It’s the end of another chapter, with two Nazgûl flyovers.
Frodo, Sam, and Gollum cower on the ground the first time, although the feeling of fear passes quickly. Nothing can be seen in the sky. They move on, but the fear comes again. Gollum breaks down, crying out that three times must mean that someone is on to their journey. They feel the ring somewhere near. Frodo has to threaten Gollum before he’ll get up, and the walking continues.
The fact that two flyovers get shoved into the same not-even-full page is strange. I guess, with every time they fly by, the excitement of the occasion lessens. Ho hum. Just another EVIL DEMON SPIRIT ON A WINGED BEAST. No big deal.
Today’s Gollum Meter: 47 – “I’m not convinced about you anymore.”
What this all adds up to is pretty much undoing all the work that had been done (other than pure travel) in the last chapter. That chapter was called “The Taming of Sméagol”. This one might as well have been called “The Un-taming of Sméagol”. He’s gotten more fearful, and had more breakdowns where he’s thought about doing horrible things to the hobbits in order to get his hands on the ring again. Don’t look now, but the arrow is pointing down on the Gollum Meter.
No one dies today.
“So they stumbled on through the weary end of the night, and until the coming of another day of fear they walked in silence with bowed heads, seeing nothing, and hearing nothing but the wind hissing in their ears.”