Seven hundred and forty-two. That many pages down. Less than two hundred to go, and the end is in sight.
IT’S THE LAST DAY OF TWO TOWERS, Y’ALL.
In basic action, Sam runs around a corner to find that Shagrat and Gorbag are nearly inside the looming tower. Horns and yells block out Sam’s cries as he rushes the gate, but is locked outside. Sam is now fully alone in Mordor, and Frodo is inside the tower.
For the most part, this is inconsequential. The monumental notion that I’ve actually gotten this far is hitting me hard. If you’re watching the films, the beginning of Return of the King feels like the plunge that has been building for the last few hours. Sure, some plot points are moved around (Frodo and Sam haven’t gotten to Shelob yet), but the final film is an earned ride after waiting so long for a resolution to Middle-earth’s gathering darkness. That all starts tomorrow.
The text at the end of Two Towers ends firmly: with a boom and a clang as the gates close on Sam. Conflict abounds, and Frodo (and Sam) are helpless, as opposed to the end of Fellowship, where Frodo makes a conscious decision about his fate. There’s no cliff, but certainly someone’s hanging.
No one dies today.
“Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy.”