Is this what the ring really does?
Sam sees a vision in which Frodo, robed in white and holding a wheel of fire, commands Gollum to be gone. Though the vision passes, Gollum is significantly moved, and Sam takes the moment to step in. He tells Frodo to go on ahead while he deals with Gollum.
Standing there before the pitiable creature, Sam finally understands his wretchedness. Having held the ring but even for so short a time, Sam knows the pull that it has on the soul. Gollum grovels for his life, knowing that he will die with the destruction of the ring anyway. Sam lets him go.
This is not before the biggest foreshadowing of them all. “If you touch me ever again,” says the commanding Frodo, “you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.” Yeah, and since we aren’t troubled by spoilers…
That’s exactly what happens! Gollum does indeed touch Frodo once again later, and then Gollum is cast into the fires. Simple stuff, really.
Today’s Gollum Meter: 15 – “Ah, understanding. We still loathe you, but we can see something of ourselves in you.”
Going back to Sam’s vision, he sees Frodo as “a figure robed in white, but at its breast it held a wheel of fire.” The nature of the ring’s power is always vague, but this could be our best look into it. The ring’s central power is control. It controls those who its master commands. Wielded by someone with great power, it can command armies. Frodo has no such power, but his might is certainly greater than one so broken as Gollum. Perhaps Gollum sees the same vision, and it frightens him. I don’t see why, only now, Sam sees this image as well. Maybe it was finally time for us to understand a little better this thing on which the fate of the world hinges.
Meanwhile, Frodo says farewell to Sam. His final push will take him to his destination, and he plans to get there without any more help from his trusty gardener. It’s Frodo’s game to lose now.
Words My Computer Didn’t Like:
When this ends, it’s going to get so dusty in here, you guys.
No one dies today.
“Gollum got up on all fours, and backed away for several paces, and then he turned, and as Sam aimed a kick at him he fled away…”