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Archive for the ‘3 – The Black Gate is Closed’ Category

It’s ultimatum time, and Frodo seems to be a little more aware of what’s going on than what either we or Sam thought.

First of all, Frodo admits to starting to trust Gollum. That’s nice. However, he warns of a danger to Gollum. Not the vague “danger” they’re all in, and not directly from Frodo or Sam, but the danger that the ring poses to Gollum.

But it looks so nice and safe!

But it looks so nice and safe!

The ring knows Gollum. It’s been working on him for generations, and the poor guy is completely twisted by its power. Should Frodo, the ring’s current master, order Gollum to do something, it will be hard to refuse. In fact, it would be nigh unto impossible. Gollum must be careful.

This talk brightens Sam up, who had previously thought that Frodo was ignorant of Gollum’s desire for the ring. Gollum, meanwhile, has the pants scared off of him, and can’t do anything but grovel and mutter. Oh well. Let’s get going!

Today’s Gollum Meter: 58 – “Looking better.”

Yet again, here’s Frodo talking about how he holds all power over Gollum. That ring is really taking hold, huh? Here’s what I would like to see: Frodo mentions that he could possibly put on the ring in a time of great need. Were he to command Gollum then, his full power would be used. Does it work that way? Yes, a mortal being wearing the ring turns invisible, but do they also gain the power over wills that Sauron imbued the ring with? Okay, well I don’t really want to see Frodo do that, but I do want to see Gollum being ordered around by a disembodied voice. Sounds like fun.

Pretend the guy isn't actually visible and you've got it.

Pretend the guy isn’t actually visible and you’ve got it.

And yet once again, Gollum is stuck on the ground, muttering incoherently. This is becoming quite the pattern. I’M GETTING SICK OF IT.

No one dies today.

“But Gollum was in a pitiable state, and Frodo’s threat had quite…”

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No decision’s coming yet. While Sam goes over Gollum’s possible ideas in his own mind, Frodo stands looking at the Black Gate and lands before them. Roads converge from each direction. Looking more closely, Frodo can see armies marching to Mordor. No, they aren’t allies of theirs coming to attack Sauron, but evil men from the east, coming instead to join with the dark forces.

Those are the eyes of the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy.

Those are the eyes of the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy.

First Mentions:

-the Eastlands: Um…yeah.

Somewhere in the back of Frodo’s mind, he wanted the trumpets to be ringing in alarm. Was an army approaching to attack, giving them the cover to slip in during the chaos? It’s not the worst idea, but it’s not what’s actually happening. Of course, at the time, the narrative implied that the trumpets were sounding for the changing of the guard. Now it’s to greet the Easterlings? Okay, whatever.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 56 – “No real comment to make. Stay frosty.”

In case you were wondering, there are three roads that come together at the Black Gate. One comes from the north, which Frodo and Sam might have tried to take if Gollum had not led them through the Emyn Muil and the Dead Marshes. Another comes straight from the east, which is probably what these men have just arrived on. The last road takes a turn west and south, making its way between Anduin and the western mountains of Mordor.

And all roads lead to evil.

And all roads lead to evil.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-trenchlike

-Eastlands

No reference to WWI implied. Wait, Tolkien fought in WWI? Hm…

No one dies today.

“As if suddenly made fully aware of the peril of their position, alone, in the growing…”

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By now, everyone has their own agenda. Frodo wants to get to Mordor, however quickly he can. Sam wants to help Frodo do what he needs to do, but his highest priority is to get rid of Gollum. Gollum, well…he’s the hard one. He wants to save the ring. But he wants to keep Frodo alive because he promised. But he wants to kill Frodo. But…

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

Gollum says that there’s another way in. Another way? Why haven’t we heard of this before? You’d think that would have saved everyone a lot of time, but Gollum follows orders, and the orders were to go to the Black Gate. So here we are. Gollum goes on and on about how he does nice things for his nice master. Sam, meanwhile, finally lets us know about his feelings – that Gollum is a two-sided, no good, scruffy-looking nerfherder.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 53 – “In a holding pattern until your hand gets shown a little bit more.”

Here are Sam’s two nicknames: Slinker and Stinker. Slinker is Gollum’s Sméagol side, always seeming to do good, but slinking around in the background. Stinker is Gollum proper, the bad side of him that stinks up the place. Make sense? Sam believes that, for now, the two sides have found a middle ground. Neither wants Frodo taken, and both CERTAINLY want the ring to stay out of the reach of Sauron. So, they can work together to steer the hobbits away from the Black Gate. They’ll keep an eye on Frodo for as long as they need to, if it pleases them.

Meow.

Meow.

Keep this in mind, too: at one point Gollum talks of the secret way into Mordor in these terms: “Yess! Yess indeed!” Remember, I noticed that Gollum’s, um, Gollum side is the one with poor spelling and grammar. There he is.

No one dies today.

“Sam’s guess was that the Sméagol and Gollum halves (or what in his own mind he called Slinker and Stinker) had made a truce and a temporary alliance: neither wanted the Enemy to get the Ring; both wished to keep Frodo from capture, and under their eye, as long as possible – at any rate as long as Stinker still had a chance of laying hands on his ‘Precious’.”

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It sure has been a while since I had a post up after midnight, but it looks like I’m headed that way. I’m sorry, but there was an American Ninja Warrior marathon my friends and I were watching. And it was SO GOOD.

CLIMB, MAN, CLIMB!

CLIMB, MAN, CLIMB!

Meanwhile, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are left staring at the Black Gate. The morning trumpets blare out the changing of the guard. Sam can only think of the horrible things that the Gaffer would call him for being so dumb to come here, while Frodo is determined to find a way in. If no one else wants to come with, that’s just fine. Gollum pleads with Frodo not to try this entrance. There must be another way, and the last thing Gollum wants to see is the ring fall right into Sauron’s hands. Heck, just give it to Gollum to keep safe, right?

Today’s Gollum Meter: 56 – “I appreciate the helpfulness, but I can’t help but feel that you’re being a little too conniving.”

I really also can’t help but see the picturesque nature of the Black Gate right now. The sun must be rising, with the calling of the day-guard. Problem is, it must be cloudy in these parts, and probably grey and gross in terms of light. Oh well. You can’t deny that the wall must be grandiose, even if it’s basically pure evil. Sorry, but I like to bask in the grandeur of things.

Casual basking.

Casual basking.

Oh, and did I mention that Gollum is worried that Sauron, if given the ring, would EAT EVERYONE? He says that. He’ll eat the whole world, in fact. Be on the lookout for that. Because apparently Sauron turns into Pacman when he has the ring. Who knew?

No one dies today.

“‘Hobbits go home. Don’t go to the Gate!'”

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Once again, this is a chapter where the title is going to spoil some of the action for us. Guess what? Don’t expect the Black Gate to be open.

Freakin' gated communities, man.

Freakin’ gated communities, man.

Today is basically just a geographical lesson on the mountains and plains of Mordor. Two watchtowers overlook the Black Gate, and Frodo and Sam are now close enough to see the guards pacing the battlements. Things don’t look promising.

First Mentions:

-the Ered Lithui: Also known as the Ash Mountains, these mark the northern boundary of Mordor. The elven names are always prettier.

-Lithlad: Plains in the southeast of Mordor, covered in ash from Mount Doom. Classy.

-Núrnen: An inland sea in the middle of Mordor. It’s probably bad. Everything is.

-the Teeth of Mordor: The two watchtowers at the Black Gate, built by the men of Gondor after the first defeat of Sauron. That ended well. They abandoned them, allowing Sauron’s forces to take them easily.

New things! It’s been quite a while since we had a good batch of First Mentions, but we get plenty today. Remember those days of double-digit First Mentions? Those were nuts. NUTS, I SAY.

AHHHHHHHH.

AHHHHHHHH.

So, naturally, this should be easy, right? Two mountain ranges, plains of deadness and ash, two horribly dark watchtowers patrolled by an army of orcs? That’s it? This page is all about telling us how awfully hard it’s going to be to simply walk into Mordor. Oh, have we covered that already?

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Ephel

-Dúath

-Lithui

-Lithlad

-Núrnen

Ephel Dúath is the elven name for the Mountains of Shadow. Now you know. And, aren’t I right? Elven names sound prettier!

No one dies today.

“Winging the heavy air in straight flight a crow, maybe, would have flown but a furlong…”

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