Archive for the ‘4 – Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit’ Category

Little baby page today, ending the chapter.

Sam muses about seeing an oliphaunt, which is pretty cool, I guess.



With this life event behind him, Sam decides to take a nap. He asks Mablung to not be too noisy when the men move off. Mablung laughs, and tells Sam that he’s quite sure that Faramir will want to take him and Frodo along when they leave.

Huzzah for captivity! At least we kind of like these guys already. And the taking of Frodo and Sam hasn’t been too forceful. Again, THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW THEY’RE NOT EVIL.

That’s it for now. Have a nice day, and stay dry, Chicago.

No one dies today.

“‘But you shall see.'”

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Late night blog post! Weeeeeeee!

I always feel like I'm letting someone down when this happens.

I always feel like I’m letting someone down when this happens.

More battle! Excitement!

Sam watches the battle of man against man, realizing that it is the first time that he’s seen two peoples of the same race have at it. That’s not a common thing in Middle-earth. Yikes. He doesn’t like it. However, that all goes away with one view of an oliphaunt.

First Mentions:

-the Valar: Have we not officially mentioned the Valar? They’re like gods around these parts! Big deal! Beings created by Eru himself!

Oliphaunt?! Oh, boy!

Yes, indeed. An oliphaunt thunders through the forest wildly. It’s enormous, and a single Southron warrior tries to control it, to no avail, and it’s headed straight towards Frodo and Sam’s hiding place. Fortunately, it swerves off, and Sam gets to hypothesize about what happens to it after this battle. Does it live? Die? We’ll never know.

Oliphaunt, you guys!

...you guys?

…you guys?

All in all, the scene from the movie comes in full right now. Frodo and Sam (mostly Sam) watch the battle from the ridge, and the oliphaunt charges towards them, though it changes course just in time. Good job, Peter Jackson, that’s just what happens! Although, it is all in a different order.


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There’s thunder outside, you guys. I guess that means it’s officially spring. I like thunder. I mean, I used to hate it, but now I’ve grown up. I like rain. Rain is cool.

So are bowties.

Anyway, bask in the glory that is the oliphaunt, just like Sam is, and we’ll all be alright. He doesn’t seem to realize the danger that he’s in. Maybe one day.

“What became of him Sam never heard: whether he escaped to roam the wild for a time, until he perished far from his home or was trapped in some deep pit; or whether he raged on until he plunged in the Great River and was swallowed up.”

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This nice, peaceful chapter is in for a rude awakening. Frodo and Sam’s chat with Mablung and Damrod dwindles into a tense silence as they listen for the sounds of the ambush. Sam peeks over a ridge and watches the men of Gondor find their hiding places. It’s all set.

Any moment now...

Any moment now…

Sam dozes off, but awakes to the sounds of horns. The battle is joined. The noise comes closer and closer, and everyone watches the rangers of Gondor rout the Southrons. Suddenly, one man comes lurching down into their hollow, shot through with arrows.

So, yes, as I mentioned, this is backwards in the movie, where Frodo and Sam watch the battle before being caught by Faramir. More dramatic that way? I guess so. Have we established a better relationship with the men in the book’s chronology? Yes.


In rare cases, BOTH are wrong.

In rare cases, BOTH are wrong.

So far, it looks like the men of Gondor are winning the battle quite easily. And, that’s okay, because we already know that we should be rooting for them. That’s another advantage of meeting them first. I just really hope that Mablung and Damrod don’t secretly resent Faramir for holding them back to guard Frodo and Sam. The hobbits clearly aren’t a threat at all. Although, I guess staying out of the danger of the battle isn’t exactly a bad thing.

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There’s going to be a distinct lack of a sentence in this post. Find it.

“His scarlet robes were…”

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I’m going to be writing this as I sit with my roommate as he finishes the first season of Game of Thrones. This should be good.

Nevermind. I finished this first.



Today in Middle-earth, Sean Bean is already dead. Faramir has left Frodo and Sam with two guards, who seem friendly enough. They get to talking, and the two men explain that their purpose is to sneak around on this side of Anduin and cause trouble for Sauron’s forces. They have word that a company of men is due up from the south, and they plan on ambushing them.

Oh, so that’s backwards in the movie then.

First Mentions:

-Mablung: One of the guards. This name doesn’t sound like a real name AT ALL.

-Damrod: The other guard. His name sounds a little too much like “Nimrod”, so I laugh at that.

-Umbar: Region south of Gondor, ruled by corsairs.

Speaking of this new place, Mablung and Damrod tell the story of an old alliance between Gondor and the men of the south. Though they were never quite friends, the south did see Gondor as a ruling entity some long years ago. However, with Sauron’s power ever growing, the Southrons (as they call them) moved to make alliance with the Dark Lord. They now move freely in the lands of Ithilien, once governed by Gondor, but now under the hold of evil.

For some reason, the roads of Ithilien always remind me of Rome's Appian Way.

For some reason, the roads of Ithilien always remind me of Rome’s Appian Way.

Unfortunately, Mablung and Damrod don’t have a very optimistic look about this war. They see Gondor failing. Not surprisingly, then, they refer to Sauron with the capitalized “He”. Ah, so this is how Sauron’s evil works on the minds of simple men.

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So…will there be oliphaunts?

No one dies today.

“‘He leads now in all perilous…'”

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I was mentioning trust yesterday, and today sure confirms my thoughts. It just takes Frodo telling of the Fellowship’s Company’s meeting in Rivendell and travel from there to mostly convince Faramir that he’s an okay dude. Frodo lists the members of the group, taking special care to bring up Boromir. His mention, and the recitation of some of his mysterious lines (“Seek for the Sword that was Broken. In Imladris it dwells.”), prove the point. Thankfully, Frodo keeps mention of the ring hidden.

What ring? It's silver, right?

What ring? It’s silver, right?

However, as for right now, Faramir says that there is a great danger, and work to be done. He will return, but will leave two men to guard Frodo and Sam. Everyone exchanges pleasantries. That was easy.

Remember now, Boromir brought these words to Rivendell. There is more to the rhyme than what Frodo recites today, but Faramir understands his meaning. In fact, it was Faramir who first heard the rhyme in a dream. He heard the call, but it was Boromir who was sent to Rivendell.

It wasn't the greatest of brotherly relationships.

It wasn’t the greatest of brotherly relationships.

Faramir has that small bit of mysticism that Boromir didn’t. So, once he hears Frodo say the beginning of the rhyme, his mind is much settled. And, of course, it certainly helps that Frodo and Sam are so polite. They can’t be spies if they’re polite! That’s not how it works.

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Whatever that means. Maybe we’re painting.

No one dies today.

“Close by, just under the dappling…”

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It’s time for the age-old conversational game…WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS?!



The men introduce themselves as being from Gondor, and are led by the captain, Faramir. Of course, they have no clue what they have in front of them. All four men are confused. Frodo and Sam take issue with the insult that they’re not as fair as elves, but do offer their names. Faramir asks about a third companion – Gollum. Frodo no longer knows where he is, and it appears that he’s disappeared for the moment.

First Mentions:

-Faramir: Captain of Gondor, and Boromir’s brother. Not coincidentally, Frodo immediately thinks of Boromir.

Oh, so they’re from Gondor, and that basically empties the scene of a whole lot of tension. Yes, we’ve learned that men are greedy and partially evil, but they can’t be that bad if we know they’re from Gondor instead of Mordor. They also don’t see Frodo and Sam as terribly threatening, and start to laugh at them pretty early on. Trust seems to be pretty easy to come by in this relationship.

It was easier before the internet.

It was easier before the internet.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 65 – “I don’t know. You’re feeling sketchy.”

I don’t know what else. I’m feeling distracted today. Sometimes, I’m still shocked that I’m able to write as much as I come up with. It’s been a lot.

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No one dies today.

“‘We have come by long ways – out of Rivendell, or Imladris as some…'”

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One of my few posts from a location that is not my home. This always feels awkward.

Like a proverbial penguin among proverbial baby seals.

Like a proverbial penguin among proverbial baby seals.

Anyway, Frodo and Sam finish the stew today. Sam heads off to wash the pans in the stream, and catches the sun rising over the ridge. A curl of smoke comes up from where the fire was lit. Oh, no! He forgot to put it out. Rushing back, and after hearing some strange bird-calls, Sam finds the fire starting to smolder some of the nearby ferns. He puts it out and grabs Frodo, as they both hear voices approaching. They hide in the bushes as men come near to them.

Good job, Sam. Just as things were looking up for him, he goes and leaves the fire burning. Even Gollum knew that a fire in these parts could spell danger. Had he put it out before sunrise, perhaps this all could have been avoided. As it is, the light just catches the wisp of smoke so that it can be seen without much problem. And, had he put it out earlier, it probably wouldn’t have reached out to the ferns. They’re more of the cause of the smoke than the wet kindling that Sam intentionally used to hide any signs of their blaze.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 68 – “Okay, smart. And you’ve vanished just when you’re most in danger. Also smart.”

It’s all about execution. Sam’s failed at the fire thing. Gollum’s good at getting away. These men are good at tracking, not to mention hiding themselves until they’re nearly on top of Frodo and Sam.

I can't see you, oliphaunt!

I can’t see you, oliphaunt!

We haven’t seen too many (any, actually) characters that are smart and evil. Smart people tend to be good. So there you go, the first hint that these men aren’t the worst people in the world. Besides, the worst person seems to be, time and time again, our good friend Sam.

No one dies today.

“Since flight and hiding were no longer possible, Frodo…”

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