army was marching away when they arrived. The ents stood still and sent a band of trees called the Huorns to follow the army. The ents attacked the fortress and were pelted with arrows. Saruman did not understand his attackers. They let men go and destroyed the walls. He fled into Orthanc. Treebeard told them to watch over the tower while he and the ents diverted the Isen river into the city to clean away the blood and put out the fires of Saruman's furnaces. At dusk, Gandalf appeared and demanded to see the old ent. Treebeard was happy to see him, "'I am glad you have come...wood, water and stone I can master, but three is a wizard to manage here.'" Book 3, Chapter 9, pg. 223. Gandalf spoke to the hobbits a little and then left with more trees to attack the orcs besieging Helm's Deep.
Through the night, the hobbits watched the ents dam up the Isen and then flood Isengard. Since the waters flooded, Saruman has been watching them dissipate around Orthanc. In the morning, Grima appeared and announced that he was a messenger from Theoded who wanted to speak to Saruman. Treebeard was told to expect him by Gandalf and he told him to either wait for Gandalf or flee inside to his master. He went inside and Treebeard set the hobbits before the door. Aragorn is surprised that there is tobacco from the hobbits' land in Isengard. Ents gathered food from storerooms to feed Theoded and his men. They wonder where Gandalf is and Aragorn decides to peruse the ruins of Isengard.
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 5
They walk slowly to meet Gandalf and he tells them that it is time to pay Saruman a visit. He invites them to accompany him, but warns them to beware the wizard's voice. They enter the black stone of Orthanc with Theoded and ascend the stairs to a closed door. Grima's voice asks them what they want. Theoden orders him to get Saruman. When Saruman speaks, every other voice sounds wretched in comparison. He opens the door and Legolas and Gimli are amazed by his likeness to Gandalf. Saruman showers praise on Theoden and tells him that he may still be saved from evil. Theoden is silent and looks nervously around. The silence lingers until Gimli speaks and tells him that the wizard cannot be trusted. Saruman asks Theoden to make a private peace with him. Theoden does not respond. Eomer berates the wizard, but Saruman turns calmly and tells him that he is not a murderer and less than the men of Rohan. Theoden speaks finally:
"'We will have peace, when you and all your works have perished-and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor.'" Book 3, Chapter 10, pg. 237
The riders are amazed at their King's resolve. Saruman speaks with repressed rage and tells Theoden that he will be the one to perish first. He turns to Gandalf and asks why he will not listen to his advice. Gandalf asks him to take back the words he spoke at their last meeting. Saruman praises his fellow wizard and asks him to join him in the tower. Some of the men worry that Gandalf will join Saruman. There is a silence, but then Gandalf laughs and tells him that he should have been a jester instead of a wizard. He tells the fallen wizard to come down from the tower and surrender his claim to it. Saruman refuses to leave even when Gandalf promises he will be able to go freely. Saruman turns around to leave, and Gandalf stops him with a startling command. He tells him that he must stay in Orthanc and then exposes that he is now the one in white robes. He breaks Saruman's staff and casts him out of the council of wizards.
As they turn to walk away, a heavy object is thrown after them. Pippin picks it up but Gandalf takes it from him. Gandalf needs to find Treebeard and tell him what has happened in the tower. Sauron will destroy Saruman if he gets the chance. Gandalf says he will leave Saruman where he is. He introduces the others to Treebeard. Legolas asks if he and Gimli may travel through the forest later, and Treebeard hesitates because Gimli bears an ax. Legolas explains that the ax kills only orcs and Treebeard is content with this. Gandalf says it is urgent to get Theoded back to Edoras. As they leave, Treebeard recites a line of poetry about the hobbits. He is not surprised that Saruman refused to leave the Orthanc. He promises that the ents will watch over the fortress and prevent him from leaving to cause trouble in the world.
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 6
Topic Tracking: Trust 6
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 7
The sun fades as the company travels toward Edoras. Merry asks if they are going to rest and Gandalf tells them that Treebeard would think them very hasty. He plans to travel for a few hours and then break for the rest of the night. Merry doesn't yet know about the battle at Helm's Deep and wants to hear about it. Gandalf tells him that the battle was won, but it marks only the beginning of a long war. When the moon peaks, they stop for the night. Merry and Pippin try to figure out how long it has been since they slept in real beds. Pippin asks him how much Gandalf has changed and they think he is more powerful.
Pippin wonders about the reflective sphere that Gandalf took from the Orthanc. He wants to look at it, but Merry wants to go to sleep. Pippin stays awake. "He tossed and turned and tried to think of something else." Book 3, Chapter 11, pg. 250. This was to no avail. He sneaks off and arrives at the sleeping place of the wizard. He searches through his stuff and eventually finds it. He walks away and looks within it as soon as possible. It holds his eyes and he panics, screaming before long. A voice possesses him that screams at Saruman. Gandalf yells for him to come back. Pippin shakes the possession off and the wizard asks him what happened. He tells him that Sauron came and asked what he was. He said he was a Hobbit. Sauron told him that they would be meeting soon. Gandalf tells him to calm down because Sauron discovered noting of great importance. If anything, now they know that Sauron has not yet found out about the destruction of Isengard. The stone also confirms the relationship between Isengard and Mordor. The stone is called a Palantir. There were seven crafted a long time ago and Sauron must have one of them. They were made to communicate across the great distances of ancient Gondor. Aragorn realizes that this stone must have been the possession of his ancestors. He claims it as its protector and Gandalf gladly gives to him with a warning against using it. Gandalf is happy that he did not look into it first, because he fears that he may have lost a battle of wills with Sauron.
The riders split up to make haste. Eomer and Theoden go one way and Gandalf goes the other with Pippin. As the wizard looks to the sky, he sees the black shape of a Nazgul. The black riders who were unhorsed, have been given new winged steeds. He knows that the creature is looking for hobbits. He whispers to Shadowfax and they speed away. Gandalf speaks to himself and then to Pippin. He tells him that the palantir is older than either Sauron or Saruman. He figures that Saruman found his and was trapped by Sauron one day while he was gazing into it. He chastises Pippin for acting foolishly. Pippin asks about the Nazgul. Gandalf is unhappy about it because it means that Sauron will know about the fall of Isengard sooner than they wanted him to. He does not know whether this information will make the situation better or worse for them. He tells Pippin then that they are not heading back into Rohan, but straight on to Minas Tirith.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 8
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
Gollum moves on his hands and feet and leads them through a path in the marsh. He runs into the stony water and speaks to himself of fishes and hobbits. Sam worries about what Smeagol will eat for the rest of the journey. When day arrives, Gollum says he must hide in the shadows from the sun. They find a shelter and talk about food. Smeagol asks if they eat fish. Frodo offers him some Lembas but he thinks it is wretched. The hobbit is frustrated when Smeagol refuses to eat it. Sam suggests that they take turns sleeping so one of them can always watch Gollum. Smeagol gets up to leave and tells them that he is going to find food. Sam worries about his own supply.
"'This waybread keeps you on your legs in a wonderful way, though it doesn't satisfy the innards proper, you might say: not to my feeling anyhow, meaning no disrespect to them as made it. But you have to eat some of it every day, and it doesn't grow.'" Book 4, Chapter 2, pg. 292
Frodo cannot even guess how long the journey will take and doubts if they will survive the destruction of the Ring. Gollum returns with mud on his face and hands. They journey through the marshes and come to a stony plain that has no cover. Frodo asks if they must pass over it and Gollum says that they will have to move quickly. They rest for a brief time and then move single file through the rising mist.
Frodo gets weary as the day drags on. When the sun is high, they rest and move forward again at night. They come near stagnant lakes and Sam sees candles in the fog and bodies floating in the water. Gollum warns them not to look in the lake of the candles. This is the cursed resting ground of the dead from a great battle between good and evil. Gollum is eager to get away from this sight. He stops to sniff the air and Sam says that everything stinks. Gollum tells him that he stinks. A long wail stops their argument and Gollum drops to the ground. A Nazgul flies across the sky. Gollum will not move until it is gone, because he knows that it is a servant of Sauron.
After this encounter, Gollum's attitude changes for the worse. They move more slowly and Frodo feels the weight of the Ring increase with each step closer to Mordor. They hide under the shadow of a rock at night and on the fifth day they come into broken hills and lifeless moors. Sam is sickened by the destruction and they crawl into a pit to avoid the sunlight. Their water begins to run out. Sam wakes to see Smeagol bending over Frodo talking to himself. He argues over whether or not he is going to take the Ring. He speaks of becoming great and ruling the Nazgul himself. He reaches for Frodo's neck and Sam asks him what time it is. Gollum is surprised, and speaks of getting help from an unknown shelob. Frodo wakes up and tells Gollum that he will have to take them to the gate of Mordor, but no further. Gollum begins to lead them as he continues to talk to himself. He stops and wants to go back, but Frodo threatens him and they scramble on into the night.
Topic Tracking: Trust 8
They arrive at the walls of Mordor near dawn. High cliffs border the evil land, built up with walls and sentry towers. When day comes, a trumpet sounds and it is answered by bursts from the other towers. Sam is amazed by this and dismayed because he thinks that they should travel no further. Gollum tells them that they can go no further because they will be surely captured. Sam is silent. Smeagol says there is another way in and Frodo is frustrated that he did not tell them this before he led them to the main gates of Sauron. Sam thinks that Gollum is just trying to delay them until he gets a chance to take the Ring. Frodo thinks over the creature's claims and looks at the gate and becomes aware that there is a great commotion on the plain behind them. He can see the light bouncing off the spears and helmets of an army. A host of men is approaching the gates to join with Sauron.
Frodo tells Gollum that he will trust him, but reveals that he knows he is trying to get the Ring back. He warns him that he will kill him before that happens. Gollum is unnerved by the threat but grows calmer as he tells them of the other passage into Mordor. There is another gate at a place called Minas Ithil. It is guarded, but much less so than the main gates. He says that Sauron will not expect anyone to enter there. It is far to the west. Then he tries to convince them not to enter Mordor at all. Frodo accuses Gollum of not escaping Mordor but being let free to hunt for them. Gollum reacts harshly:
"'It's a lie!...He lied on me, yes he did. I did escape, all by my poor self. Indeed I was told to seek for the Precious; and I have searched and searched of course I have. But not for the Black One. The Precious was ours, it was mine I tell you. I did escape.'" Book 4, Chapter 3, pg. 318
Gollum is more sullen with the mention of Aragorn's name. He tells them that he knows the only way in and Frodo thinks of the words of Gandalf when he supposed that Smeagol would have a part in the whole affair. Sam watches the sky as the Nazgul fly over them. Frodo realizes that the enemy is looking for them. They linger in the shadows and Frodo considers their options. They hear singing and shouting. Squadrons of men move into Mordor and Frodo worries that some day all the men of the world will be under the control of the dark shadow. Sam asks if there are any oliphaunts, large creatures that hobbit legends place in the southern part of the world. Frodo doesn't see any and decides to follow Gollum to Minas Ithil.
Topic Tracking: Trust 9
They rest for the remainder of the daylight. At dusk, they travel again for many miles until dawn. Gollum wants to keep moving away from the gates of Mordor and hopes to travel 30 leagues in four nights. They rest for the day, but hunger keeps Sam from sleeping. He wishes for something different to eat. At night, they follow an ancient road that turns into a dirt path. They come into a land that was once called Ithilien. When day sheds light on the plains, there are groves of trees and wild flowers. The smell of the earth is sweeter here. At a clear lake, they wash and fill their water flasks. Sam looks around and finds a thicket for them to rest in. Sam cannot stop thinking of food, and when Gollum begins to leave to hunt, he asks him if he can find something for hobbits to eat.
Frodo sleeps and Sam watches his face. He thinks that he looks old and also, "'I love him. He's like that and sometimes it shines through, somehow. But I love him, whether or no.'" Book 4, Chapter 4, pg. 330. Gollum returns with rabbits and Sam thinks about how he should cook them. He asks Gollum to fill a pot with water for him. Then he builds a small fire. Gollum freaks out when he sees the fire and is very upset that Sam is planning to ruin the rabbits by cooking them. Sam asks him to find some herbs, but Smeagol refuses. Sam collects them himself and makes a stew. Frodo wakes and says that the fire was a dangerous plan but he enjoys the stew anyway.
Sam goes to the lake to wash the pots, but Frodo tells him to be quiet because he hears voices. Four men enter the thicket and do not know what to think of the hobbits. The first man introduces himself as Faramir from Gondor. He asks who they are and where they are from. He also asks about Gollum, who has disappeared. Frodo announces his name and those of his original companions. Faramir asks him about Boromir and gets very agitated. Frodo repeats part of the dream Boromir recounted at Rivendell. Faramir is interested in the story and tells them that they must be careful. He departs to attend to some business and Frodo finds out that the men are rangers of Ithilien commissioned by the steward of Minas Tirith. They are worried about the rising numbers of southern men fighting under the banner of Sauron. One of them worries that the orcs and men outnumber Gondor greatly. The talk dies down and Sam sees that there are many of these men about. He hopes that Gollum will be found and killed as an orc. Frodo takes a nap.
He wakes up later to hear the sound of men fighting. The rangers are fighting southern men. One of them falls near Sam who is shocked; this is the first time he has ever seen men fighting men. A large gray creature with tusks and a long snout stumbles towards them and is cut to the ground. A southern man falls off of him. Sam knows that this is an oliphaunt and is frightened. The rangers defeat the southern men and the hobbits sleep for a while longer.
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 8
Topic Tracking: Trust 10
Sam wakes to see that Faramir has returned. He is talking to Frodo.
"'But it was at the coming of the Halfling that Isildur's Bane should waken, or so one must read the words...If then you are the Halfling that was named, doubtless you brought this thing, whatever it may be, to the Council of which you speak, and there Boromir saw it.'" Book 4, Chapter 5, pg, 343
Faramir wants to hear more about Isildur's Bane, but Frodo does not wish to reveal the Ring. He asks why such a thing would belong to Aragorn and not to Boromir. Frodo makes it very clear that his journey is sanctioned and tells Faramir not to oppose him. Faramir tells them that Boromir is dead. He speaks of treachery against him and Sam tells him to get to the point. Faramir warns the hobbit to be patient and admits that Boromir was his brother. He found his brother's horn broken a few days before. He also saw the golden belt of Galadriel when he found the boat carrying his brother's corpse. Frodo cannot tell him how his brother died and he himself is amazed that the warrior fell. Faramir blames the ill on the fact that Boromir entered Lothlorien.
Frodo tells him that he must return to protect Minas Tirith. Faramir agrees with this and tells the hobbits that it is unsafe for them to move along the roads. Later, Faramir accuses Frodo of not being frank about Isildur's bane. He guesses that it was a point of contention in the company. Frodo tries to skirt the subject, but Faramir also guesses that Boromir was the chief agitator in this conflict. He explains that ever since they were young children, Boromir has been deeply angry that they were stewards and not Kings. He is sure that Boromir would have challenged Aragorn if he had been given the opportunity. He then speaks of Gandalf, and Frodo tells him of the wizard's demise in Moria. Faramir cannot guess what Isildur's bane might be, but he wishes that he had gone to Rivendell instead of his brother.
He offers Frodo any help that he can give him. Frodo wants to tell him everything, but holds back. They walk in silence for a while and Sam thinks about Gollum. They come to a wide river and Faramir says that he is to lead them to a good place. "'But it is a command that no stranger...shall see the path we now go with open eyes. I must blindfold you.'" Book 4, Chapter 5, pg. 356. Frodo and Sam submit to this and follow their guide for some time. Before long, Faramir takes their blindfolds off and they find themselves behind a waterfall in some beautiful tower. He welcomes them and bids them to rest for a while.
Tables are set up for a meal and a man reports signs of a creature that Frodo and Sam recognize as Gollum. They say nothing. The food is set on the tables. Frodo and Sam sit next to Faramir and are delighted by the meal. Afterwards, Faramir directs them to the deep recesses of the cave and says that he would like to exchange stories. He asks about his brother in Lothlorien. Faramir tells them that many people of Gondor have given up hope. He thinks that the ancient race of men was spread too thin and some have strayed. The stewards of Gondor have kept the kingdom together and remained allies with Rohan. He defines men as high and middle and thinks that only the middle men remain.
Faramir thinks that his brother was valiant but foolish. He says elves have become distant and strange but Sam says that Galadriel is the most beautiful sight he has ever had in his life. Sam slips and says that Boromir wanted the Ring. Frodo tells him that he is a fool to speak of it and Faramir realizes what is going on. He laughs that they ran from Boromir to come to Faramir who has a battalion of men with whom he may take possession of the Ring. Frodo and Sam reach to their hilts and Faramir calms them down. He tells them that he wouldn't even pick such a thing up if he found it on the side of the road. He is wise enough to know that there are some things that one should flee in life. They sit down and he marvels that Frodo never uses the Ring. Frodo tells him that he is going to Mordor and then passes out. Faramir catches him and Sam tells him that he has shown he is of a high character. Faramir humbly accepts the compliment.
Topic Tracking: Trust 11
Faramir wakes Frodo and tells him that he wants his advice. They walk through twisting tunnels. "As he went by the cave-mouth he saw that the Curtain was now become a dazzling veil of silk and pearls and silver thread: melting icicles of moonlight." Book 4, Chapter 6, pg. 370. They come to an opening and look over the land, rivers and mountains in the distance. Sam remarks that it is a fine view and Faramir offers them some wine. They look down and see a dark shape swimming in the water. Faramir's guard asks if he should shoot it, but Frodo asks them to spare it. Faramir wonders what it is and says that he has marveled at its sneakiness. Frodo tells him that the creature is lured by the Ring which he bore for a long time. Now it is seeking fish. The guard asks again if he should shoot and Frodo says that it is just wretched and hungry. He tells Faramir that Gandalf forbade them to harm it. Faramir says the creature must be captured or killed. Frodo tells him that he will speak to it. Faramir agrees and Frodo descends to the edge of the pool to hear the sound of Gollum speaking to himself. Frodo is torn between mercy and having the beast killed once and for all.
He speaks out and demands for Smeagol to follow him. Smeagol hesitates, but Frodo voices a threat. He follows the hobbit with a fish in his mouth and one in his hand; Frodo feels guilty that he is tricking Gollum. They walk up to the cavern, and when Gollum looks around he realizes that the room is filled with men. They tie him up and he screams, spitting at Frodo. Frodo is still upset that he betrayed Gollum's trust. The guard carries him deeper into the caverns and he asks to be released. Faramir explains that the penalty for sneaking into their secret realm is death. Frodo tries to speak to Gollum to make him answer Faramir's questions. He has Gollum promise on the Ring that he will never return to the grove.
Faramir officially declares Frodo free in every part of Gondor and announces that Gollum will be allowed to live as long as he is in the service of the two hobbits. Frodo tells Faramir that they are heading to Minas Ithil to enter Mordor. Faramir thinks that the hobbits are unwise in traveling with Gollum. Frodo explains that if they don't follow Smeagol they will have to worry about being followed by him. Faramir again warns them that the path they chose is perilous at best. He confirms that there are fewer guards there, but they are evil. Frodo says "'But where else will you direct me?'" Book 4, Chapter 6, pg. 383. Faramir admits that he knows of no other way, but again pleads that he be wary of Smeagol. He blesses Frodo and bids him to rest while they prepare food for their journey.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 10
Frodo and Sam lie down again and get up later to eat with Faramir. He gives them some directions and presents them with staves as parting gifts. He apologizes for not being able to give more, and says he wants to blindfold Gollum on the way out. Frodo tells him to blindfold Sam and himself first so that Smeagol won't panic. They walk blinded for some time, until Faramir lets them see again. He bids them a fond farewell and warns them again to be careful. Smeagol is glad when the men leave and Sam chastises him for wishing the men ill. They travel during the day and the following night, resting only briefly. When they do rest, Gollum wakes them before dawn and they travel for most of the day as the forest becomes more barren and scattered. There are neither animals nor birds to be seen. They come to a valley and far off they set their eyes on the ominous walls of Mordor. Frodo asks Gollum if he knows where they are and he does. He tells them how much longer it will be. There is a road through the valley, but it wouldn't be safe to use it. Gollum says that they must travel in the night now and they rest for a little longer.
In the middle of the night, Gollum wakes the hobbits and they all move ahead. The ground changes and becomes more barren. The slope steepens. They halt after a while and it seems as if there is a great darkness slowly moving westward. As the day arrives, Gollum bids them to hurry and find shelter. They find space in a thicket of dried and scorched trees. Frodo looks over the burned land and asks when they will arrive. They are close to Minas Ithil. The day breaks and the hobbits eat. Sam thinks about his pipe and asks Frodo why he hasn't slept. There is a great booming sound followed by trumpets. Darkness rises even though it is mid-day. The afternoon drags out and Gollum leaves. When he returns, he says that they must move quickly. He leads them down a hill in single file for about an hour. They come to the crossroads. Smeagol explains that the must cross these. At the intersection is a great statue of a seated king. His head sits on the ground and a crown of flowers has grown upon it. Frodo's spirit rises briefly and they continue to move.
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 8
As they stand and look over the landscape, Gollum tells Frodo to hurry and move along. They plod on and make it to a point where the land steepens again.
"All was dark about it, earth and sky, but it was lit with light. Not the imprisoned moonlight welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, Tower of the moon, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills." Book 4, Chapter 8, pg. 396
They move further, gazing at the towering walls with Gollum pulling their cloaks to make them move faster. They come to a white bridge guarded by statues, and Gollum tells them that this is not the way they can go. He leads them around the bank and down near the stream bed. They labor on in the descent until they can walk no more. Frodo demands that they rest, but Gollum says that it is not safe to stop. A rush of blue flame and orange sparks explodes from the peak of Minas Ithil, and a cry streaks the sky as the doors open and a large host begins to cross the bridge led by a black rider. The rider is the lord of the nine Nazgul. Gollum and the hobbits hide behind a boulder and watch the army pass by. Frodo is nervous and he thinks about using the Ring but clutches the phial of Galadriel instead. Frodo knows that the army is heading toward Gondor, and his heart reaches out to Faramir.
They sleep in the shadows as the great army continues to pass. Many hours alter, Sam wakes Frodo and says that the host is finally gone. Gollum returns and says that they must make their way with great haste. They follow him as he urges them to be careful of each step. They enter a stone stairway that seems endless. They climb this until their legs are weak and their heads are spinning. When they come to the edge of the first straight stairway, they rest before attempting the spiral stone tunnel. Gollum leads them upward for hours and Frodo occasionally glances into the chasm growing below. The stairway continues to twist and turn. Near the top, there are horns hanging on the wall burning with a sick red light. They crouch in between two great stones and rest for some time. Sam is worried that they are running out of water, but he knows that there is nowhere to get any more.
Frodo hates everything around them and Sam wonders if any stories will be told of their journey. He remembers stories where the heroes had to overcome difficult feats. Sam says he is going to be happy to work in his garden and tell his son tales of Frodo the great. Frodo tells him that he should not leave himself out "'And Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam.'" Book 4, Chapter 8, pg. 409. They turn to see that Gollum is no longer with them and Sam worries that he has gone to fetch orcs. Frodo doesn't think that he would do this because he does not want the Ring to fall in the hands of Sauron. Sam thinks that Gollum will do anything to stop them from destroying the Ring. Frodo lays his head in Sam's lap to sleep. When Gollum returns, he gazes at them with a hungry face. He starts to pet Frodo's head and Sam asks him where he has been. He calls the creature sneaky. Gollum is upset and says that he has been looking for the best ways for them to travel. Sam apologizes but Gollum will no longer speak to him. Sam wakes Frodo so that they can get going. Gollum calls himself a sneak to Frodo and says that Sam gave him the name. Frodo looks at Sam and dismisses the conflict. He tells Gollum that he may leave them if he wants to. Gollum says that he will not leave them and that they should follow him.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 11
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 9
In the tunnels there is no difference between night and day and a wretched smell gets stronger as they ascend. They come to a tunnel that they must enter to secretly make a passage into Mordor. The hideous stench increases within, but it is the only way according to Gollum. They pass inside a great darkness and must feel their way through. After a while they come to an opening and see many passages. The heat increases and the smell becomes almost unbearable. After what seems hours, they come to a void on one side. They narrowly miss falling into it. When they come to a fork in the tunnel, Sam and Frodo realize that Gollum has disappeared. They hear a hiss and Sam sees a light in his mind. He knows that they are in trouble and tells Frodo to use the phial from Galadriel. Frodo takes it out and it illuminates the tunnel. They turn and there is a beast with hundreds of eyes. It gets closer and Frodo yells for Sam to run. He lifts the phial and draws his sword. He advances against the creature and it begins to retreat. It disappears and the hobbits begin to run through the tunnels. They enter a room filled with spider webs that Sam's sword will not cut. Frodo's swords will cut and he begins to carve a path through the webs. Sam is relieved because he thinks that they will be safe:
"It seemed light in that dark land to his eyes that had passed through the den of night. The great smokes had risen and grown thinner, and the last hours of a sombre day were passing; the ed glare of Mordor had died away in sullen gloom. Yet it seemed to Frodo that he looked upon a morning of sudden hope." Book 4, Chapter 9, pg. 422
The creature, called Shelob entered Mordor before Sauron in the form of a spider. Smeagol had worshipped her and promised to bring her food if he could keep whatever he found on the bodies. Gollum had led the hobbits to her. She wanted sweeter meat than orcs. Sauron knows she exists and finds her amusing. He often stuffs prisoners in her dark holes to perish. Sam knows nothing of the creature lurking behind them and thinks that Frodo's sword is turning blue because there are orcs around. The hobbits are almost out when the spider jumps between them and pounces on Frodo. Sam calls out, but Gollum jumps on him and brings him to the ground. Sam struggles and bursts into a rage. He attacks Gollum and hurtles him backwards. He strikes Gollum over the back with his staff and it breaks. He spins around to see Shelob on top of Frodo.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 12
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 10
Sam sees Frodo's sword on the ground and he charges at Shelob with it. She is surprised as he blinds one eye and then a second. Sam slashes her body and her venomous blood seeps out. Sam clutches the blade as she jumps at him, and lets the weight of her body impale herself upon the sword. She shudders and Sam reels in the stench of her filth. She stares at the hobbit with her many eyes and fears that her death has begun. He chants elvish words that he does not know and struggles to his feet. He breaks into a new rage and begins to attack her eyes some more. She hobbles to a crack in the earth and slips in ide leaving a trail of blood behind. Sam collapses next to Frodo and begins to cut the web from his body. He searches for breath or heartbeat and hears nothing. "'Did I come all this way for nothing?'" Book 4, Chapter 10, pg. 427
Sam is silent for a moment and thinks that he must carry on the quest, even though he fears it. He does not want to leave his friend's body and wonders if he is even right to take the Ring. He stoops and kisses Frodo's forehead, wiping away his own tears. He slips the necklace of the Ring around his neck and takes the phial of Galadriel. Stepping into the dark tunnel, he soon finds himself near its end. He sees that orcs are coming and slips the ring on his finger to avoid being caught. Sam realizes that Frodo is the true Ring-bearer and feels that a terrible fate has befallen him. The orcs lift the body and go running through the passage, afraid of Shelob. Sam tries to follow them but has trouble keeping up with the pace.
Near the top, Sam hears the captains arguing over Frodo's body. Some think that it is elvish. One of the orcs talks about fearing the Nazgul. He wants to be rid of the leadership of Sauron and wishes he had never come back. They talk about the impending war and wish that they had no part in it. The Nazgul told them that something was going to try to get into the gates near Minas Ithil. Two of the orcs argue about whose job it was to watch the stairs. They have seen Gollum before and decide that they should no longer interfere with Shelob's hunt. One orc says that something hurt the creature and is still lurking in the tunnels.
Sam listens carefully as the orcs realize that there must be another enemy near them because someone had to cut Frodo's cords. One of the orcs doesn't agree with this. They look at the body and make sure that all of his possessions are recorded. One orc thinks that the dead body is no good but another reminds him that Shelob's venom merely makes a body seem dead. She likes to feast on live meat. Sam comes to the grim realization that he has let Frodo become captured and almost abandoned him. The orcs want to have fun with the prisoner and Sam gets more frustrated as he tries to figure out how he is going to get into the fortress. He catches up with the orcs and listens to their singing. He cannot follow them through the doors.
"The great doors slammed to. Boom. The bars of iron fell into place inside. Clang. The gate was shut. Sam hurried himself against the bolted brazen plates and fell senseless to the ground. He was out in the darkness. Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy." Book 4, Chapter 10, pg. 446
Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses 13
Topic Tracking: Sacrifice 11