Archive for the ‘2 – The Shadow of the Past’ Category

End of Chapter 2!

Not much here, but enough. Sam admits that he is upset that Frodo has to leave, and Frodo realizes how painful leaving home will be for him. Frodo makes Sam promise that he won’t say anything about Frodo going away, but Gandalf has a better plan. Sam will go with Frodo, to accompany him on his journey. Sam cries, happily.

No one's been this excited about elves since Keebler opened up.

Frodo pulls the worst sort of persuasion here. Telling Sam not to say anything about what he’s heard: “if you really care about me, you will keep that dead secret”. Really? “If you really care about me”? What a jerk! That’s the stereotypical thing any over-controlling person in a relationship says.

Insert joke about Frodo and Sam as lovers here.

So yes, Frodo tries to manipulate Sam, but Gandalf steps in and “punishes” Sam so hard that he breaks down in tears. These are our protagonists? Maybe they just seem really bad because the most antagonistic characters we’ve seen so far are the Sackville-Bagginses.

And that brings the second chapter to an end. Sounds like the journey is set to start! There’s not much more to say, except get excited for Chapter 3 tomorrow!

Bonus points for being as excited as this puppy.

“‘Me go and see Elves and all! Hooray!’ he shouted, and then burst into tears.”

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Stuff! Happening! Here!

What kind of stuff? Stuffy stuff!

Yes! Stuff! Gandalf tells Frodo to take on a different name: Underhill, and to trust only his closest friends. Then, suddenly, everything stops. It’s quiet…too quiet. Gandalf lunges to the window and finds Sam! Eavesdropping! Egad! Sam is very scared. He doesn’t want to be turned into anything…unnatural, as we know. Sam tells Gandalf what he overheard from the window, and that he really wants to see elves, like really bad. Everyone gets a good laugh out of that, and Gandalf seems to have an idea for Sam…

See, I told you! Stuff! More exciting than our typical conversation.

Sam is so unbelievably scared, it really is funny. Frodo is laughing pretty much the entire time, and Gandalf does too, although he starts a bit later. Really, Sam is the least threatening personality imaginable, but you would guess that Gandalf has to be suspicious of everyone, with all this evil going around. Sam sputters and says “sir” to Frodo and Gandalf basically any chance he can. And he has a unique (what I guess you could call) hobbit-dialect. All folksy and stuff.

And Sam’s obsession with elves is hilarious. He could care less about the whole ring problem, as long as he got to see elves! However, hasn’t it been mentioned earlier that elves are passing through the Shire to get to the Grey Havens? So, in theory, Sam could run into an elf on the road some day or another. I guess he doesn’t get out much.

You know he's sitting in his basement playing Arda of Warcraft. As an elf, no less.

And Sam’s take on tales of elves and the like? “I believe them too, whatever Ted may say.” BOOM. Still beating up on Ted Sandyman! I had forgotten about the cage match we had planned. Looks like Sam’s winning.

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“Lor” is Sam’s abbreviation for “Lord”. Like you do. It’s like in Latin how you say “Jesu” instead of “Jesus”. That last letter is always overrated.

Well, call me Davi…

No relation.

Tomorrow we’ll be finishing up Chapter 2!

“‘So you heard that Mr. Frodo is going away?'”


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That image of my distracting view? Here it is.

O hai, Chicago!

It does get warm on my desk though from the sun. I have moved to the dining table to write! Much cooler. Meanwhile, my dear roommate is napping to “Good Morning Starshine”.

Anywho, Lord of the Rings! Today, after a silence in their conversation, Gandalf asks Frodo what he plans to do. Suddenly, Frodo grows a pair. He realizes what he must do. In a semi-uplifting speech, he declares that he is ready to do whatever he needs to protect the ring and keep the Shire safe. He also feels the yearning to journey from the Shire, and follow Bilbo. Gandalf is surprised. Frankly, so am I.

Frodo isn’t being such a wuss! Hallelujah! I daresay he has a sudden sense of duty. It’s better than thinking that he’s just acting on impulse because he wants to be like Bilbo. He feels that way, although he specifically doesn’t tell Gandalf. It does say he feels this way “as he was speaking”, so at least he started his inspirational speech before the impulsiveness kicked in.

What we have here is a traditional like uncle, like nephew story. If this was a like father, like son story, it would be terribly depressing. Remember, Drogo Baggins drowned. Not good material there. Or, it would be like “Cat’s in the Cradle”, the classic ballad. Also, depressing.

"He'd grown up just like me, / My boy was just like me."

You see, Lord of the Rings is NOT a father-son story. Uncle-nephew. You know, more like Francis Ford Coppola and Nicolas Cage.

In fact, Cage and Frodo share some wuss-like similarities.

However, as I’ve said, Frodo got over his wussiness today. Bonus points for him! Maybe he’ll be able to handle the ring after all. SPOILER ALERT: He does. But really, for how much we end up liking Frodo by the end, I would have hated him if I didn’t know about all that. He’s turned a corner! Hopefully he’ll stay there.

We could also use some more characters to talk about here! A certain friend of mine laughed at how much I might be complaining once the Council of Elrond hits. At least there will be more than two people talking then!

“‘The Ring will not be able to stay hidden in the Shire much longer; and for your own sake, as well as for others,…'”

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This is the first post I pen (key?) from my new desk, with a 26th-floor view of Chicago to my left! Next time I write when it’s light out, or whenever I remember, I’ll snap a picture of it. Onward!

Gandalf tells Frodo that even if he wanted to, he could not destroy the ring. Not with a hammer, not with fire. Not even a freaking dragon could melt this thing.

Really? Not even this guy? BEAST.

Of course, there is only one way: cast it into the fires of Mount Doom! Again, Frodo wishes that it wasn’t up to him. He offers the ring to Gandalf. Maybe he can destroy it! NO! Gandalf denies the ring. Should he take the ring, even with the desire for good, the ring’s power would work through him in a terrible way. Gandalf can, however, offer to help Frodo.

First Mentions:

-Ancalagon the Black: Thought to be one of the greatest dragons ever to live. Had one of the hottest dragon-fires.

-the Cracks of Doom: Openings in the side of Mount Doom, where one could walk in.

-Orodruin: Mount Doom, a volcano in Mordor. Where Sauron made the ring. Where, and only where, the ring can be destroyed.

Any page that talks about dragons just makes me happy. I wish they played a larger role (really, any role) in The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit gets Smaug. I wish we got some here too. Sadly, no.

Since we’re kind of about Pierre Menard and Don Quixote here, maybe I should reference the fact that the story of Smaug in The Hobbit, as a dragon sitting on a pile of treasure inside a mountain, isn’t purely Tolkien’s creation. The same happens in the English epic Beowulf. Tolkien studied Beowulf extensively, giving a renowned lecture on it and writing his own translation. I feel like part of the chain!

This is NOT the English epic.

Things are moving along now, at least conversation-wise. The fact that I still have this much to write is encouraging. Seriously, Gandalf and Frodo have been discussing the history and nature of the ring since page 47. When we get to the actual journey, things are going to be happening left and right. They’ve literally been in the same room for 15 pages.

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Every time I type “Ancalagon” I wish there were more dragons to talk about…

“Frodo gazed fixedly at the red…”

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Bad Frodo! Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, DUMB!

Short story of today’s page: Frodo is a stupid. Yes, a stupid. Stupid: n. a very, very dumb Frodo.

“Why?” Frodo asks over and over. Why didn’t Gandalf tell him to get rid of the ring? Why not just destroy it and let everything be over and done with? Stupid not-that-fat hobbit! It doesn’t work that way! Gandalf plays it off with a bit of sarcasm, or whatever you would call it in Middle-earth. Sure, Frodo, give it a try. Destroy the ring. See what happens!


Could switching to Geico really save you more on life insurance?

Frodo can’t do it. As soon as he takes the ring out with the intent to destroy it, he realizes how beautiful it is. He couldn’t destroy it, could he? Before he knows what he’s doing, he puts it back in his pocket. Oops. You tried real hard there, buddy. Gandalf gets a good laugh in. It’s all useless anyhow.

Really, Gandalf is even scolding Frodo for being stupid now. He’s as fed up with this as I am. Let’s face it, I have Gandalf on my side. That means I must be right.

Here’s what is a little creepy: Gandalf tells Frodo that he need not worry, because for many years he is sure that the Shire has been “guarded by watchful eyes”. Woah! Who? Do we ever find that out? I don’t know. What creeper did Gandalf hire to set up shop and watch the Shire for years? Again, it’s been what, 16 1/2 years? Someone’s been guarding the Shire that whole time?

Is it this guy? Can it PLEASE be this guy?

Knowing Gandalf, it’s probably some elf or something so not as funny.

And Frodo’s suggestions for destroying the ring? “Hammer it or melt it.” Really? That’s the best you can come up with? Wait till you see what you get to do for the next 900 pages! And it involves more than simply walking!

I believe that today’s post had more exclamation points and question marks than ever before! Sarcasm adds expression!

“‘Even if you took it and struck it with a…'”

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More Gollum backstory! The last, I think.

Onward! Catch up to the present! So, Gollum found his way to Mordor, where he was invariably captured after sneaking around for a while. Then, he was examined, and Sauron would have learned all he needed to know: Gollum found a ring. It was not one of the Three, as their whereabouts are accounted for. The Seven and the Nine have all either been destroyed or taken by Sauron, so Gollum’s ring must have been the One. From there, Gollum would have told Sauron of the Shire, and the name he knew: Baggins.

Cue whiny Frodo.

But it's HARD...

He literally asks “What am I to do?” twice, and wishes Bilbo had killed Gollum. Again, Gandalf holds him back. Bilbo was stayed by pity, which is a good thing, and likely kept the evil of the ring from harming him. And perhaps Gollum still will be useful…

Today’s Gollum Meter: 40 – “Great. You told the one bad guy about the one thing we don’t want him to know about. Tortured to it, but still. Way to not take one for the team.”

How about that? Bilbo helped himself from the evil of the ring by not killing Gollum. Would you believe it? I know there isn’t such a thing (at least specifically) as karma in Middle-earth, but this has to be the closest thing. If you kill for the ring, like Gollum did, the evil of it will overpower you easier. Act with a virtue, like Bilbo, and you’ll help yourself out against it. If this were a video game, there would be a points system for things like that.

Being evil always means you have more money.

And, while this isn’t a feature, I can’t help discussing sage pieces of advice from Gandalf. Again, one of the better lines in the film: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?” First of all, this comes in Moria in the film. Here we are, still in the Shire. Anyway, it’s beautiful. I really can’t hear it in my mind without hearing it in Ian McKellen’s voice, which is such a testament both to the writing and the performance. What makes the line so poignant for me is the juxtaposition of the evil people who live along with the good people that die. You can’t give judgement in either case, which is what makes it all fair. It’s not just saying “Some people should die, but that’s not nice.” No. It’s that, plus those that should live. Sadly, neither can happen.

On a side note, I tend to like fictional universes better that exist with a strong balance between good and evil. Tolkien has it down perfectly. Usually, fictional worlds are too heavy handed with the evil, making the protagonist’s end goal a little overblown. In worlds like this one, good and evil must, and always will, coexist. Think about it: even in the end, evil exists in Middle-earth. Orcs, trolls, dragons, whatever. They don’t go away just because Sauron is defeated. And good still exists in Middle-earth when Sauron is in power aside from just Gandalf and the hobbits. It’s all so well done.

Okay, I don’t need this to become too much of a lovefest here. I can criticize too. I’ve already voiced my annoyances with Frodo.

In other (completely unrelated) news, I am a big Northwestern football fan. The ‘Cats beat the Boston College Eagles today. Somewhere, Radagast is unhappy.

Radagast is a known friend of birds.

“‘In any case we did…'”

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To Catch a Gollum: the new series coming to TLC.

No, seriously, this page is all about what Gandalf had to do to track Gollum down. After going to Dale, Gollum clearly came back through Mirkwood to the Great River, as Gandalf had elves tracking his path, which was still relatively fresh. From there, something drew him away, and Gandalf could not figure it out. Men in Mirkwood told stories of a strange ghostlike creature that had started attacking animals in the area. However, Gollum’s trail turned to the south, and was lost. Gandalf actually gave up, one of the few mistakes he has ever made.

But...he's Gandalf. Isn't that impossible?

Anyway, I guess Gandalf had better things to do? He says he’s paid for it. Oops? Well, whatever. Gandalf did eventually decide to try tracking Gollum again, this time with the help of his buddy, Aragorn. (Hey, that guy!) Again, Gollum was eluding them, and Gandalf started to give up once again when Aragorn showed up out of nowhere, Gollum in tow. Gollum whined and pleaded, and seemed to act as if he had been tortured. Sadly, Gandalf realized, Gollum must have been to Mordor, drawn in as all wicked things are.

First Mentions:

-Aragorn: Kind of a big deal, though no one really knows that yet. Descendant of Isildur, heir to the throne of men. Currently a vagabond.

Gandalf brings Aragorn up here as if he truly is just some random friend of his. You’ve got to believe that Gandalf knows Aragorn is the disgraced heir, right? I guess there’s no sense in telling Frodo, because there’s no way he would care at all. I mean, Gandalf has to know that. It’s crazy important.

And I remember, I read Lord of the Rings in between seeing the first and second films. After seeing Fellowship, I never realized that Strider’s real name was Aragorn, which meant it took me forever to figure that out in the book. So you know what? I probably totally didn’t realize who Gandalf was talking about here way back when I read it the first time. Derp.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 43 – “Dude, you were drawn into torture unknowingly. That sucks. But, I still think you’re creepy. You became a ghost story. Cripes.”

And is it a veiled insult at how disorganized and awful the men are in Middle-earth that Gandalf talks about the men in Mirkwood who were deathly afraid of Gollum? I mean, he’s weird and all, but there’s no need to hide yo kids and/or hide yo wife.

Hide yo husband too!

Oh…that guy. Good times.

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Why? Because it’s in italics? Come on.

I’m really ready to be done with these talky-times. Let’s get to a battle! When’s the next battle? No clue. Not tomorrow, that’s for sure.

“‘Mordor draws all wicked things, and the Dark Power was bending all its will to gather them…'”

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I’m writing this on borrowed internet in my new apartment…so let’s hope this goes through tonight!

Anyway, Gandalf continues the story of what he learned from his interrogation of Gollum. Gollum hated Bilbo, and continually cursed his name, but Gandalf was able to glean some facts. He was ready to get revenge, and had built up the courage after a year or so to leave his cave under the mountains. With the ring no longer eating at his mind, he grew stronger, but still slunk around at night in fear of the sun.

Essentially, the ring made Gollum a vampire.

Bilbo had told Gollum his name, and once Gollum was out, he went in search of news about him. He traveled through Mirkwood following Bilbo’s trail, where Gandalf first saw him, and found his way to Esgaroth and Dale. He learned of the reclamation of the Lonely Mountain, and Bilbo’s fame.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 38 – “So. Angry. You just got out of being controlled by an evil ring, yet all you can do is be angry. Come on, man.”

We see here how Gollum is revived once the ring is gone. At least there’s some silver lining to having it taken from you, I guess. Even though Gollum is blinded by his lust for revenge on Bilbo, at least he was able to regain some of himself when he had some time away from the ring. I mean, we don’t really know, but Gollum could have had the ring for hundreds of years. The weight lifted from his shoulders must have been enormous. Much more so than when Bilbo gave it up.

Also, Gandalf quotes Gollum: “What had it got in its pocketses?” I love it, “pocketses”. Classic Gollum.


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Yay pocketses! Really, I do love pocketses. Even if Gollum is mostly the worst.

I feel like I should be wrapping this up, seeing as I’m worried my internet is going to cut out. I think I’ve said just about all I wanted to say anyway.

You’d be distracted anyway if you saw the view of Chicago I’m looking at. There should be a picture of that someday.

“‘…and many had heard Bilbo’s name and knew where he came from. We…'”

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I have literally only two things to focus on in life right now: moving everything I own, and making sure I keep up with this blog. Successful so far!

So, today. The ring abandoned Gollum because it realized that he would never take it out of the dark caves. It felt its master growing. Yet, Bilbo happened upon the ring. In some way, Bilbo must have been meant to find it, and that makes Gandalf believe that Frodo must also have been meant to have it. This is (somehow) good news. Frodo asks if all this history of Gollum is just Gandalf’s guesswork.

Oh. Oh no, you didn't say that. You did?

Um, NO. Gandalf knows what he be talkin’ about. The ring having the inscription was the last test, although he expected that to be true. And, just to be sure, Gandalf talked to Gollum. WHAT? Yeah, nobody would do that. But Gandalf did. It’s like that author that I saw on TV who went to interview Somalian pirates, then wrote a book about it.

Yep, totally happened. Jon Stewart told me.

Nobody does that. Those pirates/Gollum are crazy. However, Gandalf knows that, and took what Gollum said with a grain of salt. After all, Gollum is a known liar. He has made himself believe over time that the ring was a birthday present from his grandmother, and that’s just not true.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 43 – “You’re just a flat-out liar. Weird and twisted, and a liar. Get with it.”

Gandalf gets a little sassy today. Frodo accuses him of making his story up, and he’s not having any of it. First of all, Gandalf says that most of the ring’s history is known fact. And also, Gandalf says there’s no way he’s telling Frodo what he’s been up to to find most of this out. It’s basically like telling Frodo he’s not important enough. Like Frodo needs to know, jeez.

And remember when I said that Frodo is okay asking all these questions because we need some inquisitive character to balance out Gandalf? I’m getting to be done with that real quick. Cool your jets, Frodude.

Crap. I'm starting to sound like Funky Kong.

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If I don’t have internet tomorrow, I have to find the nearest wi-fi hotspot to my new apartment. The lengths I go to for this…

“‘Déagol ought to have given the ring to him. It had obviously…'”

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Okay. Okay, really. Gandalf is making the story of Gollum sadder and SADDER, and he just keeps going and going and going and going…

This foe is beyond any of you. Run!

So, perhaps Gollum found something pleasing in Bilbo, in the way he reminded him of the outside world. Perhaps this is why he played the game of riddles with him. This, of course, set the evil in Gollum’s mind off. The ring’s evil was eating at his mind, and he was growing to hate it. Frodo asks why Gollum didn’t just get rid of the ring if hated it so much. Not so fast, Frodo. It doesn’t work that way. In the same way that Gollum hated the ring, he loved it too. The ring made its own decisions. It only abandoned its owners when it was ready to move on, and it wasn’t ready yet. Only Bilbo has ever willingly passed it on. And so, when the ring was done devouring Gollum, it slipped from his finger, but Bilbo finding it in the dark was the strangest and luckiest thing that could have ever happened.

Gandalf actually makes a remark here that Gollum was stronger-willed than anyone could have ever imagined. Really? He let the ring take him over and kill his friend, then spied on his family until he was hated and banished. Strong? I don’t see it. Of course, Gandalf says that Gollum had stopped using the ring too much, and that is why he never faded like most mortal users of Rings of Power would. Sure sure sure, Gandalf, but Gollum was still an evil little creep.

Skeptical orc is skeptical.

Also, Gollum has to be the most conflicted character ever, which is why we fight over whether or not we’re supposed to feel badly for him. He hates the ring, but he also loves the ring. He hates the sun, but misses it sometimes. GAH! I’m feeling badly for him right now. But I know that’s going to change later.

You know what? I’m instituting a new feature! On every page where I talk about Gollum (which are the ones with the “Gollum” tag) from here on out, I’m going to include…

Today’s Gollum Meter: 62 – “You know what, you’ve done some bad things, but they weren’t all your fault. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt.”

On a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 being “OMG I HATE GOLLUM LET’S KILL HIM NOW” and 100 being “Gollum…is…the best and most loving person…ever”, how do I rate Gollum through his previous actions up to those on this page. I’ll also include said handy note about how I would feel about Gollum if I ran into him on the street. (Aside from “AHHH!! What the hell is that thing?!”)

There it is. Totally unplanned feature until I just wrote that. It feels even better because our other features are dead here today. At least we have Gollum to kick around.

“‘It could make no further use of him: he was too small and…'”

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